What is your name?
Why were you placed in our care?
It's not a delusion. I'm a time traveler. Yep, you're going to have some follow up questions.
Are you from the future or the past?
This conversation again. I'm from neither.
Then how are you a time traveler? How is that possible?
I'm going to try to explain things that are completely beyond my capability to understand, but which I have some limited understanding of based on mathematical models that I have been walked through by people at the foundation. Of course I've lived a lifetime since then, so it's difficult both to understand and to explain given that I have only a limited body of knowledge to draw from. And time travelers are rarely chosen for their understanding of time travel.
First, our understanding of dimension is flawed. We do not actually see three dimensional space as we think we do. We exist in a sort of three dimensional space, but we do not see three dimensionally due to limitations in light and our ability for cones existing in a curved plane (the eye) to sense things. An example of how we would perceive true three dimensional space would be analogous to a window. Windows are transparent, making it possible to perceive both the transparent object and the other objects behind it. If we perceived three dimensional space, there would be no such thing as a window. We would be able to perceive everything as it is with full perspective. Even in this capacity, our understanding of three dimensional space is limited. Two people can perceive three dimensional space better than one person, and three can perceive it better than two and so on.
Could you help me understand what you think about the fifth dimension?
Fourth dimension. There are some very rough analogies on how a human could translate fourth dimensional thinking and fifth dimensional thinking to relate to our consciousness in the same way we perceive three dimensions despite operating with two dimensional sensory organs.
For instance, if I look at a ball hovering in mid-air in the third dimension I am able to gather more information about it as I move about and use myself as a reference point. As I move towards it, the ball gets bigger. I can tell the relative size of it based on the ambient sound bouncing off of it and size comparisons based on other information I have gathered (size of the room, sound bouncing off of it, air flow, ambient temperature, etc.). Though we don't perceive them, these factors all fit nicely into an advanced (although still two dimensional) perception of what we're looking at. Despite this, real three dimensional perception would be what we generally think about when we think about omniscience in our current world. If I had three dimensional understanding and perception in a room with this ball in it, I would understand everything about it right to its very core as if I had spent years studying it. And yet my mind would have processed all of the information all the way down to its most basic components instantly. Currently no human can do this.
But this perceptive analogy does extend beyond our own dimension. Time, contrary to popular belief, is not a universal law or a dimension. It is simply a byproduct of third dimensional space. To put it simply, time is the rate at which energy changes state relative to other forms of energy. Fortunately for the foundation, the concept of time itself is no less a fiction than the Titan Kronos originally intended to be the sentient to oversee the passage of time. Are there real things like Kronos? Technically, no, but we'll get to that later.
And since time has nothing to do with dimensional space, I'm not going to spend much time on it. To actually see the unified temporal theory is actually fairly anticlimactic. In fact, it has nothing to do with several of the more interesting fictional concepts your writers have come up with. There is no grandfather paradox, no changing your future, and no meeting your dead heroes. There are, as with all things relative, analogies.
The fourth dimension, not time, is what my benefactors call the Frequency Module around laymen and "FAS" around one another. Fermionic Arrangement Sequencing is the "genome" of a given frequency at its inception. Scientists are still arguing over whether these arrangements are dynamic or engaged in an extremely complex sort of predestiny, but concepts such as free will are laughably inconsequential to those in our field - hence calling it Frequency Modulation or "Fremod" on the late night syndicated news talk shows.
At its core, a Fremod is an arrangement of basic components that is slightly different from one to another but occupying the same relative space as one another. And here's the one that still gets me. It's all just one thing. We don't know what, but scientists are suggesting that it isn't even a whole thing unto itself but rather a mere part of another thing, which may even be a basic component or a specific component of a state of another thing. We don't know at that level and we probably never will. Well, maybe we will. I don't know.
When you abstract to this level, the idea of mortality or immortality becomes exceedingly unimportant. We are immortal, all of us. We're all terrible, we're all wonderful, etcetera. Everything that is and ever can be exists on an alternate Fremod. You might call it a "timeline," although I really hope to discourage that kind of talk as it's misleading. Most of you learned about time through poorly conceived pop culture references and I highly recommend forgetting all about them if you intend to seriously attempt to understand Fermionic Arrangement Sequencing.
To put it simply, the fifth dimension is all arrangements. And believe it or not, we exist in this dimension far more than you may realize, though you have to undergo an existential crisis just to get to that level. Suicide rates in my class were particularly high. You are immortal, immutable, and you barely exist. You aren't a being quite so much as you're a series of points in motion. And when you consider how different these points are on other dimensions, you shouldn't feel responsible for the terrible things your other eight-trillion-and-counting halves do under different "circumstances." Just grin and bare it. Of course unrelated, there's "secondary morality" which we tend to follow as well. A sort of Knight's code of the supermen although it's as meaningless as it is vitally essential.
I should mention that there is some connection between the two. Between one and two dimensions it's pretty clear where that starts and stops. Between two and three it's possible but a little harder to see the starting and stopping point. Between three and four it's surprisingly difficult to differentiate between where one starts and the other stops. The Vatican on my world believes this is where the soul resides. Several new religions are attempting to cash in on the idea that god is a dimensionally locked being and that new dimensions mean new gods. A few of my colleagues have taken to believing in several higher dimensional gods that are cold and indifferent or completely unaware of our eight-trillion-and-counting charted univers(e's) existence.
One of the problems with navigating in the Fremod is not only the fact that there are an infinite number of dimensions, but that they are in fact expanding at an infinite rate, never slowing down but always speeding up. It's impossible for us to imagine how this is possible, just like it would be impossible for a two-dimensional entity to understand something like a paper printing press. Of course theoretical mathematics has gone some way to providing a few of us with analogies.
That's a lot to process.
Like I said, high attrition rate in my class.
Where were you trained in this?
The Fremod Research Institute, FRI. If I'm going to start talking about my world I have to give you some back story first.
The Fremod Research Institute, more commonly known as the United North Atlantic Anomalous Survey UNAAS (pronounced UNIS thanks to the damn Norwegians) is dedicated to understanding the relationship between the higher dimensions. It was founded (note my bunny ears) "thirty years ago" in "1941," though that's going to mean very little to you. On your world something called the Great War or the World War happened... twice. On our world, we had a different problem. What we thought was an asteroid struck the west coast of California at Point Epsilon where you guys make movies. It killed a lot of people. It was a big mystery, but we had President "Attila the Hen" Wallace impotently trying to put down a growing communist movement in the heartland, inspired by the outrageous (but ultimately short sighted) success of the FSSD (that's Free Soviet Socialist Democracy.) Lucky for us, the public's interest in the boy-band-fueled Stalinist Love Fest waned when we found that alien.
It was sort of like us, but all wrong. Our early understanding of genetic engineering came through extensive study of it. We mapped its genome long before we mapped our own. And then we discovered that we shared a lot in common with it. This formed our understanding of genetics that was not toppled until we started examining other genomes and realized the similarities between us and the "alien monster" were too close to dismiss. It was essentially us, but something horrible had happened to it. A few years later, a man named Robert Openheimer started doing theoretical physics on how this could have happened. It would take twenty-two years to move from there to a working Theory of Transmigration. After the TOT theory, people actually started proposing we head out there and maybe find God - or something. If there's one thing I've learned from living in two dimensions it's that public opinion is swayed entirely too easily by really weird and nonsensical things. It's sort of like a child inventing an atomic bomb to blow up the boogeyman in his closet. By the way, there was no analogy for atom bombs on our world before I came here. We knew it was theoretically possible to get energy from matter, but... goddamn we didn't know you could do it.
I hopped in the egg carrier and they dialed me in to this planet. Of course you're probably wondering how that works too. I was "dialed into" the consciousness of a seven month old fetus. And no, it wasn't aware of it. My consciousness was carried in the back of its own via a migratory electrical pulse wave. That sounds technical and to be honest a little bullshitty so let me get back to that one.
The baby grew up, lived its life, and when it grew to adulthood the trigger happened, the floodgates opened and I woke up, co-opting its consciousness with something sort of like that movie "The Manchurian Candidate" with Frank Sinatra. By the way, I intend to find out what happened to Sinatra if I get back home. Some people seem cool enough to be destined to be actors no matter the world.
So you killed him when you "woke up?"
I understand your morality. It's entirely too easy to understand. There is only one of each of us so it's completely immutable and perfect. The sanctity of human life is paramount. I like that way of thinking. It's nice, but you know it's not exactly a unified theory of good and evil. What about the kid in North Korea who is born into poverty and starves to death? What about the misery you see all around you? You think your morality is complex because in the past century you've added shades of good and evil to it. Your philosophers think in terms of the greater good while also clinging to the immutable individual. It's flawed. And not just flawed, insulting. Yes, my host terminated when I woke up. His ego is now mine. But nature doesn't think its dead. The cells comprising his body are still alive, except for the few trivial walled off neurons. His genetic structure is mine. If I reproduce, he reproduces. He's alive, I'm dead. He's brain-dead, I'm brain-living. I'm not losing any sleep over this one.
How does that process work?
We can't transport matter into other dimensions yet, but we can with great effort transfer electrical impulses, which can be coded and targeted into different places like a developing brain.
Are you still alive on your home dimension?
A million times, yes, a million times no. That sounds vague, but let me expand. At this point my "home dimension" is becoming increasingly nebulous. The one which I have arbitrarily chosen to be "loyal" to and fulfill my mission is spreading quickly, aware of its own increasing triviality. The process that sent me here is not fatal, otherwise I doubt many people would volunteer to do it. On the other hand, there are a number of things that can happen afterward that can kill me. I can get hit by a bus, or die of a heart attack. These are all possibilities. More than a few of me are still alive, if that answers your question. I think what you're really driving at is, 'did the transfer kill me?' No. No it did not. I left the egg fully conscious and alive.
So if you come here, then you've essentially come an infinite number of times.
Yes. Everything is infinite. There is no fiction. That greeting card phrase is one of the truths of our universe and the Fremod. You are immortal, and you are dead.
Are there more universes that are inhabitable than not?
No. Infinity equals infinity. There are an equal number of universes where we are having this conversation right now as there are universes where Earth simply does not exist and there's no reason for it. I know that's impossible, but it's true.
But surely with the amount of stuff needed for us to survive the likelihood of our survival is fairly slim. Wouldn't there be more universes where we cannot exist or never took on this very specific evolutionary pattern?
If it's no trouble, I'd like to let one of your world's mathematicians explain this as I'm incredibly bad at math. All I know is what has been explained to me. It's all here, it's all equal, and it's all true. Infinity minus a trillion is still infinity. That concept does things I can't even wrap my head around.
How does one navigate infinite universes?
It's impossible to navigate. They roll some dice with the frequency and see what they come up with, within a few parameters. The setting of parameters is difficult, and often results in failed transmigration.
What is your mission?
I have no mission beyond exploration. I'll eventually build a machine to send back information. That's coded in me too, though it will likely only come up if I've found what they're looking for - whatever that is. They can't risk me knowing. If the right circumstances come about, I'll essentially become a mindless zombie, build a machine, send the information through, and either forget everything or croak or be blown up by the machine itself. To be fair, though, the chances of me being the one that happens to are fairly low. I'm probably just here to explore and so I may as well have fun with it.
Aside from the obvious, how much of a change has this knowledge made in your personality?
It evens out ultimately because I'm only aware of most of the stuff in principle. There are differences we all have to sort of adapt to. Some are good, some are not so good. Would I like to forget I've ever heard of the nightmare places? Sure. Do I now believe in a higher god? Yes. In fact, I believe in all of the ones we hear about and trillions more. I also realize they're only a tiny fragment of the bigger picture. And we're a tiny fragment of their picture. It's like a fractal sort of going up. Then again, I'm not much of a philosopher anyway.
Hells. Not created by a conscious entity, just a random assortment of events that result in the ultimate nightmare complete with its own laws of physics. Really horrible. I think everyone - and I mean everyone - in my unit skipped class that day. You don't want to be aware of that when you step onto the platform.
Let's call it a night for now. Are there any additional accommodations you require?
A television would be nice. Also a calculator and some notebook paper.