On the beach, Daniel is pawing through his backpack, searching for his journal -- he claims that if he can't find it, he won't believe Desmond. Jack picks exactly the wrong moment to develop some curiosity, asking why Desmond thinks it's 1996. Daniel doesn't know -- but what he means is he doesn't know why it's that year. "It's a random effect. Sometimes the displacement's only a couple of hours, sometimes it's years." He finds his journal and gets back on the phone. On the boat, Sayid tells Desmond to hurry up, as he won't be able to hold back the men trying to open the door for long. Daniel flips through his journal and finds a page with a diagram with objects labeled "object @ light speed" and "space time invariance." Daniel tells Desmond to find him at Queens College and tell him to set the device to 2.342, oscillating at 11 hertz. Desmond writes the numbers down on his hand. Daniel also tells him that if the numbers don't convince 1996 Daniel, Desmond should tell his past self that he knows about Eloise. Yay! We're going to the Plaza Hotel! Keamy finally breaks through the door, and pries the phone away from Desmond.
And we're back in the phone booth, where Desmond is gripping that phone. He looks at his hand, and sees that (of course) the writing is not there.
Queens College. Desmond walks across the quad (or whatever), and sees Daniel (with much longer hair) being a total douchebag to a student. Desmond introduces himself, and starts to explain that he just came from the future, where Daniel told him to seek out Daniel in 1996. Daniel thinks this is a prank instigated by some other physics professors. As he walks away, Desmond tells him how to set his device. Daniel is intrigued, but not convinced. Until Desmond tells him that he knows about Eloise.
Daniel leads Desmond into a room with stone/brick walls -- it kind of looks like a basement, except with very high ceilings and lots of natural light. It's also full of books, physics equipment, and a large maze on a table. Daniel explains that this is where he does the work that Oxford doesn't like him to do. He thinks that if his future self told Desmond to speak with him, his future self must have remembered meeting Desmond on that day. But Desmond tells him he doesn't think future Daniel remembered the meeting. Daniel can't imagine what would make him forget. I'm sure we'll discover that in three to six episodes. Desmond asks if Daniel is changing the future. Daniel: "You can't change the future." That's not what Obama says. Daniel puts on a heavy smock, which he explains is to protect him from radiation. Desmond looks around nervously for his own smock, but Daniel explains that he only needs it because he's exposed so often -- a single exposure shouldn't hurt Desmond. He scoffs when Desmond asks him why he doesn't cover his head. Daniel sets the device and then grabs a pretty white lab rat from a cage. She's Eloise. Daniel puts her in a corner of the maze, and points the device at her. Desmond asks what it will do. Daniel tells him it will unstick the rat in time, just like Desmond. Daniel turns it on, and there's a bright glow. When the light goes off, Daniel stares at Eloise until her nose starts twitching, explaining to Desmond that she wasn't back until then. He raises the barrier that keeps Eloise in that particular corner of the maze, and she runs through the maze lickety-split. Daniel is ecstatic, but Desmond doesn't see what's so incredible about a rat running the maze. Daniel: "What's incredible is that I just finished the maze this morning. I'm not gonna teach her to run it until an hour from now." Yes, Daniel sent Eloise's mind to the future. Desmond asks how that's supposed to help him. Daniel thinks the point of it all was for Desmond to help Daniel. Desmond starts to tell Daniel about the island, when we flash back to...