Professor Moriarty eased himself into the LHC main control room chair and tried to blot out the screams and gunfire that echoed around him in order to concentrate on the changes he was about to make. His henchmen would see to mopping up any opposition, he only hoped they would leave enough technicians and engineers alive to help maintain the collider once he had finished modifying it to his purpose. They could kill as many of those nambi-pambi scientists as they liked; ‘That would teach them for ridiculing my paper on Measuring the Extent of Non-deterministic Strings in de Sitter space' he mused. Already a crack team of ex-SAS IT support technicians had stripped out the old software and installed his upgrades and were now fitting strange new equipment to collider ring.
This addition to the LHC would allow a stream of Higgs-Bosons to be diverted into a chamber, passing through a particle diffraction filter, allowing Professor Moriarty to modulate the phase of the space-time flux. According to his calculations this would enable him to alter the space-time continuum to send him back thirty years into the past; where he would stop himself going on an awful date with Jane Doe and thus prevent his failing the physics exam the next day. He was sure it was that fateful event that had blighted his entire life and drove him into the life of crime that funded his excruciatingly expensive research. Soon all was ready and after setting the appropriate dials and making the obligatory maniacal monologue, he stepped into the chamber and waited.
There was a sadly unimpressive flash and a bang, much like an indoor firework going off, and the professor found himself in a large and ornately decorated Victorian sitting room, with a large florid faced man staring at him in wonderment. ‘Bugger’ thought the professor ‘I have miscalculated and gone back over a century by mistake’. All he could do now was wait for the time machine to reset and switch him back to the present but in the meantime he looked around the room in bemusement.
“What the devil” exclaimed the florid man, waving a large snifter of brandy at him in agitation “Explain yourself man, how did you manage to get in here without so much as a how-do-you-do.”
“Relax.” sneered Moriarty “I will be gone in a moment, if my calculations are correct, my machine will take me back to the future.”
Seconds passed and the stranger moved slowly toward Moriarty as he became more increasingly worried, tapping his foot in frustration.
“Looks like your calculations are incorrect, old man.” quipped the man, sipping smugly from his snifter “Perhaps you made the mistake of using Baggage’s infernal difference engine for your calculations.”
“Ha,” barked Moriarty “That machine never did get finished, thanks to the government getting cold feet over the costs. A shame really as it could have given Britain such a technological lead that the Empire would never have crumbled.”
The two men stared at each other in sudden realisation but for two very different reasons. Moriarty realised that he had committed the cardinal sin of time travel by revealing future knowledge, thus altering the course of history. The stranger, on the other hand, being the Treasury minister, realised that his decision to cancel Babbage’s project had to be reversed immediately.
Moriarty opened his mouth to attempt to undo his mistake but at that instant he was whisked back to the future; a whirling spinning journey into darkness that ended with a thump as he found himself back in the control room of the LHC. He was about to congratulate himself when he noticed something strange. Instead of the gleaming white and silver panels covered in screens and buttons, he found himself surrounded by brass dials and wooden levers, all lovingly escutcheoned and surmounted with copper fittings. A large copper and pewter speaking tube whistled at his side and a delicate, well-spoken lady announced that there was a Mr Sherlock Holmes wanting to speak to him.