Friday, April 30, 2021

Microstory 1615: Going the Wrong Way

Salmonverse is the messiest, most complicated, most dangerous universe that I’ve ever seen. It’s not dangerous, because a bunch of demons are trying to kill you, like Adverse, or because of unpredictable base modifications, like you’ll find in Bladopodoverse. It’s dangerous because far too many people are capable of time travel and they travel through time far too often. With almost no regulation, this doesn’t just get complicated, though. It also leads to death. First of all, you have to understand that, since there are very few parallel realities in this brane, every time someone time travels, they’re technically killing billions of people. The act itself will collapse the timeline, and send its inhabitants into oblivion. Travelers justify this in a few ways. Many of the people who collapsed with the timeline they just came from exist in this new timeline as well. They will move on with their lives, and not worry about what might have been, unless there’s some other psychological reason for them to worry about that, in which case, the time travel isn’t relevant or necessary. Some people will never have been born, sure, but again, their once-loved ones will never know what they’re missing. There’s also the fact that reality itself is constantly springing and collapsing timelines. I’ve mentioned microrealities, which exist for fractions of a second, and are destroyed once true reality takes shape. There are people in those microrealities—duplicates of everyone who existed at the moment—and have just as much potential to survive as their counterparts. And this is happening all the time, in every universe, even the ones that don’t allow general time travel. But that’s not the same thing, because no one is doing that on purpose. Time travelers, on the other hand, are deliberate actors. Well, not all of them, I suppose. The universe’s namesake, salmon are controlled by the powers that be, but the accusation still holds. It’s just that blame must be shifted from the traveler themselves, to the people in control. It’s still happening, and timelines are still collapsing.

This is not a criticism of Salmonverse, or its residents, or the time travelers. It’s not even really about the people whose timeline collapses when a new one is created. It’s just not a good place to live if you want to make sure that you have a future. Anytime someone goes back in time, and changes something, everyone’s life is at risk. Their entire existence is in jeopardy. Sometimes it’s a timeloop, and everything they do is inevitable. When it’s not, though, even the slightest alteration—and I mean, on the quantum level—creates a new branching timeline. It may not have been their intention to change something, but it will, and they can’t stop it. Lots of time travel fiction involves doing your best to not make any changes to history, but again, unless it’s a timeloop, their efforts are pointless. History will change, even if they stand in one place until they catch up to their own present, which they won’t. Reality is also a lot less binary than people think. Stopping someone from dying on April 29, only to watch them die on April 30 still means that things changed. Death isn’t stalking you, trying to maintain some cosmic balance. If the person ends up dying anyway, it’s not because it was their destiny, or couldn’t be stopped. It’s just a coincidence. That’s what salmonverse is all about. Travelers are constantly making changes, often unintentionally, but also often in the attempt to improve something about reality. I don’t think anyone is qualified to say whether that’s good or not, but from where I stand, time travel is just not worth the risk.

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