I was twelve or thirteen, I can’t remember which, and my grandmother had told me to remove a shrub from the backyard. I chopped and chopped, and pulled it out, and nestled in its roots was a rattlesnake. I fell back as he struck for my hands. I crab walked backwards as he came for me. My grandfather’s shovel struck him in the neck, and he buried the point between the two sections of the snake’s body.
My grandfather Orlando is a brujo, a practitioner of the old ways of shamanism. He’s the last of his line; my father was an engineer, and I was taken in and raised by my grandparents after he died. I never knew my mother. I lived with them until I was ten.
I built a working nuclear reactor in his backyard shed, achieving fission using minerals I bought from hobbyists online. After the reactor provided power for my entire region, I became famous. It was then my true education began. I left my grandparents, gaining sponsorship from several billionaire patrons.
Traveling the world, I advised governments and teams of scientists on all manner of technical, social, and humanitarian issues, providing solutions that revitalized economies, prevented wars, and quadrupled agricultural yields. I was credited with the crushing problem of overpopulation the planet faced that led to the endless war; Macha, as my grandfather calls it.
The black star is coming. Anand, like my grandfather foretold. It’s a satellite that will fuck up Cronus’ orbit, burning us all before it freezes us to death. This is the asymptote, the end of our timeline.
I’ve spent my entire life saving people’s lives, often from themselves, and there’s nothing harder for me than having to let go of 99% of the world’s population. But I have a plan to save a a remnant of humanity. I’ve discovered a parallel universe, one where we can transplant our survivors. We only need to open the door.
I remember when Excellus and I defined the mechanism by which we could crack a hole in our known universe. We sat in a conference room next to his classroom, drawing on a whiteboard.
“This theory derives from quantum physics and harmonic frequencies.”
“Yes.” I replied.
“You’re sure about this?”
“My models have been analyzed and re-analyzed by the AI running on my nano-computers. We’ve identified these objects throughout history.”
“You’ll have to explain it to me again.”
“The impending death of the universe allows for the reversal of the direction of entropy, and the travel of quantum particles called tachyons. The laws of physics prevented this previously, but now they’re becoming more flexible. I’ve used sentinel particles to map the whole of history, back to the big bang, at which point they bounce back to my receiver here in the 21st century.”
“When this version of the universe came into being, a fragment of the previous universe, a source code, was shed into Earth. It was likely how our universe started, as a reboot of a previous version. This fragment contained within it the harmonic frequency necessary to jump between dimensions.”
“Like an opera singer cracking a wine glass with her highest notes.”
“Exactly. You establish a resonant frequency, and two objects will beat in time with one another. Now, this fragment was split into seven pieces. When reconstructed, it will form the tetra graviton, a 64 sided polyhedron which, when charged, will beat at the same frequency of the dimensional barrier, and create a large enough crack to allow our ship to pass through to the other side.”
“So where are these objects located?”
“All throughout history. Each corresponds to a dimension of the tetra graviton.” I drew on the board: Sigma 7 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 = 64.
“Each of the artifacts, numbered one through 7, contributes a dimension to the polyhedron, and once assembled, allows it to perform the function.”
“How are you going to find them?”
“My team has identified the locations of all 7, prior to being destroyed or forever lost. We have targets who can retrieve and preserve these artifacts in each time period.”
“Don’t tell me, Juan, I can’t believe you’re risking yourself like this.”
“I’m the only one who can do it, Erik. I’m going to send my consciousness across a raft of quantum particles into each target, locate, and preserve the artifact, so that we can rebuild the polyhedron in the 22nd century.”
“You know the dangers.”
“Tell me about them.”
“I go through time, moving backward, while my own time moves forward. I then reverse, and progress at the time scale of the new reality at this reality’s time scale. Meanwhile, I’m receiving intelligence from my own time and place.”
“The human brain is a computer, and it encodes information on the basis of where things are in time and space. The more information which I accommodate into my human brain which originates in vastly different time scales, the more difficult it will be for me to distinguish between reality and fantasy, between magical thinking and empiric deductions.”
“I haven’t yet discarded the idea of a soul, and I imagine it will flee from me at one of these stages.”
“Why will you do this?”
“What’s the use of being the smartest man alive if you’re forced to watch everyone you’ve ever cared for die around you, and you can’t stop the world from burning down?”
I arrived at my Grandfather’s shack, and we embraced each other. We smoked, we talked. The quantum game theory I use for time travel is the same as what he uses as a shaman, only with different vocabulary. He bid me safe travels, and I went to the rear of the shack and opened a narrow door. I snapped on the single bulb light, and regarded the mapa mundi on the shack’s wall, the true shapes of Cronus’ continents. I shut the door behind me and walked into darkness.