“Hello, Jamal,” they said to me, or I said to me. It was pretty confusing, staring at a room full of men who looked exactly like me.

“What? Oh no,” I said. I checked my transponder. It was just a couple of switches and a readout, but it told me I was in the right place: a particular hotel room on a particular day, back in 1973. When I looked up, they were all holding up their transponders, too. Proof. They were all me, all from the future, all here to complete the same mission.

“So I’m—”

“… number five,” they all said, all at once.

“And the mission is—”

“… a complete failure,” they all said, all at once again.

I felt my shoulders drop. “I ask all these questions every time, don’t I?”

“Yeah,” all of them said.

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