Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The Introdus happened in late 2021.

Seven hundred thousand time travelers showed up around the world.

They showed up on fire.

They showed up in clumps in the larger cities and by the singles and pairs in rural areas. Most of them were burnt beyond recognition.

Only sixty-eight of them were saved and of those, only sixteen were able to maintain consciousness. Of those sixteen, ten of them were only able to scream and scream and scream. They were sedated into comas. The six that were left were able to talk.

It was hard to get intelligible stories out of them.

There was a lot of confusion at first. The fact that these people appeared out of the air was hard to make the public believe. It was thought that a worldwide firebomb campaign had begun until the corpses and survivors were examined and not a single one of them could be identified. They simply weren’t on our books.

Scientists measured closer and verified that on a quantum level, the bodies were not from ‘here’. No one could confirm that they were from the future but that was the story those survivors told in slivers, gasps, and broken metaphor. Through shattered teeth and pain medication, though burnt faces and time-jumbled brains, through hand signals and languages evolved further from our own, they told us when the universe would end.

The invention of time travel triggers an event, they said. Once a switch on a time machine was thrown, the universe took notice. Some of them said that it was God, the Devil, Shiva or a giant mouth of fire descending through the clouds. The images they provided were delusional ravings. Entire continents becoming open sores, tentacles reaching down from the stars, the air shattering impossibly like glass, and dimensions bifurcating like paper being crumpled into a ball. No two of them were alike save for the fire at the end and a horrible universe-wide sentience saying “NO”. A combustion not just of the body but of the entire existence of a dimension.

Each of the six survivors claimed to be from a different time and each one claimed to have invented time travel on their own with no help. If that was true for all seven hundred thousand of the travelers, then they all came from different Earths. The odds of them all discovering time travel independently on the same planet were too high.

They all had tried to escape the cataclysm that had suddenly appeared by using their invention. Some of them had fled to the dinosaur times, some had gone back two or three years to warn themselves, and some of them had set their dials to the far future.

But they’d all ended up here, burning and screaming, at September 18th, 2021 at 9:18 PM Pacific Standard Time.

The theory being introduced by the Pope is that the travelers have been sent as messengers. That whatever force destroyed them and sent them here in suffering did so in order to tell us that time travel must never be invented.

For once, the church and most scientists seem to be in total agreement.

By papal decree, UN Security Council ban, and unilateral G20 accord, research into time travel is prohibited and strictly enforced.

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