Time Travel Trials: Case One

Forget people killing their grandparents or trying to kill Hitler…

… the real dangers can come from anywhere.

Including something as simple as a film showing…

Grab the story on your phone, tablet, or eReader by clicking here, or start reading it below.

(c) 2024 Simon Goodson.
Story Disclaimer

Time Travel Trials:  Book One Cover

Time Travel Trials – Case One

When people hear tales of the Time Travel Trials they always imagine we’ll be dealing with idiots trying to kill their own grandparents, people heading back in time to set themselves up as gods, the congestion in nineteen thirty-eight Berlin as thousands of people planning to go kill Hitler trip over each other, or other such things.

But often it’s the less obvious crimes which are the most odious. Sometimes they’re mere pranks, at least in the minds of those who perpetrate them, but they have terrible consequences. The Star Wars Trial is one such. It sounds an innocuous enough thing to do. Bring some people forwards a hundred years to watch a film. What harm could that possibly do?

For the two hundred people the prank was played on, incredible harm. Fully half suffered complete mental breakdowns within six weeks. Some were left as empty shells with nothing going on in their minds at all. Most of those not sent catatonic or insane by the experience were left with an awful longing in their souls for the rest of their lives that nothing would ever fill, for the technology to do so wouldn’t be developed until long after they were dead.

So what prank did the Star Wars trial involve? Think back to the start of cinema. People would pack into an auditorium to be fascinated and amazed by the sight of people on the screen doing everyday things. Walking. Smiling. Dancing. Just going about their lives.

The mere fact such activities had been captured and could be shown on the screen time after time was mind blowing. And those that showed footage from another city, another country, even another continent, astounded the audiences.

There was no sound, of course. And no scripting. This was even before the time of silent movies. At this stage there was just utter fascination with the ability to capture moments in time and show them repeatedly. Not as pictures or photographs, but as moving reality.

That’s what the two-hundred poor souls thought they were entering the auditorium to see. They might have noticed a slight tingling as they crossed the time gate, but probably not. They might have noticed the auditorium seemed a little different than they were expecting, or the screen significantly bigger. Even if they did, none saw it as a reason to leave. Not that they could have. Once they were in, they were in for the full show.

And then it started. The curtains pulled fully back. The screen suddenly showed words scrolling up it. Novel enough, but not enough to worry them. The fact they were seeing colour might have startled a few, but it was such a new art most likely didn’t even notice. Those famous words from the start of Star Wars went scrolling up the screen.

Then came a thunderous roar and the Rebel ship appeared on screen, taking fire. That will have rocked the minds of many of the audience. Then came the almost unending expanse of the Star destroyer appearing on the screen.

It’s pretty awe-inspiring even to people who have seen the films before but are seeing them in the cinema for the first time. Just imagine what this was like for those poor people displaced in time. They had no frame of reference, no understanding of what was going on. Not even any idea that the images might not be completely real.

Even when it reached the point they saw humans on screen, they weren’t humans like any they’d known before. There were humans and they could hear them talking, something they’d never experienced in movies before. There were even machines that talked. And there was evil sorcery from a massive creature clad in black.

From the reports I’ve seen, fully half of them were hiding in terror within the first ten minutes of the film, crouching behind the seat backs in front of them, not able to see the screen. But that didn’t allow them to escape the sound and the awareness of what was happening. And they couldn’t help but peek out from time to time.

The only small mercy was it was only a showing of the one film. If they’d been exposed to all three of the original films I think few of them would have survived the experience with any sanity intact, if any at all.

Two fell dead at some point during the film, their hearts giving out under the strain. Others were scarred for life. Then there were the poor souls for whom it was an epiphany, whose world expanded in that moment and whose lives were changed forever. In some ways they were the worst off of all.

They went on to become hollow shells of themselves. Almost all of them experimented with alcohol, drugs, anything to try to get back the feelings they’d felt in that cinema. They never could. None of them would live long enough for cinema to reach a stage where it could give that feeling again.

So next time you hear someone describe something as a time-joke, or worse you, or someone you know, starts planning a way to use time travel as a prank, stop and run a mile in the other direction. Because trust me, everything those two-hundred people suffered is nothing compared to what happened to those who pulled the prank.

What happened to them? I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Ha! I’m joking, of course. The truth is, I could tell you, but then you would have to join them. Believe me, being killed would be far preferable to that. You have been warned!

This has been a public service broadcast brought to you on behalf of the Time Continuity Force. Remember, we are watching you. Back then, right now, and in the future.

Obey the law, citizens, or face the consequences!

The End

More SciFi Stories…

3 thoughts on “Time Travel Trials: Case One

  1. Pretty good and let’s you reflect on the harm done. People should really think before they create chaos. Research is even better. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *