"Scientist Unravels the Mystery of Time Travel. First Trip, This Weekend!” read the headline. People were crowding into the streets like it was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Millions were watching the event on television while droves of preppers fearing the apocalypse ravaged stores.
Dr. Marian McBride stepped to the microphone. “For as long as I can remember, humankind has dreamt of traveling through time. Ancient Hindu myths speak of it. In the late 1800s, H.G. Wells popularized the concept of a time machine in his readers' minds. Whether it’s traveling into the past, undoing the evil deeds of history, or peering into the future to glimpse what awaits us, the allure of time travel holds us captive.”
Pausing for effect, she continued, “The Odyssey, this blue orb behind me, is the magnum opus of my life’s work, built on the shoulders of great thinkers like Newton, Gödel, Einstein, Plank, Schrödinger, Bohr, Feynman, and many others. It is the quintessential time machine. It will bend the space-time continuum forming a wormhole between its present location and the desired destination, specified by time and spatial coordinates. I will walk through the wormhole into the future using the orb as my gateway.”
“To when will your maiden voyage be?” was the prepared question of the television anchor.
“I’ve set the target date to just beyond my reasonable lifespan. I do not wish to create any temporal paradoxes or causal loops by running into myself.” A mixture of hushed laughter and gasps came from the masses.
The anchorman delivered his next prepared inquiry, “Will we be able to track you or communicate with you on your journey?”
“Yes. The wormhole remains open during the trip allowing a small wireless signal to pass between this headset and the orb.” She pointed to a thin wire attached to her forehead, receding into her hairline. “It will also allow me to speak with my family while in the future,” motioning to her husband and three young children on stage behind her.
After hugs and kisses with loved ones and firmly shaking several colleagues' hands, Dr. McBride stepped into the Odyssey. The blue ball came to life glowing and humming. Emitting a flash of bright light, it exploded, and Marian was gone.
* * *
It was dark — pitch black. Marian couldn’t see anything. She checked her watch. The date was correct. “I did it. I’m in the future.”
“Can anyone hear me? Michael? Kids? Control, are you there?” Silence.
She was no longer standing but lying down. Every effort to move found a wall in very close proximity. The walls were soft, like fabric. She was able to reach the small flashlight from her belt and clicked it on. Light blue fabric. It was strange, like a….
Marian began to panic. She quickly surveyed the confined space. Then she saw it. A small plaque riveted onto one of the padded walls.
In loving memory — Marian McBride, Ph.D.
Time Travel Paradox
She was in the future