Welcome, Freshmen. As you embark on the most incredible adventure of your life, the staff and faculty of Nonspecific Southern California High School will be here for you every step of the way. NSCHS has a long tradition of fine education, sports, extracurricular activities, and a surprising history of students being visited by their time-traveling future selves. Many such incidents have been reported over the years, and while there is no need to be alarmed, there are a few things to keep in mind should you receive such a visit.

Don’t interrupt

Remember, at NSCHS, we listen when adults are speaking. Even if that adult is you. Your future self (FS) went through a great deal of trouble locating you and no doubt has very important information to impart. Outbursts like “This isn’t real” or “You’re hurting my arm” will only waste precious seconds. Your FS will have no time to answer questions about the particulars of time travel (talk to Mr. Perez in room 102) or whether or not your crush likes you back. They are unlikely even to remember your crush’s name, especially if the moon has fallen out of orbit or the tide has turned in the Cobalt Wars. If you do ask a question, be sure it’s pertinent to the topic your future self has presented. Otherwise, you risk being seized by the lapels and shouted at. And it’s already distracting to other students that a desperate adult has tracked you down at school.

Write it down

Despite your future self’s apparent ability to bend the laws of time and space, they will somehow have left themselves only a few minutes to speak to you. Perhaps they were closely pursued to the portal or time machine they used to find you. Whatever the reason, your FS will impart a great deal of information very quickly. On top of that, your future self will be throwing around confusing phrases like “New Baltimore” and “The Agamemnon Syndicate.” You will likely be given a series of instructions, the context for which may not become clear for years. It’s also possible you’ll be asked to remember a code or a name or even multiple names. Remember, if they traveled through time to say it to you, it’s only polite to write it down.

Don’t be alarmed by your future self’s appearance

Stress can have a negative impact on one’s physical appearance, and your future self wouldn’t be here if the situation weren’t very dire. Your FS could be malnourished, dehydrated, or suffering the effects of cobalt poisoning; under the circumstances, weight loss, sagging skin, and bruising are all perfectly normal, so don’t despair. Your future self may also be dressed oddly, maybe in paramilitary gear or a soiled tank top. This is probably due to issues of clothing availability and not a future downturn in your personal style. Perhaps they’ve even stolen an Agamemnon security guard’s uniform in clear violation of Law 16. Nonetheless, if you listen carefully and follow instructions, you can avert the situation that is contributing to your future self’s less-than-ideal appearance.

Take it with a grain of salt

A lot can happen in the twenty or thirty years after high school. In fact, it is guaranteed that a lot will happen. People change. While your future self is you, it is impossible for you to know what motivates your FS and whether or not they even have the correct information. Your FS will probably speak in terms of right and wrong or good and evil, but you already know the world is more nuanced than that. Whatever an organization like The Agamemnon Syndicate is up to, it probably can’t be explained in such simple terms. For example, it is obviously good to preserve human life. But it should also be considered that life for fourteen billion people on a planet with only enough cobalt to sustain communications for about eight billion could be unspeakably difficult. Of course, no one should play God. But who can be blamed for filling the vacuum when God has, by all accounts, abdicated his throne? Food for thought!

The most important rule of all—have fun

Whatever your future self requires of you, it is very unlikely to take time away from school dances, club activities, or your education. All the memories you can make now to help sustain you during whatever dystopian horrors the future throws your way. Go Rangers!

Copyright 1982 Agamemnon Publishing