I hate time travel stories. The part of my brain that loves physics never shuts up the whole time. I don’t care how many gigawatts you shoot into a Delorean, it ain’t going back to 1955, or anywhere else. It’s just gonna be an overdesigned car from the 80’s slowly building charge.
What does intrigue me are stories that use time manipulation in other ways. Remote viewing, or remote messaging for example (think Deja Vu, or Paycheck). The idea of sending information into or out of the past is much more likely to me than the transmission of matter back and forth through time. Even the ancient Egyptians figured out how to transmit data far into the future. Surely we may develop something sooner or later.
I’m also fascinated by the concept of a conversation with one’s self. More accurately, I’m interested in what my past self would think of the life that I’ve made for myself currently and, armed with that knowledge, if they would choose to deliberately break from that path.
Here is the basic story premise.
You’re a young engineer. You conclude a job interview and are heading back home. Along the way, you get a call on your cell phone. The number is unknown, but you take the call anyway. You’re astonished to hear your own voice on the other end of the line. Your future self tries to convince you that this is not a trick. The future self explains that he is calling from exactly one year in the future, as the alignment of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun allows for such a call to be made. (I know that’s not really accurate, but take the journey with me.)
You’re skeptical, so it will take a bit of convincing to get you on board with the idea that this is real. I imagine this would involve accurately predicting random events, perhaps news that takes place in a certain area chosen by the past self, on a particular date or at a particular time. It will be an interesting intellectual exercise to see what would convince a person that they are indeed talking to their future self.
Any time-travel story depends on certain rules, and how closely they are followed (or not). For this, I’m thinking that the calls can go both ways (past can call future and future can call past). The calls should be limited to one per day. Using the notion from Farscape (and plenty of other sources) that, if nudged close enough to course, events in timestreams have a way of working themselves out, then the future self cannot send information back that would radically alter their past self’s path in life (e.g. no lottery numbers or preventing disasters). It should be enough that the future self could prevent you from making choices that he himself did not make, and would be able to ease anxiety about certain upcoming events, with the knowledge that all would work out (or subtle ways to avoid malicious outcomes). The events that could be affected would have to be relatively small in nature.
After trust is established, a period of increasing opportunity is created. Assistance with choices about finances, personal relationships and occupational help.
That’s the first half.
One day you call your future self and he doesn’t answer.
Then you call again the next day, again, no answer.
You call the following day and he doesn’t answer. Instead, the voice on the other end informs you that your future self has been murdered.
In shock you end the call and shortly afterward you are unable to reach the number of your future self’s phone.
Now you have one year to solve your own murder.