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𝓻𝓸𝓵𝓮𝓹𝓵𝓪𝔂 𝓭𝓮𝓽𝓪𝓲𝓵𝓼
𝓸𝓷𝓮 𝔁 𝓸𝓷𝓮
𝓢𝓸𝓾𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓷 𝓑𝓮𝓵𝓵𝓮 𝔁 𝓣𝓻𝓪𝓹𝓹𝓮𝓭 𝓣𝓲𝓶𝓮 𝓣𝓻𝓪𝓿𝓮𝓵𝓮𝓻
𝓢𝓸𝓾𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓷 𝓡𝓸𝓶𝓪𝓷𝓬𝓮 𝓢𝓬𝓲-𝓕𝓲
𝓡𝓮𝓪𝓭𝔂 𝓽𝓸 𝓡𝓟
¸„.-•~¹°”ˆ˜¨  🎀  𝓑𝓵𝓮𝓼𝓼 𝓨𝓸𝓾𝓻 𝓗𝓮𝓪𝓻𝓽  🎀   ¨˜ˆ”°¹~•-.„¸

The year 2370 was declared to be the year of T.I.M.E. as the Institute of Science was going to be releasing their newest invention was in its beginning stages of testing. This invention being the T.I.M.E. Torquing Ion Mass Express. In the more laymen terms, the T.I.M.E. is a time traveling device, that used the interpolation of poles in Ions to launch the wearer to a set time.

Revolutionary as it is, it is not meant for great spans of time. This item was going to be marketed as the next, latest and greatest, smart device. Did you sleep in this morning? Miss that important meeting? Arrive late to class? No problem! Just activate your T.I.M.E., reset it by about 5 or 10 minutes, and you are all in the clear! There are several disclaimers that the device should NEVER be attempted to travel greater spans of time. Maximum capacity time reversal is 2 hours. Anything beyond that voids the device's warranty, and in fact the device must be hacked and modified to even allow one to jump back farther than 2 hours.

All it took was one, very smart, very brave, very curious... yet very stupid, irresponsible, and impractical intern working on the device's creation to bypass this lock so that one could jump back further. Why just 2 hours? Why not redo that bad date you had last week? Or retake that test from a few months ago that you failed, now with a better understanding of the subject. Why not travel back to the American Civil War and experience FIRST HAND for that class essay, and make it back in time for that 10pm movie you were going to miss?

But, this same intern forgot that the device was only programmed to go back... not forwards. Now it is up to our protagonist to adapt to an ancient world. One that even his great-great-great-great grandfather wouldn't have even understood.

𝓜𝓪𝓲𝓷 𝓒𝓱𝓪𝓻𝓪𝓬𝓽𝓮𝓻𝓼


𝓜𝓲𝓷𝓸𝓻 𝓒𝓱𝓪𝓻𝓪𝓬𝓽𝓮𝓻𝓼

  • Adam - Old man and owner/operator of Savannah's library.
  • Officer Jamison - Officer of the Law, and very old, yet distant friend to Victoria.
  • Mr. Livingston - Victoria's Father.
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Xavier’s own T.I.M.E. watch was custom made. He had a love for certain anachronisms. The most notable was the old fashioned pocket watch on a chain that gentlemen used to wear. Most watches were worn on the wrist, but he liked to be different. He had partially de-constructed the T.I.M.E. watch. He scoffed the the acronym. It was just an example of trying to force an acronym to sell a product. The TIME watch had nothing to do with ions, not really. At least not classic ones. Of course, the average person didn’t understand the physics. He knew that tampering with the product voided warranty. But then he really didn’t care. It was his belief that the watches should be far more accurate. The 2 hour limit had to be a flaw in the design - an intentional one. He suspected he knew the reason why. It was, in a way, his fault.

First of all, travelling backwards in time was originally believed to amount to trying to swim up Niagara Falls. It requires too much energy. Even of one managed the feat, correcting any errors became even more problematic. And the more one tampered with time the worse it got. Limiting the time allowed for minor tampering without creating universe true vacuum bubbles. In layman’s terms, history wasn’t set in stone within two hours. After that, altering time was more devastating in physics terms. This wasn’t exactly true. It was only true to the traveller as the future they once came from ceased to exist except as a theory.

In English then, travelling back two hours was easy to do. GPS and TPS (temporal equivalent of a GPS) could be correlated safely so that the user’s relative position on the Earth didn’t change. There were also safety features to avoid mass collision errors to prevent arriving in a solid object as well - unless that object shared your exact quantity. Ooops … English. The TIME watch let the future you replace the original you and alter fate.

There was a rumor that people were considering cheating death by having one’s demise trigger a 2 hour jump. Xavier smiled at that thought. That little option had been child’s play. But that was strictly classified - which he thought was ludicrous as it was an obvious use.

His face - both sides - still smarted from the recent fun he had had with his own watch. It was on the fourth attempt to talk to Mindy that she caught on to the fact he was using time travel to try to find different ways to charm her using a Groundhog Day approach. His 5th attempt wasn’t even intentional but had had the benefit of getting a smile out of her. He had told her she couldn’t blame a guy for trying. When he gave her a hopeful look after that the look he gave her told him not to push his luck. She had stormed off annoyed.

He shook his head at the memory grinning like a fool. He was beginning to suspect that the reason for the lack of accuracy beyond 2 hours was a matter of available memory in the GPS/TDS buffer - or a lack of processing speed. The first probability was easy to resolve. The latter was more a matter of the fact that the duration of the actual jump was so brief that there wasn’t time - ironically - to calculate the positioning accurately.

This watch was way too easy to hack. He could have trained a chimpanzee to do this…

Zzztt!! (Zzztt while working on a piece of technology designed to send someone through time was a bad sound … especially when followed by the POP sound that he never heard as he was travelling through time before space could close the pure vacuum left in his wake - not that anyone would ever realize it.)

**************


Xavier’s bodysuit (ignore the mask, add a Black Matrix styled duster)

He arrived in midair. Xavier had an eidetic memory with a mind that could run calculations freakishly fast. His mind would calculate the time it took for him to hit the Savannah River below with precision - just over 3 seconds. And in that instant he would pinpoint his GPS and TPS positions. 150 feet meant an impact at 66 mph. And at 8 inches her mile around the curvature of the Earth meant he had travelled some 225 miles to get here.

Simply put, this was bad.

Hitting water from such a height would have been fatal to pretty much any human of the 19th century, or 20th … or 21st. But a few things conspired to save Xavier. First, it took a full three seconds. For his sharp mind that was a long time. More importantly he was already in a standing position. The most survivable positions were vertical ones. Third, his suit had some impact safety features with very simple commands. PLF, Dive, and Roll. The suit was designed to stiffen in those conformations to act like a stiff exoskeleton. Technically he could stand and let someone punch him all day and he’d be able to stand there like a dummy - pun intended. It would feel like punching stiff leather. But he’d be unable to move. Still, the Roll conformation had saved him from serious injury ones while tried a hovercycle out. (He had wrecked in less than 3 minutes of trying to look cool.) This situation called for Dive, of course.

Dive kept his body stiff as he slammed into the water. He was more than a little glad he hadn’t belly flopped. As it was, it wasn’t a perfect entry into the water. And he went deeper than he would have liked. But he didn’t slam into the bottom of the river. When he surfaced he could barely move. His whole body felt like he had suffered whiplash. And he would have sworn he had swallowed half the river. He could barely move his arms to try to swim for shore.

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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


The warm spring air was inviting outside of the Livingston's clock shop. So nice, in fact, that all of the windows and even the front door were propped open, inviting the nice weather in. Victoria stood at his father's welcoming desk to the shop. All that was on the desk was a sign in book, a fountain pen, and a small money box under the desk. A hardback book was laying open on the desk, and the fair Victoria was resting her head in her palm, elbow on the counter, reading through the book. She of course would jump to action if any guests arrived. However, it wasn't busy in the slightest. It wasn't like people broke their watches daily. Even most days her father wasn't even fixing watches. If anything, he was working on little trinkets, or fixing other little items that customers may bring in, hoping to get fixed. Victoria flipped over the final page of her reading and then, in satisfaction, closed the book.

"Papa, I'm going to the library. I'll be right back." Victoria called out to the back of the shop. There was a clanging sound in the back, along with a lout muffled yell from the back. This was a normal response to anything Victoria said. If he really needed her or didn't want her to go, he would come up to the front desk. Victoria put up a sign saying to knock on the back office door for assistance, and she grabbed up her purse. It wasn't a very far stroll to the library. Just a walk across the town beside the Savannah river. In the distance, along the water, she could see splashing around. It caught her attention because it seemed like someone splashing in the water. Her curiosity was spiked. But at the same time, if it were someone swimming in the water, maybe she shouldn't interact with them. It seemed like a crazy thing to do, and she wouldn't doubt that it was a crazy person.

Reaching the library, she dropped off her book at the desk where an older gentleman picked it up. "Turning in my copy of War and Paece, Adam." The main raised his eyebrow and took it back, logging in his own notebook that it had been returned in time. "I thought so. This is the 3 book this week that you finished in 2 days... You must have a lot of time on your hands to be plowing through book after book like this." The older gentleman put the book down in order to log it back into the shelves later. "Well... I just lose track of time when my nose is in a book." Victoria chuckled softly and wandered off through the library, browsing the bookshelves for something she hadn't read yet. There was a science section that was full of books on physics, mathematics, biology. Yet she always hesitated before entering. People often judged her for wanting to read books like these, rather than entertaining stories like War and Peace. Looking around, she quickly sneaked into the section and pulled out of her basket a Calculus book and stuck it back on the shelf. Quickly grabbing a mechanical book and sticking it into her basket.

She didn't like doing this, as it was technically stealing. But was it stealing if she always returned the book? It was just like borrowing the book from the library... just without anyone knowing. Victoria just as hurriedly left the section and went a few isles over to grab a new fiction novel off the shelf. Any would do as she wasn't as enthralled in them as she was her science books. "Just this one today, Adam" She placed the book on his desk, and Adam gave an inquisitive looking to her. But he simply signed her off and let her on her way. Walking back out into the street, Victoria took in a deep breath of air, holding her new book, and new contraband, close to her chest, walking back along the river towards her father's clock shop.

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Xavier drifted slowly downriver as the wharfs passed him by at a pace comparable to someone walking along the shore or a little slower. Noone seemed to have noticed his plunge which was amazing. But then people were busy working. It was mid morning. Given his condition he rolled onto his back and just laid there. Now and then he used his arms to start making progress toward civilization, questioning the sanity of his actions.

He knew it was survival instinct making him try to reach the shore. But a part of him wondered about the consequences of tampering with time. One glance and he had realized he had travelled far back in time. His best guess was Savannah, GA somewhere in the mid 19th century. The conclusion came to him with a resignation to the fact that he was an anachronism here. He tried to recall how people dressed. But he couldn’t recall which style was which century.

Then it hit him. Mid 19th century America. That was the period of the 1st American Civil War. North vs South. Blue vs Grey. Then he hesitated and laughed. Which color as which. He was dressed in all black. For that matter, people in this time dressed in lots of layers. Right? Well, women did. He was going to look like a lunatic who went out in his pajamas covered only with a robe - then decided to take a little swim. He laughed at the thought.

A little panicked he felt for his watch. Then he relaxed as he discovered it attached to its chain. It was his best chance to return to his own time…

… He made it to shore before he drifted too far past it and crawled onto the shore shakily. By this time he had fully come to grips with his situation. He tried to stand, but failed a few times and gave up, nearly vomiting what little food was in his stomach. His clothing would dry out in a few minutes being dirt and water repellant. His hair was cropped very short and was already nearly dry. He was going to need to eat. But as he recalled, in this century people relied on what they referred to as hard currency. Further, the North had won the Civil War. If this was after that time - and he was sure it was, then the economy was hurting. Being mistaken for being from the North was not going to make him popular.

He needed a story. He hated lying, so he decided on a white lie. He was from the West. That was true. It was a ghost town. He smiled at that bit of inventiveness. Most towns from this time would have been in 500 years. His profession? He had to be very careful here. When was electricity invented? Benjamin Franklin. Kite. Idiot. He laughed. He was being unfair. 18th century. If anything he should be grateful to the man. It meant he could find work. Then he frowned. Didn’t they use conduction through insulated metals rather than broadcast power? That could present a problem. Maybe something simpler.

He was literate. He knew math. He … needed help. He briefly considered manual labor and let the thought perish. Then he recalled one of his old methods of making money - con games - specifically involving cards. He shook his head. Not yet. He wasn’t that desperate. Or … was he? He smiled slowly to himself. There were always games like that going on in run down places where there were either casinos or transient people - in other words, along the wharfs. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his deck of cards and started to fan them to rid them of any residual moisture.

His plans turned to crap as soon as he got close to the wharf area. He got the strangest look from a handful of dock workers. His clothes. Not wanting to get beat up he headed in another direction. But he adjusted his walk to a stagger. (It wasn’t much of an adjustment.) He aimed himself at what he hoped was a more reputable part of town. Had it been late at night he would likely have drawn a mugger or two out of the woodworks. But in broad daylight, he made good his ‘escape.”

100 yards got him out of the wharf area and into shops, inns - middle income stuff. The shops here tended to be more of the imported goods sort. 200 yards and he was past all that. Along this area was a maze of homes and utilitarian shops. And by now he had drawn a new audience - the local law, no doubt. He picked a spot with no real purpose, simply visible and non suspicious. Then he allowed himself to collapse. The men following him seemed to be in no real hurry at first, then slowly picked up their pace. They probably thought he was drunk.
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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


As Victoria was making her way back towards the shop, holding her new book close to her bosom, and her basket close to her hip. Along the coble road up ahead, Victoria suddenly saw two law officers hurrying it what seemed to be her direct path. She instantly became nervous. Hey couldn’t know that she snuck a book out of the library, could they? She quickly recognized one of them ”Hello Officer Jamison.” She quickly spoke up as they drew closer. The two officers looked at one another and nodded. Officer Jamison stopping to speak, yet the second one continued away from her. She watched the second officer walk away for a second before quickly turning back to Jamison. ”Good morning, Miss Victoria… What has you out this morning?” He was a polite gentlemen, and was an old friend of hers from childhood. But ever since he joined the force, they had started to drift slightly.

”Oh nothing really… just running a couple errands for my father and grabbing a new book to read. What are you in a rush for?” She shifted her basket to be held behind her body. It made her look suspicious, but she was too anxious to think very clearly about hiding something. But the Officer didn’t seem to truly notice her actions, being too focused on something in the distance that the second officer had walked off to. ”Just maintaining the law, ma’am.” He spoke clearly, and pointing off in the distance behind her. ”My partner and I just saw this man crawl out of the Savannah River in what looks like his night garments… We are checking him out for public intoxication.” Something went off in Victoria’s head and she quickly turned around. Was that the same gentleman that she had seen in the water before entering the library? She suspected him of being just a crazy person. But that or intoxication seemed plausible if he was in his night clothes.

Officer Jamison had begun walking towards the man that was plopped down on a public bench and, being curious, Victoria followed closely behind. It wasn’t her business, but she tended to like knowing what was going on around the town. ”Hello, sir. How are you feeling this morning?” He spoke to the man, clad in dark clothes and a long jacket. It was puzzling to Victoria. It was the kind of garments she hadn’t really seen before. It wasn’t a style she really recognized. She could see how the officers could assume it was night clothes, yet something was… different about it.

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How was he feeling? Seriously? He had just collapsed. He briefly considered some flippant responses but better sense - and the fact that he was feeling too roughed up to encourage the officers to add another layer of beatings to the way he felt. Besides, he was having a hard enough time with their accents. The woman was the only one he’d understand very well.

“Not so well,” Xavier’s strange accent betrayed him instantly. He could have attempted a southern accent, but knew better. “But I wasn’t drinking.” Then a thought hit him. It was stupid and risky, but …. “I was on the trail … and slipped on my duster to step away from camp to … uhm … “ his face reddened as he glanced in the direction of the lady, “relieve myself.” He cleared his throat nervously. He spoke up louder and added, “but if I HAD been drinking, you’d be perfectly correct in suspecting so. Apparently I don’t hold my liquor well.” He looked away embarrassed, “poorly enough that local law usually bans anyone from letting me imbibe and fines those who sell to me.” He looked back and grinned a little. “I got a little wild THAT time. And the casino?” He actually laughed. “I got banned for life. But I wasn’t cheating or anything. THAT would have been too easy. But even falling down drunk I beat them at their own games.”

Then Xavier calmed down. “They didn’t let me keep the money though. The Law, that is. But I was politely asked to leave after pointing all the ways the House cheated. Good people losing hard earned money on the false promises of wealth against the odds.”

Again Xavier allowed a moment of silence for the men to absorb his story. It was based on truth. If he hadn’t been who he was, he would have probably gone to prison. Then he tried to stand again and slowly stood up. He stopped halfway and crouched back down.

“I fell a ways back. Fell a pretty long ways. Bit shook up. Oh, my things. When I was away from my camp … everything was sort of taken. All I had left is what was on me. Just a few knick knacks in my pockets. I haven’t eaten in a bit. So I was going to look for work. But I am afraid that in my condition I wouldn’t be much use on the river. Besides, I think I already swallowed half of it.”

The officers noted that Xavier’s hands didn’t have the look of a man accustomed to a life of labor. “What DO you do?”

And that was the question he had dreaded. But there was no avoiding it. “Really, I am a scholar. But I need the same things any man needs. Food,” he stopped and looked down, “most definitely clothing, and a place to sleep - preferably one that I don’t have to share with more legs than myself. The other night an arachnid looked at me very hungrily.”

“A what?”

“Spider. Arachnid is a spider.”
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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


Oh my Lord, could this guy talk. Victoria thought to herself as he seemed to go off on a rambling spree to the to law officers. But then again, she wasn't surprised if he was just spewing out everything he could because of how shook up he was from going into the river. She knew that if she had fallen into the Savannah river she would have surely drowned from the wet weight of her dress and undergarments pulling her down. She was somewhat surprised that this man had survived swimming through the river himself. She duly noted that although the man was handsome, he obviously didn’t look much like a laborer. Even her father didn’t do very manual labor, and he still had dirty, cut up, and bruised hands just from working on the mechanical trinkets and oddities. Something didn’t seem right about all he was saying, however the Officers seemed to be buying it pretty well.

The officers gave eachother an odd glance when the guy stated he was a scholar, rather than a day laborer. She recognized that look all too well. It was the look she would receive when she used to be caught reading her science books and if she ever started talking on and on about physics. They didn’t approve of it very highly. As much as intellect was needed, now more than ever, it seemed that people still looked down on those with brains and lacking brawn. ”I don’t know about any people around here hiring.” Jamison spoke up first. ”And the closest scholarly place I can think of is our library, the electrical company, city hall probably has postings for clerical work if that is what you do, and then there is.. Well actually, you’re looking at the daughter of the only other ‘scholarly’ place, the watch shop.” Jamison turned his attention back to the young woman standing just a few feet away.

Victoria jumped slightly in surprise that she was suddenly brought into the conversation, stiffening up as if suddenly put on state to present to people. ”Oh- well I- We don’t-“ But it seemed like Jamison thought he knew what she was trying to say. ”Like I said, I don’t know if any of these places are really hiring. But they are your best place to find work of your… caliber.” The officer rubbed scratched the side of his head. ”If you want to file a report about your things stolen you can come down to the Sheriff’s Office and we can get that squared away for you. I’ll see you again later this evening then, Victoria.” The officer gave a cool smile and nodded to her, and the both went on their way back to the Sherriff’s office or to patrol the street. Either way, now she was stuck with some stranger, who didn’t even look like he could support his own weight at the moment without toppling over. ”L-Look. My father owns his own practice. In his entire 25 years running it, he has never hired anyone to work with him… I’m just trying to be honest with you here, don’t want to get your hopes up to get let down.” She adjusted her basket to her other arm, as its weight was causing the handle to leave an imprint on her arm.

”However my father is very compassionate. We don’t just do clockwork- he fixes just about anything and everything these people bring to him. He can’t help telling some people no if they need help… He may be more willing to let you work for him in exchange for lodging and food. We have a spare bedroom in our living space above the shop. And I prepare just about every meal… but money- I’m not so sure what he would pay… if any at all.” Victoria figured that giving someone a place to sleep and eat daily was a fair enough trade. There were plenty of taverns that did this around the town at a price, so she figured that was a fair trade for any work this man could do for her father. ”My name is Victoria Livingston, by the way.” She extended her hand to him to shake. ”And, you are?...”

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“Oh! Xavier … Xavier Thomas.” He knew he probably shouldn’t have used his real name, but he said it before he gave it real thought. Well, it wasn’t as if names hadn’t been reused throughout history. He struggled once more to stand and managed not to look quite so shaky. He was starting to recover - enough so that his eyes started to notice Victoria’s form. He didn’t leer though. That would have been rude. Instead he made an excuse to look again and took her free hand in his and bowed to kiss the back of it with a simple peck. “Enchante Mademoiselle.” He released the hand not wanting her to get the wrong (right?) idea.

He smiled a little with boyish charm and innocence. “I know a little French. Seriously though, I am grateful for the kindness you have already shown. If your father can help me get some proper clothes, that alone would be great, but I understand if he can’t help. And work for room and board would be great. But unless I do something to increase his earnings enough to justify any more than that, I shall find other means to make money.”

He looked around as if just noticing his surroundings. “This is a port?! That means travellers. Travellers means entertainment. I might have another way to make money. When I was younger I wanted to study music - the piano. But my guardians thought music was a waste of my time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t sneak off. I am good enough I should be able to play for the public. Maybe I could do something like that in the evenings.”

He was silent only for a moment. When he started up again it was upon seeing the book in Victoria’s basket. “Is that a real book? I used to have a few." He started to mention one, but thought better of it. He still had no idea what year this was. “May I?” He reached down and picked up like it was delicate. Then he carefully opened it and smelled the pages. His eyes lit up with almost childish delight. Then he carefully placed the book back.

“Well, the day is young. Here,” he gestured to the basket and lifted it up off her arm. “Least I can do is pull my own weight … barely.” He grinned again. “I’ll be okay. Wither you go I follow.”

Finally he shut up. Instead he started to spend all his time looking all around at things. Every shop had him looking as if he wanted to go and touch everything like he was a 5 year old. But the real surprise came when that passed a newspaper boy on a corner hollerin about who wanted the news. He adjusted his course to intercept. He strangeness took the boy by surprise. He pointed a finger and touched the paper angling it down so he could see the headline. Then he patted himself for change and frowned.

“Right, sorry sir. Maybe another time. Forgot I don’t have money on me. Can’t exactly expect one for free. But next time I see you, if I have money, I’ll definitely buy a paper.”

As he turned away the look in his face now pale. It hadn’t been the headlines he was looking at. It was the date. He continued to follow Victoria. He tried to smile now and then. But he looked truly unhappy. Reality had finally set in.

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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


A bright blush came across Victoria’s face when Xavier kissed the back of his hand and introduced himself in French. She didn’t know French fluently, but she understood his common phrase. She pulled her hand back, looking directly in his eyes. He was not shy showing his intentions, and it made her slightly nervous. Sure he was a handsome guy, but he was still a complete stranger to her. He continued being polite and thankful. She kept thinking that he shouldn’t thank her so soon when she wasn’t sure how her father would react to her bringing in a random man. He really needed to know his stuff if he were to impress her father.

Her eyes lit up a little when he mentioned knowing how to play the piano. ”There is a tavern in town that is often looking for new entertainment. They are always in need of new talent to try and pull in guests. The more you pull in, the more you get out of it.” Victoria brightened up a little. She really loved listening to people play music. Her younger sister used to know how to play some tunes on the piano. It always caused her heart to flutter. But Victoria quickly shook her head to snap back to the reality at hand. A ‘real book’? What did he mean about it being a ‘real book’? Of course it was real. It was physically in her hands. Was there ever such thing as a ‘fake book’? She found it odd how he examined it so gently. She appreciated the fact he wasn’t just flinging through the pages. But also confused why he was handling it so gently.

However, his reaching for her book was relatively closed to her chest, as she was already pressing the book against her bosom This only caused her to blush significantly brighter until he handed the book back to her. ”It is an alright book… I just like reading a lot.” She wasn’t sure how he would react to knowing she much more preferred reading scientific journals. She knew all men who ever found out made fun of her, or degraded her. That wasn’t her place as a woman! Her place was as a caregiver and mother. She allowed him to take her basket, a very nice gentlemanly action. She courtesy slightly to him ”Thank you… Well, let’s head back to my father’s shop.” And with that she headed down the cobbled path, which Xavier by her side.

She began to speak up, but noticed him run of to look at the local newspaper. He didn’t take on of the papers, and it looked as if he were just scanning the title. But when he came back, his face looked slightly paler. A worried look quickly crossed Victoria’s face, even though it was obvious Xavier was trying to play it off as nothing. She didn’t want to pry, it was maybe too nosy and personal of her. It was obvious that whatever it was, he didn’t want to talk about it. If he did, then he wouldn’t be trying so hard to hide his reaction. All she could say was, ”Read some bad news?” As she continued to the clock shop quickly. Upon arrival nothing had changed since Victoria left. She was pretty certain that no new customers came while she was out. Victoria gestured to where Xavier could put down her basket and headed to the back door. She placed a stead hand on the knob and knocked a few times on the door. ”Father! We have a visitor.”

Leading Xavier in to his father’s workshop, it was quite big and packed full of many different gadgets. Ranging from a few opened watches, some missing springs, some gears, some screws, all the way to a giant model of a steam engine. It was obvious it had been opened, taken apart, and reassembled multiple times over. Mr. Livingston sat at his desk, hunched over a watch that he was currently repairing. He turned around hearing footsteps and raised an eyebrow. ”You don’t have to bring customers back here, you know that Victoria… Is something wrong?” He stood up, pulling out a rag to wipe off soot and oil that coated his hands. It was at this moment that Victoria had no idea how to introduce this man to her father. Hi dad, this complete stranger, possibly homeless man, is looking for work and a place to lay is head. Can we help him?

”Papa- I- Well. Um. This is Xavier.” Victoria began. Her father raised an eyebrow looking at the young man. ”Aye. It is good to meet you, Xavier.’ He stuck out his hand to give a strong handshake to him. ”Is this your newest suitor, Victoria? A lot more handsome than that last one, yet… his clothes seem kind of odd.” He whispered that last part to Victoria. Her face flushed as bright of a red as a roma tomato. ”NO! No- I- He-” God why was she being so bashful right now? ”He is looking for work and a place to stay! He was mugged outside of town, and fell into the river… I told him I wasn’t sure if you were looking to hire. But he is a scholar from-“ She paused, realizing she didn’t know where he was from. But it didn’t matter, as Mr. Livingston crossed his arms on his chest.

”No… I’m not really looking to hire right now… Unless you can prove to me that you really know your stuff… I can give you a place to sleep and… some money for new garments.” He stated, examining the odd clothing that Xavier wore. ”So… tell me what you know about watches… or engineering… or physics, or mechanics. I’ll see if I have a use for you.”

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As they passed through the various items in states of assembly and disrepair Xavier was like a kid in a candy shop. He almost had to be pried away from them, a silly boyish grin on his face. They were primitive, quaint, but he had always loved timepieces and methods of measuring space.

Xavier tried to gauge the handshake and return it in equal measure. It took a few seconds for the accented speech to sink in. “Suitor?” He flushed a little. It was hardly a disagreeable thought, but he hadn’t seriously considered it. Sure he had eased a little. He shook his head to get past that thought and into the present. “From out West. Xavier Thomas. And my specialties are theoretical physics and mathematics.” He recalled that an understanding of light was the big concern to the world of physics and shortly after the middle of the 19th century spectroscopy became a buzzword to the public. “I am an expert in the field of spectroscopy. But I doubt that would help here.

“I did study basic vector analysis and mechanics when I was fff … younger.”
He paused and cleared his throat. “But only theory, very little practical use. Still, you would find me a very quick study. I read extremely fast and have a perfect memory. Most timepieces are mainly a matter gear ratios, torque resistance, or gravity. Oh, water clocks rely on flow rates which rely on fluid dynamics and viscosity.

“I did look over some of the pieces as we entered. Some look like they just require cleaning. Some had some broken teeth on gears that would need to be rebuilt or replaced.”
He looked thoughtful. "One piece looked okay. Either you have already fixed it, or if it isn’t keeping proper time it has a bad spring. The other things in the room … I am afraid I’ll have a bit to learn. But I could start on the timepieces.

“Some clothes , a place to sleep, and food would be plenty. I could try to find some extra work as a pianist in town to get the rest and pay you back for the clothing. Toward that end I might need to borrow a screwdriver and a small pair of pliers in case pianos need tuning.

“I just thought of something. Is there a music store in town? One that sells pianos?”
He didn’t wait for a response. “And … what exactly is that thing over there?” He indicated the steam engine. He found it fascination. True it could never compete with power sources of the 24th century. It was an antique.

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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


Mr. Livingston raised an eyebrow as Xavier went on about the different parts and their repair. Victoria could tell that his father was somewhat impressed with his knowledge of these things. Victoria herself was more so patting herself on the back for not bringing home a complete lunatic to her father. Still they would have to be somewhat on their toes, as he was still a stranger. ”You really seem to know your stuff, Xavier. Very well. I can give you a place to sleep, and Victoria is an excellent cook.” He beamed when he mentioned Victoria, and her face went slightly pale. Oh no, he was about to go on his tirade. See, Victoria was at an age where it was still odd that she wasn’t married, but more odd that she didn’t have a steady suitor to begin that process. Sometimes he made it sound like she was an item to be auctioned off to any man that seemed suitable enough to her father. Victoria could only assume because he was handsome, and mildly knowledgeable, that he could be a potential suitor.

”Yes, Victoria is an excellent cook, a kindhearted and sweet young lady. Her penmanship is more perfect than any person’s I’ve seen in the entire state. I’ve seen her make quilts and hem clothing faster than a rabbit runs from a hungry fox. She is very literate and knows how to read and write properly. She can play the violin, she is good at arithmetic, and she-“ With that Victoria quickly intervened, pulling her father aside. ”Papa! Why don’t you tell Xavier all about your model steam engine? It is perfect to scale representation, and he is so proud to talk about it.” Mr. Livingston’s face lit up again and he turned his attention back towards the steam engine. ”Wonderful invention, isn’t it? It uses the pressure of coal and steam to power locomotives and boats. In fact, I’ve done several maintenance works on the steam engine ferry that goes back and forth on the Savannah river.” With that Mr. Livingston got off his tangent of his daughter and onto the mechanics of the steam engine. Victoria let out a gentle sigh and hurried back to the front desk while the two men were distracted by their work.

Reaching for her basket behind the desk, Victoria grabbed her book on mechanical devices and hurried up the stairs to her bedroom, being very careful to upon reaching the hallway just above her father’s workshop. She quickly stowed the book under her pillow and tiptoed back out into the stair well, where she heard her father’s voice ”I don’t have any clothes to give you… As I’m the only gentleman of the household, and any of my clothes would be too small…” Victoria was just getting back into the main entryway when she saw her father emerge from his workspace, pulling out the tin box holding the day’s earnings. He pulled out a two dollars and handed them over to Victoria. ”Take that and this young man to the town. Get him some new clothes.” Victoria overheard his question about a piano and Victoria pointed down a small hallway to a sitting room. ”We do have a piano in the sitting room… It may need to be tuned though, as it hasn’t been used in a few years.”

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So many unfamiliar words. Penmanship? Coal? Quilt? He strained to recall the order different forms of energy had been developed. The main one he recalled from this era was internal combustion. Steam must have been the predecessor. He had seen something about it in a museum once.

He nodded and mumbled. “Right … boil 18.02 grams of water to produce 22.414 liters of steam. It would produce a terrific amount of energy in the work of pressure. Use the pressure in a controlled chamber to convert it to mechanical force. Piston. Expansion into the piston chamber would allow the steam to cool partially. I sort of get the idea.”

When Mr Livingston pulled out money and handed it to Victoria, Xavier looked distinctly uncomfortable. He hated the idea of borrowing. But he remained silent. In truth he was fully clothed. His needs for clothing was a convention of the times. And he promised himself to make up for the costs by working hard.

The mention of the piano made his face light up an he failed to suppress a grin. “Mind if I check to see how badly out of tune it is? Won’t take but a second. Need to see it it needs any new strings. If it has been too long, some may be ready to break.”

He found the piano was at least dusted and not too badly scratched. It took him mere seconds to realize why the piano hadn’t been played in so long. Victoria’s mother was missing. He kept his silence for a moment. Then he looked back at Victoria seriously then turned and spoke to the piano. “Well, then m’lady. It would seem that you have been neglected for a time. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr Xavier Thomas. Let’s have a look at you shall we? Say ahh.” He was speaking to the piano as if it were alive.

His fingers started running over the keys from the low end playing every single note in rapid succession. He made an awful face. “Oh dear. Laryngitis. You poor thing. I’ll have to get you fixed right up just as soon as I get back. Let’s see if anything needs replacing.” He made access to the strings and ran his fingers over them lightly for a few minutes. “I was afraid of that. But I can fix this. But I’ll have to do it later as I need to give it my full attention.” He closed the piano back up and patted it gently.

He turned to Victoria. “For now, you have my undivided attention,” he glanced round impishly, “but we better hurry before something else in this toyshop distracts me...:”

He kept his questions until much later, after they had picked out some clothing. He had had no idea of his size or measurements - or rather he asked what units of measure they were accustomed to. And as usual he was constantly distracted by everything like a child who had never ventured into the world. But he kept his mouth shut mostly unless asked directly. He liked to smell things. A single sheet of paper seemed like a miracle to him. He called it ‘real’ paper. He stopped and stared at a horse and buggy as if he had never seen one and almost wandered off to inspect it. He studied people on the streets watching every mannerism. He muscles seemed to twitch as if being on the verge of mimicking them.

They passed by a card con game - one of those “guess where the lady is” razzle dazzle one. You know, with three cards, one usually a queen. Then the scam artist swaps them about so fast your eyes can’t follow. Xavier actually grinned as if, for once, he knew how the game was played. As they watched he shook his head each time the player was wrong. The guy running the con looked up at Xavier with annoyance. But Xavier knew better than to get involved and started to lead lead Victoria away. The player had also noticed Xavier’s shake of his head.

“Mister!” the loser called out. “You think you could do better?”

Xavier closed his eyes and reached into one pocket of his duster. Out came his deck of cards. He began cutting and fanning the deck, at first with one hand, then two. Then he pulled off a number of sleights. “Why yes I do. Card on the far left. That’s the queen. I used to play the game as a kid. I know how to win and how to cheat. I used to take men like you for just enough to get by, enough to buy food. His game is actually pretty honest, just enough deftness of his hands to make the game a matter of almost random chance for you. One in three makes for good house odds for him.” He nodded his head to the dealer. The man turned over the queen. Xavier smiled. “See, honest game.”

“I might actually play and let the lady make a few guesses, but I’ve had some troubles recently as you can tell from my manner of dress. So I am off to deal with that little problem first.”

Once out on the streets and alone with Victoria, Xavier apologized, then was back to asking questions. “What is penmanship? And coal and quilt? I’m sorry, but some of your words are unfamiliar.” His stomach growled as if to remind him how long it had been since he had eaten.

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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


It amused Victoria watching Xavier fiddle with the piano the way he did, pretending like it was a person. He wasn’t wrong in that it had been a very long time since the sound of the piano warmed the home. Victoria loss herself slightly in a daydream, remembering the days when the sound of playing echoed through the shop and the home above while her mother or younger sister played. But she quickly shook away the daydream, it wasn’t safe to linger to the past too long. ”The tavern in town has a piano already where you could perform for them… You just won’t be able to get much practice at home. If you do impress them though, and start making money, it would be nice if you could replace the cords.” Victoria paused her statement for a second, as they were walking through the town and to a tailor to have him fitted into some clothes. Well, he really didn’t have to spend his money fixing up the piano. It wasn’t like it belong to him or was his. In fact, she was surprised her father still held onto the old thing and didn’t just sell it for parts. The cords were bad, but there were other little mechanisms to it that she was sure others would need to refurnish or fix their own pianos. Victoria wasn’t sure the last time someone tried to convince her father to fix a piano though.

At the tailor, Victoria was about to purchase for Xavier three outfits. A night suit, two day suits, and a Sunday suit. The Sunday suit was meant to be very nice, however it was significant outside of her budget to buy something extremely nice. What they got would have to do, and even then, it was more expensive than the other two articles of clothing. ”You better take could care of these… especially the Sunday suit.” She stated, handing over the boxes of clothes for him to carry. She found it a little odd when he asked which measurements they used. The Imperial system, though she thought on it more. If he really was a scholar, he probably preferred the metric system… But still, why would he ask that? It is a common knowledge thing.

Getting out into the streets again, as the day grew more and more busy, keeping up with Xavier was keeping up with a child in a candy shop. He had to run off and examine such mundane things frequently, like a coach and horses, and even picking up a piece of paper to smell it. He was really off his rocker, and Victoria determined that he must have banged his head pretty hard falling into the river. Maybe on a few stones on the way down.

Continuing from the tailor, they started to make their way to the tavern, to give him a chance to see it, and try to convince the owner to let him practice a few bars. But it seemed that he was quickly distracted by day gamblers. Victoria sighed and kept a close eye on the boxes as he set them down to show off his own deck. Victoria didn’t particularly like gambling. Statistically almost everything was in the initiator’s favor. Especially with this guessing game. Victoria kept a close eye on the Queen as the man shuffled and mixed her around. Each time, Victoria had no difficulty keeping up with the Queen. In fact, she could have easily wiped the poor fool clean. But she felt that gambling for money wasn’t an honest earning.

She was a little impressed with his shuffling skills. He was very good at it in fact. Even she tended to struggle making a perfect bridge, as her hands were too small to properly hold the cards. But, for him to mentioned he gambled for food sounded suspicious to Victoria. If he was a scholar, well he didn’t have to be rich, but he certainly wouldn’t be broke either. Why would he have to gamble his way just for a meal? Getting away from the gamblers, and all of the clothes boxes still intact, Xavier started questioning her more about such mundane things. ”Did you bang your head on your fall into the river? These are really such common things, little kids would know them… Do you think we should have you go to a doctor? There is one not far down the road.” Victoria looked worried at him, and then heard his stomach growl, and something clicked. If he hadn’t eaten in a long time, perhaps he wasn’t able to focus due to the hunger. Victoria reached into her purse, pulling out a few coins and placing them in Xavier’s pocket.

”It would look odd if I bought us something to eat… Let’s go to a café and get you something to eat. There is one just a few blocks away… and if you still aren’t feeling well, I’ll take you to the doctor. With that, Victoria turned and began to walk at a slightly quicker pace to the small café that was jointed with a small general store.

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Victoria’s questions plagued Xavier. He accepted them grimly, then shook his head. “No, I didn’t hit my head. But I did fall from about 50 meters or 150 feet. I went in feet first, but not quite as vertical as I would have liked. So yes, my head and neck got a bit of a jolt. But that isn’t why I don’t know those words. I was afraid of this. That’s why I didn’t ask in front of your father. Victoria, I have no idea what to ask for in the way of food. I did visit Atlanta and had something called grits. Tasted like grit too - like slightly flavored sand I could barely choke down. For something so popular I figure they can’t have been cooked right.” (They were instant with not enough water added.)

He looked down at the coins and frowned. Then he began flipped them over his fingers and doing sleight of hand tricks. “I could have made it back to the house. But as you wish. But I am going to ask for your suggestions. And maybe we can sit down and talk a little in private. But about that card game back there, I was an orphan at 5. I was self taught up until that age. But by then my education level was comparable to someone ready for a university today in mathematics and physics. By 15 I surpassed my instructors - mostly on my own after being expelled for cheating. I didn’t cheat, but noone would believe a street rat like me could do better than all the perfect children.”

Xavier was silent for a moment. He needed someone to confide in, to understand him for who he was. “I am going to show you something you can’t tell anyone else about.” He reached into his pocket and this time withdrew a small tube about half the length of a Bic pen. It was made of a strange material that resembled a blue ivory. On the tip was a clear glass like bubble. Xavier cupped his hand around it and the clear bubble lit up. It was a light bulb - like Thomas Edison’s, but impossibly small. It turned of and he put it away. “I’ll show you again later, not here in public.”

When they got to the cafe, Xavier tried to seat them where he could speak without being overheard. While the waiter was there he spoke politely. “Just something to hold me off until later. I don’t want to spoil my appetite. Is it too late for breakfast?” He wanted to try grits made old fashioned, not as a tourist thing. But by this time it was past noon. “Have you ever heard of peanut butter?” Noone had. The patent wouldn’t come out until later in the century. “Coffee? With cream and sugar. I don’t suppose you’ve ever heard of caramel macchiato? No? Hmph, I’ll probably never find it again. Regular cream and sugar is fine.” He wanted to watch them make it, but decided against it. His eyes darted to Victoria’s as he held his breath, then he shook his head. “Uhm, Victoria, any suggestions? I figure you know what is good here better than I would.” She would also be more likely to know the prices.

Once the waitress had their order and had walked off, Xavier leaned closer. “You know, we just bought three suits for about the price of a cup of coffee where I am from.” He withdrew a little, but kept his voice low. “I have never seen a horse before today except as a picture. You find this odd. But I really don’t know what those words mean.”

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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


Sitting down in the café, Victoria was growing slightly worried for her knew acquaintance. He acted as if he didn’t know how to function as a human being. He didn’t know how to order food? What to order? Didn’t know about penmanship, quilting. And what the hell was peanut butter? She imagined churning peanuts like a handmaid would churn milk into butter. It didn’t quite sit well with her, and it had her slightly on edge. But it wasn’t a huge shock, this man had been acting strange since the very beginning. She concluded he had to have some brain damage if he was acting and talking the way that he had. So bad that he couldn’t acknowledge what was wrong with him. Yet at the same time, he talked to sane and naturally to her, it was all just so confusing. This all didn’t explain the tiny blue bulb that Xavier carried around with him.

She symptomized with his story about his childhood. It sounded like a rough upbringing from the start, and the odds simply weren’t in his favor it seemed. It was unfortunate that orphans these days had such awful cards played to them so early in life. Victoria wondered if the future would somehow be different. She wondered if there would be a future where ‘orphans’ became an archaic word.

In hopes of trying to rattle his memories some, she started to speak. ’Well, penmanship is simply the skill of having neat and legible handwriting. It is one thing to know how to read and spell, but if others can’t read your handwriting it is pointless. Quilting is sewing together patches of cotton, wool, and other soft fabrics to make a large blanket. The style right now is making a quilt of family members, or ones that tell stories through little pictures on them. The easiest ones to do, though, are the mosaic quilts. A horse is… a four-legged beast. I mean. You saw what it looked like. They are mostly tamed, but they say you can find tons of wild ones far out west, along with savages.” Victoria had also ordered a coffee, but just got it black. She much preferred the bitter taste of coffee.

Caramel macchiato? It sounded like it would be a fancy Italian drink. Caramel in a drink though? It sounded kind of gross. And clothes for the price of coffee? What kind of coffee cost $2??? It better have been made with the finest beans the world could produce, and made with the purest water the Earth and heavens above could produce. ”Look, Xavier. If we are going to accept you into our home, feed you, and clothe you, I want you to be completely honest with me… You can’t be serious about all these ramblings of yours. I refuse to believe it.” She shook her head, rather exasperated and on the verge of being annoyed. ”And how could someone not like grits? They are delicious!” She almost was yelling at this point, a few of the workers started looking their way. Victoria blushed and covered her mouth, calming down. ”I didn’t really give you enough for anything fancy here. Just order some bread and butter and it should hold us off for a while… Maybe some fresh fruit as well…”

Victoria sat back in her seat, her arms crossed in front of her breasts. She was making a rather stern face. Victoria was a woman of reason and logic, and so much of his ramblings weren’t making any sense to her, and it was causing her to be frustrated. What was he trying to hide so much from her?

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Xavier’s face hardened when Victoria accused him of lying. “I very, very rarely - if ever - lie. I lied to the officers about what I was doing to end up dressed like this … but that was what is a paradoxical attempt to preserve the lives of billions of people. I have never written before because someone always did that for me. I never said I didn’t like grits, but that I suspected they were made wrong. I was hoping to try some here to check that fact. The people who made my grits in Atlanta probably never saw real grits.”

His face softened again. “You aren’t seeing me at my best. Please, please be patient with me. I am trying to explain myself a step at a time. The concepts I have to explain haven’t been considered yet. But let’s take your suggestion and I will explain more on the way home.”

When the bread got out to him he tasted his food gingerly at first breaking off a small piece like a European, smiled at the taste, then took bigger bites. Soon he was wolfing it down. It was funnier to watch him eat a peach. He didn’t know what it was and just said it was fuzzy. The peach was the size of a softball, not one of the tiny bitter things sold in grocery stores in the next century. But he had been watching other people eat and figured it out quick. He sliced it in half to pop out the pit. Then he cut a slice. His eyes flew wide open as he took his first bite. He had to fight back a grin. “Okay, peaches are definitely on my list of good things,” he managed to say with his mouth barely empty for an instant before popping in another bite. He tried to offer some to Victoria.

Once they had paid and were on their way back. He started to talk again. “I promised to explain some things. Where do I start? I am sure you realize I haven’t been completely honest. So I am going to describe something impossible to believe. I don’t know how good your math is, but most people today - in 1870 - think we live in three dimensions. Space. Length, width, and depth. But there is a fourth dimension - Time. You think we pass through it in one direction and that one direction is the only way to go. Past, to present to future.

“But what if we could move in the opposite direction? Remember, I said impossible. You must NOT repeat what I am about to tell you. The idea won’t be considered until the next century. I am going to suggest a hypothetical situation. I man decides to go back in time to meet his grandfather when he is a young man - before his father was even born. His grandfather invites him to go hunting and they have a terrible accident. He trips and his gun goes off killing his grandfather.

“This is called a paradox. If he killed his grandfather before his father was even born, then he will never be born. And yet if that were true, how could he have gone back in the first place to create the paradox?”
He paused to give Victoria a chance to think about his story.

“The first woman to become a president happens in the 21st century. She will be a senator from Texas. Women will vote, become scientists, soldiers, police, pilots, astronauts, politicians, doctors. It will take time, but things change.”
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𝓥𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓛𝓲𝓿𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 ➳ ♥

"Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal."


Victoria listened, trying to retain her patience with Xavier as he spoke to her. He claimed he wasn’t a liar, and that he only lied in certain circumstances. She scoffed very slightly under her breath before looking away towards the street. She grabbed up a piece of buttered biscuit and took a bit from it. That sounded like a line any many would give to a woman to try and maker her believe whatever tall tale followed after. It was hard for her to keep her composure and remained calm. She hated being lied to by men. Especially during a time where men always tried to hide truths that were “too much for a woman to handle”.

After he finally got some food in his stomach, he started talking again about multiple dimensions. Well it made obvious sense. There was what was in front of her, and what was around her. The now, the present. And of course, there was the past and the future. She usually didn’t dwell much on the past, and very rarely looked to the future. She tended to focus more of her time and energy on the here and now of everything. She continued to eat her biscuit listening to him go on. Going… backwards in time? That didn’t really make sense to Victoria. It wasn’t like she could undo the decisions or mistakes that she made before. As much as she so wished that she could. Take back things she said, take back things she did. Everyone probably had regrets like that.

She thought on the paradoxical statement that was presented to her. It was an interesting brain twister for sure, but he thought back to some of the jokes that men tended to share with one another. She simply giggled, biting into her biscuit. ”Is that supposed to be like one of those riddles? Where the grandfather isn’t in fact his grandfather. And it turns out the wife was sleeping with their neighbor?” She giggled, it was a dumb joke. Often also adjusted in reference to a white wife and a white husband suddenly having a black child. They were crude jokes for sure, but it didn’t keep them from behind funny.

He then began talking about the future with women, and she seemed to focus on that. How did he know what it would be like in the 21st century? That would be the 2000s? Her head spun a little bit, thinking almost 130 years to the future. She had no idea what it could have looked like. With how quickly technology was changing presently, who knew how far advanced the United States would become in the future. The greatest thing Victoria could think of was simply making machines faster and more powerful with less fuel usage. But was that even physically possible? If it were, wouldn’t people have figured it out? He went on to say all of the things woman could do. Vote? Like in an election? Victoria probably kept up with as much local politics as her father and other men around her. In fact she sometimes felt that she knew more than some of them. ”What does this all have to do with anything, Xavier? How do you know that… those things can happen?” She finally spoke up. She hadn’t made eye contact the entire time, not being able to trust much of what was coming from Xavier’s lips.

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Mitheral

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“Not a riddle. Not a joke. I am trying to explain why so much of everything is strange to me. Imagine a man living to day suddenly going back five hundred years. Imagine how different the world would seem. Would guns exist? Steam engines? And even the language. I know how confusing what I am saying is. I know how hard it is to believe. I am only going to ask you to keep an open mind and accept that very little here is familiar to me. If I ever seem confused by something everyone ought to know, consider that this is why. And understand that I respect the thoughts of a woman in all matters - even those most men of today might think are beyond a woman’s ability to have an opinion or interest.

“I could use some lessons in how to write. That would be a good start. I don’t even know what you use. They used feathers, right?”
This time he was only partly right. Most people now used quill pens. The latest in a series of versions had recently been patented and was very similar to those used in calligraphy into the 21st century. The principle was the sample. The quill PEN was more durable and less prone to leaks.

“For now, I will try to stop the crazy talk. I just needed to talk to someone about … And I have to decide just how much I have to integrate - become part of - this time. Everything I do will change the future. The security system that prevents bypassing the 2 hour limit needs work.” Again he stopped and looked annoyed. “Sorry, I know, crazy talk. But you asked how I know these things. I know them because for me they have already happened. My past; your future.

“But to explain it all at once is too much. When we are alone again later and you are ready to listen, ask. It doesn’t have to be about this crazy stuff. Ask me anything about science - especially math or physics. Although it would be easier if I had a way to write the explanations down so you could see them better. Non Euclidean geometry was developed in this century as I recall. In fact, next year Klein, uhm …”
he stopped.

Xavier smiled a little embarrassed. “See what a pretty face can get out of me. I just can’t shut up around you.” He broke out into a mischievous grin and wouldn’t stop smiling all the way back.

++++++++

When they got back to the Livingston home, Xavier asked where to put all the boxes. The suits needed to be hemmed. Xavier offered to do that himself - if someone would show him how. But that was considered women's work and Mr Livingston had work for Xavier to do.

Xavier wanted to work on the watches - starting to cleaning and simple repairs. To him they were the easiest to understand. And so long as he could work alone, he could do the work a dozen times faster than the old man.

The first watch had been dropped in mud into manure pit - literally. Cow mess. As the old man described it Xavier struggled to keep a straight face. He was grinning by the end of the man’s explanation of the task. The man figured the watch was already too corroded to be fixed. Xavier considered that the best part of the job. He liked doing what others considered impossible.

“Well, cleaning a watch out of something from the south end of a cow isn’t my idea of a dream job. But I shall give it my best effort." He scraped a small sample of the dung out and did a litmus test. That impressed the old man a bit. Then he took some vinegar and diluted it. Then he got a small paint brush. The old man left Xavier to it. Xavier was showing a real knack for the work.

Once left to work on his own, Xavier pulled out a small flat coin shaped canister about the size of a half dollar and twice as thick. It was really just a solution he used to clean his glasses. But this solution was from the 24th century and made from picotech. To say it repaired scratches and pits would have been inaccurate. It actually drew from the surrounding material to fill in the imperfections to generate a mathematically smooth curvature. All he needed was a broken piece of a gear or spring and he could return the watch to factory specs in a few minutes. He was cautious to reduce the effect so as to not make his work look TOO good. That would have been hard to explain.

Xavier started grabbing other watches and explained that the first one needed time for oil and conditioning. By dinner he had completed half week’s work. And he had the manure watch working as good as new. He had even polished out a stain on the glass face that had been the result of a cigar.

Finally it was dinner time.

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