Nov 19, 2015

Reality 500

The Second Deluge by Garrett P. Serviss
1911 novel, reprinted in 1926
I like to acknowledge arbitrary numerical milestones since doing so provides me with an opportunity for reflection and meta-analysis. This is the 500th post to the wikifiction blog. Earlier this year, in post #400, I was able to reflect on the fact that I had just made an attempt to write a pseudo-fantasy story. More recently, much of my blogging has involved an attempt to imagine myself in the Reality that existed just before the world as we know it.

The Ekcolir Reality
I have a name for the previous reality: the Ekcolir Reality. One of the distinguishing features of that Reality was heavy use of fossil fuels, global warming and sea level rise. I've previously blogged about the role of flood myths in the origins of the science fiction genre and here I want to put a meta-speculative cap on that.

I believe that not only did Gohrlay live through catastrophic sea level rise as it occurred in the Ekcolir Reality, but she seems to have been allowed to retain all of her memories from Deep Time. Recently I was asking her about the process by which hierion-based technology was used to allow New York City to continue its existence as an undersea metropolis after the Antarctic ice sheet melted.

Gohrlay proceeded to tell me a story about events set in the Ekcolir Reality. She carefully left room for doubt as to whether her story was factual or a re-telling of a science fiction story from that past Reality. In any case, the story involves a futuristic Central Station, apparently constructed on the site of Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

Central Station was a combination rail station and airport in a future time when Manhattan was completely below sea level due to melting of Antarctic ice. Most of Manhattan was then under the water, protected by impervious hierion-based domes. However, all of Central Park and a dozen other locations, including 20 or so blocks around Central Station were open to the sky, allowing aircars to easily move to and from Manhattan.

Poster by Milo Manara
Gohrlay's story was quite time-twisted, which did not surprise me since time travel was used extensively on Earth in the Ekcolir Reality. Her story began in the future Central Station, but included events as early as the year 1997 (as counted in the Buld Reality). In the Ekcolir Reality, an alternate calendar was used in which that year had no near-millennial significance. As I mentioned previously, Gohrlay refuses to tell me any details about the Etruscan-influenced calendar that was used in New England of the Ekcolir Reality.

Gohrlay's Tale
Regardless of how the years were counted, the year 1999 in the Ekcolir Reality brought the culmination of a mystery that had begun almost 50 years earlier during the recording of the first James Bond movie. In that film, there was a famous scene inside Grand Central Terminal. Digital recording technology came into use early enough in the Ekcolir Reality so that all the James Bond films were made digitally. However, 25 years later, when the first Bond film was converted to a newer digital format, a strange feature of the audio track of the film was detected during an attempt to reduce noise that was present due to echoing. During part of the recording, a strange ultrasonic signal was present.

One mystified sound technician became obsessed with that movie sound track and eventually obtained permission to make continuous video and audio recordings in Grand Central Terminal. From 1987 to 1997 several more recordings were obtained with the same mysterious ultrasonic signal. Finally, in 1997, there was success in matching the source of the unusual audio to a video recording.

Careful analysis showed that two people who walked through the Terminal seemed to be the source of the ultrasonic signal. This intriguing result soon reached the Office of Environmental Affairs in the Executive Branch of the New England government that had been for several years monitoring automated DNA analyzers that scanned public locations such as Grand Central Terminal for deadly microbes like Legionella and Anthrax.

Most development of technology was slightly accelerated in the Ekcolir Reality compared to the world as we know it. For example, the human genome had been fully sequenced in the 1990s of the Ekcolir Reality.

While searching through databases for human gene variants, an N.Y.U. geneticist had discovered several unusual genes in the OEA gene database. Putting 2 and 2 together, it was hypothesized that there might be a sub-population of humans with the ability to produce ultrasound, a sub-population that might be identifiable by genetic analysis.

A statistical model successfully predicted another appearance in Grand Central Terminal of the two people who seemed to be the source of the ultrasonic signal. The head of the OEA, the geneticist and the sound technician made plans to meet in Grand Central Terminal on the day of the next anticipated appearance of the two people who seemed to be ultrasound emitters.

Earth 1999
According to Gohrlay, the director of OEA and the geneticist intercepted the two suspects inside Grand Central Terminal and invited them to participate in a research study. The suspects declined and moved off. The geneticist wore a vacuum device in the hope of capturing stray cells that might be shed by the suspects. The audio technician stayed to the side and recorded the encounter with his audio and video equipment. He also tried to follow the suspects out into the city streets, but quickly lost sight of them.

T1 and T2
Analysis of the new video and audio recordings confirmed that the two suspects (designated T1 and T2) were the source of ultrasonic signals. Video analysis suggested that T1 and T2 could communicate verbally using their ultrasonic signals. Also, their gait and movements were unusual: T1 and T2 both displaying a strange fluidity of motion that seemed to match to certain modulation patterns in the ultrasonic audio signal.

The discovery of alien DNA on Earth.
The geneticist managed to capture a new DNA sample. Genomic analysis identified several unusual gene variants that might be expected to effect muscle function. These results soon reached President Gore (according to Gohrlay, the term "president" was not used for the chief executive of New England in the Ekcolir Reality) who already had initiated an active SETI program (administered by Bill Clinton)  during his term in office. Now he began a secret Office of Genetic Observation within the larger SETI program, under the personal direction of Al Gore. The search for "alien DNA" was heavily funded and hundreds of ultrasonic speech detectors were deployed, but further detections of "aliens" in public places stopped until finally resuming over four decades later.

According to Gohrlay, First Contact with the Fru'wu came in 2007 in the Ekcolir Reality. At that time, almost nobody on Earth noticed the arrival of the Fru'wu. An important exception was the Ekcolir Reality analogue of Space Energy Missions.

In the Ekcolir Reality,  Luri tried to explain to Gore and Clinton that the Fru'wu were willing to provide advanced technology that could solve the global warming problem. Unfortunately for Luri, she had no evidence to support her claims. She offered to provide proof: the Fru'wu were ready to provide a demonstration of their ability to reduce the level of energy released from the Sun.

By 2012, Obama issued a top secret finding that in all likelihood, the Fru'wu had caused a decrease in neutrino emissions by the sun starting in 2007.

Finally, in 2015, Luri arranged for a meeting between T2 and Obama. T2 claimed to be in contact with the Fru'wu and willing to negotiate a protocol for the control of global warming.

Step 1 of the protocol called for sharing of Fru'wu hierion-based technology with any nation that imposed a ban on coal mining and use of coal as a fuel. According to Gohrlay, since no government on Earth had clear and convincing evidence for the existence of the Fru'wu, the decision was made by New England and most other nations to move ahead with the plan proposed by Space Energy Missions while down-playing the role that alien technology played in that plan. Of course, this led to a vigorous industry for creating fringe conspiracy theories about secret alien motivations and a government cover-up.

Eventually, when the supply of cheap hierion-based energy from Mercury was cut off and Earth returned to the use of fossil fuels, many observers of the human predicament felt that an effort had been made by the aliens to drive Earth as rapidly as possible towards catastrophic sea level rise.

Next: a visit to the lost world of Thamber.
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