I don't really know what to do now. There is no Internet anymore. The last piece of the Internet the world was concerned about was that crowdfunding page. I saw it too. It was good This is what it said:
“Funded in 1 hour!” (Imagine that!)
“Have you ever sent a mail or a text that you regretted the moment you hit the “send” button, or later, when the consequences backfired? Have you sent a mail to your boss’ secretary the day after your wild office party, thanking her for the great after-party you two had in her room, and mistakenly hit the “Send-To-All” button, thereby losing both your job and your wife? Are you a politician who expressed your archaic views on a minority group in a mail to a colleague, but sent the mail to a pesky journalist with almost the same name instead? Have you ever been in a bad mood after getting your lunch hot dog stolen by a seagull and immediately sent a text to your boyfriend, telling him what you really think about Liverpool F.C, only to find out, later that evening, that he moved out after getting you message and you never saw him again?”
“Well, don't despair; help is on its way. With the app Retroverser you are going to be able to unsend or change all those messages. Retroverser acts in the submerged, mass-independent network that exists underneath an ordinary quantum field, thereby eliminating restraints imposed by time. When you start the app, it asks if you want to change the message or delete it all together (since the app already knows what message you regret by analysing your future history). After you entered your answer you just have to tap the OK button and the embarrassing message will be forever changed - along with all the negative effects it caused. You will still be employed and married. You will still be a politician in the game. You will still have a boyfriend.”
“Kronos Entertainment has produced several successful triple A computer games, such as “Winmore World” and “Space Princes”. After the acquisition of Chiphouse Studios, we are now entering the utility software market with a series of time-defying apps, starting with Retroverser. As a backer on entry level, you will receive the app, when it is bug-free and ready, together with all the stretch goals, including the Retroshopper add-on, which allows you to text a revised shopping list to your spouse after he or she has come home with the groceries.”
“This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, April 1. Back us today!”
I wish I could say that people took it for what it was and that, when they saw the closing date, they laughed and appreciated the joke. But that wasn't what happened. I am sure that many, perhaps even a majority, doubted that there even was such a thing as a “mass-independent network” or that it was possible for computer programs to travel in time, but they were too afraid of what could happen if they were wrong.
This is what people thought: What if someone sends himself an e-mail or a text with a lotto number - any number will do, it doesn't matter? Then he waits until the winning number is revealed, fires up the Retroverser and changes the number in the message to the winning number. Great. He wins. Everybody wins. No problem. But what happens if somebody uses this idea on the stock market? That would mean chaos. Imagine (and that was what people did) that you text your broker and tell her to sell everything A and buy everything B. Then you wait a week and monitor the market, and at the right moment, you change your text to the most profitable option. If everybody did that, the consequences would be unpredictable and everything would end up in disaster. Shares would be worthless, big companies would crash, the capitalist system would crumble.
As it turned out, the app didn't have to be real; all that bad stuff happened anyway. It was enough that a handful of players missed the joke and sold everything they had, and a much larger handful said “better safe than sorry” and did the same. The stock market plummeted, and the international economy followed suit. But this was not the worst thing that happened.
Countries with the slightest touch of paranoia - which amounted to about three quarters of the world’s sovereign states - began to fear that their enemies, imagined or real, national or international, would try a retroverse on them (yes, retroverse became a verb). What if they tried a coup, just to see how it would work out? If it fails; no harm done, just retroverse the “Go!” order. What if they used the Bomb? If the international ramifications became too harsh; well, retroverse it. So governments all around the globe began to take precautionary actions; eliminating political opposition, preemptively attacking neighbouring countries and using the Bomb themselves so that nobody could use it on them.
And soon, ordinary people went mad. The notion that anyone; your best friend, your spouse, your children, anyone, could betray you or trick you or stab you in the back at any time without risking any consequences, seemed to release a poison in their minds. Divorces skyrocketed, violence and murder became the new pandemic.
For the first time since the Black Plague, the earth’s population was decreasing.
I was in the middle of this. I saw the crowdfunder page when it was new, and I laughed and thought it was rather clever. I knew about Kronos Entertainment and I knew they had a Sci-fi game with time travels in it, waiting to be launched. The fact that it was funded in less than an hour and that money seemed to pour in at an increasing rate should have worried me, but I thought that it, too, was a ploy.
Today, it’s April 1st. It is quiet outside. The riots have ended, the streets are almost empty. The few people I can see from my window are the people that always knew that the retroverser was a joke and acted accordingly. The rest? I don't know.
I just wish I could retroverse Kronos and tell them not to do it.