A New Way to Fight a World War, 2525 C.E.
John C. Mannone
Western Conference, 700 million down
Eastern Conference, 1.2 billion down
Opposing teams face off on the line of scrimmage,
reminiscent of ancient football and gladiator games
but without flesh and blood and broken bones.
There are no more time outs. Play goes to sudden death.
The clock ticks down, the crystal sphere of futures
is thrown deep down field. The Western Conference’s
wide receiver zigzags across the turf, the billion-dollar
athlete-cyborg stretches its arms, catches the glass, breaks
tackles power-running on the edge of the sidelines to the end
zone-time zone. The ref flashes the scoring laser, a detonation
from a space-borne armada destroys the opposing team’s
territory—10,000 square miles, computer-selected at random.
A direct hit; 11 million down.
To widen the advantage, the receiver is allowed to activate
the ball propelling this human-sent cyborg into the future.
What will it learn, what info could it bring back for the coach?
But back to where? Not here on the war-game field, causality
forbids return from time travel. The cyborg can only return
to a parallel universe. However, when it does, it will cause
eddies of time, swirling past, present, and future together—
they’re quantum entangled. A good coach knows how to
de-convolve the information to plan a better next play.
It’s a game of chance. From chaos, survival of the enemy
is possible, but more than likely his annihilation is imminent.
Now it’s the opposing team’s play, but their cyborg had already
predicted what just happened; they’re poised for double points.