Disclaimer - One of my first Crime Traveller fanfics. I don't own this short-lived but memorable show.
Feedback would be much appreciated.
Ah, being so high up on the ladder here has its perks, Stephen Marlowe thought to himself as he walked through the corridors of the empty laboratory where the culmination of many months of work was being kept under a privacy notice. Only himself, Chapman and Haywood and Mr Webb himself had access to the laboratory, but since the old windbag was more interested in profits and politics he had no time to come here, and besides in the main laboratory itself where the two scientists were supposed to be, Webb only needed to take a peek and see what was going on without really caring what the scientists were up to, so it was fortunate that while the old fool was aware of how much money Chapman and Haywood were burning through his other duties were taking up all of his time.
Well, Chapman and Haywood won't be a problem for much longer, he thought to himself with a smug smile.
Stephen finally walked through the laboratory, and he unlocked the doors.
Marlowe knew if Webb walked in, he would be completely confused; the room was silver and empty except for the waist-high console with two black touch-sensitive pads while underneath a plastic sheet was a small digital clock, and two side displays framed the console like the wings of a bird. While towering above on a pedestal, like a king overlooking his kingdom from a castle on a hill (Marlowe actually liked the simile there; it felt so much like him, really, especially since he had wealth within his grasp).
All in all, completely nothing like the work Chapman and Haywood were supposed to be working on. This was something so much more.
This was a time machine.
An actual time machine.
Okay, granted, it wasn't the Guardian of Forever from Star Trek or a TARDIS from Doctor Who, never mind a Delorean, and it was disappointing it couldn't go further back into the past, never mind the future, but it was a time machine. It was the greatest discovery of the human race since nuclear power.
Marlowe smiled as he thought back about the last few months; he had been trying for years and years to reach a high position with Webb Biotech even if he found Mr Webb himself to be a blustering old fool at times, he was a good boss deep down, and he was happy with just how far he had risen within the organisation, overlooking scientific projects and developments, always being on the sidelines while he had been awaiting the day where he would finally have a scientist or two scientists, it didn't matter how many since the result would be the same regardless, who would be able to recreate Professor Frederick Turner's work in time travel.
Marlowe had waited a long time for this. A very long time. Ever since he had worked with Frederick Turner on the time travel project, he had seen great potential with the machine, far more than Turner himself. The only problem was while he had known enough of quantum physics, he wasn't the expert Turner had been. Oh, he had tried, more than once to build a time machine himself, but while he had a good knowledge of many of the technologies, there were some things he hadn't understood, much to his frustration.
So he had formed a plan.
He had accepted the job from Webb Biotech and he had climbed the ranks in order to reach a position where he had some power within the organisation, and he would begin looking for a mind or minds to continue with Turner's work.
And he had succeeded.
Chapman and Haywood were perfect, although he had needed time to show them the notes he had made from Professor Turner's work to convince them a form of time travel existed and it was possible to create without using one of the insane and impractical ideas other scientists had for it.
Understandably both of them had been sceptical at first, but after a while, they had seen how everything made sense.
Work had begun at once after they had agreed to build a time machine of their own, and unlike Professor Turner who had worked with scrap to conduct his own time travel experiments, the full resources of Webb Biotech was put at their disposal. The most expensive component for the time machine, the electromagnetic crystal, had been easy to obtain with his contacts, although it had really been expensive.
Now the time machine was completed and it worked, especially since Chapman and Haywood and he had used it to travel back in time in order to conduct experiments, and to discover the machines' limits. One of the most frustrating things about the time machine was if you used it, you couldn't use it to make money via the lottery or anything like that, and if you took a photograph of something in the past, the picture would be blank when you returned to the present because if you were somewhere else it would be a paradox.
However, you could travel into the past and commit murder while at the same time using the time machine to give yourself the perfect alibi.
Who would suspect you when you had witnesses who would claim you had been in their company the whole time, only for you to go to the time machine and travel back to commit the deed?
Chapman, Marlowe and Haywood had spent weeks using the time machine, trying to learn the limitations of the device and to see what could and could not be done, and Marlowe had allowed the two scientists the opportunity to take thousands of notes of their experiments and their observations.
More than once, he had heard the two scientists debate if Professor Turner had gotten this far with his own work.
Now it was time. He simply could not allow the two scientists to remain alive for much longer.
As he walked towards the controls of the machine Marlowe let his mind drift back into the past, specifically to Professor Turner. Now that he was thinking about him again, Marlowe simply could not stop.
Turner had given the world a glorious new science, practical and real-time travel, alright so it may never be the type of time machine many people would want, those who would want to go back into the past and witness the great historical events, and meet people like Da Vinci, Newton, Beethoven, or allow them to solve mysteries that had been plaguing people for decades, if not centuries. And it would never allow for travel into the future, so no way of knowing for sure whether the human race even had a future or not.
Marlowe didn't know if someone else would come up with a different time travel method, but he was certain it would share some of the same limitations that his own machine had. Indeed, Professor Turner had been positive someone else would come up with a different method of time travel. In fact, he had seemed almost happy at the idea of someone developing a time machine different from the one he himself had made.
He himself had made…
The thought echoed in his mind.
Professor Turner had never really stated what he would want to do with his invention when he was ready. He had continuously kept coming up with new ideas for new experiments, but that was all. Marlowe had no insight into what Professor Turner had wanted in the long term for his time machine.
Marlowe leaned against the time machine thoughtfully, smiling at it's sleeker, high-tech appearance; a far cry from the collection of junk Turner had accumulated in that flat of his.
Thinking about the original machine, Marlowe frowned as he looked at the machine in front of him, admiring its gleaming silver finish and compared it to the massive collection of junk which had been accumulated over the decades. That machine was a pathetic collection of mismatched parts whereas this one was more sophisticated and more advanced. It was just a pity this wasn't the first time machine, given how he had been there when Professor Turner had turned on his own time machine, and the pair of them had actually travelled back in time, and he had enjoyed the magical week while another version of himself was running around.
He had no idea what had happened to Turner's own time machine, the first actual time machine on Earth; Turner had vanished without a trace, although Marlowe had some ideas into how that had happened, no-one knew what had happened to the time machine itself. It may even still be intact, in fact, he was sure it was, but he doubted it would be a problem if it was, but if it did then he would have to think of a way to deal with it. He knew for a certainty Holly, Frederick's daughter was attending conferences related to time travel research.
Chapman and Haywood didn't know about the time machine Marlowe had helped Turner build shortly after the older scientist had needed to sell his house to buy the electromagnetic crystal he'd needed to make time travel possible, but they did know about Holly because once Marlowe had pointed the two scientists onto the path, they had become experts on Professor Turner, and they knew about Holly as a result, although she was secondary in their minds.
Marlowe wasn't sure if Holly was indeed working on carrying on with Professor Turner's research, and it certainly seemed as if she was otherwise why else would she be attending seminars and conferences into time travel?
The fact she was following her father's traditions into doing it privately was telling although he understood and approved of the reasons because he himself didn't want to reveal the existence of the time machine until he was completely ready. And Chapman and Haywood had both kept their own mouths shut not because he had told them too frequently, but because they still felt there was so much they could learn and discover from conducting small, controlled experiments before they announced to the world they had a time machine and provided hard information to not only back up their claims, but to prove and disprove some of the theories relating to time travel. And they had continued their experiments, but now he felt their use was long since over.
Marlowe had even learnt they had planned to find a way of creating more temporal paradoxes in order to learn more about the nature of paradox and by studying them find ways of understanding how they all worked, and were both hoping to discover new ways of thinking about their nature without thinking of them as the apocalypse like other scientists believed.
Marlowe was convinced that Holly was working on continuing her father's research. He had secretly attended the conference she had attended a few months ago, hosted by Professor Bernstein, although he had left as soon as he could so then she wouldn't see him.
At the time Chapman and Haywood were still continuing to construct the time machine here at Webb, but while he had supervised them and given them some aid thanks to his own personal expertise, he had felt they could get on alright without him for a few hours one day.
In any case, he had gone not only because he had wanted to see and hear for himself what Holly had to say, but he had also wanted to see her personally. He had always been attracted to Holly, although it hadn't gone as far as he would have liked. But he had been more focused on what she'd had to say rather than anything else.
Stephen had no idea just how much Frederick had confided in his daughter, although whenever the pair of them had met, she had shown she knew and understood what her father was doing, so he hadn't been too surprised when he had listened to her speak about certain aspects of the temporal theory.
But what had surprised him the most was her almost experienced attitude concerning time travel. As far as he had known from the moment the time machine was activated the first time, Frederick Turner had always refused to allow his daughter access to the past out of fear for the Loop of Infinity.
The Loop of Infinity.
Marlowe had noticed Holly's almost too intimate knowledge and experience when it came to time travel; she didn't outright claim she had one, no; he knew she was too bright to make such a stupid mistake. But when she had mentioned scenarios about the nature of time, how if you were injured in some manner while you were time travelling, the wound would heal when you returned to the present, or if you tried to meddle with the past, time would not let you. She sounded too much like an expert.
But then she had mentioned one scenario where, if you failed to return to the present, you would be forced to live out the same events over and over again.
Marlowe had left the conference without any clear answers if Holly was time travelling or not since her father could have told her a great deal about his own findings before he disappeared, so he didn't come out with any conclusive proof of whether or not Holly was using her father's old-time machine or not, but he had decided to not let it concern him afterwards. He had continued with his plans.
He might not know if the original time machine was still intact or if it had broken down beyond her ability to repair it although there was still the chance it was still around and she was now using it, but even if she was he wasn't going to go after her unless he had no choice. It was a pity, especially when he thought about the times they'd been together, but if he wished to continue with his plans and announce to the world he and he alone had a working time travel machine, he would have no alternative but to deal with her. No matter. He walked up to the time machine, and he placed his hands on the pads; he would have preferred buttons or something more reliable to give him the ideal time he needed to carry out this phase of his plan instead of having to press down on them and getting a random number of minutes he felt he would need to accomplish his task.
Stephen let a small smile cross his face when the time machine computer announced it was processing the time coordinates. After tonight, neither Chapman nor Haywood would interfere with his plans.