Disclaimer: I don't own Slaughterhouse Five, nor the concept of Kilgore Trout.
Author's Note: This was an English assignment - to write a short story under the auspices of Kurt Vonnegut's description... It's some of my better work, I think, but it's not that engaging in my opinion. After all, there's no fighting or explosions. Heh. I feel like I should add some just for the sake of art, yeah.
It's year 2011, and you're standing alone in front of your recently commissioned time machine of all things.
You're a religious man, and you feel as if the thirty eight million dollars you sent on the time machine might not have been worth it. After all, there are so many worthy charities. But the temptation to meet your Lord has proven too great. In the height of fervor or arrogance (your Minister disagrees each time you bring it up with him), you had taken your Wellian dream to Switzerland, where the scientists nodded, and began working.
Five years later, your headset is droning in your ear. The head scientist is briefing you about the space-time continuum and Calibu-Yau matrices. You barely pay him any mind. Tis a gift to be simple, after all. The man's final scientific message is based on the immutability of time, but you haven't the foggiest of what the word meant, and even if you did, you are sure it would not interfere with the designs of the Lord.
The scientist loses his calm, his cool, and his utterly professional demeanor, and agitatedly asks you what you mean to do with the machine, after confirming that it would, indeed, work.
"Where in time are you going to visit, exactly?"
You ignore him.
A sigh escapes your lips, and it comes out as a rush of static. You review the things you had heard - three percent error ratio...
"There's 97 percent accuracy on this bugger, isn't there?"
The scientist is the one to sigh this time, and you discover that the rush of static is more unpleasant on the receiving end.
"Try not to go further than three hundred years into the past, if you want to land within the decade of your target. Remember to set coordinates to the second - that would guarantee that you arrive within three miles of the target. You can meet Washington crossing the Delaware, or Ben Franklin flying the kite..."
For a moment, you toy with the idea of letting the scientist know that you'll be going to visit your Lord Jesus Christ, but you decide that the less he knew about the entire operation, the better it would be.
"The headset will be off-line as soon as you step into the pod. And a last piece of advice. Don't try to change the past. It won't work. There's nothing in the world that can change the past, not even a time machine.", the scientist says.
You nod unconsciously, choosing to ignore the man again. You know that he isn't religious, and would probably disapprove of your mission.
You climb into the harness. It's very post-millennial, and futuristic looking, all atomic bombs and chrome and flashing buttons that you know you shouldn't press.
You give a cheeky grin, which slowly dissolves into a smirk of triumph at the camera, and crank the dial up to two thousand years, completely ignoring the three percent error ratio. You hit the large green switch.
"T minus Seven Hours and Forty Two minutes", claims a voice designed to sound like a woman with a passing British accent. Her voice box, made of a thousand nuts, a thousand bolts, and a liter of oil, is strained in a way only metal could be, a keening whine.
The darkness is strange.
The only light is ghostly, speaking of spirits and souls counting down very slowly, slowly, quickly, and by milliseconds. You are transfixed for the better part of a minute, as the green glow stares at you.
There is no sound, but you're unable to sleep. An all-consuming lethargy floods your veins, but your eyes remain open with a localized nervous energy.
The oxygen tanks pump air into your lungs and you begin to wonder where you would land. The coordinates you set are 'long-attitudely' set to the nearest second.
You scoff quietly, but the lack of sound forces the exhalation of air upon your ears as if you had yelled. "Who names pieces on the map in minutes and seconds?" You're sure that you had whispered, but once again, it is louder than anything you had ever heard.
The encyclopedic whatchamacallit responds in the same oil-and-tin-can timbre. "Longitude and Latitude were first mapped by the-"
"Shut up", you growl. Your whisper was loud. You indoor-voice was deafening. The machine stops talking.
Darkness again. You would have no clue whether a minute, a day, or a thousand years had passed in the near-absolute darkness if not for the iridescent timekeeper.
And then, suddenly, an eternity later, no more than a second from the moment you'd told the machine to stop speaking, a crunch sounds. It's an interdimensional crunch, full of potential, mystery and the future- the past?
The machine lurches, and for a moment, you wonder if your entire wait in the machine has been for naught, you wonder if this was the end. You very nearly throw up.
And then, there's a hiss of released air pressure, and the rubber air seals pop apart, and the door slowly opens.
"Why hello there!" said a younger boy.
You blink. "Hello there, little guy! Would you like to tell me where we are right now? I'm a little bit disoriented." His Hebrew was flawless, but it was still two thousand years too early to have the accent that he did.
"Nazareth, of course, stranger. Why are you here?"
You nod, and begin to extol the virtues of your Lord, and you tell the boy that you are here to meet the Messiah. The boy looks at you in wonder as you begin to tell him about the parables of Christ, and the heartbreaking story of how your Savior was crucified.
"Say, what was your name again, boy?"
"I'm Jesus of Nazareth."
"What... whats today's date?"
"It's the seventeenth of Sivan, three thousand seven hundred and thirty."
You work out the numbers in your head for a moment - you've never been great at math, and realize that the boy in front of you was truly Jesus Christ.
It was that moment when the man who could only be Joseph ran up to the boy, huffing and puffing. "Jesus! We have to get back to work! The execution's scheduled for next Monday."
"What execution?" you ask, mildly perturbed.
"Oh, there's been some sort of rabble-rouser talking about seeing the Messiah. He's going to get Crucified, and we're designing the cross."
There's nothing in the world that can change the past.
You nod unconsciously, and tell the duo that you must be off. The last thing you hear as the time machine closes on you like a futuristic shell of sorts is Jesus telling his father about forgiveness. Your eyes narrow in slight confusion.
You crank the dial forward several decades, hoping to reach Jesus near the end of his life, and receive the man's wisdom.
The Darkness engulfs you again, and you ponder the significance of Jesus learning about his own teachings from you.
Deep in the recesses of your mind, your soul, your faith snaps like a steel link brought to absolute zero - cold, miserable and with a slight hiss.
The hiss is very loud in the confined space.
You arrive as Jesus is taken off the Cross, and brought into the Cave at Golgatha.
You walk into the Cave, and you place your hand on his chest.
You take his body, and vanish into Time.