My Time Machine

December 17, 2019

 

The three physical dimensions of space (length, width, height) are combined with time as a fourth dimension to form the four-dimensional continuum of space-time. This continuum is a type of ubiquitous “fabric” that permeates the entire universe. The force of gravity around very massive objects, such as stars, warps the fabric of space-time. Thus, there is a kind of time warp within the gravitational fields around such massive objects (much as a heavy bowling ball would bend the surface of a cushion, to use a common analogy).

 

A space traveler who fully understood this warping of space-time would be able to take advantage of its properties to travel through time. For example, if a spaceship was moving fast enough (near the speed of light) and close enough to a massive star (within the boundaries of the space-time warp), the ship could enter the time warp without getting pulled by gravity to the star’s surface. The accelerating ship would instead create gravitational ripples, or waves, in space-time as it moved. Ultimately, a “slingshot effect” or “whiplash effect” would occur, transporting the vessel to another time—and another dimension. This concept was demonstrated a couple of times in the original Star Trek series, including in the best movie of the franchise, Star Trek IV.

 

Of all the theoretical methods of time travel, the only methods that made sense to me during my life—that is, my life in this dimension—were those that use some kind of warping of space-time caused by gravity. So, any workable time machine would need to somehow apply this concept. Would the time machine need to be a spaceship traveling at high speed near a massive star? Or could a cleverly designed Earth-bound time machine also take advantage of the gravitational warping of space-time?

 

An Earth-bound time machine would work if a way could be found to create and accumulate large amounts of gravitational waves until a sufficiently large warping of space-time was created around the machine. To build such a machine, you would need advanced technology and special materials that are currently unavailable on Earth (in this dimension). But imagine that such technology and materials somehow became available—either through the technological developments of research conducted here on Earth or through the discovery of advanced technology from a visiting alien spaceship. If we somehow obtained this amazing technology, we would be able to build a functioning time machine.

 

Following is a description of the time machine that I built, based on alien technology that I discovered in a crashed flying saucer. (My experience with that crashed spaceship may be the subject of a future essay.)

 

 

The time machine that I built

 

The key feature of my time machine was a large, spinning, circular dish (the “warp-field generator”) at the top of the machine. The dish could rotate extremely rapidly, though nowhere near the speed of light. As it rotated, it could reach speeds faster than anything else on the planet. Yet, the spinning remained incredibly smooth.

 

time machine 1

 

The secret of the dish was its construction from a special composite material that is unknown on Earth. In fact, the material was totally unlike anything on Earth. It somehow mysteriously added extra energy to the motion of the spinning, so that sufficient energy could be generated at speeds way below light-year speed to create ripples in space-time. The accumulation of these ripples was capable of eventually generating enough gravitational waves to cause enormous warping in the space-time fabric surrounding the machine. The warping was comparable to that around a massive star. Because of the highly advanced composite material of the dish, its even-keeled spinning allowed the structure below to maintain its integrity and not break apart during the time-travel process—despite the extreme dimensional-shifting turbulence surrounding the machine. Nevertheless, the turbulence still caused quite a bit of convulsive shaking.

 

Below the rotating warp-field generator was a booth containing the computer and instrument console for the human operator, as well as a seat for the operator. The seat was equipped with restraining straps, like a car's seatbelt, to help the operator withstand the turbulence and shaking. The computer system incorporated some technology from the crashed flying saucer, and it was carefully calibrated with the warp-field generator’s spin, so that the human operator could precisely control the desired time and place of the destination. The generator spun clockwise to travel into the future, and counterclockwise to travel into the past. The faster the speed, the farther in time the machine traveled. The generator dish also pivoted up and down from side to side, with the angle and direction of pivot controlling the geographical location of the destination. The instrument console included controls for an external camera array and environmental sensors.

 

time machine 2

 

The machine was powered by an advanced type of fuel cell—technology, again, borrowed from the flying saucer. A final feature inside the machine was a closet for storing miscellaneous items that might be useful on time trips. Such items could include period-appropriate clothing, weapons, and various tools.

 

In a hypothetical example of the machine’s use, the operator enters the desired year and location into the computer—say, A.D. 100 and Rome. He straps himself into the seat for the potentially rough ride, which might take about five to ten minutes to complete. Upon arrival—the specific site of which is selected by the computer for its safety and inconspicuousness—the shaking stops. The operator then activates the camera array and sensors, revealing video images of the external environment and such data as outside temperature and precipitation, longitude and latitude coordinates (with exact location shown on a map), and exact date and local time of day.

 

The operator—dressed as desired (logically, in clothes appropriate for the period) and equipped as desired (perhaps with protective weapons and a camera of some kind)—then exits the machine and enters the real world of the past or future. He makes sure to take his fob-like device, which can lock and unlock the door of the time machine. More importantly, the fob can render the machine either visible or invisible through the implementation of a matter-cloaking program developed by the space aliens.

 

 

My planned travels through time

 

I built my alien-inspired time machine because I wanted to make particular trips through time. I was much more interested in the past than the future, because I tended to be very pessimistic about the future. In my life in this dimension, I believed that human civilization was in a stage of long-term decadence, decline, and decay, which was probably irreversible. I really did not want to see the bleak, disturbing future that I expected to happen. But I did want to see first-hand eyewitness accounts of certain times in history that I thought were especially fascinating.

 

There were many trips that I wanted to take into the past—to see times and places of world history that always captivated my imagination. The following were just a few of these times and places:

 

- Mid-1800s, Lockport, Illinois (a historic city and my hometown)

- 1492, Columbus arrives in the Americas

- England during the Middle Ages

- Ancient Rome and ancient Egypt

- Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal times in Europe

- Australopithecus era in Africa

- Dinosaur era

 

I wondered how far back I could go. Could I go back four billion years, to the origin of life on Earth? What would happen if I tried to go back to before Earth formed? Could I do that? Maybe my machine was not capable of going back more than a few hundred or a few thousand years. Maybe it wouldn't work at all. I built it with amazing alien technology that I put together to the best of my abilities, trying to turn an alien spaceship into a time machine for myself. I made a lot of guesses as I constructed this strange contraption, and I really didn't understand how it all might work—or not work. But I was very excited about finding out!

 

In addition to traveling into the past, I wanted to eventually take some trips into the future, just to see if my pessimism was justified. However, I firmly expected to be depressed by those trips. I imagined finding outcomes similar to the following:

 

- In about 100 years in the future, there will be a global totalitarian government, with no individual countries and no individual freedom.

- In 1,000 years, robots or synthetic humanoids will control most of the planet, with humans serving as slaves to machines. There will be similar colonies on the moon and Mars.

- In 5,000 years, technology will have all broken down, with humans going back to living in primitive, brutal, hunter-warrior systems. Then the cycle will start again.

 

Of course, those outcomes were only in my imagination. Because of the culmination of the events that I'm about to describe here for you, I never got to find out if my predicted future outcomes were true—that is, I never got to find that out in this dimension.

 

 

My first trip to the past: 1850, Lockport, Illinois

 

I decided that my first trip—taken on August 20, 2019—would be through time only, not space. That way, I could test just the time aspect of the machine’s function. On a subsequent trip, I could test both the time and space aspects. Thus, I stayed in the same location—my hometown of Lockport, Illinois. This is a historic town that served as the headquarters for the Illinois & Michigan (I&M) Canal, which was constructed between 1836 and 1848. This canal connected the Illinois River to Lake Michigan, functioning as the first practical transportation link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. It led directly to the growth of Chicago as a major city. I thought that it would be fun to go back to about 1850 and see what Lockport, which was a mid-sized suburban city in 2019, was like back then. That's when the canal was new and few people lived here, besides those involved in the waterway's operation and in associated businesses.

 

IM canal

 

I set the computer in my time machine, which was situated inside my garage, to the year 1850. I left the location as the present location. The warp-field generator started spinning, and as it moved faster and faster, the machine shook and vibrated noticeably but not violently. There were some clanking noises, but they were not excessively loud. I rode it out strapped into the operator's chair, wondering if this time-travel thing would actually work. After two or three minutes, my view became clouded and hazy. Then I suddenly was surrounded by what looked like psychedelically colored lightning flashes—bright yellow, blue, red, purple—and I heard what sounded like thunder crashes. Then the colors stopped flashing, and the haze dissipated. I heard and felt the generator slow down and finally stop spinning. The shaking stopped, and everything seemed normal again.

 

I looked at the computer screen, which showed the time as August 20, 1850, with the location the same as where I started, Lockport, Illinois. I turned on the external cameras, and the video screens showed that I was surrounded by forest. The sensors indicated that it was a typical August afternoon, with a temperature of 82°F and no precipitation. I saw no signs of danger or any indication that my machine had been seen, so I decided to step outside the booth and explore the area. I walked out into the forest and locked the door. I didn’t see any reason to activate the machine’s invisibility cloak, as there did not seem to be anyone around. But I activated it anyway—just in case.

 

I was in the middle of a fairly thick oak-hickory-type forest on top of a hilly area, right where my house and garage would be erected in a suburban subdivision in about 130 years. I took out my pocket compass to orient myself, so that I could find my way to the canal, about two miles west downhill. As the birds sang and the cicadas buzzed in their timeless ways, I walked a winding path through the branches and leaves—and then I saw a dirt road! This must be the original Thornton Street, which should lead down to near the canal.

 

I walked on the side of the narrow dusty road, and it looked like most of the forest had been cleared in front of me. Then just ahead, I saw an instantly recognizable sight—the small one-and-a-half-story white stucco house with the front porch near the corner of Thornton and Madison streets. This was the same house that would still stand there in 2019 (when it was for sale on the real-estate market as “the oldest house in Lockport,” built in 1837). As I walked by, I saw a man and a woman hitching up a horse and buggy in front of the house. The man wore a black suit and hat, and the woman wore a full-length beige dress and bonnet. I decided to walk up to them and talk with them. However, I suddenly felt very self-conscious about my clothes—blue jeans, gray tennis shoes, green t-shirt, and red St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. I had been so excited about making my first trip through time that I made no effort to wear clothes that looked like they might fit into the mid-nineteenth century. Such was my impulsive nature.

 

As I approached the couple, I noticed the man and woman staring at me with curiosity. It ran through my mind how incredibly out of place I was. It was August 1850. I knew from my readings of U.S. history that Millard Fillmore was the new president. He succeeded Zachary Taylor, who died in office from cholera the month before. I would not be born for 110 years! None of my family—none of my ancestors—were even in this country yet. They were all in Poland or Russia. I did not belong here. Yet, I fought through these negative feelings and insecurities as I waved to the man and woman in a friendly manner and said, “Hello.”

 

The man looked me in the eyes and cautiously said “Hello” back to me. He appeared to be in his 40s, with longish brown hair and a full beard. The woman was younger, probably in her mid-20s, and was quite pretty, with long blonde hair tied back. She said nothing and did not even look at me, diverting her eyes to the side. She seemed to defer to her male companion.

 

The man studied my strange clothing as I got closer, and he said, “I have not seen you around here before. You are a stranger to this town?” I thought about a logical response that might partly explain my unusual appearance, and I said, “Yes, I have just recently arrived from a distant place, and I must admit, I am not very familiar with your ways.” That immediately sounded stupid to me, but at least it was partly true. I came from a place that was distant in time.

 

He then asked me what I was doing in town. I replied that I had read a lot about the I&M Canal, and I came to see it. He said that he and his wife were planning on riding to Joliet to purchase some needed goods, and they were going to pass right by the canal headquarters. He invited me to travel with them. I gladly accepted his offer, though I sensed that his wife was not pleased with the idea. I was happy that I would not have to walk the probably 30 minutes down to the headquarters. I knew exactly where the headquarters was, because I had done much volunteer work at the history museum (the Will County Historical Museum) that occupied the same building in my own time.

 

I stepped up into the buggy and off we went on our slow, bumpy ride. I had a hard time believing that I really was here—in the mid-nineteenth century, with actual people from that time. My time machine worked! It was then that I realized I had forgotten my camera. Another example of my excitement causing insufficient planning. We made some small talk as we rode, with the man holding the reigns of the horse. The couple’s names were John and Elizabeth. He worked as an accountant for the I&M Canal Board of Trustees. When I asked him about the canal, he told me that it was doing better financially after some early struggles, and they had high hopes for its future. Elizabeth didn’t say much. But I could notice her examining my clothes from the corners of her eyes. Finally, she said with a quizzical look, “That is a very unusual hat.” I didn’t know how to respond, so I simply said, “Yes, it is, isn’t it? It’s from St. Louis.” She replied, “Oh, I see.”

 

We passed by a couple other houses as we turned off of Thornton and went south down a street that would later have various names: State Street, Route 171, or Archer. I knew that this street was originally an Indian trial. I saw a couple other buggies on the road, and I noticed a handful of people, who looked like canal workers, walking along the side of the road. Up ahead, I recognized the canal headquarters, which was smaller than the building as I knew it. That was because at this time, it was just a one-story structure. The second-story living quarters, for the canal’s head commissioner and his family, would not be added until the 1870s.

 

We pulled up in front of the headquarters. John said that he would drop me off to visit with his boss, the Secretary of the Canal Board of Trustees, William Gooding, if I wished. Gooding had been the original chief engineer of the canal during its construction. He was now the secretary and assistant treasurer to the Board of Trustees, in charge of money matters. (Gooding served on the canal board until 1871, after which he worked as an engineer for the city of Chicago.) I knew who Gooding was, and I said to John, "Yes, I would like to see Mr. Gooding."

 

John suggested that I go inside and introduce myself to Gooding as an acquaintance of his. He apologized for not going in with me, but he explained that it was already late in the day, and it would be dark by the time that he and Elizabeth returned from their long trip to Joliet. So, they had to be on their way. I thanked him and tipped my Cardinals cap to his wife. She looked at me like I was the weirdest sight she had ever seen in her life. I’m sure that I was!

 

Wow, here I was in front of the I&M Canal headquarters in 1850. This was almost impossible to comprehend! Behind the familiar wooden building, I could see the busy activity on the canal itself. Flatboats getting towed by mules, which were guided along the towpath by young men. Workers loading and unloading goods, including food, farming supplies, and coal, onto and off of the freight boats. Passengers riding the packet boats. This was the canal in its heyday—just a few years before the railroads came and took away most of the canal's passenger business, though it would continue transporting goods for the rest of the century.

 

I removed my silly red hat and knocked on the door. (This was the back door in this time, though it would be the front door in my time.) The man who answered was Gooding himself. With that long ZZ-Top beard and looking to be about 50 years old (he was born in 1803), he was hard not to recognize. He looked exactly like the photos I had seen. I said, '”Mr. Gooding?” and he responded, “Yes, sir. How may I help you?” I told him that I was a writer who was interested in the canal, and I would be grateful if he could briefly talk with me. He welcomed me inside, but he said that he was very busy and did not have much time to spare.

 

gooding

 

As I stepped inside the building, I was overwhelmed by the odd feeling that I knew I was here before, but, technically, I would not be here until about a century-and-a-half in the future. What a weird feeling! The interior was recognizable to me in its basic look and layout, with familiar-looking walls, windows, floors, and rooms. I especially noticed that distinctive curve in the wall to the right. But I was struck by the newness of everything. This was a 13-year-old building—not the 180-year-old building I was used to. And there were no electric lights, no computers, no toilet, no air conditioning or fans. It was hot and stuffy inside, and the partly opened windows let in the sounds of the workers, animals, and boats outside by the canal.

 

Gooding led me into his office, which I was surprised to see was not the same room used as an office by the historical society's director in my time. I suppose I should not have been surprised by that, but it was a fact that I had not known. The room had a wooden desk with numerous papers on it, as well as a couple wooden chairs. There were also two candles in metal holders on top of a small table, but they were unlit, as the sunlight shone through the window. I sat down, and Gooding and I chatted for about five minutes. He was telling me about the "busy, thriving business" of the canal, when our chat was interrupted by two men with Irish accents who came into the office. They said, with urgency in their voices, that they needed to talk to Gooding “about payments.” Apparently, they were some kind of canal workers, and they wanted to get paid. The men were dirty and raggedy looking, compared with the polished and impeccably dressed Gooding. I knew from reading old documents in the museum’s archives that timely payments were a frequent problem in these days. I concluded that I had better leave and let these men discuss their problems with the big boss.

 

I stood up, shook Gooding’s hand, and thanked him for his time. Then I went outside by the front door to watch the frenetic activity by the canal for a while. The canal was much wider than it would be in my time, when it was just an unused remnant, a narrow old ditch. The trail where I would later walk my dog and ride my bike was submerged under water as I looked at the scene before me. The Gaylord Building, the same yellow limestone building occupied by a popular restaurant and an art gallery in my time, was being used here for its original purpose as a warehouse. However, the canal itself stopped using it a couple years before, when canal construction ended, and it was now being used by a grain firm. There must have been about 30 people working on various tasks outside. This was indeed a beehive of activity of boat, canal, and warehouse workers. Another highly noticeable aspect of my surroundings was the strong stench, from the waste of the mules and horses as well as the human waste in the outhouses.

 

Damn it, I wished I had my camera to take some photos of this historic scene! But I had forgotten it in my excitement. The photos, I was certain, would have provided useful insights for historians.

 

I enjoyed being an eye-witness to this historic activity, but I also felt fortunate that I did not have to live and work here. I had often wished I could go back in time, but now that I was actually here, in the mid-nineteenth century, I was glad that I didn’t have to live here. It all seemed much too rough and hard and dirty! I probably would not be able to handle it, having spent much of my life sitting on my butt by a computer inside a comfortable house or office. These were very hardy men. I felt exhausted just watching them. It suddenly occurred to me that I still had to walk the two miles back to my time machine—uphill—to get back to my own time. So, I turned around and started the walk.

 

Then the thought occurred to me that I should take a souvenir back with me—something to prove to people in my own time, 2019, that I was really here, in 1850. But what would that be? In my time, the history museum—the canal headquarters that was right here—had numerous historic documents, workers’ tools, office equipment, and other items from the canal’s heyday. Anything I brought back through time could easily be dismissed as simply a piece from the museum’s collection. But then again, the item I brought back would look brand new, it wouldn’t show the signs of a century-and-a-half of aging and decay, like the old things in the museum.

 

How about some fresh new paper documents? They would look brand new here in 1850, unlike the yellowed, faded, fragile documents stored in the museum’s vault. They would work nicely as evidence for my time travel. I walked back into the headquarters. I saw that Gooding was still busy with those men, and no one was paying attention to me. I noticed a brown leather pouch with some papers inside lying on top of a wooden table. I didn’t know what the papers were. I quickly grabbed the pouch, turned around, and speedily walked out the door. I continued to move fast as I walked away from the building, down the side of the narrow road, on the way back to my time machine. The road was empty and quiet, with nobody to watch me. I was glad that no one knew I was a thief!

 

I slowed down after a couple blocks, assuming a normal pace. I walked the rest of the way down the roads to the forest over the next half hour. I passed by a few folks, most of whom stared at me with quizzical looks on their faces. Some looked frightened. I said “hello,” but none of them responded. I felt increasingly out of place, though out of time would be more accurate. I also felt guilty about stealing those documents. And I felt physically exhausted from my long walk. I just wanted to get back into my machine and travel back to my own time.

 

I knew I was close to my destination when I passed the white house on Thornton and Madison. I certainly hoped that my machine would work just as well going forward in time as it did going back in time! The road ended, and I found my way through the woods to the place where I believed I started—the spot where my house and garage would stand in about 130 years. When I confirmed that there was no one around but me, I took the fob device out of my pocket and deactivated the cloaking mechanism. The machine became visible about 20 feet to my left. I unlocked it and walked inside, placing the leather pouch in the closet. I strapped myself into the seat and set the destination time and place to “Return,” a setting designed to automatically take the operator back to the exact time and place from which he left. I activated the machine—and off I went, experiencing the same kind of physical, visual, and auditory sensations as before. The generator above started spinning…

 

 

Back in 2019

 

After the vibrations, clanging noises, and flashing psychedelic lights stopped, I looked at the screen, which displayed “August 20, 2019” as the time and “Lockport, Illinois” as the place. I turned on the outside cameras, and images of the interior of my garage appeared on the screen. I was home.

 

I stepped out of the machine, and then out of my garage. I looked around at my driveway and house, my neighbors’ houses, the lawns, the street, the cars. My mind was boggled by the fact that I had just been here—at this exact same place—but 169 years in the past, when all of this was wild and forested, with only some dirt roads and a few nearby houses.

 

Wow, I really did it! I really travelled through time! I couldn’t wait to tell people about it. I especially wanted to tell the director of the history museum, and I wanted to surprise her by showing her those just-like-brand-new documents from 1850. That would have to wait until tomorrow, because it was rather late and I was too tired. In the meantime, I could look them over to see what exactly I had.

 

After I was inside my house, I took the papers out of the leather pouch and laid them on my kitchen table. Trying to read the old-fashioned handwriting, with its stylistic flourishes, was difficult. I had done some of that in my volunteer work. But it was much easier making out the words on these crisp new papers with the fresh dark ink, compared with the brittle old faded paper I was used to. I could see that most of the papers were related to fines imposed against boat captains for violating operating rules and regulations. Many of the captains seemed to be appealing to the commissioner for forgiveness of the fines. I guessed that Gooding had grouped all of these papers together in the pouch for his later consideration. But because I stole the pouch, he never got the chance to consider the captains’ appeals. I wonder what ever happened with them?

 

The next day, I drove to the museum. I excitedly told Sandy, the director, about my trip to the past—to this building in 1850—and my meeting with Gooding. She literally laughed out loud. Then she asked me why I was making up such a silly story. I insisted that it was true. Still laughing, she said, “Oh yeah? I assume you took your phone with to take pictures. Let’s see them.” When I responded that I had forgotten the camera, she said, “Of course.” She obviously did not believe me.

 

I said, “I don’t have any pictures. But look at what I do have.” That’s when I showed her the leather pouch with the papers, telling her that I had stolen the pouch and papers from Gooding’s office. I handed the pouch to her, and she pulled out the documents. I could tell that she immediately recognized them as authentic. She gasped and then exclaimed, “Whaaa?”

 

As she flipped through the papers, she asked, “Where did you get these? They look so real!” She was puzzled about where I was able to get apparently authentic canal papers from 1850 that looked like they were brand new. I insisted that the papers were real documents directly from Gooding’s office. She didn’t respond, but kept looking through the papers. Then she shouted, “Hey, I know this letter! I’ve seen this in our vault here at the museum.”

 

I looked over her shoulder at the paper she was holding. It was one of the letters I had read last night at home. It was a letter written to the canal office on August 12, 1850, by a boat captain named “A. Williams,” about a fine that he said he improperly received for allegedly violating a rule about unloading cargo. He requested a refund from Gooding. Sandy said, “Yeah, I recognize this letter!”

 

Well, that confused me! If I stole these papers from the canal office in 1850, they should have been removed from history’s timeline. Didn’t my little theft change history in some little way, by eliminating these documents from this building—until I brought them back? That’s what I assumed would be the case. According to my understanding of previously hypothetical-only time travel, the moment that I removed those papers from Gooding’s office, I altered the timeline of history. Thus, Gooding would have never seen the papers in 1850, and they would no longer exist in the museum’s storage vault in 2019—not until I brought them there today. That’s what I had assumed. That's what made sense to me. But was that not the way it worked?

 

Sandy went into the vault, to a cardboard box labeled with the identification letter code “I.” She rummaged through the old yellowed papers in the box until she found one marked with a small ID number, “I-80-59.” She pulled it out and said, “Yes. This is it!” I looked at it. It indeed appeared to be the same letter from Williams asking for a refund from Gooding. But, of course, it was yellow, fragile, and faded, unlike the crisp white dark-ink paper that I had brought back. Then Sandy pulled out another paper from the box, numbered “I-80-60.” That document showed that Gooding approved the refund to Williams. It was dated August 21, 1850—the day after I removed the papers from Gooding’s office. He never would have been able to approve the refund if he didn’t have the letter requesting the refund—the letter that I thought I had stolen.

 

Apparently, I did not remove the papers from the timeline of history. There were now both an old version of the letter and a new version of the exact same letter. How could that be? The only explanation was that there had to simultaneously be more than one active timeline of history. There had to exist simultaneous alternate timelines of history, in which different events play out. Thus, there had to be multiple dimensions of time and place, with multiple worlds, populated by multiple alternate versions of people who go through their lives experiencing multiple alternate events.

 

That was the only rational explanation. My little experiment in time travel had the unexpected result of proving that there are simultaneous alternate timelines, worlds, and universes. So, when I used my time machine, I was moving into an alternate dimension and universe as well as moving through time.

 

I wanted to explain this profound discovery to Sandy. But before I could, she carried the old letter from the vault into her office and held it next to the new letter that I had carried through time. She held in her hands two items that, in the natural order of things, should never have been in the same place at the same time. It was unnatural. It violated the normal laws of physics. They were two identical items from two different dimensions, and each should have naturally stayed in its own dimension forever. Although appearing identical, the fact that they came from different dimensions implied that they had to be different in some fundamental way—some fundamental characteristic of matter.

 

As I watched Sandy hold the letters in front of her and move them together, the thought suddenly occurred to me: what if two alternate dimensions can exist independently, but they cannot directly meet—as in an item from one dimension physically touching its counterpart from the other dimension? What if these two letters are somewhat like the concept of matter and antimatter? When matter and antimatter make contact—through some unnatural happening—the theoretical result is a massive explosion that might annihilate everything, including the whole world…

 

Sandy touched the two letters together.

 

explosion

 

 

Life ends, life goes on

 

That was the last thing I saw in my life. As soon as the letters touched, the sudden explosion annihilated all matter not only on Earth, but also throughout the solar system. The sun and all the planets ceased to exist. Everything was instantaneously wiped out. In place of all the matter that used to occupy this part of the galaxy, a black hole developed. That was the end of me, as well as the end of everything else that had once existed from the sun to Pluto.

 

Of course, that annihilation happened only in one timeline, only in one dimension, only in one universe. In countless other timelines, dimensions, and universes, I continue to exist, the history museum continues to operate, and Earth continues to spin on its axis and orbit around the sun.

 

And in some of those other timelines, dimensions, and universes, I am continuing my travels in my time machine to many other destinations. Those versions of me don’t know about my profound discovery—or how that discovery led to my death.