He was well aware of the enormity of his challenge and the length of his odds. But he was steadfast in his belief that he could do it and, even more fundamentally, that he should do it. He had devoted his life to science. He had mastered quantum mechanics and applied everything he knew in designing and building this machine. That is what made him confident it would work.
But what made him confident he should use it had nothing to do with science. He had a deep belief that the Revolution many years earlier had been ill-conceived and misguided and that, in it, lay the seeds of misery and destruction for untold millions in the years to come.
He had therefore dedicated his life to creating a machine that could transport him back to the eve of the Revolution, when he could help derail it and so change the course of history.
Now his machine hummed at a fevered pitch. Anatoly set his jaw and stepped inside. He pressed a series of numbers on the keypad in the wall: 1-7-1916. Then he pushed a green button. Everything around him began spinning, and he became light-headed and passed out.
When he awoke, Anatoly was lying in a field. He sat up and looked around. In the distance, he saw a horse pulling a plow, which was being guided by a farmer. He stood up and walked over to the man, who told him where he was and confirmed it was July 1916.
It had worked! Anatoly was thrilled. He went into the city, found a place to stay and got to work lining up opposition to the idea of overthrowing the imperial government.
In March of 1917, in the early hours of the first of two revolutions, Anatoly was arrested. That November, after the second revolution, Anatoly was sent to a labor camp in Siberia.
He died there 10 years later, dreaming about escaping, building a time machine and traveling back to change the course of history.