Let’s say you are a time traveler – possibly the first one in history. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to travel back to the future and come back with valuable intel. Yeah, this is the old, old topic with a twist. You are not going back to Medieval Europe, or the wild west. You are going forward into the unknown.
Why not go back in time? For the purposes of this discussion, let’s say it is impossible. The machine will let you to move into any point in time up to the day when it was first created. Travel into the past beyond that point is not possible. So you will be able to go into the future, and back but you can never visit ancient Rome or try to kill Hitler during WWII.
Since the scientists who built the time machine are a bit concerned about creating a paradox they set the machine to make a leap into a very distant future. Paradoxes of course wouldn’t affect our timeline. But if they do exist, then you traveling into future and back, and then reporting on it would surely invalidate that future. So the machine is set to take you 10 thousand years into the future.
Jumping that far means it is unlikely you will learn anything dangerous. For example, you probably won’t be able to buy Grays Sports Almanac, smuggle it back to the past and use it to attain fabulous wealth. Why? Because likely no one will remember or care about our sports statistics that far into the future. For comparison, about ten thousand years ago our ancestors were beginning to learn how to farm and domesticate animals.
The people of the future are likely to know as little about as, as we know about the early nomadic tribes of 10,000 BC. An average person you might meet in the future won’t know our language, customs or technology. In fact, it is uncertain if you meet any people at all.
Chances are your destination will be a barren rock, a Fallout style post-apocalyptic wasteland, a luscious uninhabitable jungle that overgrew civilized world or a septic server farm serviced by robotic drones (after all of humanity moved their minds into a virtual online world).
The time machine of course has some emergency fallback mechanism. If, for example Earth no longer exists due to a supernova event, interstellar collision, an antimatter experiment gone awry, or due to an experiment designed to determine the precise mass of the Higgs boson particle it will abort the trip and take you back home in one piece (well, that’s the plan at least).
The machine itself is a cylindrical capsule about the size of a coffin. It’s not a Tardis – it is exactly the same size on the inside as it is on the outside. This means you can’t bring anyone back with you, though you can take back some valuable artifacts. Let’s assume there is a weight limit as well – say 250 pounds, or something around that figure.
Basically, you are allowed to take a backpack of personal belongings and tools with you. The science team will equip you with an environment suit and a respirator that will protect you from radiation, toxic atmosphere, excess heat or freezing temperatures. You know – just in case the world has ended and you decide to take a stroll in a toxic wasteland looking for artifacts.
The choice of other gear is up to you? The only other restrictions is that it must be able to fit in your backpack (or in the time machine), must be under the weight limit and must be legally available for purchase in the country from which you will be traveling. This means that the suitcase nuke is definitely not an option.
Keep in mind that you will likely encounter a civilization that is unlike anything we can imagine. Perhaps you will interact with super-intelligent race of immortal beings who reside in nanotechnology augmented bodies. Perhaps you will talk with servitor drones who maintain data servers that host virtualized minds of all human beings. Perhaps you will encounter an utopia paradise, or dystopic nightmare. Or perhaps you will meet nomads and farmers, Eloi and Mrolocks. That or an intelligent race of cockroaches.
Any electronic devices you take may be of limited use, since you may not be able to find a power source to recharge them. This may or may not matter, depending on how long will you stay in the future. Your primary mission is general recon. You are to scout the area, find out if humans still exist and if yes, try to make contact with them. You are to find out about their technology, culture, traditions and etc… If human civilization no longer exists, you need to find out what happened.
Secondary mission is finding this clock to see if it’s still ticking.
So, what would go into your backpack? How would you prepare for such a trip? Post your thoughts in the comments. Also, you may use the comments to speculate on how Earth 12009 AD would be like.