Regular Spelling
Thoughts and observations about language

Inventory

After about six hours, he returned to the cell, and had me released.  I gathered up my things, and escorted me back to the CIA headquarters, and brought me to a meeting room with several more people in it.

“Folks,” he said as he sat down at the head of a table in the middle of the room, “this man’s word is now gospel. He has traveled through time to prevent thermonuclear war, using Objects he has had in his own possession.”

Everyone fell silent for a moment, the look on their faces both surprise and concern. “If I may ask,” an older, portlier man finally said, hair thinning and thick glasses defining his face, “what are the Objects that you have in your possession, anyway?”

“Yes,” Mr. Raynor echoed, leaning forward in curiosity. “Whatever you have with you doesn’t exist in our time, so I would like to know what you have. “

I nodded, and set the briefcase on the table and opened it up. “I mentioned the Pocketwatch, of course,” I said as I placed it out onto the table, and the others looked at it. “This is an Object built to see into the future, using plans derived from a book you know nowadays as the Voynich Manuscript.”

“The Voynich Manuscript?” Mr. Raynor asked, surprised. “That’s one of the biggest cryptographic mysteries of nowadays. You can read it?”

I shook my head. “Sadly, no, it makes no sense to me either.  The watchmaker who put the thing together got the plans from a vision from the book, not from the book directly. It runs on a sort of percussive energy, based on that plate with the spirals and the circles on the face which is derived from one of the illustrations on the book.”

Mr. Raynor leaned forward and picked up the watch, looking carefully at the face. “Yes,” he said after a few moments of careful inspection, “I see it now, I recognize which chart is there at the base. This design is incredibly more complex than the illustration in the book shows, though.”

I nodded, and continued removing objects. “This is the Bobbin,” I said, placing it on the table. After a moment, thought, I picked it back up, and unwound a few more of my master’s hairs from the thing. “Actually,” I said as I pulled the Pocketwatch back, “let’s talk about the Bobbin in a moment, I want to try something outside of the presence of the Manuscript.”

I set the watch down in the center of the table, and placed the hairs on the watch. It began to spark again, just like it did while I was at the college, and I pulled the hairs back off. “What was that all about?” a woman at the table asked, dress and haircut very conservative, as if she were suppressing her femininity.

I shrugged, and wound the hairs back around the Bobbin. “Something very strange that I can’t yet explain,” I replied simply. “I am servant to a woman with some powerful magic, very unique, the ability to open a hole in space to travel long distances. A wormhole, or portal, or whatever your modern science calls it from things I read, merely theoretical in your frame of mind, but real then.” I set down the Bobbin, and took out the Sundial. “This is the Sundial, it allows redirecting of magic or an Object’s power into another Object.”

I set the Sundial down, and someone grabbed it to look at it. “That’s how this time travel became possible, because we combined her power with the ability of the Pocketwatch to see the future, so that it could open a tear through time to travel to the future. The strangest thing, though, was as soon as the powers combined, she could no longer touch the thing.”

I was met with several raised eyebrows, so I held up the Bobbin. “The Bobbin can engulf things it touches in flames, but its power is completely neutralized when human hairs touch it, so we wrapped some of her hair around it to keep it inactive. Her hairs are having the same thing happen to them as she did, but on a much smaller scale.

“When we combined her power together with the Pocketwatch, as soon as she touched it she started being attacked with bolts of lightning from the watch and the Voynich Manuscript. I can touch it just fine, anyone else can touch it just fine, but she cannot, at least until all of her power is completely drained out of it. Right now there is still some small amounts stored in it, which is how I traveled back in time from 2080.”

“Wait,” another man said, younger than the first man who spoke, but his face appeared as if he had not treated the skin well so it was full of lines and pits. “You came backward in time from 2080? I thought the Director said you came from the past, from 1600?”

I nodded, and set down the Bobbin. “The watch shows a maximum of 480 years into the future, or into the past right now since I have the gear reversed, which it will only show on New Years Day. My master was originally going to travel to 2080, figure out what caused the destruction of the world, then travel back and stop it, but after it started attacking her I had to go in her place.”

Everyone nodded, understanding enough, so I moved on. I pulled out the Revolver, and set it down on the table. “This is the Revolver, it uses bullets unique to it. There are four left, and for each one except for the last one, when it is fired at someone the person who is holding the gun gains all the knowledge of the person the bullet hits.”

Another man, blond hair and a thick mustache, picked up the gun, while the woman from before spoke up. “What happens with the last bullet?”

“The opposite, unfortunately. Everything the user knows is transferred into the target, and the user’s mind becomes completely empty. They will literally know nothing after that, and have to be cared for by someone else because they can’t take care of themselves anymore.”

The woman’s face became somber, while in the mean time the man who picked up the gun raised it up in the air to look at it at different angles. “Rounds certainly aren’t any size I’ve seen before. But the very earliest revolver weapon was invented in 1597, and handgun sized revolvers like this one didn’t come until much later. You telling me this was from the past?”

I shrugged my shoulders, not really sure how to answer him. “We had it for a long time as well, had only just gotten it out of storage for this mission. I don’t know, perhaps whoever made it saw far into the future and got the design from then. Or maybe there were some lost civilizations neither of us know about that had much higher tech weaponry then the rest of the world?”

He let out a sound of a harrumph, and continued looking at the gun, so I moved on, and pulled out a pair of hand fitting gloves, colored grey and black. “These are the Black Gloves, and they allow the wearer to handle dangerous materials with no risk. I could reach into a vat of molten steel and pull out a handful while wearing this, and nothing would happen to me.”

“Or,” I added sternly, to bring everyone’s focus back to the matter at hand, “handle highly radioactive materials.”

Everyone’s expressions went serious, and they nodded. I continued, removing the Scroll from the case. “This one isn’t much, it’s a Scroll that shows a heatmap of human movement within the last 72 hours.” I unrolled it and set it on the table, and it showed bright outlines of the main hallways of the floor of the building we were on.  “Much more when traveling in the past, when street maps weren’t very commonly made.”

I pulled out the next Object, a small medical Scalpel with a blade made of obsidian. “This is the Scalpel. It cannot break, and it completely absorbs free electricity in the air around it.” I set it down, and pulled out the Silver Ring next. “This one does pretty much the opposite, actually. The Silver Ring emits an electric-like energy in your hands while you wear it. We’ve used it to jump start dead Objects before, and also I noticed while in 2080 it can be used to power normal electric based devices like you have nowadays. For those, interestingly enough, it will give the exact amount of electricity required to power the device and nothing more.”

I set the ring down, and the portly man picked it up and began to put it on, when I spoke up again. “I should add, when it is used, it sort of sucks the energy out of you. No danger to your health, but when you use it you sleep longer the next time you go to sleep, proportionate to how much you use it. Use it for a long period, and you’ll sleep for days.” He stopped, and put the ring back down, leading to some chuckles from the others.

I took from my hand the Onyx Ring, and put it down as well. “This Onyx Ring makes it so you don’t have to eat. Came in handy in 2080, there wasn’t a lot that was safe to eat then.” I began packing it all back up into the case, except for the Onyx Ring and the Pocketwatch. “And that’s all that I have that I brought with me from the past.”

“Well,” Mr. Raynor said, “that’s an interesting collection you have there. Let’s get back to the matter at hand.” I nodded, and took a seat.

“People,” he said, standing up, and turning away to look out the window on his end of the room for a moment, before turning back. “In three days time, a dirty bomb is going to be detonated in Japan, which will lead to a new arms race and ultimately global thermonuclear war. This is worse than the Cold War, because we have proof that it will happen if we do nothing.”

“Hold on,” the woman said, “how do we know that doing something will change it? He went to the future, and it was destroyed. Shouldn’t time paradoxes prove that it happened regardless of what we do, since he found it that way in the future?”

Everyone looked at me, so I shook my head. “There are some things we know in the magic community of the past that have been lost and forgotten and not yet found by your modern science. Without trying to make an incredibly complex explanation, which would be difficult for me to explain in your modern scientific frames, there are two different ways of seeing the future. One way, which is how the Pocketwatch and the Raven’s Egg work, shows a future without any interference. You can change something based on the knowledge you gain, but that method would still show you the way things originally were before you could act on outside knowledge. As such, presuming we succeed, any future shown in that way will then be inaccurate, because it wouldn’t show the real future.”

“The other way,” I added after a moment of thought, deciding to just add it for completeness, “shows multiple futures, either an original without interference or possible ones with different changes. But anyway, since we created a loophole and traveled through time to the future shown by the watch, a version of the world was created to serve as the future for that travel. In my physical past, when I was in 2080, that world was identical to the future of now, but if we change it then that world will no longer exist there in the future, and I will never appear in that 2080.”

I was met with blank stares for a while, and shrugged again, until finally the last of the room’s other occupants, another young woman wearing glasses, slowly nodded. “I think I kind of understand,” she said quietly, and was met with strange looks from the others. “Some sort of quantum physics involved, it sounds like.” I shrugged my shoulders again, because I had seen references to quantum physics in the future, but never bothered to read about them because they didn’t matter to my mission.

Mr. Raynor cleared his throught. “Well, anyway, as I was saying, we have three days before the destruction of the dirty bomb. But the main problem is this man could not figure out who was responsible, so even if we stop them, they may just try again at a later time that we wouldn’t know about. So we have one shot at this, we have to go and stop that detonation, and find out who is responsible.”

Everyone nodded in agreement. “I will get in contact with the Ministry of Information in Japan,” the plain woman stated. “They should be able to help us with police force and search resources there, most likely since the detonation is taking place there the person is located there.” Mr. Raynor nodded in agreement.

 “That’s good, let’s get on this. I want to fly to Japan as soon as we have support, so lets’ get this going ASAP!” Everyone stood, and nodded, then quickly shuffled out of the room to begin preparations.

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