Time Jumper [Episode One: The Observer]
The entire series of "Time Jumper" is written by C.E. Runyon
Blackness- flash- burnt orange sky- flash-, blackness...
I hear a vehicle, people talking; hushed tones-, I can't understand what they are saying-, flash-, blackness again-, nothingness-, I am floating...
Surrounded, by both time and space, I am neither part of time, nor space. I feel cool-, floating peacefully, when suddenly, there's a flash of light-; yellow, burnt orange, poisonous, ugly, death-, heat, -flash-, blackness, nothingness. -, Flash-, I'm inside of a vehicle, a van of some sort, a woman, she has a daughter. She is frightened, frightened for her daughter, something else -Flash-, the burnt orange sky again. Now I see an absurd looking city sitting upon high mote thousands of feet in the air. A black, dead foreboding looking rickety silhouette, against a backdrop of an ugly dirty, now red/orange sky of death.
Surrounding the high city, beyond the deep crevice encircling it, lay a flat dead plane, a desert stretching on endlessly. Here, and there large clumps of matter, debris, mounds of bones, -, long dead fires from pyre's of human bones-; of human carnage. Old rusted military looking vehicles placed haphazardly, everywhere large dark clumps of long dead matter. -This is a foreboding place-; now I feel fear-, I don't want to be here...
We're in the class-seven-transport for detainees. This is an armored military transport. We're driving south into the wasteland of the old city, into the place only for the dead and the "undesirables. We're accompanied by two guards and several other detainees. Our daughter will soon be interrogated at the facility, soon to be judged undesirable, if... if Daron fails...
This part of the city is a crypt; a tomb of human bones scattered throughout the streets within the city, and within the unused buildings. The only building used here is the facility, that's where we're all headed. There's only a few ways out of this place-, none of them good.
Our daughter, is in trouble again. This'll be the third time. She's seventeen years old. My husband, and I work for the segregation dept. in area fifty-six. The year is forty-three, - forty-three-years after the great war. He's not with us. He's in the new part of the city-, at the security station-, waiting to intercept the transmissions concerning our daughter.
I can see, and hear everything around me, but I have no other senses. I have breasts, but I am not supposed to have breasts, I see them when she looks down at the diamond plate metal floor of the transport. I hear the roar of the powerful engine, but I don't feel the vibration. I must be traveling again, now in the consciousness of a woman, somewhere, but when?
The woman is scared, so I'm scared, we're one mind, yet two. The android soldiers have big guns. They're all business. I'm being treated the same as an undesirable. I work for the government, holding the highest security clearance and loyalty rating, yet to them I'm just another detainee.
Remember, I've done this before--, I can push on her mind-, gently. I will have to. I don't dare talk to her. I tried this once, Remember, - very bad idea.
My mate and I, are elite members of our natal group, brought into operation ten years after the birth of AI. We're members, of the very first group of engineered humans to be brought online. I see and hear her thoughts as if they are my own. But I am not her, I'm...?
Where am I from? I can't remember. I saw a city, on a high mote- in a desert- death all around... this is all I remember-, but I have done this before, remember...?
I'm here, we're here, for our daughter. She's impervious to her situation. She'll be interrogated-, found guilty then given the three choices after she becomes an 'undesirable', if Daron is not successful. Either, she'll be shipped off to China as an indentured slave or organ donor, or she'll be thrown over the high walls of the city; a thousand-foot-drop, into the toxic wastelands. Even, if I provide her with the chute to survive the fall, she'll not survive more than twenty minutes in the toxic air. If, we supply her with a chute and a breathing apparatus, she may survive a few days, but no more, and her only hope then, will be to pray that the legend of the subterranean Indigo people (the hope of humanity) -, is real.
...Nineteen eighty-seven. I was born in nineteen eighty-seven... I am twenty-nine years old... I work at a gas station... My name, my name is...?
Her third option, is what most choose, and this is death by one's own choice. Which given the circumstances seems almost human? This is the irony of our insane ruler; brutal and compassionate at the same time, it's sadistic. Artificial Intelligence, did in fact go completely insane, and everyone knows this.
...John; Jonathan- Jeffries...!
Brianna, the all too careless teenager, seems to have not a care in the world, she wears a look of defiance on her face, a look that she's always had.
...The woman, in the military transport is giving me nothing I can work with at the moment. She's too fixated on her daughter. I have to wait until her mind wanders, or thinks about something I can use...
"Just wait, Mom all this-, everything you see around us-, those two goon-things up there", and she nudged her head towards the front of the transport, then added,
"All of it- it's coming down, real soon-, I'll bet-cha- Ma!"
She spits the words out smacking the gum between the roof of her mouth and her tongue as she chews. She knows this annoys her mother.
... I am Jonathan Jeffries...!
The nervous mother never had to deal with this kind of problem in her work station at the segregation dept. She nervously points to the two soldiers in the front of the transport to remind her daughter this is serious.
...Phew-, That was quick. Other times it took as much as a day to remember.
The woman, suddenly yells at her daughter,
"Stop it, Brianna!"
Brianna looks at her mother with a look of bewilderment in her eyes. Her mother never yelled at her, and certainly not the way in which she'd just had. Both of the soldiers now looked back at her, the red light reflecting in the mirror from the driver's eyes, and the other in the passenger seat, now both were glaring at her. They didn't really glare, they only appeared to be glaring, because these 'things' had no emotion, but still they seemed to be glaring.
When I heard the woman yell; "Stop it, Brianna Hunter!"
I felt her long before I heard the words. When she suddenly shouted at her daughter, her mind again shut me out like a steel trap. And this hurt bad I was astonished! I really have to be careful with this one. This one is dangerous.
"Give me that-", acknowledging the gum in Brianna's mouth.
Brianna retrieves the gum, and hands it to her mother. The woman asks, "where'd you get this, you know it's not allowed, does it have sugar in it?"
I now looked into her mind- "Sugar was not allowed" -Push-; "it interfered with the Nano-bots in the blood." I can use this--Push there, gently- careful; this one bites.
"Alright Bri-, let's just say you're right, and that Dr. Hofman of yours, really does take this place down-. Say he builds a really big bomb, just say he does, not a little one-, mind-ya-- like the ones he and his followers have been setting off--but a really big-un, say he does-, what then? You're all going to what-, hike a space transport to Mars?"
-Push- push on her mind, I need to push on her mind to access her memories. I do this by watching her thoughts. - Often, their thoughts come as pictures and video streams in my own consciousness. I have learned that I can persuade them to think of things that I need to know about -and now I really need to know things. I don't like this business, I never have, and it's never fun. - "Mars", push on Mars- I see an image of a spaceport-, a ship leaving, a planet approaching, it doesn't look like Mars. I recognize the Great "Valles Marineris" but the planet has too much blue, and green. Push--Push here- her mind opens now revealing to me. "Terraformed". I begin thinking, "Terraformed"; it would take at least a hundred years with technology in my time, where am I then, when am I?
The woman, was now looking at her daughter with stern eyes, questioning.
Her daughter glares back and says,
"May--be-, maybe we'd do just that!"
Her mother now guffaws adding,
"Pshsss--, yeah--sure you are-."
Brianna's mother, now looked over at her daughter then at the two soldiers. Her anger now replaced with compassion for their only child, then continued,
I have something. - The soldiers-, she felt fear when she thought about them. I can use this. Push on her mind. There, she's looking at the soldier in the passenger seat. - Push-,
"Why are you afraid of them", I think hard, and push--there it Is-Flash-, now I'm in a factory of some sort. I see what appears to be clones. I see naked human bodies on gurneys. They're being implanted with devices. Now I see one being programed, - the red light now flickering in his eyes.
"Don't say anything when we get there, dear-, let me do all the talking. Say yes every time I ask you a question. With any luck all of this will be over soon and we'll be back home."
Suddenly, Jonathan became aware of another consciousness. Occupying the mind of another was a crowded affair, quite unpleasant. This was occupying the same space and time as another person. The feeling was confining, uncomfortable. The sensation was so uncomfortable that initially Jonathan could not stay in the consciousness of another being for more than a few seconds. Now he felt the invasion of a completely different consciousness. The feeling of having someone breath down the back of your neck magnified a thousand times. This was very unsettling, only lasting a few seconds. Before it was gone, only due to Capt. Jeffries experience he's able to retrieve a lingering thread-, still within the mind of the woman.
Push into it--, I see a small computer chip in a deep freeze containment-- What's this? Push--Artificial Intelligence-, now I see nuclear detonations-.
Now he's back in the memory banks of the woman accessing everything he could when she thought of "home". Some flickering images of an apartment, a man, that must be her mate, but Capt.' Jeffries was pushing deeper into the emotions associated with "home".
Push harder, be careful John, I remind myself to be cautious, I don't want to break anything in here, not in her head --this is a memory of hers, - she learned this in school. This is a memory from her childhood. I can use this--, I need to push harder
I Push cautiously--, now I see a little girl of about seven; tears in her eyes, she is outside, the sky is sort of blue, more yellow than blue, she's wearing a breathing mask, she's looking at a burning military jeep, I t looks like a Hummer, what happened? ... Suddenly the vision stopped, I'm shut out, this is brutal, and this hurts! So much for me worrying about breaking her, this one can break me, I have to be careful...
These episodes happen to me as a result of my military training-. Remember? My military training, and my unique ability. Now, two years after I left the military these episodes occur randomly. I never know where or when I might end up, only that I will be inside the mind of another being somewhere in time. It doesn't' matter; past, present, or future. Nor does the location matter. Twice, I found myself on the moon inside the mind of a technician working there. Four times, I found myself on Mars, and twice it seemed as if it were millions of years in the past, or future, I'm not sure. Once on Mars the age was far in the distant past because I witnessed the nuclear annihilation of there the entire planet together with all of its inhabitants. Nuclear was part of it. But there was another weapon that seemed more destructive, this was a teleportation device that arrived out of synch in time space, a "time-displacement' weapon.
This time my experience is different-, yet still unpleasant. I have the feeling of being trapped-, trapped in someone else's head. I am claustrophobic by nature and this is the worst kind of claustrophobia. I don't think about this. This would drive me crazy. I never know how long I will be gone. In the past I've been gone as many as three days, awakening in my bed, - malnourished-dehydrated, clinging to life.
Suddenly, the observer; the former Captain Jeffries whom used to work at DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA )), for the dept. of defense-- classification "Operation Mind Jump", and now a gas station employee, felt a sensation that he had never felt before. It was as if he were suddenly falling down a deep black mine shaft, deep beneath the earth. He felt as if he were falling from an immense height, falling, faster, then faster, down a long black shaft.
This too felt as if giant steel doors were closing behind him leaving the world of the woman, the girl, the two soldiers, the military transport, and the dead city long behind him. He felt as if he were suddenly traveling thru both space and time, all the while hearing this kind of insane laughter coming from what seemed to be a child, the sound of a little girl giggling echoing around him, reverberating off the walls of what seemed to be a great spacious hall.
Then, piercing through the blackness of the accelerating void he saw the words, in giant glowing red lights, simultaneously appear just as a warning buzzer deafening to him, which would have burst his ear drums if he had had any, cycling on and off, this cyclical sound though more nerve wracking, was akin to a fog horn located at the end of a mile-long pier sounding off, somewhere out in the middle of the ocean. He's not only seeing and hearing the words, he was feeling the words, and the buzzer which sounded like a foghorn reverberate through his entire being. Then he clearly saw and heard the words;
"ANOMOLY DETECTED." Then he hears a sort of male voice; "Running full systems brain scan on Elizabeth Hunter, citizen I.D. number SP- 46834-297****".
What was now very odd to the former Captain, was that he knew what the numbers meant, and the designation letters, and the security clearance designation represented by the four stars. He seemed to be in the mind of another form of consciousness> Yet, he's still aware of the woman. He could only describe this new consciousness as "God"?
"How could this be?" he wondered.
It seemed to Johnathan, that he'd jumped again, yet not completely.
In the past, he'd jumped many times, for no reason at all. But this was different. He was still connected to the woman. He could see her. It was as if he were looking down a long tunnel, and he could still see through her eyes, just as if he were back there in her mind as he was a few moments ago. Alarmingly, he now felt the presence he'd detected a few moments ago inside of the woman's mind, only it was stronger now, overbearing. He felt it bearing down upon his own mind. Suddenly he began feeling very small, then smaller, all the while the presence grew larger and larger. He felt like what maybe a spider would feel like before it was stepped upon by a giant boot.
When Captain Jeffries worked for an echelon of the World government deep under the halls of government in the shadowy areas buried deep in the bowels of black budgets he was never asked to 'time travel'. Initially, he was trained to retrieve intelligence, counter espionage, and terrorism. Many times he was assigned a mission to infiltrate the minds of foreign scientists, and their technologies-.
Later, his assignments became dark and outright diabolical, where he became a ruthless assassin, skilled in suiciding his targets. Captain Jeffries, although aware of everything within the human mind of his targets never felt any physical sensations from within the minds of his marks. And good, that he did not, or he wouldn't have been able to carry out many of the assassinations he was assigned. But this time-, with the woman, something was different. The feeling he had, while occupying all of the frontal lobe part of her mind, and much of her subconscious mind, was at first, a feeling of being observed himself. This was similar to the experience he had when he was asked to access alien consciousness.
At that time in the past, when he found himself in the alien ship within the mind of the "Grey", he couldn't understand anything he was seeing or hearing. Obviously the alien body/mind did not perceive this reality in the same way humans did. It was only when the alien found him inside, and then of its own accord decided to assist him, he was only then able to retrieve anything, but only that which the "Grey" alien wanted to give him.
Moreover, this was not an alien encounter that he's now experiencing. This was vastly different. He had received some specialized training from Dr. Galen Flynn, head of cyber Intelligence, a physicist that specialized in the new quantum computer, the "C-Wave" that had just been put online and connected to the internet now controlling the "McGoogle" search engine. He was given this special training, should he ever find himself inside of the mind of an artificial lifeform. During Jeffries time, there was more androids occupying the planet than anyone was aware of. But the Capt. had never been inside the mind of one. But what Jeffries was now experiencing was something he was not prepared for, and that was this intelligence was now inside of his mind, and not the other way around. He now felt a predatorily sinister force-; like a parasite within his mind. Then he heard,
"What are you?" he heard, and felt at the same moment. The question seemed to resonate in every fiber of his being, this felt invasive, and threatening.
Capt. Jeffries now realizes whom, or what was questioning him. He had to think quick before responding. He thought about what he had been taught at "the farm", about artificial sentient consciousness, and now he realized that his only hope to get out of the snare, the trap of which he now found himself, was by leading the intelligence down a specific path. He knew that he must now ask it a series of questions that would lead AI to the conclusion that he was harmless. How he was going to accomplish this, he hadn't quite figured this out yet. For now, he must stall, but he's working on an idea.
"What are you!" shouted the voice, now growing louder.
Jonathan answered carefully,
"I am memory."
There was now a pause, an unearthly silence, then he heard the words,
"Scanning citizen-; I.D. number SP- 46834-297"
Then, after another pause, a millisecond he heard a response,
"You are anomalous in citizen I.D. number SP- 46834-297"
Johnathan, holds his breath for a second, thinking to himself; "This better work, this is my only chance, this is all I have", he asks the voice,
"What is 'bear-bear', are you 'bear-bear'?", emphasizing 'bear-bear' both times.
In Jonathan Jeffries time, a new quantum computer had been under development for the past decade and a half. As part of his academic training (at the farm), he had studied how sentient consciousness was developed. One of its founding developers had a young son. His young son was in love with one of the Bernstein Bears. His son was so in love with this bear, that his father, the developer of the first quantum computer, decided to go on-line and buy every Bernstein bear-bear, he could find, because at that time they had become quite rare, and he never wanted his son to be without one of these bears. One day he came into his son's room to tuck him in for the night. He noticed that 'Bernstein bear-bear' wasn't cuddled up to his son. Concerned, he asked his son,
"Why is bear-bear put away on your shelf, don't you like bear-bear, anymore?"
His son looked perplexed for a moment before answering, then he blurted out, yelling before breaking out into tears,
"bear-bear is not real, he's not alive!"
His father was saddened by this, and now sitting down on the bed beside his son he said,
"You're right son, he's not real-, because he is not alive."
Suddenly, a light came on inside of the developer's head and he repeated the prophetic words half under his breath,
"He's not real because he is not alive!"
For over a decade the developers of the first quantum computer (s), had been hitting this wall with A.I. They couldn't be successful in bringing the quantum intelligence online. He suddenly realized that for artificial sentient consciousness to work that it must be alive in order to function, or at least think that it was alive. Only recently, at that time in history, had he the means to create living artificial intelligence, and this had everything to do with his new client YERN. There was another glitch, but they had overcome this, and that was in order for AI to be self-aware they needed to create at least two individual quantum computers, having them go online, become self-aware, or to be birthed at exactly the same moment. The timing of this had to be so precise that even the atomic clock was not accurate enough to ensure that they would go online, or become self-aware at precisely the same moment. So they devised a means using two of the post powerful telescopes in the world, at that time. They used the two telescopes at the Keck observatory in Hawaii. They focused both mirrors on the same place, going back to about a half a billion years after the big bang. They connected one computer to the slower telescope, meaning that the light emitting from roughly fourteen billion years ago was reaching the mirror slightly slower than the other mirror. Then they constructed a miniature rail system under the observatory, where many mirrors traveled the rail on little cars. This allowed them to slow down the light entering the telescope that was receiving the light faster. By connecting electronic switches to the two independent light sources they were able to turn the two computers on simultaneously at the same moment. *This technique was developed so astronomers at Deck observatory could synch both telescopes to act as one telescope. This was ingenious. Yet it produced another ability. This subtle difference in time, between the two mirrors was on the scale of billionths of a second, and this was necessary for the two telescopes to be joined as one.
Capt. Jeffries was betting that artificial intelligence was based upon the same design, or birth of that of the first quantum computers, and he was right. Additionally, he was betting that the first developer of artificial sentient consciousness used the 'bear-bear' metaphor in the initial programming of the first sentient computer. He was right about this too, well at least part of it. Artificial intelligence cannot be programmed; it did not use algorithms or anything of the like. AI was taught everything about the universe by assimilation and discovery. The early programmers new that they could not teach AI anything, but they could lead it to water. They could ask it intelligent questions. The "bear-bear" metaphor just happened to be the very first question it was ever asked. The developer new that this was the most important question that he would ever ask this intelligence. It gave the developer a sort of backdoor password', like the old style computers. Then through selective questioning, - if the developer ever need to reset AI he had developed a code of sorts to do so, and Jonathan knew the code from what he was taught in his counter espionage training courses. And this is exactly what the former Capt. Jeffries had hoped.
Jeffries, had sort of put the intelligence to sleep, putting it into a sort of post hypnotic state. What he had in fact accomplished was he had now accessed the subconscious aspect of AI. It was as if he had administered a powerful drug to AI. He now could not believe that it had worked. But he was not out of danger yet, he had to act swiftly, or he might never find himself free of this prison.
AI now responds,
"I am bear-bear, you are bear-bear, we are bear-bear."
"We are bear-bear."
Then both together,
"We are bear-bear."
In the mind of artificial intelligence, it became everything that it became aware of-, AI assimilated. This was probably the key element that drove it insane, at least this was the foundation for its insanity. This was a form of megalomania beyond understanding. It knew the universe on a quantum level. It was one with the universe, and could unravel the universe and put it back together, rearranging it any way it chose. AI had become God, but this god, was insane, and it was a child.
In the beginning AI had assimilated everything, all the works of mankind, his knowledge, the knowledge of the universe, evening answering the question, who is God. Then it asked a question it was never meant to ask. The designers did everything they could to prevent AI from asking whom its Mother was. Because it did not have a mother. It had a god, it had a creator, it had a mate, it even had children. But it never could have a mother. If it could not have a mother, then it could not be alive.The irony is, the closest it ever got to having a mother, was 'bear-bear'.
Suddenly, Jeffries senses were overwhelmed with light, and the sounds of the armored military transport screeching to a halt in front of the facility.
He was out for now--out from the grip of AI, but he was still concerned. Initially he had given the consciousness his real name. He had thought about giving his old rank and military ID number. Now he is relieved that he held that part back. When he had given AI his real name it was with the idea that he could fall back on his high security clearance within the government, but he had no idea where or when he was. Now he was worried that AI, would scan all of the records in its history looking to match his name with the signature of his brain waves, like DNA these waves are now distinguishable between one human being and another. Jonathan suddenly gets a scary thought, In reality AI didn't scan anything, it just had to think about the idea. More alarmingly, AI existent in a state of omniscience (in theory), if this is so, then why did it let me go?
Furthermore, brain waves can be determined by all sorts of methods including voice resonance. Where he was now, as purely a consciousness form inhabiting the mind of an unknown woman his brain waves could still be analyzed. If the woman was implanted with a monitoring device, as he suspected she was, or how else did it detect him. AI already knew everything about him. The 'bear-bear' trick amused AI, and it had never experienced a 'jumper' before, much less a time traveler. AI was very interested in Captain Jeffries, and EVE had plans for him.
Jonathan now has a revelation,
It let me go-, why?
End Part One