Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer
The problem with early FTL journeys was the failure rate. Just like the first elevators, the disappearances were hidden from the public to prevent the rejection of the innovation. It was the mid twenty-second century before better understanding and implementation reduced the errors to less than one in a hundred thousand.
Back in the early twenty-first century, there was an AV series that had dinosaurs appearing through time portals. A scientist in the twenty-second century named Eduard Samson was a fan of that series. An intuitive leap led him to postulate that the FTL disappearances were due to the vessels vanishing through time. Now those time-lost on their outbound journeys are probably not an issue beyond the tragedy of their loss. However, those time-lost on their return could have appeared in Earth’s past. Backtracking was a brilliant concept that he documented with flair and diligence. His treatise gained him some awards and was then forgotten.
Three centuries later, Samson’s treatise resurfaced when our second generation temporal mapping revealed the backtracks; our term for stress fractures in time itself, that we knew through bitter experience could escalate into reversion zones, where entire swathes of history disappear. It’s terrifying to watch every record of an event morph into something else and know that by tomorrow, your own memory will have made the same adjustment.
That’s why the Temporal Rectification Taskforce was formed. We’re a small group, because the psychological impact of what we do takes a rather peculiar outlook. Our job is to repair the backtracks. The complication is finding out where they exited and what impact they had, if any. Then we have to deal with any untoward influence they may have had on whatever time period they arrived in and we have to do it in a way that fits with recorded history, including mythology.
Rescue is impossible as an FTL infrastructure does not exist, let alone something that can support Temporal Loop Transit, and size limitations on self contained units preclude anything bigger than a one-man vessel.
Take a look at history. The number of anomalous beings and civilisations that end catastrophically occurs so often it is regarded as the ancient archivist’s standard trite explanation. Eduard Samson’s treatise weighed the odds and stated that the actions of a future agency to correct backtrack impacts would have to be treated and reported as supernatural action by the observers of the time.
After the first few attempts at interactive intervention, we had to adopt a no-contact approach. When the time-stranded find out that you’ve only come to ensure they meet their end in the historically correct manner, they always become hostile.
So we do our research, determine the best corrective action and apply it regardless of the usual moral considerations. In fact, regardless of any moral considerations. Our only measure of success is a backtrack fading from the maps, indicating a successful mitigation.
I was the first member of the action team. I take the horror mitigations, the apocalypses. The stuff that makes formerly dedicated people hesitate or resign, suddenly doubting the validity of our purpose due to the scale of annihilation needed.
My ship is ready, carrying a payload that even made the ordnance loading crews blanch. No one knows if the warheads will cope with a time journey. If I survive this trip, I will finally deserve the name that our research team have determined is the one most likely to have been given by ancient witnesses to the TRT agent who tears down civilisations.
Tonight I go to sink Atlantis.
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows