“Time travel is illegal.”
“Is it? People time travel all the time.”
“A version of us travels in time, and we get back a journal, a book of records of their experiences. Sure, someone attended the first Beatles concert in the States, and they even looked an awful lot like me, and had the same memories as me, and wrote down their experiences. But it wasn’t me. That was someone else.”
“That’s the bargain, yeah. A journal, and silence.”
“Quite the bargain. It’s because time travel is illegal.”
“You’ve said that before. Care to explain?” The interviewer sat back and looked at me. Put up or shut up moment.
“Time travel fucks up your world. Rewrites your history. Those in power decided they liked our history just fine, thank you very much, so they outlawed time travel. But they didn’t outlaw transdimensional travel. For instance, travel to worlds that don’t mind a localized reset. Would welcome the possibility.”
“Who do you get to speak for an entire world?”
“Anyone. Or no one at all. We travel into the parallel world, set up the time machine, stuff you in it, send you on your way, then leave. Back in our world, we activate the trans-dimensional tracker, find a strange world – like one where the Beatles never broke up – and pick up a journal from a locker in an airport. That’s your record, how you experienced this world and what you saw.”
“So this is how we get Transdimensional Living, our hearsay version of time travel?”
“The long and short of it, yeah.”
“And what do you do, Mr Kull?”
“I am a researcher. I go into the past and gain access to our defining moments. I’m there when history is written. I know which pieces need to be altered to change the outcome of a war, an uprising, a genocide.”
The interviewer sat back and was speechless for a moment. I went on.
“Did you really think that there wouldn’t be a department with this mandate, learning from our past so that we may foresee the problems of our future? But that’s not my main occupation. That’s something that a time-travelling war research scientist does. I work on the smaller scale of media. Ever wondered what the world would be like if Lennon never met Yoko and the Beatles never split up? Or maybe you wanted to know about the six-film series of Back To The Future, starring Eric Stoltz.”
“Why can we only get journals back?”
“Time travel is illegal. Works of fiction, seemingly from a time traveler, aren’t.”
“Curious. Do people frequently try to smuggle things? Secrets?”
“We already know where all the dirty secrets are hidden, there’s nothing earth-shattering anyone’s going to unearth. And we of course don’t let through anything other than the journal. But that doesn’t stop people from trying.”
“Of course, who wouldn’t want to smuggle across interdimensional lines.”
I shoot the interviewer a look and continue with the prepared spiel.
“I’m here today to present more than twenty alternate worlds to visit, from the previously-mentioned Beatles not splitting up world, to four popular Oscar winner films – and Back to the Future – recast in the strangest ways.”
“Oh, great, pimp away. I’ll just be over here, vomiting in a corner.”
“Very funny. Now, who’s interested in a French version of The Phantom of the Opera? That’s from a world where France took over most of the planet by 1930.”