The Canister

The Canister

April 10, 2016

 

The first time we sent a man through time, his brain melted. Literally, it melted. When we opened the canister, a grayish-blue jelly dripped from his nose, ears, mouth and the corners of his eyes.

The second time we sent a man through time, after a few adjustments to our equations, he came back a vegetable. His brain was still in tact, but it had nearly shut completely down. Upon closer examination, we found a single incision at the base of his skull where surgery appeared to have been done. A lobotomy of sorts. Our funds were already being threatened, so after some closed-door discussions, his life support was pulled and his family notified.

The third time we sent a dog through time. It came back alive, but rabid. Our tests on the corpse afterward actually detected no sign of rabies, but it had gone mad and lost all of its senses. Three handlers were bitten, thankfully only one suffered any side effects. His family was notified.

The fourth time we sent man through time, he didn’t return. There was no sign of any trouble, no bodily fluids, no damage to the canister, not even a note. His family was notified, and our largest backer pulled out leaving us severely crippled financially.

The fifth time we sent a capsule through time with only a hand written note. It simply said, “Is anyone there and reading this?” When we retrieved the canister, a cold chill ran over us as we read the reply. “Stop.”

We have no more money. The sixth and last time, I will go myself. I’m that desperate to prove that this can work. It has to. We’ve worked too hard on this, it has to. The canister closes around me, the interior lighting flashes to life, a rhythmic hum as oxygen begins to circulate and circuitry begins working out the complicated calculations to power up the pod, initiate the wormhole, and launch itself through time to the specified date we’ve been trying to reach for the last 3 years.

I feel electricity begin to crackle and run up and down my spine from contact with the canister. There’s a slight shake and a rumble. Then nothing. I sit quietly, waiting, cutting my eyes around the confined space and waiting. Finally, a tiny green light flashes on and I reach a trembling finger out to enter the code that will release the latch on the canister and allow me to exit. A mechanical whir and hum as the hatch rumbles and slides away. I reach my arms out and grab each side of the canister to pull myself up and out.

* * *

The sixth time was the last time we sent a man through time. When he returned, he’d gone insane. Strange symbols had been carved into his flesh, down both arms, both legs, across his entire chest and back. His mouth had been sliced and cut into a permanent smile. And the laugh. The chilling laugh of a madman.

Now we prepare. We prepare for whatever awaits us in the near future. Whatever was on the other end of our time travel experiments obviously knows we’re coming, and they have the advantage. They will be waiting. They’re already waiting.

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