Interesting fact: experts estimate that 1-2% of the population are psychopaths. That means that when you’re walking around the grocery store, one or two of those other people browsing the produce or eyeing the ice cream are most likely willing to kill you without a second thought if they think they can get away with it.
Most of the time, this presence of amoral individuals in our society doesn’t end up having too big of an impact. Of course, when a thousand people are given time machines and set loose on the past, those effects tend to be amplified a bit.
Even I don’t remember the specifics of it all. You see, it’s easy to mess with the past – it turns out that there really isn’t any conservation of time streams, and when a change is made in the past, the future shifts. The old future isn’t destroyed, but you can’t get back to it any more. Think of it like adding a new stick onto a fractal tree: all of the old branches are still there, but once you go back below the new branch, you can’t get to them any more. And with a thousand people hopping around history, the timelines don’t stick around for too long.
Anyway, here’s what I remember. I know there were originally about a thousand of us. Maybe less, maybe more. They ported us all to different times; I know this because I woke up in Victorian England, and another traveler I talked to said he first came to in the Cretaceous, being eyed by a raptor.
The controls are hard-wired into us. Literally. See the screen on my arm? A few of the travelers are convinced that it’s nanobots, working inside our brains and bloodstreams. One guy insisted that we were “touched by angels”, but he was pretty off his rocker.
When I first figured out that I wasn’t insane quite yet, I spent a few years tooling around with the cavemen. Pretty relaxing when food and shelter are my only worries. Of course, we couldn’t bring anything with us when we jumped, so I had to bring down deer and such in old-fashioned ways. And after a while, I just wanted a woman without more body hair than me.
On that first trip into the future . . . man, I wish I could somehow get back to that future. It was a utopia; we had moved beyond war, beyond petty little struggles, and damn near close to beyond money. Everyone was healthy, everyone was educated, and the world was beautiful.
Of course, nothing like that lasts. In my case, it lasted all the way until I took a quick hop in the past, to go meet Caesar in the flesh. While I was back, someone went and popped Hitler, and *poof*, there goes that future. When I tried to get back, I found a radioactive wasteland. Needless to say I didn’t stick around long.
After that, I just went on a binge, hopping around and doing what I wanted. Every now and then I would see how the future had shifted, but there was no way to know if it was my doing. I met a few nice girls, settled down for a few years, and then one morning I’d wake up, take a hop back in time, and they would be gone. It’s tough to care about anything when everything is transient.
And that brings me around to now. I’m leaving these writings on some heavy-duty plastic, which the store clerk in the future assured me would last for at least a few million years before becoming illegible. I’ve figured out which areas are going to rise up into mountains, so I figure these writings should be safe from being swallowed in magma. As long as no one comes back here to remove them, or tampers too badly with life 300 million years ago, they should be around.
Don’t invent time travel. Maybe if this works, I’ll cease to exist.