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Posted on May 4, 2005 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 06] – Time Travelers of Death

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno



Doctor Sinister

Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. From his secret island base, the Doctor plans to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats and cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs.

And featuring:

General Menace. Graduated from West Point Military Academy with honours, served for twenty-five years in the US Army, reaching level of 2-star General in command of training facilities before being recruited by Doctor Sinister to command his New Model Army of World Domination. Has a penchant for cigars.


EPISODE 6 – Time Travellers of Death

A meek Scientist in a white laboratory coat and scratched spectacles looks up nervously as he scuttles along the road behind General Menace. Ahead of him, the imposing mountain containing the HQ of the evil lord Doctor Sinister rises from the ground. Behind him, two armed guards prevent escape and so instead the Scientist concentrates on the small black box in his hands, clutching it as if it were the most precious thing in the world.

As the General and his entourage enter the Sinister Command Complex, the Scientist looks up at the sun for what he is sure will be the last time. But the sun is just as scared as he is and it is hiding behind a cloud.

Twenty-five minutes later, in sub-level 223 of the Imperial Command Centre…

Doctor Sinister: Good afternoon General! I see you finally managed to find your way down here. What kept you?

General Menace: I’m sorry my Lord, but half of the elevators appear to be out or order and there’s miles of yellow tape excluding entry to whole sectors of the base.

Yes, I’m afraid that’s to avoid Lab’ 47 – but we don’t want to talk about that. Not since "the incident".

Oh no. Are they still screaming? After four weeks?

Only some of them, but please, let’s not ruin a perfectly good day by talking about trivia – I see you’ve brought a friend.

Ah yes Sir, this is Professor Krebbs from the University of Kansas. I’m afraid we lost quite a few men in extracting him – funnily enough the Americans don’t take kindly to having their top scientists kidnapped.

(Oblivious) I’m very pleased to meet you Professor – I understand you have a gift for me?

(The Professor nods and hands over the black box)

Excellent!! General – behold! This device is a one of a kind – there will never be another like it! (Turns to the Scientist) Thank you Professor – you have done me a great service. Nothing in the world can stop me now!!

My Lord, what is this all about? I was taken from a vitally important planning conference to personally escort the Professor here.

Yes that’s right General, and now that he’s here, you can have him taken to level 34. We can’t have anyone talking.

(The Scientist screams as he is dragged bodily away down the corridor by the two guards)

Level 34? The recreation lounge Sir?

Did I say Level 34? I meant Level 35.

Level 35 is the swimming pool my Lord.

Is it? Then where are the Dinosaurs kept these days?

Level 52, where they’ve always been.

Well, that explains a lot. I was beginning to wonder why I was sending people to be eaten twice…

But, sending him to the Dinosaurs, don’t you think that’s a bit harsh your Benevolence? The Allosaurs haven’t been properly fed for months, he’ll be ripped to pieces.

That’s a very good point General, they must be very hungry, you’d better send those two guards in with him.

(Sighs) Very well Sir, I understand, this is obviously a top secret project – are you at liberty to tell me what it is?

Time travel General!

Time travel Sir?

Yes, come with me, I’m ever so excited.

(Under his breath) I wish I was…

(The two men walk briskly through a series of security doors, each one larger, thicker and more elaborate than the last)

Haven’t you ever wanted to travel in time General? To go back in time and change history? Maybe even just to correct an important change in your life – a decision you’d made?

Only once Sir.

And what was that?

I’d rather not say if it’s all the same to you my Lord.

Well soon it will not only be possible, but I will be making those changes!


Yes, with the addition of this final component, I will become the lord of time! Behold! My time machine!

(Incredulous) A toilet cubicle?

No no no no no, not a toilet cubicle, that’s just a disguise, inside there is the most advanced machine in history – a fully functioning time machine!

Just one that happens to look like a toilet?

It’s bigger on the inside you fool.

It is? That sounds familiar… You haven’t perchance been watching lots of British science-fiction recently have you…?

Not that I can recall – anyway, what do you think?

Well, it’s difficult to put into words my Lord…what are you planning to do with it?

Immense things my friend! Just think General – we can go back in time, kidnap some of the greatest military minds from history, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, that chap from Mongolia, erm…

Ghengis Khan?

Yes! And him as well! It’ll be great – it’ll save you a whole load of work. With these men behind us, we’ll become invincible!

It will? We will? Gosh, that’s an awesome prospect Sir.

Might even put you out of a job eh General?

(Alarmed) Really? Wow. What a thought. (Eyes the black box nervously and thinks of Level 52)

Yes, all we need to do is plug in this little black box and whoosh – off we go.

(Thinking quickly) Whoosh indeed sir…except…

Except what General?

Well, except time travel would be inherently dangerous…

How so?

Well, kidnapping scientists from our own time is all well and good, but finding all these historical leaders will be an incredibly difficult job. And these are dangerous men – not to mention the hazards in evading their security to even get to them – are you sure you’d want that kind of risk?

To conquer the planet? How can you doubt it?

(Desperate) Not to mention the danger to the time line in taking these people out of history.


Well, imagine this my Lord you go back in time and take, say, Nelson out of history before the Battle of Trafalgar.

Does he still only have one eye when we grab him?

Probably….but that’s not important, if Nelson isn’t there to fight Trafalgar, what do you think would happen?

Well…erm…what was Trafalgar again?

The Battle of Trafalgar was one of the most important points in British history my Lord. The British fleet was outgunned and outnumbered yet they defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet that was larger than them in every respect without losing a single ship. It secured British dominance over the seas for the next 100 years. All of this was down to Admiral Lord Nelson. Now, imagine if Nelson hadn’t been there and the British had lost the battle, the French would have conquered all of Europe and probably the British Isles as well and you’d be speaking French.


Eurgh indeed my Lord. And even if that hadn’t happened there would have been no British Navy to defend against the rampant German Imperialism of the early 20th century, the German fleet would have become the largest in the world and you’d be speaking German instead!

Oh my…

Not to mention the loss of the Empire and the bankruptcy of the United Kingdom. My Lord, every event has repercussions, even more so if you start to fiddle with time – if you go back in time and steal these men from history, you’ll be denying your own existence.

We can’t have that…

No my Lord, it would be a total disaster. You can’t go around changing established events. I’ve given you just one example but there are endlesss potential problems arising from your plan. Time travel would create more problems than it would solve. Even taking someone "insignificant" out of time could cause us all to be speaking Norwegian this time last week.

What have I done?

Nothing yet my Lord, nothing yet. Let’s leave it that way. Let’s concentrate on the future instead.

I am the future.

Precisely. Now, give me the box for safe-keeping and let’s go and watch the Dinosaurs feed.

(Hands over the box) I have got some other ideas I can show you?

That’s good, let’s go and see them shall we? (Drops the box unseen to the floor and gently treads on it with his boot, breaking it forever)

Thank you General, you are a loyal servant.

It’s my pleasure Lord.

A J Summersgill and Jim H. Moreno

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