Apologies beforehand for how long this is. The question is, with the time travel rules described here, how can I kill off the first time traveller?
I have thought of a system where the first person to discover time travel uses it to collect the various lost treasures (which is why we never find them) as start up capital. He then starts Time Investments LLC which sends people back in time collect some money, let it grow with compound interest, and collect it in the future. The economic issues of 2008 were caused by TI personnel removing too much currency from circulation, which caused the collapse of the delicate debt equity trades that J P Morgan and others were then blamed for.
If it is not obvious, the main character is low economic class, volunteering for this company to send him back. He takes the risk, they take 25% of his earnings from the endeavour.
EDIT Some more details that the comments reveal as important.
- I am doing the single, flexible timeline. Yes, killing the first time traveller is going to make a lot of changes in this timeline, but the main character thinks it for the best and doesn't care what will snap back
- At first my main character is volunteering for this just to make money, like everybody else. He then realises that this company's actions have already negatively impacted his own life, and wants to stop them.
- The contract you sign with this company is to send you back in time for a consecutive period. You start a crowd funded project and let it fail, and deposit the money in their brokerage house, collect in the future. It would not make much sense for you to get to pick where you go, and they don't really give you a choice. They are only sending you instead of themselves because of the physical risk, but they want to control as much as possible.
- Business logic is the main rule as to what can and cant be done in the company.
Segment of my narrative below.
Transportation was rough. The rumors on the streets had vastly differed on the details, but they all had that one right. Some thought that time travel would always be impossible and the claims of TI where just a cover for black market organ sales. There was plenty of that in the dark corners already, no need to start a large, shiny company to cover more. Another line of thought went If time travel was real, why hadn't someone gone back and fixed this mess of a world so that every one had decent food and a dry cot. The answer to that one was obvious now; because the people who had time travel didn't care about who's backs they were standing on.
Part of what they don't tell you before you agree is how it works. They give you something that looks like a pear sculpted out of a heat sink, its grooves filled with glitter. That is for your mouth, and that glitter holds enough oxygen to keep you alive for 3 hours (synthetic cobalt hemoglobin, University of Southern Denmark). You have to climb into a pod, morbidly shaped like a coffin, and calmly suck on your metal pear as the pod fills with electrolyk gel. Then you are electrocuted. To be fair, it is not electricity they pump you with but a different form of energy, the end result being an enormous jump in your potential energy measurement; but it feels the same. The pod holds some piece of you in your time, a bio signature, so that nature knows where to put you when it realizes that you are out of place. That usually happens in about two weeks, as your synthetic potential dissipates. So if you sign for a 3 month contract you just volunteered for 6 electrocutions give or take your personal resilience.
Time travel is like throwing yourself up a cliff, it takes a lot of energy and is against the normal way of things. Also, the top of the cliff where you now find yourself is shrinking, eventually becoming too small for you to stay and you fall off again. The physical sensations for the return traveler are peculiar, but not painful. The world around you starts to lose color around the 10th day. This decrease of detail escalates through your senses until a threshold is hit and you are suddenly sucked back. The 13th day is very dull, the sense of taste is gone, and the 14th-ish is down right depressing. Some people have an unusual resistance to nature; they are often the ones offered Warden positions because they require fewer shocks to stay in the past. Witnessing another traveler reach their threshold is still interesting. The spectacle is halfway between a pop and a zipper closing. The person flies to shiny pieces but at the same time all the space they occupy is being wrinkled and folded in; seamed up.
Part of what they do tell you are the rules that they have found do not bend. Most found by unfortunate circumstance.
One: You cannot jump to the same time slice twice. Your second entry breaks the connection of your first, and both copies of you are immediately returned to the present, with a very messy conclusion. This was confirmed with fruit, since one test is never enough for the scientists but none of them volunteered for the second. Related, you cannot jump to your own time because it causes a confusion of the bio signatures. Also tested with fruit. They have, however, shaved the delay for reentry to 6 minutes from your disappearance.
Two: Only organic material goes through, hence the fruit tests. One titanium joint was left inside the pod with the bio signature after the disapearance of the traveler. That is a horror story the street rumors actually had right, of a man trapped in a remote test location for a week, missing a piece of his internal structure. I will let your nightmares fill that one in, like mine have.
Three: An anchor point is needed, hence the use of the pods. If your bio signature is lost, so are you. This one still has some unanswered questions, because the return exit looks the same (pop-zip) but the traveler does not actually return.
Four: You Can cause chains of bad things, but they are always bad, and dont. Just dont. Part of the Time Warden's job is to identify who does what bad thing, and then a message is forwarded and they unplug your pod. It is in the contract; your bio signature gets purged if you step out of line. Things that are bad for the company are deemed more important than things that are bad for the world. After all, this is a financial institution, and we are here to make money.