Deimos' Moonbase: Ancient Archives

I'm sure you've had the discussion with your friends: "If time travel is possible, there could be people from the future visiting the past right now, right?" You've seen your fair share of time travel fiction, right? Don't mess with time travel, grandfather paradox, butterfly effect, inconsistent with itself, yadda yadda yadda. Honestly you're better off with that depiction of time travel, because at least there, it's your problem. Oh how I wish it was like that.

What do I mean by this? Well it's because we aren't alone in the Universe. We have extraterrestrials, entities from other dimensions, gods, angels, demons, so many other things that make us seem tiny and insignificant, and personally I think it's best we stay that way. You wanna know why you've never met a time traveler? Because they never make it back.

Out there in the Universe are Xarapods. They're not that ugly, they smell like bad cinnamon, and they are more persistent than your clingy ex-girlfriend. Their entire purpose of existence is to feed on time travelers. Well, not the time travelers themselves, but the flesh and blood is a side dish.

See, when an object travels through time, they generate a kind of temporal radiation. This radiation works as a shield delaying you from the oncoming tide of causality, which means that if you kill your grandfather prior to the conception of your parent, you won't get erased instantly because the radiation keeps you desynchronized from the flow of time. The farther you travel, the more you have of it, and the easier it is for Xarapods to sniff you out. Death is not the only fate of the victim of a Xarapod, but utter cosmic oblivion. Prey is not only killed, but the entirety of their existence is erased from the annals of time. All evidence of their existence disappears, except in memory.

The name "Timothus De Mornay" means nothing to everyone. Everyone but me. Because only I know of him. His childhood, his interests, his loves, his fears, his achievements and his failures. However my assorted knowledge of who he was is limited. I only wish I was his biographer, but perhaps an excess of details would lead skeptics to suggest that I conjured him out of thin air.

I met him only five years ago at a university lecture. He was giving a talk on time.

I closed my eyes. The sounds painted an amorphous vision of horror through my eyelids. I didn't know a man could scream like that. And that unearthly howling, a maelstrom to my ears so violent it had thrown me from the conscious world.

I was found the next day by the first class. They said they found me a statue, frozen in a state of grotesque. It wasn't until they splashed me with water that I came to. I asked the tutor of Professor De Mornay. He said he had never heard of that name before.

I ran to the closest computer I could find and searched across the internet for his name. His website, citations of his work, all gone. The first few results only dug up different Timothys and De Mornays. None even close to the man I saw yesterday. I saw the bookstore where yesterday Argent Time was on display. All the books were gone. Timothy De Mornay had been erased from history. The revelation assaulted me physically. I felt sick, my head rumbled and stomach churned. I fell to my knees as I approached the edge of sanity.

As I crumpled at the window of the bookstore, I felt it in my pocket. I had a copy of his book. The only physical legacy of his existence in the universe. Did he slip it in there when he pushed me in the closet? I cannot say. I pored through the pages furiously, finding all the text intact. All his theories and calculations sustained on ink and paper. From the biographical brief I decided to find his family and learn how they were affected.

I met the elderly Mrs. De Mornay that weekend. Although we only met at her door, there was nothing about her expression that indicated distress or worry of any kind. No, this woman looked serene as if happiness had her companion for many years. I asked her where her son was. She quickly replied, "I've never had one." With that answer, I wondered if she was happier now than when she had a son. At this point it was impossible to tell. I thanked the old lady for her time, turned around, and walked away brooding.

Utter cosmic oblivion. That was the Professor's fate. Death, by comparison, seemed preferable.

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