Author : Carter Lee

What happened to your future? We’re it. We, men from the future, have kidnapped you the day before you were going to make your ground-breaking new invention known to the world. We’ve taken the invention itself, and every scrap of paper and every shred of information about your process, and we’re gonna keep it. All of it. And, this is the good part, we’re going to remove not just all memory of your invention from your brain, but make it impossible for you to ever stumble down the mental path you’d need to follow to recreate it.

It makes us sound like Republic serial villains, doesn’t it?

Of course, the Ape with the Brain of a Robot, our leader, knows the repercussions of your little machine would have led to an unacceptable level of upheaval and collapse, along with all the death and suffering such things entail.

Food for thought.

That’s where the future you wanted went. The jetpack, the ones that maimed and killed thousands in the future, we made it disappear. We dropped agents into every year of this century, and they built up automobiles and air transport, along with the infrastructure to support them. And jetpacks faded into dream, only remembered by lovers of musty science fiction.

Weather control. Personal laser guns. All those crazy airplane designs. Dirigibles. We took them all away. The easy way, like this. We stop you, and whatever like-minded inventors might follow a train of thought similar to yours, from following through. We come here, remove your life’s work, everything connected with it, including your memory and some of your ability to reason, and then we go forward and look in the history books to see if any of them still mention you. Your singular contraption will be displayed in the Museum of Unreal Inventions.

The first removal I took part in, we saved the entire world. All by this, what I’m doing to you, happening to another genius with no common sense. I’m going to make the modern house as clean as clean can be, this clever fellow thought, and came up with a living floor covering. A live rug, that would digest any dust or dirt that settled in it for too long. Its excretions? A scent of your choice.

Do you have any idea how many dead skin cells are in household dust?

By the time it occurred to someone that walking on something that was subsisting on your very flesh was not the best of ideas, we’d already lost. The rug-things had discovered they liked the taste of human. One of them found that they could produce a scent that was a soporific for us. Made us just want to lie down, spread ourselves out, and feel good. It was the most merciful way of killing a person I’ve ever heard of.

The cities were overgrown in days, but the things, although it might have been just one big thing by that time, well, they hit their stride when they got to open country. Places to root, soil to drink from, animals to lull and consume, they just spread and spread and spread. A huge, crazy-quilt blotch spread over the Bavarian countryside, growing visibly even when viewed from space.

The uninfected areas of the world were arguing their way towards doing something when Pakistan went silent. Cambodia dropped away. Kenya vanished, followed by New Zealand, all of Southern Africa, Taiwan, Peru, the Pacific Rim, the North American Union. Separate outbreaks. Projections indicated that the death of the last human would run neck and neck with the death of the entire ecosystem.

So we dropped back to the proper year, and made it all go away. We don’t solve the problem, we make sure the problem never needs to be solved. Not removing the mistake from existence, but removing it from ever having existed.

For what it’s worth, I’m sorry we have to do this. Your breakthrough would have made you a name for the history books, in many different ways. But, for the sake of 120 Billion people forward of us, I’m more than willing to cast you into an uncertain future. You’ll still be a genius, after all.

You won’t remember any of this, just like all the other times we’ve met and I’ve done this to you. You just can’t seem to stop with the world-shattering inventions. Three more of these and we give you a neat tattoo you’ll never know how you got.

Well, time to get to it. This is gonna hurt like hell.

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