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The Girl and The Machine

Check out our episode here! The Girl and The Machine by Beth Revis

Franklin is minding his own business, studying in the park, when Heather comes up to him, excitedly introduces herself, and basically tells him his life story. Uh... That's weird. Franklin doesn't think he's ever even seen this girl before. How does she know so much about him? Especially... that. He suggests they go somewhere where they can be alone, to talk privately, without being overheard. They leave the park and enter a library greenhouse with no one else around and Heather's demeanor changes. She seems nervous now. Franklin says it's not every day someone comes up to you and reveals your deepest darkest secret. Heather's response? It's not every day you meet a time traveler.

Heather reveals she met Franklin in his future, which is not possible. Franklin has never ever met another time traveler, and he can't travel into the future; he can only travel through his own past. He's tried to travel into the future. A lot. To find out the winning lottery numbers... To find out about his future self... To see how rich he is... But he's only ever been able to go back. Well, if Heather is here, talking to him now, something must have changed. She says she's known him for six years and has been waiting for this day. Today is the day they change the world.

Heather gives Franklin a plane ticket and while they wait for their flight, she explains how they met. Franklin, when he is 38, visits Heather, right after her prom, seeking her assistance. In his future, he visited her past. He didn't come as a history professor, which is what he's in college for now and what he's been cheating in his assignments for by traveling to important historical events to witness them firsthand to study. No, he came as the world's only time traveler.

Heather tells Franklin that he needed her help to avoid a time travel paradox. He had to travel far enough back into her past that she was old enough to understand, but not yet old enough to make a difference. She's been studying very hard every day since he showed up until this point and she's now a student at MIT. That's where they are heading now. Franklin sees a group of businessmen and wonders if one of them is his older self, but before he can decipher that, it's time to board. When they get to Heather's lab, she can give him more information on what they're going to do to change the world, but for now, he just has to come along.

Franklin's never done anything momentous or world-changing before. Just stuff for his own benefit. But today's the day. Heather is shocked that Franklin would doubt his world-changing abilities, after all, he can travel through time. He tells her he doesn't think he's the person she met all those years ago yet, but she assures him that he is exactly the same person she met in high school.

They finally arrive at Heather's lab. It's not on the MIT campus and it's not so nice from the outside, but the inside has an apartment, lots of equipment and a huge metal tube in the middle with a glass window at about Franklin’s face level. There are other tubes and things coming from it. Heather tells Franklin that this is the time machine. With it and with his DNA powering it, he'll be able to travel anywhere in time. She explains that there's a mutation in his genes that allows for time travel. Like the X-Men?! Sure... Like the X-Men.

Franklin asks why, with the machine, he'll be able to travel freely through time. Heather explains that the machine will unlock the ability in his genes to allow him to travel outside of his own timeline by pushing him around on a gurney, and, though he doesn't follow, her answer is good enough for him. He also asks why she's so interested in time travel. Because, she answers, she's always been a nerd and he made a lasting impression on her.

Franklin doesn't think Heather looks like a nerd. Sure, she's not hot, but she's a genius. She explains to him that when she was in high school, until her senior year, she wasn't like anyone else. She didn't like boys or girls, but studying. How do you explain to everyone that you're asexual? You don't. You can't. But then she finally got boobs and decided to wear cuter clothes and try to fit in. She finally went to a party after prom, and that's where she met Franklin and when everything changed.

Heather then asks what Franklin was like, growing up able to time travel and where he would go if he could go anywhere. He'd go see historic events, like JFK’s assassination or to see if Jesus was real or D-Day or a slave auction. He'd also go into the future to get winning lotto numbers and to make sure he's got a big house and to mess with a guy in one of his classes. Heather asks if he's done that before... messed with anybody. Oh sure he has. Wouldn't you?

Franklin messed up the star football player's college applications and stole video games before they came out. He was a dick. He even messed around with girls and then disappeared to boost his own self confidence, to be cooler when he went to school the next day, not a virgin. He crashed a party and found a girl that was maybe a little drunk and had sex with her. Was it rape? Heather asks. Well, she didn't say no. Franklin thinks more about it, thinks about the girl's dead eyes and that she didn't fight or say no... or yes. But he wanted it. And there had been more girls. Lots more after that first time. But, as of today, he's not that guy anymore. Today's the day all that changes.

Heather asks Franklin if he's ready to try the time machine. Nervous, he steps into the machine. Heather tells him to take off his shirt because she's got to take his blood. She tells him to trust her. It won't hurt that much. He'll thank her afterward. That sounds familiar to Franklin, but then Heather shoves a huge needle into his heart. Franklin freaks out. She said it would be simple, but she lied. She begins to replace Franklin's blood with a cryogenic substance that will keep him alive indefinitely. Will make five years feel like five seconds.

Heather explains that she would not be here without him. Without the night that Franklin said those familiar words to her and took her virginity. She lied. It wasn't future-Franklin that visited her asking for help, it was just asshole-Franklin, jumping through time and assaulting women. There is no future-Franklin because this is his future. Heather's going to use his blood to travel anywhere she wants in time, that part was true at least. She’s going to be a hero while he's here, strapped to her machine, nothing but a battery.

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