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Sarah and Jared arrived at 4:30 am but waited until 6:00 am before knocking on the door. In the meantime, they tried getting a little sleep parked in the driveway of the Hunt family. The house was in a rich section of Nashua. There was lots of land, a five-car garage, and a long semi-circular driveway. The house was a pale yellow. The roof was brown. The house had two floors and was very big. The entrance was a set of wooden doors under an overhang.
When it reached 6:00 am Jared and Michelle rang the doorbell. After a minute, Sarah Hunt opened the door. Sarah was 36, six feet tall, and thin like a healthy athlete; not like the models on TV that starve themselves only to look like barren skeletons. Her body was toned but not muscled like a body builder. She looked like she was built for running or kick-boxing. She had short blonde hair and brown eyes. She was dressed in a tank top, spandex shorts, and running shoes. “Hi,” she said, “you’re Jared, right?”
“Yes, I’m Jared, and this is my wife Michelle.”
Michelle said, “Hi, nice to meet you.”
Sarah shook Michelle’s hand, smiled, and said, “Nice to meet you as well.”
Michelle said, “We’re so sorry for bothering you this early. Is your husband home?”
Sarah explained, “Oh, the kids usually have us up this early anyway. I’m about to go and take my morning run. It’s best to run in the morning because there is less air pollution. It’s also usually much cooler. Aaron is awake too. Why don’t you come in and I’ll get him.”
“Thank you,” said Jared.
The doors led into a hall. There was a staircase that led upstairs on the left side. To the right was an open door into the study and to the left was a dining room. Sarah led them into the study and motioned them to sit. Inside the study was a small red velvet couch with wooden legs. Two chairs were also in the room in front of the couch. The chairs had wooden legs. They were covered with matching red velvet. There was a simple round table made out of a black stone to the left of the couch that had a black metal post. The floor had a thick white carpet. The walls and ceiling were painted black. There were two windows on the front wall. There was also a large window on the right wall. The room was lit by the sunlight from the windows. In the center of the ceiling hung a light that was cone shaped with the tip pointing down to the center of the floor. The cone was made of a frosted white glass. Jared and Michelle sat on the couch together and Sarah hurried off.
In the back of the house, there had been some talking. When it stopped, Jared guessed Sarah had arrived in the back. After a long moment, Aaron entered the room. Aaron was six feet, five inches. He was in as good shape as his wife, although his clothes hid it. Aaron was 38, had green eyes, and had very short black hair. Aaron was wearing plain black shoes that were well polished, a black suit, a thin black tie, and a white button-up shirt.
Jared and Michelle stood to greet him. Aaron and Jared shook hands and hugged the way men hug each other. Aaron said, “You must be Michelle,” as he shook her hand. “What brings you both to the City?” he asked jokingly. While many in New Hampshire consider Nashua, a major city, it was a joke to Aaron as he had spent years living in New York and still went there regularly for business.
“CTF is after us,” Jared replied.
“What do those bastards want from you?”
Jared explained, “It was a patrol. We protected ourselves with . . . the invention. Remember what we discussed months ago?”
“Yes, but you can’t have built it this soon?”
“I have! Unfortunately, it only does elements right now and has trouble with hydrogen. We used them to escape the patrol.”
“You both look tired. Why don’t you get some rest in the spare bedroom upstairs?”
Michelle said, “Thank you. We really appreciate it.”
Jared said, “We need to hide our vehicles; we’re probably being looked for. In fact they had a roadblock on 93 for us!”
Aaron said, “OK. You start your cars. I’ll open up the garage.”
They went outside and Aaron opened the two left garage bays. The one farthest left was already empty, but the other had a BMW in it. Aaron moved the BMW into the driveway and motioned for Michelle and Jared to park their cars in the bays. Michelle parked in the bay that had been empty, and Jared parked in the other bay. After Jared and Michelle parked, they walked back inside with their bags. Aaron led them upstairs. On the top floor, a hall led to all four of the bedrooms and to a bathroom. Aaron said, “The kids have the bedrooms on the ends of the house, and we have the master suite that is in front of us. Here, in the front of the house, is the guest bedroom. I’ll let you get situated and sleep. We can talk later; I need to get to work. I’ll call Sarah to let her know you’ll be here. She’ll probably be at work most of the day too.”
Michelle and Jared thanked Aaron as he left. The bedroom was about eleven feet by thirteen feet. It had a wooden fan overhead with four small-diffused lights. The walls were painted a light green. The ceiling was green at the edges but slowly turned white into the center. The carpet was the same as in the study. The bed was a queen with white sheets, blankets, and pillows. It featured a golden metallic headboard. On both sides of the bed were identical brown wooden nightstands. Michelle and Jared quickly changed into their night attire and went to sleep. It was the most restful sleep they had got in what seemed like a very long time.
Jared woke around 2:30 PM and lay in bed until Michelle woke at 3 PM. He asked, “Did you sleep well?”
She smiled and said enthusiastically, “Yes, very well!”
Jared smiled back, “Good.”
“I guess we should get up?”
Jared replied, “Probably.”
They both got out of bed and dressed. This time Michelle got into a white shirt and pink skirt. She also wore black high heels. Jared put on his E=MC2 t-shirt and a pair of jeans. They hugged and then went downstairs holding hands.
They seemed to be alone for the moment. Jared said, “Nobody seems to be home. I’m betting you’re as hungry as I am.”
“Yep, I don’t want to go through their food though. Can you make food with the builders?”
Jared laughed, “No, not yet, I can’t even make water because of the hydrogen bug. Maybe we should order a pizza?”
She laughed and said, “Separate pizzas then?”
Jared jested, “VERY separate, maybe from different pizzerias. I don’t want the smell of those fish tainting my pizza!”
“Oh sure, you’ll eat fish tacos but not fish pizza!”
“Anchovies aren’t at all the same; besides, Mexican food rocks.”
Michelle and Jared started looking for the phone. From the foyer they walked to the back of the house. They passed a bathroom on the left side. In front of them was a large room divided on the left by a counter. On the left side, past the counter, was the kitchen. On the right side was a round wooden table with four wooden chairs. It looked like this was where all informal dining occurred. The dining room seemed to be for special dinners, possibly with business colleagues. On the table were four cheap plastic place mats. There were also four coasters, an empty butter dish, wooden salt-and-pepper shakers, and in the center a thin cactus, that was almost a foot tall.
The counter had three stools on the right hand side. The oven was against the left wall, the refrigerator was against the front wall, and the sink was on the counter against the rear wall. The rear wall had a set of three small windows in front of the sink and three large windows on the side with the table in a sort of sitting area. Jared went to the refrigerator, which was covered with a ton of school papers, pictures, and assorted magnets. One of the magnets said, ‘Tony’s Pizza, We Deliver.’
Jared said, “This looks like what we want. We’ll have to bring the phone here because the magnet seems to be a part of an intricate plan to keep papers attached to this fridge. I suspect if we removed it space and time would become unraveled to the detriment of the planet!”
“Well, don’t panic, Honey; the phone is on the counter behind you.”
“OK, you order. I’ll tell you what I want.”
She asked, “Why me?”
“Because,” said Jared, “I know what I want.”
“Whatever,” She said with a sigh. “So what do you want?”
In a valley girl accent, he said, “Like I’d totally like a pizza with like mushrooms, and black olives, and like those pepperoni things.”
She dialed and said “Hi, I’d like to order two pizzas. One with anchovies, ham, and tomatoes . . . You don’t have tomatoes? How do you make sauce if you don’t have tomatoes? . . . You use tomato paste? Well, OK, can I have extra sauce then? . . . Yes. On the other pizza, I want mushrooms, black olives, and pepperoni. . . . My name is Michelle and I’m at 500 Old Derry Road. The number is . . .” she raised her eyebrows at Jared. Jared shrugged. She covered the mouth piece of the phone to talk to him when she noticed the number was on the phone. “555-5148, OK? Thanks.” She hung up the phone, “You don’t know your friend’s phone number? You talk to him almost every week!”
“Do you remember how long it took me to memorize my sat-number?”
“You, Sir, are hopeless,” she said.
He laughed, “D’oh, who told?”
There was some noise at the front-door. Michelle said, “It’s too early for the pizza to be here.”
They looked down the foyer and saw the front door open. A teenage boy walked in. The boy noticed the two and said, “Hi, you must be the Millers. I’m Keith.”
Keith was the Hunt’s youngest of two children. He was 15 and almost six feet tall. Keith was wearing his school’s uniform, which for boys consisted of a white button-up shirt, a black tie, and black pants. Keith had blonde hair like his mother that was long enough to be combed to one side. Keith’s eyes were hazel. In contrast to his outfit, he had a green grungy backpack that looked like it had gone through a war . . . and lost. On Keith's left side was a backpack strap covered with buttons. It was amazing he dared put the strap on his shoulder considering the amount of pins that must have been on it. The other strap had no decorations, probably because it was hidden behind his back.
Keith said, “Kara will probably be home late. She’s always out with those freaky friends of hers.”
Michelle asked, “Do you like pizza?”
Keith replied sarcastically, “No, I’m more of a freak than my sister and would never eat something as good as pizza!”
Michelle said, “If you want some, they should be here soon.”
Keith said, “Did you order it from Tony’s?”
Michelle said, “Yep.”
Keith said, “Hmm . . . I worked there over the summer. You might not want it if I told you-”
Jared interrupted, “That’s OK, we have wonderful imaginations.”
“Suit yourself, it’s your funeral. I’ll be upstairs playing games.”
Jared asked, “What are you playing? Any shooters, RTS, or MMORPGs?”
Keith laughed, “Ah, yes, you must have played games back in the stone-age. I’m playing a CCG.”
Jared made a face by pushing his nose up with his facial muscles, “Yuck, I hate card games. They’re such a rip off. The only thing worse than collectible card games are online collectible card games; I hope your not bankrupting your parents playing that.”
Keith said as he started climbing the stairs to his room, “Nah, they make me spend my own money on it.”
After Keith was gone, Michelle lifted her eyebrows, “Geek talk, I presume?”
Jared shrugged, “I don’t know, if he plays CCGs he probably out-geeks me.”
“Nah, he has to invent some freaky device to turn people into gold first!”
Michelle and Jared laughed.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. Jared opened the door and there was a young woman with the pizza. She said, “Hey, here’s your pizza. Where are Keith and his folks?”
Jared said, “Keith is upstairs wasting his youth on online card games, and his parents are at work.”
Just as Jared finished speaking Keith came back down the stairs and sheepishly said, “Hi, Carmen.”
“Hi, Keith,” said Carmen. Carmen was 16 and had a red cap on that said ‘Tony’s Pizza’. Her straight blond hair came out the back of her cap. She was wearing black boots, white jeans, and a white Tony’s Pizza shirt. She had blue eyes, black painted fingernails, and was about five feet tall.
Keith said, “I warned them not to get pizza from Tony’s, but it was too late.”
Carmen put her forefinger over her lips in the universal hush sign. “It’s not bad anymore; Jack’s cleaned the place up a bit since Tony died.”
Carmen said to Jared, “That’ll be forty dollars.”
Keith said, “Give her a good tip.”
Jared took out his wallet and as he counted the money said, “Never use the hairdryer while taking a bath.” He then gave her $50 and said “Keep the change.”
Carmen said, “Thanks, later Keith.”
After Carmen left, Keith said, “Wow, you really are an old school geek!”
“I try,” said Jared with a grin.
The three of them went into the kitchen. Jared put the box on the table. Keith got some paper plates and opened the box with Michelle’s pizza. “Yuck, you guys like anchovies with ham?”
Michelle said, “No, just me I guess.”
Keith said, “Are you pregnant?”
Jared tried not to laugh and covered his mouth, but he couldn’t help it and let out a series of laughs.
Keith said, “What did I say?”
Michelle said, “Nothing, it’s just that you’re the second person to say something like that in the last 24 hours. You should be careful; you can get yourself into trouble if you ask a girl who isn’t pregnant if she is pregnant.”
Jared added, “Actually, you can get in trouble for asking a pregnant woman if she is pregnant, too!”
Keith shook his head and opened the second box. “Now, here’s a pizza!”
Keith and Jared quickly ate all of the pizza Jared ordered. Michelle only had two slices of her pizza.
Jared inquired, “Not hungry, Honey?”
Michelle shrugged, “I’m too stressed to eat.”
“Thanks for the pizza, Guys. I’m going to head back up to my game.”
“You’re welcome,” said Michelle.
After Keith had gone back upstairs Jared said, “You sure you’re not pregnant, Honey? Maybe you should take a pregnancy test?”
“Oh, shut up!”
“Hey, I’m just kidding!”
“I’m too old to have kids.”
Jared contradicted, “No, you’re not!”
“I didn’t mean physically, I meant mentally.”
At this time, they heard some noise at the door and went to see who had arrived. It was Sarah. Sarah had changed since they saw her earlier. She was now wearing sneakers, blue jeans, and a brown tank top. She also had a gun holster with a Glock 17 (9x19mm).
Jared said, “Hi, Sarah.”
“Hi, guys, did you sleep OK? I’m sorry if that room was a mess. We weren’t expecting company.”
Jared was unsure if Sarah meant she was sorry for the mess, she hadn’t expected or wanted company, or even both. Before he could say something Michelle said, “We hope we aren’t causing you any inconvenience. The CTF caused us to leave our house.”
Sarah said, “No. I’m sorry; did I make you think that you’re unwelcome? I really just meant to apologize for the horrid condition of this house.”
Jared said, “Your house looks great. If anybody’s house is in a horrid condition, it’s ours!”
Both women gave him a look.
He said, “What?”
Michelle said to Sarah, “Your house looks great.”
“Thanks,” said Sarah.
Jared said, “We ordered some pizza. Would you like some?”
Sarah said, “Sure, if it means I don’t have to cook!”
Jared said, “I thought Aaron cooked. He used to be a good cook.”
Sarah said, “Used to. He doesn’t have time to cook now because he’s so busy with work.”
“I know what that’s like,” said Jared.
“Give me a minute to change,” Sarah said. Sarah went upstairs and after a few minutes came back down in the same outfit but without the gun and holster.
“I hope you like anchovies,” said Jared as they headed to the kitchen.
“Love them,” she said.
“There might not be enough for Kara and Aaron,” said Michelle.
Sarah laughed, “There is no way either of them will be home anytime soon on a Friday night. Aaron will be making sure everything will go smoothly through the weekend and Kara will be out with her theater friends until some ridiculous time.” She helped herself to some pizza.
Remembering what Keith had said earlier, Jared asked, “Keith considers a theater group freaks?”
Sarah rolled her eyes, “He considers anything she does freaky. It’s amazing how much he will go out of his way to avoid doing anything remotely similar to his sister.”
Jared said to his wife, “Maybe we should have kids!”
Michelle answered, “OK, you give birth to them!”
When Sarah was done with her pizza, she said, “Well, I better check on my son. Thanks for the pizza.” She headed down the foyer and up the stairs.
Jared asked, “Want to play basketball?”
“Do they have a net and ball?”
“Come now, you’re the observant one. There is a net on the garage and I’m sure we can find a ball.”
Michelle shrugged, “OK.”
They headed to the garage and found a ball. They played basketball for a few hours. Jared ‘let’ Michelle win by 20 points. They stopped when Kara got home and parked her BMW.
Jared said, “Wow, this is really a BMW family.”
Kara’s BMW was older than the one Aaron had moved out of the garage in the morning, but it was still in great condition. Kara’s BMW was brown. Kara was also dressed in a school uniform with a black skirt and white shirt. She wore black shoes. Unlike her brother, she had a very plain clean brown backpack. She wore a strap over each shoulder. Her hair was in a pony tail and was curly red. Kara’s eyes were brown; she was a little over five feet tall and thin.
Kara walked over to the Millers and said, “Hi. You must be our guests!”
Her comment reminded Jared of a song from a cartoon he wanted to hum.
Michelle said, “Which makes you Kara.”
Kara replied, “Bingo! Well, I would love to stay and chat but I have studying to do. I want to ace my history test Monday.”
It had gotten dark. The stars were out but they were much harder to see with all the light from the area. They headed inside. An hour later Aaron returned home. Aaron spent some time with his family before going to see the Millers. Aaron invited his wife, Michelle, and Jared into the study to talk.
Aaron asked, “So, what’s our friendly neighborhood CTF team up to?”
Jared explained, “Well, we had heard they started searching homes in our town recently. I was woken by the sound of their vehicles early this morning. I had recently finished making the prototypes of the invention-”
Aaron interrupted, “The atomic creator?”
Jared answered, “Well, I call them builders now, Atomic Builders. They work very much like we had discussed. First they pull apart the matter at an atomic level and then rebuild it into whatever I have programmed. Unfortunately programming them has been put off as I still have trouble with hydrogen. Until I can properly build hydrogen, it seems pointless to do anything more complex than the elements. Anyway, as is, the builders should be able to make any atomic element except hydrogen. I have however only tested the safe elements. So, for example, I have not created any of the radioactive elements like plutonium. I have, however, made several safer elements like gold, silver, nickel, and oxygen.”
Sarah inquired, “How does it work?”
“It works much like you might expect it would. First it analyzes and disassembles the atoms and molecules of an area. Then it takes the component neutrons, protons, and electrons and changes it into whatever pattern you program. This does however mean that there are sizing issues. Say, for example, you wanted to build 1 atom of cadmium and used hydrogen to create the cadmium. You would need at least 48 atoms of hydrogen. Hydrogen only has one electron and proton while cadmium has 48 of each. So to get the correct amount of electrons and protons you would need 48 atoms of hydrogen. This makes for a bit of a matter imbalance. Out in the open air, on small scales, really doesn’t matter. However, in an enclosed environment or in mass quantities you might end up having too much of one element and too little of another.”
Aaron asked, “How is it powered?”
“It’s self-powered. In the very center it takes energy from external particles of air and stores the energy in its battery.”
Aaron then asked, “How long until the hydrogen problem can be fixed and you can make molecules like water?”
“The hydrogen issue shouldn’t take me more then a few days. Since one molecule of water is made of only one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, programming the structure will take less than a minute.”
Aaron said, “Excellent. Then we really can move ahead with the project!”
Sarah asked, “What project?”
Michelle looked as lost as Sarah and shrugged her shoulders. Aaron said, “I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead. Please continue with your story and then we can discuss the project.”
Jared continued, “So I was woken. I guessed it was a patrol. Michelle and I ran to the lab. We barely made it because some of the patrol members were at the back door. We got past them and into the basement. I set up two of the three builders to make gold. I quickly showed Michelle how to use one. Eventually the patrol broke through the bulkhead and we turned them into gold. This must have startled all but one of them away. We heard them drive off and thought all of them were gone. I went out to double check as Michelle went up to pack. Michelle found another guy and turned him into gold.”
Sarah said, “Good job.”
Michelle smiled and said, “Thanks.”
“So then we packed quickly and headed here. On the way we were pulled over by a state officer because Michelle’s license plate was ‘not properly illuminated’. Some time later the same police officer pulled up beside us and motioned for us to pull over.”
Michelle added, “He didn’t use his lights or siren.”
“It turned out he dislikes CTF as much as most people and warned us there was a roadblock ahead. He drove us to a turnaround and led us through back roads to here.”
Aaron asked, pointing to the floor, “Does he know you’re here?”
Michelle answered, “No. He told us it would be better if he didn’t know. He left us at the Nashua line, and he continued south.”
Aaron said, “Good.”
Jared finished, “And so then we waited here and you know the rest.”
Sarah said, “Aaron and I didn’t mention it before but there is still an APB out for you. In fact, you got some high profile news coverage. They are claiming you’re terrorists and that you killed three members of CTF, which the latter is obviously true. However, they made it out to have been a gunfight. Even Keith knew about the news.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. We didn’t want to upset your family,” said Michelle.
Aaron said, “Don’t worry . . . you’re not the first fugitives to spend time with us. The kids understand why Sarah and I left the FBI. They also know a good amount about our security company. You really can’t hide things like that from kids. If we did it would have dire consequences to us and to you. Besides, they’re old enough to know what the CTF really is.”
Michelle asked, “So you were both in the FBI?”
Sarah explained, “Yes, in fact that’s where we met.”
Michelle smiled, “Cool.”
Sarah looked at her husband, “So what was this plan of yours?”
Aaron replied, “Well, it was nothing formal. You see Jared and I, as you know, have been friends for a very long time. When we were younger we talked about history and politics. We started to see patterns in the way certain changes in the world occurred. You see, most major geo-political changes actually start because of a small thing or a single person. For example Saddam Hussein grew up without his father. His uncle forced him to be a thief, as a child, stealing sheep. As Saddam became an adult, he found no guilt in killing and soon became the Baath Party’s assassin. Saddam also tortured people for his party. Eventually his cousin, General al-Bakr, became the president and Saddam was appointed the head of the new secret service, the Jihaz Haneen. Had Saddam’s father brought him up, all the bloodshed that has followed probably wouldn’t have happened!
“As an example from Russia; the last tsar, Nicholas II of the Romanov Dynasty was forced to sign his power to the senate. The senate was then overthrown by Lenin and the Bolshevik party. The main reason Nicholas II was overthrown was because he felt he was ordained by god. For this reason, he thought it would be a sin to allow any power to not stem from him. He even thought he could lead his troops in World War I to success because god choose him. Had he been a better ruler or even if he had been as poor a ruler but split his power with a senate, like England, the cold war wouldn’t have happened. In fact China, North Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba would probably never have become communist nations. You can see this throughout history: Napoleon, Hitler, Castro, Emperor Hirohito and so on, that either one person or one action caused a great deal of horror for the decades and sometimes centuries to follow.
“We asked what would happen if we removed that person or cause? Surely if you remove a seed from the ground a tree will never grow there, at least not by that bad seed. But then when we first discussed the atomic creators or builders it was after Jared’s previous invention that-”
Sarah interrupted, “What previous invention?”
Jared answered, “Well, when Aaron and I talked about the current state of our nation we found it likely that had Bush lost in Florida or had 9/11 been averted that none of the following horrid events would have taken place. So how could we change the past? The only way would be to build a time machine.”
Michelle said, “You built a time machine?”
Sarah asked, “Does it work?”
Jared answered, “Yes, and yes. It goes forward very well. Unfortunately, forward is far easier then backward. You see, man has been traveling forward since planes started reaching great speeds. If you flew around the world in a jet your clock would be slightly behind. The reason it would be behind is because you would be ahead.”
Aaron said, “It goes backwards as well, but we’ve found some issues.”
Sarah asked, “What type of issues?”
Jared said, “Well, you see, time travel is much like H. G. Wells explained it in his book The Time Machine over a century ago. We understand and move easily in two dimensions. We can go left, right, forward, and backward with ease. Up and down, however, we cannot go far on our own. I can jump, but I won't go higher than a few feet and I can't stay at that vertical position. Elevators, planes, helicopters, and submarines allow us to defy gravity and travel on the Y-axis fairly freely. In the same way that we need machines to travel on the Y-axis, we need machines to travel through time. If you think about it from an art perspective, what does an object require for existence? What makes this house real? It has a length, a width, and a height. However, it also has a time! The house has existed since it was built and will exist until it is destroyed. This is true of all objects. If the house was never built, it would never exist. We travel at a fixed speed forward through time and are therefore allowed to build. We now have a machine that lets us travel on the time axis much like the early planes allowed pilots to fly.
“Ah, yes, I digressed a bit. So, the question at hand is what issues do we have with traveling backwards on the time axis. You see, to travel forward is to travel into the undone, unmade, and unknown. To travel into the past is to travel into a time that already existed. I can easily travel forward in time and kill my future self. With my future self dead, my present self would still exist. However, if I traveled into the past I couldn’t kill my past self. For how would I in the future be able to travel back to kill myself if I ceased to exist? It's impossible.”
Michelle asked, “But what does that mean? I hope you’re not thinking of killing your younger self!”
Jared laughed and said, “No, of course not. But what it means is that we have to be VERY careful about how we change time. So, say for example I wanted to go back and prevent 9/11. Say I went back to the day before and got the flights cancelled, how would my present self ever get to a point that it would go back to cause such an action?”
Sarah said, “Wouldn't it be automatic? Wouldn't you be forced to travel the same path?”
Jared said, “No. What happens is that you can’t. For example, I made a pile of rocks. A week later I traveled back to take apart the pile of rocks. While I was able to travel back I was unable to take apart the rocks. Half the time I tried I kept forgetting what I was there to do. The other half of the time I was unable to touch them or move them. It was like forces were there preventing me from doing it. So then I wrote a note to myself to travel back and dismantle the pile of rocks. I left it in my lab. So then when I found the note I waited a week and then went back in time to write the note again and dismantle the pile of rocks. But really, all I remember is getting a note to dismantle the rocks. I don’t actually remember why I initially wrote it, so I have to assume that is what happened. So the same is true with 9/11. If I wrote a note to myself I would be able to go back and do it, although that's not true either.”
Michelle asked Sarah, “Are you as lost as me?”
Jared went on, “Well, this part might make it easier. The reason I made the time machine was because of what happened to our country . . . because of 9/11 and the Florida votes. It is impossible for me to go back to the day before 9/11 and have the flights cancelled because I wouldn’t be able to build the means.”
Sarah asked, “Couldn't you leave a very long note explaining why you traveled through time and how to build the machine?”
Jared smiled, “Very good. But no, because if I left a note on HOW to build the time machine the knowledge to build it would not have come from my research but from my note. But how could I make such a note if I never did the research? So no, it's impossible to do that. Also, I can’t write why I went back because I won’t know. Sure, when I go back the first time, I will know. But as soon as I write the note and then make the change, I won’t know because that change and time will have always existed to me. I may have tested this, but I'm not actually sure because there’s no way to remember.”
Sarah asked, “What about going into the future and bringing ideas back?”
Jared answered, “That causes similar issues. All we need to do is travel forward to get back to our present. Traveling to the future and bringing back ideas could cause even more problems and is probably as impossible as it would be for me to stop 9/11.”
Michelle asked, “So how does this help us? How can we make a difference?”
Jared answered, “Well, that's why we needed the builders.”
Aaron interrupted, “Let me explain this part. What we want to do is prevent future 9/11s and future Hitlers. We have the technology so we can do that; however there will be great risks. Take, for example, a future that comes upon us too fast to prevent a nuclear attack, or what if the outside world forces us to leave the project? The chances are too great, so we need to isolate ourselves from society. Also, this technology is too dangerous for everybody to have. We must hide it or destroy it. So here is our plan, thus far.
“We build an underground or underwater biosphere. We observe from our colony how the world changes and help it undo some mistakes. Unfortunately, this may mean we undo our own mistakes. Some other issues we will have involve technology. For example, if we rely solely on what we have we may lose our ability to watch. If television, radio, and the internet are all given up as popular mediums because of a new invention, it will be vital we have the technology for that invention. On the flipside, however, if we start relying on outside technology that we undo when making a fix we might have trouble.”
Sarah questioned Aaron, asking, “How would a biosphere work? You mean a complete self-sustaining environment almost like an off-planet colony? Isn’t that impossible considering all the failed attempts?”
Jared ran with the question, “That’s the problem we foresaw after the time machine was invented. What do we do if we run out of oxygen? Even worse, what do we do if we and the rest of the earth run out of oxygen! The solution was the builders. If we place our colony underground or underwater we can convert the water or rocks into oxygen, or whatever else it is we need. However, we want to avoid relying on them as much as possible, especially since they take time to make. Hopefully they will be able to eventually self-replicate but at the moment they can’t even make one of the most important elements! So we will model it off the biosphere experiments of the past and present to allow for a self-sustaining oxygen supply from plants and a food supply from plants and animals.”
Michelle said, “This is so absurd! You want us to live apart from everybody. You want us to give up our friends, family, and lives for this.”
Jared had expected this. He had wanted to explain it sooner, but never could muster the strength too. Now he was worried it was going to backlash on him. Fortunately, Sarah seemed interested in the idea, so only Michelle would have to be convinced, at least for now. Three against one or even two against one would surely do the trick. Since it was better for Aaron to respond . . . as no love could be lost between Aaron and Michelle, Aaron was the one to counter. “We are doing this for the good of our friends and family. We will do this because it will prevent future Bradshaws. We will make the future a better place. You’re right, we have to give up a lot, but the result is what matters. The result will be so much greater than the loss.”
“People won’t even know we’re doing anything. In fact, maybe they’ll think we are hurting things. Maybe we will think we are hurting things! Say you went back in time and killed Hitler. Yes, you would have prevented great suffering and tragedy but nobody including ourselves would know that. Sure, we’ll know we had a good reason, but we won’t know how good or what the reason was. On top of that, as we monitor the world we will see them upset at our actions. We’ll see the headlines, ‘Baby Hitler Murdered.’ Only the name will have no significance, as opposed to the action!”
“Those are all good points. We will get no thanks for our job. We will probably have to keep the number of monitors small to keep a ‘professional distance’. However, when it comes time to decide on a change everybody will have to see the evidence for the change and vote unanimously in favor of it.”
This part concerned Sarah and she asked, “How will our children fit into this? We’ll have to make a colony, which means enough people so after several generations there will be no intermarriage. At the same time, though, the colonies growth will have to be kept at a crawl so we don’t grow beyond our means. We as adults may be able to accept this, but what of our children and their children?”
Now it was Jared’s turn, so he replied by saying, “We should talk to the children soon. I obviously don’t know much of children, but I remember as a teen I had about the same reasoning ability as I do now. For millennia teens were considered adults. Even here in NH chapter 457 section 4 allows for males age 14 and females age 13 to wed!”
The fact that he knew that law was a bit of an inside joke between himself and Michelle. As funny as it was to them, he hoped she didn’t distract the issue by bringing up the comedy behind it.
Sarah continued, “So you think we should ask Kara and Keith?”
This time Aaron replied, “Yes.”
“What if they say no?”
Aaron said, “They won’t so no, so I won’t consider that possibility.”
“I hope your right!”
Sarah yawned. Sarah and Aaron both looked tired, and it was late.
Jared said, “Tomorrow is Saturday. Let’s talk more tomorrow.”
Everybody nodded in agreement. Sarah asked her husband, “Bedtime?”
“Absolutely,” he replied.
Everybody said their goodnights and headed to bed. Even though Michelle and Jared had slept late, they were still able to go to sleep.
Copyright (C) 1998-2001 East Coast Games, Inc. and 2001 - 2006 Forest J. Handford