Something, Something, Something Murder (7)

The most excellent Damon Lindelof has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. Past chapters here. To be continued, daily…

Chapter 7: The Curve That Was My Optimism Is Getting Flattened

Seven Things About Time Travel That Are Like, Really Important To Know

1. Time travel is a biological process like sweating or taking a dump and thus can only be triggered pharmaceutically.

2. One can only travel back in time for as long as it takes the ingested pharmaceutical to pass through the human body. In other words, the average journey lasts as long as one can go without taking a dump.

3. For epigenetic reasons, one can only travel within the range of one’s own lifespan, like on the show Quantum Leap. With chronopharmacology’s first successful trials not occurring until 2020, even the oldest person alive could not travel back earlier than 1918. If this were not the case, everyone would be trying to kill baby Hitler.

4. Hitler was actually a great baby. He slept through the night, wasn’t a picky eater and produced small, solid, efficient German dumps.

5. Because the drug cocktail used for time travel is genetically engineered for the individual who ingests it, the chronopharmaceutical will only work for that individual. Furthermore, if that individual creates an aberration in timespace, only that individual will be aware of the previous timeline prior to their departure. For example, if one traveled into the past and prevented Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina from ever meeting, effectively putting Loggins on path that would result in him writing jingles for cat food instead of the most bitchin’ soundtracks of the eighties, when that individual returned to their date of their departure, they would be the only living person who would know the lyrics to What a Fool Believes, and what a sad world that would be.

6. The unintended consequences of aberrations can be altered on subsequent journeys by the individual who catalyzed those consequences, but often it is difficult to identify where things went amiss. The primary source of an aberration can be determined by meticulous contact tracing, but this can be difficult and (ahem) time-consuming. For example, let’s say the individual who prevented Loggins and Messina from meeting arrives back in the present and realizes that in addition to the soundtrack for Footloose being shitty, the entire country of Iceland has been destroyed by a volcano. Clearly, the two events are somehow related, but determining the causal relationship between a Loggins-free musical landscape and a megadeath event in Scandinavia requires a fair amount of investigative legwork.

7. Time travel is very confusing and prone to paradox. When it stops making sense or frustrates one, remind oneself that this is all pretend and we’re here to have fun. If you are not here to have fun, feel free to return to real life, which is absolutely fucking terrifying right now.

8. Rules are meant to be broken, especially by Alden Rosenberg, who had never been a big fan of rules. This is a trait he inherited from his mother, Elizabeth, whose disdain for the tight constraints of Relativity earned her a reputation at M.I.T. as the “Patti Smith of Physics.” Interestingly enough, Elizabeth hated punk rock. She was a Loggins fan… always had been. As such, it was time, at long last, to fly…

Into The Danger Zone.

To be continued…

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