A Calm Discussion of the Potential in Time Travel
The scene is a fine Spring day in the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five. The Regent of the Eternal Empire has declared the day a Rest day, and in celebration of the holiday, people of all shapes and walks of life promenade through the sculpted gardens of Central Park. Two, in fine riding suits, are in the midst of a discussion that may be pertinent to the unfolding story. Let us listen in.
"Now, Oscar, how can you claim that the world could be anything but what we know it to be? History has happened, and we are the result. The Romans rose to power and fell, the good word was spread through out the world, and now the Holy Monarch sits in his throne, as much a product of cause and effect as the teacup you broke yesterday eve."
"Ah, but remember, dear sir, that in your invocation of History you must bring to mind the science that has joined us in our procession to this point! Not less than three score years past, it was postulated that Time itself could be a thing that might act in a manner much like that of Distance. In three score years from now, or days or seconds! could it not come to pass that a man should discover the means by which the years might become yet another highway for the weary traveler?"
At this point, both pause in their discussion to bow to a passing Bear, in honor to his station. Behind them, a small man in strange costume of a flowing white coat, bearing goggles made of an unusual grey material, scurries past and dives into the bushes. A strange light pulses from behind the shrubbery.
The scene is a fine spring day in Central Park in 1995. As on any day with fair weather, people of all sorts walk the paths as they meander through the trees. Two men in leather jackets resume their conversation after making a few catcalls at a girl in obscenely high heels for taking a walk.
"So anyway, Ox, as I was saying, the world doesn't just change for someone throwing a ball at it and knocking it to the side. Time travel, sure, maybe it could happen. But time travel can't just erase the world with paradox. In order for us to be here, now, as we are, we have to have our parents and their parents all the way down the line. Just one shift in that would mean that I'm not me and you're not you. Can you believe that the genetics would work out the same if my great-granddad jus' happened to be born a woman?"
"Yeah, but let's say it happened. You're only using one eighth your great-granddad's genes on average. It's possible that you don't even have a one of the genes he sent down, and then it doesn't matter so much any more! They talk about other dimensions, right? Parallel worlds? Well, if they split somehow, why not let them come back together?"
A pulsing light heralds the arrival of a small man in a lab coat and chemist's goggles. He leans out of the bushes and peers around. Seemingly dissatisfied, and unnerved by a small child tugging at her mother's sleeve and pointing in his direction, the man slips back into the bushes and the pulsing light returns.
The scene is a fine spring day in Central Park in 1995. As on any day with fair weather, people of all sorts walk the paths as they meander through the trees. You might even think it was what we had just described, and who is to say you are wrong? Two men in pleather jackets swerve to avoid a mother and her excited daughter.
"Okay, fine, parallel worlds. But you can't change everything and get back the same people you had. Sure, maybe one or two people will be the same, but if you have a war where there was none before, how many countless families will start because daddy didn't die and mommy didn't suck so many..."
With a muffled bang and a brilliant flash, the man is interrupted in his speech. He and his companion run over to the bushes where the flash started, and nearly trip over a flood of brilliant green lizards that escape the brush ahead of a cloud of smoke which begins to pulse with light at a slowly increasing frequency.
The scene is a muggy day in the third Thous past the Slump. The Central Sewer District is as fragrant with ammonia as ever, and two technicians brighten their hours with thoughts of a better life.
"Now, Evelyn sweetie, who's to say the same people have to be there? I for one don't want to see the boss again, not ever, and if I can get to a world without him, I'll even stand to live without my precious sister, don't you tell her though."
"Aw, Oscar, did you have to say that? Now I'm gonna think you'd go and run off without me. I know you like her better than you ever did me."
"Baby, she doesn't give me the kind of sweetness you do, if you'll pardon me being so blunt about it. Anyways, it's not as if we know what it would take to change the world... hand me that wrench, please."
A door slams and the haze pulses with light.
The scene is a fine Spring day in ETA 5. The climate of Central Recreation is set for Cooling Breezes, and people of all strides take their exercise along the raised paths, skating or jogging or chasing their PortaPets while the birds flit through the columns below. At one of the benches, two scientists in blue blazers sketch on a tablet while they chatter rapidly.
"See here, Osmond, the isolation of the cabin from the rest of space-time can be accomplished with a simple lowering magnetic resonance! Once it is entirely still, it develops its own bubble of potential time, and then one need only find the point at which to exit the stillness."
"But Evan, do consider that with no change in energy, time might as well last forever as a second. And even if you could be aware of where you stand in it, you could not act without breaking the bubble..."
"But that can be solved if we set up a counter resonance from the inside -"
A hand grasps the railing beside them, and a man in a white coat of unusually fine texture pulls himself up to the surface of the path. Breathing heavily, he addresses the scientists.
"Are you Osmond Burnside and Evan Crysalt? My apologies for the intrusion."
"Erm, yes, we are they, how might you know?"
"Ah, well, history has its perks... I have a damaged mechanism on... my machine. It's below. I think you might be able to help me, if you would be interested in examining it."
After a shared glance, the scientists succumb to curiosity, or perhaps to the prospect of adventure in descending from the path into the protected lands below. In only a few minutes, a pulsing glow catches the attention of a toddler who had grown bored with chasing her PortaPet and instead gazed over the side into the parkland beneath the path.
The scene is... shifting rapidly. It may just be too much for me to follow, much less describe to you, dear reader. So, with regret, I shall leave my narrative and let you speculate on its outcome on your own.