} the middle of a clearing in a primordial jungle he could never have
} imagined. As the machine's fusion power unit bubbled to a halt, Zadoc
} looked around slowly, taking in his new surroundings. With a growing
} fear, he realized his error in twisting the direction lever so quickly.
} His preprogrammed setting for the day before his Biology exam had been
} overridden. As his darting eyes found the chronometer, the Biology
} answer sheet slipped from his fingers and drifted to the ground, now
} useless. Zadoc had transported himself to the year 10,000,000 BC. And
} it would be a while before his familiar IU campus would appear on this
} Desperate now, Zadoc leapt from the machine and dashed around the
} clearing. At first he tried thinking, then screaming, and finally
} simply panicking. In the end, he collapsed on the mossy ground and
} gasped in the humid air with wrenching sobs.
} Then, suddenly, Zadoc was aware that he was being watched. Carefully
} he looked up, and his eyes met the small beady eyes of a primitive
} rodent. The animal sat motionless, observing Zadoc. Another animal
} appeared beside it. As Zadoc watched, rodent after rodent scampered
} silently into the clearing, as if waiting for him to do something.
} Uncertainly, Zadoc rose. The animals regarded him coolly. He shouted,
} "I am your leader!" A few noses twitched, but the rodents kept their
} positions. Zadoc smiled at their acceptance of his rule. Gaining
} confidence, he began to march around the clearing. "We will rebuild
} the campus!" he shouted. "You, by the ferns, you will cut down trees.
} You, by the rocks, will move the timber into the clearing. You, by the
} stream, will stack the timber to make a suitable university for me,
} your master!"
} Unfortunately, the rodents seemed not to understand English. Zadoc
} snorted, then led them in groups and demonstrated their tasks. He
} gnawed at a small tree until it toppled over. He carried the tree in
} his mouth to the clearing. Then he brought another tree and stacked it
} on top of the first.
} Gradually, the rodents understood. First one, then another, followed
} Zadoc's lead and began the work he had mandated. Rodents swarmed
} around the forest and the clearing, cutting, hauling, and stacking
} lumber. Zadoc paced around the growing structures, directing the
} construction. "Faster!" he shouted. More and more rodents came to
} join the others. Still Zadoc cried, "Faster! Faster!" He showed them
} how to fell the trees in half the time. "And don't drag that wood!
} Chuck it!" he screamed. "Toss it right over here!" Soon logs were
} flying past him at a dizzying pace, the rodents learning rapidly how to
} chuck the wood efficiently.
} A smile began to appear on Zadoc's face as he recognized the shapes of
} the buildings where he had spent his wretched life. But just as he
} began to enjoy the results of the rodents' labor, he sensed a distant
} bubbling sound nearby. The sound grew louder and closer until he
} realized that another Wayback Machine was materializing right next to
} his. His mouth hung open as he watched the second machine coalesce
} into solid matter. Finally, he could identify the operator of the
} machine as -- Lisa!
} "Hop on, you worm," she said, before he could speak. "Orrie just
} finished inventing the two-way machine, and is he ever ticked at you
} for making off with the one-way prototype!"
} The rodents had ceased their work when Lisa arrived. It was in
} silence, then, that Zadoc trudged to the new machine and swung his leg
} over the seat behind Lisa. As she deftly manipulated the controls, he
} watched the rodents' expressions. Though his prehistoric campus might
} never be complete, he sensed that the skills he had taught the animals
} would remain locked away somewhere deep in their DNA, so that even
} millions of years from now, the rodents would know how to ...
} "By the way, what in the world were you doing with those animals?" Lisa
} asked over the noise of the fusion unit.
} "Um, nothing," said Zadoc. "Nothing at all."
} You owe the Oracle a way to send the staff of Zot back in time.