by Eldredd von Tripp
In the past few decades, many stories have surfaced that shed light on the clashes between human and wild life that have started since human domicile started its slow expansion into wildlife habitat.
Bears, deer, racoons, possum, birds of various shapes and sizes, felines and the like have started a low key invasion to seemingly reclaim what has been taken from their ancestors, in hopes of subjugating the human spirit.
In a new development, reports out of the township of Tatenborough have brought a disconcerting issue to light. It has been reported that beavers – yes, beavers – have actioned several attacks on the town and stripped it of all its valuable woodly articles; from house boards to signs; from tables and chairs to school doors.
What purpose such thievery had, the locals couldn’t guess.
Not until yours truly decided to stick his nose into the matter and find what these toothy rascals have been up to.
After employing three drones and their local operators to scout the areas surrouding the town, a search party led by myself found an abandoned pile of wood shavings where apparently a makeshift wood processing plant had recently been abandoned.
Arriving at the location, the orderly mob found many track marks in the surprisingly empty clearing that had visibly been left by scuttling in all directions. Finding the state of affairs thus; the mob split up and after an arduous search that consumed the better part of three hours, one of the groups reported finding the end of the scuttley tracks at an exquisitely constructed wooden dam.
The 130 foot dam – affectionately dubbed the Daym Dam – slumped across the Blablabla river and looked like an organized mathematical mayhem of a tornado stricken town. People from the mob recognized furniture, railings, family busts and things they thought were stolen by time.
They were stolen by beavers.
The township of Tatenborough, upon hearing the stories of the now more disgruntled mob, financed study into the matter. The two month affair concluded that Beaver City had been built using stolen human resources because, apparently – in a “wild” turn of events – the invasive human population had stripped the forest of its beaverly materials.
A public outcry flew across Tatenbourough and the mob was reformed and the dam was dismantled, torn into smaller pieces and set afloat down the river.
What had once been a forest, was restructured as building and furniture, reclaimed by selfish beavers and now set afloat off to new adventures.
“Yaw!” Verillion yelled as the blue button shocked the Time Ship out of space.
Time Ship, Verillion thought, what a generic name. But then again, what would you expect from a civilization that still held its ancient gods in reverence. Better Time Ship than some over-used godly bore.
A few wobbles and the ship stabalized into a fading hum. Verillion went around the console – which stood in the middle of the control room, filling it with its bulky mass – checking the readings the manual told him to check. He’d failed the Time Travel Navigation exam but not the sticking to the manual section.
Why not do things your own way, you’ll be the one operating the damn thing, he thought.
And now he was.
He’d taken the ship to prove that he’d be able to operate it on his own, as a stubborn proof that he was capable of handling time on his own.
Be back in a jif, he’d said.
Worst case scenario, he’ll go back the long way around – Time Ships didn’t exactly have to move through space.
But that was the point; he’d do it on his own and push aside any problems that came up.
He’d thought about that time old thought experiment: if time travel was doable, where are the future time travellers. He’d imagined himself stepping out of the Time Ship and saying “Hello there, future dead persons, the future is fucked, you’re all ganna die”. Or whatever.
As far as paradoxes are concerned, he’ll deal with them when they came up. There’s no such thing as a paradox expert so he felt justified in ignoring those mathematical anomalies until they actually manifested themselves.
Readings checked and engines still fading their humming; Verillion stood in the console room – the only room – and looked around. Now what. Should have paid attention in class.
There was a steely pop and then hissing and the ship settled. YEY!
Now the shitty part – meeting the locals and the spoiler-free responsibility that came with it. He’d known an archaeologist who’d stressed the importance of no-spoilers but she wasn’t here yet so: free pass.
Time to put time to the test.
He paused at the door.
He cracked it open and peeked outside. A lush pasture and a herd of Brontosaurus sticking out like a boil on an attractive woman’s face. Nope, wrong era and he closed the door.
Back to the manual.
Really should have paid attention in class.
Time Ship logs wouldn’t be enough, he’d have to get solid undeniable evidence of the journey.
But that presented a problem. You’re removing something out of its comfy time period – a molecule of air; sunshine; or even a little hope. How would you account for it being removed from the stream of entropy, with all the effects and events that it could have led to; all the consequences it could have imparted to the world and all the energy it would have exhueded to unknowing recipients. You could leave something in its place, but switching things between the future and past could be a dangerous game.
So much for time travel.
He really should have paid attention in class.
Was the first thought that jumped into Verillion’s head as he awoke from a nap in prehistoric times.
Maybe a selfie, as they called it in the olden days. That would be more efficient than a paradox.
He tore through the knapasack, finding the camera through touch rather than seeing it. Pulling it out with a eurika moment, he shoved the knapsack aside and admired the product of technology he held in his hands. He could feel the warm welling of validation – even if it’s his own – for thinking of and finding the camera but that soon withered as a thought over-powered the validation: he can’t go out there. The problem of misplacing an item out of its time and space was one thing but if he stepped outside, he’d be breathing air and absorbing sunlight; resources – by inference – that were to go to creatures that are long dead by the time he existed. What was that old saying about a butterfly flapping its wings?
No, stepping out caused anxiety, something Verillion was running away from – so was everything ever alive! He’d already peeked his head out once and found roaming Brontosaurs so gods knew how he’d affected the future with that. Maybe that’s why he’d made the decision to take the Time Ship. Maybe that’s how the dinosaurs went extinct: by being seen.
No – there has to be better way. Not to make the dinosaurs extinct, but a way to get proof of time travel.
He cracked the door of the Time Ship open only slightly, shoved the camera out for a second and pressed capture then quickly retracted his arm.
He repeated the process half a dozen times before he found himself with a still of Brontos walking away.
Meh, but it’ll do.
Better leave now before I ruin something by accident, he thought.
He shuffled to the console and spun dials, setting the coordinates to his time zone and warming up the engines. He stared around the ship, its curves offering comfort.
An earthquaky shock sent him flying across the ship, again.
Every fuckin time, Verillion thought as he landed across the Time Ship’s inner curing wall. But the curve had recieved him well, like the time machine knew something was coming – from the shock of its entire being so it prepared itself to catch it. Verillion landed and slid to the floor, the thudding he felt dissipating. He felt the ship ascending upwards like an elevator speeding up to its button induced destination. It felt as if the top quarter of the ship had made a ninety degree inward drop and the other three quarters eased into the new position. The ship felt like it was hovering around itself. Verillion stood and headed for the console. He had to set the final adjustments that’ll rocket him home – another shock to send him back to the curve of the Time Ship wall.
Was he starting to like it? Even enjoy it? He looked at the blue button his fingers were hovering above.
He started to smile even before he pressed it.
He felt satisfaction as he flew against the wall again. Lying against the curve, he glimpsed the big red button on the underside of the console.