Both women reached the door at about the same time. Having been so fixated on their mutual objective, neither one had noticed the other until their hands almost collided reaching for the handle.
“Excuse me, but what do you think you’re doing?” a woman dressed in something resembling a Victorian dress and a leather aviator’s cap.
“Excuse me, but I’m Nicole Tesla and this is my lab,” the other woman, who was wearing a top hat and tuxedo with tails, tailored for her feminine frame.
“It’s Nicola Tesla, actually… or I’m Nicola Tesla, I should say, and this is my lab,” the first one said.
“Well, I think I know my own name, thank you very much, and I also know my lab when I see it,” the second Tesla said.
“Excuse me, ladies,” a third woman, wearing something like cowboy gear, said. “But I am Tessa Coil and you are both trespassing on private property.”
“Is you who is trespassing on secret underground hideout of glorious Nikolai Tesla,” a man with a bushy beard said.
“What? It isn’t even underground!”
“And it’s hardly a secret with all you impostors standing around gawking.”
“I say, who are all you people and what are you doing outside the lab of myself, the late, great Sir Nicholas Tessler?” asked a man dressed like a clockwork Don Quixote. “Er, not late. Anymore. I mean, yet.”
There was a great loud click sound that was exactly like that of a massive switch being thrown, and with barely more than a spark passing between them all the men and women who would be Tesla went rigid and fell to the ground.
Watching from the window, Nikola Tesla could do little more than shake his head sadly. He broke the circuit, then turned to regard the recently completed device in the corner. He had tested the temporal conveyor with short jaunts, but otherwise deemed it too dangerous to use. It seemed as though future generations were much more casual about such things.
“Do I dare destroy it?” he thought aloud. “The energies it contains…”
But then he considered. The fools who had collided outside his door were those who’d traveled back to the very earliest opportunity, moments after the conveyor began operation. They had clearly done so on little more than a lark and without the forethought to research the subject of their destination or realize that the real Tesla would necessarily be present at the moment of the device’s genesis.
Those who arrived later might be better prepared and more difficult to subdue.
Yes. He would make the necessary calculations to minimize destruction and then destroy the device at the earliest opportunity, that very night. History would not record June 29th, 1908 as the date that time travel became possible.