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Excerpt: Einstein's Tunnel (2004)

The surroundings were surprisingly dark. Only the solitary incandescent light of a gooseneck lamp illuminated the small office. Seated behind the desk, across from her, was the instantly recognizable figure of Albert Einstein. His long gray hair was tousled, and he puffed slowly on a large briarwood pipe. As Andrea blinked with surprise at the abrupt change in her surroundings, she felt her hand rise instinctively to her face in an expression of astonishment. Then she realized that it was not her hand. And then she became aware that this body was not her body. The clothing was unfamiliar as was the feel of her extremities; the curve of her spine; the padding of her buttocks on the hard chair; the ample bosom.

It was then that she realized she was no longer Andrea Martin. At that moment Andrea was experiencing the body and mind of her grandmother, Diana Sutton. This was Diana at twenty-three years. And this was the meeting with Professor Einstein at the University of Wisconsin that Andrea had hoped to link with. A sudden surge of excitement filled her, and she blurted in a strange voice, "Professor Einstein!"

Removing the pipe for a moment, Einstein smiled beneath his heavy gray moustache, and his eyes crinkled as he said, "Diana, I think we have a visitor."

Diana's face remained expressionless as Andrea's mind sought its bearings. For several seconds Andrea searched through Diana's memories, recalling quickly the conversation with Einstein that had just transpired. He had been telling Diana that she would someday learn of his intervention plan -- the intervention in 1939 that would de-rail the Nazi's atomic bomb program.

"Professor Einstein, you're right," the young lady announced. "It's Diana's granddaughter -- Andrea Martin. It appears we've been successful."

"This is indeed curious," the great man said, as he took a few moments to regard more closely the pretty young lady before him.

"I've wondered how we would meet," he continued after a while, "but I was certain that we would. Please, tell me about yourself...Andrea. Should I call you 'Andrea'?"

"Please do, Professor Einstein," she replied. "I'm Diana's granddaughter. I live in the year 2001. We've achieved telepathic time travel, just as you envisioned back in 1939."

Einstein puffed on his pipe for a few moments, continuing to regard Diana with obvious glee. "And why did you join me today, Andrea?" he asked as he slipped the pipe from his mouth. The sparkle in his eye erased any hint of intimidation.

"My grandmother -- Diana -- told us the story of her meeting with you on this date -- October 13, 1942. She said you had a strategy for intervening in the 1939 time line. She said you wanted to do something that couldn't be undone by some other time traveler."

"And you are here to learn that strategy?" Einstein asked.

"Yes. You were just discussing this topic with Diana. Isn't that right?"

The large head of tousled gray hair wagged for a few moments, as Einstein chuckled. He removed his pipe and set it down in a pipe stand and swiveled in his chair to face Diana and cross his legs. "You're absolutely right young lady. I am so impressed. This can't be your first telepathic time excursion?"

"No, it's my second. The first was a test of the equipment -- a short jump into the future. Would you like to know how we've done this?"

Shaking his head vigorously, Einstein replied, "No. No. I am so very curious, I admit. But I don't think it would be good for me to know too much about the future. It is enough that I learned about the previous interference of time travelers in 1939. I know that we are following a time line that was not supposed to be -- and that we hope to change. I don't want to know much more -- with one exception. Is it true that the Nazis will win the war with the atomic bomb? And will the world suffer horribly with Nazi domination?"

"Yes, Professor Einstein. I'm sorry to say that is true. And it's not just the Nazis--"

"Please. No more," Einstein commanded as he put up a hand, palm forward. "That is all I want to know."

"I have so many questions for you, Professor Einstein, but I don't know how long I can sustain telepathic control. Can you...please...tell me about your plan?"

Indicating no apparent feeling of urgency, Einstein reached for his pipe, removed it from the holder and returned it to his mouth. He shifted his gaze back to the young lady while puffing for several seconds. Finally he said, without removing the pipe, "I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint you, my dear." Then he removed the pipe from his mouth and said, "I can't tell you the plan."

"What?" Andrea exclaimed. "You promised us!"
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