The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 68: Interfaces and Continua
Mandorak speculates on what materials could form a crystalline, branching root-like structure in soil. “You can see a coarse version of this, done by the flow of water, but it wouldn't produce such a fine structure.”
Bavör agrees. This is fractal, and so could be produced by many materials, but not in dirt, and not on this scale. This comment reminds Mannie of “Lightning! A lightning strike on ground or sand could produce that pattern!” He frowns. “But the spire itself was sky silver, so that should have drawn all the lightning to itself.” He thinks some more.
“What if two dragon shot lightning at each other?” asks Eïr.
“Yeah. Those crystalline things in space. That shiny thing we had to go around to get back here.”
Mannie speculates aloud about the cause of the islands falling. If the interface is shrinking, maybe it could be caused by the crystalline being on the other side of the interface. Praetus is interested in his ruminations. Mannie asks him, “Have any of your people even gone through to the other side of the interface?”
“Why, no. I don't think so. But we have had ships disappear, an I suppose one or more of them might have gone through that. Did you see wreckage?”
“It's over an ocean, so wreckage is not likely. And… we didn't see any traces on the shores of the spire. Since your ships are wooden, there ‘should’ have been something.”
Mannie turns to Bay. “We went through the interface slowly both times…”
“I don't like the idea of going through fast,” protests Bay. “What if we turned the engines off?”
Mannie isn't happy with that either.
Praetus asks, “Do you think you would always go to the same place through the interface?”
“That isn't clear,” Mannie allows. “Even if we return to the same place, it is also not clear that we can get near the crystalline entity, nor whether it is organic, and if it is, if it has intelligence or is only an animal or even a plant.
“Hmmm. Chekhov was observing the interface, and he has senses beyond those of mere dwarves.” He leads the way up to the bridge. “Chekhov, you were observing the interface while we were on our way back. Could you tell if the… thing in the interface was affecting the interface? We have an idea that that entity might be causing the interface to shrink.”
“Causing interface to shrink?”
“You told us it was.”
“But interface is not so much a ‘thing.’ When you put ball in water, is circle in water around ball. You push ball deeper, and circle changes size, but is not a thing.”
“All right. But then, what is causing the interface to change shape?”
“Is caused by interaction of continua – you are not understanding.”
Bavör does. “It's like the interaction of soap bubbles.”
“Yes, is like that.”
“So how can we keep the interface from shrinking?”
“Is matter of understanding continua, but I am not connected to proper archival system, so I cannot help.”
We realize that Teller is, of sorts, an archival system, and call him up to the bridge. “Teller, you didn't like that other place we were. Why didn't you like it?”
“Very open, very dead.”
“In what way?”
“The sky was all around.”
Bay asks, “You mean, the emptiness of the space there?”
Praetus is very quiet. Bay tells him, “If Chekhov is right, and there are two continua shifting, then there's nothing we here on this ship can do. Perhaps the people back at Lanthil can help.”
Praetus confesses that he doesn't recognize the words being used, and certainly has no understanding of the concepts. Bay goes over the concepts using a more standard form of Elvish, again using bubbles as his example.
Praetus replies, “As you know, the Sky Islands hover over the Open Sea. The shores of the Open Sea are not all on the same world. So the Open Sea itself – I don't know if this term ‘interface’ is correct – spans entire worlds. We are given to understand, by some historians of these places (Djinnistan, the Summerlands, your Lanthil) that some places are created worlds. Is your crystalline creature a being like a bird or a dog, or is it a person, or is it a creature like Lord Alvarin? It is pointless to deal with the first, and far too risky to deal with the last.
“If you have a new world, then the creatures who made that world might be able to deal with the entity.”
Mandorak disabuses him of that idea. “That would be the Marginalia, and Teller is one of them. They make order out of Chaos.”
“How interesting. I did not know that. He speaks a very economical Elvish, and I find him hard to understand.”
“He did not like that other place, as you heard. I don't think he could deal with that entity. At this point, we can only expect to return to Lanthil with Toma, and explain the situation there. We now need only the, ah, documents that you have been working on.”
“They were completed during your absence,” assured Praetus. We discover that they are interested in sending us other people, such as an ambassador, but did not wish to thrust them upon us uninvited. Mannie calls in the Captain, who cheerfully conveys the information that we would be delighted to accept an ambassador, and anyone else the professor recommends.
Updated: May 18, 2007
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.