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|Window of Opportunity (standard:science fiction, 13322 words)|
|Author: Eutychus||Added: Aug 23 2020||Views/Reads: 93/43||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Three associates discover that counter rotating gravity fields can open a window to other eras at the point where the fields overlap. Intending to observe the first Christmas, they find themselves thirty years too late and the homing device has felt the e|
Time Travel Fundamentals If he was to be brutally honest about the entire matter, this story began on a boat in the early 1960's. From his point of view, however, it didn't really begin until college. It was late one evening not long before midterms when most students had studied to the point of burnout and were in desperate need of diversion. Steve Alton, a graduate assistant who was leading the study group, officially ended the session by ordering pizza and then steered conversation away from serious matters. Before long, they were all involved in a rousing debate over who was the preeminent hard science fiction author of the recently passed century. The nominees were quickly narrowed to Heinlein, Clarke, Niven and Asimov. This discussion led directly into another, which dealt with some of the classic problems with the genre. The biggest complaints had to do with the lack of details regarding how the future technologies functioned. It's one thing to claim that a ship can cover a light year in fifteen minutes and it's quite another to expect a roomful of physics majors who know better to accept such a proposition with ease. It wasn't long after the pizza arrived that the subject of inquiry became time travel and all its inherent problems. They ran through the standard problem of paradoxes with nothing really new to add to the body of knowledge. There was an overview of the Grandfather Paradox (which occurs when you use a time machine to interrupt your own past making it impossible for you to be born or to build the time machine and use it in such a self-destructive fashion) because it's such a fun argument to have. And then Steve pointed out that since the universe isn't nearly so stationary as it seems to be, time travel becomes infinitely more complicated. “Let's say there's a working time machine in this room. If you want to travel back to last night's study session and pick up a couple of points you might have missed the first time around, you may. But look at what the time machine must be able to do. In that twenty-four hour period, the earth has moved a million and a half miles in its orbit around the sun. Add to that the facts that this room is moving sixteen hundred feet per second as the earth rotates, the solar system is in motion around the center of the galaxy, and that the galaxy is itself in motion. Not only does the time machine have to be able to find this location in space a day ago, but if the trip is to seem instantaneous, it will have to get you there by exceeding the speed of light sixty some times over. Since we are bound by that ‘light speed limit' thing, time travel becomes unlikely from yet another perspective.” Amid the nodding of heads accompanying Steve's analysis, Jerry was developing a mild uneasiness. He had a new dimension to explore and knew that it was likely to receive low to moderate enthusiasm at best. Still, no hypothesis should ever be rejected out of hand, regardless of its source of inspiration. But because he was relatively young in his faith, he was still nervous about trying to sound like an expert in scientific theory that found its basis in scripture. “Am I correct in assuming that no one here is in choir?” Jerry asked, fairly certain that no one was. Because he was minoring in music, membership in choir was compulsory. After heads stopped shaking in confirmation of what was already suspected, he continued. “All this semester we've been working on a piece written by a fellow named Charles Ives sometime in the early portion of the twentieth century. This piece is based on the ninetieth psalm. A line from the work has been eating at me for a while now. This sounds like the perfect opportunity to air a point of view which is hardly orthodox from a scientific perspective, but which I feel has some bearing on our discussion.” “The gospel according to St. Jerry?” Steve asked. The title “saint” that he had attributed to his friend had come about not long after a number of encounters Jerry had during his sophomore year with “the Prophet”. This woman, named Susan, was a person of great strength of character, and frequented the dining halls speaking to anyone willing to listen. Her methods tended towards the conversational, getting to know the person she was talking to and determining an angle from which they could be approached with the Gospel. He had found discussions with her to be quite interesting. Click here to read the rest of this story (1307 more lines)
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