Short Story: Terms and Conditions

Thank you for purchasing the TimeMaster 3000! Please read through these terms and conditions and signal your acceptance at the bottom by clicking “I accept”.

You are licensing this TimeMaster 3000 for your personal enjoyment. The time travel feature is provided purely for entertainment and demonstration purposes, and must not be operated in jurisdictions where this feature is illegal. Currently those jurisdictions include all countries in North and South America, all countries in Europe, all countries in Asia, all internationally-controlled areas of Antarctica, and all countries in Africa except for Somalia. By accepting these terms and conditions you are acknowledging that you will not use this feature in those jurisdictions. TimeMaster Inc accepts no liability for any loss or damage caused by illegal use of the TimeMaster 3000.

Any liability for damage caused by temporal paradoxes, including but not limited to the deaths of the user’s grandparents or other ancestors, the murder or non-birth of major historical figures such as dictators, or the death of insects in the Jurassic era, rests solely with the user. By accepting these terms and conditions you are accepting all liability for any such damage and indemnifying TimeMaster Inc against any legal action taken now, in the future, or in any alternate timelines.

The red button must not be pressed. Do not press the red button.

You acknowledge that the TimeMaster 3000 contains a safety feature which will activate if the user takes the TimeMaster back before July 31 2025. On all journeys before this time, any attempts by the user to upload the blueprints for the TimeMaster or to take it to a patent office, in any jurisdiction, will be met with sudden death. By accepting these terms and conditions you are accepting that you have no right to the intellectual property embodied in the TimeMaster 3000, in this or in any other timeline.

You acknowledge that you understand that the TimeMaster 3000, upon arrival in the past, causes minute deviations from the timeline you have previously experienced. You acknowledge that should you have purchased the TimeMaster 3000 on an installment plan, with the intention of using lottery winnings, proceeds from sports bets, or similar sources of funds to pay for the outstanding installments, you remain liable even should the results of said gambling not lead to the outcome you expect.

We repeat, the red button must not be pressed under any circumstances. TimeMaster Inc accepts no liability for loss of life, limb, or reproductive capability caused by pressing the red button.

By accepting these terms and conditions, you undertake not to bring any person or animal who has previously died into the present. You accept that resurrection of the dead is punishable by execution in many states, and that there are innumerable legal precedents regarding people who have previously been pronounced dead by a medical professional. You acknowledge that this applies to lost loved ones, to dead family pets from your childhood, and to estranged family members with whom you wish you had reconciled, as well as to all other people or animals.

You acknowledge that should agents for the Department of Temporal Security visit you upon switching on your TimeMaster 3000, you will not divulge the address of your TimeMaster 3000 supplier, and will not provide any details which will allow criminal enforcement actions to take place against TimeMaster Inc, its agents or employees.

Acceptance of these terms and conditions shall be taken as acceptance that TimeMaster Inc may take any action, up to and including, but not limited to, sending assassins into the torture chamber in which the DTS agents are holding you, to kill you before you provide the DTS with incriminating evidence. You accept full liability for any deaths caused by such a mission, including your own.

By clicking “Accept” you acknowledge that you hold full responsibility for your own medical or funeral expenses should you press the red button.

TimeMaster Inc may use any data collected on your travels to build up a complete biophysical profile of your timeline, and may use this for any purpose it sees fit, including but not limited to overthrowing democratically-elected governments and preventing the passage of the Time Travel Equipment (Criminalization) Act of 2028 by altering your votes in Congressional and Presidential elections after the fact.

By accepting these terms you are acknowledging that any changes that TimeMaster Inc has already made to your timeline, including the deaths of loved ones, the ending of intimate relationships, and the way you lost your last job and haven’t been able to get work in three years now, were all necessary for TimeMaster Inc’s end goals; that as without those changes to your timeline you would not have been willing to use dangerous and illegal technology for what you think are your own purposes but which actually serve a higher goal you will never understand; and that TimeMaster Inc bear no moral liability and should feel no guilt for what is about to happen.

To acknowledge that you have read and understood these conditions, just click below, and your TimeMaster 3000 will be ready for use! Be safe, and most importantly, have fun!

Your Friends At TimeMaster

This blog post was brought to you by the generosity of my backers on Patreon, who will also be getting another short story, “A Sceptical Werewolf in New York”, that will be Patreon-exclusive for at least a month. Why not join them and get that story?

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3 Responses to Short Story: Terms and Conditions

  1. Simon BJ says:

    From Somalia, I’ve been sending my earlier selves in the UK registered letters with instructions. Provided these are carried out I won’t have to press the red button. I hope my holding our future self to ransom like this will persuade my notoriously stubborn former-mes to comply. While still being outwith DTS jurisdiction…oh wait…what’s that noise..arrgh…burn the letters…..

    (Loved the story)

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