Pumping Ethel

Coming One Day, Exclusively  on Kindle Vella

The time traveler watched with rapt attention, enthralled as Dr. Kohl, PhD expounded at length on Relativity, dimensional string theory and physics, especially the Physics of Space-Time. The Dr. Before and the PhD after her name is not redundant. She indeed holds not one, but TWO PhDs in related fields. He was listening, truly, but only with one part of his mind. Another was simply contemplating the professor.

     He was watching her cleavage. He admired her double doctorate almost as much as her double Ds. His multitasking skills are superb.

      He was listening, but this is a refresher, a review, he knew the material, mostly, from prior study. As the professor reviewed familiar material, his playful mind considered new familiar places he wished to explore.

      Time travel. Theoretical, so far, made possible, hopefully, by the revealed science of the being they called 'Stix.' That and the Zero Point power pack “borrowed” from his crashed ship.

      The young professor has spent the entirety of her career studying under the alien's tutelage. Absent the alien power source, time travel would be impossible. Even if Dr. Décolletage had somehow unraveled Einstein's unfinished puzzles unaided, bending space-time is difficult. Even with the purloined power plant, the project is short on energy. The entire output of all the generating stations within reach must be diverted, and some fear even that will be a few 'D' cells shy. The most massive power-failure the Earth has yet seen is about to be foisted upon an unwitting public, as almost an entire nation's generating capacity is to be diverted from civilian needs.

     The time traveler's job was to ride the vortex. Ride it past a century! His mission nothing less than saving humanity from the horrors of climate change. Though he was about to become the first Chrononaut, his field was not physics, but history and sociology. He too possesses double degrees, his fields being those which facilitate understanding how the world went awry and toward manipulating societal pressure. Preventing the use of tetraethyl lead along the way would be a not insignificant benefit as well.

     As difficult as all of that sounds, his goal is a simple one. He intended to eliminate John D. Rockefeller and prevent the rise of Big Oil, using subterfuge if possible, old fashioned assassination if not. He would also block prohibition and promote the production of farm distilled ethyl alcohol for motor fuel, ensuring a sustainable future.

     These thoughts and others less technical filled his mind as he attended the scientific lecture. He had been giving Dr. Ethelene Kohl, Ph.D his rapt attention for months.

      Their mentor’s name isn't 'Stix,' though that is as near as the human larynx can approximate. The insectoid larynx is similarly incompatible with human phonemes. No matter, Stix understands the human speech quite well, and a simple tablet and text-to-speech software solves the rest.