Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Time Travel Naps

Space is not the final frontier. It’s space-time. Here’s the shit part. Becoming aware of that dimension enough to travel in it really just revealed new and greater energy demands. It was like finding a brand new grocery store next to a garbage can you steal food out of, and realize you can’t afford anything anyway. Granted, it helped with relativity, in that if you are dipping in and out at points in time (the farther, the harder, mind you),so you didn’t have to worry about missing anything, it’s just another coordinate. Exploration was only a suicide mission because most of the cosmos are way more dangerous than all the Australian wildlife jokes combined, but it wasn’t like “Captain Buzzcut is leaving his sperm behind to go punch him some mouthy orangutans”-inevitable, not anymore.

The trick was time passing for travellers, since they were booping in and out of it. We just froze people at first, because it turns out that’s kind of easy when you get around the whole thaw-induced psychosis and enuresis (the dribblin’ crazies, we called ‘em), but eventually we realized that there was this sort of timeless vacuum out there, except it wasn’t an absence like we consider space, it was substance. The solution was, and pardon the lack of a proper metaphor, we let some of that “in” to handle perishable elements without trapping the whole vessel. Complicated as hell containment stuff. Magnetic fields, all that. After all, too much un-time meant that everything would lock in place and stop moving, since transit still was slaved to time-as-vector. If you left time as we know it completely unshielded, you just halted everything a big way. We lost a lot of shit that way (and found a keen, albeit kind of ridiculous, solution for waste).

So, we started to analyze time and space in new ways. The discovery flipped our perception on its ear; we realized that what we thought of as hard vacuum really was exactly that, and there was substance, or whatever, on the outside pouring in. Sort of. Kind of. A lot of this research involved figuring out what was detected first in the transitional state, last, etc.

Eventually we figured out how to work with it, which we realized was not what the universe was expanding into, but the edge itself, like scum on a wave a mix of properties of both sides, coalescing into more universe. It’s something we wish we discovered before theorizing about quantum foam; naming it “the scum” because “foam” was taken seems to sell this miraculous wave of creation short.

Basically, this edge, this scum, it burns dark matter to create energy to expand, the byproduct is hydrogen, which pops up like free radicals, apparently at random, repopulating the universe with galaxies, stars, etc.

This is why we’re not too worried about heat death. Is it eventually going to happen? I mean, maybe? Clearly we don’t know shit.

But given the massive fucking brilliant engine we’re living in, it’s going to take a hilariously long time. Oh, that reminds me, there’s a paradox, because there’s always a paradox, but we think that this is the first time in any continuum that somebody figured out time travel. There isn’t one huge civilization that isn’t treadmilling through existence when they hit the end, whatever that is, so they either die first or don’t bother or something. Anyway, bringing it back home, the void, un-time.

So, we needed a preservative that involved no psychosis and pants-wetting, but it kept the vessels moving through. It’s hard to describe the process but we. . .not bottled, not captured, sort of open up a window to the outside of the scum, uh, have you ever tried to “grab” sea scum? It looks like you have so much, but you’re left with wet hands and some bubbles. We do that with this violently mechanical apparatus that rams crew through the gates and rips them back out in fractions of seconds. We have to wrap the whole thing in a sort of hydrogen envelope because it works like a controlled burn in a wildfire, whatever’s out there won’t cross it because it’s easier to go around, so it sort of funnels what we want where we want it. Anyway.

First, it’s loud. The machine burns dirty and hot (turns out low energy particles can survive longer in the scum, so it’s diesel, swear to God, we use diesel) and it produces a sonic boom on the return trip.

Basically, they get called the cacophony gates because of all the sturm und drang. Now, you’ve barely in there, but in that relative instant, 1,000 years might pass in the ship (time is fucking weird close to the gates, another benefit).

Which brings us to transit. Transit is easy-ish in that once you learn how to get out of time and navigate re-entry; no, inaccurate, you don’t leave, you move onto the skin, (different than the scum), forward is super easy, we really just have the ship hide and wait. Returns get sticky, but are doable. To be honest, I never quite got how. Used to be, forward or back, the ship looked like it was just sitting there waiting for however much time they were moving through, kind of just like hitting pause. Nothing ever happened, but the easy target prospect made the brass nervous.

We’ve refined it since; skin transverse takes just as long, but allows time/space coordinate departure/arrival. It’s great. Truly, until we made it illegal as fuck because we found out time was as fragile as science fiction had feared, except instead of Emperor Hitler-Batman, any iterations that deviated resulted in a fucking explosion. We found this out when an early experiment had a researcher going to watch Tunguska and fucking caused it when he stepped on a fucking pinecone.

This is why “time bombs” take on a new, awful meaning. All in, we got a lot of new technology and got access to new cosmic mysteries for people to be dicks about. Anyway, that’s why grandpa needs a nap. Does that answer your question, Billy?”

“What? No! I asked where mom was. Grandpa! Why did you tell me that? Can you go to jail for that? I’m freaking out, here. Can I?”

“Yes, Billy. You can. Now get me a beer or you’re going to Leavenworth.”

“You’re an asshole, grandpa.”

“A thirsty asshole, Billy. Chop chop.”