I’m not too sure about some of these old-time folks, particularly the ones from around the turn of the century, by which I mean the late 1800s. They’re close enough to modernity to have an inkling of what’s in store, but far enough away that they can’t see the potential pitfalls of the impending technological boom.
That’s why we started going back in time in the first place – to warn them of what would come to pass without the benefit of hindsight. We would effectively be delivering that benefit to them. Are they willing to listen? Yes and no. They’ll pay rapt attention to descriptions of life in the 21st century, particularly anything to do with cars: building cars, car repairs, auto electrics, diesel tuning and just about anything else on the topic. Go figure.
Their attention drifts when we try to explain the real purpose of our mission, which is to discourage them from pursuing this technology. My concern is that we’re actually doing the opposite – giving them the key information they need to go ahead and create the same scenario all over again. That’s only fair, I guess. If time loops are as much of a thing as they appear to be, this is the way it’s always panned out. It kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing, yet it’s happening… I try not to think about that too much.
It doesn’t help that our time-base is set up almost exactly like a contemporary car service centre. Bankstown circa 1880 is dramatically different from Bankstown in 2020, yet many of the locals seem to have an instinctual understanding of what’s going on in the workshop. They’ve got enough of a clue to piece together what an air conditioning regas is all about, despite not yet having developed refrigerant technology.
It’s all a bit uncanny for my liking, I’ll tell you that much. As soon as this mission’s done, I’m going to request to be put back on the space program.