Tommy hadn’t intended to steal a top secret time machine from a powerful multinational conglomerate, yet somehow that’s just what he found himself doing on a sunny Tuesday morning in the fall of 2016.
He should’ve been at work that day. Instead, he’d opted to take the day off, and plan a surprise birthday party for Vivien, his girlfriend at the time. What transpired next was an unfortunate series of events that had set him on this eventual path.
But, let bygones be bygones. He was doing this for her, for their future–or at least for what might have been. Tommy adjusted himself in the time machine’s stiff black leather seat, drumming his fingers on a console as the CHRONOS engine warmed up. The CHRONOS engine (a piece of proprietary company technology) was the heart and soul of the time machine. Without it, the device was just another useless hunk of plastic, metal and microchips.
Without it, Tommy had no way of going back to the past and fixing things.
From his vantage point in the time machine, Tommy peered out a small view port and saw the surrounding platform, which was comprised of a haphazard collection of metal stairs and walkways. A klaxon sounded, and Tommy blinked as flashing red lights flooded the platform and the area around it.
Of course they’d found him. It was only a matter of time before they apprehended him and sent him to the Time Crime Tribunal. He would be given a minimum five-year sentence for “attempts to obstruct the right and continual flow of space/time.”
If they caught him, then so be it. Right now, nothing mattered more than getting Vivien back, correcting one small error that had transpired during the course of their relationship. Once the error was fixed, the Time Cops could do whatever they wanted with him.
“Time cycling complete,” a disembodied male voice said. Tommy sighed with relief. The CHRONOS machine was ready to run. He dashed off a string of commands on a keyboard, ending with his specified target date: 111015. He hit enter, and the CHRONOS engine purred to life. The time machine became suffused with a hazy green glow.
In a split second, several things happened.
First, a couple of guards stumbled down the stairs and began shooting stunwaves at the time machine viewport. The time machine was made of adamantium, so it easily deflected a series of stunblasts that were, in theory, powerful enough to knock out a grizzly bear.
Instinctively Tommy ducked, but not before catching a glimpse of Vivien perched behind the guards. She was still wearing the same dress and black leather jacket that she’d worn during their earlier confrontation.
She was still holding hands with Drake Vincenzi, Tommy’s archrival.
The guards stopped shooting. “Step out of the machine with your hands up,” they ordered.
The sight stabbed at Tommy like a knife blade, but he remained firm in his resolve. As the CHRONOS engine kicked into high gear, the scene in front of him began to immaterialize. The last sight that Tommy saw was Drake, smiling calmly as he aimed a much larger weapon at the time machine. Presently the viewpoint dissolved into the nebulous, starry haze of the Time Portal.
What should’ve been a gentle Time Transition was marred by the blast of Drake’s weapon. The time machine listed from side to side, making Tommy slightly nauseated. He doubled over, willing himself not to puke, his eyes straying to the date and time dials. They were spinning out of control–definitely not a good sign. The time machine took a belly roll, at which point Tommy took the opportunity to blackout.
When he came to, he saw that the machine had stopped, and was no longer spinning haphazardly through the Time Portal. He looked up at the view port, and was greeted by a wall of water.
His eyes strayed back to the time dial. The date read: 1110111015.
Oh no. That translated to: November 10th, in the year 111,015.
Tommy looked back at the wall of water. He could dimly make out shapes: was it aquatic sea life, or perhaps the ruins of a past civilization? What sort of life existed on the face of the planet, this far into the future?
Well, there was only one way to find out.