Where Doctor Livingston and his companion
land in a Vesuvius crater just before
the volcano explosion...
...Doctor Liv and Hudson didn't have the slightest idea where their machine had landed. They tried to get connected with the central unit. Unfortunately, there was no power supply. But... Their problem was even bigger... Doctor Liv and Hudson were in a volcano crater.
- - Boss, I think we have a real problem. - Hudson did not think about the match he was going to miss any more. - We should take a central unit and leave the capsule as soon as possible.
A small quake...
Hudson and Livingstone started running down the volcano slope. They were in a panic.
- - Boss, where is the hamster?
- - I don't know Hudson. I thought it was with you.
- - No. We lost Sparklees. Our little hamster! Nicole is going to kill us.
- - If she will ever see us again...
- - Boss, we have to find it. All 68 hamsters came back from their journeys. We must find the 69th!
Doctor Livingstone and his companion went through the vineyard at the foot of the volcano and looked for the hamster. When Hudson heard the noise coming from the bushes he immediately started to run there, thinking that the noise was caused by Sparklees. He did not find the animal, instead he noticed an old, small shack in the bushes.
- - Boss!!!!!!!!! Boss, please come here quickly! I have found a shack!
- - Where are you??????
- - Here!!!!!!!!!! I'm in the bushes.
- - OK!!! I'm coming.
There was no one inside the shack. No trace of any human being. In the middle of the room there was a cauldron full of grapes. In the other room there was a bed and a table with some chairs around it. On the table there was a piece of paper. On the paper there was an inscription: Gladiatores - Pompei and a drawing with two big gladiators.
- - Hmm, volcano, gladiators. Hudson, does it ring a bell? - asked Livingston - And the year 79.
- - Boss, is it possible that we... - Hudson's eyes widened with amazement.
- - I think we are in the ancient Rome, my friend. And the volcano is Vesuvius. And the year of 79 is the year of explosion... - Livingston finished.
- - What shall we do now? We have to hurry if we want to escape the explosion. But how to get out of here? How to come back to our times? Doctor, have you got any idea? - Hudson almost cried.
- - Do not panic. Just give me some time.
The two scientists decided to stay in a shack. They still did not find Sparklees. And they did not know how to come back home. However, at least they had a roof over their heads. When they were looking for food doctor Liv found old clothes.
- - Hudson, look what I have just found. Do you know what it is? It is a toga!
- - Boss??? What is it "a toga"*???
*The toga, a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome, was a sash of perhaps twenty feet (6 meters) in length which was wrapped around the body and was generally worn over a tunic. The toga was invariably made of wool and the tunic under it was often made of linen. For most of Rome's history, the toga was a garment worn exclusively by men, while women wore the stola. Non-citizens were forbidden to wear the toga.
- - It seems that we are here alone. I will go round to look for Sparklees - Hudson went away leaving Doctor alone - Sparklees must be somewhere here. He couldn't have gone far away.
It was not long when Hudson found a cobbled road leading to a town. His discovery made him relieved. In the distance he could see some building and people walking on the streets.
He decided to come back to the place where he had left Doctor and share the news with him. A strange object consisting of a clay dish and a handful of cables appeared to his eyes.
- - Doctor! - Hudson was really surprised - What is this?
- - Science, dear Hudson! - answered the scientist - I will try to supply our time machine with power, using old methods I am familiar with. I found a few bottles of wine behind the shack. I tasted it a bit and now I know why someone threw all these bottles away.
- - I thought you drank only coffee - said Hudson ironically.
- - It isn't about what I drink. The wine that I found is very sour. That is why an idea came into my mind - Doctor sank into thoughts staring at his invention. After a few minutes, silence was broken by Hudson.
- - How does this work? - he asked - It does not look too complicated. Would it give us a suitable amount of current?
- - The rule is very simple - answered Livingston - I poured sour wine into this dish. I plunged two electrolytes into wine: a lead soldier and this copper wire. I found them in my pocket although I have no idea how they landed there. If my plan succeeds, a little voltage should appear on this conductor - Doctor again plunged into thoughts.
Hudson heard about that way of current production when he was at secondary school and in fact it was the last method he could think about. He still was not sure where he and Doctor Livingston were, if they were safe and where Sparklees could be.
- - We have to check if there is any current here, Hudson. Please, come here for a moment - Livingston smiled gently.
- - How do you want to do that? We do not have any meters - Hudson looked at the Doctor with astonishment.
- - We will check it on our own bodies - Livingston answered - Touch the conductor with your tongue. If you feel even a little voltage, my plan is working out!
- - Me? Why me? What if something happens to me?
- - Don't be scared. The current will be to small to hurt you. Besides, I am your boss and you must do what I tell you to do.
Hudson was frightened but he dutifully fulfilled Doctor's order and touched the wire with the tip of his tongue.
- - I don't feel anything, Boss - he said - I should feel a little shock, right?
- - Something is wrong - Livingston moved the cables - Try again!
But Hudson felt nothing.
- - It's not working - Doctor said sadly - we need stronger acid. Lemons will be more useful...
Hudson looked at his favourite clock. He was hurrying in search for the forum. Fortunately, it was not difficult to find it. After a few minutes he reached the place. There were crowds of people rummaging among the stalls. Hudson was going along the streets seeking carefully for lemons. Uncertainty was growing with his every step. Suddenly... he noticed some yellow objects in the corner stall. He came closer... Beautiful, sunny lemons seemed to be smiling at him.
- - Finally - Hudson thought and a broad smile appeared on his face - Here is our chance to come back to London!
Without thinking, Hudson jumped and threw himself on the stall with lemons. The merchant started shouting because he took Hudson for a thief.
Hudson started weaving hands and explaining that he only wanted to exchange lemons for his clock.
- - I need lemon... this... - he pointed to the fruit - le...mon... l_e_m_o_n.
Gosh, he doesn't understand me... - Hudson realised - I'd better take these lemons and run away
Thousands of thoughts swirled in his head. He wanted to watch Arsenal match so much! He thought out a plan...
When the merchant calmed down Hudson pretended to be going away. He hid himself behind a nearby stall with cotton underwear.
He was still watching the merchant suddenly... A big commotion...
Two women started struggling over a big and smelly fish. One of them hit the enemy with fish on the head...
Hudson felt amused by this incident... he took advantage of the situation and ran to the stall with lemons... At that moment the merchant was reconciling two fighting women. He was almost there when... surprisingly, the man jumped at him and started calling for a guard.
Seeing what was going on, Hudson started running very fast. He didn't look back. He felt like Emmanuel Eboue (a footballer of his favourite football team) during his best match.
He didn't mind that people before him were falling down into mud, bringing down theirs stalls.
Hudson stumbled over a drunk fat man and fell down. He felt the guards breath on his back.
- - It's over!!! - he thought in despair - No, it can't finish just like that. I must do something! But what...?!
He looked at the big crowd and thought:
- - Here is my last chance!!! Now or never!
He got up from the ground and jumped into the crowd.
- - Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!! - he thought excited.
He turned around... He was scared because the guards were still running after him. He ran faster until he saw a big gate. He didn't care where it was leading... For him, the gate seemed to lead to heaven. He was on the arena...
- - Great! I'm falling!!! - Hudson thought.
When Hudson arrived at the arena he saw a gladiator with a sword, a helmet and a big shield. He was scared to death and he didn't know what to do. The other gladiator was closed in the basement, waiting for the fight. He was the first to fight but when Hudson suddenly appeared at the arena everybody thought that he was the fighter. Hudson tried to avoid fighting with big Macedonian slave. He was crazily running around the arena. The audience and the proconsul of Campania were very angry. They didn't like when a fighter was avoiding the fight. To show their disappointment and anger, the audience started throwing lemons and other fruit at Hudson. Seeing that, Hudson tried to catch the lemons out.
- - Your Highness, what do you want me to do with this coward? - Gladiator asked Proconsul
- - Nothing - said Roman - I'm going to feed the lions with him.
Hudson didn't understand what they were talking about, because they spoke Latin. Suddenly the gladiator was gone.
- - I'm lucky - his thought - they are going to let me free.
But the true was different. Roman ordered to open the gate. The lion came out. Hudson fell into such a panic that he even couldn't run. His muscles got stiff... As the lion was slowly closing to Hudson, the watch Hudson kept in the pocket suddenly started ringing. It was the alarm that Hudson set to remind him of the match. The sounds of arsenal anthem filled the air at the arena. The sounds were completely unfamiliar to the lion. Frightened animal escaped back to the cage. The audience were so shocked that they started to cheer and at the end they wished to set Hudson free. Proconsul would rather the lion ate Hudson, maybe because feeding lions was so expensive, but eventually he did what the crowd demanded.
- - Throw him out from the arena with his lemons - Proconsul ordered to the prefect.
- - Yes, sir. - prefect said.
The soldiers throw Hudson away together with his lemons.
When the soldiers went away, Hudson stood up, gathered the fruits and ran to the Doctor Liv with good news and with lemons of course.
Hudson bumped into the house. He was exhausted but fully satisfied with himself. He stood in front of Livingston with a glad expression on his face and pockets full of dirty, half-squeezed lemons. He needed some time to be able to explain what had actually happened.
- - My mission is completed. I risked my life for a few lemons. I hope they will help us to come back home before the match.
However, Doctor Livingston's reaction was not as strong as Hudson expected. He took Hudson's jacket and went on hustling around the "lab" as if they had just sent by post the other part which he had ordered before. Hudson was used to Liv's eccentric behaviour and he started looking around the shack as if he wanted to find something. It could be noticed at first sight that Doctor worked hard during Hudson's absence. On the table there were cables, wires and pipes.
- - Come here Hudson. I will need you. Cut all the lemons into two halves and I will prepare the rest of equipment.
- - Of course, Boss.
- - Don't eat the lemons. They are our ticket home!
- - No, I won't. I would rather sit in front of TV and eat popcorn away. In fact, not only me, Sparklees loves popcorn, too.
- - Yes, indeed. But where is Sparklees? I hope we will find him. We should not leave our things from future here. It could disturb the time continuum.
- - I am sure Sparklees is not very far from here. Last time I saw him it was just a moment before a huge man on the arena tried to smash my face just like these lemons.
Hudson took one of the most squeezed and dirty lemons and waved it in front of Doctor's eyes. At that moment some, more impressive fruit rolled out of his sleeve. One of them was strangely fluffy and lively. Sparklees loud squeal was probably a form of a warm welcome with his owners.
- - So our Sparklees is back! We can come back to work. Take better care of Sparklees this time, Hudson!
- - Of course, I will. I will keep an eye on him all the time.
The two scientists went back to work. Doctor Liv started to join the fruit with the cables and the wires. The whole procedure was observed by puzzled Hudson and Sparklees peeping out of the pocket of his dirty jacket.
- - I made a positive electrode from copper wire and a negative electrode from a tinned ending of the resistor. I managed to get it from the remaining parts of our vehicle. Standard potential for copper is +0,34V and for tin just -0,014. Very little. But only such metals were accessible.
Doctor was patiently explaining the observers what he was doing. However, they were much more interested in the results they hoped to see.
- - So... Let's take all the equipment and go back to the crater.
Having checked if everything was correctly fixed, there came a moment of start. The passengers got into the machine. Doctor Liv took out two wire endings and excitedly started the final countdown. It became his habit after 68 test time journeys.
- - 10.. 9... 8... 7...
- - Boss, is it necessary?? - But Doctor kept on counting down.
- ... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...
At that moment Livingston joined the cable endings. Something cracked in the corner of the machine, something moved a bit. There appeared a little of smoke but for sure it was not a sign of a success.
to be continued...