The machine folds light and sweeps along its wave to the moment that has been indicated. It is beautiful, this journey. The spectrum of colors sweeping by outside the hatch, amazing enough to affect dreams for a lifetime. Not that the pilot would know, though, for the engineers who designed this machine chose not to include windows.
“Windows were not important to time traveling.”
The fuck they aren’t, the original pilot argued, but for naught, and now he needs to wait to see. But as all things must, the machine stops, and when it completes its measurements the door opens with a hiss.
Outside is a pine-needle carpeted forest and the smells and sounds of the ocean.
“So, this is the past?”
The high-pitched voice startles the pilot, and he looks over at the occupant of the crafts second command chair. He doesn’t recognize the blond man with shoulder-length ratty looking hair, and a thick brow line that would make head butting quite effective. He wore rough-looking leathers and smelled like wiping was not an option.
“No, it’s really more our present. It might have been the past, but we corrupted it and stole it when we got here.”
The pilot finds himself concerned with that answer and how he was able to conjure it.
“What about the future?”
“There is none until we go there, but once we do, it will also become the present.”
“So wait, are you saying we can write history.”
The pilot thinks about it for a second and decides, “time isn’t a line where moments can be picked.”
“Time is certainly not a line.”
The pilot nods in agreement and says. “Time is like consciousness mixed with light, but once light touches something and it becomes visible, then it is no longer theoretical but functional.” And he stops, realizing the man in the other chair had just stopped talking also.
“Did we just—” the pilot begins but is interrupted.
“What about if we go out there and meet a man? What happens to him?”
“He is both alive, now because we are here, and dead once we leave.”
“What if we go back further in time.”
“Then there is a possibility he will never even be born, or for that matter that the Earth even exists at our point in history at all.”
“How likely is that?”
“We came here in a time machine. Imagine if it were discovered. Humanity would advance almost instantly. But only technologically. We’d still struggle with morality, as in our time. Primitives adjusting to limitless potential and all that.”
“Do you take the savage off his pristine island homeland and make him be a part of society, or do you leave him alone for fear that if you give him too much tech, he would either go crazy or die?”
“Exactly what?” The pilot is confused. He is both asking and answering his own questions.
“This is exactly what happened.”
“The Savage went crazy.”
The words hit him, and it’s painful. He remembers now climbing into the machine and the doors closing, and then what?
“You became an infinite version of yourself, knowing everything that can be learned and knowing nothing at the same time.”
“So I am Schrödinger’s Time traveler?”
“No, you are a fool who ruptured time.”
As if his words made it so, beyond the carpet of pine needles, what would be sky, fades into a black. The black then encroaches on everything, seeming to eat the ground as it comes.
“Nothing is happening.”
“No look, that! That is not nothing!”
“No, that is vacuity. That’s the rupture, and what it leaves behind is null, where there was always a sum.”
The words leave the pilot’s mouth also just as he decides to take action, orientate, and punch in his own birthdate.
“That’s not going to work.”
“Because you don’t exist anymore.”
But the pilot hits the red button anyway because red buttons always mark the end, and that’s exactly what happens.