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If I Had a Time Machine

Before we get into the details of how I would use my time machine, I feel the need to expose some technical details to you. There are certain issues one runs into when traveling through time, and these have to be addressed. There are some technical modifications that must be inherent to the machine itself in order to prevent certain things from happening. Some of these are just basic safety features.

For instance. Say if I wanted to travel back in time to 1989 so I could visit Tiananmen Square and watch the protests, I would set my time machine back to the day before it started. I would attach the wrist strap, select the exact time, then I’d click “Insert” on the icon running in the Human Icon application. Now, if my time machine didn’t have a Relative Space-Time Binding Computer built into the architecture, I would arrive at that exact minute I specified, and there’d be no planet beneath me. Forget that the Earth orbits the sun. Remember instead, that the whole of the Solar System (and the Milky Way, beyond that) is moving through space as well. I would appear somewhere in the blackness of space, nowhere near anything terrestrial. That RSTB computer mod basically binds the time to the space, makes calculations based on Earth’s insane kinetic posture, and moves me through space, as well as time. So when I appear on April 15, 1989 at Tiananmen Square, the Earth is actually there underneath me. Relativistic Global Positioning. It’s the new-age, people. I feel sorry for those people who experimented with time machines back in the early 90s, and had to find out the hard way that time and space move separately!

Another modification I made to the basic floor model was what I call a Duress Buzz. It basically (through the grounding strap I must wear throughout the entire tenure of the temporal trip) maintains an extra-dimensional connection to me. Through this quasi-dimensional leash, it monitors my vitals, heart rate, etc. It also monitors my stress levels. I’ve programmed into it several keywords, called duress words. When it hears me say one of these words, it immediately, and safely ejects me from the temporal matrix. That way I don’t get trapped in, say, the early 10th century, and leave a bunch of curious Egyptians in possession of my time machine.

The third, and one of the most important features of my time machine, is a standard-issue small-radius cloaking device. Now you laugh, but if I want to do any actual exploration in a strange worldline, I’d like to be able to walk away from the device. If someone finds it while I’m away, they could severely impact my way of life. They could effectively strand me in an non-native year! F that, friends! That happened to a buddy of mine a few years ago. We were hanging out in this bar in San Diego in the year 2260 (it wasn’t called San Diego anymore, of course) and he left his device on the barstool by the Solar Pool Plane to go to the Urination Vent. Well, someone walked by and knocked his machine off the stool and the hard drive cracked against the Linolecrete floor. I tried to make another trip so I could bring him back. But without his guideline, I couldn’t get him back. You have to establish the guideline before you leave. That’s your insurance policy that you’ll get home. Sad case. I had to tell his wife and his kids that he won’t be back. He won’t even be born for another two hundred years.

Finally, and this to me is just a luxury more than a necessity, I installed a HydroVap 2000. What can I say? I like to take my bourbon with me. And I know this is kind of gross, but if I really like the taste of something from another time, I can blend it up and pour it in there and take it home with me. I brought back a Moonburger once, and drank it a few days later back home. The consistency was like that of a burger shake, but I just had to close my eyes and imagine I was eating at Brick Jackson’s Dark Side Bar & Grill. Those sun-dried aprimatoes he uses (well, to you, will use) on his burgers are so delectable!

Okay. So now that we’ve covered some of the basics of my time machine, let me tell you some of the things I’ve used it for. I can’t disclose certain details, I’m sure you’ll understand, but I’ll tell you as much as I can. I’d rather just say, “That’s classified” if I encounter a bit I can’t tell you about, than to just make something up. I don’t want to turn this into a work of short fiction. Let’s keep it an essay, am I right?

The first trip I made was back in late 2005. I was heading in to work and got stopped by a cop. I had been going about twenty over the limit. Now I know what you’re thinking. I went back in time and drove slower. No. I didn’t do that. What I did was back up about five minutes, then drive right past him again, going the same speed, in the same lane. Only this time, I had my temporal loop magnetometer engaged. So when I drove by him the second time, his radar bounced off the event horizon and sent him a signal showing that I was traveling faster than the speed of light! Ha, man it was excellent. You should have seen the look on his face.

Another time, I was making a video for a project of some sort, and I wanted to add a special effect. I don’t have the software or anything to do anything fancy, so I had to approach it from a different angle entirely. I used my time machine and left the camera running. I crashed my car into a telephone pole at around 90 miles per hour, and had the TemporTamper Relastics Ordinator yank me back right after I died. So I got a really good car crash on video – as realistic as it comes. It’s actually kind of weird watching it now. You see my head go through the windshield and just Pop! kind of come right off. And people are like, “How’d you do that?” and I tell them, “Well I just sort of crashed my car into a pole at ninety. Simple as pie.”

I had this scene at the end of the film where I’m sitting there talking to this beautiful woman (yes I did do certain things, then run the clock back so she wouldn’t know… high five!) silhouetted against the sun. I was running forward in time at a nice slow 6:1, with the camera running. We were sitting absolutely still. The tiny movements we made ran at a natural-looking speed, while the sun went woop! and just shot down into the horizon. But here’s the trick. I had secretly engaged the Relastics Loop! Basically what that does, for you who don’t have one, is that it will run say ten minutes in forward time motion, then it will automatically trip and start heading back in time at the same designated speed. When it reaches the beginning of the block of time, it pops back into forward motion. It’s good for analyzing patterns and whatnot. Some people call it a PingPong. Anyway, with a camera running, it creates some wild motion. In my video you can see the sun basically bouncing like a basketball on the horizon. It bounces back up into the air like two perspective inches, then drops again several times before it finally sets.

I also got some good footage of the death of mankind. I went forward – you know what? I shouldn’t tell you how far. I don’t want to spoil it for all you 2012 conspiracy theorists out there. But suffice it to say, it was an interesting event. I actually romanticized it quite a bit since I hate humanity so much! So I got this great footage of everyone running in the streets and screaming, bombs going off, buildings crumbling and comets swishing out of the night sky like the plague of locusts. How can you beat a scene where no one is acting? I didn’t have to pay any actors for my movie. Granted it was shot with a Canon Serial 635 MagnaTrace, so it was only a little better quality than the old Blue-Ray DVDs. Remember those? Wait. What year is it? I can’t remember when those were replaced by the next big thing. But I picked up that Canon in 2110. It’s the most awesome personal magnetic resonance storage camera you can get. I can store over a thousand UHR images in 24-billion color depth on the memory cell. I love those things!

Anyway, like I said, it was just a project for one of my classes back when I was getting my PhD in Profound Technology and Ideas. I got an A in the class, so it was worth it.

Most of the other stuff I’ve used it for was mischievous little excursions. Blackmail. Boobs. Bar fights. Good times. I’ve won several state lotteries, so I have a lot of money now. But that was tough. It’s not easy as you think. You can’t just hop ahead and grab Saturday night’s numbers, then go back and play them. They change. Some chaotic math changes them every time. I had to eventually just pick some numbers and run forward into the future until they finally came up. One of them took almost seventy years before it came up, and by the time it did, they had switched to seven numbers instead of the six I had on my card. So I only won a few hundred thousand dollars. But with that money I was able to multiply my efforts and win several more in various other states – almost simultaneously.

I used some of that money to do some cool stuff. I have a photo album on my electron computer that’s full of nothing but pictures of me standing with different celebrity women, raising their shirts and showing their boobs. Enough money can buy you anything. Then you can go back to present and approach the woman. “Hey I have this picture of you showing your boobs.” And they have no recollection of ever taking that picture, of course. So I mention I’d be glad to get rid of it if they would just – well, you know. I won’t bore you with the details. But I’ve slept with some of the hottest names in Hollywood. Oh, you know that new baby Bridget Moynahan had? Tom Brady thinks it’s his! Heh. Good times.

Anyway, mostly what I do with the time machine now is just help people out. I figure I’ve done enough bad in my life that I need to make it back up to humanity somehow. I’ll pull people out of cars right before they’re destined to crash and die. I retraced once and repacked a woman’s parachute for her before she went on a skydiving trip. Little things like that, if I feel like the person is worthy of keeping around, I like to help him or her out.

The other day though, I ran into sort of a conundrum, and I haven’t been able to fix it. I was driving by a business complex in Downtown Dallas and I saw a man get mugged. It was 1974, and I had been just scoping things out, checking out what life was like in the 1970s – a quaint time. Anyway, I dropped back a few minutes and held him up, talking to him for a while so he wouldn’t get mugged in the street. After much research, I’ve found that the guy who stole his wallet ended up using the money to fund some large-scale research project he was working on. He had not been able to get grants or other funding, so he had resorted to stealing this big-timer’s wallet. The mugger cleared out the victim’s bank accounts and came away with several million dollars. Back in the early 70s that was a lot of money.

This guy had poured his whole life into his research, and couldn’t afford to take it to market. He needed that money to make his dreams come true. His dreams for inventing this time machine. And there’s nothing I can do now to go back and set things back to the way they were before. That chaotic math that governs our interactions always interferes, and you can’t fix the same thing twice. So here in the next couple of weeks, this time machine I’ve been using will just suddenly cease to exist – having never been invented. And I’m afraid I’ll get stuck in this current time – what is it, 2008 now? – and never get to return to my original timeline.

I guess I should start trying to get used to this low-tech world you guys all live in. Maybe someday I’ll learn to fit in, and people will stop looking at me like some weirdo. Like an eccentric, out-of-the-box wacko. Like I’m from the future.