Author : Jae Miles, Staff Writer

The laboratory is filled with the sound of slow drops landing. The smell alone is enough to drive three officers back. Seeing the mess does for the next five. Officer number nine moves his torch in slow arcs, picking only edges and highlights from the sanguine layer covering everything.

On his third pass, he sees movement.

“Professor?”

“No. The mess was him. I’m Peter Luan.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I was invited. Do you have your witness app?”

“Yes.”

“Activate it. I need to get this down before it fades.”

“Your confession?”

“No, what he said before,” Peter waves a blood-covered arm about, “this.”

“Very well. Citizen, you’re about to make a legally admissible declar-”

“I know. Witness running?”

“Yes.”

“Last night, Professor Gregory Pane invited me to witness a ‘demonstration of concept’ as to why our eight years of time travel research has been without result.

I don’t know why he chose me, nor do I know why he decided to do this without a permanent record. When I arrived, he was standing by the workbench with a device resembling a bulky glove on his right hand. In answer to my queries, he offered the following statement:

 

‘Time travel has been a powerful desire for almost as long as it could be conceived of. Fiction has chronicled its pitfalls and paradoxes. After a lifetime of research – and knowing that an aggressive brainstem glioma will soon affect my faculties – I offer the following theory and demonstration as to why I am sure time travel is not viable.

In summary: time itself does not possess the granularity that we need for effective reference. Our detailed concepts of time are arbitrary divisions that have become finer and more numerous as our preoccupation with placing value upon every moment of our existence increases.

How can we, who ‘time travel’ in our individual perceptions of its passage, hope to grasp something that has no real measure bar day, night, and similar universal markers? Each of us has a realisation of time and the events that fill it that differs slightly from the next person. Eight billion subjective chronologies. How can a traveller choose which to use for their journey? Against that ratio of billions-to-one, no matter what is attempted, the inertia of the many overrules the single intent.

However, travelling to the future is possible, but it would be a self-destructive act. The would-be traveller tries to simultaneously reach every instance of possible time that could exist. Over eight billion tomorrows multiplied by the branching of every possibility within them. I say over eight billion because who knows just how many other things have a temporal sense sufficient to exert influence?

This is why I contend that time travel is either impossible or suicidal, depending which direction you attempt. Therefore, using this experimental gauntlet modified from the proposed Steinberg-Du accelerator, I intend to travel to tomorrow’s dawn.

If I am successful, I will probably die. However, if I fail, I’ll see you tomorrow morning and we can discuss the sudden advance in chronological transit over breakfast.’

 

Then he raised the glove, clenched his fist, and silently exploded. Since you’re here, I presume someone heard my incoherent yelling.” Peter looks at the officer: “End of statement.”

 

Forensics are still combing the scene at sun-up. As sunlight touches the uppermost windows of the lab, a hideous scream followed by the sound of a tremendous explosion temporarily deafens everyone in the room. Apart from that, both events leave no trace.

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