Feb. 16, 2631—Dear Diary: Do I dare do it? It’s so frustrating to have to be dependent upon the whims of a physicist like Croton Myers. I’m sure the man is a sadist—to say nothing of being a pompous ass with his scientific double-talk, and selfish to boot. Otherwise, why won’t he let me use the time-grapple? All that folderol about disrupting the fabric of time.
He actually patted me on the shoulder today when I swallowed my righteous indignation to the extent of pleading once more with him. “Don’t take it so hard, Bugsy,” he said—imagine—’Bugsy’—to me, Philton J. Bugsomer, B.A., M.A., L.L.D., Ph.D., “in about twenty years it’ll be out of the experimental stage. Then we’ll see if something can’t be done for you.”
It’s intolerable. As if a little handful of people would be missed out of the whole Roman Empire. Well, if I can’t do it with his permission, I will do it without. See if I don’t. My reputation as a scholar of sociomatics is at stake.
Feb. 18, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF THE POLICE: The emperor has expressed a wish for a battle between a handful of gladiators and an equal number of Christians. Have gladiators but am fresh out of Christians. Can you help me out?
CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA
Feb. 19, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA: I think I might be able to lay my hands on a few Christians for you—possibly. And then again I might not. By the way, that’s a nice little villa you have out in the Falernian Hills.
CAPTAIN OF POLICE
Feb. 19, 65: Papirius:
All right, you robber. The villa’s yours. But hurry! We’ve only got a few days left.
Feb. 21, 65: Dear L:
Thanks for the villa. The papers just arrived. By an odd coincidence I had overlooked the fact that we already had sixteen fine, healthy Christians on hand, here. I am sending them on to you.
Love and kisses,
Feb. 22, 2631: Dear Diary: Congratulate me! I knew my chance would come. Late last night I sneaked into the physics building. That fool of a Myers hadn’t even had the sense to lock the door of his laboratory. I opened it and went in, pulled down the shade, turned on the light, and was able to work in complete security. Luckily, I had already played on his credulity to the extent of representing myself as overawed by the mechanical mind, and so induced him to give me a rough idea of how he operated the time-grapple (this over the lunch table in the Faculty Club) so, with a little experimenting, and—I will admit it—some luck, I was able to carry off my plans without a hitch.
I bagged sixteen young males from the period of Nero’s reign—along somewhere in the last years. By great good luck they happened to be Christians taken prisoner and destined for the Roman Games. Consequently the guards had them all huddled together in a tiny cell. That’s why the time-grapple was able to pick up so many at one grab. They came along quite docilely, and I have quartered them in the basement of my house where they seem to be quite comfortable and I can study them at my leisure.
Wait until the Sociomatics department here at the University sees the paper I’ll write on this!
Feb. 23, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF POLICE: Where are my Christians? Don’t think you can gyp me out of my villa and then not deliver.
CAPTAIN OF ARENA
Feb. 23, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA: You got your Christians. I saw them delivered myself. Third cell on the right, beneath the stands.
CAPTAIN OF POLICE
Feb. 24, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF POLICE: I tell you they’re not there.
CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA
Feb. 24, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF ARENA: And I tell you they are:
CAPTAIN OF POLICE
P.S. Are you calling me a liar?
Feb. 25, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF POLICE: I tell you THEY’RE NOT THERE. Come on over and look for yourself if you don’t believe me.
CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA
Feb. 25, 65: Listen, Lictus:
I don’t know what kind of a game you think you’re playing, but I haven’t time to bother with it right now. Whether you know it or not, the Games load a lot of extra work on the police. I’m up to my ears in details connected with them, and I won’t put up with having you on my neck, too. I’ve got the receipt signed by your jailer, on delivery. Any more noise from your direction and I’ll turn it, together with your recent memos, over to the Emperor himself and you can straighten it out with him.
Feb. 25, 2631: Dear Diary: What shall I do? How like that sneaky, underhanded physicist to be studying historical force lines in the Roman era, without mentioning it to me. Myers came into lunch today fairly frothing with what can only be described as childish excitement and alarm. It seems he had discovered a hole in the time-fabric in the year 65, although he hasn’t so far been able to place its exact time and location (this is, of course, my sixteen Christians) and he tried to frighten us all with lurid talk about a possible time collapse or distortion that might well end the human race—if the hole was not found and plugged. This is, of course, the most utter nonsense. Time collapse, indeed! But I can take no chances on his discovering what actually happened, and so I realized right away that I had to plug the hole.
The idea of putting back my Romans is, of course, unthinkable. They are beginning to respond in a most interesting manner to some spatial relationship tests I have been giving them. Therefore I cleverly sounded out Myers to find the necessary factors to plug the hole. I gather that any sixteen men would do, provided they conformed to the historically important characteristics of the Roman group. This sounded simple when he first said it, but since then the problem has been growing in my mind. For the important characteristics are clearly that they be all Christians who are willing to die for their faith. I might easily find such a group in Roman times but in order to hide the gap my replacements will make I will have to take them from some other era—one Myers is not studying. I have only a day or two at most. Oh, dear diary, what shall I do?
PHYSICIST GIVEN KNOCKOUT DROPS
(Feb. 27, 2631). When Croton Myers, outstanding physicist and professor of Physical Sciences at the university here showed a marked tendency to snore during his after-lunch classes, his students became alarmed and carried him over to the University Hospital. There, doctors discovered that the good professor had somehow been doped. There were no ill effects, however, and Dr. Myers was awake and on his feet some eighteen hours later. Authorities are investigating.
Feb. 29, 2631: Dear Diary: SUCCESS! Everything has been taken care of. I am so relieved.
Feb. 28, 1649 (From the Journal of John Stowe)—Today, by the will of the Lord, we are safely on our way from Appleby, fifteen men under the valiant leadership of Sergeant Flail-of-the-Lord Smith, having by our very presence in Appleby served to strike fear into the hearts of the papist plotters there, so that they dispersed—all of the troop in good health and spirits save only for one small trouble, of which I will relate.
It hath come to pass, that, being on our way from Appleby to Carlisle, there to join the forces of Captain Houghton, if God shall suffer such to come to pass, we have found ourselves at nightfall in a desolate section of the country, wasted by the late harrying and pillaging. We decided to pitch camp where we found ourselves rather than adventure farther in the dark.
Therefore, we made ourselves comfortable with such simple fare as contents a servant of the Lord, and our provisions supplied, and having sung a goodly hymn and given ourselves over to an hour or so of prayer for the pleasing of our souls, some among us fell to talking of the nature of the surrounding waste, recalling that from heathen times it hath had the name of being a place of most evil and supernatural resort. But our good Sergeant Flail-of-the-Lord, speaking up cheerily, rebuked those who talked so, saying “Are we not all servants of the Lord, and strong in his wrath? Therefore, gird ye up your courage and take heart.”
But there were still some among us—and I do confess some sort of the same weakness in myself—who found the blackness and desolation press still heavily upon our souls, reminding us of manifold sins and wickedness whereby we had placed ourselves in danger of the Pit and the ever-present attacks of the Enemy. And our good Sergeant, seeing this, and perceiving we needed the sweet comfort and assuagement of the Word of the Lord, he bade us sit close by him, and opening his Book which was the Word of the Lord, read to us from II Kings Chapter 9, concerning the overthrow and just fate of Jezebel, whereat we were all greatly cheered and entreated him that he read more to us.
But it happened at this time that a small trouble was thrust upon us, inasmuch as it appeared to all of us that the wide and empty fields of night which surrounded us were whisked away and the appearance of a cell, stone on three sides, and a thick iron grating on the fourth, surrounded us. Whereat we were at first somewhat surprised. However, our good Sergeant, looking up from his Book, bade us mind it not, for that it was no more than a manifestation of whatever unholy spirits plagued the spot and which they had called up in jealous defiance of the sweet virtue of the Lord’s word, as he had been reading it.
On hearing this, all were reassured, and, the hour being late, lay down to rest, inasmuch as we are to march at the first break of dawn. So, now, as I write these words, by God’s mercy, nearly all are disposed to slumber, saving that the enchantment of the cell doth make somewhat for cramped quarters and I do confess that I, myself am somewhat ill-at-ease, being accustomed to the good pressure of my stout sword against my side as I go to sleep. This, however, may not be helped, for, since it is the custom of our troop to lay aside all sharp tools on coming into the presence of the Lord our weapons are hidden from us by the enchantment and it would be a mark of lack of faith to pretend to search for them.
And, so, thanks be to the Lord, I will close this entry in my journal and dispose myself for a night of rest.
March 1, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF POLICE: I notice you finally got cold feet and got those Christians over here after all. But I warn you, I’m not yet altogether satisfied. They look like pretty odd-appearing Christians to me. More like barbarians. And if you’ve rung in something like that on me, I warn you, the Emperor will hear of it. My gladiators are too valuable to risk with a group of Goths or Vandals.
CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA
March 1, 65: MEMO TO CAPTAIN OF ARENA: Papirius has unfortunately been called out of the city on police business, and it is uncertain when he will be able to get back. I am sure, however, that if the Captain said that these men were Christians, they are Christians. However, if you’re doubtful, there’s nothing easier than to test the matter. Give any of them a pinch of incense and see if they’ll sacrifice to the gods to gain their freedom. If they won’t they’re Christians. You know how these things work.
Acting CAPTAIN OF POLICE
(From the Journal of John Stowe) March 2, 1649: Lo! Satan is upon us and his devils do surround us. Trusting in the Lord, however, we have no fear of them.
Early this morning we awoke to find the enchantment still strong about us. Whereupon we took counsel together concerning our conduct in this strait. After several hours of discussion, it was decided that we could not necessarily be considered remiss in our military duties for not pushing on to Carlisle when bound and held by devils. This settled, it remained only to decide on our course of conduct towards these imps of Satan, and Sergeant Flail-of-the-Lord hath determined this by ordering that all present be industrious in prayer and considering of the good works of the Lord.
So it fell out that about the third or fourth hour after sunrise when we were engaged in singing that hymn of sweet comfort—Lo! We shall crush His enemiesAnd drown them in their blood—
that a fat, balding devil of middle age, somewhat wrapped and entwined in a sheet of bed linen approached the outer grating of our cell and did speak with us.
At first we were slow in understanding; but as it did happen that by good chance I had had some teaching in my youth in papist ways, it was not long before I realized that this devil was speaking a particularly barbarous and unnatural form of latin; and, on my conveying this information to Sergeant Flail-of-the-Lord, it was decided that I should speak with the devil for all of us.
I began by abjuring him to turn from the ways of the devil and cast himself upon the mercy of the Lord. But, so imperfect were the creature’s wits and so inadequate his grasp of the tongue in which we conversed that he failed to grasp my meaning. Whereupon, I demanded of him by what right he held us and he did name several devils with Romish names and, producing several objects of strange manufacture, seemed to call on us for some kind of action.
At this point, Sergeant Flail-of-the-Lord interrupted to order me that I draw the devil out in conversation and learn whatsoever I could, that the knowledge might be a means to breaking the enchantment. Therefore, I did show interest and beseeched the devil to further explain himself.
Whereupon he did so. And it was apparent immediately that our wise Sergeant, praise the Lord, had correctly judged the state in which we were held. For after a great deal of words which I had some trouble interpreting, it became apparent that this spawn of the Devil, this creature of Satan was endeavoring by means of foul enticements and false promises of release from our enchantment, to cozen us into bowing down to graven images.
No sooner had I understood this, than I was filled with the wrath of the Lord, and, feeling His hand upon me, spoke words of fire to the lost being before me. I observed that he quailed, although odd as it seems, some of our troop claim to have noticed a slight trace of satisfaction upon his hellish visage. Whereupon he closed the interview with a question.
“Are you all Christians?” he demanded of me.
I answered, “Yes,” and, rubbing his hands together with an expression of glee he hurried off.
I related all this to my comrades and the Sergeant. The Sergeant then advised us that we continue as we had before, saying that no doubt we were not alone at the mercy of the Devil, but that were being somewhat tested by the Lord, and as long as our faith in Him remained steadfast, no harm could surely come from this.
So hath the day past, very decently in praying and godly conversation. From scraps of conversation I have overheard from neighboring cells it becometh apparent that tomorrow we are to be thrown into the ‘Arena,’ which I take to be a devilish word for the pit. So be it. We abide the issue, all of us, with firm faith and quiet hearts. Amen.
March 2, 2631: Dear Diary: What a vexatious group! What on earth shall I do? These Romans seem to be pining away and losing interest in my tests, taking them lackadaisically, if at all. I’m sure I don’t know what’s wrong. I’ve given them the most attractive apparatus I can find, different colored little balls and pegs and objects, and brightly-lit shadow cards to study. I’ve piped all sorts of cheerful music into the basement and given them authentic Roman diets of the period and all they wanted to eat. They just don’t seem to have any interest. I can’t imagine what’s wrong.
(From the notebook of Croton Myers) March 2, 2631:
11:02 P.M.:—Dial settings A-26.24, B-5.1, C-2.73779 Calibration check, Vernier check. (Run 73)
Found it. Year 65, our calendar, Feb. 22, 10:15 P.M. (approx). Sixteen individuals. Time scar to present date and year. Hole plugged on or about Feb. 27. Structure therefore safe middle late Roman era, disregarding minor time-thread damage which runs out anyway. However—took general check on hunch, and hunch confirmed. There’s another hole even closer to our time. I can tell by the strains on the major time-threads. No time to trace it down now. We’ve got about five hours worth of elasticity in the present time-fabric before there’ll be (a) a time collapse, or (b) an attempt by the fabric to rearrange itself to relieve the strain. Even the rearrangement could do for us. This second hole’s too close to our own period.
I’m no Sherlock, but to me it adds up to only one answer—Bugsomer. I’m going over and see if I can force the information out of him.
The damn fool!
March 3, 65: TO THE CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA: Order your gladiators to stretch out this battle with the Christians. I don’t want a sheep-slaughter. I want some sport. Some running around and excitement. See to it.
March 3, 65: TO THE EMPEROR: Hail Caesar! I will do whatever I can when the time comes. But you know how uncooperative these Christians are. They won’t even pick up their swords and armor. They want to be martyrs. However, I promise that the Emperor will not be disappointed.
CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA
Dear Diary: I have no idea what the date is, so I just won’t put any down. If the world goes topsy-turvy, it’s not my fault. I’m all in a flutter. I hardly know where to begin writing.
I guess it all began when that pig-headed Myers came breaking into my house in the middle of the night. Breaking in, literally! My front door was locked, naturally, so he just kicked in a window and walked through it. I was down in the basement with my poor Romans, who hadn’t been sleeping too well lately. I was trying to get them to take some barbiturates, but they seemed afraid to do so for some reason. They preferred to turn and toss on their cushions all night.
Well, at any rate I heard a noise. And then the next thing I heard was his bull voice calling, “Bugsy! Bugsy!” Before I could head him off he was at the top of the steps and clumping down. My poor Romans just stared at him.
“So here you are,” he said triumphantly.
“Is that odd?” I replied. “After all, it’s my house. And, while we’re on the matter, I’d like to know how you got in, and by what right—”
“Oh, shut up,” he said and pointed at my Romans. “Are these the sixteen you stole first?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I answered coldly. “These are some foreign students from one of my classes. We’re holding a seminar in Roman customs.”
He just snorted, and, ignoring me entirely, turned to the nearest Roman and started jabbering at him in barbarous high-school Latin. I even had trouble following him, but my Roman didn’t. His face lit up and before I could say a word he was telling Myers all about what had happened to them, and the tests I’d been giving them. And right then and there, I learned something about Roman ingratitude. Can you believe it? Those sixteen young fellows weren’t the least bit thankful for being saved from death in the Arena. All that concerned them was the fact that they were homesick. Homesick! For lions and gladiators!
I interrupted and asked my Roman whether he hadn’t been well treated. And he turned on me and said—almost in those very words—that he had—he’d been too well treated. He’d been a hardworking artisan and Christian all his life and it didn’t come natural to him to loll around on cushions and play with children’s toys. He ended up by saying that if I gave him another test he’d ram it down my throat.
Well, after something like that, I was only too glad to get rid of them. I told Myers so and we started up the stairs. Just at that moment there was the most curious shiver—decidedly unpleasant—and we all suddenly found ourselves back at the foot of the stairs again. Myers turned white as a sheet.
He gasped. “Good God, I didn’t think it would start this quickly!”—And I don’t mind telling you, dear Diary, that for a second even I felt a touch of fear.
We hurried, all eighteen of us, across the darkened campus and up to his laboratory. Twice more those curious shivers threw us back a step or two in time, and we had to do things over.
“It’s cracking faster,” said Myers, and herded my Romans into an area marked off by chalk lines on the floor. Myers took me by the arm.
“Listen,” he said, “and listen good, because I don’t have time to say it twice. I’ve got the sixteen Romans waiting in a trigger area. There’s a trip mechanism that will throw them back to their own time the minute there’s an opening for them to fit into. I’m going to stay here and operate the machine. I want you to ride the time-grapple back to the Arena and see that the others—you said they were Roundheads?—and nobody but they get into the time-grapple for transference back to their own time.”
“Me?” I said. “Into the time-grapple. I certainly will not—” Before I could finish he seized me by the shoulders and pushed me into the time-grapple area.
The moment I stumbled across the line the laboratory faded around me. I felt a moment of nausea, and then I was swinging, unsupported and apparently invisible above the royal box in the arena. When I leaned down I was right on a level with Nero himself. I took one horrified look at him, gasped, and turned away.
I looked down in the arena, and saw immediately why Myers had sent me back. The time-grapple would, of course, have to get the Roundheads all on one grab and it would be impossible until they were all close together. I knew that, back in the laboratory, Myers could see me apparently standing on the floor in front of him and his devilish machine. He could also, of course, see Nero and part of the Royal box. I would have to direct him to the Roundheads when the time came.
I looked out in the arena, and groaned. The door to the cells was just opening and the Roundheads were filing out onto the field. The gladiators were already out; the Roundheads were too far dispersed for the time-grapple to grab them.
“Get together, get together!” I cried—but of course they couldn’t hear me as long as I was in the time-grapple field.
Just then Nero spoke up next to my ear, and I could hear him, because of the auditory equipment built into the field.
“My dear,” he was saying petulantly to a thickly powdered, fat-faced woman beside him. “Look at those Christians! And Lictus promised me that I shouldn’t be disappointed. Look how sober and dull they are. They usually come on with their faces lit up, almost exalted.”
“Perhaps,” said the woman, “this group doesn’t feel so much like being martyred. Maybe they’ll run around a bit more.”
I could stand no more of this, and signaled Myers to move the field down toward the Roundheads. The idiots were still too far apart to be picked up and were talking together in that odd, seventeenth century English.
“What think you, Sergeant,” said one fresh-faced youngster, “are we to be put to trial by those armored demons, yonder?”
“It may be, John,” replied the individual addressed as Sergeant.
The young man sighed. “I feel the hand of the Lord strong upon me,” he said. “None the less, had I but my claymore—”
“Fie, John Stowe,” reproved the Sergeant. “Let not your mind dwell upon earthly matters. Look rather upon yon armed demons, with a mind to marking their true natures. See yon demon with the chased shield, which is surely Pride. And the other beside him, whom, by his lean and envious face I clearly read as Covetousness.”
And the Sergeant went on giving names to the various gladiators, so that the other Roundheads became interested and drifted over. I was beginning to have hopes of snatching them up immediately when the Sergeant wound up his little discussion.
“And besides, John Stowe,” he said. “If the Lord wisheth us to have weapons, He surely will provide them.”
At this moment, an attendant of the Arena leaned over the stone parapet that encircled the field and dropped a bundle of swords and armor.
“What did I tell you?” said the Sergeant.
So they dispersed in the process of putting on the armor, and the chance was lost.
“What’s holding things up?” boomed the voice of Myers in my ear.
“The battle,” I snapped. “They’re supposed to fight those gladiators.”
“What!” yelled Myers. “Stop them. Don’t let them do it. They’ve all got to get back alive.”
“What can I do?” I asked bitterly. “It’s up to the Roundheads.”
And, indeed it was. There is no way of knowing how many lives were depending upon those Roundheads at that moment.
At any rate, there was a toot on a horn, or some kind of signal like that, and off they went.
“Do you take Pride, Stowe,” said the Sergeant. “And so each of the rest of you pick out a cardinal sin. I, myself will take Covetousness.” He lifted his Roman short sword over his head and shouted like a wild man.
“Now, LET GOD ARISE!” he shouted, and the Roundheads charged toward the enemy.
“I’m moving you back to Nero,” said Myers’ voice in my ear. “Maybe we can put pressure on him somehow.”
I was swooped back to the royal box. But by the time I got there the situation was such that neither of us could think of anything to do. Nero was bouncing around like a fat toad, squeaking at the top of his lungs.
“Why—what—what—” he was squealing. “What are they doing? You Christians, stop it! Stop chasing my gladiators, do you hear me? Stop it! Stop it!”
Somebody blew that silly horn again, and the gladiators stopped, but the Roundheads went right on.
“Guard thyself, Pride!” the stentorian voice of John Stowe floated up to us in the Royal box. Beside Stowe there was a clang and a thud as the Sergeant decapitated Covetousness.
Gladiators were getting cut to pieces right and left. But not for long. Nero was ordering his own guard out of the stands, down into the Arena.
“I’ve got an idea,” I called to Myers. “Drop me on the field.”
“It better be good,” he grunted. “Or you’ll go the same way they’re going!”
He dropped me. I came into sight of those Romans suddenly, and the shock of my appearance temporarily halted the Praetorian Guard. They looked from me to Nero and back again.
“To me!” I yelled, running over the field, waving my arms. “To me, Roundheads!”
Well, they looked up at the sound of my English voice and, to make a long story short, gathered around in short enough space for Myers to pick them up. The field faded around us….
March 3, 65: TO THE CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA: I thought I ordered you to produce Christians for slaughter! What devilish magic have you loosed upon Rome under the guise of Christians? I order you to capture those sixteen hell-spawned devils who murdered our gladiators. At once!
March 3, 65: TO THE EMPEROR: My Caesar! I know not how the sixteen Christians escaped from the arena—replacing themselves with sixteen others. I have contacted Papirius, Captain of Police, and he informs me it must be a plot on the part of the Christians for an uprising throughout the City. I believe the missing sixteen are in hiding. My Guard will be ordered out at once to apprehend them.
CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA
March 3, 65: TO CAPTAIN OF POLICE: I have at hand information from Lictus, Captain of the Arena, concerning the plot of the Christians to overthrow Roman rule with today’s events in the Arena as a signal for insurrection. Drastic action must be taken. Burn out every festhole in Rome where the Christians are massed. At once!
March 3, 65: TO THE EMPEROR: Hail, Caesar! Your command has been obeyed. Even now the Christians burn in their catacombs!
CAPTAIN OF POLICE
March 3, 65: TO THE CAPTAIN OF POLICE: Are you mad, you fool? By whose authority have you put the torch to Rome? The flames are spreading throughout the city—underground—and already are at the arena dungeons! Send help to quench the fires!
CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA
March 3, 65: TO THE CAPTAIN OF THE ARENA: Don’t call me a fool, you idiot! How was I to know the fire would spread through the catacombs! I can’t send you any men. I’m appealing to the Emperor for help myself. The fires are getting beyond control!
CAPTAIN OF POLICE
March 3, 65: TO THE EMPEROR: Mighty Caesar! The Christians have turned the fires against us and our city is in danger of being consumed. What shall we do?
CAPTAIN OF POLICE
March 3, 65: TO THE CAPTAIN OF POLICE: You imbecile! I order you to burn out the Christians and you set fire to the entire city! Already my palace is on fire! Consider yourself under arrest! Report to me after you have the flames under control. Or perhaps you’d prefer throwing yourself into the closest inferno and cheat me of the pleasure of roasting you alive later!
March 3, 65: TO THE EMPEROR: The city is engulfed, my Caesar! I shall die fighting the flames. But what of you, my Emperor? I shall pray to the Gods that you be spared my fate.
CAPTAIN OF POLICE
March 3, 65: TO THE EX-CAPTAIN OF POLICE: The Gods be damned—I’m getting the hell out of Rome!
April 1, 2631: Dear Diary: Myers has seen to it for my transfer. Oh, he’s clever and all that to keep the fact hidden that I used the time-grapple. But I can’t see what all the fuss is about. We corrected the time stress before anything critical could happen. The way he carries on you’d think we did something (I, that is) that would go down in history. A ridiculous thought, but then Myers is a physicist and you know what suspicious natures they have…. I often wonder though how the games did turn out that afternoon….
Gordon R. Dickson was a widely admired SF writer, who, among his many achievements, collaborated with Poul Anderson on his Hoka series. He died in 2001, a year after his induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasu Hall of Fame.
This story originally appeared in Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, December 1952.