Author : Duncan Shields

The good news is that my time machine works.

The bad news is that the laws of the universe will only allow it to go forward.

I don’t know what I was thinking. We sent it forward two minutes and then three minutes and then a month. All tests were green. No time passed for me but the people in my lab saw me disappear for four weeks. It was a success. There was talk of a government contract. We didn’t dare do a test back in time yet. The causality equations were still being worked out.

I just wanted to impress Jenny. I’d been drinking. It was late. I wanted to go a few hundred years into the future, find something amazing, and bring it back for her. It seemed like the most romantic thing anyone had ever done to my drunk lovesick scientist mind. I took a deep breath and hopped in and dialed in the tempordinates.

I hit the go button. Everything worked perfectly. I stared at the exit door, took a deep breath and pulled the handle.

With a crack and a hiss I walked out into the darkness. Immediately, floodlights came up and a loud horn made me freeze like a scared dog. It looked like I was standing in some sort of parking lot but it was hard to tell with the light shining down on me. I shielded my eyes with an upraised hand. I squinted into the darkness.

“Quin do lave track temp shift over max chain” said a booming voice from a loudspeaker.

“What?” I stammered back “My name is Dr. Jenkins. I am from the year 2008. I, uh, I come in peace.” I finished lamely.

My stomach was really not enjoying the celebratory whiskey anymore. I was scared like I hadn’t been scared since I was a child. I staggered forward onto my knees and vomited noisily onto the pavement.

That was all six months ago. Turns out they’d been waiting for me. This tempstation had been set up like a barrier across all of local time. It catches us illegal time travelers like tennis balls thrown against a net. I was the thirtieth one that they had caught so far but I was a semi celebrity seeing as I was the inventor of the first time travel machine.

Unfortunately, it meant that they had to tell me the bad news that every time traveler since me already knew. It’s not a return trip. You can’t go back.

They say they’ll let me out of the holding cell soon. I have a support group of temporal displacement counselors and fellow temponauts waiting to help me adjust to this new future society.

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