The Tesla Loop

Creator: Gabriel Gambetta
Age rating: Everyone
Two scientists chosen specifically by Nikola Tesla in a letter from the past must complete a mission through time to save humanity.
Synopsis: New York, 1943 - a man in his 80s, Nikola Tesla, writes a letter. A young woman teases him -- “Nobody will enter the room for two days, and when they do, the great Tesla will be gone - they’ll only find the body of an old man”

43 years before -- 2215. The young woman, Kate, travels back in time to 2075 to prevent a train crash that kills hundreds of people. Markus guides her over a headset. She manages to stop the train and save their lives, but people see her -- a big no-no in this kind of mission. Markus is not amused. This was Kate’s test to become a Time Operative, and she fails spectacularly.

Later that day, Markus attends a gala event for top officers of the Tesla Society. President Altmann unveils a sealed letter written by Nikola Tesla shortly before his death 300 years earlier; Tesla had developed a time machine, giving rise to the Tesla Society, an organization dedicated to avoid wars, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and horrible accidents.
President Altmann opens the letter and starts reading for himself, but gets extremely upset and leaves the stage. The crowd disperses in confusion.

Next morning Markus is summoned by Henriksen, his superior. They hate each other. Markus is given six weeks to train Kate for a top-secret mission. He refuses, but Henriksen makes it clear President Altmann has requested him and Kate specifically. Markus reluctantly agrees.

Markus trains Kate. It’s a mixture of time travel theory and practical exercises; Kate and Markus discuss how to avoid World War II by getting Hitler accepted into the Academy of Arts in Vienna. Although their relationship starts tense, they end up becoming friends.
The night before Kate’s test they chat over beers, about the nature of time travel, and the moral implications of “fixing” mankind’s problems. Kate isn’t fully convinced their job is ethical.

Kate takes her final test. She manages to avoid a nuclear war between the US and China by spilling a can of soda on a chinese General. She goes off-script but in a brilliant way, which Markus appreciates, although Henriksen doesn’t.

Kate is summoned by the High Council, the most secretive and elite group in the Tesla Society, to be briefed. Next morning she has breakfast with Markus. She is visibly shaken and can’t share anything about her secret mission. She says goodbye almost in tears, leaving Markus confused.

The next day Markus is rushed to the High Council. There is a crisis. Kate has been sent on her mission, but hasn’t returned. Why can’t they track her in real time, like every other mission?

It turns out Kate was sent to 1937 to teach Tesla the theory behind time travel, as instructed by Tesla himself in his secret letter, establishing a causal loop that ensures the existence of the Tesla Society. Because 1937 is before the establishment of the Time Field in 2050, Kate can’t be tracked in real time; and much more worryingly, any deviation from the mission could cause a catastrophic chain of events that destroys the Tesla Loop forever. And the fact that Kate hasn’t returned suggest she’s gone rogue and intends to kill Tesla to sabotage the loop; Markus recalls Kate’s reservations about the ethics of their mission.

They have only one shot at saving the Loop: sending Markus to 1937 to track down Kate and prevent her from harming Tesla. It’s an extremely delicate mission that must not fail.

Markus travels to 1937. He retraces Kate’s path, which leads him to meeting Nikola Tesla himself. But the old Tesla is wary and seems to be hiding something. Markus discovers he has Kate’s Return Device, which means he killed Kate. Tesla flees but Markus corners him on the street.

Tesla’s words are extremely cryptic -- he says Markus isn’t really working for the good guys, and if he ever finds himself in an impossible situation, he should put himself in his shoes.

Before he can elaborate, a couple of gunmen (presumably Edison’s henchmen) threaten them and Markus has to bail, back to 2215.

Everyone at the Council feels defeated -- Markus’s actions have triggered a Time Wave that will wipe out the Tesla Society and themselves. With two hours before it hits, there’s nothing to do.

Markus doesn’t give up. Together with a senior scientist, and against Henriksen’s specific orders, he decides to go back to 1900, teach a young Tesla the time travel theory, and warn him of Kate’s attack in 1937.

Young Tesla is very skeptical and believes Markus works for his arch-rival Edison. Before Markus can convince him, Edison’s henchmen attack. They almost escape through the basement of Tesla’s lab, but then the unthinkable happens -- Tesla is shot in the face and dies immediately.

The shooter is none other than Henriksen. He has always hated the idea of time travel and meddling in the affairs of mankind; learning about the Tesla Loop gave him the perfect opportunity to sabotage it forever. They struggle and Markus kills him.

But Tesla is still dead, and without Tesla there is no loop.

Only then Markus understands Old Tesla’s cryptic words -- the only way to save the loop is to become Tesla, sacrificing 40 years of his life to ensure the Tesla Society comes into existence.

Decades pass. Markus/Tesla proposes ideas far ahead of its time -- the atomic bomb, the Internet. Old Tesla meets Markus in 1937, and it’s clear he wasn’t hiding Kate’s return device, but his own.

Finally we’re back to 1943. Markus/Old Tesla is writing his letter, the letter that will be read in 2115, restarting the Tesla Loop once again. His 40 years of sacrifice are coming to an end.

Kate appears in the hotel room, and we now understand her words weren’t a tease -- she will leave the body of an old man and take Markus back to the future, his home, where he spend his last days revered as a hero, his life’s work ending in triumph.

THE END

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