Dr. Daniel Glenn fiddled with the displays. Something horrible had gone wrong, the time differential didn’t even register. The time jump was the longest the team had attempted so far—three years in the past. The machine was dead cold, too.
He pulled out Barth’s manual and started the sequence for warming it back up and recharging, but it was going to take about two hours.
Though he was convinced the time machine went to the wrong time and place, he had to take a peek and verify it. He cracked open the door and looked upon rolling hills of cornstalk-high grass. This wasn’t 2013 Albuquerque. Definitely the wrong place.
Daniel grabbed a bar at the roof of the machine and pulled himself on top to see over the grass.
Dinosaurs. Freaking dinosaurs grazing a ways off. Brachiosaurs or Brontosaurs. Something had really gone wrong. Daniel prayed that the time machine would function well enough to get him back.
He watched for a while, soaking it in. Intentional or no, he might as well enjoy it. The most important thing was not to touch anything. Cheez, they were experimenting with the butterfly effect only three years back with very controlled variables, but this far back? The mere grass beneath him that he crushed scared him to death. He didn’t really believe time could be changed, but if it could, the tiniest thing would have consequences.
Disturbances in the grass moved his way. He froze, too frightened to drop down and lock himself in. Three small dinosaurs appeared out of the grass around of him. They had long brown beaks that flared back into blue, then blended into a red crest. Between their eyes was a yellow lump.
All three started nipping at him, sending him to the middle where he danced a jig keeping his feet away. He tried to get a kick in when they got close, but they dodged and kept coming, getting a few pecks in, but not getting a hold of him.
“There going to tire me out,” Daniel said to himself. He checked his pockets, which were, of course, empty to avoid anachronisms. He took off his belt, still dancing around, and swung it at them, the sharp, metal buckle smacking them on the head.
It didn’t faze them until he pegged one right on the yellow blob between its eyes. It screamed and skittered away, disappearing in the grass. He took aim and hit the other two on the yellow nobs, and they fled, too.
He leaped down, climbed in the time machine and locked the door from the inside. He waited quietly for the powering process and finally hit the return sequence. He scoffed at the thought of the butterfly effect, but he was nonetheless happy to find everything normal when he returned.
His colleagues waited for him in the lab, and after they checked the data, they all patted him on the back with their tails.