Love of Time

[WP]Time travel has been achieved, but it’s a one way trip backwards. The Time Research Bureau solved the problem by burying their pods in the few historically suitable places in the world and taking the long way home. What wasn’t planned was the amount of scientists; and worst: TIME TOURISM. from WritingPrompts

“April 7th, 3024 please,” David Spellman smiled at the cashier and placed a black credit card on the counter. She smiled back but shook her head.

“I’m sorry, Sir. 2020 through 3025 are blacked out. Would you be interested in something earlier?” the woman said. David knew about the blackout, but he hoped to convince her.

“Please ma’am. Is there any way to work around it? I just need to see her again. I’ll pay anything.” David leaned forward and pleaded with his coffee brown eyes. He knew the blackouts were policies instituted by the Time Research Bureau. They could be worked around with the right person’s help.

“Her who?” she asked. David gauged the cashier and reached into his right pocket. He prepared several options but hoped that he read her right. He showed her a picture of a beautiful young woman with short brown hair that matched the clerk’s hairstyle.

“My fiancée,” the woman looked at the picture and her eyes softened. “Well, back then, she was my fiancée.. today she would have been my wife. We planned to take this trip together…”

“You wouldn’t be able to talk to her you know?” She pulled a thin obsidian bracelet from under the counter and showed it to him. “Everyone is required to wear these. They basically make you intangible so you can’t disturb anything,” she said with an apologetic voice. David nodded his head.

“I know. Like I said, I just need to see her again. Please.” The woman bit her lip and looked around the timeport. There were only a handful of tourists at the moment, it was the off-season. Luckily they were all being tended to by other clerks. She leaned forward over the counter and lowered her voice to a whisper.

“I can’t send you to any of the blacked out dates, but…” She glanced around again. “…I can arrange it so that your pod accidentally opens a couple of years early on the way back,” she said, then winked at him. David nodded eagerly.

“Yes! Please, anything.” She gave a nod and her fingers started dancing across the keyboard while she stared at a computer monitor. After typing for a few moments she reached under the counter and pulled out two obsidian bracelets.

“Hand please,” she said. David extended his left arm over the table and she fit the bracelet around his wrist. “Pay attention,” she said. The woman picked up a gun-looking device from a slot on the desk and pointed it at the bracelet. She pulled the trigger and a beam of red light struck the bracelet. It came to life glowing with red numbers that read “4-7-2019”. Her thumb touched a switch on the side and she fired it again. This time a blue beam struck the bracelet, and blue numbers appeared. “4-7-3024”.  “That’s your when your pod will open.” She holstered the gun in its slot, then typed more on the computer. When she finished typing she grabbed the gun again and placed it in a barf bag along with the second black bracelet.

“Your bracelet automatically unlocks when your pod opens. Promise me you’ll put this one on immediately, before you go see her,” she held the bag back until he promised.

“I promise,” David nodded and smiled at her. She pulled another gun from the counter and pointed it at the credit card. “Also, I’m charging you two tickets,” she grinned then put the second gun in the charging slot in the counter.

“Thank you so much!” he said.

“Okay, you’re all set. Do you need any prep time?” David shook his head.

“I’m ready to go now.”

“Great, just walk through that door,” she pointed behind her. ” and let the pod scan the bracelet on your wrist. Good luck!” she smiled.

“Thanks again, you’re really doing a great thing here,” David said and headed through the door.

The single person pod looked like a clear horizontal tube with padding on the bottom. He climbed in and pressed a bright green button. He relaxed as clear glass doors closed above him.

“Welcome to the TRB personal transport. For your safety-,” a male voice began to speak.

“Skip,” David said.

“Please insert your hand into the slot,” it said. David complied and the clear glass shifted to dark obsidian. A mild orange glow appeared at his feet to give him some light in the darkness.

“3. 2.” the voice counted down. “1. Welcome to April 7th, 2019.” The glass went clear again, and the doors began to open. “Please remove your hand.” David pulled his hand out with the black bangle still around his wrist. He immediately pushed it back into the slot.

“Begin return trip?” the pod asked.

“Yes,” David agreed. The glass shifted to black and the orange light came on again.

“3. 2. 1. Welcome home. April 7th 3024. We hope you enjoy-“

“Skip.” The doors shifted to clear again and began to open.

“Please remove your hand.” He pulled his hand out of the slot without the bracelet. He left the barf bag in the pod and climbed out. He looked around. Hundreds, maybe thousands of black pods lined the walls of what looked like a giant warehouse.

“Damn tourists,” he grumbled and looked for the exit. It took some time, but he found the exit. The warehouse was built underground and he needed to climb a lot of stairs to reach the surface. The entrance was a large iron door that was barred from the inside, with no other security. He chuckled to himself as he removed the heavy bar. “T.R.B cocky as ever,” he opened the door and walked out.

He was pleasantly surprised to find himself close to town. After an hour’s walk, he was exactly where he wanted to be. His fiancée sat on a park bench talking to his younger self, this was the day he proposed. David watch himself talk with her for several minutes until his younger version stood from the bench. He walked away towards the restroom, and David followed.

He walked into the restroom and found his younger self at the sink spramping his face with water. Young David happened to glance in the mirror and saw his older self. He turned with a look of confusion and joy.

“It works!?” he shouted. “I did it!” Older David nodded.

“And you’re gonna undo it,” Older David said. He took a step towards his younger self, and in the same motion pulled a knife from his pocket. He jammed the knife into the throat of his younger self and twisted it to the side for good measure.

Young David fell to the floor trying to pull the knife out, but he stopped struggling before he could. Older, wiser David disappeared knowing he did the right thing. If there were no time travel there wouldn’t be a tourist industry for it.

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