Brothers in Time

Once upon a time, far in the future, three brothers set out to seek their fortune. Fortunately for them, their father was a brilliant, yet somewhat mad, inventor. So he gave each of them a time machine as they set out on their adventure.

The youngest brother decided to live in a tropical climate before people invented the wheel or fire or tools. He decided that would give him plenty to impress the people with, and life would be easy. And it was, for a time.

Unfortunately, before long, someone came knocking on his door. “We’re the time guardians, let us in,” a deep voice said.

“There’s no such thing,” the youngest brother replied.

“We’re from the future, sent to fix past events that were messed up by unregulated time travel,” the voice said.

“If you’re from my future, shouldn’t you leave me alone as part of the past?” the brother threw his things into a bag and grabbed his time machine.

“Let us in, and we’ll talk about it,” the voice said. The door creaked as it began to open.

The youngest brother grabbed his time machine and set it to home in on his brothers. It took him to the nearest one, the middle brother. He was living in Renaissance Italy.

When the youngest brother arrived, the middle brother was in the middle of a discussion with a number of important scholars. The youngest brother hid until they left, and then he hurried into the house. “Brother, guess what?”

“What are you doing here?” the middle brother asked, looking annoyed.

“There are time guardians from the future trying to stop us from changing anything in the past.” The youngest brother looked around. “Hey, are you going to eat that? I missed bread more than I thought I would.”

The middle brother passed him the loaf, looking thoughtful. “Time guardians? Are you sure?”

The youngest brother nodded. “They said they were from our future.”

“If they’re from our future, shouldn’t they leave us alone as part of the past?”

“That’s what I said!” The youngest brother looked out the window. “Hey, are you expecting company?”

“No, why?”

The youngest brother pointed. “There’s a group of people headed this way. Oh, here they are.”

Someone knocked on the door. “We’re the time guardians, let us in,” a deep voice said.

“There’s no such thing,” the middle brother said. He quickly packed a bag and grabbed his time machine. He looked at the youngest brother, who was already setting the machine to jump to their oldest brother.

“We’re from the future –” the voice began, but the brothers left before they could hear the end of the sentence.

The youngest brother was still holding the loaf of bread. He chewed on it as he looked around. “Where are we?”

“Moon Base Alpha,” the oldest brother said, stepping away from the sink and wiping his hands on his coveralls. “They needed a permanent maintenance worker, and I was familiar enough with the technology to impress them. I got the job.”

“But didn’t they abandon that base when the funding ran out?” the middle brother asked.

“Yes, and it was self-sustaining,” the oldest brother said. “I think I can make a case for staying on and maintaining things if I volunteer my time for room and board.”

“But won’t you get lonely?” the youngest brother asked.

“Video chats. Plus, they’ll develop teleporters soon enough. If the base is in good working order, maybe they’ll select it as a tourist site or a historical monument.” The oldest brother shrugged. “I thought it was worth the risk.”

“Do they need any more maintenance workers?” the middle brother asked. “We need a place to hide from the time guardians.”

“There’s no such thing,” the oldest brother said.

“Yes there is. They’re from our future,” the youngest brother said. “They want us to stop messing with the past.”

“If they’re from our future, shouldn’t they leave us alone as part of the past?”

“That’s what I said,” the youngest and middle brothers said together.

The oldest brother sighed. “Tell me what you know.”

The other two brothers shrugged. “That’s pretty much it,” the youngest brother admitted.

“You didn’t stay and talk to them? Of course you didn’t.” The oldest brother shook his head.

Just then, someone knocked on the door. “We’re the time guardians, let us in,” a deep voice said.

“Coming,” said the oldest brother. He let them in.

The men in spacesuits took off their helmets after they came through the air locks. They sat down on the chairs in the lobby of the station across from the three brothers. “We’re from the future,” one of the men began in a deep voice.

“And you don’t want us to change the past,” the youngest brother said.

“That’s right,” the man said.

“What about maintaining it?” the oldest brother asked. “Can we get permission for that? Or research? There must be some way that we can use our time machines without hurting the past or the future.”

“Of course there is,” the man said. “Let me give you some of the paperwork with the rules you need to follow. If you are willing to agree to the rules, and come to the future for some training, we would be happy to allow you to continue to use your time machines.”

And so the brothers read the rules and went to the training. The youngest brother joined the time guardians. The middle brother became a historian. The oldest brother continued to live on the moon. And they all lived happily long before they were born.

The end.