BACK TO CHAPTER I
In the defense of the industry that desperately wanted the tech approved for consumers, the initial tests clearly seemed to prove their money-eyed theories about time-travel.
Time and again, the test travelers were sent back to change the past in small ways. None of the changes registered here in the present at all. In one trip, our test traveler actually prevented the assassination of JFK. And yet, when he returned, the sad history was the same. This seemed to prove the existence of multiple universes, existing side by side with each other. Time-travel manipulations essentially just caused another universe to branch out from the moment the past was changed. The time-traveler would only return to his universe and thus would never see the change.
In the “Back to the Future” example, Marty McFly would thus come back and still find his father working for Biff (under this theory) even after changing the past the way he did. While this would not have been a very satisfying ending to that movie, it seemed at the time to be how time-travel in the early 3000s was working. The theory was that the time-traveler can’t change our past at all.
When the suicides started happening, the industry came under a lot of scrutiny. Virtually all of them were committed right after a trip to the past. Some argued they were triggered from the frustration over the time-traveler’s inability to really undo a bad decision he made in the past. Since the time-traveler’s future could not be changed in any way visible to the time-traveler, there was no satisfaction in changing a past mistake. We later determined that this is exactly what was going on.
The irony here was that a feature of commercial time-travel that kept chaos from occurring had proved to be its undoing. The machines were soon outlawed in several states. The manufacture was under federal court order to recall every last one. A full federal ban came in 3016. By 3020 it was a felony to possess a time-travel machine. Anyone who possessed one was certain to commit suicide within a year after using it. Unfortunately, that didn’t get rid all of the machines. Every few days, one of these units would be found next to a dead time-traveler, usually with his head blown off.
A considerable black market for these machines grew up, of course, each dealer actually promising that with their new model you could actually affect REAL changes in this parallel universe. They were of course just fake-huslting the original fantasy of time-travel capability: that you could really use it to undo past mistakes (like Marty did in Back to the Future) and then come back to the present to find conditions improved. But none of the units worked that way. That tech just did not exist and likely never will. Some of these shameless hustlers even promised that their machines could even send the time-traveler into the future. But no machine could really do that. Most scientists just assumed that no machine would ever be able to do that. After all, the future does not really exist. At least that was the going theory / explanation at the time.
NEXT: Chapter III: The Legend of Mike Trojan pt. 1
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