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The More Things Change...
by Susan Cornford

Sammy passed me the ball in the tricky play we’d practiced and I managed to “dribble” half the length of the court before I had to shoot at the basket. I knew we were off again when, instead of dropping through the net, the ball began to float away like a balloon.

I closed my eyes; I’ve learned that’s the easiest way to transition through a time-space change. When things felt more settled, I opened my eyes and looked around. I could see a round rock about the size of the basketball I should’ve just scored with. It was lying on the floor and Samuel, in olde-worlde, fancy dress was paying out a piece of string with knots in it between where I was standing on it and the rock. Having secured the other end of the string under the rock and counted off the knots, he turned to a gentleman who was sitting on a gold-coloured chair with a crown on his head. “So, you see, Your Majesty, it can be proved that the force of what I call “gravity” can be measured, depending on the weight and distance one moves an object. All my assistant and I need is a few, paltry coins so that we may continue to study this phenomenon more closely. We only ask this in order to find ways of applying it to improvements in Your Majesty’s weaponry and, on the other side of the coin, to better defences and security measures. I’m sure Your Majesty will agree that you deserve the very latest developments in these vital areas.”

I wondered how long I was going to have to listen to Samuel carry on like an apparently-medieval used-car salesman while I held down one end of a piece of string with my foot. Not long, as it turned out, since His Majesty gestured to his men-at-arms and said, “Take them away to the dungeon!” Two of them converged on me as I somehow undid the clasp on the cloak I was wearing and began to twirl it over my head in an attempt to disrupt their sightlines long enough to slip away under their guard.

The next change caught me with my eyes open, so I don’t know if that disoriented me or if it was the heavy rain pounding on the umbrella my cape had “become”. I reeled through the door in front of me and managed to close what I could then see was a proper English brolly. Looking around I saw many soberly-clad individuals, inhabiting a classical-looking space. “Welcome to the Old Bailey!” said Sam, who was standing by my side. “I really don’t think we have anything to worry about. They can’t PROVE we used fraudulent measurements to apply for the funding.”   
We began to make our way toward the courtroom where our case was to be heard when I heard the sound of a whistle. Was it a legendary London bobby?

There was another shifting blur and the basketball referee yelled, “Free throw - travelling!”