Go, go, go said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future

What might been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always time present.

-T.S. Eliot

 

*Rochester, Minnesota was first established as a stagecoach stop for travelers en route between western outposts. It soon prospered when the railroad came through town. In 1883, a tornado devastated much of the city structure and left thousands wounded. Hotels, dance halls and lodge room were used as hospitals, where Dr. William Mayo--who had moved to the city as a Civil War examining surgeon--treated the injured residents. Afterward he founded a permanent hospital that in time would become the Mayo Clinic, known for its dedication to the latest advances in medicine and surgical procedures. By the turn of the twenty-first century, the Clinic was treating millions of people a year, many of its patients traveling to the city for specialized care. The Clinic’s facilities grew to encompass Rochester’s downtown and were connected by underground passages and enclosed skyways--an extensive network that included affiliated hotels, restaurants and parking garages. Once could park a car and traverse the central city without ever stepping outside.

Beyond this network, on the northwest outskirts of Rochester, the International Business Machines (IBM) facility was built in the late 1950’s amidst prairies and farmland. Together with the Mayo CLinic, IBM was one of the town’s largest employers. Record has it that in 2036, a Major John Titor, on US Army orders, traveled to a previous world-line to retrieve an IBM 5100 from his grandfather who was developing the system in the mid 1970’s at the Rochester facility. In its first incarnation, the 5100 had the unique capacity to read and change all of the legacy code written by IBM before the release of that system, yet was still able to create new code in APL and BASIC. It is believed that the Major, a Chevy-man, traveled to Rochester in a 1966 Corvette convertible and left in a 1987 Suburban 4x4.

*This piece was commissioned by Die Plannung/A Terv and first appeared in issue no. 117, June/July 2036. (sic)