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Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3

David's and Jacob Holo's newest alternate, cross history novel.
Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:02 pm

runsforcelery
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"Then I must admit you have me at a distinct disadvantage. That said, I believe I'm up to the challenge. I'd truly like to understand why I can't go home."

"Hmm." Teodorà pursed her lips and tapped them with a finger. She quirked a sly grin. "All right then. We're done with your interviews, so there's no harm in it, and I don't have anything else to do today. Let's see how long you last before your head explodes."

Samuel swallowed. "Is that a danger?"

"Just joking. I'll be back in a minute." She stepped into the cottage, ordered a knife and a meter-length piece of rope from the printer, and returned to the table under the tree.

"Rope?" he asked.

"It's a visual aid." She held up the rope. "This represents the timeline."

"Okay," he said, nodding.

"This is where we are, here, at the end of the rope. We call this point the Edge of Existence or the True Present. It doesn't matter which you use; the terms are interchangeable. It's called that because this is as far as a time machine can go."

"Why's that?"

"Because there's no future beyond that point. It hasn't happened yet."

"What's the other end?"

"The Big Bang."

"The big what?"

"An enormous explosion than spawned the multiverse. Don't worry about it for now. Just think of it as the beginning of time. These are the two endpoints of time as we know it, though this example is horribly out of scale. Now place your finger on the True Present."

"Certainly."

He laid a pointer finger next to hers at one end of the rope.

"Your finger represents a time machine. You've just boarded it. Take it back in time."

He traced his finger across the rope until he reached the middle.

"Stop."

He did so. "Now what?"

"Now we're going to do something in the past. Strum the rope."

He flicked it with his finger. The rope vibrated for a few moments before settling down.

"That's what time travel is like," she said. "You can go back and interact with the past, but anything you do, any changes you make, don't affect the timeline. The past is immutable. Or so we thought."

"Hmm." Samuel nodded slowly. "So . . . even though I'm here in the True Present . . . I'm also still in the past? Because the past didn't change?"

"Yes, precisely!" she exclaimed, surprised to see him catch on so quickly.

"Interesting." He scrunched up his face and stared at the rope. "Then, if I'm following this correctly, you could travel back to the same point in time and get another version of me to bring to the True Present."

"Right again. And we've done that a few times when artifacts were damaged during recovery."

Or when the shock of transplantation cracked an abductee's mind, she added silently.

"Is there any limit to this phenomenon?" Samuel asked.

"Not that we're aware of."

"Then, if I'm not mistaken, you could do it over and over again. Go back into the past and get one Samuel Pepys after another and bring them all to the True Present."

"I think one of you is quite enough," she laughed.

"But you could do that, right?"

"Yes. But."

"Ah. Here it comes." He sat back.

"We thought nothing was changing when we traveled to the past. But it turned out our understanding of time travel was . . . incomplete. We thought we could jump into our time machines, go back to something like the Great Library of Alexandria, and steal every book and scroll before they burned, all without any consequences."

"Did you?"

"Yes. That and so many more antiquities. We thought we could tranquilize famous figures, drag their limp bodies onto our ships, and set them up here in Guest Retention."

"You did that too?"

"Yes."

Samuel gulped. "I must say I'm grateful the crew who picked me up asked nicely."

"But you see, we thought every wrong we committed didn't count, that nothing we did in the past had any lasting impact. It was only real while we were there in the past, and then it wasn't as soon as we left."

"But you were wrong?"

Teodorà nodded.

"It turns out there's a limit. A threshold where what we do in the past can cause the timeline to branch. It's absolutely true that we can't change our past. But our actions can spawn a new timeline."

"I'm not following you."

"Well, you're in good company. A lot of people seem to struggle with this one. Here. Hold the rope."

"Okay." He pinched his fingers at both ends.

Teodorà held up a finger.

"This is what happens when we go back to study the past but make as few changes as possible." She strummed the rope gently.

"And when you're not so careful?"

"This"—she held up the knife—"is a more accurate analogy."

She placed the blade against the rope and stroked downward. Strands spiraled off the main cord.

"I take it that's a bad thing," Samuel said.

"Our blundering through the past almost destroyed all of reality. And we're pretty sure we've accidentally created whole universes where flying mechanical 'demons' showed up and ransacked national treasures. We thought what we were doing was safe and right and harmless. We . . ."

Her lips quivered, and the words choked in her throat.

"You learned you were wrong," he finished softly.

She nodded and placed the knife on the table.

"Yeah. We were wrong. So very, very wrong."

"I'm sorry, Doctor Beckett. It seems I've saddened you with my curiosity twice now. Please accept my humble apologies."

"It's all right." She held up a fist and coughed a laugh into it. "We're the ones who bulldozed our way through history. You were just unlucky enough to be caught up in our mess."

Samuel placed a gentle hand atop hers. She glanced up at him and saw genuine sympathy in his eyes. Her first reaction was to pull her hand away, but the expression of genuine caring made her pause, and soon, before she was even conscious of her decision, she turned her hand over and grasped his.

"So you really can change the past."

"We're still not sure of the particulars," Teodorà said. "There seems to be a threshold where changes are strong enough to branch a child universe. We're not sure how big."

"Then a large change to the past can be made permanent." Samuel said, eyes narrow and very intent

"Only in the child universe; ours would be unaffected. Again, we can't change our own past. We can create new timelines, but we'd never be so foolish now that we know the dangers."

"Ah, but Doctor Beckett, not all changes are created equally." He quirked a smile. "What if you went back and did something unexpected? Something extraordinarily wonderful?"

She tilted her head, not sure where he was going with this.

"You have truly wondrous technology in your time. I've seen its power." He thumped his chest. "I've felt its effects on my health. Why horde these wonders all to yourself when there is so much suffering in the past?"

"You don't mean . . ."

"Yes!" he declared as realization dawned in her eyes. "If you feel the burden of guilt, then do something about it! Travel back to the past, I say!" He held up a finger and grinned. "Not to plunder it for treasure, but to right its greatest tragedies!"

* * * * * * * * * *

"He thinks we should do what?!" Lucius Gwon exclaimed.

"Prevent the Great Plague of London," Teodorà said.

"The hell we will!" Lucius shook his head and stepped onto a balcony high up the Gwon Estate tower.

She frowned with stubborn determination and followed him out. A transparent dome shielded the balcony from the frigid outdoor air, processing it into a cool breeze, and shafts of setting sunlight blazed through the dense New York City skyline. Consolidation Spire, the seat of the SysGov governance, rose high above all others, surrounded by lesser satellite structures housing ART's own Ministry of Education as well as one of the ground stations for the Consolidated System Police.

Lucius gripped the railing and locked the SysPol ground station with a heated glare. He wore only a pair of black pants, and his chiseled physique matched those of the Greek sculptures she'd studied over her career. His IC, united so thoroughly with his mind that no one bothered distinguishing between the two, represented itself as a shifting star field within his shadow.

"To be fair," Teodorà began, "that was only his first suggestion."

"Were the others any more reasonable?"

"Not really. We talked it over, and he eventually latched onto the idea of going all the way back to the sixth century, before the Plague of Justinian, and immunizing the entire human race."

"Oh, is that all?" he mocked. "Well, in that case, why not?"

"Come on, Lucius. I'm being serious here."

"So am I. Why would you even consider this when the Gordian Division is breathing down our necks every hour of every day? I can't take a shit without asking their permission."

"It's not that bad," she protested. "Granted, it's bad, but not that bad."

"Oh, I beg to differ! You haven't had to sit through one of Vice-Commissioner Schröder's meetings. I swear, the man can flay flesh from bone just by staring at you. It's sometimes hard to believe he's nothing more than a displaced indigene from the twentieth century."

"But don't you see? This is what we've been searching for. This is how we revitalize ART!"

"No, I don't see. How are we supposed to rebuild ART by committing the same acts that got us into trouble in the first place?"

"Because this is different." She put a hand on both his shoulders and turned him so he faced her. "Because this time we'll be a force for good. This time we'll go back with full knowledge of what our actions mean. And the respect the past deserves. We need to show people that our errors were committed in ignorance and nothing more. And beyond that, we need to pay back this blood debt we've accrued. What better way exists than using our power to do some good for a change? You of all people should know how important that it is."

Lucius grimaced, eyes downcast, but then, slowly, he began to nod. His abuses of time travel—involving everything from sexual escapades with famous women to dropping modern war machines into ancient battles just to see what happened—had led to the worst scandal in ART history. He wasn't the only one, but she had to admit he was probably the worst offender.

She'd heard rumors of his perversions even before he'd invited her to that first candlelit dinner in Renaissance Italy. Lucius had never made an attempt to hide them from her after they started dating, and he'd even invited her along for some of his tamer adventures. She'd demurred every time, but he'd never taken offense. She supposed he'd treated it as just a difference in tastes.

Warning signs had swirled around him, but she'd ignored them because Lucius wasn't just a charming and enthusiastic lover. He'd also been the fast track for her career. And if she was being perfectly honest with herself, the latter might have guided her actions more than it should have.

Still, the price had seemed worth it at the time. She'd been able to choose any expedition she wanted and she'd always received top billing for the ART exhibits that followed. Her career had risen to meteoric heights, and just when she'd thought it couldn't get any better, her dream had come crashing back down to earth.

The Gordian Protocol had changed everything. Time travel wasn't consequence free and certainly wasn't safe. Instead, it was a sinister hydra that could consume whole universes if roused, and it needed to be approached with the utmost care.

Every shortcut ART had taken, from kidnapping indigenes to ransacking ancient wonders, had flipped from efficient mission design to monstrous atrocity. The blood on her own hands had kept her awake at night, so much so that she'd updated her synthoid with a forced sleepmode.

And it had taken its toll on Lucius, too. More so, in fact, given his history of abuses.

Her career lay in ruins and her lover had been outed as a mass murderer (even if said murders had been committed in ignorance), but she hadn't left. She'd stuck by both ART and Lucius and had no plans to leave either of them. Half of it was because no one wanted to hire ex-ART, but the other half was because she'd seen a genuine change in Lucius for the better.

It was painfully true that many organizations were leery of hiring ex-ART, but Lucius had used the Gwon family's vast network of government and corporate contacts to find positions for those staff member who'd wanted out. He wasn't always successful, but more often than not his persistent efforts had paid off. He'd even found a way to slip Teodorà into a low-level position in President Byakko's administration. She'd declined, but she'd appreciated the gesture.

Lucius had also taken up a few political causes, most notably the Mercury Historical Preservation Society. She wasn't sure why he'd become one of their spokesmen. Some people, like those members of ART who would never forgive him for their collective fall from grace, contended that he had to have an ulterior motive and pointed out that the Society had a habit of looking the other way when evaluating potential allies. What better or easier place for someone like him — which was to say, a calculating narcissist — to seek at least a form of rehabilitation? But Teodorà had seen his face, listened to his voice . . . and seen still more of the Gwon fortune flowing into the Society's coffers. And at the end of the day, did his reasons truly matter? He'd become a prominent activist on the side of preserving Mercury for future generations and even used his history with ART to make his case. He'd pointed out that ART's fall from grace was one more reason everyone in SysGov should be cautious of unfettered progress. Everyone had thought no one could damage the timestream, and they'd all been wrong. Would SysGov one day discover that demolishing an entire planet simply as a source of raw materials had been . . . similarly unwise?

He'd traveled extensively throughout the solar system in the weeks leading up to a critical senate vote, a taxing task for someone still in an organic body, and his eloquent pleas had even met with some success. Teodorà was certain his influence had led directly to all three Venus senators flipping their votes. Of course, the Society's membership had always contained a disproportionate number of Venerians. They didn't care that Mercury was uninhabitable, which wasn't too surprising, perhaps, given their indifference to the terraforming of their own planet. Most were perfectly happy to live in aerial paradises over a molten hellscape — indeed, it was a part of their world's self-image and "Sky Pirates of Venus" was one of the most popular VR games in the entire Solar System. Lucius knew that, and he'd tapped exactly the right cultural notes to sway their senators.

The final vote had still been twenty-eight to fourteen in favor of Mercury's destruction, but the vote would have been even more lopsided without his efforts. And the number of nays had not only prompted additional scrutiny of the entire concept, but led directly to the creation of the Mercury Oversight Commission, which would be required to sign off on every stage of the project.

All in all, his efforts to help ex-ART staff and this sudden surge of activism had led Teodorà to a simple, undeniable conclusion. Lucius truly felt remorse for his actions, and she'd watched him come to terms with his crimes, piece by piece, as he strove to make whatever amends he could. He might still be difficult from time to time, but she found it increasingly difficult to hold her own temper when someone started in on him again. Yes, he'd made plenty of mistakes. So had everyone else, hadn't they? And at least he'd faced his past and was trying to do something about it!

"I see your point," he said finally. "Maybe there's something to his suggestion after all."

"Then you agree with us?" she asked eagerly, but he held up a finger.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves. You explained to Samuel we can't change history? Not really."

"I did. I told him we can cause it to branch, but that's it. I think he understood. Sort of. The concept of a multiverse was a lot to take in on top of everything else."

"I'll bet," he smirked. "Okay, let's say I'm tentatively on board with this. We still have the problem of getting approval." His stared off into the distance, his eyes narrowing. "Unless . . ."

"Unless what?"

Lucius rubbed the stubble on his chin. He turned to the SysPol tower once more, eyes fixed on it and a look of intense contemplation on his face.

"You have an idea?" Teodorà asked.

"Perhaps. Just give me a moment to think this through." He closed his eyes and bowed his head. The stars in his shadow flew by with ever increasing speed, becoming short lines of blurred motion.

She leaned back against the balcony railing and waited.

He opened his eyes after a minute.

"There's a way we can make this happen," he declared, "but you're not going to like it."

"And why's that?"

He snapped his fingers. The dome over the balcony turned opaque, and the star field in his shadow vanished. Teodorà had seen that happen enough times to know his IC was locking down the surrounding infostructure. Whatever Lucius was about to say, he wanted to make sure only she heard it.

She swallowed, a nervous flutter in her stomach.

"Let's step inside for this." He beckoned for her to join him.

She followed him into the bedroom where crystal chandeliers cast a warm glow over the expansive oval bed.

"All right," she said. "What's on your mind?"

"Look," he began, "we both know this proposal has a snowball's chance in hell of getting approved."

"I know," she conceded. "But we have to try."

"Trying is all fine and good, but if we want it to succeed"—he flashed a sly grin—"we may have to take an . . . unorthodox approach."

"How unorthodox?" she asked, that nervous flutter getting worse.

"Let's assume they shoot down the plague cure proposal. We'll need a fallback. Something innocuous, at least when compared to spawning a child universe. But what could . . . ah!" He clapped his hands together. "Perhaps we suggest returning Samuel to the past."

"Are you sure? I mean, we have the phase coordinates from when we picked him up, so I guess it's technically possible to return to the right cord variant. But he's a very significant historical figure, and now you're piling his return on top of the original change of pulling him out. That might be enough of a disruption right there to create a new universe."

"True enough." He waved dismissively. "But it doesn't matter. We can mull over what our backup proposal is later."

"I don't get it. Why wouldn't it matter?"

"Because all we really need is a TTV. Once we have that and we're on our way, we can proceed with curing the plague."

"What, you mean without SysGov's permission?"

"Yes."

"Are you serious?!"

"Absolutely," he replied bluntly.

She stepped back and shook her head. "I can't believe I'm hearing this!"

"Once we're back in the past, there's nothing they can do to stop us. All we need is permission to leave in a time machine. After that, we can create this plague-free utopia Samuel wants."

"But Lucius, what you're proposing is illega l!"

"I know."

"Breaking the Gordian Protocol carries the death penalty!"

"Believe me, I'm well aware of that. Commissioner Schröder has made his intentions clear on that point. He'll pursue the maximum penalty against any violators."

"Then why are you even suggesting something this crazy?!"

"Because it's the right thing to do, and we both know it."

"Yeah, but I don't want to die over something like this!"

"Neither do I." He took a firm hold of her arms. "But you're right. ART has a debt—I have a debt to pay—what better way to pay it down than to do some real good? To change the past for the better?"

She looked up into his eyes and saw crystal clear purpose within them.

"So which is it going to be? What's legal?" he asked. "Or what you know in your heart to be right?"


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by Fireflair   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:13 am

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Yeah, like this won't go horribly wrong?

Inoculate the human race against viruses and sickness and that's a huge, massive, change. No plagues, no renaissance... The list of changes I can pull from the top of my head are endless.

Going back in time to do 'good' is invariably going to result in very BAD things. That should be inherently obvious to our intrepid heroes.
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Re: Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:40 am

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Yep, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions". :cry:

Fireflair wrote:Yeah, like this won't go horribly wrong?

Inoculate the human race against viruses and sickness and that's a huge, massive, change. No plagues, no renaissance... The list of changes I can pull from the top of my head are endless.

Going back in time to do 'good' is invariably going to result in very BAD things. That should be inherently obvious to our intrepid heroes.
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Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by Dilandu   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:32 am

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To be exact, there is NO thing as "localized change". The butterfly effect could turn the nere presence of time travellers into time paradox.
------------------------------

- 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 #3
Post by runsforcelery   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:40 pm

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DrakBibliophile wrote:Yep, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions". :cry:

Fireflair wrote:Yeah, like this won't go horribly wrong?

Inoculate the human race against viruses and sickness and that's a huge, massive, change. No plagues, no renaissance... The list of changes I can pull from the top of my head are endless.

Going back in time to do 'good' is invariably going to result in very BAD things. That should be inherently obvious to our intrepid heroes.


To quote Don Sutherland fron that classic movie Kelly's Heroes: "There you go with those negative vibes again!"

How can you be so pessimistic about people with such good intentions? You guys are such awful pessimists! Haven't you ever read any of my books where nothing bad ever happens as long as people's intentions are good?! Shame on you! :roll: :lol: :twisted:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by Dilandu   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:58 pm

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runsforcelery wrote:
How can you be so pessimistic about people with such good intentions? You guys are such awful pessimists! Haven't you ever read any of my books where nothing bad ever happens as long as people's intentions are good?! Shame on you! :roll: :lol: :twisted:


Well, because there is a common logic: changes in time create paradoxes by itself. The multiverse construction allow to remove the solution of paradox into the other (parallel) universe, but it's unclear, in which universe the time travelers would end up.
------------------------------

- 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 #3
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:23 pm

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Right!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

runsforcelery wrote:
DrakBibliophile wrote:Yep, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions". :cry:



To quote Don Sutherland fron that classic movie Kelly's Heroes: "There you go with those negative vibes again!"

How can you be so pessimistic about people with such good intentions? You guys are such awful pessimists! Haven't you ever read any of my books where nothing bad ever happens as long as people's intentions are good?! Shame on you! :roll: :lol: :twisted:
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
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Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by lmwatbullrun   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:43 pm

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runsforcelery wrote:
To quote Don Sutherland fron that classic movie Kelly's Heroes: "There you go with those negative vibes again!"

How can you be so pessimistic about people with such good intentions? You guys are such awful pessimists! Haven't you ever read any of my books where nothing bad ever happens as long as people's intentions are good?! Shame on you! :roll: :lol: :twisted:


With utmost respect, O marvelous wordcrafter, I believe the quote is-
"Moriarity, there you go with those negative WAVES again!" IIRC Oddball continues-" It's a mother beautiful bridge, and it's gonna be there! Have a little faith baby, Have a little faith!"

And with respect, sir, that is not pessimism. That is respect for the Law. :shock:
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Re: Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:54 pm

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Lucius Gwon remains a narcissistic, sadistic psychopath. He is not reformed. It doesn't take a genius to understand that eliminating the plagues that periodically cull the human population will result in overpopulation that will cause massively genocidal wars. He might be eager to take part in this innoculation project just to observe the resulting carnage, but his true motive is to access a time machine.
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Re: Valkyrie protocol Snippet #3
Post by Theemile   » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:27 pm

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These guys are supposed to be historians? An anthropologist will tell you that humans have died in joblots historically because of 3 things:

1) Plague
2) Famine
3) Predators

You just watch the Fox/Rabbit cycle. When conditions are favorible, rabbits breed. and breed and breed until the food runs out, then rabbits starve. Usually the Foxes are attracted to massive piles of bunnies in one place and prune their #s back, before the famine, but not always. And if the food runs out, bunny populations nosedive. Foxes, of course over breed while the bunnies last, then die out and starve as there are too many foxes..

Unfortunately, Humanity is BOTH the bunnies and the foxes in our version of the cycle. humans breed and breed until the food runs out, then humans grab sticks and kill their fellow man for his food.

So we're going to take away disease, without giving education and technology. Remember Africa in the 70s and 80s? Out of control populations followed by overfarming, famine and warlordism - but on a global scale.

LOVELY...
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