Thursday, 15 May 2014

What If ... Time Travel Was One Way

Everybody has thought about time travel at some point. Whether it be the glory of going back a couple of weeks with the winning lottery numbers or going back and stopping some major disaster or world war.

But with time travel there is no guarantee that it is a two-way journey. The obvious question is whether you can travel in time before you discover, or invent, time travel? Then there is the butterfly effect - change one little thing and it changes bigger things. I might win the lottery but in doing so it opens a sequence of events that starts World War 3.

Who knows what triggers what?

Suppose I travel back in time to September 10, 2001 and tell the U.S. government there is going to be a terrorist attack. Who would believe me? Nobody. Even if I make enough fuss to get them to listen I'm pretty sure by the time the F.B.I got through questioning me the first plane would be hitting the Twin Towers. Then because I told them it would happen the day before it actually happened chances are that instead of writing this post I'd be sitting in Guantanamo Bay being tortured with Justin Bieber music 24 hours a day.

Changing the world is not what I'm doing. I'm heading back in time to win the lottery. Simple enough. Time travel on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 and travel back to Friday, May 2, 2014 and get a ticket with the numbers 1, 13, 18, 26, 35, and 40. Then at 11:00 PM, Eastern Time, I watch as those numbers are drawn. I take the cash option and instead of $81 million I walk away with $45 million and celebrate being a millionaire. What could go wrong? Seems like nothing in all honesty. People win the lottery every week and it doesn't change the world. Changes their world but not the entire world.

But winning the lottery was just the beginning of a nightmare. After collecting my winnings and putting it all in a numbered bank account I head to my time machine to find that it doesn't travel forward in time. For whatever reason time travel is a one-way deal. Not really a big problem. I'll just hang out for a couple of weeks and then before it gets to the date I actually traveled back in time I'll tell myself there is no way back, hand myself the bank account details, and then kill myself. Now, in theory, I won't need to travel back in time to win the lottery because I'll already have the money. Alright it means one of me has to die but the original me is still alive.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 I tell myself that time travel is a one-way thing and there is no returning other than waiting. I hand myself all details and documents about my bank account. I tell myself that I must die but it makes no difference as I will still be alive. I walk in front of a semi-truck on the motorway.

Damn smartphones. Someone took a video of me dying. They caught the semi-truck hitting me at 60 miles per hour. They caught my body being dragged underneath the semi-truck as it screeched to a halt. They even hung around taking photos of the police picking up my body parts. Dead but an overnight sensation after the video goes viral. Within 24 hours more people have seen me die than have watched a cat playing with a record turntable.

Now I am a sensation. Police named me when I died; then all the local people remembered seeing me that night. According to them I came back from the dead. Within hours the news crews are hounding me for an interview. The police come round and take my fingerprints to see if I really am the same person. After the police decide I am the same person, and my fingerprints match 100% to that of the dead body in the morgue they think some law has been broken and announce that me living is being investigated.

Later the same day I am taken into custody for DNA testing. With no charges I am released. Returning from the dead has broken all over the world. Every news channel in every country has reported that I came back from the dead. Some weird cults are claiming my return from death is the second coming of the messiah.

Eventually I try to set the record straight. I call a news conference and announce that the person who died was another 'me'. That I had traveled back in time and then met myself. Internet conspiracy theorist instantly start up about a secret government cloning experiment that went wrong. The National Enquirer offers $1 million to anyone that can prove there is another of me somewhere in the world.

Three days later I have a group of armed bodyguards as there has been a few rumors of people wanting to kill me to see if I can come back from the dead again.

Nobody accepted, or believed, that I traveled back in time.

In Nigeria the first church in my name was built. Everywhere I go someone is taking my picture, or trying to touch me, or asking if I am some messenger about the impending end of Earth. People I have not seen for 20+ years are all over the TV saying how they knew there was something different about me. Those with nothing to say make it up. As per usual a teacher who taught me for 5 years is dragged on TV to say how they knew when I was a child that I was destined for great things but they didn't think it would be this big.

My whole life is a media circus. I fart and someone claims to be able to tie the timing to one of the seven trumpets mentioned in Revelation. I mention I eat a particular food and all of a sudden it is labeled "As endorsed by the Messiah". More and more churches spring up in my name. Six mail vans a day arrive with mail requests asking for forgiveness.

It had to happen. Some news reporter found out I won the Mega Millions lottery. So much for remaining anonymous. The media run with the story. Some suggest I will use the money to build my 'earthly empire' while others say that as I have officially died even though I came back the money should go to the government.

Every day is crazier than the day before. CNN reported that I have more worshippers than the Catholic Church and the Muslims combined. In a little over two weeks I have become the number one religion of the world.

After four weeks the world has come to a standstill. Nobody sees the point of doing anything as I am the Messiah and the world is obviously going to end. Nothing I do convinces the people I am no Messiah.

Finally, after three months, I have an idea. Because the me who is alive never went back in time I could go back in time and stop the other me from killing himself. Admittedly there are a few loopholes in that idea - the main being that there will be three of me in one place. Unless I go back to Friday, May 2, 2014 and tell my other self that after winning the lottery, and handing the money over, not to kill himself. That way it limits it to two of me and stops the whole 'Messiah' thing happening.

The nightmare continues. I went back and told me not to kill myself after winning the lottery and handing the money over. The shock was obviously too much. I never got a ticket. Never won millions. Never went and told myself either.

So now there is 3 of me in the same time, in the same geographical area, all aware of the others. But the good news is I never became the Messiah.

Now to clean the whole mess up I could go further back in time and destroy the time machine, and all related materials and notes, and then I'd never be able to go back and there would be two of me but one of me could just leave the country and find a remote village in the middle of nowhere to settle down. But unless I kill the other me I won't be able to kill the idea of a time machine.

So to answer the question: "What if Time Travel Was One Way?" I suppose the answer is you will be the Messiah and have to kill other versions of you.

There has to be an easier way to win the lottery.

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