The Grid

This entry was posted by on Sunday, 3 October, 2010 at

An Open Source Science Fiction story. Feel free to modify or reproduce, as long as credit is given.



E.M. van Eenennaam.

On the celestial grid connecting all universes

and how to traverse it


It’s sure been a while, since I left home to look for something new in life. Something really special, something normal people can only dream of. Aren’t we all looking for our own personal paradise, a little piece of heaven where you can forget about your problems and where life is easy? In my early childhood I made a promise to myself, I wouldn’t follow the great masses, I would do something no one has ever done before. I guess everybody has those moments every now and then, when you just think of doing something that is considered “really weird”. Most people stop at that, but others try to see how far they can push reality to make their dreams come true. As for me, I did my share of trying. Some times I feel like I failed the promise I made years ago. Although one can try hard, that doesn’t always mean it actually gets you somewhere. But still, I guess I somehow succeeded in finding a little piece of that dream, if only just for a short period.

Chapter 1

It all started in 2058, when I was working on a project in university together with three other students, all two years younger than I was, because I spent a year abroad during high school. The physics department wanted us to do a practical research in groups of four. We were given time to think about what to research during class, and during our discussion I found out what under-developed people were in my team, with one exception. They wanted to research the airflow around different shapes, such as a sphere, a cylinder and a pyramid. I tried to talk them out of it for it had been done millions of times before and there was no challenge to it, but they thought it was great. Annika, one of the two girls in our group, was the only one who kind of supported me in my wish to investigate something really different, something no one has ever done before. But Kate and her boyfriend Andrew held on to their plan, the airflow-research. No doubt airflow-research is really important when it comes to building cars and planes, but that was the kind of stuff that has been investigated for dozens of years, if not hundreds. And then, they weren’t being built here anymore… Not since earth turned into the barren planet it is now. And that is why I myself felt more for going where no one has ever gone before. I wanted something original, and I’m glad Annika supported me.

A couple of years before I read a book by Dr. J. Thomson, in which he described his view of the universe and how reality was “constructed” out of what he described as the “infinite realities pool”. At this time in history mankind had almost completely mapped out our local milky way, and scientists have estimated the remaining number of other milky ways at sixty to seventy million, of which 0.001% is expected to be able to sustain life. For ages people thought the universe was infinite, but now as there are only a few mysteries about the universe left unsolved and the border of the universe is just over the horizon, people – and then I mean scientists because the majority of the people are completely ignorant – have come to realise that the universe is finite. Several scientists have published in magazines like Nature and Science, proudly pronouncing the universe is finite, and that they are just about to map its border. All this doesn’t seem too weird, it was all to be expected after what happened in 2005, when that alien craft came down.

With the technology from that vessel, mankind was now able to travel at near-light speed velocity, and mapping the universe would only take a few decades using this and our own technologies. A little more than halve a century later the end came in sight, with just a small percentage of the universe left unchartered.

Because mankind now had the power to transport himself and his equipment over huge distances at very low cost – using the power provided by the Bose-Einstein fields around stars – they completely forgot about what Dr. J. Thomson once wrote in the late 20th century. He constructed his model of “reality” out of an infinite amount of red blood cell-like structures, or donut-shaped but without the hole in the middle, each structure representing one universe. These RBC-structures – as he called them – are linked closely, but because of their shape there still remained “something” in between. The RBC-structures are basically identical, only every structure follows it’s own way. When there is a decision to be made, the structure “replicates” into all possible outcomes of the question. This way the amount of RBC-structures doubles with speeds beyond imagination because of the many things going on. When I read this back then I found this to be a very dazzling thought, but still after reading it over and over, my imagination just failed to get even the smallest abstraction of this theory, it was just too big…

All the RBC-structures are isolated units by itself, yet they were highly linked at the same time. Thomson explains this with a family tree, where the granddad carries a certain gene. This gene is passed on to the children, and their children. The only difference being that the RBC-structures don’t mate, but rather clone.

Thomson says that there is a possibility that the walls surrounding the structures leak at some instances, cause unknown. This phenomena was – so he says – the explanation for the thing we know as déjà vu. Thomson wrote that the matter between the structures was some kind of high-density roster he called the celestial grid, keeping the universes aligned. He briefly described his plans to find a way through one of the leaks into the celestial grid, and travel to different RBC-structures, the more popular name for this idea is time-travelling, or dimension-hopping. Mankind has been trying to do this for thousands of years, but to no avail. Also, with the help of our alien allies – of which most have a higher level of development than we do – there still is no proof that time travelling is possible. But then, they all forgot about Thomson…

Chapter 2 –  The search

It was around midnight when I found what I was looking for, the almost ancient book. It had been buried beneath dozens of other books, all covered with at least ten years’ dust. I had read the book a couple of years before that when I was studying abroad. There were a lot of sketches and tables in it that I didn’t remember anymore, so I needed to find another copy of the book. During lunch in university I told Annika about my plans, and she agreed with me that it would be quite a challenge, and that we would try it. She had to babysit that night, so I went to the old central library by myself. I took the C-train to the station near the old baseball stadium, from where I walked to the library. The stadium, once a proud building, looked like a dying giant. It was slowly falling apart, after the last match had been played there even before I was born. I don’t remember what had happened to earth, because it had been like this all my life. Buildings were falling apart, society was deteriorating and there wasn’t even the slightest political structure. On earth, complete anarchy roamed, while people were migrating to other planets, planets that were given names like Hope, Renaissance and Ego Valorem. Only the rich had the money to pay for the long and expensive journey there. The only way to get there was by freighter, and the only company in the business was the Syndicate. They basically ran the entire universe. The fifty mightiest nations were gathered in the Syndicate, and after a war that had cost many lives they managed to conquer all the remaining enemies. It was due to this monopoly of the Syndicate, that life was so tough.

The streets were covered with filth, and the stench of a nearby fire was burning in my nostrils. I saw a dog cross the street, the animal had almost no meat on it. But still, even this animal wasn’t save. Some of those who survived the apocalyptic fires of the Sukashey attack on our planet had grown used to the habit of eating any animal they could find, because the livestock had disappeared about a decade ago because the soil was exhausted. Among the ruins of what once was proud earth now lived humans, who were refugees on their own ancestral grounds. Wearing worn clothes they tried to stay alive with whatever they could find. From what I had been able to find in the library I discovered that at it’s blooming period Earth had carried twenty five billion souls. Around half of it suffered instant death during the attack, many others died from the after-effects such as the chaos and the shortage of just about all the primary things needed to sustain life. Mankind’s upper-ten had abandoned Earth and was now living on the idyllical worlds of Alpha Prime, Decima Centauri and Virgo.

I was born just after the Sukashey attacked. My dad died defending his planet, while his wife was giving birth. Many people died, and those who did survive found themselves facing an uncertain future. The Syndicate would not take an attack on one of their planets, and it was within months that the few men that were still alive were called to wage war against the Sukashey. Thousands of carriers, destroyers and support ships from all planets part of the Syndicate made their way to the Sukashey homeworld.

Within a year the syndicate had obliterated the complete Sukashey civilisation, but they weren’t there when Earth and its people needed defence. In the rest of the universe everybody was cheerful because the final threat was defeated. On Earth people were still fighting to conquer what is probably any species’ worst enemy: shortage.

I crossed a street while I looked to my left only to see a gang of teenagers setting a car on fire. Many roads were still intact, but cars were getting scarce. Around ten years ago all the major industries were moved to Tokama, the industrial planet that still has loads of natural resources. The cars on Earth were at least ten years old, and no one had money to import new parts. I was happy that the public transit was still working, although they have a lot of downtime due to brownouts, and they are always overcrowded. I walked on hurriedly, and a few dozen meters later I reached the stairs that lead to the big entrance of the library, once a building even more beautiful than the stadium. I have never seen it that way but I was sure it had been. I knocked on the door, and I saw the hatch behind the window open, and an old man looked down on me.

“Who’s there?” the man said.

“Harald, It’s me!” I yelled, and he opened the door quickly, and closed it just as quickly after I jumped in.

“You can never be too sure with those gangs out there.” He said.

I knew what he was talking about. In times of trouble people come together in groups because there’s strength in numbers. But these groups were pillaging the entire city, or what was left of it. Life had become dangerous, especially in the big cities, or the remains of the big cities I should say.

“How are you doing, my lad?” Harald asked me. The old man walked through the door leading to his office.

“coffee? I just made some…”

“Yes please…” I said while looking around his office absentmindedly. Suddenly I recalled the question.

“Oh, things are going, as always…” I answered his question as I sat down in one of the worn but still comfy chairs near the desk. The walls of Harald’s office were covered with bookshelves, and the room smelled like old cigar smoke. Old? Yes, three years ago the stores stopped selling tobacco and cigars, simply because they weren’t available anymore.

“Now, tell me what brings you here, lad” the grey man asked me while he handed me my coffee and sat down in his huge leather chair and started to stare at me. I smelled the coffee. It was surprisingly good.

“It’s from my private stash, so to say…” Harald explained, a friendly smile on his face while he continued staring at me.

I smiled, and took a sip. Then I started talking.

“You see, we’re doing a science project. And I wanted to do something unconventional. I am looking for this book by Dr. J. Thomson, it has no title and is like way old…”

I sipped my coffee.

“Ah, so you’re looking for an old book… they hardly make any new ones you know?” he mentioned matter-of-factly.

I continued: “Yes, there are a bunch of interesting sketches in it that I need for my science project.”

Harald turned towards his old Macintosh and punched some keys on the keyboard. He was proud to have one, because computers haven’t been available in the stores for more than ten years.

“Let me see… Thomson, right? That’s T-h-o-m-son?”

He looked at me and I nodded.

“I don’t know for sure, but you might check shelve twenty five, row ten in section d level zero. If I have it, it must be there.”

“Thanks Harald!” I said and got up to walk towards the door.

“Ehm, you might need this,” Harald said while he handed me an old battered flashlight. “you see, something went wrong in the electrical system and the entire cellar is kind of out-of-power…”

“Thanks” I said, and took the flashlight.

I got used to walking around in the dark. That’s what the frequent brownouts do to you. And then the black smoke and thick clouds outside. It’s been forever since I’ve seen the sun, or any sunlight at all. I descended the stairs to the cellar and opened the heavy metal door. A wave of water came through the opening, and a damp smell came from the dark space behind the door. I stepped into the cellar, section a, with something I took for water to my ankles. Damn, the entire cellar was flooded! I swung the flashlight around to find my way, and saw dozens of rats, quickly dashing away from me. I proceeded to section d. The last time I had been here was over a year ago, and there was no water here back then. I guess the concrete must have cracked somewhere. That’s how it goes with buildings nowadays, nobody has money to repair them, or even the cement to fix it.

I found row ten, and shelve twenty five shortly after that. The books in it were all affected by the damp conditions, some even had huge amounts of mould growing on the backs. After a while I found a small book, that looked kind of different from the others. Time sure had taken its toll on this book, but compared to some of its neighbours it was still in good condition. It was a completely black book, even the edges of the pages were black. I took a closer look, and found out there was a grid pressed into the cover. “I guess I found what I was looking for…” I mumbled.

Chapter 3

It was running quite late when the C-train finally reached the stop where I had to get off. I often think it might be faster to walk with the electricity shortages every now and then. I quickly made my way to the apartment block where my mom and I lived, and rushed up the stairs. This block was one of the only habitable buildings in the vicinity, although the roof on the top floor was leaking, and several windows were shattered.

I took the key out of my pocket, opened the door and stepped into the small apartment. I walked into my room – which was no more than a cubicle with a bed, a desk and a chair that had been fixed time after time – and sat down on my bed to read.

I read a lot, it keeps me off of the street. When I’m not in school or at home I can be found in Harald’s library. Over the years the word ‘university’ had gotten a new meaning, because no learning institution on Earth was allowed to award official Syndicate-approved degrees. Many of the people whom I grew up with lead their lives on the street, living off of whatever they could find, gather and sometimes even steal. Personally I figured that education was the only way to get out of this barren situation. But unlike many other people in my university – who want to get an education to migrate to other planets and work there – I figured there had to be a way to change Earth’s fate. A way to remove the thick black clouds from the sky, a way to make all that was once beautiful become beautiful again. People say I’m a dreamer, well then that’s what I am, a dreamer aspiring his dreams.

The university actually was a group of professors who tried to run an educational program but with no financial support from the Syndicate – Earth’s government had fallen a long time ago – this wasn’t always easy. But these men lived for science, passing on knowledge was their life and I was determined to get as much knowledge out of them as possible.

—From here on: work in progress. Some notes:

Read book. Mentions research lab.

Professor thinks plan is ridiculous, yet Annika supports it.

Pack stuff, go over to Annika’s and go to research lab.

Operate StrangeLookingMachine and open gate into… yeah, into what actually?

Revision of Thomsons theory:

The grid is actually a interstellar travelling network, enabling energy-flows between several modular space-components. Depending on what frequency you enter the Grid there are different levels of abstraction, from a location within a room, to a super cluster somewhere millions of lightyears away. Unfortunately Thomsons idea about travelling time does not apply, all modules run at the same speed, probably generated by something – some kind of clock ticking away – which synchronizes them all. Although slight bends in time have been recorded when crossing from one module to the other.

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