Thursday, May 5, 2011

Friday Fiction for May 6, 2011

Karlene is our hostess this week, and you’ll find the Linky Tool for Friday Fiction on her blog, Dancin’ In The Rain. Check it out for some refreshing reading, and don’t forget to call Mom this weekend (if she’s still around) and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.

As promised, here’s Part 2 of Step Through…

Step Through

Part 2

By Rick Higginson

“He is precisely where he appears to be. What has changed is when he is there. I call this a ‘Step-Through.’ It’s a step through time.”

“A time machine? You figured out a way to travel through time?”

“Kind of, but not how the time machine is typically portrayed. Chonos, front!”

The dog jumped back through the oval, and sat at Jeff’s feet, holding the ball up for him to take.

Jeff took the ball, and tossed it to another corner of the room, releasing the dog to chase it. “For longer than we know, we’ve referred to the ‘time line,’ when what we should have been referring to is the time-helix. Time isn’t a straight line, it’s a coil, or a spring, and each wind touches the previous. What this does, is connect between the two winds where they touch. Step through, and you change from this part of the coil, to the previous turn.”

“You’re serious? You can go back in time? You can, like, go back and see the day you were born?”

“Uh, no. You see, the problem with the step through is that it only connects to the point in time that corresponds to the previous turn of the helix.”

“So, how far back is that?”

“Six hundred, sixty-six million, six hundred, sixty-six thousand, six hundred and sixty-six seconds. About twenty one years and fifty one days. That’s the duration of each turn of the helix, and the step-through interval never changes. That’s another difference from classic sci-fi time-travel. In sci-fi, you could return to the moment you left, and to those waiting, it was like you were never gone. With the Step-Through, however much time you spend in the past, is how much time has elapsed here when you return.”

He ventured a hand towards the opening, reaching through even as he leaned around to look at the other side. “This is just too freaky. I can still feel my hand just fine, but it’s not there.”

Jeff laughed. “Sure it is. It’s there, twenty-one years ago. The Step-Through isn’t like a transporter beam that scrambles your molecules and reassembles them on the other side. It’s just a doorway between the two coils, just like stepping from one room to another. If you stick your hand through a door into another room, your hand doesn’t cease to exist if you can’t see it. Think about it – if there was a problem having one part of the body on one side, and the other part on the other, how could Chronos jump through? For at least a moment, he’s on both sides.”

“And this is your business now?”

“Yep. I’ve made a pretty good living with this since building it. I even managed to finance building it by using it.”

“How? I can understand how you could make money with something like this, but how did you finance building it?”

“I anonymously invested in my own work, through a fund I set up just for the purpose. When you know what stocks are going to do well, and especially which IPO’s are going to eventually take off, it’s not hard to make plenty of money. The trick is, don’t put too much in one stock. Good gains from a diversified portfolio keeps the risk of unwanted attention at a minimum.”

Ian stared through the opening, considering the implications. “We could change things. We could stop terrible things from happening with this.” He swallowed. “I could save my Dad. I could tell him to get to the hospital before the heart attack. He could have lived if he’d gotten medical attention right away.”

Jeff rested a hand on his shoulder. “You could try, but I can tell you already, you’ll fail. If you’d succeeded in saving him, we’d already know it. You see, everything we might do in the past, has already happened. We saw that window fixed – it didn’t change from the history we remembered, because I became a part of that history. The same would be true for your Dad. If you went back and contacted him, and told him to go to the hospital the day of his heart attack, he would either ignore your advice, thinking you were some kind of crackpot, or when the time actually came, he’d forget. All the fears of paradox? They’re pointless.”

“But what about things like the mass shootings at schools or offices? Surely, we could save lives on something like that.”

“Any lives you might save with a warning, you’ve already saved. Those that we could, right now, read about having been killed, would still be killed. Even with the Step-Through, we can’t change the past, because it’s already happened. That’s the biggest point you have to understand – whatever times you decide to go through, you’ve already gone through. You won’t be doing something that never happened before.”

“Then what’s the point? Why bother if we can’t change the past?”

“We don’t change the past, but we can change our future, and what we do in the past becomes our knowledge in the now. You’re probably already a wealthy man, but you won’t know what your bank accounts or investments are, until you go back and make them. The money is already sitting somewhere, just waiting until you come back through, knowing where to find it.”

“I guess I should have brought some money along.”

“No worry. Remember that ten bucks I borrowed from you years ago, and never paid back?”

“I’d forgotten all about that.”

“I didn’t. I went back and invested it.” He handed him a check. “Here’s the dividend on the investment, that I went and withdrew last week.”

Ian looked at the total, and then at the dates on the check. “This check is twenty-one years old, and it says, ‘Not Valid After 180 Days.’”

“Okay, let me point out one other thing to be careful about with the step-through. Dollar bills? They have serial numbers. If I grab a circulated dollar that was printed over twenty-one years ago, and take it back to spend, then there will be two bills with that serial number in that time. While the odds are extremely slim, if someone figures out there are multiple bills with the same number, it raises counterfeiting concerns, and attention we don’t want. I started with change – it’s untraceable, and twenty bucks in quarters is still twenty bucks. Twenty bucks on a long-shot horse that history recorded winning, makes for a nice gain. Once I started gaining money in the past, I simply reinvested it.” He pointed through the oval. “Take the check, and either just deposit it in a simple account, or buy some stock that you know will take off. It’s your money now – well, actually, it’s your money back then. That check is worthless now, but on the other side of the Step Through? It’ll be worth whatever you decide to make of it.”

To be continued…


BethL said...

I think every investor wishes for this exact kind of opportunity. :) Kudos for wrapping your mind around this complex story AND writing it out in such a captivating way, that fascinates and entertains!

Catrina Bradley said...

So interesting. Can't wait to read more!!