October 24th, 1888, Hartdegan Residence, Whitechapel, London
Alice and Tesla were again convened in the back parlor one evening, though the room had grown somewhat less sparse. The center of the floor now contained a pile of materials that had been growing over the past few days.
The notes and schematics not affixed to the mirror sat largely ignored on the desk. Alice sat back in her chair as Tesla emphatically related to her a tale of his time in New York.
“And Edison said, ‘When you become a full-fledged American, you will appreciate an American joke.’”
Alice shook her head in disbelief. “So you did all that work for nothing.”
“Essentially, yes,” Tesla replied. “And it seems I still have yet to grasp this American humor.”
“You could always just stay in England,” Alice offered with a smile.
“Unfortunately, there is still work to done overseas,” he said, running a hand over his hair.
“Pity,” Alice remarked.
Tesla nodded absently. After a moment, he turned back to her. “What do you intend to do with the time machine, once we have built it?”
Alice shrugged. “I hadn’t really thought that far, honestly. I guess I could explore other times, see how people live in the past or the future.”
“You are likely one of the few people who would not use it to alter the course of history to suit their own ends,” Tesla said with a raised eyebrow.
“I’m not sure you could change history, even if you wanted to,” Alice replied. “Imagine that you travel back in time, to change some event. You would essentially create an alternate timeline in which you wouldn’t have to go back, and therefore you wouldn’t, so the event would never be changed. You could rip apart the very fabric of space and time.”
“And that would be decidedly bad, yes?” Tesla asked rhetorically.
Alice smiled. “Decidedly.”