You are a former nuclear scientist who has researched in the field of fusion, who is in possession of a device that once activated will create a two-way portal into any time period on Earth.

  • The time-portal is created based on the relative position to Earth and does not require adjusting the position in relation to space.

  • Once the initial portal is created you can not change its location or its position in time; you may only turn it off or on (from both sides).

  • You can both go backward to the formation of the earth, or go forward until the destruction of the earth by the sun.

In four months you are going to be framed for the crime of stealing the device from the government, and authorities are going to be looking for you. For this reason, you are planning to escape to another time period of your choice; Where you will build a lair and may live for a relatively large amount of time. You will have to live there comfortably without needing to contact any civilization.

You have two weeks to decide on a period and the resources that you'll need. After that, you will collect any number of essential & survival items, plus construction resources to build a lair. In four months, you'll move there before shutting down the time-portal device for good.

Additionally, you will bring most of your work through the portal with you with the intention of continuing to work on projects.

You have no crew to help you in any part of your plan. You can not bring infinite resources, so you have to choose wisely on any means to provide for your future needs. You have extended knowledge on how to build stuff and grow food, but basic skill set (e.g. don't know how to hunt).

What time period will you be choosing? What will you take with yourself?

Consider the following:

  • Basic needs such as food and water, clothing
  • Construction items (such as resources, tools, machines, etc) and any means to form a home and your lab
  • Means of producing energy to power your lair or any vehicles you might use
  • Equipment such as surveillance, communication, a toolbox
  • Electronics such as computers (laptop, mobile phone, mp3 player, servers, switches, routers)
  • Any sort of entertainment or education (books, movies, etc)
  • Security and defense (other civilizations might threaten you, there are always natural threats and disasters, and a carnivorous dinosaur could always eat you if you end up in prehistoric times without any through thoughgt plans.)
  • Medical care (how do you plan to treat potential injuries, infections (e.g. bacterial, viral) and treat rare or unknown diseases to your time.)
  • Language barriers (You are a native modern English speaker, and you know only a handful of other languages, such as Mandrian. Your French pronunciation is painfully terrible, but you can maintain a conversation.)
  • Plans to find/collect/buy resources. If you are moving to a human populated era, you should have some sorts of income. Otherwise, you should have plans to hunt and/or farm food, find fuel and other valuable resources.

P.S. I'd like to have some electricity in order to run my laptop and the servers that I'm bringing with myself. I'm also worried for protection against any harm to my equipment and resources.

Thanks for bringing up some good points! Here are some more explanation to the character and the portal device.

Edits in regards to the portal mechanism

  1. There are no lairs built by our character yet. You have in total four months to either start construction on a liar, use a naturally occurring confined space (such as caves) or any kind of abandoned human creations (such as buildings, bunkers, mines, etc)
  2. The only thing our character has (other than the resources he or she picks) is a device which creates a portal to a fixed time and a fixed place relative to Earth. Accept that the portal can spontaneously open to any time ranged in the above requirements, and any place on the planet Earth. (e.g. if one side of the portal is opened in the Devonian period (389.7 million years ago), you need to factor the atmosphere difference. If the portal is opened in the ocean, you'll have to come up with a way to deal with immense water pressure.)
  3. Once any side of the portal is opened, you can not change the time period of that side. You may slightly change the physical position by moving the device in small distances. Also, the physical location of the portals are linked together (e.g. You move one side, the other side moves in relative to the first side).
  4. The character can place the portal in any time and place of their choice. They only restriction is that they may not change the time after it's opened, and they'll have limitations in moving the physical location of the portal. (See 3.) They can, however, form the lair around the portal, or move the portal to a constructed (or a discovered) lair of their choice.
  5. As to "what's to stop the government from finding the portal and going after him?", assume that the government will eventually find OR currently know the physical location of their time side of the portal; however, they don't know the time of the other side which it will open to, and furthermore are unable to open the portal once it has been closed. Only our character is in possession of the off/on switch to the portal.

Edits in regards to the character

  1. Our character is feeling adventurous and is open to absolutely any kind of time which is or could be made habitable.
  2. Human interaction is not a plus as our character has an high-functioning introvert anti-social personality.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Has he built the lair yet? How is he going to travel to the past, for example, if the portal isn't set up already? Why would he not place the portal in his lair? What's to stop the government from finding the portal and going after him? Does he have any preferences? Is human interaction a plus? Is there some modern amenity he just can't do without--the latest season of Dancing on Ice or something? $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Nov 29, 2018 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ You've made a good start with things like the list of things to consider but this still feels very broad/opinion based. There are thousands of possible answers each with different advantages and disadvantages. I think you need to find some way to narrow it down or this question is likely to be closed. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ Building on @TimB's comment: it's hard to believe that there's a best answer here because every time period will have its pros and cons. This makes the question too story-based (meaning the answer is too dependent on the circumstances of your story rather than the rules/systems of your world). $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2018 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I'd like to avoid any story-specific answers, and have general ideas of pros and cons of each choice our character could make (I hope I can hear them in the answers.) – The accepted answer will be the best planned / most thoughtful one. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2018 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ That's the problem, David. The circumstances of your story are required as a function of determining the pros and cons. Which time period is best is literally a choice you make. There isn't one that's best based on the rules of your world. Please remember that SE is not a discussion forum. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2018 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


Live a full life, but just recently.

You wouldn't go into the future, because knowledge of your 'crime' exists and you could be easily caught.

You need to go therefore to the past. However, you want to ensure the following:

  • Access to a fairly recent technologically adept civilisation in order to conduct repairs on your equipment in case any break down. Need factories, metallurgical expertise, mining resources.

  • Access to medical facilities that are advanced enough to supply you with most needs. In particular: Antibiotics (which is likely the most needed form of medicine) if your mobile medicine supply dries up.

  • Access to some form of entertainment obtainable without too much interaction - ie. T.V. and radio.

  • Culturally similar (as in don't need to learn a foreign language), but for which you have knowledge of recent events to avoid (conflict, nuclear testing, etc.) that is easily rememberable.

  • Not sure of the time paradox issue in your scenario, but you don't want to accidentally erase your existence by altering some long distant ancestor. You would therefore want to ensure events mostly go as they have been. More recent events altered would be preferable and easier to ensure cascading down history your ancestors continue to do what they have done, compared to long ago.

You would also want to live a full life (average 80 year lifespan).

If you are 30 now, then go back 50 years to live out your full lifespan (or 60 back to give some latitude) back to say 1960, in a region of the world with the above benefits.

  • $\begingroup$ Very good and insightful! You successfully address many of the points in the question really well, and the potential paradox you mentioned is something important to consider. Could you also add any kind of suggestions on how could I form a lair in the late 50s to the early 70s to continue working on my experiments? $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2018 at 14:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DRSDavidSoft The world is vast, especially back in the 60s. I would choose a location isolated, yet close to a town, for the above mentioned supplies. Also, you would want a region that you know was stable (geologically and politically). Remote Australia is a good bet, close to a town. No conflict, stable political system, plenty of natural resources, access to technology and medicine. Also, very little geological activity, fairly stable weather, plenty of sun for solar power. And plenty of caves, good artesian water system, and lots of minerals. $\endgroup$
    – flox
    Nov 29, 2018 at 15:23

Move to ancient Egypt and get a job as a "wizard" for the pharaoh.

Your technology will allow you to impress the locals with magic. Without quotes, because your technology will be sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from magic. This will grant you with free housing and protection.

With your knowledge or biology, chemistry and physics, you will be able to advance their technological level. They will be able to perform simple surgeries and make medicines for a lot of stuff, so you've got your medical needs covered. They will be able to bake bread and brew beer, so you don't have to cook for yourself. They also loved cats and will be able to provide you with a very wicked face, which is a must for every mad scientist villain like you.

With your help, they may be able to build majestic structures to hold treasures and secrets. Those will keep 20th century historians and scientists awake for nights at a time trying to explain how they were built, making you one of the oldest trolls in history.

  • $\begingroup$ Great answer! Some questions though: 1- what resources do I take to Egypt in order to rely on myself before I can use theirs, and what to always keep on myself? 2- Do I prefer any specific time in Egypt? Do I want to keep away from any specific decades? 3- Since I don't speak Egyptian, what do I study in order to communicate properly with them? $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2018 at 14:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Take a chemistry and some books with you. Use the kit for magic and the books as reference whenever you need an equation or a principle. Go to any time before they were dominated by the romans; And don't worry about language. If you are smart enough to be a nuclear scientist, you are smart enough to learn a language on the run. We don't have any spoken egyptian reference left in our own time anyway. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2018 at 14:49

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