I was sitting in my garage one late afternoon; reading and thinking. I always tended to remember my dad during that part of the day. I remembered the evening after Verne and I came back from 1888 after he tried to change my parents' minds of naming him Verne just before he was born. Dad told us, "Don't worry, lads, time has a way of fixing itself." He was right, he was always right. Verne turned out to be named Verne after himself; quite the story.
Then, the shocks and fumes of time-travel interrupted my reminisce. After the smoke cleared the DeLorian door opened, while all the too-familiar myst floated down. It was in very bad shape: the tail light where we hid the emergency button was broken and sparks were flying down the back of the car. It was definitely much more teared down than how we left it in the warehouse after dad died. Something was clearly at odds.
Only one person I know was able to time travel and land inside a garage. He stepped out, with the look of savagery I knew from when we were little. "Verne?" I gasped.
"How is it that you always recognize me?" he flaunted.
"You shouldn't be here. You... I... You're dead in this year. I saw you fall myself," I stuttered, while trying not to see him.
"Julie, Julie. Of course I know I'm dead in this year. Well, not me, technically," he had a disgusting stare I've never seen from him before. "It's funny, I kind of expected a much more manly version of you in this time line, with my death and all, but nope. Same all, same all. It's as if you're the same wuss regardless of the time line you're in," he muscled out with an undistinguishable accent.
"Time line?", I hastily questioned.
"Inter-temporal-line travel," he paused, while stretching his back. "You've heard of it, right? Passage between time lines?"
My eyes widened, my heart began racing, "It can't be. I saw dad's blueprints. You would need to map every possible outcome of every possible temporal fork from the beginning of time right until its end. Dad trashed it because it was obviously..."
"Impossible. Yes, I've heard," cracking his neck. "Your dad was a brilliant man, don't get me wrong, but he only went so far. Your time line's Verne on the other hand; he was something else. Inter-temporal-line travel was a superb idea that can only be of a superb mind like Verne's," he sighed.
"But, my dad told me that..." I quibbled.
"Look, it's understandable how your dad reacted. His son has just died and he found his blueprints describing an idea he thought was ludicrous. What was he going to tell you? That your freshly deceased brother was a nut case?" he interrupted. I froze in shock.
"It's a shame, really. Verne's Temporal Fork Analysis and Compression Algorithm was a masterpiece. Made it so much simpler, " he paused, condescendingly looking at me to finish his thought. "Can you guess how?"
"I... uhmm... well," I stumbled. "I suppose that each temporal fork is linked to another, so they can theoretically be grouped into one," I said, trying to pull myself together. "But even if you could group them, the resulting amount of groups would still be enormous," I inquired. He nodded.
I went on, "Having them linked, however, would make them related in such a way that they can be filtered by some sort of relevancy factor; a type of measurement of how a fork affects the following forks. In that way, the amount of forks could be reduced to a practical size," I paused. He smiled. "But how can you calculate such a complex factor?" I nervously asked.
"Your brother came up with a simple but elegant solution to that problem: ask the user to provide that relevancy factor. Make the user act as the filter. That's how he came to my time line: he wanted to meet his alter ego. And your brother was very thrusting with his findings," he said, while stepping closer. "I'm definitely glad I stopped by."
"What is it that you want from this time line?" I stepped back.
"You see, you've just confirmed that you can recreate your beloved Verne's plans. And, actually, you're the only one left that can do that, Julie," I felt his knife clawing into the inside of my liver. "Y'know, one would think that the future would have provided far more practical weapons than knives, but they're all traceable and far less sneaky. Besides, the police, not to mention the federal government, would go nuts with a person burned to death by gamma radiation in this country, leading to social chaos, which would then lead to nuclear war, blah, blah, blah."
I felt numb all over while my knees touched the ground. "But being stabbed and left for dead in your garage, with your house a mess? Oh, that's far more common, far more menial, far more expected. And, according to Verne's design, your death by robbery will only inconvenience the Truman family across the street; something about burial grounds custody. But that's it. Your life is literally without significance. No wife. No family, whatsoever. Not even a dog to keep you company. Couldn't find a replacement for Einstein? Didn't like that puppy you saw in the pet store three weeks ago? Lucky me. That dog would've barked, the Kevin kid next door would've suspected, his parents would've gotten involved. You get the idea. You would've named her Marie Curie, by the way. She's long gone, and the Jules of that time line is too. Oh, and Kevin? He tripped and fell in the well out back."
"You killed my brother," I whispered while I was finding oxygen in the air around me without luck, "You pushed him over the edge."
"Hiking accident. Brilliant, isn't it?" He smiled.
"Why?" I coughed.
"Because now I can be the only one, Julie," he whispered.
I could feel my body wanting to faint, and I didn't have the energy to keep it from doing so. My face touched the ground while all my body felt as if it were going somewhere without moving.
As I was hearing how Verne was tearing up my living room, I could see the sparks flying down the car and the emergency button dangling close beside them. The wires that connected the button to the small quantity of nitroglycerin inside the DeLorian were swelling up and were about to make contact. The last thing I felt was a swift air wave knocking me over and the last thing I heard was the scream of that other Verne.
"Don't worry, lads, time has a way of fixing itself."
You were right, dad, you were always right.
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