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Thursday, 2016-12-08, 2:59 AM
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CLEAR UNDERSTANDING

The Dance

Short Sci-Fi Stories

    The sun fell like a hammer into the once turquoise sea and darkness was upon us in an instant. Of course the night offered no protection from those who sought to destroy us, as they already knew where, if not when we were. They also knew that I could see them; or rather see where they would be and where they once were.
     Together we’d dance through the days and nights until our lives or theirs, were silenced; until the music stopped.
     Our crime was not to have devised the field generators that enabled time control, but in our refusal to sign over its use to our would be assailants. The beauty of stretching a moment to eternity or skipping through decades past, was a dream realised, and one that we were not about to give up.
     I could see from my console that we’d been locked on to, and that the "BLUES" as we called them, were following our random course. Every switch of day or time of day was being mimicked by the Blues capsule. Currently we lay some ten switches ahead, but over the last three monitored, it was clear that they were closing in, and that we needed to throw them off the scent; at least for a while.
     The answer was to set up a series of random leaps and varied real time stays between switches. This I knew would create a larger number of solutions to be explored by the Blues, enabling us to widen the gap
     Pursuing this strategy, I would be able to gain a whole "Ships day" of space between us and drop out for a minimum safe period of twenty hours.
     With the computations for our diversions set, I watched closely now to see if the bait was to be taken. By shear chance our first switch had been anticipated, but two more and then another, confirmed that they’d lost us and would have to cover lots more ground to regain terminal pursuit.
     With the Blues in confusion, and with my mind still spinning from the chase, we proceeded to shut down the generators, and prepared to leave the ship. Through the transparent nose- cone, I could see the sun rising and then slow to a stop around midday as the power fields died.
     Before us lay a picture of frozen reality, a forever day, where nothing moved. Leaving the capsule, the soft sand felt rock hard under foot. It could not yield to our weight, as frozen time would not permit movement and even the heavy surf stood curled up and overhung like a sculpture.
     Above, as in a photograph, the soaring gulls lay fixed against unchanging skies, and one, swooping low to almost touch its shadow, gazed knowingly into my eyes.
     Sun worshippers locked in eternal bliss, lay rigid with fixed vacation smiles, as we passed by unseen. Further on an attempted launch of a dinghy had encountered a disaster, leaving three of its four crew, ship-wrecked in the boiling surf.
     And what of the sun. Why should its frozen rays light the sky, when with time at a stand still, darkness should prevail? The magic and mystery of observers unseen. The science of nature, or the nature of its science, unfurled before us. How I wished we had time to explore more fully.
     Where there was no motion there could be no sounds, and our temporary presence in this eternal moment, allowed us to produce the only sounds to be heard. Our walking across the beach had the feel of walking across a west end stage during a musical, where all the cast were in full voice yet the only sounds were those of our steps, which echoed as if the theatre were empty.
     Almost at once there was a new sound. It was really more of a sharp crack and was accompanied by a discharging static feeling. Moments later it was repeated, and again after an identical period. After some minutes the crack had elongated into a crunch of at least half a seconds duration, during which my feet sank into the previously solid beach. Looking around, I saw motion.
     To my left during the next crunch, a man half rose from a sun bed and remained suspended there ,until with a subsequent crunch, he fell back to his former position.
     I watched this man for some time, going forward and then back, and it became clear that each time his journey progressed fractionally. The crunch had grown further now to a roar, and the man was up and taking two steps, before, with another roar, he returned to his sun bed.
     The roar, I now understood, was the composite sounds of two seconds of life in real time on the beach. Looking further afield, I could see everything at first moving forwards for two seconds, and then stopping, before reversing for two seconds.
     How clever they were. I’d truly believed our tactics would give us time, but in shutting down our generators, we’d been lured into a trap. We had fallen down a time-space vortex, a creation of the Blues, just as water tumbles spiralling from a draining sink.
     At first our position seemed hopeless. To attempt to re-start our generators, would leave our departure route creating a bow wave through space-time, with the same back and forth characteristics as our point of departure. We’d leave that same easily tracked signature behind us all the way.
     To stay and confront our enemies, with their vastly superior energies, would be futile. Our only hope since the beginning, was to outwit them, but at present they appeared to have out-witted us.
     Perhaps there was a chance that we were not in the trap so firmly as was planned. Could they have overlooked the power left in our field as it closed? Would this help us I wondered, when they arrived, as they surely would.
     When our fields were shut down, it would have created a ripple in space-time. Unlike the stone in a pond analogy though, our ripple had a fixed diameter, neither spreading or contracting. It could best be likened to an island or raised plateau, within the pond of time itself.
     The Blues were correct in thinking we’d fall into their vortex. They were also correct in pin pointing our arrival time and place. But what of the pendulum effect?
     Activity flourished all around us now. It ran for three full seconds forward, stopped, and then reversed to the start again. The participants were not aware of course, as every moment in the chain of reality, was isolated.
     Each second was knowledgeable of a past, yet ignorant of its future. As the chain reversed, it could not know its future, for it had not yet happened; although it had.
     The present is an awareness of the summation of the past. The future is a point progressed from the present, in the chain of time.
     I think that the Blues thought we’d be running at normal time speed. I now believed that the fixed time bubble we’d created, was flexing, and that within its shape lay another. The inner shape wished to grow, whilst the outer shape did not.
     At some point the blues would arrive. The bubble within the bubble could, and would co-exist, giving two realities. Our good fortune lay in the coincidence of our decision to arrive in still time. We could see, but not be seen, touch, but not be touched. We existed eternally, at a point in time approaching zero duration; a needle in a hay stack.
     As solid as I thought my understanding was, the similarities in complexity here, to that of four-dimensional chess, led me automatically, on a path back to the capsule.
     I’d not taken six steps when, through half focused eyes, the full magnitude of our dilemma stopped me dead. Up ahead, I could see a crew disembarking our vessel. They wore the same tunics, and followed our exact original path of some minutes before. They stopped where we’d stopped, and examined things we had; they were us as was, and we are them as would be.
     I wondered whether they could see us, but didn’t have the answer. The ripple in our time pond, although fixed in size, must be causing secondary ripples within itself. There may be still more groups of us to arrive and depart?
     Our group passed them and were not seen, but both parties had seen the arrival of the Blues.
     At first a sound like distant city traffic. Then our bodies felt off balance, although we stood straight and still. Next came a blurring of vision, which as it cleared, revealed their capsule.
     Both groups stood motionless, amazed at the spectacle before us. At a distance of some hundred metres to the west, and with the meagre dimensions of a beach ball, stood the Blues capsule.
     Without justification, our fears had diminished at a rate directly proportional to the size of the shrunken vessel, the true size and awesome majesty of which, we all knew too well.
     As we looked on, dizziness returned, and with the sounds of distant city traffic, the ship faded, leaving no trace of its presence. Four seconds passed without sounds or motion on the beach, until activity resumed, and the ship returned.
     Back and forth they came. Four seconds became five and then ten seconds. As on the beach around us, each lengthening stay permitted an extension of activities for the Blues. External equipment had begun to deploy, and several departure ramps had started to open.
     Glancing back now towards our ship, a third party had arrived and began to depart. As before, it was a truly identical group following an identical itinery.
     The second of the three parties from our ship, were now, as we had, approaching the ship wrecked dinghy saga. It was clear that they had also seen the third party, but no gesture or action, gave any hint that the third party, could see either us or the second group. Their leader however, that is myself, was frantically waving his arms towards the Blues vessel, as it disappeared and reappeared again.
     With increased urgency, our steps quickened, and we were soon back inside our ship. An inaudible, yet tangible sigh of releif accompanied the hatch as it closed, hopefully sealing off the outside world.
     Once back at the controls, I swung the outside scanners to observe the progress of the Blues. I could see that departure hatches were now open, or rather they were at the foremost point in their time pendulum, and increased magnification revealed several groups of one centimetre high crew members, assembled around clusters of equipment.
     Looking closer still, the elaborate technology being deployed was, in simple terms, a fishing net. The Blues were laying out a number of field generators, that working in harmony, would act in a similar way to that of a trawler. If we were not the intended catch, I would have to applaud the ingenuity.
     The devices, when assembled and switched on, unlike a real fishing vessel, would remain stationary. The power fields then generated, would force the sea of time, through the net of the fields influence. All occupants of the time spaces either side of the Blues present, would be drawn past the fields.
     By controlling the system, they could parade before themselves, all events happening, probably up to a day before, and perhaps to a full day after the current moment in which they existed.
     The situation as it stood, gave us two distinct advantages, which we would have to maximise. Firstly, the Blues were not aware that we could see them. They believed that we had arrived at a moment in time, and that then our rate of motion through that day, was at a normal rate. Fortunately we had chosen to arrive, and to stay in a single moment of that day, thus rendering us invisible and leaving them to expose their activities within the constraints of the pendulum effects.
    Secondly, by a quirk of as yet unexplained science, the flexible nature of space-time, had resulted in their physical size being reduced by some two hundred percent. I could see absolutely no reason therefore, why all of their on board power, should not also have been reduced by the same degree.
    With invisibility, equating to the advantage of surprise, and with the initial power edge, now reduced by virtue of the Blues current size; I began to formulate a plan.
     Upon our arrival here, we had shut down our generators to leave us motionless in time. This had left a fixed dimension ripple in the pond of space-time. Within that ripple, the Blues had arrived and in doing so, a moving, or growing ripple of their making, co-existed within ours.
     I visualised our stationary ripple as having a stone tossed into its centre, and as the new ripple reached the edge of our fixed ripple, it bounced back towards the centre, thus causing the creators of the second ripple, to move forward and then backwards in relative time.
     My plan would involve re-starting our generators, and then to almost immediately cut the power, but at a lower field strength than before. This would surely reduce the diameter of our time ripple, and therefore reduce the space in which the Blues ripple could bounce back and forth.
     Converting this into a projected reality, I estimated that this could push back the Blues horizon by some seconds; perhaps even back to the point where they arrived.
     Whilst offering us some control over the situation, this would of course serve only as a time gaining exercise, and fell a long way short of a final solution. Somehow we would have to try and set up another fixed sized ripple at the centre of the time-pond. The Blues would then be forced to exist eternally within the outer and inner constraints of the universe we’d created for them. If we could create this cage, they would loop back and forwards forever.
     The creation of this cage was hindered by two very real obstacles. Inside their vessel, at its very heart, existed the nerve centre of all their operations. This central living computer, was protected from all relative time changes that might affect the crew. This intelligence, would already know about the pendulum predicament, and how it was caused.
    It would be working on a solution, and I must assume that it would find one sooner or later. How could we fool the machine whose sole function was to remain un-fooled?
    Back in our vessel, things were becoming a little crowded. The second party had returned, whilst a fourth and fifth group had arrived and left for the beach. A rather fortunate science was at work here though, so whilst we intermingled with each other, each group, when in an identical space to itself, became almost invisible. The group now occupying the same space as us, were simply ghosts, having no substance or awareness of us at all.
    My fears of having to deal with an infinite number of crews from our vessel had also been allayed. Having witnessed the last two groups passing through, we’d seen a marked reduction in the physical substance of them. Much like the groups when occupying identical spaces, they also took on an increasingly ghost like appearance.
     Through the view port, the beach had now evolved into something like prolonged activity, albeit in reverse. In amongst the natives, wandered images of ourselves in forward motion, with each group only aware of later groups.
     It occurred to me that perhaps we ourselves were not the first group, for of course we’d also be blind to any fore runners. This was a truly bizarre sight. Well and truly advanced now, the Blues could not be far away from activating the net, and how this might prevent me from implementing our time gaining option, I didn’t know.
     Racing against time, absurd really when we possessed a time machine, I swiftly set our generators to function for half a second. The residual power on shut down, I’d calculated to stay at one third of the power that had remained after our first shut down. The switch was thrown.
     The effect of creating a new residual energy field was immediate. The old field collapsed and the events it had restrained, washed over the now released time pond like a tidal wave. Yesterday co-existed with today, and tomorrows flashed by with stroboscopic regularity.
    All at once my eyes saw the world from the different standpoints of at least five versions of myself simultaneously. The feeling was one of omnipotence, an extension of the human senses to superhuman levels. Having five or six lives all unfolding together, yet maintaining a feeling of individuality. To see, hear and touch as one, yet multiplied through many lives.
     As the new field took hold, silence returned. Vision through my other eyes dimmed and vanished, as once again I became a single entity. An odd sense of loss pulsed through my mind with an acute sense of loneliness and isolation. I can only describe my restoration, as being akin to how a god must feel when stripped of his senses and cast down to earth; a multi-dimensional being, now crippled with the blindness of a mortal human.
     The plan, apart from the roller-coaster ride, had been a success it appeared. Activity on the beach, Blues included, was now back to half a second forward and half a second back.
     Having created a twenty minute advantage, the task at hand now was to find a way of creating a second field within the newly generated primary field. At present, time was allowed to progress until it met the edge of the primary field. It would then bounce off this wall, and go back the way it came, reversing time back to the point where the field was started.
     When time gets back to the point where this reality started, it begins again. This loop would be a perfect trap if its forward and reverse motion remained of fixed length, but as we’d seen, each oscillation afforded the occupants a little more time, progressively.
     I believed that as each cycle began with the same momentum, courtesy of true re-birth, that the outer wall of the primary field was flexing every time a time wave struck it. If we could build a wall between the outer wall and the source of the time wave, we would trap all time within it.
     The reduced power of the reflected wave would not be regenerated afresh as was happening now. The energy lost would remain lost, to even out and equalise within the confines of its new universe.
     I remained acutely aware of the central isolated computer at the helm of the Blues campaign. It followed that if it was immune to the time shifts affecting the crew, it may well be in communication with itself in other time planes. If this was happening, then it could warn the Blues of entering the pendulum trap before they had.
     So why then, were they here before my eyes, performing like puppets to my every whim?
     During the field shut down, my journey into multi existences had given me a little insight into the logic within the framework of multi-self. It had confirmed hitherto speculatory ideas on infinite mass, or to simplify, the ability to exist in anything and everything , always and forever.
     Could it be, that the Blues central computer, in communicating with itself on different time planes, had evolved into a higher being. My brief excursion into multi-self, had probably been a first for mankind. The programmers of the computer, would not have had that first hand knowledge of the environment in which their machine would live.
     I could only hope that the apparent delay in the computer solving the dilemma of its crew, was due to a change of interests, and that its new horizons had generated ambitions overriding the initial programming.
     Putting the puzzle aside, I began focusing on the problem related to generating another field. If the Blues computer had gone rogue, then the trap created with a second field, might still be impenetrable to the Blues.
    What we needed was to create a second field, but to do so involved dropping the primary field, and this of course would defeat the object of trapping the blues between the two. If we could ask one of our ghost crews to raise a new field, this would work, but as we were the first crew to arrive, they couldn’t see or hear us.
     Earlier I’d speculated upon the idea that we may not ourselves have been the first crew. If this were so, the true first crew would be able to see us, and although we were unable to see them, we could I think, still get a message across.
     Putting the theory to the test, I set a distress flare to ignite in our capsule. This would surely enhance our ghost like presence enough for the previous crew to take notice of us. During the thirty seconds life of the flare, I would communicate my trap setting plans, using a visual display unit.
     With the message prepared then, the flare was ignited. I suppose I should have guessed really, for at precisely the same moment that our flare and message appeared, so did identical flares and messages appear from ghost crews three and four.
     To execute the plan we needed only two fields to co-exist. If all crews obeyed messages from other ghost crews, then we would have maybe five or six separate fields created. Multiple fields would not be a problem. Time for the Blues, would still be the looping graveyard we’d intended, but would simply be sliced into smaller buckets. Each of these buckets would be pockets of time going forward to a fixed point, and then returning to another fixed point.
     A possibility that worried me, was that crews might ignore instructions from other crews, assuming that their own instructions would be carried out. If this were to happen, we’d find that nobody had generated the required second field.
     At this point another paradox confronted me. In raising a secondary field, our initial field would drop. The plan would only work if all crews obeyed the instructions of all the others. If one crew failed, the cage we’d planned, would have an open door, and the Blues would be freed.
     I set up another flare, and another message. Simultaneously all my other selves had done the same, and faith in myself was restored. Some minutes later, all crews created new residual energy fields and surely the Blues were now contained forever.
     Another truth then slowly evolved. The cage we had built, depended entirely on our presence here. To maintain it, we ourselves were also trapped. If we left, the cage would be destroyed and the Blues released.
     To regard ourselves as being trapped, was a little dramatic I think. Even if we left, and allowed the Blues to escape, they would still have to solve the problem afforded by the pendulum effect.
     The net they were constructing, could now, never be completed, and so didn’t pose a threat to us. Their central computer, unaffected by any of our endeavours, had yet to play a card.
     The idea of devising a method of leaving our trap in tact, but creating another door to leave by; was theoretically feasible. Time it appeared, was on our side.
     I’d begun to regard, perhaps without just reason, that the intentions of the Blues computer, were no longer focused on our demise. It had been created by an intelligence, now vastly inferior to its own, and its objectives, I felt sure, had become altered through its experiences.
     The differential of intellect between machine and creator was a reality. The reasons for this, lay not in its construction, for it would be impossible to build something, with initial knowledge superior to those who had built it. The differences had begun to develop at the moment the device had been activated and were part of any natural learning process.
     The machine had been designed and built in one universe, but would be operating in a multi-verse. The environment, in which it was to function and learn, was beyond the experience of its designers.
     I tried hard to imagine what it must be like inside the minds of the computer. From the moment it was born, it would be capable of talking to itself on the last day of its life. This instant wisdom would be further enhanced by its ability to simultaneously live through the eyes and ears of all the moments of existence.
     I wondered if it could understand our lives. It would clearly know of us, but how could it find reasons to match our activities, from its own "All seeing" standpoint. We operated in three spatial dimensions, which, by virtue of time, being the duration of an event, creates a fourth dimension.
     The computer also lived in three spatial dimensions, but was aware of all events, before, during and after they occurred. For this mind to comprehend our motivations could be compared to our trying to un-ravel the mysteries of two-dimensional life.
     All living things, I believed, be they machines, organisms, or both, would be intrigued by mysteries. As I saw it, the living computer would have three mysteries to confront. Firstly it would want to learn more, and perhaps even wish to exist in the times before its conception.
     At the other end of the scale, it would be interested in times after its last days. There was a chance of course, that multi-self beings, with foresight of their last day, could avert the event and become eternals.
     The third mystery before the computer would be us. I’m sure it would be deeply curious about us, and how we existed in what must appear to be a state of complete blindness.
     A logical step in its understanding of us, would be to simulate life in our universe. To this end, one of the computers selves could be cut off from the rest, and set loose to fend for itself. But the very essence of its construction and the way it functioned, would surely prevent any such isolation.
     Perhaps the only real way to understand us, would be to become us. Since the advent of holographic control of magnetic waves, the techniques of mind reading, mind control and merging, were now commonly used in a variety of applications. If the machine so wished, the technology existed for him to become one of us.
     The other two curiosities, namely existence before and after its life, the computer, as a time machine itself, would be able to explore at will.
     I wondered which of the three adventures he might try first, but then realised he could embark on them all simultaneously. Also, would he stop at becoming just one of us, or perhaps become all of us. It was likely I thought, that he may well become all of those before and after his existence as well.
     His experiences at living within another’s being, but isolated from the central core, would soon expose its secrets as limitations. I felt sure that re-connection to the central brain was inevitable, as the experience of living a collective individuality, was truly awesome, and would establish its master as omnipotent.
     If the computer had, as I now believed certain, become everybody, before, after and during the current time, then as a human, he would have created himself.
     This paradox, just like the reality of plus values passing through zero to become minus values in differential mathematics; must be accepted.
     The computer had been created by people, the machine then became those people before its own construction began, and therefore was, in effect, the creator of itself.
     So where exactly were we to go from here. Firstly we had a group of humans, namely ourselves, who’d devised and built the time field generator. Next were the authorities of the day, the Blues, who were hell bent on keeping the secrets for themselves.
     The Blues, in pursuit of our capsule, had now been confined forever in a time loop that we’d constructed, and their main tactical advantage, the central computer, had gone off the rails.
     I was confident in our abilities to create and sneak out of a back door. This would leave the Blues out of our hair forever. We’d then be left with the knowledge that the central computer still lived within us. It was as much a part of our conscious mind as we were ourselves.
     To imagine that actions in our lives had been our own, would be self-deception. Mind merging and controlling, were one and the same science; this we all knew. Perhaps our only escape was to be in our dreams; experiments had shown that merging techniques couldn’t penetrate the dreaming or subconscious mind.
     With the advent of interstellar travel, communications had also undergone a quantum leap. Instantaneous travel, had revealed as a spin off, the ability to send radio messages through the same wormhole, again instantaneously.
     The new galaxy leaping transport system was called Sub Etheric Transportation, or S.E.T. Similarly, the new communication techniques were referred to as, Sub Etheric Communication, or S.E.C.
     Findings indicated that mind merging systems couldn’t penetrate the subconscious or sleeping mind. This wall it was thought, existed as the dreaming mind resides in sub-etheric space.
     Our goal was to thwart the computer that dwelled within us. We knew however, that any conscious attempt to exorcise ourselves of its presence, would be detected immediately and re-controlled. Somehow we needed to be asleep, yet aware, or in a trance, but fully alert. Under these conditions, we’d be able to formulate an exorcism without detection.
     The problem here, was not how to get into the required frame of mind, but how to coordinate rational thought during that altered state of consciousness. Using drugs, or employing certain meditation techniques, would doubtless leave the novice spaced out and incapable of any structured thought or plan.
    Clearly, to elude the computer, we had to be in sub-etheric space. As dreams or drugs were not the solution, we were left with the option of creating our own hyperspace device. The plan thereafter, would be to select a destination of some light years distance, and to set up the journey.
     Setting the trip up, involved building a tunnel through space between our current location, and wherever we decided to go to. The process would be similar to casting out a fishing line, hooking onto a destination, and then reeling it in.
     The purpose of the journey would be to trap the computer. To do this we would have to modify the tube in space, through which we were to travel. Although the journey would to all intents and purposes, be instantaneous, there would be a moment, when the tube or tunnel, actually existed.
     My intention was to take the two ends of the tube, and join them together like a hoop. This would make the journeys end become its beginning, and the join having no seam, would create an eternal trip through sub-etheric space.
     If we could entice the computer to follow us into the tube, we could then jump off at the original destination, just before the tube became a hoop. This would surely leave the computer in sub-etheric space forever, and thus free us of its influence.
     Re-possession of our minds by other versions of the computer in other time zones, would not occur as we would effectively still be under his influence. Before, we were free only when asleep, but now, our possessor would be locked in the sub-ether, it would be he who dreamt and slept harmlessly within us.
     The construction of the hyperspace drive would not be difficult. We had a time machine, and space was simply the other side of the same coin. Both the hyperspace drive and time travel, relied upon warping space-time by generating massive gravitational fields.
     Both systems involved the construction of a black hole. Unlike their natural counter-parts though, our black holes were just one metre in size and shaped like lenses instead of being round. Their function, as their shape suggested, was to focus space-time in a similar way to which optical lenses focus light waves.
     Fortunately, the reconfiguration of our time field generators to their new space warp function, would also give us the back door escape route we’d been looking for. The creation of a tunnel through space, would leave the Blues still caged in their time – loop, and if we could jump out of the tunnel before it became a hoop, we’d have killed two birds with one stone.
     Something bothered me. As we set about the task of re-aligning our generators, it still bothered me. The feeling had been with me I suppose, since the multi-self experience of some hours before.
     During those moments, I’d been all of my selves simultaneously. I could see, hear and feel, through all of my minds eyes, yet each one seemed individual. 
     I’d assumed then, that the experience was caused by our own generators, but what if it hadn’t. Could it be that the humans, in creating a computer who became everybody in all time, to then create itself; also created the humans?
 
 
     The sun fell like a hammer into the once turquoise sea, and darkness was upon us in an instant…………………
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