I came across an article recently that talked about the possibility of sending information through time using quantum mechanics. Something akin to a cross-time telegraph. This is what entered my brain regarding the concept.
John stared at the machine. Years of study. Thousands of hours of labor. Suffering while being mocked for the idea, and then hiding from the occasional death threat while working on the machine.
It had all come down to this defining moment.
The machine was nothing special to look at. A dull gray plastic box with an attached keyboard and old dot-matrix printer. By appearance it would have been easily mistaken for an attempt to make a typewriter by reverse engineering a computer.
The machine didn’t move.
Not that John was shocked, as it was never meant to move on it’s own volition or without power applied. An outsider who saw John’s face may have mistaken his expression for that of a new and reluctant father trying to consider their newborn.
John took the plug attached to the machine and plugged it into the wall.
Chaos sprang from the silence.
The printer began screaming it’s dots onto the page. John stood, transfixed, watching his creation do exactly what it was meant to do. His hands trembled as the screaming printer stopped it’s action. He touched the paper which hung limply out of the now calm machine.
Printed on the page was a portion of a phrase. Simple English words which had not been programmed into the machine, but delivered to it from another source, some time in the future, with one slight exception.
John stared at the two words. They were definitely words, but from who? More importantly, from when?
Turning to the keyboard, John noticed his palms were slick and damp with sweat. He quickly rubbed them on his pants and typed,”Who are you?”
John waited. Still nothing happened. Minutes stretched into hours and there was no response from the other end of time.
Frustrated, John unplugged the machine and removed the plastic cover of the machine. Inside was a chaotic twist of wires and fibers, soldered and attached to various points on silicon boards. Everything seemed to be secure and functional.
John plugged the machine back in.
Nothing happened. With a sigh,John sat before the keyboard. He chuckled and typed,”I hope I’m not early” and froze.
The printer screamed loudly, the flicker of LED’s on the boards flashed, showing the internal parts that stood bare to the world were indeed functional.
John stared at the printer fixedly, his mind whirling with what had just occurred. The printer shrieked for attention again, John anxiously reached for the paper, but in his excitement lost his balance. He flailed his arms to stay upright and knocked into one of the legs of the table which supported his machine.
The table, being fairly ancient, promptly collapsed, taking the open machine to the floor and allowing the delicate electronics and painstakingly soldered wires to smash themselves, disrupting fragile connections. John stared at the machine. Repairs would take months and thousands of dollars, not to mention the agony of facing people who knew he intended to do a test today.
His mind reeling, his heart racing, he reached for the paper and read the words.
“Who are you?”
John’s heart tried to double it’s frenzy, and failed. Having faced long hours, stress, despair, and now high excitement and frustration, it froze. John’s breath hitched as he struggled for life. His eyes took on a puzzled cast as they moved across the electronics, at the still-let LEDs. his vision darkened.
The printer screamed.
I did promise something original for you guys today. I’m sure the story has been done before somewhere, in some way. But I wrote it off the top of my head over the past 20 minutes. That makes it “original” to me, at least. 🙂
Let me know what you think of the writing “style” more than anything. I am always trying to improve, and it’s hard to be objective when I wrote it. Thank you!