At the end of time, lived the End of Time People. They lived in a huge building called the Building at the End of Time. There was no one left in the Universe save for them, so they didn’t need PR — not even to the extent of finding good names for things.
“Are the timelines secure?” Elder Stopwatch intoned.
Elder Hourglass stared at a vast, intricate crystal through which all the timelines could be seen, glittering and undulating. “They are,” she replied.
“It is as it should be.”
This is the exchange these two Elders had every morning. And every morning was the same morning because it was, indeed, the End of Time. And at the End of Time, the words ‘permanently’ and ‘perpetually’ basically meant the same thing.
But one morning, (inasmuch as there can be said to be one morning when all mornings were the same morning) Acolyte Digital Watch was doing his chores, when he happened to glance into the Great Crystal. What he saw alarmed him beyond all measure!
“Masters! Masters!” he bellowed.
“Enough shouting, lad!” Elder Hourglass said, rising from her meditation/nap. “What is the problem?”
“Look! Look! The timelines – they are unraveling.”
“Nonsense! All is as it always was, and always will be.”
“They bloody are unraveling! Look!”
“There’s no need to be rude,” Elder Hourglass said. “I am an Elder, you know. And you’re an acolyte so, y’know, little respect, maybe?”
Acolyte Digital Watch bristled at this. He ought to be an Elder himself by now, but there was no way to gain seniority any more, what with time ending and such.
“Just look in the Crystal!” he snapped.
“I will look in the Crystal,” Elder Hourglass said. “But not because you said so.”
Elder Hourglass stared deep into the Crystal. “By Kronos! The timelines are all in disarray!”
“Look, mate, sarcasm might make you feel you have control over a situation, but really all it does is…”
“What’s going on?” Elder Stopwatch demanded. “Come on, I was meditation-napping. Don’t you think… By Kronos!”
“That’s what I said,” Elder Hourglass said.
“Oh, for…” Acolyte Digital Watch sighed. “Look, here’s the problem: Earth, 2019. Someone’s been bending time. Looks like they were bringing… a bunch of trilobites forward in time? That doesn’t sound right.”
“Clearly we must fix this,” Elder Hourglass said. “We’ll take someone and put them into the time stream at the appropriate place. Hopefully, they can sort it out before the entire architecture of time itself collapses.”
“Who’s available?” Elder Stopwatch said.
“I think I see which way this is heading,” Acolyte Digital Watch moaned. “I’ll go pack.”
Sighing theatrically, he slunk off to his quarters.
“Was it him?” Elder Stopwatch asked.
“According to the roster, it was Neophyte Eggtimer,” Elder Hourglass said. “But if that drama queen wants to go, I say let him.”
“He will face dangers galore,” Elder Stopwatch said. “Threats beyond all measure. Which is fine by me, because I really don’t like him.”
“Me either. What say we meet him in the time-insertion chamber, the get back to the napping?”
“Sounds like a plan.”