Time Travel Seed: ‘The Ouroboros Sanction.’



The Ouroboros Sanction


Organizations that routinely use time travel will inevitably encounter people or groups who just refuse to respect everybody else’s temporal space. There’s just something about being able to go backwards and forwards in time that encourages a certain kind of individual… to wit, the kind of individual who can be described as ‘sociopathic,’ ‘megalomaniacal,’ or even ‘apocalyptic.’ The problem with punishing people for acting according to those impulses is that time travellers can theoretically go back later and retroactively undo whatever it was that got them caught in the first place. Or, if the time traveller is personally isolated from time travel, then the traveller’s friends, allies, or minions might do it for them. It’s hard to jail a time traveller, is what the situation is here.


One answer to this conundrum is the Ouroboros Sanction: it is a fairly vicious sort of time trap. Using somewhat hyper-advanced temporal technology, a piece of a timeline (typically, no more than a hour or two) can be ‘looped,’ then pinched off from the rest. The target is then injected into the looped time and… forgotten, typically. Inside the looped time, everyone and everything only experiences the time caught in the loop; as the timeline resets, so does their memories and surroundings. And that includes any rescue parties: if you don’t get your target out on the first try, you probably won’t be able to do it at all on your own.


Ouroboros Sanctions are never going to be popular, except in distinctly unpleasant and dystopian game worlds.  Indeed, in some game worlds it’s not so much a ‘punishment’ as it is a ‘war crime.’  But even in worlds where the Sanctions are illegal there’s still going to be people exercising them. Because sometimes horrible things need to happen to horrible people… for given values of ‘horrible,’ of course.


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