Read by Will Goodhand
If you are reading this it means that the photonic quantum drive worked, and you made a successful journey to the future. According to our telemetry data and predictions of the revolution of the earth through space, you should have appeared close to this spot, which is where we have left this letter for you.
We are all naturally dead at your point in time, as we we
re unable to prevent The Device from activating itself in our timeline. However, you should, as we have discussed, be able to gather enough data in the future to enable us to work out a weakness in the Device's programme in the past.
Incidentally, we came up with a range of names for this mission as part of a brainstorm session we had once you'd left. Here's what we came up with:
Future Trek 3000
Future Jump 3000
Operation: Future Jump
Time of your Life
Time Trek 3000
Personally I liked ChronoCrisis, but in the end we went with Dan's suggestion which was FutureJump 3000. Basically he just added 3000 to everyone else's suggestions which no-one else seemed to spot.
The important thing however is that now you have arrived at your destination in time, you must proceed immediately to the point on the map marked with an X. This is where you will find essential medical equipment and food supplies for your stay in the future. Our simulations predict that following the activation of The Device, and the subsequent death of all living matter on the planet, the atmosphere will have become a deadly mix of poisonous, potentially lethal gasses. So there is unlikely to be anything edible in the vicinity. It is therefore vital that you find the area marked on the map, which should be within an hour or so's walk depending on how quickly you can move.
This would be a good time to apologise for the fact that this letter and the essential medical and food supplies are not actually in the same place. While it would seem to be logical to put everything together, during the brainstorm, Dan pointed out that if we separated everything up there was less chance of it being discovered. Also, Chloe reckoned that illogical thinking would confuse The Device, again giving us a greater chance of success.
Once you have located the medical equipment, food supplies etc then proceed immediately to the point on the map marked with a box with a cross on it, like a church with a tower. This is the location of the hidden ECM system you'll need to mask the naturally occurring electrical activity in your body from The Device's sensors. Without it you're vulnerable to detection by The Device. The point on the map marked with a circle and a cross like a church with a steeple is which is where we predict The Device's main defences will be located, based on our projections, so try not to confuse the two. The batteries to make the ECM system work are marked on the map by the symbol for a disused lighthouse.
We believe at your time in history The Device will have migrated predominantly below ground, where it will be using the earth's geothermal energy as some kind of powersource, but with enough hardware above ground to allow for communication with The Device home planet. Your main target is above ground, and marked on the map with the two crossed swords.
This is where Chloe's projections suggest one of The Device's main terran interfaces will be located. We don't know exactly what it will look like, but it is vital you get close enough for detailed images of its composition. Now I come to think of it, you might not have actually met Chloe. I think she started with us a couple months after you left, having come from Cybermark Industries. She and I had a bit of a thing for a few weeks after the Christmas party, but we were both so incredibly busy what with everything that's been going on, that it just didn't really work out. We're still good friends and stuff, which is the main thing. It's funny really, thinking about it, how none of this matters anymore, and you're reading this after we've been dead for maybe a few thousand years.
Anyway. Make sure you don't approach The Device without the cover of the ECM or it'll detect your electrical activity and defend itself. Dan has designed the ECM to last for approximately three hours once you're in range of The Device, and after that you'll need to recharge the batteries, but you should have plenty of time. Dan started seeing Chloe not long after she and I mutually decided that it just wasn't the right time for us to get involved in a long term relationship. I think they tried to keep it a secret from everyone but sooner or later these things come out. It was the same with her and me – let's not tell anyone, she said. It's better that way.
But like I say, it's hard to keep a secret really, and I ended up seeing the two of them together outside her flat one night after they came back from dinner at a little restaurant in Tooting and the game was up, as they say. I think they're out with each other tonight, while I'm writing this in the lab. Everyone's started having Device Parties because we all know it's just a matter of time, but someone's got to make sure things gets done. This letter wasn't just going to write itself. I mean, I could be out there, having a good time with some gorgeous lab assistant at some big party or whatever, but no, I'm here, with piles of data to analyse from The Device.
But that's fine. I've had this strange sense of calm come over me the past few days, and I really feel like I'm here to make a difference. After all, you're reading this, aren't you? And you're the last living creature on the planet. And where are Dan and Chloe? Atoms of dust, that's where. Forgotten debris of a miserable sham of a life. And who cares? Not me, I'll tell you that for nothing. Not you either I should think. You're probably more worried about the dangerous life-threatening mission you're on.
So anyway, you've gathered the data, taken the pictures, hopefully you've not been caught if Dan's crappy ECM's working properly. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if it breaks down, he's that rubbish at his job. He spends more time on his MySpace page than he does on anything else. Just because he's got three thousand friends or whatever and he was voted "Sexiest Scientist" in some stupid poll, he thinks that gives him the right to chat on the net with schoolgirls all day. He keeps going on about how it's important for PR and funding and that but I can't see how he's making any money out of it at all. I wouldn't mind if they sent him cash but all he gets in the post are dodgy pictures and knickers.
So that's about it. The photonic batteries for you to get home with are somewhere near the place on the map that looks like a windmill. They should work I suppose.
Good luck with "Future Jump 3000" or whatever.
The future of the human race is in your hands.
ChronoCrisis 3000 by Andrew Lloyd-Jones was read by Will Goodhand at the Liars' League Past & Future event on Tuesday 12 June 2007.
Andrew Lloyd-Jones was born in London and grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. His writing has been featured in the first Tales of the DeCongested anthology, in the Canongate anthology Original Sins, in the Pulp.net anthology Down the Angel, and he was a winner of the Fish Prize for his story Feathers and Cigarettes. He lives in New York.
Will Goodhand is the only man to make multiple-adventurer of kids’ cartoon fame Mr Benn jealous: Internet entrepreneur, radio DJ, Beauty & the Geek star and etiquette coach to Britain's Next Top Models, Will regularly performs stand-up and story-readings on the London circuit: for details of upcoming gigs, email email@example.com