The Causual Loop

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NASA Deep Space Network, 12:01:2026, JPL Space Flight Operations control room:
“Ronald, look at this incoming data from the LISA, JWST, and Parkes sources. LIGO identifies it as a true gravitational interference.”

Ron’s pulse rate accelerates as he scans the screens. Within a breath the room drifts into a silence followed quickly by the staccato rhythm of fingers on keys as verification calculations are performed. “Oh it’s real all right AND its fringe pattern is characteristic of a space-time distortion with closed timelike curves. If my theory is correct, this can create factors for a time travel event somewhere along its vector.

“Time travel!? I know this is your specialty field, but really?”

Shrugging his shoulders and smiling mischievously, Ron responds, “Don’t give me that look. History has documented it many times over. Humans just didn’t know how to understand it. When the Egyptian goddess Isis called out to the Boat of Millions of Years, the sun stopped moving. In a similar Hebrew story, the sun stood still and the moon stopped. What about all those ancient myths of gods and humans interacting? Or the aboriginal petroglyphs in Australia that depict sky-beings? Were they aliens, angels, or just maybe time travelers? The Maya believed that time was tense less; ergo, past, present, and future all coexist in the same instant. This transdimensional thinking came hundreds of years before general relativity and quantum mechanics. Such events are seldom cataclysmic and often unremarkable. To its effected participants, the four dimensional overlap is subjectively experienced as real time.”

(Approximately 125,000 years before the beginning of the 20th Century and at an approximate distance of 125,000 million light years away from Earth, a swirling chaos of density, gravity, and energy erupts when two neutron stars merge, producing a powerful warp in the quantum field of space-time. Its vector is towards Earth’s galactic quadrant.)

Departing Zurich on 01:06:1901 and heading east out of Switzerland: The steam train thunders along its iron tracks, gaining momentum as white clouds of soot and vapor billow from its smoke stack. The warmth of the many passengers has taken the edge off of the cool morning air. The young woman has taken a window seat. Dancing behind her dark, intelligent eyes are feelings entangled by the raw emotions of love, doubt, and indecision. Having twice failed her university exit exam at the Polytechnic, she is returning home to her parents in Serbia.

A stranger makes his way down the aisle of this same car and stops at the empty seat next to the young woman. He speaks, “Hallo.” She glances up, acknowledges his German greeting with a nod, and then turns her attention to the note pad on her lap.

The newsprint that he carries is dated 1925. As he swings down into the seat he folds and tucks it into his coat pocket. These two people unknowingly have been juxtaposed by a warp of space-time, each unaware that they awoke to mornings separated by 24 years.

Károly glances down at the scientific drawings and mathematical formulations that extend across and into the page margins. The mind behind that hand most truly is intelligent. “I see you are working on technical notes. What is its subject area?”

“Theoretical physics.”

He looks intently at her for a prolonged moment, not wanting to be too impolite. He is becoming disconcerted. He knows he has seen her face before with its dark, intent eyes that emote unreadable feelings. Surely this young physicist could not be whom I think she is. She would have to be much older; but this woman looks so similar to those pictures. Perhaps I can find an answer to this. “Please, would you explain the subject matter of your notes?”

I’d rather not talk, and he has certainly taken a long time looking into my face; but he does seem genuinely interested. “I am collaborating with a friend. We are exploring the subatomic structure of matter and the particle nature of light. These drawings and mathematical formulations are important verifiable agents for what we are proposing. “

Suddenly his chest tightens requiring him to extend an effort to breathe in a normal fashion. “My own work deals with the construction of knowledge and its dependent development on ideological and utopian assumptions within its content area. The progress of scientific theory has always followed this pattern.” I must ask one more question. “And your diagrams, they are curved and sometimes looped, perhaps representing perpetuity?” Did she just startle? Am I experiencing something strange going on here?

“These are musings on the form of a universe that has no vertical or horizontal axes, its curvature governed by the proximal densities of mass and its associated gravity.” She turns her body towards the window to look out, hoping he will understand that she is asking for solitude. Her mind envisions the loops and strings of close and distant interactions within a self-defined universe. The train begins its northerly slow ascent away from the city.

“You spoke of your friend. Is he traveling with you today?”

“No.” She stops. Her thoughts now turn to the man she loves. The man she had left behind; her heart does hurt deeply.

The train passes into a thickening tree line. The darkness projects deepening shadows which penetrate through the window and obscure the woman’s face, blending away color blurring white into black. All sound and motion stop abruptly. The event is over. She will remember this day as an encounter with a friendly stranger dressed in a somewhat bold fashion, having a seemingly novel diction, and a good knowledge of scientific reasoning. And the way he looked at her, as if he knew her in some way. The man will remember it as a dream, not something that really happened; but what a dream it was, guiding his into contemplations and a future book. It will give him cause to wonder how such a dream could have been so vivid and intuitive.

About the Author: 
HP Kiner is a retired educator and a forever learner with special interests in the sciences and humanities.