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A TIME FOR SUSAN

A TIME FOR SUSAN COVER

This is David's story... As a young man David Jameson creates a time machine capable of allowing travel both into the future and into the past. However nothing about time travel is simple because cause doesn't necessarily precede effect! One day, before the time machine is even past the planning stage David Jameson receives a visit from someone very special; his daughter Susan from the future! 

   Susan is only eight years old and not yet born in David's present time frame but already she has experienced a lifetime's worth of grief having personally witnessed the horrifying effects of a new world war and the assassination of her father David Jameson. She has made the jump from her own time back to the time before her father starts work on the time machine in order to persuade him NOT to build it! It seems that the World War II era Nazis are hoping to use time travel to rewrite sixty years of world history following them winning the Second World War! 

   Susan Jameson is successful in her mission but in rewriting history she has also written herself out of existence! In David's new timeline he does not die at an early age from an assassin's bullet but he also never has a wife or a daughter named Susan and he finishes up a disgruntled and sick old man who never achieved anything worthwhile in his life.  

   This is the story of an enduring and unconditional love which can sometimes exist between a parent and their child. Somehow David Jameson must find a way to undo a life altering mistake in order to make 'A Time for Susan' as well as prevent the World War II Nazis from taking over the world! 

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ISBN: 978-1-921731-16-7  
Format: Paperback
Number of pages:209
Genre: Science Fiction

 


 

Author: Gary J. McCleary
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English

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Author Biography 

Gary J McCleary has worked as a Mathematics teacher since obtaining his Science Degree majoring in Mathematics and Physics from Sydney University in 1970. More recently he has been a Head Teacher of Mathematics with TAFE NSW and a part time university lecturer in Engineering Studies. He retired in 2004. 

He has always had an interest in works of science fiction and more recently has undertaken research into spirituality with particular reference to the ‘Near Death Experience’. Since retiring he has tried to explore both of these themes in his novels Raised as an Angel, An Angel in the Making and Millennium’s End. 

The possibility of time-travel and its ramifications has fascinated many authors and readers down through the years and the book before you now; A Time for Susan is an attempt to take these ideas to new levels.  

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The offices of Hindley and Stanton Solicitors were located high in one of the most prestigious buildings in Sydney and they overlooked the beautiful Sydney Harbour at the edge of Circular Quay. Traffic was flowing freely across the great bridge known affectionately to Sydneysiders as ‘the Coat Hanger’ and the white sails of the magnificent Opera House stood out in the soft morning air. The sun was shining down on a myriad of small sailing craft which were afloat on the harbour which today was glistening pure turquoise and was absolutely still. Many regular ferries carrying passengers to numerous locations around the harbour could also be seen and in the skies far above the beautiful white seagulls circled in their countless thousands as they prepared to dive into the water for their catch of fish.

Wayne Hindley sat at his desk and took in the scene from his office in the multi-storey office block. It was a perfect summer’s day and from this vantage point the city appeared to be completely at peace and at ease with itself. Unfortunately this was not true for Wayne Hindley. He had inherited his share in the law firm from his late father, William Hindley, but unfortunately he had inherited something else as well. He had inherited a conscience and his father’s caring nature.

William Hindley had started the firm back in the forties just after the war and had nearly gone broke on three separate occasions. He reasoned that he was there to provide a service for his clients, most of whom were men who had just returned from the horrors of World War II. Many of his early clients had little or no money but William Hindley never turned anyone away even if it sometimes meant that he provided his services for free. It wasn’t until he formed a partnership with his friend, Roy Stanton, that the business at last became viable.

Now Wayne Hindley shared partnership in the firm with that same but aging Roy Stanton and the two could not be further apart in outlook. Stanton was the staunch accountant and demanded that every cent be accounted for. He would happily foreclose on a widow with six children if she fell behind in her payments. For him money was and always would be the bottom line.

Today Stanton was nowhere to be seen but was probably off somewhere, berating one of their junior associates. At first he had tried those tactics on Wayne when he had first inherited his share of the firm but the younger man had stood his ground and had made it clear from the start that he would not be taking any orders from a fellow partner. After that the two had formed a grudging mutual tolerance for each other; avoiding contact wherever possible.

Now Wayne studied the documents which lay before him on his desk. They had been there for three days and he could not delay reading and acting on them any longer. He knew that he dare not show any of it to Roy Stanton as that would have been the proverbial red flag to the bull.

The client was a sick old man who had absolutely no money. Once he had been a promising research physicist, but he had poured a lifetime of energy and all of his resources into an area of research, which no mainstream scientist would be willing to touch for fear of it being the death knell to his career and his funding. Wayne could just imagine Stanton’s reaction to him taking on the case of a man who was near death, had no money and had spent a lifetime trying unsuccessfully to build a viable Time Travel Machine!

Carefully he unwrapped and opened the documents that Old Man Jameson had given him three days before. He remembered the sunken eyes and look of absolute desolation on the man’s face. Actually Jameson was not so much old as very sick. He had been diagnosed a couple of years ago with a kind of lymphatic leukaemia and had only been given a short time to live. By Wayne’s reckoning Jameson was probably only in his middle fifties but the disease had aged him prematurely and he looked to be easily 20 years older than that.

The first document was Jameson’s Will which Wayne had notarised three days ago. The second was a long handwritten account that Jameson had insisted had to be read by his beneficiary under the terms of his Will and also by Wayne himself for verification purposes.

Wayne first turned his attention to the Will itself in an effort to make sure that everything was in order.

‘This is the last Will and Testament of me, David Mark Jameson, and I hereby revoke all previous Wills. Dated this day the fifth of December in the year 2005.

I hereby appoint my solicitor Wayne Hindley as the executor of my estate and upon trust I order him to transfer in its entirety the title and ownership of my home laboratory (known as Jameson Industries) to the Frank Weyman Foundation. I further instruct my executor to sell my family home and other possessions and to convert what equity may remain to cash. After deduction of professional fees the residue is to be transferred to this same Weyman Foundation.

I apologise to those of my friends who may have expected more from me and especially to my good friends Richard and Carolyn Sorenson. Please understand (even though I know that you don’t really believe) that this may be my last chance to save my daughter even though I am now resigned to the fact that I will personally never see her again.

At this point I stipulate a burden on my said beneficiary which, if not carried out and verified in its entirety by my executor Wayne Hindley, will completely invalidate this Will. In that case all of my assets are to be converted into cash which is then to be distributed evenly among every animal shelter within a 50-kilometre radius of the Sydney GPO.

This burden is as follows. I order that at least FOUR senior executives of the before mentioned Weyman Foundation for Scientific Research read and study in detail the attached document which chronicles my own, albeit unsuccessful, attempts to build a working time machine. My work closely parallels your own and I feel that I am now right on the verge of a dramatic breakthrough. Sadly though, I know that I will not live to see it. Still I am confident that when you read my account that you will be able to integrate my research with your own. It is my great hope, although I admit that it is a very slim one, that one very special timeline containing my beautiful daughter Susan can, under certain conditions, be reinstated. I do not have to tell you what such an accomplishment would be worth to your foundation in terms of prestige and funding if you manage to pull it off.’

 

Wayne set aside the Will and began reading the handwritten account.

 

Who in their right mind would choose to get married on New Year’s Eve? It’s a mad enough night on its own without throwing in all the wedding paraphernalia and the endless speeches. Still none of us would have regarded ourselves as completely sane in those far-off carefree days. Life back then really only revolved around our post graduate studies and the endless party which was our existence when we were away from the university.

It was around 9pm and good old 1974 was rapidly coming to an end. With the exception of the bride’s immediate family, which seemed a rather dour lot to me, the rest of us were reaching that stage of pleasant inebriation which often follows when one consumes an uncounted number of beers and an equally uncounted number of glasses of fine wines.

Someone clicked the obligatory fork against his wine glass and I somewhat nervously stood up to give the ‘Best Man’s’ speech. Public speaking has never been one of my strong points and when I looked around at the nearly 200 guests who now regarded me from all corners of the large function room in the Wentworth Building at Sydney University my knees tried to buckle under me. Still I felt somewhat fortified by the heady glow from the alcohol which I had already consumed. One could only guess at the state we would all be in by midnight.

I had planned to start out by giving a rather boring account of how the groom, Richard Sorenson, and I had gone all through high school together and had followed this with four years of university study and had now completed over three years worth of our doctoral theses. Unfortunately, in my only half lucid state, I started to digress and before I realised it I was telling some rather risqué stories about our early university life; some of which involved Richard’s and his bride Carolyn’s early encounters together. She had come from a very strict Catholic upbringing and any suggestion that there had been sexual interaction prior to marriage was very poorly received.

At some point I glanced across at Richard and saw him frantically shaking his head and indicating the pile of telegrams that I was to read out. Dutifully I picked them up and began reading them aloud. The few genuine ones from people who were unable to attend were fine but when I got to the dodgy ones at the end I was once again in hot water.

They were the usual lot that were doing the rounds back then. The one about me NOT being ‘Norman Ross’, a well known advertising character at the time who ‘stood behind’ every bed that he sold, went down alright but when I got to the rather convoluted one about the groom having come here tonight to ‘honour his offer’ and the bride having come to ‘offer her honour’ and between the two of them he would be ‘on her and off her’ all night, the bride’s father was looking quite fierce.

I was just starting to warm to my audience but I saw that it came with some relief to both Richard and Carolyn when finally I sat down. As for the rest of the evening…? Well, I’m sure it went well but I have very little memory of it.

Around midnight I started to sober up a little and we all sang together the traditional ‘Old Lang Syne’ to see the old year out. Even though the clock struck midnight no one, it seemed, was in the mood to end the party; particularly as the bride and groom had earlier indicated that they would not be making the traditional exit but instead that they would be partying on with the rest of us.

There were four bridesmaids, all dressed identically in their lovely white evening dresses. Three of them were close friends of Carolyn and the other girl was her sister. When the band started up again I found myself dancing with one of these girls and as the music slowed, our bodies naturally came together in a more intimate way. Soon I felt the gentle but noticeable pressure of her lower body against mine.

“It’s rather warm in here don’t you think? Would you like to take a walk outside?” It wasn’t my best line but it worked well enough.

Soon we found ourselves strolling hand-in-hand around the almost empty grounds of the university. Eventually we came to the Physics Building which was my ‘home away from home’ and across from this was the large sports oval which was surrounded by gently upward-sloping grassed sides.

We walked to the far side of the oval in near total darkness to a point where it would be impossible for us to be seen. Perhaps it was the mild euphoric glow from the alcohol which I had consumed that emboldened me or, maybe it was just me at that youthful stage of my life, but in any case I pressed my body against hers and I gently cupped her small firm breasts in both my hands.

I half expected her to pull away but when she didn’t I reached under her white evening dress and began to massage her mound through her panties. At that point I still thought that she might call a halt but I knew that I was fast reaching the point where I would not be able to desist. Instead she pressed her lips against mine and thrust her whole lower body against me. As we kissed I became aware of her fingers as they urgently reached for the zipper of my dinner suit trousers and before I realised it she had taken out my swollen manhood and was gently massaging it.

In one movement I reached under her dress with both hands and removed her panties and our bodies came together in an almost standing position against the sloping sides of the oval. She moaned softly as I entered her and she thrust her tongue deep into my mouth as I exploded the full force of my masculinity into her.

 

I awoke the next morning with a very sore head and not a lot of memories from the night before. Around midday I managed to drag myself out of bed but only because someone was loudly banging on the front door of my small rented flat. It was Richard and for someone so recently married who had attended the same all night party as I had he looked remarkably fresh and alert.

“Are you alright? We were a bit worried about you when we brought you home.”

“You brought me home?” I asked somewhat dazed.

“We carried you home is more like it. After you came back from your stroll in the park you really got stuck into the grog big time.”

“Stroll in the park?”

“Yes, don’t you remember? You took one of Carolyn’s bridesmaids for a tour of the sports oval.”

“Oh! Yes… That’s right; I remember now.” And then I remembered all of what had happened; all that is except for one small detail. I had absolutely no idea which bridesmaid I had been with.

“Who was it, Richard? I’m afraid I was just too far gone to notice.”

“It was Carolyn’s kid sister Kristi. She’s only 15 you know!”

“What?”

The look of absolute horror and fear on my face must have been too much for Richard who quickly broke into a broad smile. “Take it easy mate, I was just joking. Kristi’s just a kid and she wouldn’t have the head-smarts for that sort of thing yet anyway. She wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

“Well who was it then?”

“All but one of Carolyn’s bridesmaids spent the entire evening indoors tending to the bride. The one that went ‘missing in action’, as it were, was Amanda Sutton. I’d be careful with that one mate, if I were you. She has a reputation of being a full on tigress.”

 

Such was life back then in those carefree, uninhibited and irresponsible days. In 1975 I was 25 and life was full of great joy and great promise. So far nothing of any consequence had touched me at least not in my adult life. I had vague memories of the car accident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge which had claimed the lives of both my parents. At that time I had been barely four years of age and any memory I had of my parents was very sketchy.

I remembered my father as a rather stern man who had been a scientist at the university and my mother who had been gentle and loving towards me. I found out later that she had been a research assistant on the same project that my father had been working on. That’s about it as far as my parents were concerned. After that I had been taken in by an aunt and her family and as soon as I was old enough I had been packed off to a boarding school in rural NSW.

 

The end of the summer vacation saw Richard and me back in our tiny cramped office which had been allocated to us in the Physics Department at Sydney University. This was the fourth and final year of our doctoral thesis which had the rather grandiose title ‘Theoretical Models Indicative of the Possibility of Allowing Physical Objects to be Moved Backwards and Forwards Through the Time-Stream’.

Our ‘mentor’ back then, for want of a better term, was Associate Professor Gerald Jackovich and without wanting to put too fine a point on it; we hated his guts and the feeling was very mutual. He had made it clear to us from the beginning that no serious scientist would be stupid enough to risk his or her academic career by becoming involved in time travel as anything more than a theoretical diversion. He had only reluctantly agreed to supervise our doctoral theses and had made it clear that our work might be enough to gain us our doctorates but that any practical application would be out of the question. Sadly, and after the benefit of 30 years of hindsight, I would have to concede that the old bastard was right.

By April of 1975 we had put the final touches to our masterpiece. We had covered it all; everything from Einstein’s field equations of special and general relativity to quantum mechanics, black holes, cosmic energy strings and worm holes to name just a few. This was back at a time when many of these concepts were not even considered mainstream science. In the previous year Frank Tipler had put forward his idea of an infinitely long cylinder rapidly rotating about its long axis. This was supposed to allow for travel backwards and forwards in time. We even put forward the idea of regions of negative energy density and dark matter long before those notions became fashionable. Still there were major gaps in our theories with our most notable failure being the inability to successfully integrate quantum gravity into our equations. We knew that without that missing piece nothing of any practical value could come of our work.

We marched into Jackovich’s office that day each carrying several copies of our thesis. These would be sent all over the world for peer review by experts at six different universities. If our thesis was deemed good enough we would have our doctorates, some tenure at the university and hopefully a government grant to cover our next research project and of course our weekly pay cheque. If it was not considered good enough, then there went nearly four years of our lives straight down the toilet and no future income.

Professor Jackovich barely acknowledged our presence when we entered his office. He was one of nature’s ‘angry little men’ who seemed to be constantly at war with all those around him. Today he was wearing his traditional pin-striped suit and he regarded us suspiciously through his horn-rimmed spectacles.

Still I can be quite charming when I apply myself to it. “Good afternoon, Professor. Our big day has at last arrived.” Carefully we placed the copies of our thesis on the edge of his desk. “As you can see our work is now complete and we look forward to your esteemed self having the opportunity of reading it in its entirety.”

“It’s a load of crap! I should know as I’ve had the dubious honour of supervising and reading all of your early drafts. I’ll send it on for peer review but never think that I will ever be putting my name anywhere on or near it!”

I glanced across at Richard and caught the faint twinkle in his eye. “Please be assured Professor Jackovich, that we both of us greatly appreciate the time and effort that you have put in on our behalf over these many years. We also understand that our chosen topic is not high on your favourites list but that you have persevered with us anyway.”

Richard also added his own words of platitude as we both clearly understood the enormity of what was at stake here for our careers. “Yes, thank you Professor, for all your efforts and criticisms as well, as these have helped to keep us focused.”

“Don’t expect to hear anything until at least the end of the year as it will take that long at least for the evaluations to come back. In the meantime I might suggest to you both that perhaps you should seek some sort of employment away from the university; perhaps of a permanent nature. Good day, gentlemen!”

We walked out of his office and I was very careful NOT to slam the door as we left. “Fucking old fart! Come on Richard, let’s go and get us something to eat and DRINK!”

 

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