Chronodynamics (Timewatch)

Something I’m going to be working on, for later.


(This writeup is meant for use with the TimeWatch RPG.)

Founded: 1997 CE

Staff (Current): 60, scattered across several historical eras

Notable staff: Tim Decker (CEO); Cindy Rosario-Decker (CFO); Hatice Kaptan (Chief Technological Officer); Oscar Miller (Chief of Security); Pat from IT

In a 1997 a Turkish-American graduate student in physics named Hatice Kaptan stumbled upon the working principles of temporal projection. Sort of: she was actually provided full schematics by an individual who appeared to be her fairly older future self. Future Hatice explained that in her 1997 she had been given considerably scantier research by an even older version of herself, and had spent twenty years refining it into something actually useful. So here was the research; here were working temporal projectors; and don’t worry about setting up a company. Cindy Rosario (MBA) (Hatice’s Undergraduate roommate, and current best friend) was even now being briefed by Future Cindy on how to handle that aspect of the process. All Hatice had to do was ‘discover’ it herself, incorporate ‘Chronodynamics,’ and watch the money roll in from the commercial exploitation of time itself.

Unamazingly, it worked, not least because Hatice and Cindy quickly got into the habit of going back in time to warn their past selves of any potential pitfalls. Cindy pulled in her fiance Tim to do the public relations and glad handling needed for the company; Oscar Miller was hastily added to handle security after Chronodynamics demonstrated its first proof of concept for workable time travel. It seemed like every nut or lunatic in the world suddenly wanted to pound on the company’s doors, or possibly bust them down. Which merely meant that the upcoming IPO would be spectacularly successful. The world would be theirs! Or at least the parts that could be bought with a boatload of cash. 

On Oscar’s recommendation, the company decided that the entire Chronodynamics staff should take a working vacation in the distant past, partially because it would be a chance to avoid the crazies completely but mostly because he wanted to hunt smilodons. So the entire company put on their special temporal projectors (each one slaved to a master control unit), and went on a two-week frolic/bacchinala. 

It was during this ‘time’ that TimeWatch finally noticed the increasing levels of paradox being generated by Chronodynamic’s Ouborous Loop of self-creation, and neatly excised it by making sure Cindy and Hatice never roomed together in the first place. The agents involved in the operation assumed that the Chronodynamic staffers would be painlessly subsumed into their new selves once they returned home. However, the temporal projectors were very well designed, allowing every staffer wearing one to remember his or her past life. Particularly the part where they were all about to get rich.

This had consequences. Tim Decker had been in charge of hiring, and he had looked for a particular type of staffer: ambitious, driven to succeed, willing to suffer a bit if there was a big enough payoff at the end — and while none of them were actual sociopaths, none of them had any trouble choosing their personal comfort over the theoretical dangers to the timeline. And, besides (as Tim pointed out, during the first hasty post-return planning sessions): hadn’t the timeline been changed already? All they were doing was fixing whatever went wrong.

That fix is what motivates Chronodynamics today. First and foremost, everyone in the company wants their original timeline back, mostly because that’s where their stock options are. Very few staffers had distinctly worse lives because of the timeline shift; but none of them are about to be insanely wealthy. To the kind of person who signed on with the company, that’s intolerable, particularly since it (to them) seems to have been purely due to a random eddy of the timestream. Why should they privilege this world, then? There’s a better one out there!

Operations: careful and discreet. The majority of the Chronodynamics staff works in Europo-America between the years 1960 and 1990 CE. It is trivially easy to make money quietly in that period, provided that the transactions are carefully chosen to be as unobtrusive as possible, with an emphasis on long-term payoffs. The staff assumes that too many temporal jumps at once are what got them into this mess, so they try to keep the time travel itself to a bare minimum. There is an entire set of self-imposed restrictions on how often one of them should use their temporal projectors, which ironically keeps them out of Timewatch’s notice.

Chronodynamics is currently run by its Board of Directors: the Deckers, Dr. Kaptan, Miller… and Pat from IT. Pat is in charge of the master control unit that is keeping the individual temporal projectors stabilized, and understands it better than anyone else, including Dr. Kaptan; the rest of the Board has been careful to make Pat feel like a valued member of the Chronodynamics leadership team. How successful they have been at that has yet to be determined. The Board generally operates in the year 1986, in a variety of self-contained storage units in Burbank, California. They do their best to avoid their ‘past’ and ‘future’ selves.

The Board by now suspects that there are other time travelers out there, but are uncertain of what their response should be. Or what the best future path is. Tim Decker wants to revert the timeline, come what may; Cindy Rosario-Decker is happy with the money the company is accumulating now. Dr. Kaptan wants to refine further what is sort of her life’s work (and get recognized for it); Pat from IT has thoughts on what the temporal projectors could be used for. And Oscar Miller takes the position that if Chronodynamics does encounter other time travelers, perhaps negotiations might be in order? The security chief has a pretty good idea of the company’s military resources, and they’re hardly infinite.

Timewatch and Chronodynamics: One of the interesting things about Chronodynamics is that its staff would be worth recruiting for Timewatch; they’re generally smart, resourceful, and not hung up on sentimentality for alternate timelines. Ideally, upon discovery Timewatch will in fact send in a negotiation team to bring the company into the fold, perhaps as a semi-autonomous corporation that can look after shell corporations and 20th-21st century physical assets. Which would not be in Chronodynamics’ original mission statement, but it beats being subsumed entirely once Timewatch deactivates all their temporal projectors.

Unfortunately, at least one member of the Board will disapprove of any kind of deal. Below are some possible motivations for any one Board member decision to sabotage the negotiations. Note that these do not all have to be used!

  • Tim Decker doesn’t want to be richer than Croesus, and more powerful than any mere time-bound king. He wants everybody he knows to see him be rich, and powerful, and then he wants them to blink back their bitter tears of envy. He’d rather the entire company fades away, than him be denied that moment of petty glory.
  • Cindy Rosario-Decker might go along with the negotiations, but only on the surface. Underneath she’ll be plotting to insinuate herself into Timewatch, and take it over. There’s always an angle.
  • Hatice Kaptan always told herself that even if she hadn’t personally invented time travel, a version of her did. That was enough. The discovery of other time travelers ripped a hole through her psyche, and let the madness in. Now she has a different cause: to become the true inventor of time travel. Yes, that means a lot of people must be erased from history. Fortunately, she is brilliant enough to have independently come up with a working model of time travel; surely she can come up with a suitable excision program.
  • Oscar Miller thought that Timewatch would have been more… morally flexible about things. After all: when you have time travel, everything’s allowed, right? But all he really needs is the master control unit, perhaps Pat from IT, and a head start. After that, a man could have himself a good time out there, in the darker corners of history. A real good time.

And, again, Pat from IT has thoughts on what the temporal projectors could be used for.