50 years earlier, as recorded according to the life of Finnegan Manning, the Time Traveler.
Manning stumbled from the time machine into the golden spires of the Final City. He didn't know what it was called, he wondered if he ever would, but he couldn't bear to accept the things that he had seen, to accept the end of earth. He would fight it, would do everything that he could to keep the horrifying end of humanity that he had witnessed from coming to bear.
He coughed, lungs still stinging with the smoke from the fires that he had set, and rushed out down the streets. He was in a park of some kind, next to the glinting, perfect form of the Sphinx that he alone knew would be the exit point for those presently down below, running a city, fixing machines, the lower class.
A large machine sped up to him, a man, easily seven foot tall, leaping from it's interior and skidding to a stop, a strange device lifted menacingly. It looked somewhat like a gun, but a crystal lattice seemed to fill the interior, and that lattice was glowing, pulsing with some energy that Manning could not name. Manning took a deep breath. Had these people heard the story that he had told his friend to write, and publish? His warning?
The man gestured to Manning, giving him some order that the time traveler couldn't understand, and stepped closer, tight armor seeming clothing hissing as he walked.
Manning held out his hands helplessly, and realized he hadn't shaved in what was for him three days.
The man with the device soon realized that Manning, an Englishman from the early 1900's, had no idea what he was saying, and glanced up the hill towards the glistening Sphinx. He took a moment to assess Manning's clothing, then gestured for the machine that he had hopped out of, gesturing for him to get in.
Manning nodded, and hesitantly approached the much taller man. How had these people, so large and magnificent, ended up as the diminutive race that he had seen? He shook his head in amazement, and stepped up into the vehicle. The large man followed, and pressed his fingers to a glowing panel, gesturing, and moving characters the flew through the air around him, navigating the airspace above the golden city. Manning watched in amazement. He figured that he would understand the abilities of these people, because he had done the impossible, had traveled through time, to get to this place, and yet he had no explanation for the way that these characters in the air could navigate a craft such as this, or even how the craft could even stay aloft, for Manning saw no propellers of any kind to keep it in the sky.
The scientist glanced at the pilot to find him grinning, shaking his head at the older form of human. A section of the wall, with a swipe of the tall man's finger, shimmered, and became transparent, giving Manning a view of the golden city.
Spires climbed for miles, massive rotating structures, kept suspended at impossible angles.
He glanced down, at several smaller craft like this one, crystalline structures rushing through the air, and then his eyes widened as he looked up. A massive craft, easily a mile across, drifted above them, lights glimmering, massive vents glowing with the same crystalline blue that had been emanating from this stranger's device.
It didn't take Manning long to figure out that this was the direction that they were headed in. The small craft that he was in drifted into a massive bay in the structure, settling on a space on the floor of the bay. A side of the craft wavered as it had when the window had formed, and Manning was stunned when the walls drifted away from a point in the center, the gap widening to the point that the two could get out. The tall man grabbed Manning's arm firmly, and guided him through the hallways of the massive floating craft, to a small white room deep in the craft. Manning was well lost now, and he figured that if he had to make a break for it, he would get lost before he got very far.
Another man, almost as tall as the first, but dressed in a crisp white suit, emerged, smiling at Manning. The first man, the one in the Blue Armor, pulled the White coated one aside, speaking something, gesturing back to manning.
The man in white, Manning wondered in passing if he was a scientist of some kind, and then the man in white approached, holding out a small metal box.
Manning glanced at him in confusion, and the scientist, or, at least, official of some kind, sighed, speaking into the box.
On the opposite wall, characters in an alphabet Manning didn't recognise blinked into being, and Manning believed he understood.
The box came forward, and Manning said the first things he thought of.
"Well, do any of you have water? I wasn't quite expecting this much excitement, after what I've seen."
Two sets of characters scrolled across the wall this time, one was in that undesypherable text, and the other, in his own familiar language.
ENGLISH, 1870-1920, BRITAN
The man in the white stared at the wall for a moment, then coughed, speaking while pressing a device in his ear. Manning grinned. He expected advanced forms of communication, and he ceratainly had gotten that.
In what seemed like seconds, another man, easily the shortest of the three, entered the room, his white hair tied back with a metallic clasp.
"Well, I must say, there are few that speak English these days."
Manning Smiled. "I don't imagine that there would be, Languages change over even a span of twenty years, I imagine it's been far longer than that."
The third man sat down in a chair that formed from the floor itself, and he gestured randomly, the motion seeming to bring a table, and another chair from the material of the floor.
"So, Englishman, or, man who speaks English, what has brought you to A'braath? Where are you from?"
Manning smiled. "I am from London. I came here to look for answers to a problem of mine."
The scientist frowned. "It might pain you to hear this, but, London hasn't been a city for some thousand years, A'braath has been build in it's place."
The Traveler smiled, and leaned forward.
"I know. I've also been a few thousand years ahead of A'braath."
Then his smile faded. "I'm here to change what I saw."
The scientist leaned forward curiously, head cocked to one side.
"What did you see, Englishman?"
Manning matched the scientist's eyes. "I saw the end of the world, and everything on it."
"You mean to say that you have the ability to travel through time?"
Manning nodded. "Yes, and now I'm out to see If I have the power to change it."