The Machine

PART ONE: AURORA’S ACE IN THE SLEEVE

Aurora took a deep breath before walking into the Ministry of Defense Building eager but nervous to begin her first true job. She walked up to the reception area and greeted the receptionist nervously; wearily giving her name and purpose of visit to him.

The Receptionist input the data provided electronically before looking up at her smiling. He then jovially stated, “Ah, Miss Alison, Director Shaw is expecting you. Kindly wait while I patch through to her to inform her of your arrival.”

The receptionist instantly patched through to the Director through what Aurora assumed must have been a telepathic connection. After an awkward five minutes of silence as the conversation between the receptionist and the Director of the Ministry of Defense presumably occurred, he finally stated, “The Director will see you now, Miss Alison,”

“Thank you,” Aurora responded, flashing a nervous smile. The receptionist simply pushed a button and Aurora was soon enveloped by a hyper-loop tube of sorts. The latter was then suctioned through the tube at high velocity, directly landing in office of the Director. Aurora felt a strong urge to vomit but managed to hold it in.

“It takes some getting used to but the disorientation and momentary motion sickness should soon pass,” Director Shaw informed Aurora without inflection.

“Director- Shaw- thank you for having me,” Aurora stated after a few moments, reorienting herself to her new environment.

“The pleasure is all mine. It is a rare pleasure to meet a younger doppelganger of mine who is as passionate about scientific work as I am. I trust that you read all the terms and conditions of your contract with us should you choose to join the Department of Defense, correct?”

“Yes Director. I have read them and have come to the decision that this is the best career choice for me,”

“Wonderful. Kindly send the documents to me so that we may proceed,” Director Shaw stated.

Aurora digitally sent the requested documents.

“It goes without saying that this job is very involving and it may gravely affect your work-life balance,”

Aurora nodded. “Sacrifices must be made for the sake of progress,”

Director Shaw nodded appreciatively. She pressed a button and soon another hyper-loop tube transported a lab-coat clad woman who appeared to be in her mid-forties.

“Aurora, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Erin Hess, the Lead Scientist in our Space-Time Exploration Division. Dr. Hess, please meet our newest addition to the team, Miss Aurora Alison, a gifted Traveler and brilliant mind.”

“It is an honor to meet you, Miss Alison. I am excited to have you join the team,”

“I shall leave all orientation and induction to you, Miss Hess. Aurora, in case of any challenges you face, address them to Miss Hess or directly to me if need be,” the Director stated.

“Thank you, Ma’am,”

Director Shaw simply nodded and got lost in her work even as Aurora received the grand tour of the Space-Time Exploration Division where she would be working on a full-time basis.

Aurora met the team which was mostly comprised of introverts with the exception of one bespectacled bubbly scientist in what appeared to be her late twenties, Dr. Paisley Clarke.

Out of all the new colleagues she would be closely working with, Dr. Clarke was the most approachable and forthcoming with information including quick tips on surviving the Division. Paisley helped break the ice with the other team members and Aurora was grateful to have her around.

Being around such brilliant minds truly challenged and inspired Aurora as well as reminding her why she loved the Sciences so much. Then more than ever, did she feel motivated to play catch up to the science of the timeline and study as many short courses as she could as well as applying for her Doctorate Degree in both Quantum Technologies having already successfully completed her Masters Degree in the field during the span of a year.

The entire Division was further subdivided into smaller focus groups each dealing with a unique facet of Space-Time Exploration. The most interesting according to Dr. Clarke was the Space-Time Anomaly unit which was in charge of tracking and nipping space-time anomalies in the bud.

This unit was the most labor-intensive one relying on the joint policing force of the world to resolve the anomalies in real time. The Anomalies unit usually had the best stories to swap at lunch and they had the largest budget in the Science Division.

Aurora was excited when the scientists in her unit which specifically dealt with safe exploration of Quantum and Theoretical physics related concepts turned to her as an expert for her unique traveling ability. Dr. Clarke appeared most intrigued by her ability and squealed with joy upon seeing Aurora’s very own invention- a time machine of her making.

To most of her colleagues, the wonder of having a Traveler well versed in Quantum Physics join them wore off soon but to Dr. Clarke, it merely peaked her intrigue. Aurora continued to lean on Dr. Clarke slowly gaining her trust and eventually, her friendship.

Dr. Clarke grew so confident in Aurora that she confided in her about her secret plans to build a machine that would revolutionize the already vastly successful Turing Machines that had been built in the Age. Dr. Clarke’s model would push the Mathematical logarithm a step further- to calculate the coordinates to possible Alternate Realities thus allowing for exploration of the said realities upon discovery.

“Building the Artificial Intelligence for this machine is going to be a nightmare but I have you now so I don’t have to go it alone. I’ve been thinking about how your Time Machine works, Aurora, and I have a theory that at the heart of that knowledge is where we can invent the AI to help us begin exploring alternate realities,”

“How’s so?” Aurora asked surprised by Dr. Clarke’s assertion.

“Well, my theory is based on a study conducted on all known Travelers in our database. Each Traveler appears to have a specific ability in addition to being able to open up wormholes to alternate timelines. I found it strange when you claimed that you didn’t have anything like that but it got me thinking that perhaps it is because it was so much a part of you, you didn’t think about it as being a special ability,”

Aurora shook her head in disagreement.

“Suspend your disbelief for a moment and riddle me this, Aurora. How is it that you are able to successfully predict with almost perfect certainty, where whatever object you desire to obtain be it animate or inanimate, human or otherwise, is and open wormholes to obtain the object despite having not previously interacted with the object or its home environment?”

“That’s easy to answer. The Time Machine I built has an Artificial Intelligence component that calculates the probability of the occurrence of the object based on the raw data I feed it. The AI isn’t perfect either- it gives multiple options for it and it is really up to me to narrow down the searches it makes before settling on the object I desire to reach,”

“I do not believe for one second that the answer is so simple, Aurora. The AI, like all other mathematical or really scientific inventions requiring that level of mathematical intelligence all rely on the Probability Field but in the case of your invention, the AI is very advanced and that is where my Theory comes in…”

“Aurora, I believe that your unique space-time related gift is a special connection to the Probability Field. What that means is that it boosts your AI’s ability to accurately predict objects and their distance or their coordinates to a near perfect degree. As a result, you have never failed to obtain an object since you first invented your Machine,”

Aurora was stunned. Dr. Clarke went a step further in asking Quix to calculate the probability of Aurora being able to so accurately predict the location of all objects she had targeted in the past in a way that not only led to their discovery but eliminated the dangers associated with exploration of foreign terrains. Quix gave up a figure that stunned Aurora at how astronomical those odds were.

“So you’re saying that I am somehow connected to the Probability Field? How can we know this for certain? I mean, isn’t it right to assume that this is all a little too… I don’t know, too theoretical? The evidence of such a field existing has yet to be found even in this age,”

“You’re right about that; but it is possible for the Probability Field to exist. Scientists can agree on at least that possibility and I mean, come on, we deal with Theoretical and sometimes impossible science…”

“Aurora, that is why I think you would make the most ideal partner in my Secret Project. Not only can you guarantee funding from the Director but your input in creating the machine imbued with your special magical ability- this- this is what is going to lead us to inventing the Machine,”

“What if you’re wrong about the Probability Field and it is actually the AI responsible? I mean, your world has been able to send Agents through different timelines with success, right?”

“We have lost some good agents too in the course of exploration but you- you single-handedly managed to rescue countless Travelers including one of the most powerful Travelers to ever exist- King Ember of Medula, successfully. You have not failed a single mission yet. Surely you don’t believe that that was all just fate,”

“You are right that it wasn’t just fate. I did the homework- did a lot of calculations of my own, was careful and deliberate in my choices. I haven’t saved every single Traveler my Time Machine told me there was- I just saved those that were within my means to reach to,”

“And it worked out every single time. Quix has told you how impossible these so called calculations were but you aced them every single time. How could you without this special ability?”

“Anyway, please think about it more, Aurora. I would really appreciate it if you helped me invent this Machine so we can safely explore alternate realities which would put our reality at a great advantage,” Dr. Clarke concluded, leaving Aurora staring after her in wonder.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Taking a trip down memory lane? Links to continuing parts are listed below. Enjoy:

  1. The Machine: Part 2
  2. The Machine: Parts 3-11

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