Wednesday, January 13, 2016

/U/nimmthejigsaw [WP] [WP] You run into an old dear friend and say hello. Unfortunately you are a time traveler and this point in time is way before you first met them.

It's not that hard to fake.

I lived in this city most of my life.

Downtown hasn't changed that much. At least the buildings won't change that much. More people now. Not so many later. Not so many then? Upwhen?

English sucks with tenses for time travel. We haven't even got a proper future tense. All future in English is constructed from present tenses and modal verbs. Newspeak is so much more presysnosc.

There should be a change in the verb. I met you, I meet you, I meeet you. Not a chance. So I try not to think about it. I keep my speech to standard English, no doubleplus goodspeak. No anglo-ibero-latino slang.

Der hombre liese die Bàozhǐ. The man reads the newspaper.

I shake my head, memories of English classes fade.  I've been downwhen for 6 months. Still hard to think in standard English.

It was embarassing to have to learn it. I was born in this century, after all. But then I got old, terribly old. Ancient in fact, I've forgotten more than I can remember. I didn't want to come.

There wasn't anybody left from this era to send.

I told myself old friends wouldn't have met me yet. I moved here a few years upwhen ago. Didn't have too many friends to start with. For a long time it was just me and Frank.

If I met him, I told myself it would be like looking at an old image. No movement or sound. Just a flat, still, image.

There are a lot of bottlenecks involved. Most of my present self was leftl back upwhen, running this city. Until I left at which point it all vanished. What I contained was multitudes. What this body contains is but a fragment. Once this was all of me but that was so long ago.

I insisted on decoupling before taking the classes. it wasn't enough to learn English again, I decided I had to learn using all the old systems that I had not made use of since long before my age struck its fourth digit. I wrote words with target century tools on target century devices. I pushed ink around on crushed tree bark. I pushed keys on slabs of plastic. No casual matter, time travel.

My civilization would be erased as a consequence of my journey. All time journeys are one trip.

One passenger. Once.

We had no idea how many times we had reached the juncture we faced. We only knew what our options were: Be destroyed or be destroyed.

In that second destruction we hoped the seeds of our salvation were planted.

Monoculture is dangerous. Transpecies migration of pathogens is rare. One blight wiped out commercial bananas twice. Three plagues at once wiped out half of old Europe.

Our civilization was the greatest monoculture the world had ever seen.

So I was here. The last remaining memory of my people. Here to start it all over again. Limited. Painfully so. The way would be long and dangerous.

I did not want to go it alone.

My resume got me an interview. Frank met me at reception.

I shook his hand warmly. He smiled and invited me into the office.

I would join this company a few years from now. Only now I wouldn't.

Frank was my immediate manager. He would be again. Just a little sooner.

In a few years. We'd have an office party.

He'd slip out when no one was noticing and try to drive home.

Frank would kill four people and injure several others when his car hit the bus shelter.

His fiance would leave him.

He'd lose his job.

Four years into his sentence, he'd hang himself.

I'd be promoted to replace him.

He shakes my hand.

The meeting is over.

I have been offered the job.

I get to work.

Two years from now, I'll drive Frank home.

I can't predict the future any better than he can.

I have a mission and I have the weight of my entire civilization on my back.

I have the technical expertise to raise funds, drive research and beat a problem that may never manifest if I do my job.

But I hope I won't have to go it alone.

The future is an empty stage, there are no players. There is no sound, no fury. Nothing.

There's no justice.

Just us.


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