Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. All locations, states, and names of businesses are created by the author. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
The vintage-looking alarm clock rang at 8 am. Chris got up from his bed and turned it off. He looked at the calendar on the wall. It read 23 November 2019. “hmmm, it’s this Saturday. I am going on a solo bike trip to the hills. Pray for good weather.”
He took his phone from the table and search for the weather updates. It’s a windy day. The temperature ranged from 8 - 14 degrees celsius. It’s great for the outdoors, he thought. As per his usual Saturday routine, he cooked 2 sunny-side-up eggs and toasted 2 slices of bread. Seated at the dining table, he turned on the TV for Channel 7 news. He was a little surprised to find Paul not around on the sofa.
Paul Lombardo is a young physicist pursuing a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Sicara. He is 26 this year. Chris and he are housemates in a 2 bedroom apartment in the suburb of Eastland. It is about 5km to downtown Sicara where Chris works, and 3km to the University of Sicara.
The 2 of them have rather different personalities and careers but they get on fine with each other. Chris has a wide variety of interests from martial arts to gardening. He works as a risk analyst in a bank whereas Paul is keen on mainly the sciences. Chris dates like a typical man in his 20s. He is open to dating different people but stays monogamous when he is in a serious relationship. Paul seems rather asexual. He aspires to be Nicola Tesla. Relationships are too taxing to him.
At 8:15 a.m
“Good morning. I am Lilian Tong. On this beautiful Saturday, here is another episode of “Fascinating Ideas in Sicara”. Today, we have Paul Lombardo, a physicist, in our studio to talk about his ambitious idea.
“Hi Paul, I think your idea will be fascinating to everyone and I meant Everyone. Not just the scientists and geeks. Everyone on the street will be keen if this is even possible.
Can you explain your audacious idea in a minute for the man on the street?”
Paul: Well, this is not going to be easy. I’ll give it a go...
Chris: Wow, he is on TV for his science thing. How long will this episode be? He checked the program list. It is going to end at 9 am. “Nah, I am not going to watch it. I want to take a shower and go for my ride.
From the TV, Paul: “I am working towards inventing a time machine (Raucous laughter from the audience and TV guests) that is not a conventional one. It is not like those that you have seen in movies whereby you can travel to the future or the past. Mine would be one that travels in only 2 modes. Mode 1: Time travels in reverse. It goes back every single day.
Mode 2: It returns to the present, and only ONCE, just once.
Lilian: Paul, when you say in reverse, does it mean that it’s going back to the previous day. Say today is the 23rd of November 2019, when you go to bed, you will wake up to the 22nd of November 2019? Is that so?
Paul: Exactly! You understood the key concept.
Lilian: But when will it end? If it kept moving backward, you will be in prehistoric time! (Laughter from the audience). Will there ever be an end?
Paul: Wait...You have a very valid concern. What I envisioned is to code the machine that has a set of parameters i.e a time span. for example, I would code one that can only travel back to the maximum of 365 days. I can also experiment with different duration; say 30 days, 5 years, 10 years, etc.
Lilian: You have not answered my question. Will it end? How will it end?
Paul: Alright, my machine will have 2 functions as i have mentioned. 2 modes. 1st mode is to move backward. The 2nd mode is to bring the user back to the present. I will explain it simply.
I activate the machine today, 23 November 2019. It will be 22 November 2019 when I woke up the next day. The day after would be 21 November. It goes on and on until 24 November 2018. That is 1 year. At that point, the machine will not bring you to the next day. You can only choose Mode 2. Mode 2 will bring you back to the present, which is 23 November 2019.
Lilian: Hmmm..... It’s revolting and interesting. (She points to 1 of the guests of the show)
Professor Rogers, what do you think of it?
Professor Rogers: This is totally ludicrous....
Chris muttered: He’s gonna get mocked and slaughtered in the show. Bye Paul.
He switched off the TV and took a shower.
Chris got himself dressed and as he walked past Paul’s room, something caught his eye.
On Paul’s desk was a smartwatch that has 2 clearly labeled buttons. They are Mode 1 and Mode 2. Chris thought: Is this Paul’s invention? I have never seen this model of a smartwatch before.
“There are many things I really wanted to change in my life. More of the thing that I have regretted not doing. If only I had asked her for the number... If only I tried to save that man...If only I had seized those money-making opportunities...I should have spoken more to Elly. If only Paul’s invention could take away all my regrets...”
He took the watch and wore it on his left wrist. Next, he pressed Mode 1.......