Fiction | Milo
The following short story was inspired by out podcast episode on time travel. This is the second short story in my time travelling series, if you feel like going back in time for yourself, click this link to read the first story.
A Brief History of Mallett Mail (MM)
- In the year 2020 advances in our understanding of inertial frame dragging led to the funding of a variety of experiments into the possibility of delineating time, or “time travel”, inspired by Ronald Mallett’s paper Weak Gravitational Field of the Electromagnetic Radiation in a Ring Laser.
- Following a number of successful experiments, the US military began investigating the martial uses of Mallett’s theories. This led to the creation of Mallett Mail (MM), a programme capable of receiving coded messages from a sender located in the future. Its interface was similar to any basic email software, albeit lacking in the ability to send messages.
- The first MM transmission was received on Sunday 29th January 2033, and it contained instructions on how to create the necessary software required to send messages.
- MM’s were repurposed for mass production and commercial use in the year 2067.
- This eradicated linear conceptions of time as we know it, and our current strict adherence to mathematically proper 'years' returned to the hazy, pragmatic timekeeping of medieval times. In this way, what would have been the year 2068 was instead known as Year 1 after the Year 2068 or Y1 > 68. It was also necessary for two new days of the week to be created; “Thisday” refers to the current and accepted chronology of one’s life, whereas “Thatday” refers to one’s assumed history before MM communications “splintered” their timeline.
- Therefore identifying the "actual" year that you were in was a task left to bankers, philosophers and mathematicians. For everybody else “Thisday”, or “Thatday” sufficed.
Robin D’Souza had two problems that should have been easy to solve were it not for his lack of self-awareness, and so as problems they remained. He was a man who had more qualifications than birthdays, and more job titles than sick days. There was no doubt that he worked hard, but much like a headless chicken, he bled himself dry on circular endeavours that achieved little. His first problem was his lack of wealth; in his heart he was a millionaire but his bank balance rarely peeked above a solitary grand. His second problem was that he didn’t really understand how to become wealthy, despite it being the one thing he cared about above all else.
Robin didn’t realise that qualifications in and of themselves meant very little if you couldn’t show you possessed the skills they claimed. A two-week seminar on “Selling to the Un-sellable”, or a “Beginner’s Doctorate in Employee Management” were simply gibberish to anybody not teaching or participating in the course itself. Nevertheless, as Robin spent most of his time and money on these courses his continued patronage convinced him that he would eventually get back the time and money he had spent. To the more discerning of observers, it is clear that this is a poor way to invest in oneself.
His next calculated “self-investment” was a little more suspect than he even he would normally go for, but he was bored and desperate. He’d also had another argument with his father about the ongoing failure that was his adult life, and so he pursued this particular course with a renewed fervour. The course in questions was titled: “Mallett Machine’s and Money: Learn how the Past Can Make Money for YOUR Present!” It claimed that after a two-day weekend course, you would know how to use MM’s in financially astute ways. In capital letters at the bottom of the website it listed the following shortcuts to success:
WIN THE LOTTERY
PLAY THE STOCKMARKET LIKE A SEASONED PRO
THE HOUSE DOESN’T ALWAYS HAVE TO WIN!
What was quite clear was that the course wasn’t about using MM’s for business as much as it was about using MM’s to cheat.
Once Robin had finished the course, he felt that familiar rush of adrenalin that this indeed would be the one that kick-started his life of luxury. He immediately purchased a Mallett Machine following the weekend and got to work on using the methods outlined in the course; methods that cannot be repeated here because it would be both immoral and illegal to do so. In brief he sent a message to himself, once a couple of lottery draws had passed, detailing the winning numbers of a lottery draw. Now legitimate lotteries had been abandoned since the invention of the Mallett Machine, because MM’s made high profile draws too complicated to organise. This resulted in the popularisation of underground lottery draws and gambling firms that were yet to, but ultimately would, be outlawed. The organisers of these draws knew how to manipulate the draws using MM’s ensuring that the naïve and addicted would never earn a penny from their games. Robin, with his Mallett Machine, had joined that ignoble group of people.
Once Reuben had awoken, however, and experienced the inertia of affecting one’s past with an MM he found the last few months to be a vague memory, and his present to be of a sort he hadn’t anticipated. Following the course, he had returned home to find a list of numbers on his MM interface, and as was the plan he had gone online to submit their numbers. However, in order to sign up for the website, he had to submit his credit card, address, security number, sort code and account number. Unfortunately for Robin, he had been scammed and within minutes didn’t have a penny to his name.
After this had happened a great panic swept him, and he considered, no matter how briefly, getting on a plane to a random location and starting his life over. This would have been impossible, seeing as he was broke. Once he’d had a chance to recover from the embarrassment he contacted his bank and credit card provider, before being advised to call an identity fraud charity for further advice and protection. He did this and got more than he bargained for, as his chat with the advisor revealed that he had been a victim of numerous scams throughout his life, and the conversation nearly brought him to tears. In the months that followed he would volunteer with the charity, before receiving a full time job and finally finding a sense of inner wealth that matched his avarice. It wasn’t that he was a changed man over night, but that his millionaire dreams gradually stopped clawing their way into his everyday life.