Some science grads are working on an experiment to intercept tachyons to ‘see’ into the future. They succeed to initially see a very short distance into the future (a few seconds). Immediately they get the idea to see if they can change the future. They have the idea to watch themselves on the future monitor and when they see themselves do something in the future, they will try to do something in the present that is different. When they try this though the future monitor image becomes blurry. They realize that their conscious attempts to see the future and change it has made the future uncertain, and they are seeing some sort of overlap of all possible future paths. It becomes a kind of Heisenberg uncertainty principle (the act of observing changes the observed).
Extremely excited, but also somewhat disappointed, they swear secrecy until they have done more research. They continue to work on the device and improve it until it can see almost 1 day into the future.
Some fun things that happen while they are working on improving future sight range:
– While experimenting on the device an interesting thing happens where an accident is observed (a student spilling coffee on himself). The student declares that “That’s weird, there is no way I’m going to let that happen now” and he walks with his coffee extremely carefully. Another student rushes into the room colliding with him and causing the coffee to spill on him. The student would have missed him if he hadn’t been walking so slowly with his head down watching his coffee. One of the students has an epiphany, that you can see the future AND change it, as long as outcome that you see remains the same. This is interesting, but it’s not clear to anyone how this can be exploited.
– One grad gets the idea to try it on the stock market. He watches a penny stock at a company his dad works at and sees it crashing 90% in value. He immediately calls up his dad and pleads with him to sell all his shares immediately, saving his dad from a huge loss. His dad calls him later to thank him profusely as the stock tanks. Sometime later the dad calls and tells him he is being investigated by the SEC for stock manipulation and asks his son how he knew the stock was going to tank. Through some discussion the student finds out that his dad told some of his buddies (who told their buddies and so on). The student realizes that this future was a self-fulfilling prophecy. He doesn’t give up the idea, but realizes he must bet on large companies only, where his impact will be too limited to matter.
– Later on we see this grad pull up in an extremely expensive car.
The protagonist is watching the future news (the future of news on a tv in the lab) when the screen goes blurry. He thinks it’s strange as he can’t imagine any news he would see that he could change. Later the next day he sees the news just before where the future news went blurry, and then on comes breaking news of a terrorist event that occurred a thousand miles away from where he is. He discusses this with a friend as they try to figure out why he couldn’t see this news as he doubts he could have done anything to stop it or even affect it. “Maybe someone else has a machine to?” His friend suggests. The protagonist has the sudden horrifying realization that this must be true and that likely someone on their team has betrayed their secrecy pact and was working with the government. He suspects the guy with the fancy car who he always thought had low moral threshold.
The protagonist discusses this problem with his friend and feels that this technology is too dangerous in the hands of the government. The protagonist realizes that he needs to destroy the technology, but how? He friend agrees, but can’t think of a way either. He lies awake in his bed staring at streamed view of the device (which is in his lab) when suddenly he sees movement. A person in a mask comes in to the lab and shoots him three times. He watches his laptop in disbelief as he lies there dead. He glances at the future delay time and sees that this occurs roughly 17 hrs from now. He sees his friend wander into view and walk over, look into the device, and shut it off.
The protagonist panics and heads out into the night on his motorcycle riding around to clear his head. We see him the next morning sitting on a park bench feeding looking calm and at peace. He gets a call from his friend about a meeting he is late for. He calmly replies that he slept in, and he’ll be there soon. He carries through the day looking relatively calm, but with piercing eyes and a smile ‘mask’ when he looks at his friend.
He works away at his computer in the lab. He’s alone. A person in black comes in and shoots him three times, just like he saw. He lies there dead. His friend enters and starts talking logistics about packing up the machine. He walks over and turns it off and is shot in the back by the stranger, who packs up the machine and leaves with it.
Later we see the protagonist eyes suddenly open and then his face wince with pain. He slowly sits up, opens up his shirt and we see three bullet marks on his bullet proof vest. He gets up and leaves. We see him at the bank asking to withdraw money. “How much sir” – the teller asks. “All of it.” As he walks out with a suitcase we are left with the impression that it is a large amount of money.
Sometime in the future, we see government officials watching the future device when it starts to get blurry. “What’s going on they demand!”. One agent looking at his tablet says “I think I know” as he throws down his tablet. We see a website that says “Build a device that can see into the future”, with detailed plans and instructions.
We see the protagonist sitting at an outside bar in some tropical paradise. He has sunglasses on watching tv news with reporters talking some physicists. “So can this device really see into the future” … blah blah. He gets up, leaves a 100 bill on the counter and walks away.