The Time To Change
There was once a man, a friendly man. A genius.
As he grew everyone knew he would do something great with his life, it was undoubted. An unsaid understanding by all who met him. He was tall and handsome, athletic. He got along with others, always full of compassion and sympathy. A natural born leader, always ready to lend a helping hand and seemed to know just the right words. A genius.
Straight out of highschool he joined the army, gaining experience and getting out five years later. Coming home after his last deployment everyone saw a differnce. Just little differences though, twitch of the finger here, quick head movement there. Sure, he was bigger and in better shape than ever before and he was even smoother with his words than he was when he left. But there was something off about him, something that made those around him uneasy. Most were able to wave it aside, and some knew on their own how he came across this feeling. The veterns in the town saw what he was and, understandably, in the short time he was home he spent most of his time around them rather than his friends.
"You seem, well, uneasy, son," His father said opening the fridge and grunting as he dug around before pulling out orange juice. The man, Josh, gave a perfectly relaxing grin and smoothly stood, his right thumb quickly touching all of the tips of his fingers. Back and forth, forefinger-middlefinger-ringfinger-pinky-ringfinger-middlefinger-forefinger-middlefinger...
"It's nothing, just strange being back," It felt believable and neither could put their finger on its strangeness. His dad poured himself a cup of juice.
"The war mess you up?" Josh continued to rub the tips of his fingers, holding his hands at his sides.
"Dad, I'm out of there, kay? No point in dwelling on the past," He walked over and slipped the jug from his father's hands and got himself a cup.
He left several days later and moved further West, went to college with his GI Bill and went into the field of science. He went deeper and deeper, years of study as he went into the impossible realm of quantum physics. The place where physics and Newton's Laws are jokes.
By forty two he'd become a self-made scientist, programming and inventing technological masterpieces. He was a millioniare, jumping from project to project with his own team, doing whatever he felt the whim of doing when he woke up that morning. He hired the best of the best, only those that were tried and tested by the elements of time through the field of science. Disproving numerous theories and lawsets in his time in the field. His only rule was he would not be hired by any government to do research, because governents gave research to armies and armies used research to wage war.
All trivial things to his ultimate design. He had gotten up that morning, preciesly 3:42 AM, something having clicked in a dream. In his excitement he woke himself up and ran downstairs into his lab, jotting down everything he could remember from his dream into the little green book he kept next to his bed. In his lab he picked up his phone and called all of his researchers to his house, all gathered there within an hour.
That day half of his team walked away from all the money, thinking he had finally gone mad. Some chcked his math and said it was sound, but the others would not believe him and left. Perhaps by the end it can be decided whether they made a wise decision or not.
The next year and three months the rest of the team and some more hirlings worked day in and day out on his dream. Added and subtracted, welded and smelted.
On December 7th, 2056, he finished and beheld his creation. A twelve foot by twenty foot box full of the most high-tech computers, research, and wiring mankind has ever seen. His team's reaction were much like the ones of Oppenheimer and his men when they saw the first nuclear bomb. Full of excitement and joy quickly followed and consumed by fear and a deep sickness. See, they made a machine that will make this recounting cheesy and lose merit in your mind because it is likely it has never been done before or will ever be done again. But this machine was one that was built to traverse the lengths of time as a spider does its own web.
Josh and his team did not eat or sleep for a week as they checked and rechecked the readings and math, making sure absolutely nothing was done wrong. They were sure that if they had not already they were about to break more than a few laws; but that was the least of their concerns. It was not until the 16th that Josh finally stepped forward, wearing his labcoat over his jeans and a soft cotton T-shirt that reads "Sleeping Do Not Disturb".
"It's time to test it," He said, shouldering a small bag. His team tried to talk to him, talk him away from it, threatening to destroy the machine or sabatoge it in some way if he tried but all knew they were empty threats. Within the hour he was sitting in the leather Mustang chair they installed inside and strapping himself in. Once again he's rubbing the tips of his fingers, counting with each tap. 1-2-3-4-3-2-1-1-2-3-4-3-2-
After activation and a very specific location, time, and date that he logged himself, there was a loud crack and a hiss followed by a pop and some yelling.
He found that the machine was scary quiet, but on a good note he realized he wasn't dead. He resisted the urge to begin taking notes in his little green book like a good scientist and hesitantly stepped out of his machine. He's inside a cement room, clothing folded to his right on metal shelves. He shoulders his bag and pulls out a pistol, then walks into the main room where a man and a woman stand together talking in hurried tones.
"Adolf, come with me," Josh says in perfect German, raising his pistol. "Give your pistol to the girl," Adolf stops and looks at him with alarm, he reaches for his pistol but his wife grabs his elbow. He looks ready to slap her but she yanks the pistol from him and hugs it to her chest, stepping back against the closest cement wall. Josh steps forward and swiftly spins Adolf around and zipties his wrists together before dragging him back to his machine.
"What do you want?" Adolf asks with a bark, he's clearly uneasy and upset. Josh crosses his fingers, his heart racing, as he activates the machine again and after another hiss and more popping he opens the door to a large city, skyscrapers towerig hundreds of stories into the sky. They themselves sit utop one of these. Upon a lot of the buildings are gardens and trees to allow for easy scenery. The sun is rising giving everything an orange glow. Josh pushes Adolf onto the roof and pushes him against a tree.
"What do you want?" He barks again, "I could have you killed!"
"Look," Josh says with appreciation toward the city below him. His eyes water at all the lives lost over the course of human history and how past that they can still achieve such marvels as what he's looking at now.
"Where have you brought me?" Adolf asks after a second. He's relaxed, but there's a new fear in his eyes. A fear of not understanding the events that have happened over the past couple of minutes.
"I brought you one hundred and eleven years into the future buddy," Josh replies looking Adolf in the eye. The anger is clear on Josh's face, the fist grasped tightly around his pistol as he itches to shoot him where he stands. To bring out all of his anger, anger and sadness. Anger and sadness because nothing has changed.
He brought him to the future, his future, and yet, looking out over his city, nothing has changed from when he left it. His machine works, he can go forward and backward in time and yet, he cannot change anything.
As he stands there and looks into Adolf's eyes, Adolf Hitler, the man who murdered millions in cold blood, he questions the point of life. He questions why he has worked so hard to push humanity this far when there will always be douchebags like him who will make humanity take three steps back after he pushed them two forward. He lifts the pistol to Adolf's nose and holds it still.
"A soldier, no?" Josh stands silent, tears brimming his eyes. So much for so little. A waste of his life, a waste of his time coming back to change things. Perhaps the adrenaline caused him a few mistaks, but he pushes that doubt aside because he was a soldier, he was trained to live off adrenaline, no way he made too terrible a mistake. It has to be the universe. It's not his mistakes, something, something out there screwed him over. It has to be it, it has to be. "American? You sound American," Adolf says, raising his chin slightly, looking Josh in the eyes. Together they stand there and look into each other, understand each other, and forget each other.
"War has formed you, as it formed me."
"No!" Josh yells suddenly, his anger on the verge of bursting. "I am a fucking genius, you're a pshychopathic murderer!" The finger is around his trigger. Or is it his finger around the trigger?
"We are doing what we see is best, and you believe killing me will change the past. But clearly this is not true," Adolf says nodding his head to the city. "I am at peace with death now, thanks to you, sir." He gives Josh a sick smile.
The gun explodes and Adolf lands on the roof dead.
Josh, emptily, drags Adolf back into the machine and goes back to the bunker. His stomach is sick, his body hurts and aches. He can't seem to get enough air. He counts. He keeps counting. He drags Adolf into the bunker and lies him next to his wife, two bodies with holes through their heads. He drops the pistol in Adolf's lap and gets back in the machine and punches the wall. He punches it again and again. Over and over and over until he hears a snap and feels himself smack into it, his right wrist is swollen and purple. He activates the machine and plots back into his lab, just a second after he left, and hears the familiar pop before he's back in his lab. He steps out into a tangle of wires and burning technology. Corpses scatter his lab and the smell of burning flesh assualts his nose. The power is out. He quickly realizes the originial power outburst required to power the machine blew the circuits and- He simply walks to the machine and plots in a random date. Random time, random location and hits send, not even closing the door.