The social engineer
steals her obnoxious brother's time machine
and goes on a spree.
She drapes herself in deerskin
and shows the fuzzy hunter
how to bang two rocks together
to get a sharp edge.
"Good job!" she crows. "Now do it again!"
Behind her, he wonders
at the strange sounds she made.
She picks up the ancient artist's mud icon
and tucks it into the coals of the campfire
when no one is looking.
Divine intervention sometimes uses human hands.
to melt sand into glass.
The social engineer leaves them a blowpipe.
It takes a long time for anyone
to figure out what to do with it,
but the sun and the sand are very patient.
copper to the women, tin to the men.
Bronze is first forged in the heat of passion
and it is not so easy to subjugate women
in this timeline.
of Leonardo da Vinci and pencils a note
in Italian beside his ornithopter sketches:
Try fixed wings with silk and aluminum.
(See instructions for refining aluminum.)
Observe soaring birds.
He invents a hang glider and begins to study engines.
and builds the wadokei.
The social engineer examines the clockwatches
and suggests measuring more than just time ...
but she leaves her hints
with the eta and the hinin in the underclasses.
She sails the seven seas with pirates,
teaching meteorology and astronomy.
To Anne Bonny and Mary Read she leaves
notes on the geometry of naval artillery
and a box of condoms.
To Nikola Tesla she writes:
1) You are right.
2) But all the men you plan to work with are plagiarists.
3) So try this guy instead ...
followed by Wilhelm Reich's address.
The social engineer will always have
thanks to her brother's time machine.
She encourages the use of chrome and stainless steel,
subtly suggests sustainable forestry to those who inlay wood,
and says of Bakelite, "Never throw this stuff away.
Plastic is forever, and you'll be picking it up forever."
She teaches artists and architects the wonderful things
that can be done with recycled glass and aluminum.
After the world ended,
she will walk barefoot over the cooling dust of ground zero,
smile at the cockroaches gazing up at the stars,
hand them the keys to the time machine,
and say: "Your turn. Have a nice trip."
The social engineer leaves graffiti
inside the outline of a monkeywrench:
Punk ALL the eras!
* * *
Stonepunk -- Stone Age
~2.5 million years ago to ~4500 BCE Europe etc.
Claypunk -- Early Pottery
29,000 to 25,000 BCE France
Glasspunk -- Early Glassware
3500 BCE Egypt
Bronzepunk -- Bronze Age
3300 BCE Near East
Edopunk -- Edo Period
1603-1868 CE Japan
Sailpunk -- The Golden Age of Piracy
1650-1740 CE world oceans
Post-cyberpunk, how did the world end this time?