A Brief History of Time Machines

DCF 1.0The First Iteration

The first decade of the twenty-first century was a white-hot blur of crossover technology. For the first time in the history, robots caught up with what science fiction writers had predicted for decades. They spoke. They wrote. They told jokes and danced.

Weaponry changed as well, both civilian and military. It was no longer necessary to kill one’s opponent. One could blind them with lasers, either permanently or temporarily, or deafen them with focused beams of sound.

Viable computers shrank to the size of Chicklets, and then aspirin tablets. And then the specter of nanotechnology came into play and everything was rethought only now on the subatomic level. For those over the age of thirty, it was frightening. For those under ten it was nothing. It was…expected.

And yet, with all of these expectations, and with technology far-outstripping the humanities, there were still staunch roadblocks, entire fields of technology within which no progress whatsoever had been made.

It is only in retrospect that science now chuckles…nervously at the first futile attempts at time travel for there was nothing at all upon which to base experimentation. The first declared effort was by Timuron ADZ Inc. a Chicago based conglomerate, which had with twelve billion dollars of government subsidy. They created the first successful ion accelerator.

To accelerate atomic particles to near the speed of light took a sophisticated underground magnetic oval racetrack the size of which would easily encompass Manhattan…and required nearly as much power as it took to illuminate Manhattan. Unfortunately, the conclusions arrived at, after all of this technology, had already been predicted. For 7.8 billion dollars, we confirmed that there were, indeed, particles of anti matter.

Why this conclusion, prompted the scientists to think that they might come up with a device with which to travel through time…was, in retrospect a mystery. It would be analogous to the Caterpillar Bulldozer Corp. attempting to land on the moon by modifying the tread patterns on their bulldozers.

The first piece of the time puzzle presented itself innocuously and quite by accident. On July 17th, 2007, Christopher Timothy, a junior at Hunterdon County High School was working on an honors science project. It had an ambitious title, “An Examination of the Cold Light Phenomenon, in Fireflies as a Paradigm for Light Sources in the Military.” What Christopher expected to find has been lost in the shuffle. And what he found, he found quite by accident.

He set up his father’s digital video camera in a meadow and took timed exposures of fireflies. He downloaded the exposures on his computer and began playing with them, trying to make them look more impressive. Using PhotoShop he doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled the number of fireflies in the image until the screen was awash in tiny blinking bugs. In the middle of all this, his father, a scientist with Bell Labs, came in and chastised him for tampering with the data.

Anecdotally, the fight between father and son was a small quick one. And after it was over, Dr. Timothy asked, “How’d you get them to only blink when they’re rising?”
Christopher hadn’t noticed the effect at first, but trebled on the computer screen it was apparent. Thirty seconds later, it was Christopher who noticed the effect, now known as TECE: temporal eddy current effect. He said, and this will probably go down in history, along with Edison’s “Watson, come here. I need you.” … He said, “Dad, it looks like they start out green…and get more pink as they go up.”

Three weeks went by and nothing happened. But at Christopher’s urging, Dr. Timothy, showed the tape to his colleagues at Bell Labs. Dr. Helmut Messer, Timothy’s immediate supervisor, noted that the shift was not unlike that of the Doppler Shift, which takes place as stars recede in the universe. And it was that which caused a small wave, which later became a huge tsunami in the field of astrophysics.

At first, it was thought that it was the fireflies that had some magical abilities. Soon, however, it was realized that the fireflies had no temporal abilities whatsoever. What they did have was an enzyme in the tiny cold light factory inside their bodies, which made them sensitive to…temporal eddy currents. The fireflies were not traveling through time on the eddy currents, they were, for want of a better term, surfing on time.

Once it was realized that time itself had its own set of dimensions, experiments to artificially recreate the cold light enzyme began in earnest.

(introduction to a new novel, a raw, work-in-progress, working-titled:  The First Iteration)

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