The Mug

I woke up. It was a few days after Matthew's funeral. Even though he technically no longer existed, every TPA agent that made the sacrifice will not be forgotten. That was what Captain Mortimer told me. In fact, several other people still remembered Matthew.

I walked into the kitchen after I had brushed my teeth. I grabbed my blue mug and... blue?! My mug had always red, why was it blue now? There was no way that I mixed it up, because when I got this mug seven years, Matthew had...

It was him who suggested the red mug... Did it change colour because Matthew was... erased?

Confused, I got changed and went over to Dr. Potter's home.

I rang his doorbell impatiently. When he finally opened the door, he had an annoyed look on his face, which softened when he saw me. "Oh, hello James. How are you feeling?"

"Confused," I said, holding up the blue mug.

"Um, sorry?"

"Doc, I- Matthew-"

"Please, calm down." The good doctor gestured to the inside of his house. "Come in and tell me what's going on."

We went inside. I sat down on his sofa and he poured me a cup of tea, placing it on the coffee table.

Dr. Potter sat down on the recliner and leaned forward towards me. "I know it's upsetting, losing Matthew like that. Please, have some tea and we can talk."

The doctor was one of the people that did remember Matthew. I calmed down a little and took a sip of the tea before I spoke. "My mug..., it was red before Matthew..."

"Ah, so the timeline change has affected the mug."

"But then why do some of us still remember him? Why didn't my past change? Shouldn't I have not been where Metis was?"

The doctor sipped his tea. "Well, time travel is... complicated. Perhaps Metis had miscalculated, and you simply would have been there, whether Matthew was there or not."

"As for why some of us still remember him," Dr. Potter put his cup of tea down. "That is a question that I can't answer I'm afraid. I simply don't know the answer, no one does. No one has been able to draw a conclusive set of rules for the effects of changing the timeline yet. I've seen people whose past selves have been killed, but they live on, and yet, I've seen people disappear under the same circumstances. I've seen cases where everyone remembers a person that was erased from the timeline, cases where no one remembers, and cases where only some remember."

"How's that possible?"

"I don't know James. It seems that time travel is a very fickle thing. In fact, there is a theory suggesting that changing the timeline also causes the rules to change."

I sipped my tea, trying to wrap my head around this. As I was doing this, a question that had been brewing ever since I joined the TPA popped out, "Why aren't we allowed to go back and undo all the wrong timeline changes? Why can't we go back and prevent the murders, the wars, the tragedies? Why can't I go back and stop Metis from killing Matthew?"

The doctor eyed me with concern. "I know that you're angry, James. But you mustn't change the timeline like that. One change could affect the entire timeline. Past, present, and future."

"It won't if we're careful. All we need to do is change that one event."

The doctor eyed me with concern again while sipping his tea. He put his cup down, and explained it to me. "What I have found is that time travel has affected pretty much every single part of human history. It has even affected the parts of the timeline before humans existed, and the parts way in the distant future. This is because time travel has been used to visit so many, many points in the timeline. In fact, so many points that the mainstream belief in the time travel scientific community is that no part of the timeline has been left unchanged by time travel."

"So you mean..., that changing any part of the timeline could affect many, many other parts of the timeline?"

"Correct. To put it simply, say that a person from Year 100 travels to Year 50 and makes a change in the timeline. But then a person from Year 200 could travel to Year 75 and make a change there that could affect the person from Year 100 and thus also affect the Year 50."

Denied my plan, I was angry. I yelled, "How did Metis know how to build a time travel device in the first place?! Shouldn't this all be a secret?!"

"Unfortunately, anyone can build a time travel device, the instructions are everywhere. You could piece it together from textbooks, from things that you learn in school, from things that you see on the Internet."

I stared at the doctor, "What?!"

"Well, think of the nuclear bombs in your era. The instructions to make one were all over the place in your time, were they not? But they were hard to build, and you needed certain materials to do so. They needed very specialized, intelligent people and very rare materials. That is the same with time travel. You need a lot of in-depth knowledge and the very rare timetanium."

I sipped my tea as I considered the analogy. Then, another question came to mind, "What about the soul?"

"I'm sorry?"

"If... a person got erased from the timeline, would their soul be erased as well? Would they have been wiped out so completely?"

"I- I don't know, James."

After that, the doctor and I talked about other things. The weather, his family, my family, things like that. However, when I left, I left with a feeling of dread. A dreaded feeling that anyone could just disappear because of a change in the timeline. A dreaded feeling that I could randomly disappear. A dreaded feeling that Stephanie or Judy could disappear.

The End

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