The Myconet, Part 50

Now, here’s the thing about time travel.

You don’t understand time travel. There, I said it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t understand it either. It’s entirely possible that nobody understands it. Our brains evolved in a certain set of dimensional and causal conditions and they are not equipped for extralinear abstract conceptualisation. But here’s where most time travel debates fall in a hole[1]: The idea that you can witness an event, then travel back in time to avert the event by interfering with a contributing factor – by destroying a trumpet, for example – thus causing a paradox wherein the event never occurred for you to want to avert it … it fails to grasp a very simple premise of time as a traversable dimension.

[1] Indeed, down a set of ladder-stair things and into a manky old cellar.

I didn’t travel in time – or I did, but only in the classical way most things do, from the past to the future in the shoddy little leaky rowboat that is the present. For me, my personal experiential timeline started in one set of conditions, the Prism appeared, Creepy and I tried to examine it, Creepy took the cookhouse trumpet, things started falling apart, then I went on a wild chase through a deteriorating series of settings and locales in the vain hope of catching Rose with our X-ray specs, and finally smashed the trumpet and entered a more normal and stable set of conditions. I didn’t cross my own path and cancel my motivation – I went in a straight narrative line, and the universe rewrote itself around me.

At least, that’s what I think happened. It’s always hard to be sure, because – like I say – the brain of the average organic being isn’t constructed to deal with movement along extralinear axes.

What the brain is constructed to do, however, is interpret the data it’s getting from the organism’s senses and nervous system, and put together a stimulus-response playbook according to the narrative it constructs out of the various imperfect bits and pieces that arrive through the ol’ meat filters. No matter what stupendous things might be happening in the universe around us, we have no choice but to experience it all through the biological apparatus at our disposal. And that, even enhanced with our precious scientific instruments, is woefully inadequate.

I think that what I experienced when I smashed the Barnsley Yard Cookhouse Trumpet was a case of the universe putting me back into a rearranged version of itself, unable to really place me because of said rearrangement but unable to just leave me floating around as a loose end. As a result, and as a consequence of my own observing consciousness collapsing the indeterminate nature of local space-time, I slotted back into the point of least resistance, which just happened to be the cosmological coordinates of Hatboy, present day, sewer system under Prince Philip Street. This might be seen as a lucky coincidence, but least-resistance motion is one of the founding principles of physics.

It also happens to be a founding principle of being a super-sidekick.

Now that’s a coincidence.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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3 Responses to The Myconet, Part 50

  1. dreameling says:

    Meh, that’s just a lot of human-minds-cannot-understand hand-waving. But, in the context of your crazy Hatboy universe, I’ll buy it. It’s certainly better than, say, Star Trek’s inconsistently tangled mess of a time travel physics tapestry.

    For someone who claims he doesn’t understand time travel, Hatboy seems to understand quite a lot, though.

    But was this it? Where’s the Urverse Bridge?

    • stchucky says:

      It’s not hand-waving, it’s just a fact – but I knew it would needle you.

      I’m attempting to explain how paradox and timeline fixing works, around the quantum-observation point that in this case is Hatboy. To him, there’s a seamless continuity and no reset, just a collapse and rebuild. For everyone else, it’s a reset.

      Also, you’re still not seeing the whole picture. Hatboy may understand more about time travel than I’m able to express, but I definitely know more about his universe than he does.

      And no, the story isn’t over. It’s called The Myconet, not The Cookhouse Trumpet … there’s still more to tell.

      The bridge, however, has already happened. Creepy and Hatboy’s half of it, anyway.

      • stchucky says:

        And obviously there’s no need for you to feel like you missed something. You didn’t, at this point. I mean, there are heavy clues here, but I think there’s still a few bits of the puzzle missing.

        Certainly, I think when the penny finally drops for you, you’re going to forgive me for my time-traveller-observation paradox-cancellation cheat.

        If you don’t, of course, feel free to yell at me and I will save it all away for your newt-counterpart to mutter about next time causality gets ripped open.

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