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February 26th, 2011 at 9:46:06 PM permalink
Aaron Denenberg

The head of security for the galaxy's largest casino, the Galactic Aces, lounged in front of his personal Holovid. It was Stuart masterton's day off and he had given strict instructions not to be bothered unless something of major importance occurred within the casino that required his attention. His replacement for the day was a man of huge competence named Jill. Anyone making fun of Jill's name would quickly think twice at the sight of the beefy man who owned the name. Although, what his parents had been thinking stymied Stuart to this day.

So when his portable twanged and he saw Jill's number in the I.D., Stuart snapped it open without hesitation. Jill would only disrupt the interdiction against calls if it was important. "Stuart here."

"It's Jill. We've just received a special guest. I know about your fascination with him so I decided to call. Al Weinstein just checked into the hotel."

Stuart was silent. Jill allowed the moment to impress itself by remaining quiet. He knew his boss only too well. Well, Stuart mused, it was inevitable that Al Weinstein would eventually make his way to the Galactic Aces. He had visited just about most every other casino in the galaxy and he was surprised they had avoided his eye for so long. Perhaps, being the largest casino, it had been reserved for last on Al's list. At any rate, Stuart knew his vacation day was ended.

"Has he made any requests?"

"He's reserved a table in the Roulette pit for nine. Asked for a ten thousand dollar minimum, no maximum!"

"Deny that," stated Stuart unequivocally. "I'm surprised he even asked. Can't imagine any casino being that stupid. Apologize that he'll have to play by the regular table limits."

After a few more instructions for Jill, Stuart snapped his portable shut and prepped for his day. Stuart had always relished the challenge of dealing with Al Weinstein if a visit had ever occurred. And now, here it was. His opportunity. Of course, Stuart had no idea what Mr. Weinsteins trick was. All he did know was that little old Al was known the universe over as the man who beat roulette.

Stuart arrived just as Al was seating himself at his reserved table. Stuart was glued to the image. Directly, he saw nothing unusual about the man who sat with thousand dollar orange chips spread out like a collossus in front of him aside from the man's rather eccentric shock of shocking white hair--Stuart wanted to scream advice about finding a better hair stylist. Meanwhile, he reviewed what he knew of Al Weinstein in his mind. He was a non-practicing Jew from IO which was a Jews For Jesus enclave. He had relinquished quite vocally their practices, stating famously that "Jews for Jesus was like Kosher pork." He was known to be incredibly intelligent. He had several degrees in the current sciences of physics, relativity and energy studies. He had nothing groundbreaking to add to those august bodies of work--everything learned was current in most upper schools. But he had mastered many more degrees in the sciences than was normal.

He also was fluent in several Earth languages, Stuart reminded himself. He flirted with the idea that Al Weinstein learned languages just to guarantee being able to speak in any casino ever approached. Al spoke Russian, Chinese, German, French, English and New Guinea. Almost certainly, his suspicion was confirmed by that as who the hell learned New Guinea? Except New New Guinea was home to a casino not much smaller than the Galactic Aces.

Oh, and of course he was known as the man who beat roulette. His penchant for playing thousand dollar spins and winning with a ninety percent accuracy rate had made him renowned. And quite wealthy. He had almost brought several casinos to the brink of financial ruin. If the gaming laws of the United Space of America were not so stringent, he probably would be backed off from playing in any and all casino's. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Statutes insisted that any player not using a device, but his mind only to play a game cannot be barred from making wagers. Oh, one casino had gone against statutes and thrown Al Weinstein to the curb. That had ended being more costly than just letting him play. Al had complained to the U.S.A gaming headquarters and filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against having his citizens rights unlawfully stripped. He had ended with millions of that casino's money without ever having to actually gamble at their establishment.

Many casino's had tried to show Al Weinstein used a computer or some such device without success. According to Al, he used his brain only. He had spent many years developing the ability to tell what number the ball would land in by just observing a few revolutions of any spin. Stuart could not see how that was possible. And here was his chance to catch the renowned gambler, hopefully before the Galactic Aces was depleted of resources. Many people had tried to duplicate Al's win ratio from what little hints he had dropped without success. His system was not for sale(thank God for small favors, thought Stuart) as he claimed it would be too difficult for most people to learn anyhow. And he wouldn't want the casino's to go out of business when his system for winning at roulette spread across the galaxy. Stuart laughed at that last statement. The casino's would simply eliminate roulette or make all bets complete prior to spinning. But as it was just this one man who knew how to beat roulette, no one had yet changed the rules and no one had yet been able to disprove his abilities. But the fact remained, Al Weinstein won a lot.

Now, Stuart watched as Al Weinstein placed three thousand dollar bets(playing maximum on the two-to-one dozen bets) and won seemingly every spin. He studied this man who defied the odds with minute scrutiny. He didn't seem to be operating any device. His modus operandi was always the same. He waited for the ball to spin with folded arms in front of him, head cocked to the side for a view of the wheel, then after a moment of intense study as the ball was in motion he used one arm to place a quick couple of chips on the winning dozen. He would immediately pull his arm back into that damnable folded stance of his and watch the wheel to see if he won. It was all very mechanical and repeated, spin after spin.

"I saw him in an interview once. He was very eloquent," spoke up Jill.

"yeah, eloquent bullshit."

"Well, have you seen anything unusual?"

"He acts funny."

"Well," chuckled Jill, "Look at his hair. Anyone who wears his hair like that probably is funny. Anyway, you've got a few more hours. He only plays for four hours max. Claims his system drains his brainpower if he plays for longer."

Stuart studied the screen image and instinctively looked at the watch on Mister Weinstein but it was blocked from view by his folded arms. "He hasn't even looked at his watch. Who knows if he even keeps track."

After half an hour, Stuart thought the whole mechanics of his movements were too studied. Too strict. He couldn't be having fun always being so conscientous in his movements. Stuart started to wonder. He repeated the folded arms and the glare at the wheel followed by a quick bet like an automaton. Automated? Could it be? Could Al Weinstein not be human but an android? A super-computer on two legs that perhaps took the winnings and gave them to his true master, operating from a long distance away?

"Jill, give me a metal scan." Jill complied. Their casino software was equipped with metal scans, sophisticated x-rays that could detect all the metal on your person from dozens of feet away. The rays were bendable so other objects protruding into the scan area were not an issue. The subject to be scanned was first "mapped" so that the x-rays examined him and him only. Mapping was not an especially new science. In fact, notorious Time Slippers wouldn't work without mapping. When a time slipper was activated, it would map the person wearing it based on a quick snapshot of mass, weight, depth so that when the person got yanked forwards or back in time, they didn't take anything else they happened to be touching with them. If you were shaking someone's hand when the time slipper snatched them away, your hand would not accidentally travel with them thanks to body mapping.

The metal scan used this same tech. After a moment, images of what Al Weinstein contained on his person filled the screen. "Nothing unusual. Loose change, a nail clipper, keys," pointed out Jill. "Oh, and the wrist-watch on his arm. What were you looking for?"

"Nothing," shook Stuart. He had been hoping to see a large-capacity metal skeletal frame which would show Al to be an actual android/cyborg. But he was all too human. Except for his movements. Stuart still could not see the wrist-watch which was covered by the gambler's arms.

And suddenly, Stuart Masterton had a very nerve-wracking thought. Perhaps, there was no trick? Perhaps, this highly intelligent(there was no doubt of that) man had actually done it. Had actually enhanced his thinking to the point he could tell with precognitive skill the outcome of spins at roulette?

Stuart shuddered. "I need some time away from the monitor. Make my thinking fresh. What time is it?" Jill responded ten past ten. Again, Stuart looked at the redoubtable Mr. Weinstein and noted the attention to posture and poise. And he still could not get more than a glimpse of the wrist-watch on his arm.

"He's always in that same stupid position. It's probably a waste of time, but can you do me a favor, Jill? Go through the tapes frame by frame and I mean frame by frame and tell me if you see any anomalies. Or if he moves from that position even slightly during spins. I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Just anything unusual. I'm going to get me a stiff of caff-coff."

"Frame by Frame could take days, sir."

"I'm only concerned about from when the ball is spun till it lands."

Jill, laughed uncertainly. That was still a difficult chore. "I'll get to it right away, sir."

Stuart returned refreshed by the Caff-coff but not any closer to a solution. When he entered the security main room, Jill smiled. "I got something, but it may just be a computer anomaly, or a glitch. Not sure."

"Show me," screamed Stuart.

Jill wound the tape to a specific frame which looked like any other of Al Weinstein sitting with his arms folded. "Okay, looks good, right? Now watch. I'm going one frame forward."

One frame shuttled forward on the screen and everything remained the same except for Al Weinstein. All sight of him disappeared. "Next frame?" queried Stuart. Another frame forward and there was Al seated like normal at the table.

"So, he disappeared for one frame? That's probably a glitch. Something in the camera's software?"

"I would agree," stated Jill, "if it only happened that once. Here it is again," and Jill had forwarded to another spot and then another. Three in all within just one spin.

Stuart was perplexed. Why would the camera pick up a vacant seat for what amounted to a fiftieth of a second three times in just one spin? "Go back to that second time, Jill, will you?"

Jill rewound the digital Holo-vid to the requested frame. "Go back one frame." One frame before Al was not visible, he was seated fine. Stuart studied the image closely. Behind Al, was a serving girl who happened to just be passing by at that moment with her tray. The woman's arm and tray were blocked by Al's head, neck and ridiculous hair cut. "Now one frame forward again." One frame forward and there was Al gone from the screen, but to Stuart what was more telling was the serving woman behind him. Every part of her was visible! Her arm, her serving tray, what drinks and tips she had. "Jill, one frame forward." Jill complied and now Al reappeared, blocking view of the serving girl and her tray. She was more difficult to see now because she had moved further behind Al's seated position.

"Jill, that serving girl is completely viewable in the frame missing Al. Light doesn't bend. If this were a computer glitch, then we still wouldn't be able to see her. Al Weinstein must truly be disappearing for a split second so that the camera can pick up what's behind him."

"How's that possible?"

"I don't know. Get a bunch of people up here now. I want every spin gone through frame by frame. I want an assessment of how often this anomaly occurs." Jill was immediately on his two-way setting it up. To the screen, Stuart smiled a shark-toothed glare. "Al, if I find out how you've been cheating, I'm sending you back to Earth in chains. You'll find yourself a prisoner in lock-up right in New Berlin."

An hour later, it had been determined that every spin had exactly three such missing frames. And one security team-member, more savvy of the time stamps as he wrote them down noted the frames were not spaced out unevenly. In fact, they always had a distinct pattern. From the moment of the first "dropout", the second one would occur precisely one minute later, to the milli-second. Then ten seconds later, the third. Always the same repeated action.

"So, it's timed," concluded Stuart. "Has to be if it's so exact to the milli-second." He again, glanced at the wrist-watch on Al's arm. Again, Al was blocking it from view by his hand as he folded his arms on the table. Always, the watch was below sight. Time and exactness! Those were the keys to this mystery. "A time-slipper! He's wearing a time-slipper. I'm sure of it."

Jill looked dubious. "What good would that do him? Jumping forward one fiftieth of a second? And besides, Gale's Law. You can't change the past. What's done is done."

Stuart was familiar with Gale's Law tangentially. He required some expert advice on the subject. He dialed on his portable for a good friend who was professor of physics at the university. They had gone to middle school together. Mercifully, his friend answered on the third ring.

After explaining everything to his friend, he heard a negative clucking through the receiver. "Sorry, but Gale's Law prohibits such actions. Moving forward in time to write down winning spins and then going back to place bets? Gale's Law states that anyone travelling back in time to change the past will be blocked from doing so and blocked by something that has already occurred and is in itself unchangeable. So, perhaps you try to go back and place money on a lottery ticket, the winning numbers in hand, but you end up getting hit by a car on the way to the store. You never placed money on the ticket because you were hit by the car even before you travelled back in time. Understand?"

"yes, I think I do," nodded Stuart. Still, he didn't want to let go of this avenue of thought so easily. "But isn't it at all possible, someone could figure out a method of breaking Gale's Law?"

"My friend, I have an easier time believing a man could beat roulette than Gale's Law. But, strictly as a scientist, there is always a modicum of possibility."

"So, it is possible?"

His friend hesitated, not wanting to relinquish his firm stance, yet having to admit that scientifically all things were possible no matter how neglible. "Highly improbable. 99.9% against. But, yes, I suppose it is possible. Someone could disprove Martin Gale. I should point out his experiments have come under scrutiny many times and never have they been sufficiently deposed."

"Thanks," stated Stuart. After some pleasantries with his old friend, Stuart had closed his portable and returned to studying the problem. Al Weinstein won four of the next five spins. Then, Stuart had had enough. "Have security escort Mr. Weinstein to my office."

Jill was already reaching for his two-way. Stuart gave Al's litigation history some forethought. "Have them be nothing but polite. But do get him to my office."

Al Weinstein sat opposite Stuart in his office. He seemed confident enough, although the man was not physically commanding. He had an almost cherubic face, like a question was always on his mind. His hair stood up in that terrible style like a perpetual question mark, thought Stuart wryly. "Let me start by reading you your rights."

"Am I under arrest, then?"

"No. But you still have rights." Stuart recited them by rote, then asked if they were fully understood by Mr. Weinstein who nodded with acceptance. "Good! Now that the preliminaries are over, I would like to make a request. Mr. Weinstein, if you could please hand over your watch a moment?"

Al's face changed. Stuart noted the frown. "I do not have to hand it over if I do not want to, correct?"

"Incorrect. I cannot search your person but I can ask to see any object that is visible to my naked eye. I cannot insist on going through your pockets, for example. But that watch is on your arm, and I am within my rights to ask for an examination of it."

Hesitation. After a moment, Al undid the catch-link and handed gently over the watch to Stuart. It appeared to be a normal wrist-watch. Of course, time slippers were notorious for being hid under watches. Stuart thought the whole thing was ludicrous. A hiding place so secretive that everyone in the universe was aware of it wasn't very smart. Nonetheless, perhaps there was something to it. Mr. Weinstein had been operating for years wearing one if his suspicions were confirmed.

The trick of course was to find the right mechanism, catch, link or screw that would open the watch to reveal the time slipper. It would be something only the wearer would know. But Stuart was familiar with most all of them and any new ways to conceal a mechanism could be divined with patient study. After five minutes, he had discovered it. It was clever. The catch didn't actually expose the time slipper as much as change the watch's outer-face into one. None of the usual flourish of a moving, sliding clock-face.

Stuart sat back assured. "A time slipper? I don't have to tell you how much trouble you are in, Mr. Weinstein."

Al shrugged. "They are illegal, but only as a minor offense, these days. I suppose they'll confiscate it. What of it?"

"Don't play coy with me, Mr. Weinstein. You've been using this to win at roulette! Nothing so special as mind-tricks but a time-travelling device."

Al smiled, but Stuart thought it not the strongest smile. He was attempting bravado. "A time-slipper used to win at roulette? Come now, I'm sure you've heard of the scientific tenet known as Gales law, Yes? What you suggest is impossible, Mr. Masterton. I suppose you can call the authorities about my time-slipper, but that proves nothing except while I wear a watch, I also wear something contraband. Now, may we get on with the unpleasantries?"

A slight speech impediment, probably conquered during childhood could be detected during Al's speech. That meant he was nervous, reflected Stuart. Well, let him be. The evidence against him was growing.

Stuart showed Al the Holovid images of him disappearing. Pointed out how timed they always were to the millisecond. Combined with his winning streak and whatever Stuart's people would discover when they took the time-slipper watch apart, should be enough to prove malfeasance on Al's part throughout all of his long checkered gambling career. "I should point out that a time-slipper keeps memory of all travels on it's computer chip. We'll soon know exactly how many times and when you've traveled too like a dirty laundry list."

Faced with the mounting case against him, perhaps realizing the watch, under scrutiny, would not hold up, Al confessed, right then and there the whole thing. His scheme was quite ingenious. First, Al had altered the working of a time slipper! That was no small feat. Very few people could do that as it required intense knowledge of physics and time theory. Of course, Al had the training for that. Then he spent many weeks creating a physical set of actions that he could duplicate with ease so that to the casual observer, the "jumps" would not be noticeable.

Here's how it worked. Once the ball was spun, Al would fold his arms, his watch conveniently kept under his hand. Using one finger, he surreptitiously activated the time slipper which would "fling" him a minute forward in time. He would now be seated in exactly the same spot with the outcome of the spin in front of him. The time slipper was automated to return him back within ten seconds. Upon his return he simply made the winning bet in a quick motion of his arm. He always had to return to that same stiff position or someone might notice his "jumping". Finally, just as he approached the moment where he had jumped forward to, his time slipper was automated to "leap-frog" over his ten-second past self. To the naked eye it just looked like he was seated in the same spot, unmoving, when in actuality, he had time slipped one minute forward, one minute back and then ten seconds forward again. This is how he had beaten roulette. Of course, sometimes he missed getting the number or memorized it wrong. Then, he would lose. And after four hours of this continual usage of the time-slipper, it's battery would run low. So he was restricted to four hours of gameplay before returning to his room for a recharge.

Naturally, the time slipper would not allow him to appear where he already was. It was designed for safety that way. So you never actually appeared precisely when you left but a few milliseconds later. This principle was known as a "time chasm", a sometimes noticable leap in time where you could not be in the present at all. The smallest possible fraction Al weinstein could shave the "time chasm" to was a fiftieth of a second. Not large enough for the human eye to detect, but if you went frame by frame through a Holo-vid relay...

Stuart had to respect what Al Weinstein had achieved. True, his beating roulette had been a scam, but on the flip side, Al had discredited Gale's Law. That was no small accomplishment.

"Gale's Law still is valid," explained Mr. Weinstein. "I just found a small chink in it, a tiny crack. Doctor Martin Gale never did any tests on short, minute jumps. That was where he faltered. If you wish to tear a phone book in half--impossible, but if you tear it page by single page, you can do it. If you make a very small, minute jump, there isn't enough variables for a threat. You jump forward ten seconds in a casino, you don't have to worry about a bus hitting you. And by jumping quickly back, I'm not really changing the past. I've simply seen a small glimpse of what is to come. Really, I'm just altering the future."

Stuart glanced over at the I.G.P.(Intergalactic Police) who stood placing Al in handcuffs. They seemed disappointed. One of them spoke up. "I really looked up to you, Mr. Weinstein. I thought you had truly beaten the game, figured out how."

Mr. Weinstein looked at him gravely, as a parent might to a small, uneducated child. "The only real way to beat roulette is to steal from the croupier!"

"Nice quote," added Stuart. "That's exactly what you did. I assume you'll be taken back to Earth, New Berlin?" He glanced over at the officer who nodded. New Berlin was the judicial sector of the United Space of America since after the third world war. "Get him out of my sight."

Stuart glared over at Jill. "I'm going back to my day off. Handle the paperwork for me. Good night." And with that, Stuart went back to his room and his Holo-vid.


Al Weinstein was smart. But he wasn't sure how to extricate himself from this situation. He looked forward to prison with resignation. His trip back to Earth had been uneventful. He could imagine all the news programs exclaiming his ability to beat roulette had been a fraud and his subsequent arrest making headlines before he even reached the interrogation rooms of the I.G.P. in New Berlin.

With the jig up, he gave full accounting of his crimes. His wrist-watch was brought into the interrogation room and he happily showed them how it worked. They kept plying him with platitudes of leniency for his cooperation but he knew better. With millions in stolen money from the casino's gone, he would be imprisoned for years. Perhaps the rest of his life. His hair was already gray with age. He couldn't afford jail time.

It was while he ruminated on his current trajectory that a fight broke out at the I.G.P. Every officer went scrambling out to disrupt the disturbance. For a milli-second, Al Weinstein thought of escape but that was dashed when he heard the door to his interrogation chamber click shut with finality. Besides, he couldn't out-run the I.G.P.

But then, he saw his salvation. He had just been showing the officers how to work his time slipper when the disturbance had occurred. And there it was, thrown haphazardly on the table-face as the officers had rushed out. What luck! His hands weren't even cuffed at the moment. They had allowed him freedom of movement to display the workings of the time slipper. It was useless without the band being solidly around the wearer. That was how the "mapping" of the time-traveler worked.

He rushed over and grabbed it, slapping it on his arm and connecting the catch. At that moment, his interrogating officer had re-entered the room. And he saw exactly what Al Weinstein was about to do.

The officer made a mad dash for him. Al thumbed the time slippers date backwards in one quick deft motion and hit the switch just as the officer grabbed his arm.

Thanks to mapping, only Al Weinstein had been thrust backwards in time. But he had no time to reflect further as the time slipper was pre-programmed to return him back to point of origin within ten seconds and he didn't want to land right back in the officers arms. No time to disable it. Al ripped off the watch and flung it. He saw it disappear mid-air a scant few seconds later.

Well, where was he? He hadn't had time to look and he had randomly dialed back the time slipper. He knew for certain it was somewhere in the far past for New Berlin, that thriving metropolis had instantly turned into farmland. He hadn't meant to go that far back but he was scrambling so to set the time slipper, he had obviously over-calculated. And of course, he was stuck here. No time slipper to return him to his proper era.

There was the possibility someone might follow him through to apprehend him. But hopefully, the authorities would consider that too dangerous due to Gale's Law. And depending on where he actually was in time, they might consider this a fitting punishment.

He did know he had to be somewhere near the old Berlin. New Berlin had been constructed just a few miles West of it. Nothing to do but start walking and hope he could run into someone. Luckily, he was fluent in German.

His pockets were completely empty. He would have to find work here to survive. He had had all his belongings confiscated by the I.G.P. and anyway, his money and Identification would be worthless in this past time. He supposed, it didn't matter.

After a half-hour, he saw someone coming up the road in a small, ancient fuel-burning vehicle. To Al, it was something out of a museum. The vehicle stopped and a burly man with suspenders at the wheel eyed him. Al stood quiet, giving him a disarming smile of charm. The man smiled back suspiciously, then asked in German "Jude?"

Al supposed he looked Jewish but was surprised the first words out of a strangers mouth would be to ask his religion. He shrugged noncommitally. "Papers? Let me see your papers," demanded the man in a slightly archaic German.

Al hesitated. Then finally, shrugged again.

"You don't speak out of fear. I understand. I am not going to hurt you. But you cannot be out here, my friend, without papers. Get in the car quickly. It is lucky for you I came along."

Al was getting more and more nervous about where he was and decided hopping in the car might be best. "You should not travel without papers. Just because you are Jewish, that makes it worse for you, not better. Understand?"

At the stranger's home, his wife cooked a fine meal for Al. He was famished as he had not eaten since before going to play roulette at the casino. He overheard the husband and wife discussing him from the other room. "Where could he have been hiding?"

"Look at his hair. No one wears hair like that. Perhaps he came from the hospital? He doesn't talk, you know, so maybe he is not right in the head?"

"Are you going to help him?" asked the woman.

"Of course. What little I can. He will be the last."

"You said that the last time, too."

"I know. But this person. I don't know. Something seems different about him. Perhaps if I help him, I help the world improve just a little bit."

The woman nodded. "We need that just about now."

The man came in and sat opposite Al. "Listen closely, my friend. I hope you can understand me. You must leave Germany now. I know you have connections here probably, but it is unsafe. Hitler is turning all the people against the Jews. Lucky for you, I happen to be a licensed passport practitioner. I can make you a legal passport and papers that will get you out of the country. I have done this for a number of my fellow neighbors who were in a similar plight. After you, I don't know. The Nazi's are cracking down, making for more and more restrictions, but we see. Come."

The man lead Al to a back room filled with private photographic equipment. He took Al's photo and disappeared for some time in a dark room. He emerged with a decent black-and-white head-shot of Al which he then took to a table laden with stamping equipment and after a few spurious moments, he had created a set of legal papers.

"I will have to make up a whole history for you. Place of birth, family, education since they are disposed to check even those things in today's climate. And a name for you, since you don't speak."

"Al," spoke up Al, for the first time. The man looked at him curiously. "Al Weinstein."

The man shook his head. "Okay. Al. Is that short for Albert?"

"Yes but everyone calls me Al. I guess you have to put the full name on. Go ahead."

"Mind you, this is not a forgery. These are valid papers. It is my course of business to create these although, if you do get into trouble, you cannot tell where you got them from. I would be asked for legal documents giving me permission to create these and I would not have the proper paperwork. You understand?"

"Yes, and thank you, my friend."

The nice German drove Al to the shipping yard where he could catch a boat out of the country. Al had some time to think about these developments. Of all places, Berlin, Nazi Germany was the worst he could have chosen. Guess his luck had run out. Or had he ever had luck? He had always cheated, his winning had never been about luck.

Now, if he did escape, what was there? Roulette certainly existed but he couldn't win consistently since his time slipper was gone. In fact, there were plenty of amenities this barbaric time didn't have. No Holo-vid! No Caff-Coff! No space travel! Hell, television, that ancient device and precurser to Holo-vid wasn't even invented yet. They didn't even have rudimentary atomic power, he reminded himself. Of course, that was knowledge he brought with him from the future. If one could convince someone of it's potential, then perhaps Uranium or Plutonium could be located and found for him to introduce into their culture. He remembered that it was around this time atomic and nuclear power had become a reality. Although it was definitely a few years from now--he still wasn't sure when now was, but the war couldn't have started. Jews were permitted to leave Nazi Germany only in the early to mid nineteen thirties.

If he could stay behind the sidelines, not get directly involved, perhaps he could make money without changing anything seriously. He had to remember Gale's Law. Whatever had happened in the past was locked, right? There was no way he could change it. Unless it had already occurred.

A large vessel awaited at the seaport. The man pointed to the boat and suggested he embark on that one. He gave Al some German Marks, enough he claimed for the boat ride out of the country. "Good luck, my friend. Your name? You pronounce it "steen", yes? I was thinking you might try the German form, "Stine", it might make the passport officer a little less caustic. Worth a try, my friend."

Al said his goodbye's and trampled up the runway to the boat's entrance. There he was stopped by a young officer in Nazi uniform. "Papers?"

Al handed them over. "Jewish, huh?" the soldier practically spit. "Running with your tail between your legs. Scared of what Hitler has in store for you. You are worthless. Our country will be a lot safer, a lot more guaranteed with you leaving. You, in particular, I imagine, with your ridiculous haircut. But, these papers do seem to be in order. Your name?"

"Al Weinstein."

"Al?" The soldier took another glance at the name on the passport. "And why do you pronounce it like there is a "W" at the beginning?"

Al wasn't sure what he meant. He twisted his head to see and saw that his passport buddy, in his haste or perhaps mis-hearing had made a typo. His name had no "W" at the front of it on the passport. "Sorry, just a speech impediment from childhood. I pronounce my name funny."

The officer glared at him with a swamp of hate. Then he nodded, "Well, get on with it and out of my country, you disgusting pig. And don't come back, Mister..." he paused as he looked at the name on the passport one more time. "Mister Albert Einstein."
For Whom the bus tolls; The bus tolls for thee

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