Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Free story idea – Timeline designer

I have a lot of ideas for stories.  Like, if I wrote a novel’s worth of them every month, I’d still most likely die before getting through them all.  I will admit that some of the ideas probably suck, but I think there are some that a good writer could make something of them.  I’ll just never get a chance to.  So, I give them to the world.  If you can make something of these, go right ahead.  And if these are the ideas I’m giving away, maybe check out the ones I keep.

This idea begins with a guy next to a window in a building.  There’s a crowd outside, but he’s hidden behind some boxes.  He checks his watch, and then takes out a gun.  Moments later, he hears someone walking towards him.  A guy with a rifle comes up to the window, and is surprised to see someone there.  The main character shoots this guy, but there’s no gunshot or bullet.  Instead, the guy clutches his chest and falls over, dead from an apparent heart attack.  The main character takes the rifle and leaves.  There are then a few other scenes of this guy killing people with his heart attack gun. 

In 1961, JFK challenged the Soviets to a race to the moon.  There is a story that apparently, by 1963 some of the Soviets knew that they were likely to lose the race.  So to not lose, and to appear as the better men, some proposed that instead of a race the US and Soviets should pool their resources and go to the moon together.  Before this offer could be made, there was a shakeup in the Soviet Union, and then JFK was assassinated.  So nothing came of this idea.  At least, in this timeline.

The idea of the story is that at some point, a way to time travel is discovered.  Now, this prime timeline can’t be changed, so if you went back and killed Hitler, there would be the prime timeline as well as a new branch, Hitlerless timeline.  Other alterations can be made to the branch timelines.  And before you ask, the method of time travel only works when connected to the prime timeline … because.  So not only can nobody in the Hitlerless timeline build a time machine and come to the prime timeline, they can’t even go back in their own branch timeline.  Anyway, rich people start hiring timeline designers to custom make worlds where X happens instead of Y.  The opening scenes are our main character making a world where the US and Soviets went to the moon together.  He stops JFK from being assassinated, and kills some people – when I worked on this story I was thinking one of the founders of the Taliban – who would eventually cause problems for US/Soviet collaboration.

That’s an interesting premise, but what’s the actual story?  Well, I think the main character has the reputation of a fixer.  It’s easy to create a new timeline, but it takes finesse to steer it to where you want it to go.  For example, one timeline is set up by a commando team showing up at the Alamo.  What can ten guys do against an army?  Well, with armor piercing rounds they start shooting all the cannons half-a-mile away, and then they start shooting the officers.  And when the Mexicans try to storm the Alamo to find this unprecedented weaponry, they get mowed down by machine gun fire.  The Alamo isn’t stormed, and a new timeline starts up.  But such a brute force move has unintended consequences.  So the owner of the timeline – who maybe went with the commando team to play soldier at the Alamo – calls in the fixer to try to clean up the mess. 

And that’s pretty much all I had thought through.  It could be that he uses all the money he makes to build a special timeline where his wife – who died in the prime timeline – will live healthy and happy, but that’s rather cliché.  Or maybe he’s an undercover agent trying to infiltrate whoever is using their branch timeline to make supercrack, or whatever, to bring to the prime timeline.  Something could be done with this, but I couldn’t think of what.

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