I’ve thought about writing a short Steampunk story; sort of a Commander Jake and his squadron of Zeppelins. He’d have a girl named Betty Lindbergh and a mechanic side-kick named Ito. All the classic elements to a good pre-World War pulp fiction, action hero. But first I wanted to create a worthy villain.
Drawing upon The Time Machine for inspiration, I thought what if someone did build a time machine, went into the future, saw the wonderful advances and decided that he wanted to live forever. Let’s say he’s in his 50’s when he discovers the key to time, hatches a plan to give his younger self the technology (to travel through time) & future-knowledge to plan his future with — gaining power & wealth. However, the younger (and maybe smarter) self, upon hearing the older self’s plan & collecting his future-knowledge, formulates his own plan.
For the older-self (or future-self) to exists, and for the younger-self to be able to talk with him, can only exists for a short time. For once the younger-self makes any decisions, the future-self’s memory will become very fluid to reflect those decisions; and for both selfs to still be able to exist in the same point in time. You could use that to your advantage, make decisions then query your future-self on how it turned out… Then what if you could trap your future-self in time pocket; using wireless communication to you future-self in the time-pocket. After a point, the future-self would become insane, but still useful.
But then there are other questions like, if by trapping your future-self in a time-pocket or time-loop, can you prevent yourself from becoming older?
There are other things to consider the idea of choice could lead to the infinite possible futures or worlds… However, like AI, after exploring all the different choices, some branch-worlds would be eliminated because of bad-decision trees… so this idea of a governing force, or counter-balancing force, would guide most worlds down very similar paths (ie. most humanoid life found on most of these worlds would most likely all breath oxygen & speak english; there might be a counter-balancing reason why silicon based life could and would never exists, in this world or any other).
So, not only would this time machine need to travel through this world’s time, but be able to jump into the time-stream of other worlds.
What if, a time bubble could be made to wrap an individual human, say through a ring… or a pocket watch. Then that person wouldn’t grow old. And it would protect him from time anomalies.
It seems a little Dr. Who in nature… and since we’re talking about a criminal master-mind, more like the Master… but this wouldn’t be some Moriarty type of character, but he’d be a ruthless killer… with motives that are not easily seen, until certain future events unfold.
He’d have other things to consider as well, processing the watch would keep him young, but what would protect him from accidental death & if he did accidentally die, could he transfer his soul to another vessel and continue living? And to what end?
So the villain wouldn’t believe in an after-life, once he’s dead, he’s dead. To cheat time is one thing, but how do you cheat death? And maybe that is the questions our villain is tackling when our clueless hero crosses his path.