loop

5 July 2017 11:50
skonen_blades: (Default)
I walk into the room and see myself there on the bed.
Dead or sleeping, I can’t tell.
I’m scared.
I hear a footstep behind me.
I look behind me and see myself walking up to the room.
We make eye contact and I quickly look away.
I look back at the bed.
The body in the bed opens its eyes and frantically gestures for me to get under the covers.
I dive into the bed with him.
As I do, he scurries under the blankets to hide.
He hides very well because when I look down at myself, it looks like I’m the only person in the bed.
I take his place just as the other me comes into the room.
I close my eyes and pretend to be asleep.
It occurs to me that the me in the doorway might actually think I’m dead if I do this.
I open my eyes just in time to see that doorway me is scared of something behind him.
I motion quickly and quietly with my hands, telling him to get into bed with me.
He does.
I dive under the covers just as I hear the third me get to the doorway and
I open my eyes and I’m in a hallway.
At the end of the hallway, I can see the door to my bedroom.
There’s someone standing in the doorway.
It’s hard to tell from behind but it really looks like me.
He’s wearing the same clothes as I am.
As I start to walk towards him, he turns and sees me.
Shocked, he turns back, staring into the bedroom.
He leaps away from the door into the bed.
I can’t see him anymore but I hear some tussling of bedcovers.
I walk up to the doorway of the room.

I walk into the room and see myself there on the bed.



tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
"Your weakness is actually your strength", said the shimmering cloud of dust in front of me. It gusted and whorled but managed to maintain an shape of sorts. It was a cloudless, calm day here so I don't know what wind it was reacting to.

It was late autumn. I'd just finished work at the petrol plant and was taking a shortcut home through the grove. I was looking forward to seeing Wendy and my little Charles. I'd bought meat from the butcher on the way home for dinner. That was when the cloud appeared to me.

It talked to me in what I thought was English but I wasn't sure if I was hearing air vibrations or actual thoughts. The sparkling patch of air in front of me warped. I could see through it but what I saw behind it didn't make any sense to me. The trees through the twinkling cloud appeared to be in a different season.

"You can only exist in linear time with no awareness of the future." said the cloud. "This should not be possible for intelligent life. As far as any being knows, you are unique."
I stood, perplexed. I seemed to lack the ability for panic or fear. It kept talking.
"We all see time from the outside. Christmas lights on a string, a flat circle, choose your metaphor. But we are outside of it. We see all that happened. We can zoom in an experience anything but we lack the ability to change anything. Every moment of time is fixed." it warbled to me.

"But you. You humans. You should exist on train tracks but you don't. Because you can't see the future, you can change it. You have a choice. You can manipulate outcomes. We are at a loss as to how that's possible. For the moment, you are celebrities across all of time and space." it sang.

"I just wanted to meet one of you." it said, and jangled sideways into infinity.

I stood alone in the grove. I wasn't sure what had just happened.

I hurried home to my family for dinner but I was now obsessed with the choices I made with every footstep home.



tags
skonen_blades: (hamused)
It was a beautiful night to watch the stars go out.

The grass rustled softly in the wind. Small waves scudded across the pond as other families unpacked night time picnics. The clouds had been removed for the viewing so we could see the beautiful night sky in all its milky, glittering glory.

The man beside me is over 700 years old. He has two friends here that are the same age but they all look like they’re about thirty. I call him grandfather but I’m told there are a whole lot of ‘greats’ in there. He is a war hero. He is the reason we’re here. He speaks to me in ancient English. My mind translates.

“When humans discovered FTL travel, we came up on a lot of people’s radar. We had unknowingly joined a club and that club had enemies. Immediately, we were contacted and drafted into the conflict that raged across the stars.

We proved instrumental. In a strange twist of fate, our bodies were more resilient than most and our minds were able to withstand the chaotic dimensional tortures of n-space without the need for anesthetic. All the other races needed to go blind through the wormholes. Not us. We could pilot a course.

The shattering of reality outside the jumpships doesn’t squeeze the human brain. Being all meat and being stupid works to our advantage. When we see something we don’t understand outside the portholes and viewscreens, we can just shrug and go about our business. We can turn our inquisitiveness on and off. That is rare, apparently. Even automated ships can’t adjust properly in n-space.

So we were asked to pilot ships with sunkiller weapons to end the war once and for all. The good half of the galaxy depended on it, we were told.

We bent reality, folded space, and hopped in and out of the fabric of spacetime with technology customized especially for us. Zipping in and out of our dimensional plane, we supernovaed 23 suns and genocided 800 enemy races. We were successful. If there had been surviving enemies, we would be infamous.

But there weren’t.

The good guys won, kid. That’s why you’re here. And your mother and everyone on this planet and thousands of others.

Now look up.”

I looked up into the night sky.

“We jumped around an awful lot during our mission, kid. We bent a lot of light. For me, it happened a few weeks ago but those lights up there,” he motioned with his hand to one part of the sky, “Y’see, they’re 700 light years away. The light from our battle is just reaching your planet now. That’s how I’m 700 years old by your clocks. Now watch.”

My grandfather looked at an ancient chronometer on his wrist and then raised his eyes up to the sky. Everyone around us did the same.

It took an hour but I could see some of the stars up in the sky grow and fade, blooming and folding away into nothing. Constellations losing teeth and limbs.

It’s been peaceful for us humans and the other races in the coalition since the slaughter. Seven centuries of peace.

My grandfather and his fellow soldiers cheered and drank smelly liquids that came from their ship. I was told we don’t have any of what they were drinking here on our planet.

The rest of us just watched the stars go out like a reverse fireworks show, feeling sadness instead of joy.

My grandfather and his friends are laughing and crying at the same time.




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skonen_blades: (hamused)
I was a time traveler. I say ‘was’ because it’s apparent to me now that this was a one-way trip.

I realized I was a god as soon as the pain stopped.

I could hear all the other gods, shouting in my head. Billions of them ordered into groups and catalogues. Every thought that ran through my mind accordioned new sub-menus out, giving me access to the proper people. Polite queries were flooding through me like water through a dam.

I wanted to respond but it was hard to do because of all the screaming I was doing.

It was a social network in my mind. Nodes of location and profession grew and pinpointed depending on my attention. Closing my eyes did nothing.

Most countries I recognized. Some I didn’t. I shied away from the nodes labeled with the names of planets. I only recognized half of the professions. Even though I could hear everyone, I was somehow not going insane. My brain must have been augmented, too.

I looked down at my arms. Light blue with a faint tracery of new lines on the skin. I wanted to get a closer look and immediately I could see the manufactured hairs on my arm in electron microscope detail.

I started screaming again. This was not my body.

I remembered stepping out of my time machine into an alley in what was supposed to be the year 2120. Immediately, I had trouble breathing and my eyes started watering regardless of the air filter and goggles.

Then fire lit up my veins like vegas and I went down.

As soon I came in contact with the future, I was registered as a pure biological and 'updates' began pouring into me from the picotech floating in the air. According to the tech, I hadn't been updated in a long time.

It was like plugging a gaming console into the ancient internet after two years of not playing it. Immediately, downloads for the OS and all of the games would pour in with a need for a restart. It took a long time.

Well, I've never been hooked into this network and according to its data, I was in need of a full reinstall.

I was in a coma for two weeks. Upgrade after upgrade slammed into my twitching body. I lay shuddering in the hospital while concerned medpeople monitored it all. The future ran through me like a train.

I am now connected to worldmind, overnet and airmesh. My eyes are sniper scopes and my skin is an air filter. I am blue.

I cannot go back. This future lacks the technology to regress me to my former self and the body I now possess would create thousands of patents that haven’t been invented yet if I went back.

The future is sorry. It says so. Here. In my mind. Everyone one earth apologizes and is happy to meet me. The other planets are knocking on my mental firewalls with well wishes. They all feel bad, like they sprung a trap on me. But they’ve never met a time traveler before and they want to talk.

I have five options of travel if I want to see other planets, seven if I want to leave this body here.

The blue skin around the corners of my mouth hooks up into a smile.

I think I’ll go to Mars.


tags
skonen_blades: (hamused)
I never want to come back but here I am again, watching the massacre of my ancestors.

Back in these times, they used what was at hand to execute a mass of people. There were no guns yet, no chemists yet to produce a lethal gas and there were no buildings in the village big enough that my people could be locked into and burnt.

The attackers were merely using spears, torches, pitchforks and pointed sticks to corral my ancestors up to the edge of a very high cliff outside of town. Soon, they will force them off the cliff on a long trip to the rocks tearing through the violent, cold waves below.

I invented the world’s first time machine. I have found that it’s quite easy to change history.

Once.

I went back in time, intending to help my ancestors become rich. I gave them patented ideas years before they should have been invented. I explained myself as a traveling businessman bringing them ideas from the mainland. My ancestors lived in a village outside of Ireland.

They talked openly about their inventions, confident that they could sell them to their fellow villages or at least barter for passage to the mainland to set up shop at some of the larger markets.

There were suspected of being in league with the devil and sentenced to death. There was also not a lot of due process back then.

My ancestors were treated like diseased blood cells. They were surrounded and driven to messy end.

Do you understand? Everyone with my last name was herded to a sharp drop. They all died. I know it. I’ve watched it fifty-six times now.

And here I am. I still exist. I’m hovering near the cliff edge and I cannot control my machine.

Every time I try to leap back to the present, I am brought back to this moment in time. When I try to go back further to right my wrongs, the same thing happens. I can’t leave my craft to change what happens and no one appears to be able to see me or my machine floating in the air.

It’s as if I’m doing penance for my crime on some universal space-time level.

And there they go. Nudged off the edge of the cliff like so many reluctant lemmings. Men, women, and children screaming their way down to the unforgiving ocean.

Soon enough, the villages go back home, satisfied at a job well done and a crisis averted. The bodies of my people lie dead and broken in the undulating surface of the cold atlantic.

The cliffs are silent. And I disappear go back and see it all again.


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skonen_blades: (hamused)
I’ve been schismed out. Shook loose. I’m walking around this laboratory and it’s difficult. The air is thick. It takes effort for me to breathe. I’m not sure how long I have to live.

Next to me, the other scientists ponder the place where I was standing. They’re looking quizzically at the space where I used to be in the machine. They’re frozen in time. Either that or I’ve been sped up. I prefer to think that I’ve been quickened. To think that that this machine has slowed the universe is too extreme for me to contemplate.

I was so sure that the voltage was safe. We thought that I might get a tingling sensation, maybe see some borealis across my skin.

But here I am trying to breathe ‘slow’ air, hoping that any of my colleagues are realizing what happened. It’s been an hour so far and I haven’t suffocated but I’ve been light-headed twice. The room seems dimmer. I’m frightened that might be because light is moving slower through my eyes.

I’m scared that if they turn off the machine, I might be trapped here. They need to exponentially dampen back the strata to below where it is in order to get me back to regular speed but above all, they can’t turn it off.

I’m hoping that one of them will understand what happened and hit the switch to dump more polarized electrons into the memory pools. My money’s on Sarah. I’m looking at her face right now.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human face get an idea this slowly before. I’ve watched Sarah’s face contort from confused from panicked to understanding. Now I’m watching her slowly evolve an idea, hopefully the idea to turn the electron switch.

I’m watching her face move like it’s the hour hand on a clock. I can’t perceive it changing when I stare at it but if I look away for a while and look back, I can see that it’s incrementally different. It’s fascinating to see a brilliant human mind move in such painfully slow detail.

I can imagine the tumblers in her head locking into place and coming up with the dawning of a notion. I can tell that she’ll come through for me because the rest of the scientists are still looking at my empty chair with puzzled looks.

I just hope that I’ll start to see her hand reach out towards the button soon.

I’ve tried to press it and nothing happens. It might as well be carved out of marble like my colleagues.

I tried to yell but it’s too much effort. That was one of the times I almost passed out.

Sarah’s head is turning now, her hair lifting and starting to fan out like the hem of her labcoat. In real time, she’s probably spinning as fast as she can but here, I know it’ll take an hour for her to get to where she needs to go.

I can see that she’s turning in the right direction and I can see her eyes fill with purpose.

I am exercising my patience. I am trying to breathe. I cross my fingers.




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skonen_blades: (hamused)
It’s like the universe was shattered once and then badly glued back together. The place is filled with cracks. At below-light speeds, it doesn’t really matter. The cracks are dimensional so anything sublight can’t detect or interact with them. Earth itself even passed right through one in 1987 and no one even noticed. It was until we got ourselves detection technology that we realized what had happened by tracking it back through the decades. Just a humourous curiousity for scientists, really. A story to tell the populace to prove how safe they were and not to panic.

But anything supralight? That’s a different story.

They can be detected and avoided but they move. Ask the Titanic, right? You have to be on it. You have to be hyper vigilant. The computer takes care of a lot but you have to keep goosing the arrays, always pinging the void just to be sure.

The cracks have tributaries. They make the cracks fuzzy with hair-line spline, like lightning bolts with fur and they’re the length of universes in some cases.

One theory is that the entire universe is always breaking down and then rebuilding. Like a giant heart beating with impossibly-long heartbeats. Except that errors have crept into the system and they’re getting worse. Either that or our universe is the only one that’s ever existed but it’s been damaged from the start.

Our ship is caught in a crack now. We were going 10c. We should have known better and been paying more attention but we didn’t realize that the crack had turned. Just a little but it was enough to flypaper us in. We nicked a tributary and it pulled us into the main shaft of the canyon. We’re stuck in a pocket of subtime.

It’s called the Hall Effect.

We are removed from the time stream. Or rather, we brought some of our time with us into the crack. It’ll dwindle and we’ll start to slow down. We’ll never come to a complete stop but we’ll get slower and slower and slower until our time half-lifes itself to something close to infinity. The horrible part of it is that we ourselves won’t perceive it.

To us, time will look like it’s going along normally while around us, the universe will trickle down into the heat death that’s always been predicted.

We’ll get to see if it’s true. We’re trapped here until the universe ends. Luckily, it’ll only take a few hours by our perception while trillions of years pass by outside the crack.

Pilots and crews like us are big believers in reincarnation.




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skonen_blades: (hamused)
I seem to have hit a time ‘dam’ of some kind.

My personal temporal relocation prototype device is working perfectly but there is a barrier here.

It’s a blue wall and it extends as far as we can see.

When I say ‘we’, I mean that there are six copies of me here with me.

We are all quite distressed.

When I first arrived here, I arrived by myself. The blue wall looked nothing like my destination. I was trying to go to a future Vienna. I immediately tried to go back home, slapping the button on my time travel belt. That only brought me back here.

I met myself then. We both arrived at the same time, looking at each other in shock, immediately terrified of any sort of paradox. In a panic, we both slapped our buttons to return home at the same time. Stupid. I already knew it wouldn’t work but I reacted instinctively when I saw my copy, just as he did.

It had the same effect as before. We boomeranged back just in time to meet ourselves getting here. Then there were four of us.

The two of us with memories of failing to return home reached out to the two new ones just arriving and told them not to go anywhere. They didn’t.

For a while, we considered our options.

We elected that one of us try to keep going forward and drew straws to select which copy of us would go.

He tried it.

Then there were five of us.

We took apart one of the time travel belts to see if there were any sort of feedback loops in the circuitry or if the power modules had changed. It was experimental technology but with our five minds working together, we improved the design and cobbled something together with a more direct hold on the temporal flow and much more boosted power.

Copy number 5 was the winner this time. He tried on the belt and slapped the button, bidding us adieu. We had a theory that if he was successful, the rest of us would disappear. It was a frightening moment. Copy 5 disappeared in a puff of smoke.

And came back just in time to meet himself again.

Now there are six of us.

We are afraid to go anywhere in time. We’re wondering why we’re the only ones here is this is a time trap. Shouldn’t all time travelers be stuck here?

We all brought enough food and water to last for a week.

And it’s been a week.

It just occurred to me that maybe if we'd sent a time belt back wrapped around some water and food, we could have created an infinite supply for ourselves. Wish I had thought of that a week ago. We have nothing now.

Other alternatives are coming to mind that I don't like. I can see the same look in the eyes of my copies. I've never tasted human flesh and I don't want to.

We’re thinking.



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skonen_blades: (hamused)
April 30/30

29/30

I’ve gone to the future hundreds of times. Even to alternate universes. It’s all the same.

There’s nothing there.

Timecasting is a strange way to travel to the future.

You had to ‘throw’ a receiving station forward in time so that your timechair could land there. A receiving station was around the size of a car.

First, you retarded the receiving station’s constant with a time anchor, effectively nailing it to one single here and now. Like putting your back against the elastic of a slingshot and starting to walk backwards until it starts to stretch. The further backward you walk, the further forward you’ll go when you relax.

The flow of time dams behind the stopped station, becoming temporal gunpowder. It’s like putting a clamp on a hose and watching the water building up behind it. Or shaking a champagne bottle. After a few seconds, a timer turns the time brakes off and the station re-enters the timestream. The backed-up time behind it shoots the station forward. The longer the pause, the further into the future it gets.

Time cannot stand anything going against its flow. The resistance increases exponentially. The most we’ve been able to hold a station back for is three minutes. Luckily, that’s enough power to shoot the chair a thousand years into the future.

You could also say it’s like dropping a huge weight on one side of a seesaw. Whatever’s on the other side of the seesaw will go flying upwards into the air but the seesaw itself stays where it is. The seesaw is our present moment, and the timechair is what gets catapulted.

So after the brakes release the station comes forward, releasing its potential temporal energy, and flies past us in time, continuing on decades into the future. Everything that goes up must come down, to use the seesaw metaphor further, and so the station will slow, pause and then reverse course back to our lab.

At that perihelion, the tip of the parabola, it’ll stay still in one time enough for us to send a temponaut forward in the timechair. Then the receiving station arcs back to us.

As long as the timechair doesn’t move in the future, we can recreate the steps to bring it back. No communication is possible but with a good plan and a decent watch, the temponaut just comes back to the time chair at the agreed upon time, sits down and waits. Suddently, he’ll be back in the lab.

That ‘he’ is me. This time I’m only forwarding a few weeks.

The top secret reason that I’m doing this is because every time I’ve gone forward, all I’ve seen is rolling hills and regularly-spaced mounds of moss jutting up from the ground. In some of these mounds, I can still make out windows. As far as I can see from where I land, there is nothing but grass and ivy and nature reclaiming the city to the point that if I didn’t know the layout of the streets, I wouldn’t even be able to tell that the humps had been buildings. The city has been dead for centuries if not millennia.

There are deer. There are birds. There are no humans.

The first jump I did took me a thousand years in the future. There have been 58 jumps since then. The last one was just six months into the future with the same results. An impossibly long-dead future just a few days away from this bustling human-dominated one.

I have no idea what it means but it scares me.



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skonen_blades: (hamused)
April 30/30

27/30

I’ve stabbed deep into the envelope around the white dwarf sun at the center of this solar system. My gravity repellers are maxed. I’ve skimmed the perihelion right in the onionskin. I came in at .75c and the slingshot here has nudged me just past full light. This experimental craft is performing perfectly. A silver arrow of flexible diamond called The Needle. The seventeen thrusters that have burst-accelerated me across a fifth of the Milky Way to end up here have all been discarded behind me like Fibonacci-spaced buoys. I was by all accounts the fastest human-constructed artifact in the universe.

I am seven miles away from the surface of the dwarf and here I will stay.

I can look up from my cockpit and see the whorls and radiation of the star as it quickly spins. My ship’s cabin protects me from the effects as does my hubris.

I have found out what happens when a ship with mass goes faster than the speed of light. Caught by surprise, physics found an agreeable solution that I have not found agreeable.

The moment I hit 1.0000001.c, all of my control panels stopped. They didn’t turn off. They just stopped. Anything that oscillated froze in mid strobe. My shuddering, screaming, deafening ship became silent. Oddly, I am free to move about. I can touch everything in my cockpit but I cannot move it. It’s like I am immersed in a three-dimensional photograph.

I am a fly trapped in an amber bulb of time. Why my consciousness has been permitted to remain alert is a mystery. Perhaps something to do with Schrodinger and perception. Even though there will be no outcome, there needs to be an observer.

The folks back home are waiting for telemetry from my ship. By my viewpoint, they will always be waiting.

I have been here for six days so far. My ship has not moved forward and I have not run out of air and I’ve felt no hunger or thirst. I seem to be destined to remain here. In a few years, I suppose I’ll find out if I’m even aging at all.

If I’m caught in a loop, it’s a loop too small for me to detect. I won’t go forward. I won’t go back. I have been put ‘on hold’ by the universe’s laws.

I wonder how many alien astronauts dot the border of light with me, strung out across the galaxy like doomed fireflies in jars.

Perhaps when the universe ends and physical laws break down we will all be set free to complete our parabolas.

Until then, my orbit is not done. My orbit will never be done.






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skonen_blades: (hamused)
April 30/30

17/30

If I’m wishy washy then it’s only because I wash wishes and I wish Wash didn’t die in firefly.

I cast spells to slow down time because I’m witchy watchy and I like to watch witches. Witches wash time to slow it down. A clean second is the kind that takes a long time to go by. Dirty time goes by too fast. Time that has regret or worry or a lot happening. Clean time, unobserved time, takes a long time to go by. Ironically, it’s the time that feels like it’s going by the fastest.

Clean wishes are the best wishes. Simple wishes. Clear wishes. Dirty wishes need to be washed. They have a better chance of coming true. If you have clean wishes during clean seconds, then your chances of having them granted go up astronomically. Wishes that cast washing spells on watches to clean time and make wishes come true live in in Whichitaw, Greenwich, Midwich, Edritch, and Sandwich.

Which witch will wash a watch? Which wish will witches wash? Watch the witches wash the wishes and watch the witches wash the watch.

Keep the watch in your pocket after the ceremony. It will run fast but don’t touch it. It will grant your wishes as you walk. Step by step, minute by minute.



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skonen_blades: (hamused)
I thought about these concepts this morning. It's not really a story but I like the idea of this element.

------------------------------

The miners kept disappearing. That’s how we found tempranium. It’s a new fifth-dimensional element that moves through time but not space. If you have a glass full of the sparkling, blue, translucent metal, that glass may be full for minutes, years, or centuries. But one day it’ll be gone. Suddenly but with no little pop as the air rushes in to fill the vacuum because it will have never been there according to the physics of the stuff. That’s how it appears and disappears inside of mountains without causing massive landslides.

You have to picture tempranium as a lightning bolt going sideways through time. There seems to be several deposits here on earth in the rockies close to where I grew up. There are claims being staked in more countries these days. The veins of tempranium have a unique effect on most intelligent life that’s aware of time’s passing. Any lifeform that’s capable of being impatient, basically. When an upper-minded life form touches the tempranium, they disappear from our timeline and join the tempranium’s constant.

If you touch it for a second, you join the tempranium while time flows around you and you’ll end up one second in the past. Same for five minutes or a year. The problem for time travel is that we seem to keep a sense of time with us when we go. If we want to travel five years into the past, you have to touch the tempranium for five years. That’s a long time to be sitting and holding onto a hunk of metal.

The other problem is that going back in time splits the continuum. You can’t change the past because you go off to a different fork, creating another universe. You are effectively removed from this timeline forever.

If you handle the tempranium with gloves and metal, it’s fine. You won’t get yanked. But skin-on-metal touching will pull you out of this timeline like a loose baby tooth. The physicists reckon it’s because of our ability to perceive it. Something Schroedingery goes on there. Spiders can crawl on the metal and nothing happens. Same with all insects. Dogs disappear. Cats, too. There are still tests going on. It’s an effective barometer to classify life’s intelligence, if a somewhat harsh one.

That’s why we mine it with machines mostly.

The military has made bullets tipped with the stuff. The minute they come into contact with an enemy soldier, that soldier is whisked away to an alternate earth, emptying this present battlefield of another enemy.

We’ve made time-dampening fields to contain the element. The fields also work on humans. That’s how we discovered immortality. Effectively giving us the ability to go forward in real time without aging. So now we can go back in time in real-time and forward in time in real-time.



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skonen_blades: (bounder)
There’s an 8 track. There’s a birdcage. There’s a bubble of soup. There’s a signature. There’s a corkboard with thumbtacks arranging half of a life. Here are schedules and numbers being added to calculate net worth. Here is a movie from 1982. Here are homemade efforts. Here is a stereo.

The distance between the edges of the chasm is one leap. The distance from the bottom of the rope to the top is one rope’s worth of effort. The distance around this hug is arms. They distance between here and success is trying. The distance between no degree and degree is school. “The shortest distance between two people is a story”. The distance between knowing and not knowing is learning. The distance between birth and death is life.

I am a cup burglar. I am a secret hoarder. I am a catalogue sniffer. I am an adding machine. My unconscious weighs my days and adds stacks to other stacks. The calendar is a treadmill, not a ladder. There are no days. Each day is unique. There is no Tuesday after Tuesday after Tuesday. One o clock does not exist. All paths are new and watches try to force us to forget that.

I am a collage. My inside-out truths match the mixture of tea and coffee in my cup. My time is up. But time is an illusion. So I am stretched calmly like a settling sheet over the distance between now and then. I am allegory. I draw my own parallels. I align to no comparisons. I put the past in a sound proof room and I muffle the future. The long game must be tackled in very small achievements. Empires are built by ants.



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skonen_blades: (hamused)
Time exists a byproduct of the universe winding down. Entropy needed a dimension to inhabit so time flowed in one direction to let that happen. Time is a secondary effect of the heat death of our galaxies. Time is a little brother. The creeping collapse of it all is the most important part of this place we see in the sky at night.

That means that clocks measure the death of the universe. That is their sole function. They have nothing to with life. They have no importance other than that. They do not measure our existence. It’s easy to think that clocks control us. They do not. They are Christmas ornaments. They are unimportant.


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skonen_blades: (blurg)
Time is a liquid. It drains fastest through those beings that are able to perceive it passing.

Us.

It drains through our hearts. It drains through our worry. It drains through our fear of the future and our fretful attempts to hold on to the past. We are time vampires, sucking the universe dry. Ourselves and all other intelligent life with finite life spans are chasms that the hours and years spill into.

Nature abhors a vacuum and entropy abhors perception. We are canyons hungry for centuries. We eat time. The universe winds down faster because of our eyes. Our planet ages faster because of us. Dog years and cat years are actually longer than human years. It is us that puff out candle-snuff quick. We cannot see it because we are adrift in time. The clocks look correct to us but they are spinning faster than propellers on airplanes. We can't see the forest for the minute hands. It our own frame of reference that is flawed. Time sloshes around us in a surplus that splashes us in the face and drowns its way through our pores, through our ears, through our organs. We are pickled with time but still our bodies act like sponges abandoned in deserts, demanding more.

Some other intelligent life knows this. It knows that the more perceptive beings there are in one place, the higher the drain of time. Our planets are age spots on the hand of god. The only way to halt the hurrying is to meditate, suicide or hermetize. If single beings are spread out and can’t talk to each other, if they are stationed in places that have no change of scenery and no seasons, if they are taught to become one with the eternal now, the drain of time can be slowed to a drip.

But those are enlightened beings. There are those among us here on earth that have the power but they are in a pitiful minority. In much the same way that people with more money buy more expensive things that make them spend more money in an endless rising cycle, so too do the majority of people here save time only to stuff it full of more tasks. We are addicted to speed.

We are a black hole for temporal energy.





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Concurrent untraceable harmonicas coursed through his bloodstream. The stiffening of his legs from being kept in such a cramped space reminded him of ways to bring confessions out of alleged witches in the thirteenth century. Or was it the fourteenth? Either way, it’s disturbingly easy to create agony in a living body when time is not an issue. Simple tools will suffice. The beggar’s chair, for instance. A regular chair with for mushroom-shaped knobs evenly spaced around the seat. A person strapped into that chair would scoff at its effectiveness.

But then a day would pass. And another. The metal mushrooms would force the muscles of the thighs to adapt. To reform. The split and fray their muscular threads in an effort to recreate themselves, to adapt to their surroundings. It was like being stabbed through the legs in slow motion and it didn’t even break the skin. Four days would have anyone screaming incoherently, driven provably insane by the agony. It takes six months to walk again after something like that and even then, that person will never dance gracefully again.

It’s dark in his little crawlspace but luckily that’s not a worry for him. His eyes are tuned in and turned up. Mice crawl over him like he’s a piece of driftwood. He gives off no heat signature. In the past, he might have been called an angel. Further back, maybe a demon. More recently, a vampire or a witch. A hundred years ago he would have been referred to as a robot.

The truth is that he’s not from around here. He’s a synthetic alien built to last for millennia and built to look like us. Built to look like his creator.

The creature known as God to the humans built several hundred of them to police the Earth, to colonize it and keep it tidy. They’d failed.

Humans had evolved from single-cell organisms. They’d gotten footholds. For thousands of years him and his kind had kept the humans in check but recently they’d exploded across the globe, too fast to control. You can’t corral butterflies. You can’t herd cats. Even all-out war only seems to spur them into a rutting phase that doubles the population.

He is in a sunken ship with thousands of tonnes of nuclear submarine on top of him. The rest of his brethren are in similar situations. Under buildings, trapped beneath avalanches, resting in the foundations of cities they accidentally fell into. You see, a few hundred immortals are as prey to time as anyone. Not super strong but definitely unable to die. All of his friends are trapped now.
The human race runs amuck.





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Season six of Starfleet Academy had just started on the television. Pizza boxes were stacked high around him. The lights were out. Underwear and dirty clothes lay strewn about the place.

Jim’s laziness was catching up with him. He was growing fatter by the month. His uncle had gotten him work as a janitor in the science wing of the university but he wasn’t liking it. It was only part-time but it was hard on his back and the boss kept disrespecting him.

He reached forward to turn up the volume on the remote control when a flash of light erupted in the front of the television and a large figure stood blocking his view of the show.

He pushed back from the television, scraping the floor with couch. The effort left him wheezing.

“Jim, don’t freak out. I only have a few minutes to talk to you.” The figure fumbled around the boxes and clothes and turned on a desk lamp.

Jim looked up into the face of the intruder and froze. It was him but a few years older. Still grossly overweight and unkempt but with less hair and more grey.

“Jim, I’m you. I’m still the janitor in the science department. They’ve invented time travel. I’m one of the only people that has a key to the place after hours. The whole team has gone out to celebrate and I’m here alone. I’ll probably get fired for doing this but here.”

He handed over a few pieces of paper with some numbers on them.

“These are lottery numbers. Use them wisely and don’t get greedy. Keep the janitor job and don’t spend like a crazy person.”

As he spoke, he grew several gold rings out of his fingers and a gold tooth appeared in his mouth. A diamond stud sprouted out of his ear. Modest but expensive.

“Also, do some pushups and hit the gym. Even a little regular exercise will do the trick. My heart is ready to burst and I’ve been told that I only have a year to live before I need a transplant. Luckily I can afford it so that’s not too worrying but please do that.”

As older Jim spoke, fat melted off of him. He didn’t grow buff but he did look decidedly trimmer. The missing hair didn’t look so bad. There was confidence and a healthy glow to his eyes. His posture improved and he seemed less panicked.

“And Jim, please go back to school. We both have a natural aptitude for math. It’s how I could figure out how to use the controls here. Imagine what we could accomplish if we really applied ourselves! Jesus, if you'd have studied then maybe I wouldn’t have ended up just being a goddamn janitor.”

The older Jim’s stained jumpsuit whispered away in fragments and was replaced by a lab coat and clipboard.

“My colleagues will be back soon. We can’t use the time machine for personal use so I’ll no doubt face disciplinary action if I’m caught. One more thing. Ask Janine out. While my work is fulfilling, I regret not having kids and she was the one.”

There was a pause while an expression shuddered across older Jim’s face.

“Okay I have to go. I need to get home and tuck the kids in and tell my wife the good news. Remember what I’ve said.”

There was another flash of light and he disappeared.

Jim sat staring at the empty space where the older version of him had stood. He slowly put down the remote control, looked around, and started cleaning up his apartment.


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These days I like to wear adult clothes and pretend to be a library, looking laser-thin down the bridge of my nose to belittled people scraping through the uneducated book lust wilderness. I scrabble their hearts into my lengthening middle names.

I used to split my mind into different tented versions of myself so that I could hunt in packs. I unwrapped Christmas for young girls and sprinkled the glowing owl dust on their tiny moth-wing mouths. My conscience was all elbow back then and I was looking for a candle lens to see myself through. To see myself up. To see myself out.

You speakered me. You made anvil with my river. You made craters of silence in my speeches. Over time, you left graffiti on my driveway prison of a face. Every corner I take too quick, every losing bet I make with glee, every avalanche I start by laughing too loud, it's all dedicated to the way you forgot things in memory of yourself. I can still describe the arc of you, the parabola of your life. I see now that you were a runaway response to jail cell tangents. The further away you get, the more of my mercy you are blind to.

So now I sweep up disco balls and add crossbones to skulls on the black flag of my high seas. I have the intuition of a tame zebra. You left me with scars all over my cloak of invisibility. I let my backstage pass lapse and now it's as useless as old milk. I can only throw curve balls to music teachers these days and my boomerangs don't return. I have the simple anatomy of a pencil. I am almost completely business card.

So thanks for the high kicks and the plectrum embedded in my liver. I am a different person now. Tree frog bright and jaunty. I am bright paint on an old house. I am cobweb free and solid in my stare. Sure, I might be half nametag these days but it's from beautiful failure and not from a lack of trying.

See you soon, supernova. Return to me in your own time. I'll be on vacation until then. There is no smile in the world that can get away from me now.



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We reckoned with a material like this, it would take ten minutes for the event horizon to oscillate down to a state of entropy safe enough to let the test subject come back.

Ah, yes. The test subject. That would be me.

It’s not necessary to travel forwards in time. All that’s necessary is to make a functioning anchor and a bubble around it that will protect you. Something that removes you from the stream. Much like slamming on the brakes on the highway and letting all the traffic go past.

We had the technology and it was right here in my hand. A black stick that looked like the broken-off handle of a sword. We called it the throttle. Three cables snaked out of it into a grey box on the floor the size of a stapler. Not much to look at but the compound in its core was extremely expensive. It would another year to get as much of it.

A hard shake would break the shell on the inside of the throttle releasing a small pocket of reverse-entropy antimatter. The half-life of the antimatter was only a thousandth of a second but in order to process the magnitude of it an event horizon would extend out from our universe like a huge pair of wings into neighbouring timestreams.

To stop the multiverse from collapsing, the theory was that the ‘wings’ would be forced back into our own universe and would fold the other way, along the ‘x’-axis of our own universe. That is to say, along our own timeline instead of interfering with neighbouring possible timelines.

The stapler on the floor worked in a similar fashion to a loop pedal. It would capture the thousandth of a second it would take for the ‘wings’ of the event horizon to re-orient and then play that back to the throttle, giving it false information. Instead of disrupting our timeline, it would simply stack that thousandth of a second over and over until it reverberated down to nothing.

I looked at Gary who nodded at Stephen and he in turn gave Carl the okay. After double-checking his readouts, he gave Jake the thumbs up. Jake pointed three fingers at me, then two, then one.

I shook the throttle.

It didn’t take ten minutes. It took six weeks. I didn’t feel a second of it. In fact, I thought the experiment had failed until I noticed there were seven people in the room instead of four and the clocks were different.

After the de-briefing, I felt a little ripped off. While I’d been gone, a lot had happened. A few celebrities had died, a war had ended, even rumours of our experiments had made it into the pages of the less reputable tabloids.

But for me, it was less than a blink.

The world’s first time traveler. Bah. What a bogus title. At least the first man on the moon had awesome memories of the event.

Time travel is lame.




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Ode to Time

Oh sideswipe of time, you raucous flow chart, actuarial tabling us from milk and cookies to cancer-ridden hardware we can’t replace. You dancing dog. Your enemies number the ones that waste you. I have known people that have loved fully and achieved mighty goals welcome death with resigned grace. It's the ones that haven’t done what they wanted and can’t see the beauty in their failure that hate clocks as much as witches hate bodies of water and piles of sticks.

Time, you have sandpapered off my corners but I am not yet a wheel. The ride is still rough. The pull of you as I roll downhill feels like gravity. You go by quicker because of your familiarity. Only adventure slows you down. Only effort makes you invisible. Only fun makes you fly.

Records broken create timestamp beasts, children of yours that embarrass themselves until they are broken again. You cannot be divided. We have not yet found your smallest number. You are as unknowably vast to us as space. The fact that we have the audacity to measure you is hubris.

According to us, the Earth is out by a whole day every four years. According to US, the EARTH is OUT by a whole day every four years. What unbelievable arrogance. Foxes don’t know that they are called foxes, lions don’t know that they are called lions, and time does not know that it is comprised of hours and minutes and seconds.

There are no stopwatches in space. The right amount of time to make a sun ignite is merely the right amount. The number of revolutions needed to create a planet is merely the number of revolutions needed. If it cannot be a planet, it will be an asteroid belt. If it cannot be an asteroid belt, it will be rings around a gas giant. Nothing is measured. It merely exists. And time is what enables it to happen.

If there is a God then God is time. Time gives the universe permission to exist and it gives us permission to experience it.

Our human label makers will break one day. And the universe will take no notice. Time will wheel and erode and create and let this universe keep on keepin’ on like the gigantic clock it is. Each nova a tock, each quasar a tick. And there will be no numbers ever again.


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