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Visits to my Local Time Shaft

Short pieces written from the perspective of scientist and frequent time shaft visitor, Professor Barnabus K. Pompadour.

1 – 3D Independence Party

2 – Unusual Toilet Seat

3 – Worrying Message

4 – Evolving Doors

 

The Church of Close Enoughism

Publications and scripture from the religion of Close Enoughism – a belief system based on the idea of celebrating things that are close enough, with the Mehssiah’s Great Acts of Mediocrity held in high respect.

December 2016 Newsletter

The First Act

 

Fantasy Short Stories

A range of stories set within the same world, though not necessarily linked beyond that connection.

Sacred Fires

The story of Ennaya Atimari, a young woman who finds herself suddenly caught up in an adventure to protect ancient magical fires that have burned as long as humankind remembers.

Part 1
Part 2

 

Other Short Stories

Bongo Jones

A story about a man in a mehtopian future – it is far from a utopia, and though there is a lot wrong with his world, dystopian seems a little extreme. Everything is just kinda meh.

Part 1 – A Day in the Life

Part 2 – Birthday

Part 3 – Festival

The Secret Task of Gorgeous George

A man who is so inexplicably gorgeous he had to rename his car sales company is forced to aid in an illegal scheme by the president.

A Boatload of Robots

Nora Spucket has to deal with a load of malfunctioning robots who she accidentally failed to lock in their container.

 

Other Things

Ghosts

Manatee

Poems

I very rarely do these.

Being Human

Password Please (external link)

 

Serious Discussion About Things

I put this last because I’m not sure how much I like these pieces or if I’m likely to upload more.

My Nanowrimo Experience: Success and Failure

Political Correctness and Free Speech

Intelligence

Visits to my Local Time Shaft – 4

So I was down at my local time shaft recently, and it threw out something less disturbing than last time – perhaps… Actually, this is also a little disturbing.

The time shaft gave what appears to be a passage from a classroom textbook. I’m surprised they still have paper ones. It describes a construction blunder of incredible proportion, stating that “a typo in the architect’s plans led the engineers to build evolving doors.”

Allow me to quote directly rather than paraphrase:

Initially, the evolving doors did not cause any problems. After around a month, they had developed a basic form of sentience. They were intelligent enough to mess with people who entered, jokingly asking for passwords, but for now, they were content with being doors.

It was another six months before their existential crisis. An employee, Jonas Fuller, was the first to report the change, stating “the doors asked me what it means to be a door.”

His concerns were largely ignored, and within days the doors barely functioned for their purpose any more. They became incredibly depressed and were far too willing to open up about it. Things only got worse from this point on.

Then a few sentences are illegible through charring from the time shaft, but it escalates quickly.

By this time, the hostages were well on the road to recovery, while the doors continued to exert power. They now legally occupy a new nation spanning 243 square kilometres of land formerly belonging to the USA. Aside from the events of their fight for independence, they have remained a peaceful nation, though the human rights record there still falls short of UN expectations.

And that is all I have. I wish I had the whole textbook to read more than this brief overview, but alas, this is the nature of the time shaft. We find random shreds of information and see what we can learn from them. This particular item really shows the incredible potential humankind shall achieve with synthetic evolution. Hopefully other applications of this wondrous technology will turn out less messily – or perhaps we are better off not risking it.

Until next time,

    – Barnabus K. Pomadour

Sacred Fires – Part 1

There was magic in the books of The Sacred Lahana Sa’Ellai Library. There was magic in the walls and shelves, but most of all, there was magic in the fire that rose and twisted in red and gold from the centre of the room. The base of the fire was surrounded by slate wedges pointing up. Each was engraved with a strange symbol. The fire never crossed the boundary marked by the slate. It never once thought to send a burning tendril out toward the shelves. The books were in no danger. The fire simply burned endlessly without any apparent need for fuel.

The flames reached up above the height of the first upper level. The second upper level gave a beautiful view down to the fire. It was up here that Ennaya Atimari had been reading for hours. Open books littered the floor around her, absentmindedly dropped when another title or cover caught her eye. She had always loved to read but no place had she ever been resonated as strongly with that passion as this place did. A momentary distraction came when she heard a noise from the opposite side. She glanced up just in time to see a hooded figure disappear between the shelves. It was just a librarian or flame-tender – hardly worth looking away from her book for, but just before she returned her focus to the battered pages, something caught her eye. High in the rafters above, thick smoke hung in the air, and in it she saw words. She shook her head and rubbed her eyes, but the words were still there when she looked again. Within the smoke, there were streaks of faint light which read, “Ennaya Atimari, You are powerful.”

“What does that mean?!” whispered Ennaya, and the light shifted in response.

“You are the one who shall reignite the other fires.”

“What other…” she began, but she was cut off by the sound of an explosion below. She stood up to run to the barrier and look down, but an arm restrained her. She spun her head round, and her eyes met those of a flame-tender, who gestured to stay quiet.

“I’m not an enemy,” he whispered to her ear.

A muffled cry came from below, followed by a woman’s voice demanding, “Where is she?”

The rest of the conversation was inaudible, but Ennaya made the connection.

“Is this about the words in the smoke?” she asked the flame-tender.

“So it is true. You are Ennaya Atimari?”

“Yes, but…”

“I am Lukani. I will get you out of here.”

“What does she want with me?”

“I shall explain when we are somewhere safe. Come this way.”

Lakani set off in a silent jog, pulling Ennaya along by the arm. He led her between two shelves, and they made it halfway before a deafening crack sounded and the shelf to their right began to fall towards them. Ennaya dived to the ground, and covered her head with her arms. The impact of the first row of shelves was not enough to topple the second, but a shower of splintered wood and books crashed around her. She anxiously moved her arms aside and looked round. A woman dressed in ornate black and purple robes floated in the air. While Ennaya had been looking away, the fire had grown, and was tall enough to provide a golden background in contrast to the dark robes of the woman. Her presence demanded such attention that Ennaya had not noticed Lukani staggering forward until he had positioned himself directly between the woman and Ennaya.

“Prophetess Ansakari, You are not welcome here!” he said, in a pained but bold voice.

“Brother Lukani, your treachery comes as little surprise. The few who remain on your side cannot stand in my way.”

“Yet I do.”

Ansakari gave a wicked smile and thrust an arm to the side. As she did so Lukani was flung across the room like a ragdoll. Her eyes then locked onto Ennaya, and she gently floated down to land on the floor. Ennaya stood to run, but stumbled on broken wood and fell. She turned to Ansakari and could not look away. She could not move. All she could do was stare fearfully at the approaching figure. Ansakari’s hand rose in a claw shape, and sparks began to fly between her fingertips, growing in intensity.  The crackling of lightning became loud, even over the sound of the fire. Ansakari’s hand swung forward to strike, and Ennaya screamed.

The pain of the shock never came. She opened her eyes. There was nothing around her but light. She wondered if she was dead, but then her eyes began to adjust to the glow, and she recognised it as the colour of the flame. Inaudible cries of anger came from outside. Ansakari must not have anticipated this. Ennaya certainly had not. She tried her best to make out what Ansakari was saying, but she could not. The voice seemed to get quieter and quieter. Then the light seemed to get dimmer and dimmer. Then it was gone entirely, and Ennaya saw she was no longer in the library. She looked around, but it did not help. She had no idea where she might be. For comfort she reached to touch her necklace. Beside it, on another chain, she found a tiny vial hanging from her neck. She had no memory of owning such a thing, or putting one on, so she took it off and examined it. Inside, a little piece of flame danced, no bigger than that of a dying candlelight. Despite its size, the flame did not seem weak. As she looked at it, it seemed to grow in power. Smoke found its way out past the stopper, and arranged itself into faint letters in the air.

“Our journey begins.”

 

 

Visits to my Local Time Shaft – 3

So I was down at my local Time Shaft recently, and I’m a little concerned about what I found.

Almost perfectly timed with my arrival, a piece of paper flew out, and floated gently to my feet.

My name was written on one side. I turned it over and read, “We see you, Barny. We hope you’re having fun.”

I do not know who wrote this or why one man looking into the shaft is worthy of sending a note to. What makes it intimidating is that they used my full name. They know what the K stands for. Only my parents and I know what the K stands for. It even just says “K” on my birth certificate.

One scenario is that it is a threat from scientists of the future to dissuade me from studying the time shaft, but that seems unlikely as my research has not indicated that such studies are damaging – and they could not know my full name!

Alternatively it could be those chronowraiths I was warned about – but all others evidence suggests that they are either not real, or at least dormant. If they are real, and are actually sending messages to me, many would consider it an ill omen for our future. This assumption is based on superstition and rumour alone though. There is no reason to believe chronowraiths are inherently destructive or evil. Even if they would destroy our timelines, a worse scenario also exists. I have a bet with my rival that I will reveal my middle name if he ever gets a Nobel prize. If in the future he has achieved that goal… I’d rather have taken my chances with the chronowraiths…

Until next time,

– Barnabus K. Pompadour

Visits to my Local Time Shaft – 2

So I was down at my local time shaft recently, and it spewed out an incredible device from the future…

At first I was underwhelmed, thinking it was nothing but an average everyday toilet seat. My keen eye soon noticed something – a little button on the back. Naturally, I pressed it at once. The seat aligned itself horizontally at a comfortable sitting height, and a holographic basket appeared beneath it. I pressed down on the seat, and it did not budge. Some powerful levitation technology indeed must have been at play. I rummaged through my pocket and found a penny. I tossed it in, and it never reached the ground. Instead there sounded a light fizz as it appeared to simply disappear upon contact with the holographic basket.

Coincidentally, it was a hot day and I had had rather too much water on my journey to the Time Shaft. Thus nature called. Tentatively, I unzipped and used the device. There was a steady crackle as the stream reached the bottom. When I was done, I had to look – and the ground beneath the device was indeed purely dry.

I have tried to reverse-engineer the seat and work out just where my penny and urine might now be, but to no success. The only hint is a set of what appear to chrono-energetic drivers. From this I hypothesise that whatever passes through this seat is teleported into a different time – hopefully not in a way that might make it fly out of the time shaft…

One interesting possibility I have considered is that the matter entering the toilet is sent back in time to prehistoric jungles, where it acts as fertiliser to fuel the growth and evolution that one day led to the creation of the device that put it there. (Take this theory with a pinch of salt, as I have been known to suggest time-paradoxes at every opportunity!)

What I can say for sure is that the energy used by this device must be quite considerable in order to levitate and teleport matter. But perhaps it is still more efficient that stretching a complex sewer system to every house on an overpopulated planet? Needless to say, I will try my very best to discover the workings of this device, and see if something similar might come sooner than the far future connections of the time shaft.

I shall be back with another report as soon as the shaft gives me something to discuss!

Until next time,

     – Prof, Barnabus K. Pompadour

 

P.S – You may find my collected reports here.

Visits to my Local Time Shaft – 1

So I was down at my local Time Shaft recently, and it spewed out some interesting stuff from the future…

This time, the thing that I found this time could maybe serve as a warning but I’m not sure about that.

It appears to be from a political campaign flyer for “The 3D Independence Party”

It opens with this statement:

“These hyperprismatic invaders have no geometric integrity.

A vote for them is a vote against the mathematical truth of our universe”

The next few lines are too burned up to read, and then it says:

“Why should we pay for an interdimensional portal we didn’t ask for?”

It would seem that beings from another dimension will come to our world at some point in our future, though I could not get a trace on the year.  The 3D independence party are probably quite a biased source of information.

Given that they appear willing to partake in democracy to gain power rather than obliterating humankind, I think we should not judge the hyperprismatic beings yet. I’m sure our geometric tendencies are as shocking to them as theirs are to us. Mutual understanding must be established before jumping to conclusions.

The 3D Independence Party state “if these beings want to come to our universe they have to conform to our geometric principles.” I say what happened to humankind’s spirit of compassion? Let us extend that compassion into the 4th dimension, and perhaps in return we will receive a beautiful 4-dimensional reciprocation unlike anything we have ever known. Healthy political relations with these beings might be the key to a new chapter in human science.

On the other hand… the hyperprismatic entities might be evil bastards incapable of love. They might use this election to gain power then destroy us by launching the entire planet into 4D space and imploding our puny 3D brains.

That’s the thing with the Time Shaft… You never know the whole story… But I’ll always tell the part I know. Be on the look-out for more reports, presented as a series of posts titled “Visits to my Local Time Shaft!”