Sliders: Earth 214

7.7 | This Time Around

Quinn Mallory sat in his basement, a vast assortment of equipment surrounding him. He was obviously losing his hair and doing a very poor job at covering it up. He would usually wear a hat like Ron Howard, but not now. Not at this historic moment.

He turned on the worn-out video camera and took a couple of steps back.

"Seven years ago," Quinn began. "I started recording these logs as I discovered one of the most fascinating pieces of technology in the universe: sliding."

Quinn was beaming with pride and excitement as he stated how he discovered sliding, and how he had used the technology over the years.

"In this journal," Quinn continued, "I have logged the history and society of over one hundred parallel universes. It's been one of the greatest events of my life."

Quinn placed the log down and looked at the camera, trying to settle down a little and focus.

"But I've come to realize," Quinn went on, "that I have grown slightly tired with sliding. Many of the worlds are... unspeakably exciting, but others have left me bored. And although I could spend hundreds of lifetimes sliding time after time and not even scratch the surface of the amount of worlds out there, I have decided to hang up my sliding shoes for the time being."

Quinn left the screen for a second, grabbing a device that looked like a timer.

"Throughout the past months," Quinn continued. "I have been studying theories on the worlds I've visited. The ones that intrigued me the most, however, are the laws of Einstein. I first came to them in respect to his theories on interdimensional travel. But recently, I became fascinated with his theories on time travel.

"As I have said many times in these logs, I have always been fascinated with the dinosaurs and their majesty. A couple of worlds I have visited even had dinosaurs running wild. You know, not like the artificial world of Triassic Park. But I noticed that on a few worlds, Einstein made no claim that he believed that time travel was impossible. And on some worlds, he even said that the atomic bomb was impossible, which we know is incorrect.

"So, I've come to the theory that if one Einstein was wrong, why can't the one from our world? Sure, not saying that time travel is impossible is certainly not saying that it is, but I told myself that I have to find out for sure.

"So, that's what we've come to today," Quinn said, looking to be concluding his speech. "I have built what I believe to be a time travel machine. Its in its very primitive stages, but I am confident that it will send me back in time. And, so, in six hours, I will send myself back in time to this exact moment. Hopefully, I will get what happens on tape, and I will see my dream realized."

The sliders sat in a large coliseum, watching some sort of sporting event.

"Guys," Rembrandt said, looking very confused and lost. "I thought we were going to come here and have fun."

"What?" Wade said, surprised. "We're at the World Bowl Championship! What could be more fun?"

"I don't know," Rembrandt said sarcastically. "Maybe understanding the game!"

"Its not that hard to understand Rembrandt," Quinn said. "Its just a hybrid of all the major sports we have at home. You see, the pitcher throws the ball to the catcher. If its a strike, his team gets the ball. And if he gets a ball, the other team does."

"Unless," Wade interrupted. "They want to opt for more points. If they do, they can try to make a three-pointer."

"Yeah," Quinn said. "Then, the have to run down the field in five downs or less to throw the ball into the net passed the goalie. And the penalty system is the same as regular football, except for the fact that they have to go to the penalty box."

"Unless they want to opt for the wrestling match to get out of it," Wade interrupted again.

"And the scoring system's like tennis," Quinn continued. "You just have to win three sets to win the game."

"Now you're confusing me even more," Rembrandt said. "I can't even tell which team's players are which!"

"Its easy Remmy," Wade said. "Team one's defenders are in yellow, their midfielders are in blue, and their outfielders are in red. On team two, all that is switched."

"Oh," Rembrandt said sarcastically. "That's real easy!"

"I'm with you, Mr. Brown," Arturo responded, looking just as bewildered as Rembrandt. "Just give me good old American football, thank you very much."

"Oh," Diana said. "I'll even take that over this!"

The timer beeped in Rembrandt's pocket, telling the sliders that it was nearing the time to go.

"Thank God," Rembrandt said. "Saved by the beep."

"But the game's not over yet!" Quinn complained.

"Yeah!" Wade said in the same tone. "Its only the fourth intermission! The game's just starting to get good!"

"How can you tell?" Rembrandt said, pulling the two out of their seats. Down the hall, Rembrandt said, "I'll be glad to get off this world. I've never been more confused in my life."

"Just don't wish for any mishaps," Diana said. "I'm finally getting used to sliding peacefully."

"Don't worry about that," Rembrandt said with a smile. "I am too."

The sliders entered a room marked "Authorized Personnel Only", and a security guard saw them go in.

"Wait!" the guard said. "I need to see your authorization passes!"

The guard ran to the door, worried about some strange noises he had been hearing since the group entered.

"I just need to see-" the guard said, but the people were gone.

Inside the vortex, Rembrandt's mind was still racked about that game. He had to admit that parts of it were entertaining, but the game itself just didn't make any sense.

Suddenly, it felt as if he was being shocked. He looked ahead and there was a lot of electrical activity at the edge of the vortex, and it had already encompassed Quinn, Diana, and the Professor. He tried to speed up to Wade before she exited, but he was too late.

In the process of trying to speed up, Remmy flew out irregularly, and he smacked his head on something. He wasn't knocked out, but he was definitely woozy for a few seconds.

"Oh my God!" Wade screamed. It was enough to get Rembrandt out of his current state. He knew he was bleeding, but he had to see what Wade was so surprised to see.

On the ground, lying dead, were Quinn, Arturo, and Diana.

The vortex opened, and Quinn, Arturo, and Diana flew out. They had all felt the shock that Rembrandt had experienced, but none saw all the electrical activity inside.

They all ached immensely, and they wanted to lay down. Until they saw that they were on camera.

"Um," Quinn's double said, stepping in front of the camera. "This isn't exactly what I envisioned happening."

He looked confused and a little angry that his experiment hadn't worked correctly. If he didn't come back in time, then his experiment had failed in the future.

"Who are you?" Quinn asked, sounding annoyed.

"Um," Quinn said, trying to think of a story. "We're a team of people from a parallel uni-"

"Universe," the double said. "I know you're sliders, but what are you doing here?"

"We're trying to find out way home, my boy," Arturo said. "We're sorry to interrupt whatever you're doing."

"Well," the double continued, walking over to the camera. He shut it off and claimed, "Well, I've already wasted enough film on sliding."

"We're sorry to be in your way," Diana said. "We'll be out of your hair in a second."

They suddenly noticed that Rembrandt and Wade were gone. And Rembrandt had the timer.

"What happened?" Rembrandt said, looking completely shocked. Three sliders were apparently dead, and they were obviously in Quinn's basement. The basement looked as though it had just been through an explosion.

"You didn't see all the electrical activity in the vortex?" Wade said, on the verge of tears.

"What the Hell are you doing down here, Quinn?" said the voice of Amanda Mallory. "I swear to God, Quinn, if you've destroyed anything down here, I'm going to kill-"

Amanda stopped when she saw the melee downstairs and the three corpses downstairs. In addition to that, the basement looked as if it had just been hit by a tornado.

"Oh my God!" she screamed. "What happened? And who are you?"

Rembrandt stared her straight in the face, but he didn't have an answer. He didn't see another Quinn, so this didn't appear to her son. But they were in big trouble either way.

Quinn's double was shooing the sliders out of his basement, when he thought of the brain capacity in that room. He knew he trusted himself, and standing in the room was famed physicist Maximillion Arturo. He had once seen him lecture and he was extremely intrigued by his work.

In fact, Quinn sent Professor Arturo a letter claiming that he had crossed the ERP Bridge, but he never even received a response.

He didn't recognize the third person, but she had to be intelligent to be sliding with these two. These three seemed like a dream team that could help him fix his "failed" time travel device.

"Hold on," Quinn's double said, holding up his hand. "Don't leave yet. Would you mind staying for a few hours and helping me with a little experiment of mine?"

Quinn was about to be brutally honest with his double when he realized that it might not be such a bad idea. Wade and Rembrandt were gone, and there was no explanation as to where they went. This guy was working on some kind of experiment, and it could've been the reason why they disappeared.

Either way, they needed to stick around the area just in case the others showed up. Because without the timer, they'd be sticking around for more than "a few hours."

"Okay," Quinn said. "We'll stick around and help you."

Arturo was surprised. He didn't think that Quinn would want to stick around and help, especially when the three scientists needed to put their heads together to find out what happened to Wade and Rembrandt.

"But unless this experiment of Quinn's double is impossible," he thought. "We can quickly get it out of the way and get to work on our current predicament. Plus, four heads are better than three."

"Don't move," Amanda said, holding up her hand and looking for something to protect herself. "I don't know what you did to my son, and I don't know who these people are. And I don't know who you are or what you intend to do next. But I'm going to call the police, and I recommend that you stay there while I call the police."

"Ma'am," Rembrandt said. "I assure you that we mean you no harm. We don't know what is going on here, and I don't know how to explain it to you, but these are friends of mine. That's not even your son!"

"You expect me to believe that?" Amanda asked, looking disgusted. "Now don't move and you won't make this worse for yourself."

She left the basement, and closed the door behind her. The sound from upstairs told the two that she ran out of the house to a neighbor's house to call the police.

"What are we going to do, Remmy?" Wade said, falling apart.

Rembrandt walked over to console her. He had no idea what was going on, but he knew that it was all because of the electrical activity. Things like this had happened before, but no one had really died. Things would usually work themselves out, and there would usually be some kind of crazy scientific explanation for everything.

He pulled out the timer. They had a little over three hours. If things were going to work themselves out, it had to happen fast.

"What do we do?" Wade said, not satisfied. "Do we make a run for it or do we try to explain things?"

"I think we need to stay with the guys," Rembrandt responded. "We're not sure their gone. They could be on the astral plane or in comas or a hundred other things. Things will work out; trust me."

"But we usually have someone to help us," Wade said. "All the brainiacs are gone now, Remmy! How can we survive this journey by ourselves?"

Wade's words were bleak but very true. They'd always had Quinn, Arturo, Colin, or Diana there when things went bad. They could always think their way out of everything. Now, it was up to two mediocre thinkers. They were both expert sliders, but they needed someone's help.

Their only hope was that Quinn's double was alive on this world. He could help them figure things out, and he would help immensely in clearing their names with the police.

But hidden in the corner of the basement, under the stairs was the body of Quinn Mallory, the double on this world. Killed by his own experiment.

Quinn's double began by telling a little bit about his sliding experience. He had slid for several years, but he became bored with it. He admitted that if he had been in the sliders' situation, he would've gone crazy in a couple of years.

Professor Arturo looked over the log of worlds the Quinn of this world had recorded. Unfortunately, he didn't see any worlds that seemed close enough to risk going. That is, if they even had the timer.

"That's when I turned to time travel," Quinn's double continued, causing Quinn to make a very skeptical face. "I thought, I've seen enough of what could have happened. I want to go back and see what actually did happen on my own world."

"Wait a minute," Quinn said. He couldn't contain himself anymore. He trusted Einstein, who said that time travel was impossible. He believed that time was already written and it would be impossible to safely go forward or backward in time. "What makes you think you can do this?"

"Well," the double said. "I've been doing research for a long time, comparing notes from several Einsteins from all over the multiverse. Some of the notes are conflicting and some almost say that its possible."

"Professor," Quinn said, looking at Arturo. "Do you believe any of this?"

"Well," Arturo said. "We can't argue with things that he has found. If you remember, we once found a world where Einstein denied the ability to create the atomic bomb for the safety of the world. Now, you and I both know the extreme danger of time travel if its possible. If I were Einstein, and I found out it were possible, I would certainly cover that up."

"But why?" Quinn said.

"We always think of the good-natured scientist out to do good," Arturo continued. "But there always exists the scientist who is just as smart as you or I, who is out for money, greed, or revenge. If Einstein even hinted that it were possible, people would believe they could do it. But since he explicitly denied its possibility, no one gives it a second thought."

Quinn knew the Professor was right. All his evidence was right in front of him. Quinn's double was probably just like him. He learned to slide, but when he didn't get lost, he ventured on to other subjects. He had known doubles who were just as interested in time travel as this man seemed to be.

But Quinn still trusted his world's Einstein not to falsify his claims. If he was deceitful on every world, who's to say that any of his theories were true. Or any theory ever created. No, time travel was impossible, and Quinn would prove it.

Within a couple minutes, several police vehicles had surrounded the house, and they slowly crept into the house. But Rembrandt and Wade were not going to put up any fight.

"No need for any of that officer," Rembrandt said to the policeman trying to slip open the basement door. "We have no weapons, and we mean none of you harm."

The police officer was still extremely cautious, although he and his fellow officers moved a lot faster.

"Keep your hands up!" the man said. He was very young, and he sounded extremely nervous.

"Don't worry," Rembrandt said. "We can explain everything here. We just need some time to do so."

The police moved in, and in a few minutes, they were on their way to the police station

Quinn's double had some of the greatest minds in the multiverse working with him, and he knew it. He knew they must have done wonders, despite their situation, working together, so he decided to let them continue to work as a team. They stayed out of each other's hair. He continued his work, looking for the glitch, and the others poured over his old research.

Quinn was working hard, looking over his double's notes. There had to be a hole somewhere in his research. The double said it himself; the experiment had been a failure. Why? Because time travel was impossible.

He probably had something to do with the disappearance of Wade and Rembrandt also. It was probably all on tape, but there was no time for that. He had to get a look at it, but it appeared that the Professor and Diana were already up to that.

Meanwhile, in the corner of the basement, Arturo and Diana were examining the tape made by Quinn's double just a few minutes before. But, unbeknownst to him, they were not investigating his time travel experiment. There would be time for that later. They had to find out what happened to their friends.

Diana scanned the tape, looking for the exact moment the vortex first opened on screen. She then looked at the clock in the corner of the screen.

"You see that, Professor?" Diana said, becoming more comfortable with the man. "The vortex was open for fifteen seconds, if it was that long. Just long enough for it to open, and for us three to slide out."

"You're right," Arturo responded. "And you see that the vortex destabilized rather quickly."

"What do you think that means?" Diana asked.

"It could mean one of two things," Arturo started. "Either way, the vortex had to have opened somewhere. That's not unprecedented; it even did it the last time we were together."

"You think I might be the reason behind this?" Diana asked, looking guilty. "That maybe the timer can't support five people?"

"Nonsense," Arturo said, almost too loudly. "We've made adjustments to the timer, and it can easily hold five or six people without any problem. No, the problem was probably caused by the equipment here."

"The time travel equipment?" Diana asked, sounding more skeptical that she wanted.

"That's one possibility," Arturo continued. "The other would be that the sliding equipment down here had something to do with it. We know that this world's Quinn is a slider, and that he has made several slides. Many have probably been from this very basement."

"As you know, with every slide, the connection between worlds is torn," Arturo continued. "Its very possible that our slide was the last straw, if you will."

"And the vortex opened someplace else," Diana said.

"Exactly," Arturo said with a smile.

"But I sense that's not what you believe happened," Diana said.

"No I don't," Arturo said. "That's very intuitive, Dr. Davis. No, I believe that Quinn's experiment was successful. Although, it didn't work the way he wanted. Our vortex opened the same time he started his experiment, and we were sent back in time. When he saw that it had failed, he shut it down or the experiment shut itself down. That's why Mr. Brown and Ms. Welles are gone."

"Because they're in the future," Diana said. "So, we have to help Quinn's double get this experiment done or we could cause serious damage to the space-time continuum."

"Or we could erase ourselves from existence," Arturo interjected, in a very ghastly tone.

The pair of lost sliders were put in a containment cell, waiting for their interrogation. Luckily, Rembrandt had placed the timer in a hidden pocket of his pants, and it hadn't been stolen.

The investigator finally came in after a couple minutes. He was a man in his mid-50's with a clip board in his hands. Rembrandt was hoping for the amateur that had arrested him in hopes that he would believe him easier. This guy would be near-impossible to convince.

"Let's make this snappy," the man said, and Rembrandt knew he was in trouble.

"Sir," Rembrandt said, trying to start on the right foot. "You're probably not going to believe this story, but I assure you that its the honest to God truth."

"Don't worry about trying to impress me," the man said. "People have come in here for thirty years telling me all kind of crazy things. And trust me, they all eventually come to the truth. So, why not spare me the bullshit and just tell me why and how you killed those people."

Rembrandt was in trouble, and he knew it. Wade was crying in the corner, and she wouldn't be much help. Even if the others were not dead, they'd have to leave in a couple hours. And looking at their situation, they wouldn't be able to come back.

"Sir," Rembrandt said again. "Trust me, this is the truth. You know all that equipment in Quinn's basement? That equipment is all used to cross into different parallel universes. If you look down there, you'll probably see information on it."

"His mother said he did experiments down there," the man said. "But she obviously didn't think you were supposed to be there. So, what happened? Did the experiment fail?"

"Not exactly," Rembrandt said. "We're the ones from the parallel universe. I'm sure the Quinn that lives on this Earth is still alive somewhere, and all you need to do is find him."

"Now that's a Hell of a story," the man said, pausing for a second. Rembrandt even thought that it might be a sign that the man was actually believing him.

"You actually intend me to believe all of that?" the man said, and Rembrandt nodded his head. "Now, I'll believe that Mr. Mallory was doing an experiment in his basement, because he fried the equipment for the entire city block. And I'll believe that it was an accident. But if you think that I'll believe that you're from a parallel Earth and that the person we have in the morgue is not Quinn Mallory, then you have another thing coming."

Arturo and Diana believed that Quinn's double's machine had true potential, and they honestly believed that it had caused the separation between the sliders.

"What do you think Quinn is doing?" Diana asked of Arturo when she thought he had reached a stopping point.

Arturo smiled. "Which one?" he asked with a smile. He couldn't resist playing off Diana's relative youth as a slider. He knew what she meant, but he didn't really have an answer.

"Do you think he's that committed to proving his alternate wrong?" she asked. Arturo reminded himself that Dr. Davis used the word "alternate" in lieu of "double" and moved to answer her question.

"He's very committed to whatever he does," Arturo answered. "He's amazingly clear minded when he wants to be, and he has done wonders alone. You're probably observing one of them now."

"Do you think he'll disprove this device?" Diana asked. She had almost complete faith in Quinn's double. "Despite the minor flaws that will exist in the preliminary stages of any experiment."

"I don't know," Arturo answered, then turned on a smile. "But I love seeing him try."

Quinn was getting frustrated. Every once and a while, he would walk over to Arturo and Diana with possible holes in his double's logic. But, so far, he was getting shot down every time.

This was impossible. Time travel was impossible. In every single way.

It boggled the mind. How could someone go back in time? And what happened if they impacted something? What would happen to the people in the "present"? Would they cease to exist? That would be the only thing that could happen.

Quinn knew he could tie parallel worlds into this rather easily. Maybe going back in time would break off all new parallel worlds, because that would be the only way that it would make any sense. Because matter couldn't be destroyed, and a world would be a lot of matter that would have to be destroyed.

But would that make this a form of sliding? No, this was all impossible. Rembrandt and Wade were just displaced somewhere. And as soon as he proved time travel was crazy, he would get the Professor and Diana to help him find them.

Rembrandt spent a lot of time trying to convince his captor that he was telling the truth. It would be a lot easier to slide if they were free, but as soon as he realized that he was fighting a losing battle, he wanted the investigator out of the room.

They were half an hour from the slide, and they knew that they had to make it, no matter what happened to the other three.

As soon as the guards left them alone, Wade broke down again.

"I know it looks bad," Rembrandt said. "And I honestly can't see how we're going to get out of this, but I know that we are. I know it, and you never stop believing that. Even if its just us from now on, we're going to keep on going. We're too strong not to."

"But what about what you said?" Wade said, trying to keep from crying.

"What?" Rembrandt asked, genuinely confused.

"You said that we'd need all of us to get home," Wade continued. "That all of us were important for specific reasons. What do we do now that more than half of us are gone?"

With that, Wade broke down again, falling into her friend's arms. And Rembrandt didn't have an answer. He had said that, and he honestly believed it. He didn't know how they could continue sliding without the "geniuses". How could this happen?

"What do you think we should do?" Rembrandt asked, completely out of answers. "What would Quinn or the Professor do?"

"If it were the other way around?" Wade asked, wiping the tears from her eyes. "They'd make sure, without a doubt, that we were dead."

"Then that's what we'll do," Rembrandt said with a smile, as the two embraced again.

Quinn's double was impressed with himself. He had entertained three people very skeptical about his device a couple hours before, and now they all seemed to believe him. His own double was still interrogative, but that was understandable. If someone had told him two years earlier that he'd be testing a time travel machine now, he'd tell that person that he was crazy.

But it was all coming together now. And with his new compatriots, it was going to work. Maybe it didn't work the first time because the sliders weren't there to help him.

But, of course, that would mean that he witnessed the first part of an immortal "Catch-22". How did the sliders successfully come back in time six hours originally if the experiment would have failed without them in the first place.

It mind boggling. And Quinn loved that he was in the middle of all of it.

Rembrandt looked outside the interrogation room, wondering if the policemen had possibly forgotten about them. He had been in rooms like this before, and he had never been in one this long after being questioned.

Could this be fate finally giving them a stroke of luck? Was this their chance to find their way to the morgue, if it even existed in this facility?

It was a risk, but if they could save their friends, then it was definitely worth taking.

Diana was in awe at Quinn's double's work. Not only had he seemingly accomplished the impossible, but he had done it amazingly perfect and quickly.

Not only that, but she was able to spend some very good time with Professor Arturo. She wished that she had had the opportunity to speak with him when she first met him, but she had to get home. Based on how the two were working together and knowing now what would happen to her at home, she wished that she had stayed with the group.

Professor Arturo and her seemed to have one mind. They thought of things at the same time, found mistakes at the same time, and found the solutions at the same time. Working with him was truly one of the greatest experiences in her life.

"It looks like his theories are foolproof," Diana said. "He has thought of almost every variable possible. If the device itself is clean, I'm positive it will work."

"I couldn't agree more, Dr. Davis," Arturo responded with a smile.

"You can call me Diana, you know?" Diana said, responding with her own smile. "You already show me enough respect as it is."

"Nonsense!" Arturo said. "I've known Quinn for much longer than I've known you, and I still call him 'Mr. Mallory' to his face. And I have far less respect for him."

Arturo looked over at Quinn and couldn't help but laughing.

"What's so funny, Professor?" Quinn said, walking over to the duo.

"Nothing, my boy," Arturo responded. "Can you take a look at the initiation device? If that's working perfectly, then I think that you will have been proven wrong."

Arturo didn't mean it to sound rude, but Quinn was taken aback nonetheless. He looked at the Professor and gave a very sarcastic smile.

"Well," Quinn said. "I've already looked at that, and I have found a problem that I think should prove that I'm right."

Lucky for Rembrandt and Wade, the three other sliders had been kept in a small morgue at the police station, pending further paperwork.

He looked at the timer in his hand. Five minutes to go. There hadn't been any trouble so far, but they still had to be careful.

Wade checked their friends' pulses. After each one, she'd close her eyes and drop her head. The three were still very much dead.

"What do you want to do?" Rembrandt asked. "Whatever it is, we'll do it."

"I think we need to take them with us," Wade said. "Maybe its the same problem we had a year ago. Maybe sliding will make them come out of it."

"Whatever you want," Rembrandt said. He wasn't sure it was going to work, but he was willing to do anything to make this easier on Wade. She was having a very tough slide, and if there was a chance it would work, they'd do it.

Rembrandt arranged the three bodies to get ready for the slide. Wade and he would drop them into the vortex, hoping that no further harm would come to them. That is, if there was still some way to revive them. If they were dead, all this was moot.

He slowly counted down the time until the slide, and he opened the vortex. But as soon as he had done so, three officers entered the room, led by the investigator.

"Hands up!" the investigator said. Rembrandt did so, forgetting that the timer was still in his hands. The investigator saw it, and fired at his hand. The timer was knocked down, and it was obviously in horrible shape. He needed to kneel down and get it, but there didn't seem to be any time.

Working off pure adrenaline, Rembrandt pushed Wade into the vortex. The investigator saw this and fired at Rembrandt, hitting him in the shoulder. He fired at Wade, but she was already inside the vortex.

"Shut it off!" the investigator screamed.

Rembrandt fell to the ground next to the timer. It seemed completely trashed, but maybe Wade could get it fixed. If she couldn't she was on her way to her new home earth, Earth Prime or not.

He looked up and heaved the timer towards the vortex. The four policemen saw this and fired at it, knocking it away from the gateway. If it wasn't destroyed before, it was now.

"Shut it off now!" the investigator screamed again, now aiming his gun at the bleeding man. Rembrandt looked at him, too exhausted and in too much pain to respond. He knew that it would shut off in a minute anyway, leaving him behind.

And a few seconds later, it did just that.

Arturo was a little disappointed with Quinn. Instead of focusing on the experiment at hand, which both he and Diana believed would successfully get Wade and Rembrandt back, he was clinging to his beliefs. Which, in itself, would've been admirable, but now he was just being bothersome.

"What is it now?" Arturo said, now letting his true attitude show. Quinn ignored this and went straight to the point.

"I looked at the device that's supposed to start this process that's supposed to send my double back in time," Quinn said quietly so his double would not hear. "There is a timer-like device, but like my original sliding experiment, everything is controlled by the equipment down here."

"Yes," Diana said, listening to Quinn. It sounded like he was finally believing in the time travel process, and she knew that they would have to fix any problem to avoid the consequences.

"Now," Quinn continued. "The handheld device will create a small orb that will slowly grow. According to my double's notes, he will be able to step inside after fifteen seconds, and he will step inside."

"We know this," Arturo said, sounding a little more curious than before.

"But there lies the problem," Quinn said. "My double knows that this experiment will create an extreme amount of electricity."

Arturo wanted to step in and tell Quinn that he also knew that, but he was now intrigued.

"What he doesn't know is that from the inside of the orb, a lot of static electricity will be created," Quinn continued. "The exterior of the orb will becoming increasingly hard, and I don't think that he will be able to enter it."

Arturo was now completely awake, and he knew where Quinn was going with his concern.

"Oh my God," Diana said. "He's already concerned with the electricity outside of the orb if he doesn't get inside in time. He thinks that that might've been the reason his 'first' experiment didn't work right."

"Exactly," Quinn said. "And not only that, but the electricity inside the orb will make it work like a huge magnet. Not only will there be seriously dangerous levels of electricity flying around, but anything metal will also be crashing into everything and everyone."

"He'll be killed," Diana said. "Whether its the lightning inside or the materials inside, he's not going to be able to survive the experiment. That's why it didn't succeed in the future."

"That's what I think," Quinn said.

"Okay," Diana said. "So, we need to stop it."

"Well," Quinn said. "The problem is that the equipment downstairs is too powerful, even at its lowest setting, to pull off this experiment. It's going to shove too much energy into one spot, and its going to cause havoc down here."

"So," Diana said. "All we need to do is move exclusively to the handheld unit."

"Its not that easy," Quinn said. "Without the equipment, that experiment isn't even going to get off the ground. It will probably open the small orb, but it won't grow and it will send the traveler - if he even makes it in - to an unknown point in time."

"In other words," Diana said. "He'll lose all control of the experiment. He won't be able to know where he's going, and it could end up being more dangerous."

"Exactly," Quinn said, with a hint of a smile.

"So," Diana said. "We need to figure out a way to determine the correct median power outage for this to work."

"That'd take a lot of time," Quinn said. "My double wants to get this experiment done in less than three hours. We'd have to disassemble some or all of this equipment to get it to work correctly. It could take days, and that's if we don't need extra parts."

"We don't have that kind of time," Diana said.

"I think that we need to leave," Arturo said, startling both Diana and Quinn. Both were left speechless.

"No," Arturo said. "I'm serious. Now, there's no doubt now that Quinn's double's experiment will be a partial success. The 'black hole' created by the experiment must have attracted our vortex to the interior of the orb. We, then flew into the orb and came back in time. Before everyone was out, however, the experiment destroyed itself and Mr. Brown and Ms. Welles were left in the future."

Quinn now believed that this was possible and he nodded his head along with Diana.

"Quinn's double was obviously killed in that experiment," Arturo continued. "That's why he didn't re-attempt it. Now, that's how it happened, and we can't change that. If we do, the consequences could be disastrous."

"For who?" Quinn said. "You're asking us to leave and let him die because you think that's how it happened? How do you know that we'll destroy time if we change it."

"You said it yourself," Arturo said. "It would take time to get this experiment off right. Our vortex should be arriving in less than three hours. If the experiment isn't performed, there will be countless paradoxes that could erase us from existence."

"Or it could just erase these last six hours from existence," Quinn said.

"No," Arturo said. "If he doesn't do the experiment, who will be brought back in time to convince him not to do the experiment?"

Arturo knew that he was confusing people because he was even confusing himself. Time travel was a tricky business, and that's why he didn't want to deal with it.

"So, we're just going to leave?" Quinn asked, looking as shocked as Diana, who remained speechless.

"That's precisely what we're going to do," Arturo said. "You remember what happened on the world with backwards time, right? We interfered, and our actions ripped a hole in the universe. I refuse to make the same mistake twice."

Rembrandt sat in a jail cell. His arm was in a sling, but he was still in extreme pain. Apparently, his actions had taken away his right to a trial, and he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison.

What had happened? A few hours ago, he was sitting in a stadium with four of his greatest friends ever. Now, three were dead, and he had stranded one God knows where.

He really felt bad for Wade. This trip had been traumatic enough for her. Despite all of Parker's threats, Rembrandt wished that she had somehow made her way back home. But since the timer was destroyed, no matter where she was was now her home. And she was all alone.

And this was his home. Convicted of quadruple murder, including Wade, Rembrandt was going to spend the rest of his life on a parallel universe in a jail cell.

For a minute, he hated Quinn again. If not for him, he would've been in the middle of a successful rebirth of his career. But Quinn had done everything he could to make up for it. And the last seven years had been, if nothing else, extremely memorable.

No, this wasn't anyone's fault. Just a bad twist of fate. With that as his last thought, Rembrandt fell asleep. Honestly, he wished that he would never wake again.

With the time of Quinn's experiment approaching, the three sliders sat in a room at the Dominion hotel.

"I don't believe this," Quinn said, still shocked that Arturo would allow them to let his double die. "There has to be something we can do!"

"I know," Diana said. "But we've spent the last couple hours trying to think of something. And, honestly, we're not any closer than we were when we started."

"I know," Quinn said. "This just feels so wrong."

Arturo hung up the phone and walked over to his two friends.

"What did he want?" Quinn asked.

"He was having concerns about the experiment," Arturo said. "But I convinced him that he should proceed with it."

"Convincing him," Quinn said, still outraged. "Even though you know what's going to happen."

"We don't know that he's going to die, Quinn," Arturo said, but this made Quinn go crazy.

"Of course he is!" Quinn said. "He's going to be trapped in an electric tornado that will fry, crush, and throw him around all at the same time. Unless he's Superman, he won't come out of that in one piece."

"I hate to say this," Diana said, throwing her own hat in the ring. "But maybe he's a martyr. This is our fault, and we should probably pay for it, but if the Professor is right, then your alternate would probably die anyway, along with this entire dimension. And depending on several variables, the impact could be felt all over the multiverse."

"So," Quinn said. "One person has to die, unknowingly, so the multiverse can be saved. Sounds noble, but it just doesn't feel right."

"I know, my boy," Arturo said, putting his arm around his protégé. "And I hate to sound callous about all of this, but its just not worth the risk to try and save him. I want to, but its just not worth risking every life on this world and maybe even more."

The sliders sat by the clock, waiting for the time of Quinn's experiment to come. If the Professor was right, and Diana and Quinn mostly agreed with him, Rembrandt and Wade would arrive seconds after the experiment into a very chaotic basement.

"I'm sure that the experiment will short out the electricity on the block," Quinn said. "So, they're going to know he's dead pretty soon. We have to get in and out of there before they think Rembrandt and Wade are involved."

Rembrandt dreamed of the old times. He dreamed of all the great times he had with the original group. All the danger but all of the closeness. He really missed that, especially compared to his current predicament.

He dreamed he was in the vortex. He knew that he was dreaming, but he didn't want to wake up. He wished he would just keep sliding forever. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the ride.

The time of the experiment came and went. The sliders were surprised that even the electricity in the room was affected. They knew that Quinn's double was probably dead, but they were still alive. The three sliders rose and moved to go to Quinn's house to pick up their friends.

"I sure hope you were right, Professor," Quinn said.

"I do, too, my boy," Arturo answered. "I do, too."

Rembrandt opened his eyes, and he was still in the vortex. He was relieved, and he was excited that his dream was not over. Strangely enough, he seemed to be dreaming about his previous slide.

Suddenly, he was saddened that he couldn't escape from his world, even in his dreams. Maybe God was telling him something.

He saw the electricity in the vortex, watched the sliders fall into it, and he flew out. Amazingly, the landing was very rough. And he was hurt.

"Should I be able to get hurt in a dream?" Rembrandt said. But soon, he wasn't even thinking about that.

He saw Wade, and for some reason, they ran and hugged each other. They didn't know why, and suddenly they both had a huge case of déja vù.

"What happened down here?" Wade asked.

"I don't know," Rembrandt said. "But let's get out of here before people start asking questions."

Quinn, Diana, and Arturo arrived at Quinn's double's house in a few minutes, to find the house surrounded by a SWAT team.

"Oh no!" Diana said. "We're too late! They're probably already taking them into custody!"

"Have faith," Quinn said. "Fate isn't going to screw us over twice in one day if there's any justice in the universe."

They moved towards the line, Quinn planning to prove that "he" was alive so that Rembrandt and Wade would be released, but he heard something from across the street.

It was Rembrandt and Wade. They had escaped from the house while Quinn's mother ran to get the police. They had hidden across the street while everything happened.

"I knew you guys would have to be close," Rembrandt said. "I guess that this is our lucky day!"

A few worlds later, Quinn looked at a book of physics. Inside, as usual, were Einstein's theories about time travel. Again, he claimed that it would probably be too dangerous to perform successfully.

And even though it cost his double's life, three people, including him, had done it. They traveled six hours back in time.

But time travel had always been an impossibility to Quinn. Something to laugh at, and something to cross off at its first mention.

But he, like Einstein, was wrong about that. And if he was wrong about that, what else could he be wrong about. If time travel was possible, maybe anything was possible.

And in a strange way, it gave Quinn hope for the rest of his journey.

Back to Earth 214