The trouble with time travel.

Nobody likes a paradox.

The problem, as Raymond saw it, was that now that Julia saw the experiment work, Julia decided to not do the experiment, and wouldn’t that create some sort of causal loop that would eventually implode the universe or something?

“Not really,” Julia explained in that too-dry, detached manner of hers, that voice that underlined her boredom with having to explain her thoughts to, well, anyone. “Yes, sometime in the future, I sent the mouse back to this point in time, thus proving the machine works. Just because I now choose not to turn on the machine – effectively erasing that possible future from existence – doesn’t negate the experiment. The machine still works, and the mouse is the proof.”

“Yes, but now we have two mice.”

“A simple leftover from a now-alternate timeline.” She sighed, a little too obviously for Raymond’s taste. It’s one thing to talk annoyed, but to sigh annoyed?

“Your problem,” Julia continued, “is in wanting to think of time as binary. Yes or no. Something happened or will happen or is happening, or it didn’t or won’t or isn’t. But there’s far more to it. It’s not yes or no, it’s yes and no. Simultaneous contradiction of future and past equaling out so all that matters is the present.”

“Okay, but…” Raymond had to remove his glasses to rub his eyes. The strain of Julia’s logic was giving him a low grade headache. “What about that thing where matter cannot be created nor destroyed? If the mouse was no longer sent back, how did that matter get created?”

“Alternate future. Are you not listening?”

“So what’s to stop you from planning and then canceling the experiment five times? Ten? How about we overrun this timeline with a hundred identical mice sent from a hundred abandoned futures?”

And that’s how we ended up with eight Julias, all sighing at each other, all tired of Raymond’s questions.

copyright 2015 David Cornelius all rights reserved


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