All of us travel through time. We might be unaware of it, but we travel through time throughout the course of our life, at the rate of 1 hour per hour. The concept of time travel had always fascinated me as a kid. Einstein’s theory of relativity might have cast some light upon it, but most of it was still unexplored. I had always dreamt of travelling back in time to the point where humans had not set foot on the planet, or to the future to meet my future self.
We were encouraged in class to enroll ourselves in an online creative essay writing competition. Procrastinating, as was my nature, it was only on the day before the submission when I decided to start. Having started at the eleventh hour, most of the topics that I thought of were already taken. Somewhat reluctantly I started writing on weaponised time travel, as it was one of the very few topics left.
Weaponised time travel is a hypothetical theory proposed by certain scientists, wherein we can travel in time in order to alter certain incidents that might have taken place. As it was a creative essay, I wanted to go as far from reality as I could, and unleash those unrealistic dreams of time travel which I had as a kid.
Another thing which had drawn my attention during high school was the vast expanse of the Ottoman empire, and the various uprisings that had tried to throw it down. It was one of those periods where I would love to travel to if I had a time machine at my disposal. So my essay started to take form as an amalgamation between the dreams of time travel and the age of the Ottoman empire.
My story was set in the time of the Epirus Revolt of 1878. Here are the first couple of paragraphs from my essay:
“On 24th April 1877, Russia declared war on the Ottman empire. This led to the famous Russo-Turkish War of ‘77-’78. After a few battles, the defeat of the Ottoman Empire was imminent. Greece saw this as an opportunity to incite revolts in a number of Greek-inhibited regions of the Empire, such as Epirus, Macedonia, Thessalia and Crete. The Greek Government being aware of the political situation in Eastern Europe decided to suppress the movement. They eventually managed to suppress the revolt, or so says History.
But how could they have possibly done that? The Greek army was itself a part of the revolt. The Officials too wanted to free the Greek-inhibited regions. The only group who might have benefited from the suppression was the Ottoman rulers.”
My essay went on to introduce Ackerley, the Greek philosopher who was an outcast because of his eccentric experiments. He had found refuge in the Ottoman capital and now worked for the King. There was a widespread belief that Ackerley could summon monsters from the future to his aid. When the revolt went beyond control, the King summoned him to help his cause. Ackerley with the help of his ‘invention’ managed to bring ‘help’ from the future. He had teleported a battalion of the US Navy to the past century. The battalion lead by Sergeant Henry Ford had no choice but to help them. That was the only way they could get back home.
I was at times amazed at the fluency with which I was going through my essay. It was as if I could visualize the scenes one after the other, as if I knew what would happen next.
After the revolt was suppressed, the troops were returned to their time by Ackerley. It had taken them 2 months to suppress it. But when they returned, 2 years had already gone by, and the whole Battalion had been declared missing, and eventually dead. Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity states that in order to travel through time, one must acquire the speed of light. If one moves through time and space at the speed of light, time automatically slows down for him.
Eventually, my essay was over. It was as far from reality as it could be. Yet as a part of the protocol, I decided to check for plagiarism before submission. There was hardly a minute left for submission when my essay found a 100% hit of plagiarism. It matched with an essay by a scientist named Dr Edward Watson from 1941. As I couldn’t submit the essay due to plagiarism, I decided to look into his essay. It was quite a shock for me when I found both the articles matching, down to the last punctuation. Dr Watson was a scientist who believed he could travel through time. His autobiography even said that he had visited the past kingdoms and had even gifted a ‘time-machine’ to a Greek man who had once saved his life during his visit to the Ottoman Period. He also claimed to have travelled to the future and met US Navy Sergeant Henry Ford.
I was in a state of shock, drenched in sweat. I sat there staring blankly at my computer screen, maybe for a minute or for an hour or so before my room-mates returned. I returned to my senses with the sound of the door hinged open. They laughed at me on hearing the entire incident.
“Stop dreaming”, said Joe.
“Come on Will, we’re gonna be late for class”, Mark said as they dashed out of the room. I could see them through my window, sprinting across the parade grounds of our Naval War College. What they did not know was that my name is not just Will, it is Henry William Ford.