FIRE ESCAPE First Draft updated for 4/17/18: How Time Really Works

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I had a feeling this was going to be another distraction—like this whole discovery of Jim Smart v4’s library and his hologram girlfriends kept our attention from the goal at hand, so I spoke up.  “Yeah, can we not think about whythere are so many portals around my workplace and just focus on the fact that getting Wise just got easier.”

“Getting wise is always easy for me,” KJ said.

“Kage, you know what he’s saying,” Kate said.

“Of course, you’re right.  So, what do we gotta do?”

“Well, Jacob—you know where your office is,  which of these portals is the closest to it?”

“What difference does it make when we’ve effectively got a time machine?” KJ asked.

“Word, that’s a good point,” Kate said.

“Is that two in one day?” KJ muttered.

“If we pick one Fire Escape and time to access it, and we can’t catch up with Wise, we just go back further in time but to a different portal and try again.”

“Uh, ok, no,” Jill began, quickly adding: “First off, that’s ridiculous—after two screwups, there’d be three of you all in the same space.  Second off, that’s impossible anyway as I know from personal experience that time doesn’t let you correct mistakes or even let you have do-overs.”

“What do you mean, ‘personal experience’?” KJ asked.

“I’ve tried it.  It was one of the first things I did when I realized I had what was effectively a time machine.”

“So, wait, you’re telling us we can’t change time?”

“As far as I can tell, no.  Well, only going forward.”

“What does that mean?” Kate asked.

“So, you decide you are thirsty.  Whether you choose to go get a soda now or to wait until later, that’s fine.  But if someone tries to come back in time to stop you from drinking that soda after you’ve already decided to and from the traveler’s perspective, already has c-c-consumed that soda, they won’t be able to.  Trust me, I’ve tried it.”

“Wow, that kinda sucks,” Kate said.

“Well, if you think about it, it doesn’t because you can still choose your own path knowing it’s only you that decides it.”

“Jill, what about the idea that no one has free will?  That every decision we make is based on every moment before it? And that—”

“Ah throw that out, Jake.  It’s an unprovable concept.”

“Hey, it’s not my concept.  I’m just sayin’,” I said, glancing over at KJ.

“What?” KJ said.