This writing was for the Front Lobby Bench, whose July topic was:
We're Alone.It is just an outline of a story, but there's still answers in there.
It's the future (however distant or close is your choice). We humans have mapped the heavens, have found thousands upon thousands of extra-solar planets, identified the composition of them all with advanced technology, and turned all sorts of listening devices spanning the frequencies to the Earth-like ones for decades. And what have we found? Nothing. Not one peep. No signals, messages, pictures, accidental broadcasts, voices, or any sort of non-astronomical sounds. The final analysis? All of science is agreed. We're alone.
Earth is the only planet on which intelligent life has arisen. What does that mean for us humans? How do we react? How does this impact our advancement as a race, if at all? Where do we turn our technological efforts now?
Yes, the future. Far enough that there are viable means of space travel between solar systems, if not galaxies. I've not yet decided if the mode if space travel is linear, as in actual physical travel through space at high speeds, or some other method like folding space or extra dimensional.
Humanity hasn't changed too much since the announcement of no extra-terrestrial life. Withing the first couple decades after the announcement there was a noticeable though small surge in religion, especially those that proclaim humans as the ultimate creation of God or as the last step before spiritual enlightenment. Surprisingly it was the entertainment industry that took the biggest hit, as interest in alien stories and movies rapidly declined. But Hollywood and its counterparts are not to be kept down, and adapted to other drama sources for their stories. Science itself was pulled down at first, as dispelling the theory of life having evolved on other planets caused a widespread questioning of other generally accepted scientific principles, but it quickly adapted. Now scientists make sure they have evidence in support of a hypothesis before it is called theory, and lack of proof the hypothesis is wrong does not make it right enough to be acceptable. Advancements have been made in medicine, transportation, communications, convenience appliances, and of course weaponry. Still, overall the day to day life of people didn't change much. People still work to earn money, still go to school, still meet and marry and perhaps divorce, still try to find the meaning of life, and still go hungry or go to war.
This story focuses on the day one hundred years after the announcement, chosen specifically by the head scientist for its symbolism. Today is the day he launches a supposedly working prototype time vessel. Time machines have been made, travel to the future was achieved a whole lot easier than to the past since that's the way humans naturally progress through time. But the only kind that can send things to the past have been limited to data packets: information, messages, things that can be reduced to being transmitted via light or wave particles. And even those can only transmit back as far as when the machine accepting the arrival of the data was first created. It seems the idea of only being able to travel to a time in which whatever is traveling has already existed has won out over the idea of not being able to exist more than once at the same point in time.
Now this scientist believes he has a working machine that can transport a living being to the past using the powerful light and energy fields generated by stars, using the same technique current time machines use to send light to the past, and much in the same way except also shielding living matter from the strain of the journey. And since any given star, such as Earth's Sun, can be billions of years old it means a person could potentially travel billions of years back in time!
What could be done with this advancement in technology if it works? The possibilities are numerous. But our scientist has a special task in mind. After the initial test jump of one day to the past proving successful he intends to take genetic material with him, such as proteins and amino acids and whatnot, along with a lifetime of interstellar data he has amassed, back to the far past. Then he will travel the Milky Way galaxy to seed planets of the correct composition and state to allow for evolution like occurred on Earth. His desire a two-fold achievement: 1) prove evolution, 2) allow for the development of extra-terrestrial life in the same time frame as life on Earth, so that we're not alone.
The only hiccup in his plan, from his point of view, is when one of his assistants piece together what he's intending to do. The assistant has major concerns over the plan, and tries to convince the scientist to not go through with the plan. Firstly, no one knows how actions in the past might affect what is known to be the time line. If he succeeds - in creating other life elsewhere - he would change at least the past hundred years, possibly for the worst. Can time even change, or would the scientist be destroyed in the attempt? Or what if creating a temporal causality loop would unmake all of creation? If God exists, that would possibly bring in a whole other set of issues.
The assistant is not willing to take any of those risks, and definitely not willing to let the scientist do so either. The assistant tries to enlist help from the other assistants in stopping the scientist. Sabotage is decided on, though they know that will only delay the scientist. Ideally they would want to replace the scientist as the test subject, but getting a volunteer and one that is trusted to not attempt anything in the past, is hard. Some sort of government intervention or the creation of a group to oversee the ethics of time travel, if they - ironically - have the time to get such things established. The original assistant secretly considers murder as a last option.
Labels: FLB, Story Idea