Shipbuilder

Shipbuilder by Marlene Dotterer Read Free Book Online

Book: Shipbuilder by Marlene Dotterer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marlene Dotterer
what we remember of the future, too. We have to, Sam. We owe it to our families and friends, if no one else."
    Sam nodded. "We can call them time travel journals. We'll have to buy notebooks." He lifted a brow at Casey. "Something else to spend money on."
    "I have some blank paper in my backpack," Casey said. "We can start with that."
    ~~~
    A few days later, a letter came from Einstein, and Casey listened as Sam read it aloud, hope hammering her chest. But the hope faded at the carefully worded letter. Einstein expressed amazement at Sam’s thoughts, but left enough unsaid to keep from committing himself. He seemed to think Sam might be insane, but wanted to keep his options open. He asked for more time to think about it. He encouraged Sam to continue writing to him and said he hoped they could meet at some future time to discuss Sam’s ideas.
    Casey bit her lip as Sam folded the letter, his face discouraged and bitter. “I can’t depend on Einstein,” he said, staring at the pages in his hand. “We revered these early physicists. I can’t believe they would all be so afraid.”
    “Write him again,” Casey said, trying to sound upbeat. “He’s our best hope for figuring out what happened. Maybe you were too circumspect. I know you don’t want to come right out and tell him you traveled through time. But try again. Make him understand. We really need his help, Sam.”
    “What about his life?” Sam asked her, more disturbed than she had ever seen him. “His work is seminal to every bit of the physics done after this year. How will my interference screw that up?”
    She rested her forehead on her hands as she thought. When she spoke, her words were quiet, but firm. “We have to make a decision, Sam. Is there only one timeline? One timeline that we have somehow rewound by one hundred years, and that if everything remains as before, will end up exactly at the same place as before? Or are we on an alternate timeline, a new universe, as you’ve suggested? The original universe goes on as before, no changes. But our new line, here with you and me in 1906, is as new and innocent as a newborn baby. Anything is possible. Any future is possible. In this timeline Sam, it doesn’t matter what we do. It’s all new.”
    “It’s hypothetical, Casey. You and I have no way of knowing what is the true state of affairs.”
    She was impatient. “I know that. But we have to decide.” She shook her head, angry and dissatisfied. “We either live in constant fear that the next breath will forever end everything we ever knew, or we live as if we have real lives to live.” She started to cry. “I’ve just turned twenty-one, Sam. I want a chance to live.”
    He agreed he owed her that chance. He wrote to Einstein, again.
    ~~~
    After giving it considerable thought, Sam decided not to press his luck overmuch at Queen's. He would need their cooperation eventually, but he wanted to be in a stronger position when he next approached them.
    "Investors," he told Casey, as he adjusted his cravat one morning in preparation for a day of job hunting. "I need investors. They don't call it networking these days, but that's what I need to do. Meet people. Impress people. Find out who they know and who I need to know. I either find someone to employ me, or even better, find people to invest in my vision of the future."
    "Which is?"
    He gave her a wicked smile. "Well, for starters, you want a better sound system, right? Sound is a big deal right now. Communications, in general, is ready for a big leap. The telegraph, and even telephones, are almost commonplace, and Marconi's wireless is coming into its own. But their range is still very limited. I can bring them to the next level in a matter of months if I have the backers for it."
    "And," he wagged a finger in front of her, "it can only help Ireland to be on the forefront of all that. Anything we can do to improve Ireland's economy just might distract them from blowing each other up over

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