Monday, June 09, 2008

Deja Vu

I just watched Stargate SG-1 season 8, episode 19 (Moebius Part 1) In brief, the team goes back 5000 years to get hold of an artifact, and during the mission Dr Jackson decides to hide the artifact in a location which he knows will be dug up in the future. Dr Jackson then makes a comment that when it's dug up again, their future selves won't actually need to go back in time to hide the item, since they'll already have it in their possession.

I believe the episode first aired in 2003 or 2004. Three years earlier I had a flash fiction piece published in Antipodean SF, an online webzine. (The same story has since been reprinted in Flashspec Volume 1)

I'm posting the whole piece below for the benefit of all those writers out there who read or see something which they're certain has been pinched from their own ideas. Sometimes, coincidence IS the only explanation.

Pastimes by Simon Haynes
Published in Antipodean SF May 28, 2000

National Library of Australia archive of the issue

Miles looked thoughtful. "A one-way trip?" He glanced at the android standing near the end of the workbench. From a distance of five metres or so, it was indistinguishable from a human. Any closer and the hair and skin were obviously modern synthetics. It was wearing a backpack over loose white robes, with a minicam gripped in one hand.

Reynolds cleared his throat. "It's the only way. We send the robot back in time, it records the stuff we want then hides the data cube."

"Where? Where would it be safe for five thousand years?"

Reynolds glanced out the window. The sun was setting behind the Sierra Bernia range, throwing the slopes of the jagged mountains into deep shadow. "Up there."

"What happens to the robot once it's hidden the cube?" asked Miles.

"It will self-destruct."

"Won't the university board object to that?"

"Not when we show them the data on the cube."


Miles panted hard as he walked the last few meters over the hot, dusty ground. He stopped for a moment, sucking in air and flapping at the persistent flies as Reynolds glanced at the jumbled rocks nearby.

"Somewhere here would be good."

Miles nodded. "Program the exact coordinates. Wouldn't want to dig all this up to find it."

Reynolds walked towards a huge slab of rock that had been rounded by thousands of years of harsh weather. "Ideally you'd want it under something like this," he said, patting the rock. To his surprise, it moved. He heard a gasp and turned round.

Miles was staring at him, his face white.

"What is it?"

"Think, man! You're going to get the robot to put the cube under that rock, right?"

Reynolds nodded.

"Have you positively made up your mind?"

"Yes," said Reynolds sharply. "What's your point?"

"Don't you see?" Miles' voice tailed off as he stared at the rock. "The robot is going back in time to hide the data cube under that rock. If it succeeded, it must already be there!"

Comprehension dawned on his collegue's face. "All we have to do is dig it up." He dropped to his hands and knees and started scooping at the loose dirt. Miles joined him, and within five minutes they had found a dusty cube. When Reynolds held it up to the sun, it glowed amber as the light shone through it.


Five minutes later they were walking down the narrow, rocky track as they headed back to the lab.

"You realise that now we've got the cube, there's no need to send the robot back in time?" asked Miles.

Reynolds stared at him. "Of course we have to send it back. If we don't, we'll have created a paradox."

Miles laughed and patted his pocket. "We can't have done, the cube's right here." A strange looked passed over his face. "Hey, it's gone!"

"What has?" asked Reynolds.

- END -

(Now, I must dig out my short story about the boy with the funny shaped scar ...)

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

1 comment:

cgoo said...

something like this was also done in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, if you haven't seen it, definitely check it out! ;)