Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chronos division

"So tell me again, why are we doing this?" Shawn asked, hustling to catch up with his mentor.

Martin eyed him, half-irritated.

"Didn't you read the manual before you went here? It's part of a Chronos Division's responsibility to do that you know?"

"Well, if the manual weren't so long then maybe I could get to reading them..." Shawn complained.

Chronos Division is part of the United Government's military, directly under the Armed Guards. Members of this division are tasked to correct errors in the time line, caused by the tampering of previous generations.

"Fine... I wonder how you could not read the manual and still manage to be part of this division..." Martin said, obviously exasperated at the ignorance of his pupil.

Each year, the Chronos Division recruits fresh graduates from various academies that have shown proficiency in Time and History studies. It's of utmost importance that recruits know history like that back of their hand. One false move could mean the failure of a mission; an unwanted alteration in history that could call for numerous additional missions, which means additional unwanted expense.

"The first time Chrono-folding was achieved, our ancestors were of course very excited, so excited that they began causing alterations in the time line. But contrary to pop knowledge in that era, 'tampering with the time line' doesn't really cause much of a difference to how time flows..."

Chrono-folding is term coined in the early part of the 21st century. It's a fancy term for time travel, but not completely unfounded. Chrono-folding is done by literary bending the so-called "time-space continuum", or the "Chrono plane". Time and space had always been conventionally considered four dimensional: the first three dimensions (i.e. height, width and depth) serve to define space, and the fourth dimension (time) serves to define the constant passing of moments.

By the turn of the decade though, chronologists (scientists who study time) began to think of time and space as a plane; a 2-dimensional plane similar to a movie reel. It wasn't long before a team chronologists in the Integrated University of New Harvard were able to literally bend this 2-dimensional plane, which then became know as the Chrono plane. They did it by shooting photons at a target exponentially faster than the speed of light. This causes a phenomenon similar to the sonic boom, called the "phosphic boom". The tremendous amount of explosive energy forces the chrono plane to warp and fold, sending the target back into time. The energy and speed of the photons determine how far back in time the target would be sent to.

"... The chrono plane is immensely vast and the current by which it moves is extremely strong. 'Tampering' with it would be similar to dipping your finger into the ocean and watching the ripples flow. Sooner or later, something would replace whatever event that was "tampered" with, which means history would remain relatively unaltered." explained Martin.

"Wait, you mean even if we did things in the past to "alter" history, aside from probably a change in surname, nothing really large would change?" asked Shawn.

"No." answered Martin.

"So the grandfather anomaly is..." Shawn continued.

"Bullshit..." Martin interjected.

After chronologists were able to successfully develop Chrono-folding technology, it was of course natural for them to send people back into time. The first Chrono-walkers were uncertain about how "tampering" with space and time would affect history at large. They performed "controlled" experiments on history, going even as far as slaughtering lab animals to see whether the grandfather anomaly and other anomalies like it were real. They discovered that the further you travel back in time, the lesser of an effect tampering with something would have.

Suppose somebody kills on of your distant ancestors. Chances are you would still be born, with the same parents, same physical characteristics, and even lead the same life. Somebody would replace the killed ancestor, and the effect of the replacement would mitigate in due time. This is opposed to killing, say, a parent. There is still a chance you would be born, but from a different parent. Your appearance could remain unaltered and you could still live a relatively unchanged life, but there is also a chance you would never be born at all.

"So why then are we still chrono-folding if we aren't even going to be able to change anything that much?" asked Shawn.

"Well, for one, our ancestors did so many alterations into the past. Experiment after experiment made the public more and more uneasy about chrono-folding. Soon, the public uproar was on such a high level that chronologists were forced to perform experiments underground. For a while all seemed well, until somebody leaked information to the public about the underground experimentations. Feeding on the rage of the people, opposition politicians began including 'Stop chrono-experimentations' as part of their propaganda..."

In the middle of the 22nd century, an opposition candidate was sworn into the highest office of the United Government, the Supreme Sovereign of the Flags or Supreme Sovereign for short. And of course, part of her platform was to outlaw chrono-experimentation for good. This was not enough however to quell the public. A group, calling themselves the "Naturalists" began heckling the government to perform counter-measures to correct the "unnaturalism" caused by chrono-experimentation.

The Naturalists were at first ignored by the United Government. For them, sending people back in time to correct the mistakes were a waste of money; sending a single person to a two-way trip back in time through chrono-folding costs millions, especially since the technology to chrono-fold had to be carried back in time with the chrono-walkers.

This all changed when a string of skyscraper bombings and hostage takings were performed by the New Army, the militaristic wing of the Naturalists. The current supreme sovereign was impeached; her Vice Sovereign being sworn into office in lieu of her. He played to the whims of the Naturalists, even giving them a seat in the United Congress of Flag Representatives. And as part of the administrative switch, the Chronos Division was organized.

"I see..." said Shawn in a partly convinced, partly dubious tone.

The elevator door opened as they walked in. It would take about five minutes to get to the 35th level deep underground, where chrono-folding missions were briefed and held.

As the elevator door closed, Shawn asked something that caught Martin off-guard.

"So, if we are part of the 'unnaturalism' caused by previous chrono-foldings, and as such have no knowledge whatsoever of how things should've gone given that no previous chrono-foldings were performed; how then could we know how things should've naturally proceeded? Who calls the shots?"

For a few minutes, only the silent hum of the elevator could be heard. Shawn patiently waited for the answer as the elevator went further and further underground.

Just as the elevator door was about to open, Martin answered in a hushed, equally perplexed tone:

"It's... Classified..."

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