A Parallel Present Paradox
“Parallel present,” said Starek suddenly.
Doctor Winter was amazed. She could put into a one-word combination of childish wonder, doubts of an experienced woman, and even bitterness. That last thing was however absent today, even if the results of the scientific team, she was a prominent member, would excuse such a tone. In fact, there were no practical outcomes.
They never managed to build, even non-functional, a time machine. After many years of basic and applied research, they found out that traveling back in time is possible only while watching old movies or looking at old family photos.
“We have plans and budget to examine time travel. And you know bureaucrats,” warned Winter, “It wouldn’t be easy to change our goals now. What do you have there?”
The last question was aimed at Starek’s bag, or more properly its content, now spilled all over the table, containing a few data discs, some paper sheets, three colored pencils – and a pocket calculator.
“Results of Miyanaga’s team job. They were working on it for years, and they managed to prove the existence of parallel worlds. Not only theories but perfect proof.”
“Good. But what does it have to do with us?” wondered Doctor.
“Existence of infinite parallel universes solves our problem. Perfectly. The only thing we have to do is find that one, where everything we want to see from the past, hasn’t happened there yet or is happening there right now,” explained Starek briefly.
Winter let this new information run through her head for a while, before accepting it.
Well, yes, it could work this way. And it would solve that eternal philosophical dilemma because in this “past”, they would only be guests and thus they couldn’t contaminate it with chronoclasms. Nevertheless, the idea of infinite universes frightened her.
“Even if it would work, how could we select exactly one version of the universe?” asked Winter.
Starek grinned happily.
“With technology?” he asked rhetorically, “I thought you have plenty of experience with it.”
Surprisingly creating the discriminator did not take too long. It was a little over the budget, however with the help of renting the parking lot, it was done and a laboratory B was filled with many devices.
Doors to parallel dimensions were hidden mostly in ones and zeroes of very sophisticated software encased in a powerful supercomputer, rented out of the dust of inactivity from a military computing center. Excited professor jumped around the transportation panel, through which they should send a testing drone to another dimension.
Preparations were more than perfect.
After a series of important tests and procedures, Starek could start his application of Miyanaga’s research. He had buried a hundred previous projects but he never lost faith in his one hundred-first, one hundred-second … two hundred-fifth attempts. He snapped his fingers and pointed at Winter, who was ready to press a button on the keyboard of the controlling unit.
Shivering (because her track record of lost projects was far away from Starek’s) she pressed the enter key.
Quietly humming generators started to get louder. Monitors started to flash. It began.
Winter prayed that parallel worlds wouldn’t be inhabited by spiders or sentient oysters or a world governed by sports fans.
Anytime they did this, something unexpected happened, something to ruin their plans.
The world they saw did not look anything like she imagined. It actually looked exactly the same as their reality. Everything was the same, exactly. They prove that they could find the right alternative reality, and they could enter it, however now they couldn’t. They tried to mess with the device, recalculate the calculations and try it for the second time… and the third time. And so on until one of the surrounding engineers coughed to remind them that the shift is over. Again.
“Let’s go to my –” he then remembered the state that his office is in, all those papers and holographic models, that he didn’t turn off, “to your office, Doctor. We will go over everything that we managed today. Even though we managed nothing today,” admitted Starek.
“What will we do?”
“We’ll have some coffee.”
Affected by prehistoric atavism, which can sometimes make even the biggest feminist suddenly serve an annoyed alpha male, she made the coffee herself. She ensured that there was enough sugar and even more sucrose hidden in nearby cookies. She even lends Starek her festive cup made from Meissen porcelain. Professor sipped, burned his tongue, and mixed the remaining coffee with whiskey.
Terrifying silence filled the room until Winter broke it.
“Miyanaga probably failed,” she said quietly.
“Miyanaga’s research is perfect!”
Seeing this defense of another team’s work shocked her. Mainly because speaking of this exact Japanese scientist, Starek didn’t usually save harsh criticism.
She stood up and leaned against the wall. There was something on her mind. She decided to say it. She coughs, catching Starek's attention.
“I maybe know why this happened,” she started very cautiously. She decided that it would be better to get over this fast.
“If it is true, that there are infinite parallel realities, then there must be a one, where is not true, that there are infinite parallel realities.”
She subconsciously crouched and continued.
“And we live in it. No! That cup hasn’t done anythin...”
"Things just happen. What the hell."
* Terry Pratchett. Hogfather
Welcome to my world. For the longest time I couldn’t think of right name for this place, so I left it without one. Amongst things you can find here are attempts of science fiction and fantasy stories, my collection of gods, bogeymen and monsters and also articles about things that had me interested, be it for a while or for years. (There is more of this, sadly not in English but in Czech, on www.fext.cz)
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