Considering the re-treading of this plot line that had been progressing recently in the blog posts, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share one of my early pieces of creative writing that I did for the line (according to my notes, my original version of this was written in 2013… wow, has it really been that long?). To my memory, this was never shared on the old blog, having been set aside for future printing, so this should be new material for the lot of you. It was also one of the most fun pieces of writing I’ve done thus far, so I hope you find it enjoyable as well.
One last item before getting under way; I am planning to hold an open voice chat for 1879 in our Discord tomorrow, May 25th, starting at 3pm Central Time. Feel free to pop in to ask questions, voice opinions, or just drop in to say hello.
With that out of the way, I present one of a large sampling of letters from Dr. Reginald Von Klaus regarding The Hat:
To Her Majesty’s Department of Research and Development,
To the reader of this message, let me first give my sincere gratitude at being heard, and offer my deepest apologies for the large volume of correspondences that have no doubt flooded the inbound post. I can assure you, the information I have to give is of the utmost importance and the gravest of circumstances, and that my actions are the only course left to me with my last three score of letters going unheeded.
What I have to say concerns the artefact found in the Grosvenor lands that is commonly referred to as “The Hat”. More specifically, it concerns the repeated attempts to send the Hat through the Rabbit Hole and off to London. Each of these three attempts has failed, and what’s more, they have failed each time with extreme and catastrophic results. A man and a cow have both died, and the reviewing stand was burnt down when the Aetheric Resonance Compensator exploded. Please forgive me for the rudeness, however, I cannot help but liken these continued efforts to the behaviour of a chimp that has been given a pocket watch, and, failing to understand the mechanism to open it, has taken to striking it with a rock. Even without my continued writings pleading for attention, has no one bothered to question why these results continue to occur with such destruction? Ah, again, I do offer my sincerest apologies, but I have been struggling against the current of obscurity for some time now, and the strain has caused my emotions to overtake me as of late.
More to the point, I mean to address why these attempts continue to fail in the same fashion, and why continued study of the Hat is a sure-fire course to self destruction. First, I ask you to consider what we know of the Rabbit Hole itself. Admittedly, we have precious little in the way of actual knowledge of the portal and its structure. However, we do have several consistent observations. Time and again, people and objects have passed through the portal in one temporal order, and emerged on the other side in a completely different configuration. There are accounts of whole caravans going through at the same time and members claiming to stick together for the whole trip, only to have random wagons emerge on the other side weeks apart and in an entirely different order. I remind you of the account of one woman boarding a train as a passenger, having been accounted for on the conductor’s ticket and seen by every other person in her vicinity. That same woman disappeared from the train with not one other passenger noticing, only to emerge a few days later as a passenger on a completely different train, again with not one soul’s notice. She herself did not seem to realize anything was different until she attempted to disembark and encountered confusion with the conductor’s ticket book.
These events all serve to tell us that time when entering and exiting the portal are not fixed. I realize this is difficult to understand, if not disconcerting, for most people. The world we live in, as far as our observations are aware at the least, operates on fixed time. All events move as a progression from cause to effect in a linear fashion. I move my pen across this sheet of foolscap, which then causes it to create these words. The words are not formed on the page before I scribe them, and to assert otherwise is to invite claims of lunacy. I posit to you, however, that it is indeed possible, however unlikely, that this exact thing could be the case. We observe time through our linear perspective, and are subject to its limitations, the same way one who sees the outside world only through stained glass their entire life will approach it with the perspective that the colours they see are part of the world beyond. If, however, we were to somehow encounter a separate line of time, we might see how events could transpire in alternate orders beyond our perspective. With the discovery of the Gruv and our observations of travel in the Rabbit Hole, I further posit to you that that is exactly what we are seeing.
I have not yet had sufficient accounts and data to establish a pattern to the temporal shifts to know for certain that this is what is in fact happening. There is a chance that there is truly no overall pattern, and that the alterations in the passage of time through the Rabbit Hole truly are random. However, I believe it is only a matter of time for more instances to occur, and all that is required is the effort to compile the results to make this abundantly clear. However, there has been one effort that has had consistent results, always obvious and catastrophic, which I believe gives credence to my theory. This would be the series of attempts to move the Hat.
Now, to address why these attempts always result in explosive failure. Consider my previous assertion, and for the sake of argument assume that time passing through the portal truly is not respective of our natural time line. As a means to assist, picture our time line as the classic number line. Let zero represent the position in time relative to us when the portal first formed, let the positive range represent current and future events, and let the negative side represent events before the portal formed. We have already gone over the negative side, and can only move towards the positive side. Now, consider movement through the portal as a function, which outputs a random result for the exit point. Recall that we are asserting that the portal itself exists outside of our time line, and thus is a function that operates non-relative to the function that defines our number line. For a truly random distribution, at some point this function will return results on the negative, or past, side. However, the existence of the portal itself is an event in our time line. This means that even though the portal function has a potential range not relative to our time line, it must have a domain that is limited to what our time line is capable of. In other words, since the portal exists in our time now and has not existed relative to us in the past, or negative side, it can only operate in the current and future, or positive, side of our time line.
Consider then the implications of an object trying to move back in time. Say for example at the point 100 on our time line, which I have chosen arbitrarily, I accidentally trip on a loose cobble and tear my favourite pair of trousers. Not being a seamstress, I am not possessed of the skills to adequately repair them. Suppose further that I am on my way to a dinner party at the time, and will not have time to take them to a shop for a proper repair. For the sake of argument, say then that I am possessed of the knowledge of how the function governing the portal operates, and can predict how to make it send me to an earlier point in the time line, for example the point 99. I could then enter the portal, go back in time, and notify myself of the cobble’s position, thereby averting the crisis and saving my evening plans. However, recall that movement on the time line can only move in the positive direction. At point 99, I would then proceed to point 100, where I originally tore my trousers and subsequently entered the portal. Being informed of the mishap, however, I do not trip and thus have no need to enter the portal to give myself the warning. If I do not enter to give myself the warning, how can I possibly know about the mishap beforehand? I have created a paradox. I would be forced to continuously send myself back in time to the same point and repeat the event endlessly, which goes against the natural flow of the time line. This reversal of flow will build pressure, just as with trying to force a bullet back into the gun barrel. Eventually, this pressure will build until it exceeds the limits of the system, at which point it will explode. In attempting to save myself embarrassment at a dinner party, I have inadvertently caused an explosive back flow of time, a far more embarrassing prospect indeed. As Mr. Stephenson said, verra awkward for the coo.
Now, recall again that time will continue to flow in the positive direction on the time line. Just as in the example of the explosion of the gun, after the blockage has been resolved by the explosion, the pressure continues on its prior course. Similarly, the temporal explosion will cause a shock wave as any other explosion, which will vibrate to the source of the blockage, i.e., my first attempt at entering the portal. The shock wave would destroy me in order to remove the blockage, an example of what we might term retrocausality, and time would progress onward. To an outside observer, however, they would not have taken the same path I did that led me to the past and through the temporal loop. They continue to move along the time line as normal. All they would see would be my attempt to enter the portal and the resultant explosion on contact. Now, please, tell me honestly, does this result not sound familiar?
Yes, I do propose this to be a similar circumstance with the Hat. Clearly, these results show that the Hat must be an object of the future. More importantly, it is an object of our future. It must somehow interact with something or someone on Earth at some future point in our time line that would create a paradox by taking it now to London for study. It is possible that we may even be the creators of the Hat, and that sending it to London to study would prevent us from making it in the first place. I strongly suspect this to be the case, as the Hat itself is never the focus of the explosion, and preserving its own creation by destroying itself would also be a paradox. If this is the case, then continued study of the Hat in any form is a potentially disastrous prospect. In the case of entering the portal, it is a simple, direct event that can be prevented in order to stop the paradox. In the case of study done slowly and over time, however, the pressure build up will be equally slow and gradual, and we may not notice for a very long time. Over a long span, though, the pressure built up will be far greater, and the area of destruction much more wide spread, likely affecting everything leading to the discovery of the artefact and potentially beyond.
I implore you, for the sake not only of ourselves, but for the entirety of our timeline, get this message advanced further, to someone that can order a cessation to this line of enquiry. Nature has offered multiple warnings at this point as to the results of fooling about with this object. I beg of you, take heed of these warnings, do not allow us to be undone by our own curiosity as the fabled cat. I have just as much a thirst for learning as the next scientifically minded individual, but it is foolhardy not to understand that there are some things that are best left a mystery.
Dr. Reginald Von Klaus
University of Durham, College of Physical Sciences
Interestingly, research into the nature of the Hat was suspended shortly afterwards, but whether this was a response to Dr. Von Klaus’ missive, or the loss of the Aetheric Resonance Compensator and the subsequent budgetary inquest, is left as an exercise.