“Then, in December, we published a paper that discusses the violation of the second law via a device called a Maxwell’s demon.” –From the 3/13/2019 article: Physicists reverse time using quantum computer

Physicists in a lab recently proved they could reverse time using a quantum computer. Is that a first step in a device that enables time travel? Or is it a rediscovering of something from long ago… that was lost (or hidden from those who would use it for war and conquest)?

Here’s an excerpt from something in my idea book I wrote a few years ago. And the story concept remains one I’ll develop more fully in the future (no pun intended).

Dennis Lowery

DRAFT OPENING

The face was not as lined as you would think for someone his age. But those who knew him could see that his eyes, which had once flared with a crackling and dancing light, were dimming.

“What are you thinking?” she asked.

“How much I loved her,” he gripped her hand, “and how much I regret not being around to love you longer. If I only had more time.” The eyes closed as a long sigh carried words full of hurt, “How I wish she’d had… that we’d had…” 

He stopped living then.

“More time…,” she murmured.

* * *

The long table, dark polished wood that reflected circles of light from the recessed lighting in the ceiling, had a slight arc. The curved ends toward him appeared to be wings of a bird swooping down. Seven men sat facing him. Their eyes watched him, but only one mouth moved; the man in the center who had done all the talking.

“You are going to–” the man ordered but was cut off.

“No,” he had enough. Over an hour’s worth of back and forth. “I’m not. We still don’t understand some of it’s making… the madman who built its purpose. It’s unreliable, and you can’t test it on humans.”

“Your daughter believes these last adjustments make it safe.”

“She’s wrong.”

The man tapped the folder sitting in front of him with a thick index finger, the massive, ornate, ring on the middle finger next to it caught the light, “We have to test or lose our funding—this program will be shut down.”

“So, it’s about money.”

“It’s about national security and what this could mean for–”

“The world? That’s what you told me when you came offering to back my research… and asked me to study the device and if it could become operational under controlled conditions.” He looked at each of them. “What we could learn, with accuracy, about our past… and a look forward into futures and outcomes. We could then adjust, change directions, and become a better society from the knowledge.”

The man’s mouth was now a flat line, lips compressed. They parted, “We can do that, too.”

The lie was buried underneath the man’s monotone, but he knew he’d never be able to dig it out and throw in his face. “What if someone dies? What if we create distortions in the time stream that have a ripple effect?”

A sharp smile formed on the man’s face like the cracking of a tree branch over your knee to throw the pieces into a fire. The row of stars on his shoulders glinted as he shifted, a predator bunching their leg muscles to lunge. “I guess you didn’t think about those ramifications…” The general paused and leaned forward the light now showing the scar that ran from the hairline, just missing his left eye, to his jaw. “Before you took the money, you seem to despise now.”

He couldn’t respond. It was what churned his mind and stomach every sleepless night. They stood and walked out leaving him with that thought.

* * *

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