Jul 25, 2015

First Life

Noÿs (source)
In The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov described a system for time travel and a culture, that of the Eternals, those who used time travel to guide Humanity into the future. Part of the cultural heritage of the Eternals was that they had a deeply instilled fear of traveling through time and seeing themselves. When the protagonist of Asimov's story, Harlan, accidentally almost sees himself in Time, he is horrified.

At one point during the course of the story, Harlan's boss, Senior Computer Twissel, describes how he carefully watched the various Realities of the 95th century, waiting for Harlan to come into existence. Twissel needs Harlan's help to close the time loop by which Eternity brings itself into existence.

The "Eternity" that is referred to in the title of Asimov's time travel novel is the time travel device that is used on Earth. At the end of the story, the Eternity time travel system of Earth is destroyed: literally the end of Eternity. However, what if that was not the end of time travel? Harlan's lover, Noÿs, hints at a new future in which humans will first spread through space to millions of new worlds, then each of those planets will have a chance to use time travel and have access to their own "Eternity". With that sweeping vision, the story ends, with Noÿs and Harlan stranded in the Primitive Era of Earth, in the 1930s, centuries before the creation of Eternity.

Whimsical depiction of Noÿs and Andrew fighting over the fate of Eternity.
However, what if it were necessary to utterly and completely put an end to all time travel, not just that one specific time travel device on Earth (Eternity)? That is the central idea of the Exode Trilogy. Another foundational element in the Exode Trilogy is the idea that Asimov was himself a time traveler and as such, he learned the facts about the particular future that Noÿs and Harlan brought into existence: the Foundation Reality. But Asimov's trip through time alters the future, terminating the Foundation Reality, and it brings into existence a new Reality in which Asimov can only write the story of the Foundation Reality in the form of a science fiction story.

In the Ekcolir Reality
It is such a Reality that we find ourselves in, what I call the Buld Reality. Two of the most important facts about the Buld Reality are that 1) sometime in the late 20th century, travel through time became impossible, and 2) in the year 2012 Earth had First Contact with alien visitors from a distant planet of the Galactic Core. Sadly, most Earthlings failed to notice that a Buld spaceship arrived on Earth in 2012.

The Exode Trilogy is told by "the Editor", an Interventionist agent. The Editor must tell the story of the secret history of Earth, but there is one important constraint: there is no objective evidence of aliens or that time travel was, in the past, used to shape and form our world. This, the Editor can only tell the story of Earth's past in the form of a science fiction story.

The Editor believes that time travel was possible because 1) his Selfie traveled through time, went into the future, and returned with information from the future, and 2) the Editor was given the opportunity to "see" his analog in the previous Reality, the Ekcolir Reality. This latter experience only just happened and I'm still trying to sort out the implications of what happened.

Click to enlarge the image. (source)
Past Lives
After six months of teasing, I was finally given the chance to experience full access to my replicoid in the Hierion Domain. Like Angela and Anney had done before me, I (my replicoid) was able to access records from the Ekcolir Reality that exist in the Sedronic Domain. I discovered that replicoids experience Deep Time such as the Ekcolir Reality through participation in a kind of virtual reality simulator. It is easy to get lost in that virtual reality. I've spent most of the past month "there", in search of the key information that was available in the life that was lived by my analogue in that Reality. Now I'm back. Apparently I was given only a limited amount of time to extract the information that I needed and now I am again cut off from my replicoid.

Trysta and Ekcolir
However, I feel like I've finally found the proper way to start the Exode Trilogy. I've known for a while that Trysta and Ekcolir would be the first book in the trilogy, but now I know that it must include an account of "my" own life in the Ekcolir Reality.

There were three key events in my life in the Ekcolir Reality. The first of these was the night when I began my time travel trip into the future. Gohrlay said to me, "Always remember: I will wait for you."

I had no idea what she was trying to tell me. I was half asleep and confused. I asked, "Why will you wait?" What I meant was why will you be waiting for me?

She knew that I was unable to understand her, so she ignored my question. She said, "Things will be different."

Gohrlay's last night on Earth
I was now alert, disturbed by the strange things she was saying. I asked, "What are you talking about?"

She had one more message for my Selfie, "You must come back to me!"

Of course, I got no sleep that night. She talked for hours, but my Selfie was not listening. Immediately after Gohrlay said you must come back to me, my Selfie was sent two centuries into the future.
In the Ekcolir Reality (see)
the solution to global warming
I now realize that Gohrlay had been shown the future: she knew that my Selfie was about to travel into the future. She had also seen into the Buld Reality and knew that my Selfie would cross over into that coming Reality and that there, only there, would I return to her with information from the future. In the Ekcolir Reality we were doomed. Sea level rise was already under way. She and I lived out our lives and we were happy, but Earth descended into chaos. I tried to tell the world what Gohrlay had told me that night, but she never helped me with that task. She knew it was wasted effort. Since my Selfie did not experience that part of my life, I only know of it from what I was told in the next phase of my life.

Anyhow, when my Selfie was in the future of the Ekcolir Reality, at a time after the antarctic ice cap had melted, I lived a "second life". My Selfie acted as the Guide for the endosymbiont that resided in another person (this poor soul just happened to be positioned where she could be used). That person went to work with Asimov. The Asimov of that time in the Ekcolir Reality was a form of artificial life, but that is a detail. Asimov had taken on the task of creating a biological solution to the problem of global warming. His research team, including the person who was "guided" by my Selfie, completed their bioengineering project. But by then, in the Ekcolir Reality, it was too late. The planet had already gone through a mass extinction with the oceans converted into an acidic soup that killed 95% of its species. Things were worse on land.

The third key part of my life in the Ekcolir Reality was my death. Of course, I remembered what Gohrlay had told me, so I tried to return into the past. But I was stuck in her future, forced to "watch" and experience the entire life of the person that my Selfie had been attached to. I lived out that life and also a parallel life in the Hierion Domain as a replicoid. In both of those parallel lives I could find no means to travel backwards through time, either to save Earth or return to Gohrlay.

Of course, as soon as "I" died, my Selfie was free to move on. My Selfie from the Ekcolir Reality was slipped into the Buld Reality where it watched me grow up and guided me into my life as the Editor. The most disturbing revelation from my time in control of my replicoid is that I am a tryp'At. I'd been told this previously, but know I know it to be true. I'm still trying to think through the implications of that and how it impacts on my relationship with the Dead Widowers.

Next: Reality Engineering
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