First perfected in the late twenty-first century, scholars worldwide have debated the nature of time and the implications of time travel. Did those early time travelers inadvertently change history, forever altering the world in which we live? It’s impossible to say for sure. It wasn’t until the development of multiphasic cloaking technology in the late twenty-second century that travel into the past became routine. Surgically implanted, the cloaking device doesn’t just render its wearer invisible. It puts the wearer out of phase with the real world, making direct interactions in the past impossible. However, it wasn’t until 2214, with the development of high-density anti-matter power systems, that temporal tourism finally became practical.

Of course, time travel, like any new technology, comes with those willing to misuse it for profit. That’s how I, a traveler from the twenty-sixth century, who intentionally made her one-way trip back in time without a multiphasic cloaking implant, ended up naked and in chains within this inquisition torture chamber in Belgrade on Sunday, 5 October 1349.

I arrived at the height of the local church service in a puff of fire and brimstone-scented smoke. My sudden appearance startled the priest and the churchgoers, most of whom quickly fled, screaming in terror. I was still standing by the church altar when the town guards arrived to arrest me and take me before the local Inquisition.

The Inquisition’s hearing was brief, with the local Baron and dozens of witnesses testifying to my sudden appearance. They ruled me guilty of witchcraft and heresy in less than an hour. The only topic they debated was the method of my execution. Delightfully, instead of burning me at the stake or going to the gallows, they settled on what I knew from my research to be a local favorite for dealing with witchcraft, a slow, agonizingly brutal death by torture.

Still, I know what you’re thinking. Risking the world’s future for a few days of brutally masochistic cheap thrills, it’s not like this will change the timeline. Within a month, almost everyone in this area of what will eventually become Serbia will be dead, killed by a massive, regional outbreak of the Black Plague. So, what could go wrong? One extra woman dying in an Inquisition’s dungeon torture chamber in a doomed town in the fourteenth century can’t change history, or can it?

Exodus 2:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live...”