The Shortest Time-Travel Story Ever
"Time travel," said Dr. Branaugh, "is perhaps the most controvercial of all scientific fields. For centuries, scientists and laymen alike have speculated and theorized about this moment, questioning even the possibility that man can manipulate time." Looking straight into the lens of the video camera, he roughly removed his glasses, making himself look spectacularly intelligent although rendering himself practically blind. "This debate will end now. Or, rather, it will have ended five minutes ago, when I have completed the very first trip through time." He bobbed his head, signalling his assistant to stop filming for the moment.
"Excellent speech, Doctor," the buxom young assistant breathed.
"Thank you, Miss Thompson," Dr. Branaugh replied. He managed to replace his glasses without stabbing himself in the eye, then stepped down from the podium and walked to the egglike pod that formed the functioning part of his time machine.
"Roll tape, Miss Thompson," he ordered, stepping into the pod. Miss Thompson hesitated.
"Yes, Miss Thompson?"
Miss Thompson rubbed the back of her slender neck with one manicured hand, trying to straighten something within her brain. "Something about this experiment troubles me. If you do successfully travel back in time five minutes, why did your future self not appear in this laboratory four-and-a-half minutes ago?"
Dr. Branaugh stared at her blankly for a minute, then laughed. "Well, I haven't made the journey yet, now, have I?" Miss Thompson did not share his cavalier attitude. "Oh, don't worry your pretty little head about it. Now roll tape and activate the machine."
Miss Thompson trained the camera on the pod's single round window and pressed a large red button, activating the pre-programmed sequence that would send the contents of the pod (namely, Dr. Branaugh) five minutes back in time. The current Dr. Branaugh, whom we know and love, suddenly occupied the same space as the Dr. Branaugh of a split second's past. This violation of the laws of physics caused the fabric of the universe to tear, and reality ceased to exist.
Why are you giving me that look?