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Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8

David's and Jacob Holo's newest alternate, cross history novel.
Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:07 pm

runsforcelery
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I should really be packing right now because Sharon and I are leaving for Washington state in the morning (we got one whole day home between DragonCon and RustyCon), but I wanted to get this up before we go.

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"But this time it would be a controlled experiment," Lucius promised them, "without the overload factor of having so many TTVs and chronoports phasing in and out in a massive dogfight. And by watching that process happen, we would gain an incredible amount of knowledge about the physics behind it."

"This is not something we need to be blundering around with until we're damn sure we have a theoretical model that can at least explain how the Knot formed! You idiots need to—"

Jonas pressed his hand against Muntero's sleeve, and she stopped midsentence and looked down at him. He glanced up, the two made eye contact and appeared to be having a conversation. Except their lips weren't moving.

This must be an example of the Admin's closed-circuit chat, Teodorà noted. They're conversing via a contact point.

"That will be all for now," Muntero said curtly. She sat down, and Jonas lounged back in his chair once more.

Now that's interesting, Teodorà thought. The "bored boss's kid" is the one who really holds the leash on the Admin's delegation. I wonder if he thinks his act is actually fooling anyone on our side of the table? Or — her eyes narrowed in surmise — if he really cares whether or not it is as long as we have to act as if it is?

"Thank you, Ambassador Muntero," Lamont said dryly. "The Admin's position on this matter is duly noted."

Lucius glanced quickly at Teodorà, and she knew exactly why. He'd argued against voicing their real plan at all, preferring instead to propose the second, more palatable option from the start. He'd argued, not unreasonably, that approaching the committee with their true plan in full view would decrease their chances of success.

Teodorà had agreed with his logic, but she'd needed to at least try to convince the committee that what they proposed was right and honorable. She and Lucius had argued heatedly about this ahead of the meeting, but she'd refused to budge, no matter how much easier lying from the start would have made this. She would give these people the opportunity to make the right call, and if they let fear stay their feet, then—and only then—would she and Lucius make the choice for them.

"It seems the objections are stacking up," Lamont said. "I must admit I'm quite hesitant about this proposal myself. Do you have anything else to add to your case?"

Teodorà and Lucius exchanged another quick glance, and Lucius nodded to her.

"Yes, actually we do." She closed the collage of plague images and opened a virtual representation of a portly man in a long brown coat, his dark curled wig cascading down past his shoulders. "This is Samuel Pepys. Secretary to the British Admiralty from 1673 to 1688 CE and one of our transplanted guests at ART."

"You mean he's an ART abductee," Klaus-Wilhelm corrected sharply.

"Actually, that's not correct, in his case." Lucius smiled thinly. "Mister Pepys boarded the TTV of his own volition, and he's been very complimentary of his treatment here in the True Present."

"Then he's a lucky exception to ART's norms."

"That, unfortunately, is true," Lucius conceded, smile vanishing.

"More importantly, what does he have to do with the plague?" Muntero asked.

"Samuel Pepys lived through the Great Plague of London, which eventually killed a hundred thousand people, or about a quarter of London's population. Not all of those deaths were within Mister Pepys' lifetime, but he was greatly affected by it, nonetheless. So much so, that it's actually he who proposed we go back in time to prevent the plague."

Teodorà noticed a slight softening in Klaus-Wilhelm's face. He leaned back, still skeptical, but perhaps now primed to listen.

"You've begun considering the wishes of those you've abducted, have you?" he asked.

"That's correct, Vice-Commissioner," Lucius said. "I hope you and the other committee members will forgive the, shall we say, excessive boldness of our first proposal? We have a second, more modest one that also aligns with Mister Pepys wishes."

"While he enjoys the thirtieth century," Teodorà said, "he also yearns to return to his indigenous time. What we propose here is similar to our first proposal: an experiment meant to collect valuable data while also providing a real benefit to those involved, just on a much smaller scale. We humbly request permission from this committee to go back in time and return Samuel Pepys to the exact phase coordinates from which he was removed."

Lamont grimaced.

"Is that even possible?" He turned to his right. "Klaus?"

"It's possible, sir," Klaus-Wilhelm acknowledged. "Though not without risks."

"But how can he be returned? Won't the original him be there as well?"

"Not necessarily," Klaus-Wilhelm said. "The original visit that picked him up would have created a variant of the past. That happens every time we interact with the past rather than simply observing events. From that point, there are two possibilities. The disruption can be so great that a child universe is spawned, hence the alternate version of the Admin universe which nearly destroyed us both. If the disruption is minor enough, however, the changes melt back into the central cord of our universe's timeline without spawning another. But that process isn't instantaneous from an absolute time perspective, and by using the flight data from the TTV that picked him up, it's possible to backtrack to that same cord variant."

"I see." Lamont leaned back. "So it is possible to return him? And by extension, all the other transplants?"

"We've already used this method a few times. It's functional and repeatable. If you recall, one of our twenty-first century agents—Agent Benjamin Schröder, to be precise—has used it to visit his family."

"I do, but I also remember your reassurances that Agent Schröder's case presented almost no risk."

"That's correct," Klaus-Wilhelm said. "He wasn't a prominent or influential figure in his native time. Pulling him out or plopping him back into that cord variant has little impact. At least on the scales necessary to permanently branch the timeline."

"How much of an impact is necessary?" Lamont asked, and Klaus-Wilhelm frowned.

"The creation of an accurate mathematical model has been an ongoing, frustrating process, sir," he said.

"In other words, we don't know."

"No, sir. We don't."

"Then what do you make of their proposal?" Lamont asked.

"I'm not sure." Klaus-Wilhelm glanced at the virtual person standing in front of the table. "Someone like Samuel Pepys is far more historically influential than our agent, and ART has already disrupted that part of the timeline by removing him. Reintroducing a version of him that's been exposed to the thirtieth century would be risky."

"If I may intrude?" Lucius raised a hand and smiled almost apologetically as they looked at him. "In our opinion, his increased impact on the timeline is precisely why an experiment of this nature would be so valuable. Dr. Beckett and I would have preferred our original proposal, but we're both aware that our personal sense of guilt may very well have played a major part in that. But this would pose a far more modest risk of creating a child universe. From that perspective, frankly, it wouldn't provide as large a data sample, but much as I might prefer the . . . bolder approach, this may indeed be a time when it's wisest to 'first do no harm.' Even so, if we carefully monitor the time stream while reinserting Pepys into his own life, we should be able to at least take a step forward in developing a true working model for this branching threshold."

"Klaus?" Lamont asked.

"They're not incorrect," Klaus-Wilhelm said carefully.

"And if we're successful with Pepys, then it could open up possibilities for other transplants," Lamont noted. "We could give all of them the option to go home. I must admit I find that notion appealing."

"As do I, sir," Klaus-Wilhelm seconded, and Teodorà felt her hopes rise.

"I don't believe what I'm hearing," Muntero fumed. "Are you two honestly considering this outlandish proposal?!"

"It's not outlandish," Klaus-Wilhelm defended. "Far from it, in fact. There's risk, yes, but it would be based on a tried and true method. I'm not fully sold on their proposal yet, but I do believe it deserves serious consideration."

"'Tried and true'?" Muntero mocked. "You mean how SysGov makes exceptions to the Gordian Protocol for your grandson?"

"Agent Schröder's contributions to the Gordian Protocol are well known to this committee," Klaus-Wilhelm bristled. "And I will have you know his relation to me has no bearing on any decision we make here."

Perfect! Teodorà thought. All she's doing is driving them to our side!

"I have to agree with my vice-commissioner." Lamont smiled at Muntero the way a parent might smile at a petulant child. "We treat each and every proposed exception with all due seriousness, and I would appreciate it if you didn't make insinuations to the contrary."

"But look at what you're proposing! There's no need to do this, and yet you both sound ready to sign off on a totally unnecessary escapade into the past. This could end up being another Gordian Knot in the making."

"I would like to remind the honorable ambassador," a venomous edge entered Klaus-Wilhelm's tone, "that it was we who unraveled the original Knot despite the Admin's best efforts to not just stop us, but to kill us. And ultimately, the proposal before us has merit. We're stumbling around in the dark, and more data could prove useful, which doesn't even consider our moral responsibility to give the transplants the option to return home if we learn we can do so safely!"

"Oh, come on! You and I both know the alternate version of the Admin you faced isn't—"

Jonas tapped Muntero's shoulder, and Muntero stopped and grimaced, then leaned back, waiting for him to speak. He straightened his cap and sat up in his chair.

"We freely acknowledge," Jonas began, "that the Admin has no direct say in what is, after all, an internal SysGov matter. However, we're grateful to your government for giving us a seat on this committee despite that, and I would like the opportunity to provide a more official response to ART's proposal. I request a recess so that we may return to the Admin and consult with our leadership." He looked down the faces at the table. "Hopefully, you'll find my request reasonable, Chief Lamont?"

"Quite reasonable, thank you, Director," Lamont agreed. "I'll have a TTV brought over to carry you home, and we'll reconvene in one day." He turned to Lucius and Teodorà. "Chairman. Doctor." He nodded to each. "Given the nature of what you're proposing, I'd like to speak with Mister Pepys. Since it's his life we're talking about, it seems only fair that we hear from the man himself. Can that be arranged?"

"I don't see why not," Lucius said. "In fact, it may be easiest to just bring him with us when we come back tomorrow."

Lucius glanced Teodorà's way, and she nodded back, her face carefully neutral. They both knew they'd need to coach Samuel on what they were going to say to the committee versus what they were actually going to do.

"Excellent," Lamont said. "Then I believe we're done for today. Thank you, everyone, for your time. Meeting adjourned."


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:14 pm

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Lucius is a psychopath.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:29 am

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TFLYTSNBN wrote:Lucius is a psychopath.


Well, he us right here, isn't it? The ART currently locked in a loop: without clear understanding of the underlyi g principles the time travels are too dangerous, but clear understanding could not be achieved without time travels. So, to launch a controlled experiment is the most scientific approach possible.
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- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8
Post by Theemile   » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:38 am

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Dilandu wrote:
TFLYTSNBN wrote:Lucius is a psychopath.


Well, he us right here, isn't it? The ART currently locked in a loop: without clear understanding of the underlyi g principles the time travels are too dangerous, but clear understanding could not be achieved without time travels. So, to launch a controlled experiment is the most scientific approach possible.


And the best way to see how a virulent plague works is to infect a carefully screened selection of healthy "volunteers" through a variety of vectors, and chain them to a bed for 6 months and observe them closely, taking copious samples and notes along the way. And don't forget to have a control group - who you handle the same as the rest (Along with telling them have been exposed to the plague), and keep them chained for the entire 6 month period.

Rinse and repeat until you get the data you are looking for and enough to solidly verify it.

While it makes good science, it's bad ethics. I know in science we've sometimes needed to have someone willing to break a few eggs to get information that cannot gleamed any other way, but it does not make it ethical to do so.

Since nothing here is time critical, other than the gentleman's desire to return home, the best suggestion would be to bring in more specialists and do a comprehensive analysis, and see if there are any less dangerous experiments that could be done first to refine the data to make the grand plan more controlled and safer, yet still get the data they are looking for.
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:20 pm

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Theemile wrote:While it makes good science, it's bad ethics. I know in science we've sometimes needed to have someone willing to break a few eggs to get information that cannot gleamed any other way, but it does not make it ethical to do so.


Well, the only possible alternative would be to abandon time travel. And even it is not actually "safe choice", because they have no idea how their PREVIOUS time travels already affected the situation, and moreover they could not be sure that other timelines with time travel capabilities would do the same.

So, basically, the experimenting is the only reasonable thing to do. It may be not exactly ethical, but problem is, doing nothing is NOT exactly ethical in their case also.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:41 am

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Dilandu wrote:
Theemile wrote:While it makes good science, it's bad ethics. I know in science we've sometimes needed to have someone willing to break a few eggs to get information that cannot gleamed any other way, but it does not make it ethical to do so.


Well, the only possible alternative would be to abandon time travel. And even it is not actually "safe choice", because they have no idea how their PREVIOUS time travels already affected the situation, and moreover they could not be sure that other timelines with time travel capabilities would do the same.

So, basically, the experimenting is the only reasonable thing to do. It may be not exactly ethical, but problem is, doing nothing is NOT exactly ethical in their case also.

And from the first few chapters of this novel, a lot of damage has already been done, and is continuing to be done, so the need to understand is critical.
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The only problem with quotes on the internet is that you can't authenticate them -- Abraham Lincoln
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Re: Valkyrie Protocol snippet #8
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:16 pm

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fallsfromtrees wrote:And from the first few chapters of this novel, a lot of damage has already been done, and is continuing to be done, so the need to understand is critical.


Exactly.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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