My Family

Prompt: Interference with Time

Andy Miles 5th February 2023

Time is the fourth dimension. Length, width, height and time. We are all familiar with the first three, but even though we live in the fourth it is more difficult to fathom. What is time? Until people put a label on time (1 o’clock, 2 o’clock) it was marked by sunlight. Does something need a label to be real? With length, width and height we measure them and can move around them, forward, backwards, left, right, up and down. Time, though we only move forwards, yesterday is the past, today is the present and tomorrow is the future. I have broken this restriction on the fourth dimension. I know how to move forwards, and backwards in time.

I am a physicist, I have studied quantum mechanics, string theory, the block universe and many other subjects. If I say so myself, my discovery was a moment of genius. I will not bother you with the details, most of you would not understand the first paragraph and, if you are interested you can read them in ‘Nature’.

What would be the first thing you would do if you could back in time? Would hide in the book depository in Dallas on 22nd November 1963? Would you visit Linz, Austria-Hungary in the 1890s and take the life of a child called Adolf? Would you place bets on future sporting events and make your fortune?

What would be the first thing you would do if you could travel forward in time? Again, you could look at sporting events and bet on them back in your own time. You could visit your descendants and see how your family line had fared. You could see how science and technology had evolved and what impact your research had had on it.

I chose to see what impact my research had on the future. Of course, I first went back to 1963 and observed Lee Harvey Oswald shoot at John F Kennedy, three shots, first aimed, second and third fired in haste, I could not see from my hiding place if they had hit their target. I went to Linz in 1892 and killed a child called Adolf, I am not proud of it, I thought it would save millions. Time corrected itself, another child call Adolf took Hitler’s place or did I kill the wrong child? Scientific research is an expensive business so of course, I placed some strategic bets, who would have bet in 1980 that an English Women’s football team would win a major tournament before the men’s team would?

I went forward in time, I observed the fantastic changes in science and technology. We had managed, just, to keep climate change in check and seventy percent of the planet was habitable, we had cured most cancers and conditions like Alzheimer’s. There were still conflicts, natural disasters and other incidents but our ability to respond and save innocent lives had improved in bounds. As I looked into the ‘history’ of these I traced the piece of research for the cure of cancer to a descendant of my daughter.

I was confused the next time I went forward in time. Many of the changes were the same but cancer was the biggest killer of mankind. On the other hand, we had managed to find a way to resolve national conflicts without violence, this was due to political work by a descendant on my son’s side of the family.

I went forward many times, and each time the future was slightly different and it was always one of my descendants that had a positive or negative impact on this future.

I am writing this from Forbishire Hospital. When I visited the past it was Forishrie Sanitarium. I have tried to retract my entry in ‘Nature’, I tried to write about the dangers of meddling in time, of trying to interfere with it, of what danger knowing this could hold.

I know tonight is my last night, my health is failing. I leave this world with no dynasty to carry on the family name, no one to bring any of the futures I have seen to life.