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TIME is but a stream says the modern scientist, and if we could get out of the stream for a moment, we could project ourselves into another part of it and therefore actually travel in time.

Or, as Einstein said, space is curved; and since time and space are sister and brother, it may well be that time itself is curved, perhaps into some higher dimension. In that case also time traveling should be possible if the proper apparatus can be developed.

No doubt the traveler into the future will see and experience things beyond all imagining. But what of his own feelings about them? Suppose he were to find himself in a. veritable Utopia. Would he wish to stag on and enjoy it? Would he find himself at home with people of that new dag and age? Might it not happen that among his own race, even among his own descendants, he will find himself a stranger, and that he will have such an overpowering homesickness for the dirty, drab, and muddled atmosphere of ‘the 1930's that he would feel he must go bark? Mr. Wilson answers some of these questions in this intensely realistic and exciting story.

I SUPPOSE it had to be Storrs—or another impractical artist like him. It the thing had happened to Edison, or Millikan, or any of a half dozen others, think what we might have learned! Even if it had been one of the rest of our crowd standing on that street corner... But it was Fate, giving with one hand and taking back with the other, that vouchsafed to Ted Storrs the "Vision". We have to piece it together as best we can from what he noticed and remembered.

He was standing at the foot of Market Street, where the gold-topped Ferry Building is silhouetted against San Francisco Bay and the Oakland shore. Around him was the press and rush of the noon crowd, the clatter of street cars and the whistles of policemen directing traffic. It was the twenty-ninth of September, 1933- that much is sure, for we were going over to Berkeley that afternoon to see the first football game of the season—and the hour, according to Ted, was exactly noon. Waiting for the rest of us to show up, he had stopped to set his watch by the Ferry Building clock. Just twelve, it was, the two hands straight together, and as Ted matched his watch with them, he let the second hand touch sixty before snapping in the stem.

"May I bother you for the time?" came a voice, "I've let my watch get hours slow."

"Certainly," Ted obliged without half thinking, holding out his own timepiece at the end of its chain.

The inquirer was an oldish man, with white hair and beard calling to Ted's mind a Confederate General. His shirt collar was open and without a tie, and his ensemble was a variety of heavy silk loose fitting garments, resembling, Ted thought humorously, pajamas. And his watch, on which Ted's attention had unconsciously focussed—a watch strangely wafer-thin—was marked unmistakably with ten hours and a hundred minutes.

It was that, together with the silence suddenly striking his ears as few noises" could have done, that caused Ted to look around.

What he saw made him gasp. Almost directly above his head hung a mammoth suspension bridge stretching far out to the east and across the Bay. Behind him, a Market Street five times as wide as, before was dwarfed into a narrow canyon by pyramidal skyscrapers stunning in the mass of their bases, dizzying in their pointed heights. Along the street, along airy causeways swung between the buildings, sped myriad vehicles that in the distance were but hastening dots. Through the air, and swooping ‘down now and then under one of the bridges, wingless, torpedo-shaped, silvery vessels were sailing. And all in such perfect silence that you could hear the breeze sweeping in off the bay.

The glorious white and silver of the buildings, with their window crystal and roof-garden green; the gigantic, unearthly beauty of the picture, held Storrs for a moment. His art is by no means altogether an excuse from working. Then his mind recovered from the first paralyzing impression, and he turned back to the man with the strange watch.

"Would you mind telling me," he began, "just where and"—for the thing, incredible as it was, had begun to dawn upon him—"and when I, am?"

The man, who had started to walk away without ever really looking at Storrs, was nonplussed. "If you want to know the street—?"

"Hang the street! Is this San Francisco?"

"Yes, certainly."

"Then what year is it?"

"Why, eighty—, twenty-one eighty nine."

"You mean—? And your clothes Aren't right.

THEY stood staring at each other.

"I mean that five minutes ago, by my watch, I was standing on this same corner in the year 1933, and now you tell me it's two hundred and fifty years later. The thing's non-sense."

"Not at all. Time motion is a theoretical possibility, though the chance of its working is far less than that of your being an impostor. Let's see." He pulled on a pair of glasses. "Your clothes seem to fit the date. Your watch is a museum piece—the mechanical type went out a century ago. Still, you might have got hold of one."

This view of the impossibility was too much for Ted. "Look here, if you think I'm lying, what about this?" He pulled out the day's newspaper from his pocket, and shoved it in the old fellow's face.

As the man looked at the fresh ink and fingered the texture of the paper, he seemed more convinced, and a pocketful of "ancient" coins and bills completed his conversion. "We'll have just one more test, and then I'll believe you. But I never really thought it could happen, certainly not in front of me." Then, growing conscious of an omission, "My name is Rodgers. I'm sorry to have treated you the way I did, but the thing shocked me too."

Walking still a little dazed, Storrs followed Rodgers down the elevated sidewalk on which they had been standing. They rounded the corner and entered a small, brilliantly sunlit office. In spite of the attractive appearance of the place, it was a police station, with a sergeant at the desk in white uniform and gold braid who took Ted's fingerprints, then motioned him to a bench and watched him sternly while Rodgers and a higher officer carried the sheet into an inner room.

Ted's thoughts, such as he can remember them, were highly confused. Once a way from the actual sight of this new San Francisco, his disbelief in the reality of his experience increased. He must at least be dreaming, and he tried several times to pull himself awake. He played a little with the idea that he was mad. Then as time dragged on, the very prosaic reality of the station-house showed how far from fantasy was his plight.

He spent at least five minutes in the effort to shift his position unobtrusively so as to gain a reflection of himself in the curtained glass inner door, and thus settle the feeling growing upon him that after such a long time his hair was bleached white and his face shrunken beyond recognizability. He was almost ready to risk a reprimand and walk over, when the door opened, giving him a fleeting but perfectly normal image of himself—Rodgers stepped out.

"It's all right now, Mr. Storrs." He had a slightly chastened look from his communications with the higher powers. "But you see, we had to be suspicious. There's rather a big prize out for the first man to achieve motion in time, and a number of fakers have appeared. However, we just got a check on your fingerprints, and they aren't those of anyone on earth fifty years ago or born since. Though you'll probably be ruled out of the money because your experience was involuntary, the Committee will want to see you as soon as it can assemble. Meanwhile, I am deputized to make you their guest and mine."

He took Storrs by the arm, and led him out into the bright street again. So it was true. Somehow, he had got into the year-what was it? 2189. Ted had less difficulty in believing it than more workaday people, and he followed willingly enough into the rest of his strange adventure.

The walk gave him a chance to get his bearings further. Diverting his mind from the maddening problem of how his transfer in time had been accomplished, he began to pay more attention to his surroundings. The buildings, huge even to his first glance at a distance, became positively monstrous at close range. The base of one would cover a whole block, and the upward-glancing eye could not take in all at once a single vast front. Only from far off could he comprehend their roughly pyramidal shape, with continual broad set-backs.

But especially in the less strictly business district, the green of roof-gardens on all these flat surfaces called to mind far more the Hanging Gardens of Babylon than Egypt's dead piles. And although the general plan of each building was the same, there were subtle differences—number and depth of set-backs, straight angle or varying curves of upward slope-that saved the effect from monotony. Instead the whole city, Ted declares, had an indefinable, multidimensional symmetry that was strangely beautiful, giving the effect of an elaborately planned design.

A Magic City

THE route Rodgers took led, for its first part, along the broad sidewalk, level with the show windows of the buildings. It was a dozen feet above the street level proper, and constituted a first, though comparatively narrow, setback. Continuing in its same width, it passed in bridges between every two blocks, leading foot passengers directly and safely above the traffic. The vehicles, most of them, were a sort of glorification of the "cut-downs" of present-day college boys: small, low-slung, with a sort of rakish beauty. Though they swept down Market Street twelve abreast, there was no odor of exhaust from them in the air. They moved in almost total silence: even from the bridges directly over them, all Ted could hear was a faint hum of their many motors, and a slight swishing of tires.

Then, as Storrs and his conductor turned to their left, a huge escalator carried them up to a new level. Just above a vehicular way, a somewhat narrower path, and wide-leaping bridges, made a road for them more than halfway up the buildings' sides. The sky was visible now in its whole spherical shape, and the wind swept along, whistling in the wires of the guide rails. Here pedestrians were fewer, and perhaps this very fact drew Ted's conscious attention to them, just as here and there they began to slow down from brisk walking to notice him in his antique attire.

In spite of the wind, the direct sun was warm, and clothes could be as scanty as taste prescribed. Among the men, the pajamas similar to those of Rodgers were decidedly predominant, although there were sometimes a sort of riding-breeches in military-looking uniforms. Coats, if present at all, were of a light blazer type, or of loose flannel again. By the unbreakable tradition of a thousand years, women still wore skirts. But they were far above the knee-cloaks being worn for protection if needed-and above the top of light buskins touching the calf of the leg, stockings were unknown. Some women's hair was bobbed, others' long and put up; that of a few, caught back, fell down to their shoulders. Ted does not remember seeing a single hat on either sex. Both women and men wore bright colors, and yet in the large it was a note of soft, creamy white that predominated.

All this last part of the way, Rodgers seemed abstracted, absorbed in his own interrupted thoughts, and almost forgetting his guest. Even when they had turned off to one of the buildings, arid left the setback garden for his apartment, he was silent. Ted tried to seam as preoccupied, examining the room intently, but his inspection was only forced and he remembers practically nothing. Furnishings are very much alike in all periods, except to their amateurs. Aside from a passing interest in the silent clock, apparently run by chemical or radioactive means like Rogers' watch, there was only one thing that claimed his attention.

This was a picture on the mantel above the electric fireplace with its resistance coils: a nude, and apparently a photograph, though in color and with a three-dimensional quality more to be expected in hand work. The subject, a girl with straight body and soft, short brown hair, was really beautiful, and made doubly so by the treatment. In profile-with one arm outstretched, she stood against a billowing rose-colored mist where faint, silver arabesques seemed almost to move, and which brought out in strong contrast the coral and white of her skin. The blending of real and fantastic, of the solid and the tenuous, was perfect. The thing was a work of art, and Ted, who ordinarily scorns photographs, had to share his enthusiasm.

"A marvelous picture, there," he declared, as his host came up beside him.

"My daughter," said Rodgers, in his voice only pride and not a trace of resentment, "my daughter Anne."

STORRS met Anne herself at dinner. Her dress, blue like her eyes, was a clinging silken wisp, sleeveless, and falling but a little below her hips like a Grecian tunic. Her bare feet were in soft, jewelled sandals, and there were diamonds in the silver net over her hair. "Synthetic," she explained to him later, and the jewels were as cheap as glass, but they had all the sparkle and beauty of natural gems.

"Mr. Storrs, who has got to us somehow from the year 1933," Rodgers introduced him to his daughter. Her handclasp was firm, like a boy's. The old man seemed relieved at the presence of a third person, and transferred to Anne the none too easy task of finding subjects of conversation with the strange visitor. Before the meal was over, he excused himself: "Terribly sorry—have to unload a new shipment at the Museum—my daughter—home on her vacation—take care of you."

Except at meals, and on a few necessary occasions, Ted never saw Rodgers again during his stay in Anno 2189.

"Dad's an old dear," Anne explained, "but he's simply too absorbed in his Early Twenty-First Century. If you had arrived here from a hundred years later, he would have monopolized you utterly." She laughed.


A Visitor from Venus

THEY sat across the table from each other, finishing an ice whose refreshing flavor was strange to Ted, coming apparently from some new fruit. The meal, served from the common kitchen of the building, had been full of such new vegetable compounds, completely replacing meat. As the sky turned grey through the casement windows, Anne leaned over and switched on the light: three tubes overhead, arranged in a triangle, that glowed like molten silver and gave out a pure white, soft radiance. Storrs thinks, now we bring it to his mind, that this universal source of illumination was almost wholly without heat, but he did not notice particularly, and cannot be sure. And then suddenly, as they were about to rise, a blinding purple beam flashed in the window. It was gone in an instant, but only after another did Ted's eyes recover from the brilliance.

"I thought so," declared Anne, springing to her feet. "The Venus Accommodation is overdue again. Let's find out what's the matter." Without waiting for a reply she dashed out into the hall, snatching a cloak about her. Ted followed, a little dazed.

It was hard to keep up with her as she hurried ahead, running along the narrow bridges hung over darkness. Then an imposing gateway, where she showed a pass to gain admittance, an elevator shooting up at breakneck speed, and they came out upon a vast landing field in the midst of the city. It was blocks square, resting upon the tops of buildings. From a tower at its center flashed the great purple searchlights beams. A dozen ships hovered and wheeled above it, maneuvering for a landing, and more were rising.

Anne left Storrs in the crowd at the edge, behind a railing barring the field proper. It was his first chance to examine the interplanetary and air vessels at anything like close quarters. The latter were torpedo-shaped, and except for small stabilizing and steering fins at the sides bore no trace of wings. Instead, while propellers at their noses provided forward power, lift was obtained directly from big helicopter screws along the top. The blades were larger than those of the propellers, spiralling in row upon row around their shafts. They seemed more than a little flexible, and made a flapping noise at low speed. They could float a vessel at any chosen height, and three sets of them lifted bodily into the air a ship as big as a Pullman car.

Smaller, speedier machines, with their steering fins at wide angles and their helicopters slanted forward, put up their noses and used their propellers to gain height more quickly. In the purple light, darting here and there or hovering almost motionless, they seemed to Storrs the most incredible things that he had ever seen.

When Anne returned, she had the explanation of delay. "Number Three ship again. The other two got through the squall on coming into the atmosphere but the man let it come down too abruptly and twisted a wing, which threw him off his course. He even lost the radio beam, and had to limp back to it on his batteries. And then, hoping to speed up later and hide his fault, he didn't radio that things were all right. This makes the second time; no more interplanetary flying for him. He'll be in any minute now."

It was true. The had been turned horizontally to the west. Their purple beams sheared straight through the growing mountain of fog. In another instant, there became visible‘ in the heart of the cloud the approaching flyer and the dots of its escorts. Even far in the distance it gave the impression of size, and as it hurtled toward them its apparent dimensions in-creased.

In an incredibly short time it was bulking overhead, large as a good-sized steamboat. Its shape was that of two torpedoes lashed together sideways, giving it a big, blunt front. Its rocket tubes were silent now as it glided in—the great wings supporting it. Almost directly above Ted, so that he had to crane his neck to see it, the ship came to a dead stop with the drag of a small braking screw in the tail. Immense, solid, five hundred feet up, it seemed about to fall and crush everything in a great cataclysm. Ted took a step backward.

INSTEAD, it seemed to descend slowly, almost imperceptibly, to the stretch of field cleared for it. Its passengers—Ted could see them easily through the windows: yellow-faced Venusians and returning Americans—were undisturbedly pulling on their coats. In their faces he could see a little annoyance, but no trace of fright, at the experience of their voyage. The ship had scarcely alighted (on row after row of big rollers, projecting but an inch or two from its bottom) when they were swarming down the companionways dropped from its side. In fifteen minutes the vessel was empty, and with a gang of overalled workmen steering it along, its brake propeller towed it backward into a shed.

And then, more to make conversation than from any of the scientific curiosity that should have been gripping him, Storrs asked the one intelligent leading question of his stay in the future: "I gathered from what you said that aside from rockets these ships have electric power. Just how do they manage it?"

Anne's reply, made with all the sketchiness of one so familiar with her subject that she cannot appreciate her hearer's ignorance, heard and remembered as sketchily by a casual and unscientific mind, is yet—and perhaps, a little, just because of its vagueness—one of the most fascinating parts of Ted's story. I give it here, all he told us at first and all he has managed to remember in response to questioning, the hopelessly brief and tantalizingly suggestive outline of the foundations of a new world:

Practically all the power of 2189 was—or should I say will be—electrical, and in origin subatomic. Common earth, mined in quantities so small, relatively, as to give no effect of eating up the ground beneath one's feet, was so treated that its mass was transformed almost wholly into energy, and gave up that energy in electrical form. The process was not so much secret as so complex and delicately involved as to be incomprehensible to anyone but a small group of super-trained minds—of whom Anne frankly admitted she was not one. Power so generated was incredibly cheap. Ted did not dream of getting figures, and without knowledge of currency basis and price levels they might be worthless. But suffice it that the use of laborsaving devices was limited only by the proficiency, and not the efficiency, of their design.

Moreover, this power was supplied to all freely moving vehicles—airships, seagoing vessels, automobiles as well as interplanetary flyers—and to substations in places too small for generators, by a system of radio transmission. The method made use of an involved combination of inductance and capacity effects, of electrostatic and electromagnetic principles, to fill the ether, not with waves eternally broadcast, but with lines of force tapped only when, and for as much power as needed. A network of transmitters kept up a concentration over all civilized lands and great beams were laid along the coasts and the transportation routes over ocean or waste.

For journeys to Mars or Venus—the flyer was transmitted over a gigantically powerful beam—rockets being used as auxiliary power. But that is so distressing in that Ted gave us just about enough information to meet our curiosity without explaining how things worked.

All this Storrs had explained to him on that huge, eerily purple-lit landing stage. It does not seem to have impressed him as much as it should. It was only when they were walking home, in the cool night, over the airy bridges, and Anne, systematically bringing her discussion back to its starting point, was explaining the aircraft safety devices—higher possible speed for the motors of uninjured screws; separate power supply circuits for each helicopter and propeller; emergency storage batteries of radioactive gold which could keep the heaviest vessel running for hours—that he even realized the perhaps unusual extent of her knowledge.

"Miss Rodgers, have you studied up on these things?" he asked.

"Studied up?" she laughed. "Well, once. I work as pilot on the Polar special to Moscow."

As I have said, Storrs had less trouble believing his situation than would have some of the rest of us. His mind simply refused to grasp the incredibility—I had almost said the impossibility—of it all. Besides, when one has actually experienced a thing, the evidence of the senses is‘ highly conclusive. Still even Ted, when he wakened the next morning, was much inclined to count the whole thing a dream. He lay in bed, he says, for fully fifteen minutes, burrowing under the covers to escape the sunlight, fully satisfied than when he chose to look around he would find himself in his own room.

Sport in 2189

IT was a voice that called him out of somnolence, and brought him back to the reality of his trip to the future. "Good morning, Mister 1933. Like to play some tennis?" Anne's head peered around his half-opened door.

"Betcher life," Ted replied, realizing as soon as he had spoken that the slang would; be as antique as "ods bodikins" today. "I don't know what that is but here are some things, Catch."

The "things" landed squarely in Ted's face. They proved rather less than the equivalent of a modern track suit, and he donned them with a little hesitation, thinking that something had perhaps been omitted. At breakfast, however, Anne was wearing very much the same costume: abbreviated "shorts", and a mannish shirt with brief sleeves and throat open in a deep V, both of silky white. Mr. Rodgers was just finishing his meal as Ted entered. Beyond a perfunctory greeting, and a goodbye kiss to his daughter as he departed for the Museum, he paid no attention to either of them.

When they arrived at the tennis court, out on one of the broad setback areas of the building, there were half a dozen other; young people playing and waiting. "Mr. Ted Storrs, one of our ancestors," Anne introduced him to them. They were greatly entertained by his account, which half of them doubtlessly believed to be humorously fictitious, of his marvelous leap to their era.

The court, a pleasant, creamy brown, was constructed of a springy composition very easy on the feet. The dimensions seemed the same as those of today—although Ted who would never think of pacing them off, reports that the service line looked a little farther back. The rackets likewise had a normal appearance, although cast in one piece out of some sort of condensation product with a marked "whip". Strings were opaque. The balls, while keeping the traditional white, had no covers. Their surface, instead, possessed an inherent roughness that never wore off—the result, it was explained to Ted, of the constant breaking open of bubbles in the rubber sponge—and that gave such friction as to permit the cutting of all but the hardest balls played. The rules and scoring had not been modified by two hundred and fifty years, except for the abolition of the second chance at service.

But if the external character of the game was not greatly changed, the play itself had been marvellously improved. Speed, hairbreadth accuracy of placement, service that broke like baseball pitching, all testified to centuries of scientific study. And these, as Anne confessed, were far from championship players. Yet one girl, especially—her name was Margaret, and she wore what would pass for a modern bathing suit with dark blue trunks and white top, while a ribbon of flexible copper held back her auburn hair—had a game that not only outclassed all the men present, but would even, Ted insists, make serious trouble for Tilden or LaCoste.

Before the morning's play was half over, seemingly bothered at its restriction, she had yanked off the shirt of her suit. Her bronzed torso, as she swung into dazzling service or drives, made Ted think of a boxer's, though without any masculine suggestion.

A clock somewhere had just struck nine (10:48, it would be, in our time) when Anne suggested a swim. The crowd followed her to a man as she ran off along a path through potted shrubbery. Putting all his force into it, Ted was glad to find that in this exercise of pure strength he could catch up to her, could have passed her. They reached the pool together. The water was smooth and clear, with a marble rim and a strip of grass around it. It was shut off from the sun by the mass of the building. Anne raced straight for the edge. Lagging behind a little, Ted watched her as she pulled the garments from her sweat-gleaming body, stood poised white and naked. Overhead, between the spans of two bridges, a silvery airship hung glittering in the sky.

Then she had plunged into the blue-green, limpid water. The others hurried up, shouting noisily, some having thrown off half their clothes as they ran. One girl, stooping too near the edge to untie her shoes was shoved in fully dressed. Those already swimming splashed up at the others. "Come on in, the water's fine." That banal conjuration, Ted reflected, must have now all the connotations of quaint antiquity.


A Perilous Age

THE water was cool as Ted stripped and plunged in, the rush of it along the skin refreshing to his hot body. He swam until he was tired—the easy, almost mechanical stroke of the others carried them at racing speed without apparent drain on their energy—then stretched himself out on the grass to dry. From there, he could see that much of the new effortless speed came from a strange twisting thrash of the legs, together with a careful exactitude of arm movements that looked the result of mathematical study.

But what most engrossed Ted's attention was the picture before him, the flashing bodies of various shades of brown—some of the women's were a light, creamy tan in spite of all their exposure—and their greenish glimmer beneath the water; the white background of the building, with its great mass towering overhead. His fingers itched, he says, for a brush. It came over him too, a little, lying there, that besides the material spotlessness he had noticed in the new San Francisco, there must be a spiritual cleanness about this civilization to permit of such glorious nakedness.

That afternoon, Anne took him to see the sights. Her car, occupying an exceedingly small space in the apartment garage on a level with one of the vehicular causeways, was a snug fit for the two of them. The machine ran from radio power with a silent electric motor, and although steering was done as at present, a small panel of push buttons along the inside of the wheel controlled speed, transmission, and ordinary braking. Traffic in the streets and on the higher levels was fairly easy, facilitated both by the small size of the vehicles and, as Anne explained, by a housing system which so far as possible incorporated a factory, the apartment residences of its employees, and a complement of retail stores, in a single great building.

Riding mostly in the streets proper, although at times climbing long inclines to the upper causeways, they visited the great manufactories of the city; the foundries where out of common earth was extracted the aluminum used in the alloys, incredibly light and strong, that had taken almost completely the place of steel; the textile mills where automatic machinery spun its own synthetic threads and wove them into the finished product almost without human intervention, where a huge loom furnished, a single canvas for an artist-workman to vary constantly the colors and patterns as they came forth; the generating plants where, looking guardedly through solid feet of filter glass, they could see matter; as it disappeared in a seething flame, giving up the energy that ran the wheels of this new civilization. They went to a number of public buildings, auditoriums, libraries, museums—Ted noticed, in passing, a 1933 airplane among the exhibitions—buildings beautiful in their long straight lines and great, light-filled spaces. It was late afternoon when they came to the Cathedral.

The marble pile, cruciform at its base, rose by scarcely perceptible setbacks in a single spire that towered almost twice as high as the other buildings. Within, its architecture was such a glorification of the girder, as had been Gothic, of that equally mechanical device of the pointed arch: an airy tracery that yet carried the suggestion of the mass it supported. The lines of the place carried the eye upward, up to the great crossbeams where people walked, dwarfed almost to nothingness before the majesty of the House of God; up to where windows that were solid jewels made of the slanting sunlight a rainbow mist; up and up to a luminous infinity that the eye could touch at but could not grasp.

For a minute, Ted stood looking at it. Then Anne drew him off to one side, in a corner of the transept where they could be undisturbed. Her voice was low, befitting the silence of the holy place, when she spoke:

"I brought you here, for the last place, to show you and tell you a great truth. We could not have you stay here, or go back to your own time, thinking that our material achievements are the heart and height of our civilization. That was the world's ideal once and by that it nearly called down its own ruin.

"IT had been a rich world, that early twenty-first century whose garish relics Dad collects so carefully, until in its love and fear of war, its use and misuse of science, it had built up huge populations that threatened the very food supply and made food sources a cause of conflict. It was an ugly world, so full of blind toil and hectic amusement that man almost desired the relief of strife. It was a cruel world, with God and good forgotten in materialism, with exploitation and crime rampant in every land, and with the two great confederations of the East and West eyeing each other across the Pacific and the Russian border with mingled greed and hatred and fear. Then, in the year 2031, came the cataclysm.

"The Oriental scientists discovered atomic disintegration six months before the West, and plunged into war with atomic bombs and all the terrible engines developed in a hundred years. They almost won at the first plunge, sweeping down to the line of the Rhine and the Danube, laying waste Australia and all North America west of the Rockies. Then the West rallied and held its lines on land and in the air, while scientists on either side worked desperately to discover more deadly and better controlled forms of the horror of disintegration now common to both parties.

"For twenty years, hopelessly, the struggle raged, the Americans now pushing the Chinese hack into the sea, the Russians and Indians retaliating by seizing all but the tip of Africa; and the people suffered. They died by tens of millions in the armies, died in ever greater numbers from explosions and poison gas and disease germs in the factories at home.

"Toward the last, when both sides had settled down to a stalemate policy of mere raids and devastation, they even began to starve in the big cities, and class warfare broke out against the rich and the farmers. Those last five years, when the whole world seemed about to go under, the birth rate dropped almost to zero, and the world's population had fallen to a quarter of its prewar level before the conflict and its after effects were over. Russia, France, and central Europe were almost wholly depopulated. In a last sortie with newly developed ray disintegrators, an American air fleet manned by women and fifteen-year old boys simply blew Japan off the face of the globe—there's only a shoal there now.

"It was then, when it seemed just possible that at huge cost the Oriental peoples might be annihilated, that the war-weariness and reborn conscience of the West refused to permit such sacrifice or such slaughter. The West offered peace, and the East though with a new weapon of its own in preparation, as gladly accepted it. At Honolulu in 2050, without conditions, without victory, was signed the peace that has endured until today—and shall, we hope, forever.

"The next fifty years were the dark ages of modern times; a struggle, at times seemingly hopeless, to reclaim the world from devastation and ruin, to restore agriculture and civilization before the remnant of mankind starved or returned to the brute. It was a hard, painful time, and yet it proved to be the foundation of our world today. In the time of their misery, the peoples of the earth called upon the God they had forgotten, and He was there to answer their prayer. Joined together by a common loss, a common struggle, and a common hope, they forged ahead in a new unity toward the ideal world we think we are approaching.

"We have learned much from the history and the precepts of those days. We have learned that, if civilization is to endure and advance, the world must consciously strive to make itself just and beautiful and happy, as well as prosperous. We have learned that the key to science is not its acquisition hut its use—the principles of all our devices were known in the last century, and turned to destruction. We have learned not to be too proud, thinking how near we once came to the edge. In the heart of each of us is still something of that spirit which brought the world up out of its danger, literally the Spirit of God moving over the face of the earth."

An Astounding Discovery

THE next day—Monday, he subconsciously persisted in calling it, although he knew it to be Friday in this year—Storrs was left to his own devices all the morning. Rodgers, of course, was at the Museum, and Anne remembered she had to fly down to Los Angeles to keep an engagement. Not trusting himself to find his way in the new San Francisco, Ted kept within the apartment, spending most of his time in the library.

He had counted on looking through the books on Rodger's shelves, but to his consternation he found himself incapable of reading them. Their language, when he puzzled it out, was the same as that spoken, or practically his own—since the English tongue, stabilized by printing, had been almost entirely unchanged by centuries. But the phonetic spelling and symbols that had been developed made the sounds as hard to get at as in, say, shorthand, and Storrs had not the pertinacity to go through more than a sentence here and there.

Other books on the shelves were Spanish, that most phonetic of modern tongues, in close to its present-day spelling; but Ted knew only enough of the language to recognize it. A third bookcase contained volumes whose sounds were pure gibberish, but which he judged from the illustrations and ornaments must be Chinese in the standard phonetic spelling. It occurred to him as very likely that after the destruction Anne had described these three were the peoples who had survived in sufficient preponderance (the Spanish in South America) to make their tongues as nearly a universal language as the world could hope to achieve.

Turning from the useless books, Ted decided to risk injuring the machine by experimenting with the radio in one corner of the room. It had, he found, single dial tuning, and he let the various compensators alone. Jacked into the set was a sort of mask containing lightweight earphones with goggles over the eyes. Remembering a vague something of modern experiments in television, he put the thing on, and turned the dial slowly in the dark.

The first station he reached was audible only, a talk of some sort in singsong Chinese. The next one he caught, not by music, which he might have missed altogether, but by a rainbow flash before his eyes as he turned the dial past. He went back more carefully, and music and scene became clearer, though the latter remained for a while badly blurred. He finally discovered that the goggles were adjustable for focus, and as he turned them the picture came out, startingly clear in its colors, and even more startingly solid.

The bright-costumed dancers that whirled about the ballroom were as real and close as if he had been standing among them. It seemed as if he could touch one couple as they spun, and he almost toppled over the receiver in his involuntary attempt to do so. The music, too, was dimensional—the two phones, apparently, being fed by different currents—so that he could judge to which side of him were the various instruments of the unseen orchestra.

The thing was a marvelous toy, and growing more expert in its manipulation, he turned for hours from scene to scene, from a glimpse of the black sea-bottom with a self-luminous monster swimming straight at him, to the Opera at Calcutta, where the traditional costumes and the familiar, melancholy strains of La Bohême brought him a pang that had in it a sort of homesickness. At length, however, the weight of the eyepieces became a strain, and it was rather disconcerting to keep turning his head and have the view remain the same. He turned the machine off. He was really glad when, just as he had finished a dinner ordered up on his host's account, Rodgers appeared to inform him that he was wanted by the Committee on Motion in Time.

HE met the Committee. There were five members: two white-haired men who looked like brothers; an ample German Frau; a young fellow of Ted's own age, with a wild shock of hair; a withered old Chinese woman, fingering constantly a bit of jade. They had already heard the outline of Ted's story, and seemed, in the main, convinced of his honesty. However, there were a few test questions for him—fine details from their ancient archives, as the early transoceanic flights and baseball standings, and a long list of prices. He answered correctly such a great proportion of these, and so frankly confessed his ignorance of the rest, that their remaining doubts were stilled. At once they poured out tho flood of their own queries:

"Young man, now that you can speak in confidence, tell us what were your methods."

"Was the prime agency physical or psychological?"

"Do you think you could do it again?"—this from the artistic-looking youngster.

"What were your sensations as you passed through two centuries?"

Storrs answered them one by one, feeling just a little ashamed that his real accomplishment was so far below their anticipations. He had had no methods, and his leap into space, wholly involuntary, had probably taken place through external and physical means. His only reason for thinking the process might be reversed was that it had already taken place the one way. He had felt no sensations whatever, his shift in time being unnoticed and, if one could so use the word, instantaneous.

"Then you did not simply speed up the normal flow of time, as we have been hoping to do." The Frau's pronouncement mirrored the general disappointment.

For perhaps fifteen minutes the five pondered the problem, while Ted shifted restlessly in his chair, and Rodgers was absorbed in his own speculations. There was not even the ticking of a clock to disturb the silence, for the radioactive machines worked noiselessly. At last then Chinese matriarch, who had hitherto remained silent, spoke:

"Would you mind telling us again just what year it was before you made the jump?"

"Nineteen hundred and thirty-three," Ted supplied her.

She almost shouted, "Two hundred and fifty-six years! Don't you see, the Nn of my helical theory. Two hundred and fifty-six, four to the fourth."1

1: She meant, "four raised to the fourth power," or 4x4x4x4=256.


The Last Evening

ALL five began talking at once, arguing, articulating wildly, scribbling mazes of formulae on the table cover. Ted could only catch a word here and there. The rest, when English at all, was, in vocabulary and thought, simply over his head. At last they seemed agreed, and the old man who acted as chairman turned to Ted.

"Mr. Storrs, you have performed a great service to our investigations. Your experience has proved, in confirmation of Madame Ng's hypothesis, that our time stream is curved helically in some higher dimension. In your case, a still further distortion brought two points of the coil into contact, and a sort of short circuit threw you into the higher curve. The verification of the helical theory is beyond reasonable doubt."

He paused, and cleared his throat.

"Now, as to yourself. You may, if you wish, remain in our era. The Committee will be glad to take care of you, and for a while, at least, the History people would pay high for your services in settling some of their problems about your period. On the other hand, we would be more than glad to make the attempt, harmless if it fails and very likely to succeed, to send you back to your own times.

"We have an electrical space-distorting coil whose side thrust perpendicular to the time-stream we have tried hitherto to suppress, but which we shall now emphasize. If you stand at the some spot and the same time of day as your first jump, this will have a good chance of throwing you back to your own curve of the stream.

"In case you wish to avail yourself of this opportunity, the sooner you decide to do so the better—both because the two curves must be separated rapidly, and in view of the fact that adjustment of your mind to our time would make the jump progressively harder. We can have the machine fixed up by tomorrow noon, and perhaps you had better make up your mind by then. Either way you decide, you have our thanks for what you have already done."

The company rose together, and Storrs took the signal to leave. Outside the door was a group of newspaper reporters, who tried to persuade him to don his old clothes, which he had sacrificed for more congruous attire, for a photograph. This much of civilization had not changed in centuries. Ted got rid of them at last with a brief statement, referring them to the Committee for technical details. Then, in company} with the still more irritated Rodgers, he set out for home again.

When they arrived, Anne had got back already, and had dinner coming up for them. She was silent during the meal, while they told her of the day's developments—Ted of the conclusions of the Committee and its projected experiment, Rodgers of the "find" of an early twenty-first century library opened up by a farming company's power plow in the Middle West. The sun still shone when they were through, and Anne, excusing them to her father, threw Ted a cloak and pulled on some wraps herself.

"If you don't mind, I've one of my favorite views to show you."

They drove to one of the tallest downtown buildings, parking in the huge space that underlay all of it. An elevator shot them up to the small, flat roof, and they climbed the tower that stretched still farther above. At its top, with their feet braced against a battlemented edge, they could sit secure and gaze out over the city.

In the west, the sun was sinking beneath a growing pile of clouds. Up where they sat, its light still made day, but down in the streets the shadows were creeping in. Gray, growing ever darker, they climbed the sides of the building with clutching fingers. In the increasing gloom, the great pyramids bulked larger than ever, black and a little terrible. Now only a few of their high tops were afire. Now the sun had set, and the Cathedral spire alone shone a faint rose in the afterglow. The night rushed in.

WITH its coming, as at a common signal, the lights of the city flashed forth. In windows, along streets and causeways, projected from the single headlights of the little cars (there were no electric signs), they were not glaring, but of the soft silver Storrs had noted before, looking a little bluish in the distance. As the darkness became complete, they were all that could be seen: gleaming, insubstantial, lovely. The bridges—the little ones across the streets, the great spans thrown over the Bay and the Golden Gate—hung from their cables that were loops of light, like things out of another world. It was like a fairy city, a city built of gossamer and dreams. Overhead, the stars were coming out, and against them glowed, here and there, the firefly lights of airships as they passed. Beside Ted, with her chin resting on her knees, Anne had remained silent. Now she spoke, reading his mind:

"You're going back, then?"

"Yes. It may be foolish of me, but somehow—"

"I know. You could get along very nicely here. Work is not too hard, and very interesting, while we have things that the millionaires of your day could not possess. Some of us—would like you to stay. And yet it would seem to you, as it must seem now, a sort of unreal dream. That is one absolute thing about time, in spite of their theories. I could never be satisfied in the future or the past."

The fog was rolling in in a great wave, white and soft and cool and still. Now one, then another of the bridges over the water was shrouded in it and disappeared. The city itself was blotted out, only leaving the vapor faintly luminous. When, over the faint glitter of lights that was Oakland, the moon rose, its rays fell upon a white, billowing sea that had covered San Francisco. Here and there, as where the two of them were sitting, a black peak rose above the high-piled fog. The rest was a dazzling, solid barrier, that left them isolated, for the moment, from the world. Then a cold wind from the sea blew in, whirling ghostly mist-tendrils in the air. They rose and turned to go.

The morrow passed like a flash. One minute, so it seemed to Storrs, Anne was mockingly reading to him the morning paper, with his full-colored picture on the front, and beneath it the headlines, "UNWILLING VISITOR ARRIVES FROM 1933; May Try Return Trip." The next, he had placed himself, as well as he could guess, upon the spot where he had made his entry into this world, and the members of the Committee, with their assistants, were assembling around him a complicated arrangement of coils and plates.

It made him feel, he says, and he smiled a little then to think of it, like the filament of a vacuum tube. There was rather a crowd outside, with motion picture photographers and a radio televisor to catch the scene as he disappeared into nothingness. Anne was there, too, and her father, she in her uniform ready to pilot the "Polar Special" at one. As the preparations drew on endlessly, Storrs became nervous. He even thought of giving up the venture, only to be dissuaded, strangely, by the consideration that it would disappoint these people.

At last they were ready. All but two of the indicator lights on a many-dialed control board were glowing brightly. Storrs felt a little giddy, and judged that the preliminary circuits must be getting in their effect.

"If you'll time us please, sir, by your watch, to get it exact—" The assistant was almost apologetic.

Ted pulled out his timepiece—just two minutes before noon. Through the wires and metal tubing, Anne stretched her hand. He squeezed it hard. One minute left. The plates on the outside began to glow, not from heat, but electrically, with a strange coldness that gripped him paralyzingly.

He looked down at his watch, following the second hand around just as he had done before his other time jump. It seemed endlessly slow. Thirty—forty-five—fifty-five—fifty-six——seven—eight—

"There." He said it quite calmly. In his ears was a whirring that changed to the toot of a ferryboat whistle as he went sprawling to the pavement. He rose and found himself grasping an arm, a prosaic 20th century arm. He had returned!

"Pardon me," he automatically importuned the man who had collided with him‘- an Italian in rough clothes, apparently some sort of dock worker. But the man only hurried around the corner.

It was not until Storrs got back to his room, having decided to excuse himself later for failing our appointment, and found two of us waiting for him in considerable agitation, that he discovered that this was Tuesday, and he had, most likely, appeared to the Italian out of thin air—that there is an absolute time which will not be cheated out of so much as three-days. His watch, which he had held in his hand, was apparently uninjured by the fall, but nevertheless had stopped dead at twelve exact.

A jeweller took the thing apart without finding anything wrong, and when he put it back together just as it was before it ran again. Ever since, however, it has kept execrable time, and stops on the least provocation. The double disturbance in its native element of time must somehow have paralyzed it.

Such is the story of the vision of Ted Storrs. If it had been anyone else, I should have been inclined to doubt the narrative, in spite of its realistic semblance and detail. But give Ted a thousand years, and he could never invent half the tale, especially the way he has given it to us, bit by bit, in answer to our questions. Besides, how else explain what happened to his watch.

As I said at first, I suppose the thing could have happened only to Storrs, or another like him. If someone with scientific knowledge had made the trip, someone who could observe and learn, could understand and remember the things Ted never noticed, either the apparatus for sending him back would not have worked, or it would have been a motor truck he collided with on his return to our world. Otherwise, if he came back and reproduced things a hundred years before they were invented, they could not be invented because they would be already known, and he would have learned in the future of his miraculous discovery of them, which he did not.

And yet, for all such theory, the thing is maddening. Surely he could have brought back something, some secret which would disappear when he died, like the lost ancient arts of tempering metal, or the premature knowledge of Roger Bacon. There are so many little things he might have got. The secret of cold light, or of that fog-piercing ray, or, to ask only a little of Fate, the formula for the-cosmetic that must have been used to stop the tanning at any stage.

But Storrs would not—or perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, could not—learn these or dozens of other things. He never thought of what he might bring back, even after he had learned that return was possible. He does not seem to realize the chances he missed. Instead, all he talks about when we bring up the subject, which is not often-now, is "the cleanness and fineness, the beauty as well as the utility, of twenty-second century civilization."

I wonder, sometimes, if that really might not be the heart of his vision.