Did you know the sun only hates? The old one didn’t. It just burned for a while then went out. We were anxiously monitoring its progress into red gianthood at the time, so this was unexpected to say the least. I was with the first contact team that went to meet the folks from the future who slipped that dyson sphere around it.

Their ships were like molten pretzels, great loops of churning steel. It hurt to look at them. We slowed to a stop and at a fair distance just gawked, wondering whether it was a weapon, or if it wasn’t whether we would see the weapon coming for us in the instants before we were smashed and exploded and destroyed.

In the end it wobbled over to us, coiled around our rickety shuttle like a boa constrictor, and their people walked in through our hull like ghosts. The first one, who seemed to be their leader, frowned through his suit helmet at the guns we pointed at him and said, ‘You weren’t using it.’

‘Actually,’ I said, after we corralled the boarding party (him and a couple others) to our cramped and makeshift conference room at gunpoint, ‘actually, we need the sun to live.’

‘You’re all on the dark side of the earth in heat-shielded domes,’ he pointed out through a smirk. He seemed to find us very amusing and would chuckle at every mannerism, every accent and especially every question. Pine already wanted to shoot him.

‘I can neither confirm nor deny that.' We'd gotten very paranoid after our glancing encounter with Andromeda. 'Who are you? Where’d you come from?’

'You're all morons,' he said.

I blinked. It took a moment for my mind to come to terms with the fact that, yes, this was the direction first contact was taking.

I stuttered through the beginning of a response before he waved me quiet. Now he seemed angry, although with a twinge of satisfaction in the bend of his lips. 'Honest-to-goodness morons. Can I just—? Listen. Why the fuck did you tidally lock the planet?'

Answering that broke all kinds of protocols. If we told them why, they'd know our weakness was average surface temperatures of over 200 degrees Celsius. 'I'm not—'

'That was rhetorical. Spare me. It's all a Venus clusterfuck now anyway, I don't know why you bothered. We'd have been much better off if you'd just left.'

That caught us off-guard. I mean, they looked like us, sure, but these were only the second intergalactic species we'd encountered so we didn't want to make any assumptions.

'Okay, losers,' he said, regaining his smarm. 'I'm about to drop some science, so buckle up. We're future-humans. About a millenia, give or take. Turns out time is pretty forgiving of paradoxes, right? Don't sweat the details, you couldn't handle it. Once we figured that out, we realised we could pretty much do whatever we wanted, including hogging all your solar energy without worrying about suddenly zapping out of existence or whatever fantastical nonsense you causality-worshippers believe.'

This outburst destroyed us. Our dignity was gone. We stood in silence for what must have been a solid minute, some of us with our mouths open. It mightn't have lasted that long, but he started laughing. Eventually, our security chief could take no more.

'Enough!' he snapped, raising his antimatter rifle. 'Enough. I am not a diplomat. I don't care who you are. We will not be mocked. Why—'

Then he just exploded. We still don't know how they did it.

Wiping my friend's viscera off his face with the back of his sleeve, the future envoy glanced at the spot where he'd been standing. 'Please,' he said, 'contain yourself.' He leaned over the table, scowling down at me. I'm not the sort of person to hate readily, but to this day I have never hated a living thing with such ferocity as I do him. 'What was probably on the tip of his tongue,' he went on, 'was: why are you doing this? That's an awful lot of energy, isn't it—what do you need it for? Actually—' his grin widened here, every syllable relished '—we don't. This is just petty revenge for the path you set our civilisation on.

'We basically invented time travel to kick you in the dick.'