The Unambitious Time Traveller – Part 1

unambitious1Part I | Part II | Part III

The Present – 23 December 2014, Tuesday

Harvey Belfort had never been satisfied living in the present. Some people advocate for living in the moment, some romantically remember the past, and some look with anticipation to the future. All Harvey knew was that he didn’t want to be when he was. The present was a prison, unable to explore the path which had led him there and unable to see the possibilities ahead.

At the same time, Harvey was a thoroughly unambitious man. His actions were consistently half-hearted. He would take a sip of tea and then let the cup go cold. He would watch a few minutes of a movie and then turn it off. In fact, he had only fallen into working at Fermilab because he had tumbled into studying physics because he had collapsed into high school mathematics. His lack of ambition was so potent that at 47 Harvey was the oldest “junior” lab assistant in the world, still muddling his way through a twenty-year PhD program. His superiors felt so sorry for Harvey that they actually took the unusual step of assigning two senior lab assistants to work under him, another world first.

In 2013 news had broken that a neutrino receiver at CERN had discovered faster-than-light particles. Although a review of that research had revealed it to be the result of a loose cable, Fermilab had no real use for Harvey and so they assigned him the fruitless task of conducting a review of the review of the initial research. Given that Fermilab’s particle accelerator had been shut down a few years prior, it was an even more futile exercise, and so Harvey had approached the task with the same contemptuous attitude he approached everything occurring in the present. But this day was to be a little different. (more…)