Author : J.D. Rice
Discovering how to travel forward in time had been easy. Scientists had been experimenting with the accelerator for decades, perfecting safety limits, performing animal testing, making it ideal for human use. Set a dial, flip a switch, and a human being will be frozen in time until a set date. They even worked it out so you would continue to move along with the Earth through space.
The real trick, we knew, would be traveling backwards through time. Accelerating someone to the point of time freeze was simple enough. It followed the standard rules for relativity. The faster you move, the slower time passes. All we had to figure out was how to remain stationary and safe. But traveling backwards? That was a whole different can of worms. It raised questions about string theory and temporal paradoxes.
They told me it couldn’t be done, not in a thousand lifetimes. So I decided I’d just skip ahead to when it could be done and prove them all wrong.
The process was simple enough. The accelerators were getting ready for commercial use, to freeze people with serious illnesses until a cure could be found, so it was easy enough to procure a testing unit. I took it home, set the dial forward by a thousand years, and hit the switch. Protocol said that when they discovered my body in the accelerator they had to put it in storage until the thousand years were complete. The capsule’s outer shell would protect me from major wars. The external censors would delay my unfreezing if the atmospheric conditions around me were unsafe. Only the destruction of the Earth itself could keep me from waking up.
And so it was that I found myself on this strange new world. I woke up, feeling fresh and excited, and took my first breath of that oxygen-heavy air. The sky was dark, lit only by two pale moons and cluster of unfamiliar stars. The ground had a dusty, copper tint. The only vegetation were twisting, tangling blue vines.
Checking my chronometer, I found that I had been in temporal acceleration for over ten billion years. The Earth must be long gone. Destroyed by our dying Sun. Maybe even destroyed by humanity itself, a thousand years in my future, ten billion years in your past.
You found me disoriented and confused, barely surviving on the bitter fruit growing from those blue vines. Mad with loneliness, I welcomed your assistance with open arms. I’ve subjected myself to your tests. I’ve told you all I know about how I got on your planet. I’ve answered every question you have thought to ask me these last fifteen years. Now please, answer one of mine.
How do I go back in time? How do I get home?
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows