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Contest l Fiction l Time Travel (Dec 2007)

 
 
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:34 AM
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Default Contest l Fiction l Time Travel (Dec 2007)


Whether backward, forward, or sideways (...sideways..?), time travel has been the theme of several well-known novels. This month, we would like to read about your character's journey through the ages.

The word limit is 2,000 words and the deadline is 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, December 23rd. For other rules on our monthly contests, please visit this page.

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Old 12-11-2007, 04:38 AM
gary_wagner
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Default Out of Time - 1913 words

Out of Time - 1913 words

August 17, 2752

The culmination of my lifeís work is about to begin. This is the first entry in the journal that will chronicle the biggest achievement of mankind in all of its history, both on Earth and here on Mars.

I donít know if I will ever be able to return to this point in time, so I have had these primitive writing resources recreated for my use. It has taken me a while to learn this process that involves putting letters and digits on a substance called paper with graphite filled pieces of removable composite material. Spoken legend has it that people used this method of recording before the great ice-age cataclysm. It seems so primitive, but if I become stuck in a time when my electro-stylus no longer works, it will be worth the effort.

Again, since the possibility exists that I will be stuck in an earlier time period, let me recap this staggering accomplishment. The global particle accelerator project began 17 years ago. The structure just completed, and which I will be the first to use, encircles the globe in geo-synchronous orbit above the surface. The acceleration tunnel has a circumference of 24,000 miles. The supercharged subatomic particles travel at a speed so close to the speed of light that the difference is statistically insignificant. The collision of those particles has created heat that would theoretically be in the 4 trillion degree range Ė if it were possible to measure heat that intense.

The energy output of this accelerator is also immeasurable, but is estimated to be approximately three times the energy generated by the sun. Time travel has been outside of our grasp until this much energy could be generated.

Not only will those worm-holes travel through time, I will also be able to transport through space to the dead planet to try to discover what happened there that left our colony stranded here on Mars centuries ago.

January 5, 2241

I stopped at this time first, since all documentation of mankind, other than a few stone tablets and scrolls from thousands of years before this, ceased to exist.

I wish I had jumped back in time a few years earlier. Unfortunately, I have discovered that jumping less than 6 years at a time is impossible. I have been unable to leave the time capsule because the temperature is hovering at -146 Fahrenheit.

All bodies of water between the Antarctic ocean and the Arctic ocean are frozen. When the earth cooled so drastically, this bulk of frozen water changed the tilt of the earth and distorted the orbit around the sun. Both the north and south poles are now the warmest places on the planet and the resulting lake-effect snow has buried the remainder of the frozen planet in snow and glaciers miles thick.

Humans are extremely resilient and about one sixth of the population from the peak of 7 billion reached 100 years ago is still alive. The majority of them live in tropical Antarctica and most of the rest live in floating cities built in the Arctic ocean. There are a few that have built cities deep below the surface. These underground cities have been built dozens of miles down, since the perma-frost line in those areas is now 17 miles deep in places.

A massive effort to drill through the Earthís crust has been in progress for almost 20 years now. The result of this effort will be the generation of tremendous amounts of energy and direct venting of heat approaching 10,000 degrees, Fahrenheit. That would warm the earth back to pre-ice-age temperatures. They are expected to reach the molten core within the next 24 hours and I am now certain that this will trigger a cataclysmic explosion that will rip the hole in the crust that will vaporize one eighth of the planet and destroy the moon. I am jumping back in time now so I can discover what led to this event.

April 9, 2068

The earth used to be made up of hundreds of countries. At this point in time, all countries are united into one global nation. Paper such as I am using no longer exists Ė it was banned several years ago. All written records have been scanned and now that they all exist as electronic image exists, all existing paper and books are being burned as fuel.

In the past 200 years, the Earth has relied on fossil fuel. That too is now banned. A massive global warming project is underway. Incredible quantities of sulfur dioxide are being injected into the atmosphere. Scientists predict that the average temperature of the earth will cool by one tenth of one degree per decade. I know from my time spent in 2241 that the effect of this man-made cooling will be much greater than expected and will cause the great ice age. I still donít understand this push to cool the planet since the temporary warming that occurred in the past 300 years is less than two degrees.

Short-sighted politicians are pushing this effort, having preached a global climate change crisis for decades. The rhetoric has grown completely out of proportion to the scientific evidence and predictions and has taken on a life of its own.

I have tried to persuade a few groups of people that I am from the future and know that the earth is headed down a cataclysmic path if the politicians continue to ignore science, but have had little success. My efforts brought me extremely close to electronic neural re-education but fortunately one of those groups that believed me helped me escape before my brain was rearranged to fit current political thinking.

It was a well-intentioned group of people that rescued me, but they are as crazy as loons. They believed me, but they also believed in alien anal probing, that some singer from the past named Elvis is still alive and living deep in a cave, and that the world will end on New Yearís eve in 2099.

September 23, 2018

The world is in global depression that is hard to fathom. Unemployment is at 50%. Millions of people are starving to death every day in poorer countries. Inflation is running at 65% per year and even those people who have jobs canít even afford basic necessities any more. All major corporations have collapsed and the only people who have any wealth are those farmers that have been able to grow a few crops.

June 14, 2011

President Goreís supporters swept the election of 2010 and he and his party are in unstoppable control of the most powerful country on Earth Ė the United States of America. He is pushing through environmental policies that will lead to the depression I saw in 2018. He has convinced his country that the 1.8 degree increase in global temperatures will destroy life on Earth in just a few decades and his new policies are being implemented.

July 4, 1947

I have convinced Albert Einstein to become a Canadian citizen by giving him the plans to cold fusion. I chose him because this invention will be accepted coming from him. I chose Canada since I donít want the power that will result from this source of cheap energy to come from the USA.

June 14, 2011

I returned to this point in time to see the results of my 1947 intervention with Einstein. Up until now I had dismissed the theory that I would never be able to travel the same reality track both backward and forward in time. I now realize it is true. I and the time capsule will always exist because it existed at one point in time Ė even if that point in time is now the future for those around me. It is still in my past even as I am in their present.

There is no President Gore because the United States of Canada now covers the entire northern hemisphere. Energy is now so cheap that Canada supplies it free of charge to all of its citizens. The rise of the Gorist religion doesnít exist in this reality track and no sulfur dioxide injection project has ever been considered.

This nearly infinite source of energy has made Canadians wealthy, but the Orthodox Islamicists that control the southern hemisphere have rejected Canadian rule. They now live in conditions similar to those in the days of Mohammed.

Even though the leaders of the Southern hemisphere have pushed their lifestyles backward in time, they have undertaken the earth core tunneling project to create cheap energy that will put them on a level playing field with Canada. They are not content with ruling half of the earth Ė they want it all.

January 5, 2241

My intervention in time has not prevented the completion of the earth core tunneling project. They are near completion and I know this will cause the massive explosion that I had hoped to eliminate.

Canada remains in control of the northern hemisphere. The Orthodox Islamicists have remained in power, despite three nuclear wars.

Those nuclear conflicts began a process of nuclear winter that has cooled the earth. The climate change that resulted drastically reduced the crop output in the northern hemisphere and equally increased it in the southern hemisphere. The shift in the balance of food supply has drastically increased the wealth of the Orthodox Islamicists and decreased the wealth of Canada.

The additional revenue has allowed the Islamicists to not only restart the core tunneling project; it has allowed them to increase the effort to a project that is ten times larger than the one that blew part of the earth away and vaporized the moon in my first 2241. I canít even imagine what kind of damage this will cause tomorrow when they break through to the molten center.

August 23, 2752

If I could go back to my original past six days ago, I would destroy this time capsule and never attempt my meddling in the fabric of time. The 2752 that I left still exists somewhere in a parallel universe, but I canít get there from here.

There is no particle accelerator in this current present. There isnít even a colony on Mars that could built it. There doesnít seem to be any life anywhere that I can detect. I am on one of what appears to be a handful of sub-continent sized chunks of what was once Earth. Having reached this new time thread, there no longer is a source of energy for me to travel anywhere else. There is no inhabitable planet left for me to live on. My reserve energy supply is almost gone and when it is gone, I will quickly freeze to death as soon as the heat generators fail.

I can only hope that my theories are correct and that I have only destroyed the Earth on this time path that I have created. Rather than waiting to freeze to death, I have reversed the polarity on the time coupler and as soon as it reaches critical mass, will be vaporized in a flash. There is a chance, a small chance but a chance nevertheless, that this explosion will send parts of this journal down an alternate worm-hole and someone, somewhere, in some universe will find it. A chance in a trillion, perhaps, but at least it is a chance.

If there is a God, and if he has any mercy left for me, may
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Old 12-15-2007, 04:12 AM
Anthony James B (Offline)
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Hi Gary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You've come up with some great ideas. I'm not normally a lover of first person, present tense material, in general there are too many pitfalls. However, because the story is written as a log, you get away with it quite cleverly.

I think that were you to write it in the third person, and have at least one other crew member, (with resulting human relationships, internal struggles, self-doubt, etc - with plenty of emotion generated, the story could be extended to become a full novel that might hit a big readership.

Anthony
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