Bottles tumbled from the shelves. Furniture was upset. Precious liquids flowed unrestrained and unnoticed. Finally the professor dropped with exhaustion and the rat and Mag Nesia made a dash for freedom.
Early in the morning pedestrians on Arlington Avenue were attracted by a sign in brilliant letters.
Professor Carbonic early in the morning betook himself to the nearest hardware store and purchased the tools necessary for his new profession. He was an M.D. and his recently acquired knowledge put him in a position to startle the world. Having procured what he needed he returned home.
Things were developing fast. Mag Nesia met him at the door and told him that Sally Soda, who was known to the neighborhood as Sal or Sal Soda generally, had fallen down two flights of stairs, and to use her own words was "Putty bad." Sal Soda's mother, in sending for a doctor, had read the elaborate sign of the new enemy of death, and begged that he come to see Sal as soon as he returned.
Bidding Mag Nesia to accompany him, he went to the laboratory and secured his precious preparation. Professor Carbonic and the unwilling Mag Nesia started out to put new life into a little Sal Soda who lived in the same block.
Reaching the house they met the family physician then attendant on little Sal. Doctor X. Ray had also read the sign of the professor and his greeting was very chilly.
"How is the child?" asked the professor.
"Fatally hurt and can live but an hour." Then he added, "I have done all that can be done."
"All that you can do," corrected the professor.
With a withering glance, Doctor X. Ray left the room and the house. His reputation was such as to admit of no intrusion.
"I am sorry she is not dead, it would be easier to work, and also a more reasonable charge." Giving Mag Nesia his instruments he administered a local anesthetic; this done he selected a brace and bit that he had procured that morning. With these instruments he bored a small hole into the child's head. Inserting his hypodermic needle, he injected the immortal fluid, then cutting the end off a dowel, which he had also procured that morning, he hammered it into the hole until it wedged itself tight.
Professor Carbonic seated himself comfortably and awaited the action of his injection, while the plump Mag Nesia paced or rather waddled the floor with a bag of carpenter's tools under her arm.
The fluid worked. The child came to and sat up. Sal Soda had regained her pep.
"It will be one dollar and twenty-five cents, Mrs. Soda," apologized the professor. "I have to make that charge as it is so inconvenient to work on them when they are still alive."
Having collected his fee, the professor and Mag Nesia departed, amid the ever rising blessings of the Soda family.
At 3:30 P.M. Mag Nesia sought her employer, who was asleep in the sitting room.
"Marse Paul, a gentleman to see you."
The professor awoke and had her send the man in.
The man entered hurriedly, hat in hand. "Are you Professor Carbonic?"
"I am, what can I do for you?"
"Can you----?" the man hesitated. "My friend has just been killed in an accident. You couldn't----" he hesitated again.
"I know that it is unbelievable," answered the professor. "But I can."
Professor Carbonic for some years had suffered from the effects of a weak heart. His fears on this score had recently been entirely relieved. He now had the prescription--Death no more! The startling discovery, and the happenings of the last twenty-four hours had begun to take effect on him, and he did not wish to make another call until he was feeling better.
"I'll go," said the professor after a period of musing. "My discoveries are for the benefit of the human race, I must not consider myself."
He satisfied himself that he had all his tools. He had just sufficient of the preparation for one injection; this, he thought, would be enough; however, he placed in his case, two vials of different solutions, which were the basis of his discovery. These fluids had but to be mixed, and after the chemical reaction had taken place the preparation was ready for use.
He searched the house for Mag Nesia, but the old servant had made it certain that she did not intend to act as nurse to dead men on their journey back to life. Reluctantly he decided to go without her.
"How is it possible!" exclaimed the stranger, as they climbed into the waiting machine.
"I have worked for fifteen years before I found the solution," answered the professor slowly.
"I cannot understand on what you could have based a theory for experimenting on something that has been universally accepted as impossible of solution."
"With electricity, all is possible; as I have proved." Seeing the skeptical look his companion assumed, he continued, "Electricity is the basis of every motive power we have; it is the base of every formation that we know." The professor was warming to the subject.
"Go on," said the stranger, "I am extremely interested."
"Every sort of heat that is known, whether dormant or active, is only one arm of the gigantic force electricity. The most of our knowledge of electricity has been gained through its offspring, magnetism. A body entirely devoid of electricity, is a body dead. Magnetism is apparent in many things including the human race, and its presence in many people is prominent."
"But how did this lead to your experiments?"
"If magnetism or motive force, is the offspring of electricity, the human body must, and does contain electricity. That we use more electricity than the human body will induce is a fact; it is apparent therefore that a certain amount of electricity must be generated within the human body, and without aid of any outside forces. Science has known for years that the body's power is brought into action through the brain. The brain is our generator. The little cells and the fluid that separate them, have the same action as the liquid of a wet battery; like a wet battery this fluid wears out and we must replace the fluid or the sal ammoniac or we lose the use of the battery or body. I have discovered what fluid to use that will produce the electricity in the brain cells which the human body is unable to induce."
"We are here," said the stranger as he brought the car to a stop at the curb.
"You are still a skeptic," noting the voice of the man. "But you shall see shortly."
The man led him into the house and introduced him to Mrs. Murray Attic, who conducted him to the room where the deceased Murray Attic was laid.
Without a word the professor began his preparations. He was ill, and would have preferred to have been at rest in his own comfortable house. He would do the work quickly and get away.
Selecting a gimlet, he bored a hole through the skull of the dead man; inserting his hypodermic he injected all the fluid he had mixed. He had not calculated on the size of the gimlet and the dowels he carried would not fit the hole. As a last resource he drove in his lead pencil, broke it off close, and carefully cut the splinters smooth with the head.
"It will be seventy-five cents, madam," said the professor as he finished the work.
Mrs. Murray Attic paid the money unconsciously; she did not know whether he was embalming her husband or just trying the keenness of his new tools. The death had been too much for her.
The minutes passed and still the dead man showed no signs of reviving. Professor Carbonic paced the floor in an agitated manner. He began to be doubtful of his ability to bring the man back. Worried, he continued his tramp up and down the room. His heart was affecting him. He was tempted to return the seventy-five cents to the prostrate wife when--THE DEAD MAN MOVED!
The professor clasped his hands to his throat, and with his head thrown back dropped to the floor. A fatal attack of the heart.
He became conscious quickly. "The bottles there," he whispered. "Mix--, make injection." He became unconscious again.
The stranger found the gimlet and bored a hole in the professor's head, hastily seizing one of the vials, he poured the contents into the deeply made hole. He then realized that there was another bottle.
"Mix them!" shrieked the almost hysterical woman.
It was too late, the one vial was empty, and the professor's body lay lifeless.
In mental agony the stranger grasped the second vial and emptied its contents also into the professor's head, and stopped the hole with the cork.
Miraculously Professor Carbonic opened his eyes, and rose to his feet. His eyes were like balls of fire; his lips moved inaudibly, and as they moved little blue sparks were seen to pass from one to another. His hair stood out from his head. The chemical reaction was going on in the professor's brain, with a dose powerful enough to restore ten men. He tottered slightly.
Murray Attic, now thoroughly alive, sat up straight in bed. He grasped the brass bed post with one hand and stretched out the other to aid the staggering man.
He caught his hand; both bodies stiffened; a slight crackling sound was audible; a blue flash shot from where Attic's had made contact with the bed post; then a dull thud as both bodies struck the floor. Both men were electrocuted, and the formula is still a secret.
By Gene Hunter
Kial was disgusted with the slow, cumbersome train. He disliked using this uncomfortable means of travel, but since he wanted to learn more about these strange creatures who were his ancestors, he had decided to try to become used to their ways.
He was lonely in this strange, backward age and when he unexpectedly saw another being like himself in the same coach, he hastened to make his presence known. He introduced himself and asked politely: "When are you from?"
"8000," the other replied. "Name's Broyk, from VII Galaxy."
"I'm from out XIX way myself," Kial said. "Just a country boy. But 8000--that's only a period ahead of my own time. Maybe you could tell me ..."
"Ah, ah!" the other admonished. "Remember the First Law of Thek!"
"Oh, Center," Kial grumbled. "I know: 'One may not divulge any scientific, technical or social information to anyone from his own past whom he may meet at an equidistant point in a Thek-travel.' I forgot."
"Bad," Broyk said. Then he added, almost jokingly: "You wouldn't want to be marooned in this dismal era, would you?"
Kial shuddered. "Of course not. But the Laws seem so ridiculous."
"Not a bit," Broyk said, warming up to the subject. "It's very simple, really. Same principle that doesn't allow anyone to Thek-travel into the future.
"Look. I'm from 8000. Say that I went into 12,000, where I memorized as much information as I could on some subject such as medicine. So I return to 8000, retaining all such knowledge in my mind that's been learned in four periods. Therefore, I'd have knowledge that wasn't dreamed of in my own time, but was discovered sometime during the next four periods. But then it couldn't be discovered, because I'd brought it back to 8000 and--well, I'm no Logician, but you see my point."
"Oh, it's reasonable, I suppose," Kial admitted. "I realize the Laws are really for our own good. By the way--I'm here on a field trip to gather material for my thesis on Advanced Therapeutical Psychology and its development since the Twentieth Century. What phase of this era are you here to study?"
"I--I'm afraid I couldn't tell you that," Broyk said. "It's of rather a secret nature and ..."
"You mean we might violate a Law and be stuck here for good--is that it?"
"Yes--in a way."
Frightened, Kial let the matter drop. His gaze wandered through the coach, examining the other passengers with interest. As time-travelers from a different space-time plane from their 20th Century ancestors, he and Broyk were naturally invisible to their fellow travelers.
Two pompous old gentlemen were lighting cigars and Kial was about to remark on the habit of smoking when he noticed an even more remarkable phenomenon. A few seats ahead of them sat a good-looking young couple, oblivious to others about them.
"Look!" Kial cried excitedly. "Lovers! Honeymooners! I've read about such things! Isn't it disgusting?"
"Oh, I don't know," Broyk said, a little wistfully. "I sometimes think it was a mistake for Center to do away with sex. It must have been interesting."
"Atavist!" Kial snapped in horror.
Had his people's emotional make-up provided for blushing, Kial would undoubtedly have turned beet-red. Broyk's words had caused him acute embarrassment.
As he sat reflecting upon his strange companion, he suddenly began to feel a sensation he had often heard about but never before had experienced. Terror and dismay filled him as he sought to throw off the probing finger that was penetrating his mind.
He looked at Broyk. There was the faintest notion of a smile on the other's face as he said: "Yes, Kial--I am a Telepath."
Kial's mind reeled. He felt himself on the brink of some gigantic abyss and then, as suddenly as it had come, the searching sensation faded away.
"Since you are unable to enter my mind," Broyk said calmly, "it's only fair that I tell you about myself. You were right--I'm an atavist. Even in period 8000, such things can happen. Always such creatures are destroyed after their first psychotests, but my case was different. The Controller who bred me was only a dabbler in such things. I was a failure, but he took a fancy to me. I was allowed to mature secretly--few people knew of my existence. When I reached my majority my presence became dangerous and I was sent back into time to try and find the proper place for myself. And I think I've found it--here!"
Kial was a very amazed young man. "But such a barbarous age," he complained. "Sex and atom bombs and everything ..."
"Remember," Broyk smiled, "these people are the forebears of the geniuses who created Center and the Galactic Empire. They'll survive, despite their barbarism. The existence of Center is proof."
"It's rather horrible to contemplate," Kial said thoughtfully, calmer now, "and yet, this might really be a great age. In a way I almost envy you."
"Of course you do," Broyk said. "You have certain tendencies--they bother you, although you manage to hide them well. I discovered them when I took the liberty of telepathing you. Artificial Genetics isn't perfect, even in our time--perhaps because we originally sprang from man. Perhaps we'll never be quite perfect, because of that, even after thousands of periods of breeding."
Kial took another look at the loving young couple. "It--it might be fun, after all."
Broyk laughed. "You needn't envy me at all, you know."
"I'm telling you about myself," Broyk went on, "I have also told you of a specific condition existing a period ahead of your own time. Remember the First Law?"
"We're marooned in the Twentieth Century. You have to accept it."