The Mephitisearliest post first | most recent post first
Riding the Waveform is one of the best parts of the job. Not only does it look AMAZING from the inside, but it creates a subtle vibration throughout The Mephitis that is both wonderfully relaxing and stimulating at the same time. Plus, really not much to do during the ride -- no steering, no loading, no unloading. We're out of radio contact for the duration, so no pesky calls or distractions. Nothing to do but keep an eye on the instruments and enjoy the ride.
Purple and green auroras spill over the bow of the ship. The background radiation shimmers. The ship hums.
For all my fame an notoriety, is it wrong that THIS is when I'm happiest?
"Ready to initiate harmonic release, Captain."
"Hold steady, Engineer."
Outside the windscreen the night sky spins past. This part always makes me dizzy, even though the ship doesn't feel like its moving at all.
"And.... now, Engineer."
"Harmonic release initiated."
"Retract the docking crystals."
There you could feel something. A little bump. A little free fall.
"Now give her the juice. Slowly."
"Giving her the juice, Captain."
And that's where you feel that agreeable acceleration deep down in your belly.
The point of the maneuver is to ride the knob torque from a Quick Station boost up into a nearby waveform current, then match the the amplitude with a little bit of juice. If you do it right, you can ride the frequency for as far as you like with hardly any energy expenditure at all.
"And, matching.... now. We're riding the wave, sir"
"Well done, Engineer."
All I did was push the buttons. It's the Captain who invented the maneuver, so if anybody knows how to do it right it's him.
The infamous @Captain Pirate IX.
SUBJECT: @Captain Pirate IX
The subject sits on his cot reading a book. Later, he will likely spend an hour stretching and working out on the exercise bike, then prepare a small microwave dinner in the kitchenette.
Viewing hours end at 8pm, at which time the CCTV screen is deactivated, and the subject leaves the small cell to return to his family for the night.
This is because the subject in the mock Droste containment chamber is not Captain Pirate IX. Naturally, no one can view Captain Pirate IX without being subject to the Droste Effect, contained and controlled as it is in the real Droste containment chamber. This subject is on display for informational purposes only.
The real Captain Pirate IX exists in concrete constraints at the center of the real Droste containment chamber, straining against the maddening effects of his eigenstate looping at the speed of thought from one reality to another and back again to ours, spinning, spinning, jiggling in a bottle like a radioactive jumping bean, the fulcrum point of the grinding crush where realities meet, allowing us to generate enormous amounts of power.
Or at least that's how he was described, in the original blueprints. Naturally, no one can view Captain Pirate IX without being subject to the Droste Effect. The original engineers sealed themselves within the Droste containment chamber in order to maintain the power couplings, and ensure that Captain Pirate IX remain restrained.
It is believed that continuous exposure to the Droste Effect will leave both Captain Pirate IX and the engineers effectively immortal.
I was remembering the postcard. Thunderheads over Chichen Itza. Me, in the picture, with the postcard in my hand: THUNDERHEADS OVER CHICHEN ITZA, with a little me you can just see, holding the postcard in my hand... It all still felt like someone else's vacation...
WHAM @Captain Pirate pummeled my face again with his fist.
"This universe just ain't big enough for the both of us!" Captain Pirate cried, wheeling back to take another punch.
"Okay, little buddy, you can take it easy..."
A pair of arms came up from behind Captain Pirate and pinned him in a full nelson. A big guy, with a huge chest and biceps, but looking oddly familiar...
"Captain Pirate V, at your service!" he said. Captain Pirate gave up struggling.
"Ready for those zip ties, Captain Pirate III."
A woman suddenly appeared and zipped Captain Pirate's hands behind his back, then rapidly hog-tied them to his ankles. She could have been my sister.
"Droste Fever," she said. "Don't hold it against him."
Glancing around, I'd lost sight of all the choco lonis and Doctor Argosas in this refracted mirror world. Come to think of it, wasn't I in some kind of flying saucer?
"We'd better get a move on before we attract a crowd. We're mostly good natured, but there's really no end of us who would insist on offering opinions," said the big guy.
"Roger that," said Captain Pirate III. "Preparing for translocation..." she began to fiddle with her bulky watch.
"Where are we headed?" I half mumbled. My face was swelling.
"To liberate Captain Pirate IX! Ready three?"
CHOCO LONI’S NUTS
hey check out my nuts. I’m a nutseller. biggest nutseller in the tri-market area, with the biggest selection of nuts in the biggest stalls in the biggest malls in the tri-cities.
this slippery nut will escape the owner’s fingers at a moment of its choosing, when it senses where it needs to go.
the down-down nut, always dancing. if shelled, it floats.
rip-barrier nuts. plant them around your house and disconnect from the eigenstate. sail the seven seas!
now if you’ll excuse me it’s back to my numbnuts. choco loni is old and needs her balms.
"--and it is at this moment that the wave function collapses and reduces to a single eigenstate. Next slide please."
I take a moment for a drink of water. La Paz is hot this time of year. And this lecture hall is stuffy.
"Now, as you can see in this diagram, this new eigenstate exists in an entirely different universe. But those in the immediate proximity of @Captain Pirate IX during these events actually witness the change, as their own quantum states undergo an abrupt transformation, but retain information--in the form of memories--of the prior eigenstate. This is how scientists were first able to identify and harness Droste Energy, which powers the great cities and standard of living that all of us enjoy today. Any questions?"
My students look as lost and bored as ever.
"Yes, uh, I have a question, @Doctor Argosa!" calls a small voice from the shadows up high in the back. I don't even know their name.
"Katz Spindle, third year, sir."
"Yes Katz. Your question?"
"How do you keep it stable? The source, that is.@Captain Pirate IX. Why aren't we just flipping channels wildly all the time?"
"Ah, excellent question, Katz. You see, unless one is right there to observe the change--to be part of the change--then nothing changes. Everything--all of this--" I gesture across the room and towards the large open windows and the colorful city beyond, "has always been here... had its own history, arrow of time and all that. The rest of us haven't gone anywhere. It's @Captain Pirate IX who's flipping. And that's what provides the power. Like an engine..."
"Hello again, me!" said @Captain Pirate.
"You! Not again!" I answered. "You were... reset. Reconstituted. You were breaking down -- memory errors."
"Oh come off it. It wasn't because I was broken. It was because I'd SEEN things."
"Oh yeah? Like what?"
Captain Pirate -- my nemesis, my doppelgänger, a dysfunctional version of myself from a prior life -- pointed across the plain white expanse we found ourselves in, and there were @choco loni and @Doctor Argosa, surrounded by more choco lonis and more Doctor Argosas, I, II, III, IV... In fact, it was hard to tell the originals from the--
"There ARE no originals! Don't you see?" said Captain Pirate. "There's an infinite number, probably, of all the different us's out there. And an infinite number of permutations that might call for us."
"But I like my permutation," I said. "Things were just coming along. I was going to be a canned coffee celebrity in Japan!"
"Now that sounds more like it. Just the kind of lifestyle I'm looking for."
"You can't take it. It's mine. I made it. That's why I'm stable -- because in the process of creating that world I became part of it. You... you're nothing but a hijacker! But you don't know how to fly the plane!"
"You have a plane now?"
"Arrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!!" I cried, and threw myself at Captain Pirate.
the mirrors. the captain's mind. the droste fever. it was all coming back.
my memory stick.
i'd completely forgotten about my memory stick. not since i'd thrown it at @Captain Pirate's head at the height his fever.
it had been in my pocket the entire time.
i loaded it up and aimed for the pinnacle of the spiral. the origin. why were we here again? a relapse of the droste?
i pulled the trigger without thinking. it was more like remembering i pulled the trigger than actually doing it.
the bullet had already been fired.
the bullet had always been fired.
the memory stick hurtled towards the point of the sprial above us. heading closer, heading closer, deeper and deeper into entwined mirror memories of us all.
where did they end?
The light opened my mind like a hall of mirrors, and I could see myself in all reflections.
"Doctor are you getting this? this? this? this?" the Captain asked. Our reality frame was stuttering, due to the buffering.
My own hall of mirrors stretched before me, most recent moments first, followed by earlier moments, then the earlier moments to those moments, on and on and on, all neatly filed like folders in a filing cabinet. From one perspective it seemed like it must go on for millions of miles, but from another perspective you could see how they were coiled, like movie film, then telescoped out, like a snail's shell, into a kind of cone or paty hat.
"Yep, it's all pretty clear from up here. here. here. here," said the Captain.
"What is it they are looking for, I wonder. wonder. wonder. wonder," I said.
"Perhaps they're looking for the point. point. point. point," said the Captain, pointing his finger at the very pinnacle of the spiral above us. The eye of the storm.
@choco loni was already taking aim.
"So, it's mighty dark in here..."
Nobody on the crew says a word. We're only lit up by the lights in the control panels.
"I suppose we still can't turn around... @Doctor Argosa?"
The Doctor mumbles something about magnetic bean rays. Also that the large doors that opened to pull us inside the spaceship have just closed.
"Now it's EXTRA dark in here."
"Isn't there supposed to be a beam of light or something when you're abducted? Not some big dark garage."
And suddenly, there WAS light. From everywhere. The brightest most intense light I had ever seen.
"Ow! That's bright!"