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´╗┐Title: ...And It Comes Out Here
Author: Del Rey, Lester
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "...And It Comes Out Here" ***

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                       ... and it comes out here

                           By LESTER DEL REY

                       Illustrated by DON SIBLEY

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
                 Galaxy Science Fiction February 1951.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]



               There is one fact no sane man can quarrel
            with ... everything has a beginning and an end.
          But some men aren't sane; thus it isn't always so!


No, you're wrong. I'm not your father's ghost, even if I do look a bit
like him. But it's a longish story, and you might as well let me in.
You will, you know, so why quibble about it? At least, you always
have ... or do ... or will. I don't know, verbs get all mixed up. We
don't have the right attitude toward tenses for a situation like this.

Anyhow, you'll let me in. I did, so you will.

Thanks. You think you're crazy, of course, but you'll find out you
aren't. It's just that things are a bit confused. And don't look at the
machine out there too long--until you get used to it, you'll find it's
hard on the eyes, trying to follow where the vanes go. You'll get used
to it, of course, but it will take about thirty years.

You're wondering whether to give me a drink, as I remember it. Why not?
And naturally, since we have the same tastes, you can make the same for
me as you're having. Of course we have the same tastes--we're the same
person. I'm you thirty years from now, or you're me. I remember just
how you feel; I felt the same way when he--that is, of course, I or
we--came back to tell me about it, thirty years ago.

Here, have one of these. You'll get to like them in a couple more
years. And you can look at the revenue stamp date, if you still doubt
my story. You'll believe it eventually, though, so it doesn't matter.

Right now, you're shocked. It's a real wrench when a man meets himself
for the first time. Some kind of telepathy seems to work between two
of the same people. You _sense_ things. So I'll simply go ahead talking
for half an hour or so, until you get over it. After that you'll come
along with me. You know, I could try to change things around by telling
what happened to me; but he--I--told me what I was going to do, so I
might as well do the same. I probably couldn't help telling you the
same thing in the same words, even if I tried--and I don't intend to
try. I've gotten past that stage in worrying about all this.

So let's begin when you get up in half an hour and come out with me.
You'll take a closer look at the machine, then. Yes, it'll be pretty
obvious it must be a time machine. You'll sense that, too. You've seen
it, just a small little cage with two seats, a luggage compartment, and
a few buttons on a dash. You'll be puzzling over what I'll tell you,
and you'll be getting used to the idea that you are the man who makes
atomic power practical. Jerome Boell, just a plain engineer, the man
who put atomic power in every home. You won't exactly believe it, but
you'll want to go along.

       *       *       *       *       *

I'll be tired of talking by then, and in a hurry to get going. So I
cut off your questions, and get you inside. I snap on a green button,
and everything seems to cut off around us. You can see a sort of
foggy nothing surrounding the cockpit; it is probably the field that
prevents passage through time from affecting us. The luggage section
isn't protected, though.

You start to say something, but by then I'm pressing a black button,
and everything outside will disappear. You look for your house, but
it isn't there. There is exactly nothing there--in fact, there is no
_there_. You are completely outside of time and space, as best you can
guess how things are.

You can't feel any motion, of course. You try to reach a hand out
through the field into the nothing around you and your hand goes out,
all right, but nothing happens. Where the screen ends, your hand just
turns over and pokes back at you. Doesn't hurt, and when you pull your
arm back, you're still sound and uninjured. But it looks frightening
and you don't try it again.

Then it comes to you slowly that you're actually traveling in time.
You turn to me, getting used to the idea. "So this is the fourth
dimension?" you ask.

Then you feel silly, because you'll remember that I said you'd ask
that. Well, I asked it after I was told, then I came back and told it
to you, and I still can't help answering when you speak.

"Not exactly," I try to explain. "Maybe it's no dimension--or it might
be the fifth; if you're going to skip over the so-called fourth without
traveling along it, you'd need a fifth. Don't ask me. I didn't invent
the machine and I don't understand it."

"But...."

I let it go, and so do you. If you don't, it's a good way of going
crazy. You'll see later why I couldn't have invented the machine. Of
course, there may have been a start for all this once. There may have
been a time when you did invent the machine--the atomic motor first,
then the time-machine. And when you closed the loop by going back and
saving yourself the trouble, it got all tangled up. I figured out once
that such a universe would need some seven or eight time and space
dimensions. It's simpler just to figure that this is the way time got
bent back on itself. Maybe there is no machine, and it's just easier
for us to imagine it. When you spend thirty years thinking about it, as
I did--and you will--you get further and further from an answer.

Anyhow, you sit there, watching nothing all around you, and no time,
apparently, though there is a time effect back in the luggage space.
You look at your watch and it's still running. That means you either
carry a small time field with you, or you are catching a small
increment of time from the main field. I don't know, and you won't
think about that then, either.

       *       *       *       *       *

I'm smoking, and so are you, and the air in the machine is getting a
bit stale. You suddenly realize that everything in the machine is wide
open, yet you haven't seen any effects of air loss.

"Where are we getting our air?" you ask. "Or why don't we lose it?"

"No place for it to go," I explain. There isn't. Out there is neither
time nor space, apparently. How could the air leak out? You still feel
gravity, but I can't explain that, either. Maybe the machine has a
gravity field built in, or maybe the time that makes your watch run is
responsible for gravity. In spite of Einstein, you have always had the
idea that time is an effect of gravity, and I sort of agree, still.

Then the machine stops--at least, the field around us cuts off. You
feel a dankish sort of air replace the stale air, and you breathe
easier, though we're in complete darkness, except for the weak light in
the machine, which always burns, and a few feet of rough dirty cement
floor around. You take another cigaret from me and you get out of the
machine, just as I do.

I've got a bundle of clothes and I start changing. It's a sort
of simple, short-limbed, one-piece affair I put on, but it feels
comfortable.

"I'm staying here," I tell you. "This is like the things they wear in
this century, as near as I can remember it, and I should be able to
pass fairly well. I've had all my fortune--the one you make on that
atomic generator--invested in such a way I can get it on using some
identification I've got with me, so I'll do all right. I know they
still use some kind of money, you'll see evidence of that. And it's a
pretty easygoing civilization, from what I could see. We'll go up and
I'll leave you. I like the looks of things here, so I won't be coming
back with you."

You nod, remembering I've told you about it. "What century is this,
anyway?"

I'd told you that, too, but you've forgotten. "As near as I can guess,
it's about 2150. He told me, just as I'm telling you, that it's an
interstellar civilization."

You take another cigaret from me, and follow me. I've got a small
flashlight and we grope through a pile of rubbish, out into a corridor.
This is a sub-sub-sub-basement. We have to walk up a flight of stairs,
and there is an elevator waiting, fortunately with the door open.

"What about the time machine?" you ask.

"Since nobody ever stole it, it's safe."

       *       *       *       *       *

We get in the elevator, and I say "first" to it. It gives out a
coughing noise and the basement openings begin to click by us. There's
no feeling of acceleration--some kind of false gravity they use in the
future. Then the door opens, and the elevator says "first" back at us.

It's obviously a service elevator and we're in a dim corridor, with
nobody around. I grab your hand and shake it. "You go that way. Don't
worry about getting lost; you never did, so you can't. Find the museum,
grab the motor, and get out. And good luck to you."

You act as if you're dreaming, though you can't believe it's a dream.
You nod at me and I move out into the main corridor. A second later,
you see me going by, mixed into a crowd that is loafing along toward
a restaurant, or something like it, that is just opening. I'm asking
questions of a man, who points, and I turn and move off.

You come out of the side corridor and go down a hall, away from the
restaurant. There are quiet little signs along the hall. You look at
them, realizing for the first time that things have changed.

_Steij:neri, Faunten, Z:rgat Dispenseri._ The signs are very quiet and
dignified. Some of them can be decoded to stationery shops, fountains,
and the like. What a zergot is, you don't know. You stop at a sign
that announces: _Trav:l Biwrou--F:rst-Clas Twrz--Marz, Viin*s, and
x: Trouj:n Planets. Spej:l reits tu aol s*nz wixin 60 lyt iirz!_ But
there is only a single picture of a dull-looking metal sphere, with
passengers moving up a ramp, and the office is closed. You begin to get
the hang of the spelling they use, though.

Now there are people around you, but nobody pays much attention to you.
Why should they? You wouldn't care if you saw a man in a leopard-skin
suit; you'd figure it was some part in a play and let it go. Well,
people don't change much.

You get up your courage and go up to a boy selling something that might
be papers on tapes.

"Where can I find the Museum of Science?"

"Downayer rien turn lefa the sign. Stoo bloss," he tells you. Around
you, you hear some pretty normal English, but there are others using
stuff as garbled as his. The educated and uneducated? I don't know.

You go right until you find a big sign built into the rubbery surface
of the walk: _Miuzi:m *v Syens_. There's an arrow pointing and you turn
left. Ahead of you, two blocks on, you can see a pink building, with
faint aqua trimming, bigger than most of the others. They are building
lower than they used to, apparently. Twenty floors up seems about the
maximum. You head for it, and find the sidewalk is marked with the
information that it is the museum.

       *       *       *       *       *

You go up the steps, but you see that it seems to be closed. You
hesitate for a moment, then. You're beginning to think the whole affair
is complete nonsense, and you should get back to the time machine and
go home. But then a guard comes to the gate. Except for the short legs
in his suit and the friendly grin on his face, he looks like any other
guard.

What's more, he speaks pretty clearly. Everyone says things in a sort
of drawl, with softer vowels and slurred consonants, but it's rather
pleasant.

"Help you, sir? Oh, of course. You must be playing in 'Atoms and
Axioms.' The museum's closed, but I'll be glad to let you study
whatever you need for realism in your role. Nice show. I saw it twice."

"Thanks," you mutter, wondering what kind of civilization can produce
guards as polite as that. "I--I'm told I should investigate your
display of atomic generators."

He beams at that. "Of course." The gate is swung to behind you, but
obviously he isn't locking it. In fact, there doesn't seem to be a
lock. "Must be a new part. You go down that corridor, up one flight
of stairs and left. Finest display in all the known worlds. We've got
the original of the first thirteen models. Professor Jonas was using
them to check his latest theory of how they work. Too bad he could
not explain the principle, either. Someone will, some day, though.
Lord, the genius of that twentieth century inventor! It's quite a
hobby with me, sir. I've read everything I could get on the period.
Oh--congratulations on your pronunciation. Sounds just like some of our
oldest tapes."

You get away from him, finally, after some polite thanks. The building
seems deserted and you wander up the stairs. There's a room on your
right filled with something that proclaims itself the first truly
plastic diamond former, and you go up to it. As you come near, it
goes through a crazy wiggle inside, stops turning out a continual row
of what seem to be bearings, and slips something the size of a penny
toward you.

"Souvenir," it announces in a well-modulated voice. "This is a typical
gem of the twentieth century, properly cut to 58 facets, known
technically as a Jaegger diamond, and approximately twenty carats
in size. You can have it made into a ring on the third floor during
morning hours for one-tenth credit. If you have more than one child,
press the red button for the number of stones you desire."

You put it in your pocket, gulping a little, and get back to the
corridor. You turn left and go past a big room in which models of
spaceships--from the original thing that looks like a V-2, and is
labeled first Lunar rocket, to a ten-foot globe, complete with
miniature manikins--are sailing about in some kind of orbits. Then
there is one labeled _Wep:nz_, filled with everything from a crossbow
to a tiny rod four inches long and half the thickness of a pencil,
marked _Fynal Hand Arm_. Beyond is the end of the corridor, and a big
place that bears a sign, _Mad:lz *v Atamic Pau:r Sorsez_.

       *       *       *       *       *

By that time, you're almost convinced. And you've been doing a lot of
thinking about what you can do. The story I'm telling has been sinking
in, but you aren't completely willing to accept it.

You notice that the models are all mounted on tables and that they're a
lot smaller than you thought. They seem to be in chronological order,
and the latest one, marked _2147--Rincs Dyn*pat:_, is about the size
of a desk telephone. The earlier ones are larger, of course, clumsier,
but with variations, probably depending on the power output. A big sign
on the ceiling gives a lot of dope on atomic generators, explaining
that this is the first invention which leaped full blown into basically
final form.

You study it, but it mentions casually the inventor, without giving
his name. Either they don't know it, or they take it for granted that
everyone does, which seems more probable. They call attention to the
fact that they have the original model of the first atomic generator
built, complete with design drawings, original manuscript on operation,
and full patent application.

They state that it has all major refinements, operating on any fuel,
producing electricity at any desired voltage up to five million, any
chosen cyclic rate from direct current to one thousand megacycles,
and any amperage up to one thousand, its maximum power output being
fifty kilowatts, limited by the current-carrying capacity of the
outputs. They also mention that the operating principle is still being
investigated, and that only such refinements as better alloys and the
addition of magnetric and nucleatric current outlets have been added
since the original.

So you go to the end and look over the thing. It's simply a square box
with a huge plug on each side, and a set of vernier controls on top,
plus a little hole marked, in old-style spelling, _Drop BBs or wire
here_. Apparently that's the way it's fueled. It's about one foot on
each side.

"Nice," the guard says over your shoulder. "It finally wore out one of
the cathogrids and we had to replace that, but otherwise it's exactly
as the great inventor made it. And it still operates as well as ever.
Like to have me tell you about it?"

"Not particularly," you begin, and then realize bad manners might be
conspicuous here. While you're searching for an answer, the guard pulls
something out of his pocket and stares at it.

"Fine, fine. The mayor of Altasecarba--Centaurian, you know--is
arriving, but I'll be back in about ten minutes. He wants to examine
some of the weapons for a monograph on Centaurian primitives compared
to nineteenth century man. You'll pardon me?"

You pardon him pretty eagerly and he wanders off happily. You go up
to the head of the line, to that Rinks Dynapattuh, or whatever it
transliterates to. That's small and you can carry it. But the darned
thing is absolutely fixed. You can't see any bolts, but you can't budge
it, either.

       *       *       *       *       *

You work down the line. It'd be foolish to take the early model if you
can get one with built-in magnetic current terminals--Ehrenhaft or
some other principle?--and nuclear binding-force energy terminals. But
they're all held down by the same whatchamaycallem effect.

And, finally, you're right back beside the original first model. It's
probably bolted down, too, but you try it tentatively and you find it
moves. There's a little sign under it, indicating you shouldn't touch
it, since the gravostatic plate is being renewed.

Well, you won't be able to change the time cycle by doing anything I
haven't told you, but a working model such as that is a handy thing.
You lift it; it only weighs about fifty pounds! Naturally, it can be
carried.

You expect a warning bell, but nothing happens. As a matter of fact,
if you'd stop drinking so much of that scotch and staring at the time
machine out there now, you'd hear what I'm saying and know what will
happen to you. But of course, just as I did, you're going to miss a
lot of what I say from now on, and have to find out for yourself. But
maybe some of it helps. I've tried to remember how much I remembered,
after he told me, but I can't be sure. So I'll keep on talking. I
probably can't help it, anyhow. Pre-set, you might say.

Well, you stagger down the corridor, looking out for the guard, but all
seems clear. Then you hear his voice from the weapons room. You bend
down and try to scurry past, but you know you're in full view. Nothing
happens, though.

You stumble down the stairs, feeling all the futuristic rays in the
world on your back, and still nothing happens. Ahead of you, the gate
is closed. You reach it and it opens obligingly by itself. You breathe
a quick sigh of relief and start out onto the street.

Then there's a yell behind you. You don't wait. You put one leg in
front of the other and you begin racing down the walk, ducking past
people, who stare at you with expressions you haven't time to see.
There's another yell behind you.

Something goes over your head and drops on the sidewalk just in front
of your feet, with a sudden ringing sound. You don't wait to find out
about that, either. Somebody reaches out a hand to catch you and you
dart past.

The street is pretty clear now and you jolt along, with your arms
seeming to come out of the sockets, and that atomic generator getting
heavier at every step.

Out of nowhere, something in a blue uniform about six feet tall and
on the beefy side appears--and the badge hasn't changed much. The cop
catches your arm and you know you're not going to get away, so you stop.

"You can't exert yourself that hard in this heat, fellow," the cop
says. "There are laws against that, without a yellow sticker. Here, let
me grab you a taxi."

       *       *       *       *       *

Reaction sets in a bit and your knees begin to buckle, but you shake
your head and come up for air.

"I--I left my money home," you begin.

The cop nods. "Oh, that explains it. Fine, I won't have to give you
an appearance schedule. But you should have come to me." He reaches
out and taps a pedestrian lightly on the shoulder. "Sir, an emergency
request. Would you help this gentleman?"

The pedestrian grins, looks at his watch, and nods. "How far?"

You did notice the name of the building from which you came and you
mutter it. The stranger nods again, reaches out and picks up the other
side of the generator, blowing a little whistle the cop hands him.
Pedestrians begin to move aside, and you and the stranger jog down the
street at a trot, with a nice clear path, while the cop stands beaming
at you both.

That way, it isn't so bad. And you begin to see why I decided I might
like to stay in the future. But all the same, the organized cooperation
here doesn't look too good. The guard can get the same and be there
before you.

And he is. He stands just inside the door of the building as you reach
it. The stranger lifts an eyebrow and goes off at once when you nod
at him, not waiting for thanks. And the guard comes up, holding some
dinkus in his hand, about the size of a big folding camera and not too
dissimilar in other ways. He snaps it open and you get set to duck.

"You forgot the prints, monograph, and patent applications," he says.
"They go with the generator--we don't like to have them separated. A
good thing I knew the production office of 'Atoms and Axioms' was in
this building. Just let us know when you're finished with the model and
we'll pick it up."

You swallow several sets of tonsils you had removed years before, and
take the bundle of papers he hands you out of the little case. He pumps
you for some more information, which you give him at random. It seems
to satisfy your amiable guard friend. He finally smiles in satisfaction
and heads back to the museum.

You still don't believe it, but you pick up the atomic generator and
the information sheets, and you head down toward the service elevator.
There is no button on it. In fact, there's no door there.

You start looking for other doors or corridors, but you know this is
right. The signs along the halls are the same as they were.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then there's a sort of cough and something dilates in the wall. It
forms a perfect door and the elevator stands there waiting. You get in,
gulping out something about going all the way down, and then wonder how
a machine geared for voice operation can make anything of that. What
the deuce would that lowest basement be called? But the elevator has
closed and is moving downward in a hurry. It coughs again and you're at
the original level. You get out--and realize you don't have a light.

You'll never know what you stumbled over, but, somehow, you move back
in the direction of the time machine, bumping against boxes, staggering
here and there, and trying to find the right place by sheer feel. Then
a shred of dim light appears; it's the weak light in the time machine.

You've located it.

You put the atomic generator in the luggage space, throw the papers
down beside it, and climb into the cockpit, sweating and mumbling. You
reach forward toward the green button and hesitate. There's a red one
beside it and you finally decide on that.

Suddenly, there's a confused yell from the direction of the elevator
and a beam of light strikes against your eyes, with a shout punctuating
it. Your finger touches the red button.

You'll never know what the shouting was about--whether they finally
doped out the fact that they'd been robbed, or whether they were trying
to help you. You don't care which it is. The field springs up around
you and the next button you touch--the one on the board that hasn't
been used so far--sends you off into nothingness. There is no beam of
light, you can't hear a thing, and you're safe.

It isn't much of a trip back. You sit there smoking and letting your
nerves settle back to normal. You notice a third set of buttons, with
some pencil marks over them--"Press these to return to yourself 30
years"--and you begin waiting for the air to get stale. It doesn't
because there is only one of you this time.

Instead, everything flashes off and you're sitting in the machine in
your own back yard.

You'll figure out the cycle in more details later. You get into the
machine in front of your house, go to the future in the sub-basement,
land in your back yard, and then hop back thirty years to pick up
yourself, landing in front of your house. Just that. But right then,
you don't care. You jump out and start pulling out that atomic
generator and taking it inside.

       *       *       *       *       *

It isn't hard to disassemble, but you don't learn a thing; just some
plates of metal, some spiral coils, and a few odds and ends--all
things that can be made easily enough, all obviously of common metals.
But when you put it together again, about an hour later, you notice
something.

Everything in it is brand-new and there's one set of copper wires
missing! It won't work. You put some #12 house wire in, exactly like
the set on the other side, drop in some iron filings, and try it again.

And with the controls set at 120 volts, 60 cycles and 15 amperes, you
get just that. You don't need the power company any more. And you
feel a little happier when you realize that the luggage space wasn't
insulated from time effects by a field, so the motor has moved backward
in time, somehow, and is back to its original youth--minus the
replaced wires the guard mentioned--which probably wore out because of
the makeshift job you've just done.

But you begin getting more of a jolt when you find that the papers are
all in your own writing, that your name is down as the inventor, and
that the date of the patent application is 1951.

It will begin to soak in, then. You pick up an atomic generator in the
future and bring it back to the past--your present--so that it can be
put in the museum with you as the inventor so you can steal it to be
the inventor. And you do it in a time machine which you bring back to
yourself to take yourself into the future to return to take back to
yourself....

Who invented what? And who built which?

Before long, your riches from the generator are piling in. Little
kids from school are coming around to stare at the man who changed
history and made atomic power so common that no nation could hope to
be anything but a democracy and a peaceful one--after some of the
worst times in history for a few years. Your name eventually becomes as
common as Ampere, or Faraday, or any other spelled without a capital
letter.

But you're thinking of the puzzle. You can't find any answer.

One day you come across an old poem--something about some folks
calling it evolution and others calling it God. You go out, make a few
provisions for the future, and come back to climb into the time machine
that's waiting in the building you had put around it. Then you'll be
knocking on your own door, thirty years back--or right now, from your
view--and telling your younger self all these things I'm telling you.

But now....

Well, the drinks are finished. You're woozy enough to go along with me
without protest, and I want to find out just why those people up there
came looking for you and shouting, before the time machine left.

Let's go.





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operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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