Back | Next

The Best Plaid Lans

Written by Loren K. Jones
Illustrated by Nathan Rosario



Professor Kenneth Campbell studied the apparatus in his lab, tweaking delicately at the vernier adjusters to achieve exactly the right settings. "This should be it, Heather. With these settings we should be able to peek into the past, to see the Battle of Culloden. We will be witness to the defeat of Bonny Prince Charlie by the British."

Heather Connally studied her monitor. "Yes, sir. The computer has refined the coordinates and downloaded them to the scanner. Are you ready to record?"

"Ready." The professor reached over and started the digital recorder. "Trial 3, TimeScape Viewer. Selected date: April 16, 1746. Place: Culloden, Scotland. Subject: the defeat of Bonny Prince Charlie." Looking up, he nodded. "Begin, Miss Connally."

Heather keyed in the starting sequence. Nothing happened for a moment, then the room exploded! The world dissolved into a blur of bright light and indescribable sound. Heather was nearly knocked unconscious and rolled under her desk by the concussion.

When Heather regained her senses, she immediately knew that something was profoundly wrong. Peeking over her toppled desk, she saw a ragged hole in the wall where the professor had been standing. Tears of pain and grief began to form, clouding her vision. The professor had been her teacher, colleague and friend, and now he was dead. Then her vision became even more blurred as the room reformed around her.

Shattered walls and windows became whole. Overturned benches dissolved and reformed where they belonged without seeming to move. Fragmented lab equipment became whole. And once again the professor was standing where she had last seen him, fiddling with the TimeScape Scanner.

"Bah! Tha' was nay supposed to 'appen!" he snarled in a shepherd's brogue.


"Come 'ere, Lass. We must begin again," Professor Campbell continued in a more cultured tone. "The Scanner was supposed to show us Bonny Prince Charlie's victory over the Brits at Culloden."

"P—Professor?" Heather asked again, not understanding. Charles Stewart had been defeated. Then she really began to see her surroundings. The professor was dressed in a lab coat and kilt . . . kilt? Staggering drunkenly to the window, she looked out on a campus that was subtly wrong. Plaids and clan tartans were abundant. All of the men were in kilts. And the flag over the commons was not the flag that she knew. The flag of the Scottish Republic flew proudly in place of the Union Jack.




Heather stumbled back to her computer and accessed the history database. April 16, 1746. A mysterious bolt of lightning striking the leaders of the British army, killing most of the officers. The Highlanders taking it as a sign from God that He was on their side. The stunning victory of Bonny Prince Charlie, and the subsequent routing of the British in the Scottish Revolution. It was all there, but her mind said that it was all wrong. Then the ripple in history returned to its origin, bringing a new reality with it.

As history adjusted itself, Heather's memories changed to match. "Professor, did ye ever wonder wha' kind a world we would live in if the Revolution had failed?"

* * *


Return to top

Back | Next