To me, the Battle of Hastings was adrenalin, the Harappan valley was music, and early Roman architecture was inspiration. As far back as I could remember, history was my first love. Science was a distant second. But science paid a lot more.
Although money wasn’t the reason that I signed up for six long years in this lab. Photophysical time travel was exciting – and illegal. Laws against science ought to be surprising, but depressingly it has always been the norm - nuclear, stem cell, AI sentience.... the list is too long and too sad.
They said stick with photonic travel. Those white suits can keep staring into the viewer till their eyes pop, yet never know what a Thebian aulos sounded like or what a Mongol bow felt like. Viewing was not enough for me.
I always knew this was a one way trip. Away from here; before here. I could not think of lifetime better spent than exploring Neolithic Europe. Gear to protect me back there was simple enough to take. The rest of it was difficult. Theoretically the machine needed a four-hundred Exajoule reactor along with a team of engineers working round the clock. It wasn’t easy hiding work from prying scientific eyes.
So, well, I didn’t end up in the upper Neolithic. When I came to, I saw me in the lab peering over the machine as I remembered doing four days ago. I was off by a few thousand years is one way to put it.
I hadn’t considered this scenario, which in retrospect sounds like a dumb thing to do. But we’re all allowed one of those. If he corrected the machine because he saw me, I wouldn’t exist here for him to correct the machine. Causality is a bitch. So I decided to slink away, wait four days and go in again. Four days were enough to figure out why I screwed up the first time round.
I guess I forgot how I paranoid I was in the days leading up to the jump. Even before he could see who I was, he raised his weapon. Time, ironically, was the one thing I did not have at that point. I shot before he could.
Thinking about it now, if he had killed me, he might have probably done something to prevent my (his) death. Oh well, could’ve, should’ve. I took his place once I realized that I wasn’t going to disappear. Causality doesn’t work that way. It was when I started to tweak the machine that I realized that the universe manages it more subtly. I hate history; I always have.
Bio: I was born in India and grew up on a staple diet of science fiction. I have not published fiction (yet), but have extensively published in the areas technology and business. This includes publications and interviews in Consulting Magazine, CIO Update, Search CIO, Outsourcing Magazine, PC Today, CIO Decisions and a number of other avenues.
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