One thing which used to attract me quite a bit was a cartoon of ‘Dennis the Menace’, where he says ‘the main difference between them, grownups, and we, kids, is that the grownups take things which are meant for fun, very seriously’, unlike kids. I also found, the grownups sometimes take things meant to be of utmost importance, not at all seriously. And there was no predictable pattern. As I was growing up, in each and every stage of my growth to a young man, I experienced many embarrassing moments, due to the delays in appreciating the true meaning that hid the intent behind what the grownups say.
Notwithstanding best efforts, I couldn’t find an answer to these questions and so far, all my efforts yielding no results. And I always thought of myself as fairly intelligent. I therefore thought I would travel in time, and ask the other generations, whether anyone did succeed in solving this. I now thought of the great Albert Einstein, my idol since childhood, who theorized that time travel was possible by bending time and space via the means of gravitational forces, and I had implicit faith in that. One way, I know, is to travel back in time, and to meet with all that you are already aware of from various sources, and perhaps discover the source of such a duality, the one between our true intent and what we actually say. Another way, which I found more interesting, is to travel ahead in time to see what others are going to see in due course. What is this duality, leading us to? From which, by induction, deduce the cause? I chose the latter, a journey to the future. As I haven’t come across a device that enables such a journey, I started from scratch, the making of my vessel, the time module.
I succeeded in harnessing the weak force for creating a virtual gravitational field and thereby cause distortion in space-time. This I could achieve after years of experimenting with quarks, leptons, and other sub-atomic particles, when I found certain flavors of quarks acting differently and in a non-intuitive manner, while colliding with neutrinos. While continuing research on quantum particles, I fell upon the possibility of linking Casimir force with quantum particles of gravity, which led to the possibility of balancing a thin plate vessel in a moving field. The ultimate result was that I could perfect a machine that could travel through the dimensions of time and space, utilizing virtual fields and abstract interactions. I was so excited that without even waiting to conduct a public demonstration or to acknowledge the bulk of good wishes from all, I began the ultimate test by sending a guinea pig to the future. And I chose myself as the guinea pig, of course, since I would not allow other beings to risk their life (or enjoy the fruits!).
But what did I find? Since we are a weak species and seek power over those who are of a meek nature, we tend to destroy what we cannot dominate. All I could find in the future, and all I have witnessed, disclosed nothing else, but what horrendous days are there, waiting to witness the end of the human race. But I am getting ahead of myself. I must start at the beginning.
I am a peaceful person. I could never tolerate the human society always at war with itself. A cursory study of our history (this has been my pet hobby for long) made it quite clear to me that war is never a good answer, and longed to find a way to prevent it. I’d invented my time machine specifically with that idea, since I wanted to give a real taste of the aftermath of war to all who would take a trip with me.
After many years of trial and error I had finally perfected a machine. And I was at the point where I could put it through. The date I chose was January 12th 3117. I’d decided that this was the hour I would like to witness, to get a good idea of our future prospects. I was very excited, but a little anxious about what mankind was going to be surprised with.
I entered the time machine, and had a swift look at all those who came to wish me good luck. I sat down on the seat, taking care to close the door behind me and went through the checklist. I pushed the buttons in the preset pattern, and there continued the operating procedure as designed. The time machine shuddered, but nothing appeared to happen at first, perhaps the conversion of weak force into gravity and its deployment for time compression took place rather imperceptibly. All of a sudden, I saw a blinding, white light that seemed to appear from nowhere. It spun faster and faster. A tremendous pressure built up inside the cabin. I could barely read the dial that measured the years flying past. 2025, 2030, 2040… I finally forced my hand up to the buttons and pushed them. The years slowed and the machine finally stopped. The dial was showing January 12^^th^^, 3117. Over two thousand years had elapsed.
With a pounding head, an equally frightened heart and a shivering hand, I grabbed the lever to open the door. And my ears were feeling a deafening thunder. My body felt even more miserable as though it had just come out from a centrifuge. Weak at the knees, I stumbled out into the open. The lab still stood there, its walls could be made out, though, were hardly recognizable, but for its skeletal frame. Tables were covered in dirt and debris that had fallen from what was left of the false ceiling. The laser machine, though bent and broken, could be recognized as my chosen model. This didn’t present a problem as the present machine had been stored with sufficient material to provide a way back to my era many times over.
I walked over to the lab door. Thankfully, my old door was still standing. I unlocked the rusted bolt and stepped out into the hallway. The stairs were in complete disrepair, but I could manage to maneuver. I made my way up to the grand foyer, walked past the secretarial station to the front doors, and shoved against them. What greeted me was a totally new world.
The roads looked as though unused for centuries. There were plenty of cracks filled with sprouted weeds and flowering shrubs. It seemed mankind had stopped using road transportation and taken fully to the air. I could see specks in the distance that I assumed were flying vessels. Many of those were speeding to and fro as if on an invisible highway. Skyscrapers soared little higher into the heavens. I sat down on a curb, to reflect, engage and to take it all in. It was an awesome sight. I reached around to my backpack to grab my notebook and pen. My sensations started to pour down as words.
The thing that was noticeable by its absence in the nearby environment was a human being. Perhaps none of them lived on the surface, but stayed high above it, as was the practice with us. To find out more, I got up off my haunches, grabbed my diary and started on my journey.
I’d walked for the better part of the day and continued on the outskirts of the city. I crossed many abandoned buildings. After a few hours, I finally reached a new area, a portion of the city that appeared to me as an important area. I walked to one of the buildings. I tried to push against a door. Before I could actually apply pressure, the door opened in a slow and silent move. The huge concourse was fully lit with bright lights. It appeared that electric supply was never short. The hall was huge, and covered the full floor. This of course, occupied the entire length and breadth of the building. I went to the elevator bay, took one at random, climbed in, and punched a button. The doors opened in a jiffy, smooth and without bumps. I entered. There was a keypad, filled with numbers rising to many hundreds. I chose the button for the 200th floor. The doors closed equally smoothly as it opened and the lift moved. It must have been really fast, I reached my destination before I could reflect on what all has happened so far.
The doors opened. I peeked out with great feelings. I could see the descendants of my peers bustling about the courtyard in a hurried state. I came out of the elevator and looked around. One glance came my way, but the work continued with no regard to my presence, with great concentration and deep involvement. I was wondering. “Why he hadn’t stopped and asked about my ancient clothing?” For, his was entirely different from mine. No suits, ties or designer dresses; everyone was dressed in the same white jumpsuit from head to toe. No one paid any attention to me as I wandered about.
I stopped and stood behind a woman. She was punching wildly at a keypad and seemed oblivious of my presence. Still, I asked her if there was anyone in charge of this work area, whom I could speak to. She responded without hiding her annoyance, but her eyes were glued to the keyboard. “Haven’t you hooked up to the system and recharged yourself this morning?” she asked.
She now looked up. Her brows rose quizzically, when she noticed my attire. She grabbed a phone and spoke some words. I could not hear what was said, I was watching her referring to something like a lookup table on her computer. Not a minute had passed before two guards appeared with a whole chain of attendants, armed with some sort of weapons, grabbed me, and escorted me back to the elevators. The lift rose, stopped, and the doors hissed open. The attendants took me to a desk. “We’ve got another one from the super-race,” one of them said, handing me over to the person seated behind it. The man pushed a button and I could hear hushed discussions. I was finally pushed into a tastefully furnished room and told to wait. The guards exited the room with whatever belongings I had. It seemed I had no choice but to enjoy the hospitality.
There was nothing to occupy my mind other than glancing through the odd collection of magazines, as the minutes ticked by. There was a single chair in the middle of the room. There were many magazines with articles about human races, where the races are mentioned as human-superior and humans. I was at a loss. The superior-humans, as I could make out from a few articles, are far superior to humans in brain power and lives in a world entirely of his choice. I was lost in thoughts when a tall man walked in, regarded me silently as he circled my chair and asked, “Why didn’t you attach yourself this morning?”
“Yes. Attach. You know it’s the first job of the day.”
“As I’m not from here, I won’t know what you mean. I’m a visitor to this area and not familiar with the local formalities.”
“You must need a reset.”
The man went to the door and signaled for the attendants. “Take him to the resetting bay.”
The men grabbed me. I had to get up from my chair and follow him. With no clue regarding what was going on, I could not resist. We went into the elevator again and the doors slammed shut. In a moment, the doors opened, and a large room filled with chairs that were bolted to the floor, came to our sight. Bundles of wires could be seen connected to an enormous computer. They escorted me over and guided me into a chair, strapping me down. They spoke something to a woman who I assumed was a technician. She walked over to the chair, had an overall look and noticed I wasn’t wearing a jumpsuit. “How can I proceed to download if he’s not wearing his number?” she grumbled. “What is your identity number,” she asked me.
“There seems to be some kind of confusion. I am a visitor—-,”
“All right then, she sighed. “I’ll just assign you with a temporary number. Hook him up while I report this to the super,” she instructed an assistant.
The young man came over and tilted my head forward, looking for something. He was having a thick cable with an attached connector. He probed my head, his hands running through the roots of my hair. I felt he was looking for something. He continued his search for some time, but then sighed in extreme frustration. “I can’t find any receptacle.”
“Like always” the woman grinned. She took over the search, continued for some time and exclaimed in surprise, “He has no access!”.
“I’ve been trying to tell everyone that I’m only a visitor, but no one will listen. I assure you that I have no such arrangements on my body and whatever you’re trying to plug will be of no use.”
“This is beyond me,” she stated in reply, “Take him to the Administrator.”
“I am the Administrator,” the confident voice said as I sat strapped to a chair in another room. “They tell me that you could not be attached. Did you have your signal input receptacle surgically removed?”
“I don’t have any idea about attachments or receptacles. I have been telling everyone that I do not belong to your city. I’m just a visitor here.”
“Where have you come from?”
“I do not come from here and have never had the need to be plugged in, whatever that is. I come from—-,” I stopped.
“Come on, continue, from where?”
“There is no easy explanation. In fact, I can only say that I came from beyond the borders of your city.”
“How did you come here. What transported you?”
“I made a time machine and that transported me here”, I proudly replied.
“Good”, The administrator spoke, “I have seen your machine. You have chosen to use weak force and gravity interactions, Isn’t it so” He asked.
“Yes”, I was feeling great, “But, how did you make out?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything. He seemed to have lost in thoughts.
And an uncomfortable silence hung in the air. After a few moments the confident voice continued, “You must be a mix between humans and super-humans.”
“And you look more intelligent and smarter than humans.”
I didn’t utter a word.
After another bout of uneasy silence, the voice spoke again. “Why are you under the impression that you are a human?”
“That’s what I am and that is what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
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This is about a young inventor's joueney in time. He goes to 3000 AD and meets with our future. He thus happens to learn certain horrible stories of our coming years before reaching the point of no return. How human race managed to turn unsuitable for the world, as the years went by.