Never Seen By Waking Eyes

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Tony Stonebridge was enjoying a good night's sleep. They came for him at 3:37 am. Then he was driven in a closed car to the nearest military airbase. He was flown to a secret launch site in the Central Australia. Twelve hours later he was descending into the deep past. Before that, he had to endure too many hours of briefings and instructions for his mission. The World United Government was like that. All security and micro-management.
“This is a secret mission,” they said.
“Secret from who?,” he said.
“The extraterrestrial aliens,” they said.
Sure, he thought. How does that make sense?
“The nearest aliens are hundreds of parsecs away,” he said.
“The universe must be made safe for humans.”
“OK, how?”
This had better be good.
“The universe is in a state of superposition that's how the aliens and humans can share it. Conscious observations are need to collapse the cosmological superposition. You will travel back in time and make observations. Your consciousness will collapse the global wave function, so only the universe with only human consciousness will remain. No aliens. And the whole universe is humanity's. Simple, isn't it?”
Does this make sense?
Stonebridge realised this was an oversimplified version of the Copenhagen interpretation. Really surprising since there weren't any physicists amongst the WUG Elite. Hey! Why argue? He was going back in time.
“Sure,” he said. “Why me?”
“You flew hypersonic rocket-fighters during the Battle of Antarctica. Did deep ocean salvage diving. Survived two expeditions to the Saturn moon system. You're qualified.”
“OK,” he said for the twentieth or thirtieth time.
They put him in the chronoscaphe shaped like an old-fashioned diving bell. There was a technician who understood the technology.
“It's like a diving bell,” she said. “We generate a time-displacement field that pushes against the tachyon-deflector which lowers the chronoscaphe into the past. You will be at a maximum depth of four billion years. While you're there, perform the observational exercises, when they're complete you can return, by pressing the button marked RETURN and you will hauled back to the present. Any questions?”
“What's the big rush?”
“If we can build a time machine,” said the technician. “The aliens can too. We're locked in a Time Race.”
They closed the hatch before he could ask another question. This couldn't be more dangerous than a nuclear-fusion rocket launch. So he sat back and relaxed.
Stonebridge was dozing when there was a sudden lurch. The text message on his main screen announced YOU'RE UNDERWAY. There was silence apart from the fans of the life-support system. Diagnostic lights flashed. Everything else was automatic.
He watched the progress of his descent into the deep past. The average rate of his descent was four million years per second. The landscape outside the time-vehicle was a flickering, shifting kaleidoscope. Stonebridge decided time-travel wasn't the most exciting way to travel.
Sixteen minutes later, there was a loud clank, following by a hissing like escaping steam.
OK, he thought, closing the visor on his environment-suit, opened the hatch and stepped outside.
“One small step for a Stonebridge,” he said. “One giant hop, skip and a jump for Humankind.”
He was standing on a rocky plateau. Four billion year younger Earth wasn't exactly exciting.
Nice place to visit, he thought. Wouldn't want to live here. Lots of rocks. Great for geologists.
He unpacked the self-assembling radio-telescope. The hundreds of individual antennae were self-powered, they dispersed across the landscape, drilled themselves into the ground, forming a considerable array, and commenced observing the deep radio sky.
Stonebridge had lunch while this happened. He activated the chronoscaphe's flat screen, looking at the ancient radio universe. There were galaxies, quasars, the signatures of ionised gas clouds, and the soft hiss of galactic hydrogen.
Each time Stonebridge observed something at astronomical distances he collapsed the wave function with his human consciousness. A chain reaction of decohered quantum states spreading across the universe, expanding faster-than-lightspeed. Because his human consciousness was collapsing the superposition alien consciousnesses would be expelled too. Only human consciousness would remain.
Hooray for us! Humans rule OK. Mmm. Things might be more interesting with aliens.
Stonebridge tested the air, soil, the rocks, radioactivity, and the lot with robotic probes. WUG wasn't taking chances.
Later he climbed into the chronoscaphe, lay back and hit the RETURN key. Diagnostic lights flickered. Machinery purred softly. The chronoscaphe rapidly ascended.
He closed his eyes. Time for a nap.
There was a loud clank, and loud hissing. Stonebridge was jolted awake.
That was quick, he thought.
The chronometer said fifty minutes. Although another five years had passed on the Earth he had left. So he was returning eight years after his departure. It had only been twelve hours for him.
He stepped out and soldiers with guns surrounded him .
“The New Revolutionary Government welcomes Hero Stonebridge!”
What's with the guns? Who are they going to shoot?
“What happened to the Old Revolutionary Government?” he said half-joking.
The guns were aimed at him.
“Shot last week,” said the President. She smiled wickedly.“What went wrong?” she demanded sternly. “ Your mission failed. The aliens didn't vanish.”
Think fast or you're dead!
“Someone got the science wrong,” said Stonebridge. “The universe constantly observes itself.' Consciousness isn't required to collapse the superposition. The aliens belong in the universe too. Game over.”
There was a pause. Everybody took a deep breath. This was live on global TV.
“The New Revolutionary Government embraces the new scientific and political paradigm,” proclaimed the President loudly. “A bigger universe with an expanded consciousness. We welcome our new alien friends!”
They're still hundreds of parsecs away.
Cheering broke out from the assembled masses.
They think quantum physics is crazy, thought Stonebridge. It's got nothing on politics.

About the Author: 
I am a science fiction writer madly in love with science. Science fiction is a wonderful way to play with the concepts of quantum mechanics.