A forum user has noted that Doc V’s website was created very recently, in apparent contradiction to the time period over which he is supposed to have written it. While some concluded it must be fake, I wasn’t convinced. I had been puzzling over why I hadn’t been able to dig up more information on Verstraeten. Scientists do not always leave the biggest online footprint it’s true, especially those involved with covert projects, but I felt there was more to it. Apart from the website and article I’d found, there was little else to show he’d ever existed. It was as if he’d been erased from history. I began to suspect a cover-up. Due to the sensitive nature of the professor’s research and the circumstances of his ‘death’, it’s likely the British Secret Intelligence Services would have been deployed following the Cambridge incident. If work that held the key to time-travel (or reverse-time communication) had indeed been stolen, it could become hugely embarrassing for the government, given the potential ramifications of this knowledge falling into the wrong hands. Taking down the professor’s website might have been a case of damage limitation. Did that happen? If so, why has it been restored now?
I arranged to meet with a friend who attended Cambridge. Her doctorate is in clinical psychology, but I wondered if perhaps she remembered him.
“His face looks vaguely familiar, but it wasn’t my department, and this must have happened after I left.” she said.
I wanted to know what she made of the videos.
“I feel he’s telling the truth, or otherwise he’s a very convincing actor. From his manner, I sense he may be suffering from Bipolar disorder.”
Did she think he was insane?
“Bipolar doesn’t mean insane. It’s hard to tell from this. If he really has been subject to extreme, prolonged isolation however, manic episodes would not be unusual, even for an otherwise stable and logical man like a physicist.”
I told her about the website. Would the real Doc V have gone to the trouble of recreating it, or was it fake?
“Let’s put ourselves in his place. You’ve been murdered, or very nearly. Abducted, branded, and kept a prisoner for decades. You’ve been abandoned to your fate; not only that - disavowed and forgotten. Imagine you had a backup of your website on a pen-drive that was in your lab-coat when you were taken, or maybe your abductors brought it with them, along with your papers. How would you go about restoring the identity that was taken from you, especially knowing that people are going to find this hard enough to believe as it is?”
I told her after contacting my family the next thing I would do is republish my website. She nodded in agreement.
“Yes, but assuming that’s true, he might have needed help.”
“It’s not my field but let’s say he can transmit a video feed, maybe some data to a terminal equipped to receive it. Interacting with websites though, surely that would be difficult to accomplish from a remote point in time? I think someone on the other end would have to do that for him.”
"Your guess is as good as mine. It could be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or some larger organisation he belonged to maybe."
It wasn’t quite the confirmation I was looking for, but the fact she’d arrived at the same conclusion helped clear some of the doubt from my mind.
I asked her if she was sure she didn’t recall any of her friends mentioning the incident at the Cambridge lab.
“No, but I could try to find out. You look tired - are you all right?”
I told her I was fine, that I’d just been having some sleepless nights.
“Get some rest, and be careful. Don’t go poking around asking too many questions okay?”
I thought about that. How far am I willing to push my luck getting to the truth of this? Would it be better if I just sat back and waited for something to happen? Besides, how much control over the future does any one person have?