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Paradox, the Norm
The First and Last King Series Book II The Journals of Davin Alastair
byJean Harris Anderson
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As a special forces officer, I led my team, planning on future situations in the east, the mission not yet outlined specifically, though I knew from the strategy sessions that the land of Ariel was in focal-plane, if not the eventual target of many countries. This was obvious from the maps alone. Duty would be responding to terrorists, we were told. All leaders were to inform their team members to prepare for action - to plan for fast strikes - eliminating the enemy, no prisoners; our job was to acquire field information in advance of the full-military operation.
On that particular day, being with Feldman the last time, we received the first order; our teams were to train forces to recover territories lost. No one knew just when we were expected to actually assist these soldiers, nor did we know what lands would be taken. All that would come in due time. I had memorized the geopolitical map, and I knew full well we were to join other border countries - Turchia, the Ottoman Empire, was instrumental to the plan, so was Syria. That's when I made my mind up, when I knew I couldn't do what others had done to my own village - level it to the ground.
All morning we were swinging on ropes, hanging from cliffs, jumping off bridges, and swimming the channels - trusting one another with our lives. And then we met with the new mustangs; they were the battlefield best, and they would have to get through their final day of training with us - before they'd be declared commissioned officers. Finally, bruised and burned without complaint, we knew the stuff these men and women were made of. We stayed with the NCOs until day's end, and when they turned in under the stars in frigid temperatures Feldman and I remained talking.
We eventually all got shut eye, but first I had to tell Feldman what the chaplain said to me the previous night. The chaplain was often with the soldiers, giving support, offering an encouraging word, and lending an ear, especially before a grueling day of special training - or combat. The chaplain was the one to impart information to me, data I still find perplexing - because it was about quantum physics, something neither of us knew anything about. The older theory of time symmetry, dealing with identical physical laws, was being replaced with a new concept - retrocausality - to be exact; that was a theory being worked on at the base, the chaplain indicated. Retrocausality proposed that the present and even the future could effect the past and select what happens before anyone chooses.
"Sounds like free-will is being removed," the chaplain, easing into the conversation, said to me.
"Possibilities and probabilities - that's what you're talking about?"
"Or changing results." There was a stirring quiet, I recall. Like the guy was praying.
"Changing the pathway we're on, or were headed? The outcomes - really?" I asked him, straining.
He nodded. "And if that's possible then nothing will be reliably the same, nothing will be definite."
"Weird science, indeed. You think it's possible, Padre?" He was everyone's Holy Joe, one we all trusted, no matter the faith or folly, and a lot of us at times lacked good sense, and sought his counsel as our sky pilot.
"The scientists believe their theory rests in reality. Not as spongy as it first looks. It would be tidy to formulate one's plan of action, or even alter..."
"A do-over, as we always wanted as kids. Reworking history, then? Changing definitions. Going back, reformulating, is what you're saying?"
"And creating a new quantum frontier. It's been a decade that teleportation of a photon from here to an orbiting satellite was successfully carried out, and several times since. Sharing the same wave, the photons have proven to come together at one time and place, and the exact identity is shared, and when they go their separate ways they have become one and the same; their futures, wherever they are will parallel in sameness. Sameness. What occurs to one will to the other. At least this is the closest to what has been told to me. Oh, I'm sure there could be little inconsistencies to mess up their plans. Like the fly in the 'transmitter' accompanying Professor Delambre, mixing to create a monster." We laughed at that fictional tale; at least we still could see humor in the subject.
"So, they'll soon be ready to beam us up," we laughed again, kind of. "And our species is no longer limited to just our planet or solar system. You're saying teleportation is very real. How soon?"
"Well, they're probably more focused on telecommunications, perhaps strategic missile defense; we'll see. I hope for our friend's sake a teleportation system is not in order."
"Your closest." He cleared his voice. "He should know all this." That was the clue - I needed to talk with Feldman.
"It's the aspect of infinity that concerns me, actually. I don't understand entanglement, in a scientific way, but I do understand the results of human entanglement with disease, despair and death, things we wouldn't want to take with us into eternity."
I wasn't keen about the spiritual stuff; that was his department. But I sure appreciated his concerns about Feldman. I decided I needed to talk straight, and right away. It was good that I had planned to speak with him immediately, as that was the last I saw Feldman.
"It's interesting stuff you're talking about - taking the identity of the other. But we're wading into frightening territory when my friend's being used as a guinea pig."
In lowered voice the chaplain confided, "Feldman needs to be informed; I'm afraid he does not know all of his assignment. He must before another day passes."
We are pressing beyond the range of human information at blazing speed, and in so doing, we are entering a realm we’re quite unprepared for. When this book’s essayist announces a celestial being from a different dominion has arrived to equip us with permission to eat of the fruit, allowing us to become all-knowledgeable, and to offer immortality, everyone is eager, of course. “The extraterrestrial alien values the spirit nature as much as we value our flesh, and he prizes each, for he transcends knowledge of those entities,” a character gushes. But we shall lose command of our individual freedoms if we forfeit our wits to another, because intelligence is more than gathering lots of data. Filtering information takes time and work to transform into wisdom. The race to control artificial intelligence has made each person a database for a search engine, and our species has mixed with machine. We’ve become unknowingly programmed without an ethical compass while some in charge have questionable motives and are involved in moral turpitude. The result? As one character laments, “We must break the very laws that make us civil.”
About the Author
Born and raised in Oakland, California, Anderson has achieved a high level in creative endeavors. Her first published work as author/illustrator was in the initial book of this series, Elizeum Striving. Her introduction into the publishing world was as artist in The Illustrated Frankenstein, written by Jennifer D. Anderson.