Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time Traveling for Dummies

In relation to my posts on One Cleric Short (if I have any readers who read here, but not there, shame on you. Go read it!) I may have mentioned (if it doesn't get ripped out in editing) that I had made "time traveler preparations" before traveling to the future. (I am more in character on that blog than this one, and for that I do apologize). I would like to then explain what my time-traveler preparations are, for those curious readers who may be interested in knowing how I "prepared" for traveling in the future.

1. Money

Money is a big problem for time travelers. As you may notice, traveling back in time from the future makes most kinds of money completely worthless. Check your wallet, if you don't believe me. If you travel back from the future, the majority of that money will be useless, depending on how far back most of your money is dated. If you've been to the bank recently, chances are your money is newer, and therefore is considered fraudulent money in the past. If you go to 1999 and pull out a bill dated 2001, people will raise an eyebrow and report you to the police. Traveling from past to future, on the other hand, is MUCH easier.

If you travel from past to future, there are a few things you must do:
* Make it accessible from any place via a banking system
* Leave the money to someone you trust not to use it, as seven years in the future you'll be considered dead.
* Make sure that none of the future family of the person you left it to will get at the money, but knows how to get into it for when you need it, or in case something happens to the bank
* Make sure you can find the family of the person you left it to.
* make sure that the money is earning interest over time in the bank.

When you go through time and get to the future, provided all of these steps have worked out for you, you will be able to collect a fortune, guarantee the children of the person you've left the money to will go to a good college, and will be able to live in comfort in your new home.

If those steps are too risky for you, take all of your money with you when you go:
* sell them to a coin collector in the future
* hope you traveled far enough that they are worth something.

2. Language

Learn English and Chinese, as they are the most common and most flourishing languages you can find. If possible, also learn the most universal Sign Language you can find. Keep in mind that the slang will change, but the basis of the language should remain relatively similar. Just in case, bring along a dictionary (picture dictionary is even better), and if you have the means, bring along some way of showing what you want in any language. my suggestion? Bring clay with you. Clay can be molded into any shape. If you want food, mold the clay into the shape of an apple and point to your mouth. Someone should be able to figure out that you need food. It is rare that this may not work, but if it doesn't work, chances are you were doomed from the start anyway.

3. Culture

When in doubt, be as respectful as possible. Watch where you step, copy the first friendly soul you meet if you cannot understand them. If you can communicate, ask about their culture the first chance you get, and see if there are any do's and don'ts of the culture. If they seem confused, just shrug and say you would hate to offend such a kind soul, or something to that effect. The last thing one would want to do is offend the natives. And don't call them "the natives".

4. Be ready to die

No seriously. Nobody knows when the apocalypse is, what will happen to the planet, or if the planet will even be around in a few years. It might be a good idea to be ready to die, just in case. If you have any opportunity for it, though, try to make sure your time machine has plenty of food, water, oxygen support, and the capability to go back to where you started from, just in case. Oh, and a window. I wish I'd installed a window. While you're at it, it might be good to keep protective gear handy, including oxygen mask and heavy gloves.

5. Location, Location, Location.

Carry an atlas with you when you go, to ask where you are. The geography might change, but if you are still on earth and something terrible hasn't happened, someone may have some inkling where you are in such a place through a basic knowledge of history. This is much easier traveling to the future than it is for the past, in which case I would suggest also carrying a map from the beginning of each century (half-century or decade, if you have the space), and showing only the closest previous map to ask where you are(provided you know -when- you are). Try to absorb the culture of the time and place to the best of your abilities, and make a friend as quickly as possible.

6. How to ask "when am I"?

For this, try to carry around a picture of your time-machine. if your location pre-dates the picture, it may actually be to your advantage.

* find that friendly soul to take care of you
* Strike up a conversation until it's comfortable (provided they don't immediately ask what the devil you're wearing)
* If they -do- ask why you're dressed so strangely, laugh a little and say you're a little lost.
* When the kind soul is either suspicious or adequately softened up, suggest that you would like to admit to them something you doubt they will believe without seeing it for themselves.
* Show them the picture of your time machine and explain what it is. If they disbelieve, suggest showing them in person, and point out that you did warn them they would never believe in you.
* the subject may be resistant to the idea that time travel is possible. If they do not believe you, tell them to forget it, try to make friends again.
* If at all possible, show them the time-machine in person. If they still doubt, show them how it works. This may prove exceedingly dangerous, if you are not entirely sure how well it works, yourself. Don't actually go anywhere unless you are convinced you can go back to the same time and place.
* If the subject is still disbelieving, you may get on your knees and beg their assistance. This may get you locked in the madhouse, but time machines are not without their risks, and you really should have considered this before time-traveling, you dope.
* Hopefully the subject will finally believe you and agree to help you. Do not resist getting in on the culture unless you find it completely barbaric, or think it will get you killed or harmed. If you think so, go back to your time machine and go back home as quickly as possible.
* Never -ever- let the time machine out of your sight for longer than you can help it. It may get towed, stolen, taken apart for scrap, lifted before you can prove to your friend you are a time traveler, broken, crushed, maimed, or a variety of other things.
* Try not to take people or animals along with you in your time-traveling adventure if you can help it, unless you have a VERY supportive significant other or children who desperately wants to go with you. If you do, then bless you and your journey, I wish you all the best.

7. Note:

If your time machine looks like something you see in your era and you intend to travel to the future, make it look unique or completely harmless, and not like something else. The TARDIS made this mistake by turning into an old police callbox, which looks rather suspect in modern times, appearing and disappearing from place to place. People -do- notice that sort of thing. If traveling to the past, however, please have some idea of where you're going before you build the time machine, and make it fit in with the time, accordingly. Otherwise villagers may destroy your time machine and you'll be stuck in the past until you can whip something together, fate decides it loves you, or you die.

you have been warned. Let me know via comments if I missed anything important to time-travel so I can add it here!

How did -my- first time-traveling excursion go?

Being from the Victorian Era, I somehow wound up traveling from foggy England to the rainy West Coast of America, and found this extraordinarily frightening. My time-machine was not well crafted, I admit, so I had no idea where or when I was. Luckily, wandering around some city streets I met a kind young lad who seemed to like my clothes (they being victorian, which is apparently more unchanging than I ever would have expected)who chatted me up about this phenomenon called "Steampunk". Being that I easily slotted into that fascinating subculture, I admitted to him quite easily my time-traveling roots. Of course he did not believe me, but I had the fortune to have brought with me a selection of poetry books from my era, each in mint condition, having been freshly-printed, but dated from my era.

After carefully flipping through these tomes like they would break at the slightest mishandling (honestly, it's just paper and ink!) he grew wide-eyed and believed my story, even before seeing the time machine. He was more than a little fascinated with that, spouting off terms of mechanical endearment (I think) that I will never fully understand, he inspected the handiwork of the machine from top to bottom, seeming fascinated with its mechanisms.

With some careful work, he detailed every piece of information on the ship on some notebooks he needed for school, took each piece apart, and with the help of a few friends he called, we moved the machine to his apartment, where he reassembled it in secret with ease. I was fascinated and silent through this whole procedure, not trusting myself to speak around his unusual friends.

I am rather well-to-do for my time, and so was both fascinated and somewhat repulsed by his apartment, but did not mind much. He allowed me to stay a few nights while I got my funds back from the bank, and found myself one of the richer men of the world. Keeping this quiet, I gathered up my funds, paid for a very nice house, and now keep company with my young friend (his name is Erik, by the by) and hired a butler to tend to the house just as I had in England. Having set up a safe-haven in this unfamiliar world, Erik has taken it upon himself to teach me the ways of the new world. I have found myself falling in with the geeky crowd, and do very much enjoy the movies, videogames, literature, and sounds of the era.

I do hope that things will proceed in an orderly and fascinating fashion for me. Wish me luck, and I wish you future (and past) time travelers the best of luck in your endeavors!

(The first in-character post for DarkSteam's Cogs of the Earth. From here on out, I will attempt to post in-character, and warn ahead of time when it is not.)

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