Fiction Fragment Friday
You might have noticed that there was no Fiction Fragment Friday last week. That does bother me, but it was because I was running Fear the Con the gaming convention run by Fear the Boot. Also my dad was in the hospital and generally there was just too much going on for me to get to a computer over the last week to post something. I am back on schedule now though.
For this week I struggled a bit to start because I let myself get out of the habit of regular writing. I came up with an vague idea for a story, but needed an introduction. I decided to go with a character ranting to start off the story. I didn’t just want that rant to go nowhere though and decided I needed to somehow work it back into the story as I went along.
This story should be a lite entertaining read and like many once I got rolling it ended up longer than I expected. I hope you enjoy.
Food delivery services are a scam. You pay almost twice as much for food that is cold by the time it reaches you. The drivers get whatever you toss them as a tip, so you have to throw in well there or they don’t get anything. All while the owners sit back and rake in the money for doing nothing after they setup the infrastructure. I don’t begrudge them that as they did have the right idea at the right time and the knowhow to set up the system for perpetual return on investment. To be honest I’m kind of jealous of them. So why do I use the services? Because by doing so I don’t have to leave the house or put on real pants. I haven’t worn pants without a stretchy waistband in weeks. It is through the convenience that I have been able to focus on my real work. My machine in all it’s glory finally finished.
I input the date and time into the machine. It is not today’s date and time, no I put in a date last week when I fell asleep in my basement lab. At the time I had been struggling with a final formula on my dry erase board. When I woke up the formula was correct, and I don’t remember solving it. The handwriting was definitely mind though. Next, I put in the GPS coordinates for my lab. The hardest part of the software was working out the spacetime location. See the planet is always moving. It turns on its axis, revolves around the sun, and the solar system then turns in a galaxy that is also moving. Nothing is ever in the same place, but it does create a gravitational pull that affects time. Space and time are intertwined. If I put in a time and location my software goes through millions of computations in a fraction of a second to determine where that location and time are relative to its current location in spacetime. Trust me it is very complicated, and I somehow completed the formula to feed into the machine while I was half asleep.
There is a low humming sound completely inadequate for the significance of what is occurring. My machine is literally ripping a hole in reality to connect two points in spacetime together. The hole is an extremely tiny one. This is not a doorway or even really a window. More like a peephole at the microscopic level, but it is enough to look through. That is whole point of my machine. I do not want to change the past, I want to view it for what it really was. Answer the great mysteries of the world by watching them occur as they truly did. It does not escape me that I have created the ultimate spy tool and I shutter to think of what will happen if any world government gets a hold of it. It could connect anywhere and if set for a fraction of a second in the past could view nearly real time. The potential uses and misuses of my work are always at the forefront of my mind.
My lab comes into focus on my monitor. I see myself slump down in my chair frustrated. The memories of that night are fresh in my mind. I had just discovered a mistake that had invalidated my entire formula that morning. The entire day was spent trying to fix it with only a minor break to order food and complain about the cost. Sometimes I get entirely too fixated on the wrong things that don’t actually matter in the greater scope of my work. On the screen I am slumped in my chair frustrated until I fade off to sleep. I have slept in that chair more often the last few years than I have an actual bed.
There is a light so bright on the screen that I have to look away for a moment. When my eyes manage to refocus, there is an elderly man erasing my work and correcting it. For a moment I think he looks like my father, but then he turns to look directly at me through the screen. “Hehe, well hello there me from the future and yet also my past.” He seems greatly amused by his words but turns to finish the work on the dry erase board. I think he has forgotten about me in his focus to fix the formula, but as soon as he makes the last marks he turns back. “That took me thirty years to work out. Then another ten to improve enough to open a real door.”
“How do you know I’m watching you?” I ask the question but do not expect an answer. I can pull sound through the connecting hole in reality, but I don’t have any way to broadcast it yet. This is a one-way view into the past. That is why I’m so startled when he does answer.
“Oh, I know you’re there. I know because if I woke up and found my life work completed the first thing I would do is look back and see how. Seeing as I am about to do just that, well it makes sense that you would be watching me.” He smiled back at me, but there was a crazy look on his face like he wasn’t entirely in touch with reality anymore. “Oh no I’m not crazy. I’m just you after bashing my head against that formula for far too much of my life. I figured if I come back and give it to myself when I was younger then I can enjoy it more.”
The implications of what older me is saying hit me hard. He is intentionally creating a causal loop paradox. I only have a working machine now because he came back and gave me the information, but now that I have it, I have no reason to go back and give that information to myself. I have solved the formula only because he spent his life solving it and then told me, but now I will never actually solve it I just have that knowledge of the answer. My head literally starts to pound as I think about it and realize that I don’t know the practical implications only the theoretical ones.
“Your head hurt yet? Hehe. I have no clue the actual implications either. Best way to find out is through trial and error, eh? Will I even exist when I leave this time? I don’t know. Wheeee.” I can’t help but wonder if I have gone insane. He hits a few buttons on a bracelet he is wearing, and a large swirling portal of light opens behind him. “Oh, before I go let’s save myself a few years. Your little peephole in time, well it is a hole alright, and you know what can go back to you besides light and sounds? Radio signals that’s what. Radio signals like say Wi-Fi for example. If you want to communicate back, you can connect to your Wi-Fi in the past. Great for watching things on streaming services that they pulled or ordering food to show up right when you get hungry.” He turned and vanished into the light.
My phone buzzes and I look down at it. There is a food delivery on my porch. I haven’t ordered anything, but there it is. If I don’t look back and order now will the food still be there waiting? Are all the paradoxes I’m creating going to weaken the very fabric of reality until it all comes crashing down? Since reality still exists is that an indication that I don’t destroy it or just that I haven’t yet? My phone buzzes again. I see that some future me put in an order for pain killers to be delivered from the pharmacy. With my currently growing headache I am very grateful for myself.