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Congress has been pouring billions - seven of them, to be exact - into a hole in the desert and now Senator Clark wants to see what they've bought. He visits the massive complex of Project Tic Toc but is unimpressed when he learns their centerpiece, a "Time Tunnel" that can transfer matter and energy into the past or future, is not quite operational. He plans to leave and pull the plug. Desperate to save the project, scientist Tony Newman operates the not yet perfected Time Tunnel and transfers himself back in time, arriving on... The deck of the Titanic
, hours before her rendezvous with an iceberg. Colleague Doug Phillips, desperate to rescue his young protege, employs the device. Now both men are trapped in the past and dependent on a largely untested prototype time machine to return home!
Senator Leroy Clark: You know, Phillips, every time I check your budget figures I ask myself the same question. Is time travel really worth all this?
Douglas: Senator, the control of time is potentially the most valuable treasure that man will ever find.
Senator Leroy Clark: Well, it's certainly the most costly.
Senator Leroy Clark: How did they ever get an old dogface like you out of the mud?
Kirk: Huh. Worse paratrooper officer I ever commanded. I told him to go into politics where he couldn't hurt anyone.
Douglas: His youth is only a disguise, Senator. Inside is an old genius struggling to get out.
Raymond: The energy he employed could not have sent him more than a hundred years forward or back in time. Probably less.
Douglas: Ann, reduce your limits.
Senator Leroy Clark: Only a hundred years forward or back. That means you have to pinpoint him across two hundred years.
Douglas: Two hundred years is just a heartbeat compared to the countless billions of years of time.
Tony: Althea, do you believe in the future? I mean, that there really is a future for you, your children, Mankind.
Althea Hall: Yes, of course I do.
Tony: And obviously you believe in the past, everybody does. But what if I were to tell you that the past and the future are the same? You think I'm raving.
Althea Hall: No, no, I don't.
Tony: I don't blame you. Suppose I told you that Time itself doesn't exist. It's only motion we measure, the motion of the Earth spinning, the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.
Captain Malcolm Smith: I see. My mind will not let me believe you. But I do believe in a God, gentlemen. If what you say is true, then only the fact that you were here will save those who do survive. I would have to consider that a miracle of God's mercy.
Tony: In a way, sir, perhaps it is.
Captain Malcolm Smith: It occurs to me that you might know whether I will die tonight...
Douglas: (pauses uncomfortably) Yes, Captain. I'm afraid you do.