A Stitch In Time Saved Mine

We ran out of time. Literally.

I floated… well, no, that's not quite right. That implies that I was actually… somewhere. Somewhen. I simply… was. Space was gone. Time had no meaning anymore. There was just me.

Was this what God had felt when he created the universe? This impossible, unlimited loneliness? This suffocating individuality?

I'd say I don't know how long it lasted, but again, that would mean that time had actually passed. It was both an instant and an eternity. All I can say is that at one point I didn't feel these connections, and at another point I did. Suddenly, the blackness around me exploded into an infinite string of colors and possibilities. Where once had been darkness, there was nothing but life… and time. Threads of brilliant material, swirling and infinite, reached out to me and wrapped around my fingers. I could feel the possibility like a heartbeat within each of them, and I felt an unconquerable ache to return to my own time. But that was impossible — that time was gone, never to be recovered. Clearly some higher power had seen fit to grace me with a second chance, and in but an instant I had gone from out of time to having access to more time than I could possibly fathom.

It was time to get to work.

Thread by thread, stitch by stitch, second by second, I began to create. Frayed ends of timelines cut off before their due became the beginnings of a new time — a new world. My new world. I would ensure that nobody would suffer what I had — that unfathomable loneliness. Orphaned threads of time were brought together into a beautiful tapestry, woven into possibilities for their inhabitants who would otherwise have been left in that eternal void.

So I worked. I toiled, endlessly, weaving and stitching and binding and crossing and hemming, determined to leave no thread apart from the others. To even try to explain how difficult it was would be pointless; you'd have to be me to come close to understanding it — and that's a hell I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

But I refused to stop. Refused to rest. And I damn sure refused to fail anyone else's timeline as I had so thoroughly failed my own.

I was a scientist, once, before I became a weaver — back when I had a time to call my own. I was part of a team of theoretical physicists and mathematicians, studying the flow of time and how it could be explored and altered. We were the first to discover tachyons, those tiny little particles of time itself. Pure temporal energy, expressed as a nearly microscopic black dot in the fabric of time. We called them "time flies" because of the way they seemed to flit around in space as we watched them. After years of study and observation, we were able to create a machine that harnessed the power of tachyons in order to allow us to move around within our timeline with no limitations. Time travel. Something that had been firmly in the realm of science fiction for decades had finally become fact.

As it turns out, sometimes fiction should stay fiction.

We traveled back in time, originally in order to learn. We studied dinosaurs, we witnessed the births and deaths of supposed prophets, we saw the rise and fall of countless empires. We collected a wealth of information about the history of our reality that most could only ever dream of. But eventually, learning about it wasn't enough anymore. We made the single greatest mistake, the one that all of the science fiction about time travel cautioned against — we meddled. We altered our own history, thinking that the effects on the present and future could only be positive.

We thought we were smart. We thought that we had considered all the possible outcomes, and accounted for all the alterations we would make. But we went too far. We changed too much. After I made one last seemingly trivial alteration, when I was returning to the present, I saw just how much I had changed. I saw revolutions that were far outside of the history we knew. I saw technology that we had never dreamt of. And I saw war, and famine, and death. I saw weapons made with unfathomable technology that tore reality apart at the seams. I saw the end. And when I returned, there was no present left to return to — there was only that impossible void.

But despite all of our mistakes, I was gifted a second chance — a chance to start again. To redeem myself.

I will do everything within my considerable power to ensure that nothing like this happens in my new timeline. I'm going to start over.

And I'm going to do it right this time.

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