5. NEWTON EXERCISE A SUCCESS

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The History Maintenance Commission are pleased to announce that a recent exercise to test our response to a catastrophe occurring with our time-travel opportunities has proved a resounding success.

IThe exercise involved a scenario in which one of our twenty-first century tourists had met the genius seventeenth century scientist Sir Issac Newton and persuaded him that he suffered from malusdomesticaphobia (the fear of apples) which would have dire consequences for the world as it would mean Newton would thereafter avoid orchards and thus not witness the apple fall to earth inspiring him to develop the theory of gravity. (It would also mean the great mathematician would never visit us at HMC HQ here in The Big Apple.)

The exercise was mainly concerned with the Civil Defense Procedures that would need to be enacted to prepare the populous for life without the Theory of Gravity. That would be our first response to such an emergency before we try to take remedial action by endeavouring to correct the anomaly with the assets we have at our disposal.

Here are some of the measures The Civil Defense Committee of The History Maintenance Commission executed in an immediate response to the crisis:

  • Schools and the overseers of municipal play areas were contacted to inform them that due to the possibilty gravity might no longer exist that soft landing areas under climbing frames etc could be withdrawn.
  • Rochdale Association Football Club in the North of England were advised to position their ballboys and girls in spots way outside the stadium as well as in it as without gravity there was no idea where a ball would land in future, or if it would land at all. The Club Secretary of Rochdale thanked us but said that since they’d brought in their new striker on loan from Stoke City they’d had to position most of their ballboys outside the stadium anyway.
  • Matchmakers for Kyle Lighthammer, the up and coming New Jersey heavyweight, were advised that forthcoming opponents they lined up for him might not be so willing to take a fall.
  • Architects for stadia at the next two Olympic Games were told that it might be an idea to greatly extend the landing pit for the Long Jump, possibly by an extra 150 miles, or at the very least to ensure that there is a big gate open at the rear of the stadium during the event to prevent the competitors from splatting themselves.

Once the cooperation of these individuals and bodies was obtained we quickly informed them that it was merely an exercise. We take great pride in how seriously we take our responsibilities in visiting the past and hope you obtain reassurance that history is in good hands with The History Maintenance Commission.

Of course, there has been the occasional real scare involving our unique time-traveller packages and in the early days of our operations we were more secretive with only the very high echelons of those in power being informed of any scares. Along these lines we can share this piece of hitherto classified intelligence with you having obtained White House approval. Protocol precludes us from naming the President involved.

When a previous President of the USA was first briefed about our existence and shown evidence of a civil defense measure in operation, he became alarmed when he later seen two couples stretching out blankets. One we can assume was after it had been put out to dry after a wash, the other, spotted on a hill near Washington, was using it as part of a preparation for a picnic. The President, however, still somewhat aghast by the startling information he had been made aware of, convinced himself that this was all a further precautionary measure implemented by the History Maintenance Commission and that The Wright Brothers had been disuaded from inventing flight, hence people were holding out blankets to catch those who were currently airborne and would fall to earth if flight was suddenly uninvented. As a result the President refused to board Air Force One until he received a categoric assurance from the head cheese here at the HMC that this wasn’t the case.

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