By the mid-22nd century, time travel had become a mundane and everyday reality. When the phenomenon had first been introduced to the mass consciousness due to a theft of documents by a government employee, massive steps had been proposed to limit the possibly detrimental effects of what would likely become a hugely popular social pastime. An international committee, after much deliberation and the investment of a great deal of working hours and taxpayers money, eventually decided on three rules of time travel:
1) Do nothing to affect the social development of the people of the time
2) Do nothing to deliberately invoke a change to events in the future, particularly for perceived personal gain
3) Behave with no emotion as emotion breeds emotion in others and so can affect events
As soon as the committee announced these rules to an eagerly listening world, researchers at TEID (Time Effect Investigation Department, a team set up to monitor the behaviour of it’s citizens by researching past documents) began to find that the rules weren’t perhaps as effective as they had hoped. Time travelling citizens trying to behave without emotion were being viewed with high suspicion in Nazi Germany, the witch hunting eras of the late 17th century and the vampire fearing villages of mediaeval Slavic Europe. All of these unfortunate souls were being summarily tortured, executed, and were failing to return home from their trips.
They also found it impossible to not affect social development as travellers ended up in the bars and public houses of times throughout history, invariably became drunk and opinionated, and ended up either instigating or, in some exceptional cases, getting a little carried away and leading entire revolutionary movements.
Lastly, it was quickly realised that it was impossible to not have an affect on future events as a whole anyway as the person’s mere arrival and subsequent existence in the past occupied space and therefore had instigated a change by just moving the air particles, anything over and above that would cause a more obvious chain reaction (such as stopping traffic at a road crossing or feeding an animal) and so it was deemed impossible to enforce any of the laws they had worked so tirelessly to create.
At this point a press conference was set up to announce this failure, one journalist pointed out the impossibility of enforcing such laws due to the nature of time travel anyway and, after a lot of silence and shoe gazing, the scientists and international representatives decided to disband and research something that could be controlled instead, with no doubt at all, such as wormhole leaping.
Despite the best efforts of authorities to restrict the sale of time travel machines, a huge black market was predicted, then materialised, and then once one particuarly entrepreneurial individual, Jiff Beaner, had gone three hundred years into the future and bought not only all the books on the history of time travel so as to learn all the industrial lessons of his competitiors to come, but also returning in a much bigger time machine with (after a few trips) parts enough for a time machine manufacturing unit from the future as well, mass production kicked into play and the time machine was now in 63% of all households by the end of the first manufacturing year alone. Naturally, Jiff was soon outdone by another who carried out exactly the same plan as Jiff had and outdid him overnight. Not only did the competitor have all of Jiff’s ideas for the next three hundred years but he also had a manufacturing unit three hundred years newer. Then someone outdid that man, and so it went on ad taedium.
Time Travel became a standard leisure activity, people beamed from here to there, and the world continued (as far as they knew) the same as it always had.
Then, not long afterwards, a researcher at TEID came across something that would change the public’s perspective of time travel completely. It was a man called Gerald Keys, he had travelled to 18th century colonial America, and there for no reason yet apparent, he had killed sombeody.
Photo by usamedeniz