Author: Chris Stewart

In the Spring of 2028, a press conference was held announcing that the Phanes Project, the largest database of human DNA ever gathered (some samples going back many centuries), was joining forces with The Coeus Computing Collective in a bold effort to seek out new and exciting patterns in our genetic movement as a species.

With the flip of a switch, Coeus Array One went to work comparing billions of individuals against tens of thousands of tell-tale indicators programmed in by academics around the world. The doctor leading the press conference had barely returned to the podium when CA1 beeped, alerting everyone it had found something (a historical trail for a particularly rare leukaemia going back a dozen generations).

And the world cheered.

By the end of the day, it beeped four more times. By the end of day two, it beeped eleven times. Already two new royal lines were discovered, which caused a bit of noise in the press, as you’d imagine.

By the end of day three, evidence of a time-traveler rose out of the chaos of data.

Beep.

And the world gasped.

Immediately world governments demanded access to the data. They wanted to know everything. The project leaders tried their best. When the traveler appeared in the historical record could only be estimated and where they appeared was just as hazy. Unable to tell if they should be looking at their own histories, nations turned their eyes to each other and demanded to know where the traveler began and when. Expert after expert could only shrug. Predicting that was itself at best a guess. Each DNA profile of living individual (and most of the recently deceased) was anonymous. Those few experts willing would only say within the next hundred years and nobody would hazard where.

Finally, someone thought to ask how Coeus knew to look for a time traveler. Sure enough, there in the haystack of algorithms was one set specifically to look for a genetic line turned back in on itself. And out of thousands upon thousands of entries, this one was the only one without an author. Or any record of revisions. It appeared in the files one day in 2025 and was never touched again until CA1 was turned on for the first time.

And the world lost its shit.

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