TTC: Commentary 02

“Time & Tied” PARTS 3 & 4

DAE_MathTans1. Original Date Of Completion: OCT 27, 2000
2. What I Was Doing: Finishing my University Degree
3. Hard Date Change: They’d travelled back 11 years – to Aug 22, 1988.
4. Other changes of note:
-Removal of the “teaser”
-The remark about the $20 not existing included mention of a holographic square
-Elaine used to have only 20 minutes to check in and go through security


You’ll notice I wrote this episode before 9/11 (Sept 11, 2001). In fact, another content change was Frank mentioning “9/11” after his “World Wars” comment – since they’re at an airport. (Interestingly, based on my original timeline, Carrie’s present would have been two weeks after the 9/11 attacks in the US! Who knew?) Thus while my original thought of ’20 minutes to get through security’ was unlikely, it would be downright impossible now – even in Canada. Plot-wise, there’s also the complication of modern electronic devices. Why couldn’t Elaine verify the information Carrie gave? I tried to get around all that as best as I could.

You might ask why I didn’t simply change the circumstances of Elaine’s death, to avoid the air travel problem altogether. Well, because I needed her gone, presumed dead, but without a body. After all, the circumstances of Elaine’s “disappearance” has been a major sore point between Carrie and her father for over a decade. (Does this mean Elaine’s still alive and could be coming back? Not telling!) A plane and the Bermuda Triangle, it was a handy way to do what I wanted. That’s also why she went via Miami, another vertex of the triangle, even though it’s a bit out of the way when flying out of Ontario.

I have no idea if the recently vanishing planes of 2014 make the story more or less convincing, but it does make wonder what I got myself into. Air disasters in a story: surprisingly complicated. If you have any thoughts for or against plausibility, feel free to comment.


XoversCSpoilers (up to part 4) follow.

Concerning the “other changes”, above: I mentioned last time that I’d envisioned the whole serial as a TV series (before I knew what a ‘serial’ was). This included writing a teaser, a one paragraph opening that would lead into the theme song. For this episode, that opening was Carrie and Frank running out of a baggage conveyor belt after it shut down, as a guy named Lars bemoaned the loss of his bags again. I could not find a smooth way to keep it, hence why Frank pushed past a guy with a ‘Lars’ shirt in this version.

Regarding the time machine: When I was in high school, I used to pick up coins in the hallways. I started collecting old coins after that (not actively, only passively), by checking the dates of my change. I still see hallway coins now that I’m a teacher (though tend to leave them there). Of course, there’s no pennies, because Canada got rid of those in early 2013. Time marches on. But why couldn’t quarters be used to not only power, but program, a time machine?

That’s another reason why this story needed to get out sooner rather than later — after centuries of coin based economy, we’re shifting to credit. People don’t carry coins like they used to. Yet the “futuristic” time machine doesn’t have a credit card setting. Even bills today are different – originally Frank was worried about the “holographic square” on his $20, now Canadian $20s are a plastic derivative, not even paper. (As to the spatial circuits of the time machine, stay tuned.)

Character-wise, I’ve now cemented the old cliche of “popular athletic girl hooks up with brainy guy”. But at the same time, I was aiming for some subversions. Carrie is more than a pretty face with a sharp kick, she’s good at thinking on her feet – and without the conversation scaffolding she laid down, I doubt Frank would have been able to finesse the situation as he did. Meanwhile, Frank isn’t solely focused on the science – despite the abuse, he does care about what happens to Carrie. Plus, the impressions the characters have of each other include a two year temporal discontinuity, which I try to remind readers of when I go into their thoughts.

“The Plane Truth” was the original chapter title (also a slight pun on the ‘temporal plane’ truth), “Flight Attendance” was my recent addition after the episode split. Up next, more problems in the past.

Coming This Friday: Breakdown
(That chapter is already up on Wattpad, if you want to investigate there.)

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