(Re) Making History

Time travel is a tricky prospect. Your first issue is discovering a means to propel your physical form through the space/time continuum in a safe and controlled fashion. Whether you utilise a limited edition American sports car, an antique call box or a map allegedly left over from when the Creator was building the Universe matters not – you still have to possess the item.

Your second issue (and this is the biggie) is whether your actions in the past will effect the future. If you meddle with a past timeline, when you return to your starting point, will the World you encounter be the same as when you left? Will the inadvertent loss of a cigarette lighter in the distant past have caused an earlier technological revolution, resulting in you previous ‘present’ being reduced to a radioactive cinder? Will the wrong thing said at the Nuremberg Rallies have changed the outcome of the Second World War, with the majority of Europe now occupied by the Nazis? Will the Earth have been invaded by super-intelligent Koala-like aliens, who have subjugated the population and forced them to mass-produce soft toilet tissue? These are all things that the intelligent and responsible time traveller must take into account when venturing into the past, as even the most subtle of changes could have wide-reaching and devastating consequences.

However, if you have a Plan and a goal, if you know exactly what result you wish to achieve, then maybe, just maybe, you can carefully tweak the past to improve your own future.

But it would have to be an extremely cunning plan…

With a slightly disappointing displacement of air, a canvass and wood contraption, looking like a carriage clock writ large, appeared suddenly, then dropped to the ground. As the booth-like object settled into the damp earth of the churchyard, there came from within the sound of someone falling over, followed by what appeared to be a toilet flushing.

Lord Edmund Blackadder closed the heavy tome he had balanced on his knee and looked askance at the crumpled heap of his manservant, who had endeavoured to prevent his fall by grabbing the toilet chain.

“Given that we have made innumerable jumps through time and space and upon reaching every destination, the time machine always drops the last few feet to the ground,” he began, “it truly astounds me that on every occasion, without fail, you seem unprepared and fall over. Either you have the memory of a goldfish, Baldrick, or you are the stupidest man in existence. On past experience, I believe it is the latter.”

Yes, my Lord…sorry, my Lord.” Said Baldrick, clambering to his feet.

Now,” said Blackadder, “as we – and when I say ‘we’, I actually mean ‘me’ – have ascertained that the time machine is keyed to our individual DNA, wherever – or to be more precise when-ever – we have appeared, one of my ancestors should be in close proximity to our arrival point. We therefore need to find out when we are – and on this occasion, when I say ‘we’, I actually mean ‘you’.”

Er…I don’t understand, my Lord.” Stammered Baldrick.

Blackadder sighed.

You never fail to disappoint, do you, Baldrick?”

“Thank you, my Lord.”

What I mean is that it is time to stretch your legs, Balders…to venture forth into the World beyond and find out where we’ve ended up this time.”

Blackadder released the cord holding the door and lowered the gangplank.

But…it might be dangerous, my Lord…” said Baldrick fearfully.

Exactly,” said Blackadder, pushing Baldrick out into the crisp night air, “which is why you’re going instead of me.”

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The Greatest Breakthrough in Travel..

…since Mr. Rodney Tricycle thought to himself “I’m bored with walking, I think I’ll invent a machine with three wheels and a bell, and name it after myself.

Behold, the time machine…

As I am now the proud owner of the surrogate figure I’m planning on using to represent Lord Edmund Blackadder (circa 1999), in order for him to visit the London borough of Blackwell, I decided that some additional work was needed to complete his time machine.

However, as I’m sadly lacking in my very own Baldrick to delegate this task to, I’ve had to do it myself…

When we first saw the machine, it looked like this;

The initial box was crafted from an Amazon cardboard ‘envelope’, with a circular hole cut in the front and the drawbridge-like door cut into the left side. A smaller disc of card was then covered in baking foil (dull side up) to create the clockface, then glued to a larger disc of card and fixed behind the hole, giving a bit of depth to the model.

All four sides and the top were then given a covering of textured wallpaper, to represent the canvass sides of the machine. A rubber washer, topped with a smaller plastic washer and then a plastic cap were glued together and added to the top of the device, to represent the viewing port of the original machine.

This made it look a bit like a washing machine with a hatbox on top of it, but as with most modelling projects, it’s all in the details…

The machine needed four decorative ‘spires’ on each corner of the roof, some feet, a cog or fly-wheel protruding from the right-hand side of the device and some rungs on inner surface of the door, so our intrepid time travellers had stable footing when alighting – so my bits box was raided and various beads, screws and washers were affixed in the relevant places, resulting in this;

And another shot showing the fly-wheel;

I also decided to add several cut down cotton-bud stems to represent the frame that the canvass is attached to.

It’s not exactly the same as the original design, but it’s a pretty good match and I’m happy with it.

Now, as it was fairly evident that it was cobbled together from a variety of disparate parts, I decided to give it an undercoat of Docrafts Linen, in order to blend them all together.

The bases and feet were given a coat of Docrafts Burnt Umber and the frame a coat of Docrafts Classic Gold. Referring to the Blackadder: Back and Forth, I then painted the roof spires, viewing port and clockface in GW Shining Gold, and the shallow trench around the clockface with Docrafts White. And this is the result;

The exerior requires dry-brushing with a dark pink, the ramp needs a coat of brown and I need to add the numerals, decorative marks and hands to the clockface, but it’s progressing well and should be finished…in good time.

I just need to base and paint Blackadder himself and he will then be meddling in the affairs of the residents of Blackwell.

Until next “time”…

A Study in Scarlet

Sir Byron Carpenter stepped back from the slumped form lashed to a chair in his study, taking a towel from his desk to wipe the blood from his hands. Whilst he did have people who could perform this kind of interrogation, sometimes it was necessary to take a more hands on approach. It reminded his staff that he was not to be trifled with and allowed him to vent his frustrations.

He gazed impassively at the swollen features of the broken figure in the chair. He had used all of his formidable strength and techniques upon him and had discovered precisely…nothing.

It appeared the girl was more adept at concealing herself than he had first thought. She must be receiving some kind of assistance, as no-one had managed to elude him for such a considerable amount of time without outside help – especially with the resources and influence he had at his disposal.

Carpenter reached for the bell-cord and summoned one of his many servants, the muted echoes of the chimes offering a counterpoint to the final laboured breaths of the dying man.

This situation was becoming tiresome.

On the surface, Blackwell appeared to be a normal London borough, but the reports and rumours that had filtered back to him suggested that there was much more to this seemingly innocuous area than met the eye. The local ‘talent’ he had recruited had, so far, proved ineffective in locating his quarry and at least one of them was no longer amongst the living, having been found decapitated in an alleyway. Of his head there was no trace.

It was time to call in some professional help and, from recent reports, one such individual had recently taken up residence in Blackwell itself.

The door to the study opened and the immaculately-clad figure of Carpenter’s butler entered.

“You rang, Milord?”

Yes, Atkins,” said Carpenter, “send an invitation to a Mr Jefferson Lake, currently lodging at the Four Horseshoes in Blackwell. I have need of his services.” He glanced at the cooling corpse, his lip curling disdainfully. “And dipose of…that.

I shall attend to it immediately, Milord” said the butler.

Carpenter pulled back the drapes from the window and stared into the night.

Where are you, girl?” He muttered under his breath. Hopefully, this Jefferson Lake would provide the answer.