[ASH] Derek Radner's Private Journal #4 - Scrollwork

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Wed Mar 26 08:24:17 PDT 2008

[September 23, 80 C.E., plus or minus a few days]

     I was so tempted to sneak one of these journal entries into a cave in
Qumran to see if it got suppressed the same way that the Metatron Scroll did,
but I'm pushing things enough as it stands.  I'll just hold onto them so I
can transcribe later.  MUCH later, if things work out the way I expect.
     Besides, I don't like soot-based ink, so I invented iron gall ink a few
centuries early.  That'd give archaeologists fits even if I wrote in Aramaic,
which I'd have to learn first anyway.  Latin I know, not to mention Linear A
and Akkadian, but for some reason I never got around to Aramaic.

     (Note in margin) Castle AAAAAAAGH!
     (Doodle in the margin of a beast with many eyes)

     Progress with Cas is adequate.  It'll still be a while before he's ready
to play his role in my plan to get us home, but that gives me time to refine
my side of things, like the message in a bottle I need to leave to make sure
things go smoothly on our eventual arrival.  It needs to have that certain
touch of class, and so far it just doesn't feel quite right.

     Anyway.  I've been trying to explain to Cas why my plan will work, but
I've been running into the problem that my metaphysical aptitude isn't a
power he can copy, so arguments that are blindingly obvious to me carry no
water with him.  Before I try again, I want to work out some ideas on paper
(well, vellum) and see if I've managed to dumb them down enough.

     The core practical problem with my plan to get us home is not the
getting home part, it's the deal-sweetening elements that got him to go along
with me and agree to ditch JZ and littlebird.  Namely, tweaking the timeline
so that his brother Pollux didn't die (I'm not going to play temporal grammar
games, his death happened in my personal past, so it's past tense) during the
Haven incident.  And saving Peryton from Rebus, although that's not important
to Cas.  How do we make those changes without setting off a butterfly effect
and rendering the 2026 we return to unrecognizable?

     I'll admit, thinking four-dimensionally is taxing even for a genius like
me.  And if everything followed natural law, then Asimov would definitely
have had the right of it...just showing up here in the First Century in the
first place would have made our future nigh-unrecognizable.

     But that's a big if.  And the very first "law" of Violation Physics is
that by its very nature it breaks all the other laws.  My own electrical
generation powers, for instance, at best skirt the edges of several
conservation laws, and Cas is a walking logic hole with his ability to mirror
and amplify any supernatural talent.  Natural Law makes travel backwards in
time essentially impossible.  And if it isn't completely impossible, it's at
least not going to work the way WE did it.

     (Note in margin) Do six impossible things before breakfast, then go back
in time and do them again before dinner last night!

     Of course, the universe tries to minimize the impact of we Supernaturals
and our mucking about.  If I just went and did something drastic, like
assassinate Vespasian, and then wandered away without a care in the world,
the timeline would realign itself in whatever way minimized the damage.  This
would probably preserve the future against excessive paradox, but there's no
guarantee I'd like the changes.  Some mages have even posited that the
universe has a will of its own, and specifically screws with supernormals who
get too uppity, so maybe the only changes to the timeline would be that my
Angel died in childbirth or something...just to get back at me.

     (Note in margin) Murphy's Law - an actual law of nature?

     A timeline split would also be possible.  I have no idea exactly what it
would take to go past "heal around the damage" and into "spawn an alternate
reality", but I know from my studies that alternate timelines do exist.
Either as visitable places, or as simulations.  (I heard that poor Cassie
left some sort of living diary before the Burnout Killer got her, and it's
stuck on "predicting" events of a timeline where I managed to save her.  I
really need to "acquire" a copy of that when I get home.)
     These alternate timelines are worlds much like my own, but differing in
some important respect.  In that case, at least my home reality would still
exist, but I might never be able to find it.
     Well, _I_ would be able to find it.  Just you try to keep me away from
my Angel.  But others would have trouble.

     (Doodle in the margin of deliberately childish stick figures of a
family: daddy, mommy, two kids, and a dog.  Daddy has a trident, mommy has a
little cloud over her, and the dog is labeled "Eugene".  Instead of standing
in front of a house, they're in front of a tower that vaugely resembles the
Citadel of Khadam.)

     So, doing too much here in the past could cause either the future to
change in unpredictable ways, or send me and Cas off on some other timeline
where the people we love are never even born.  Assuming, of course, that the
universe was given its preferences.
     But being a supernatural means never having to let the universe have its
way, as long as your will is strong enough.  That affirmations crap that
cropped up again as a fad in the late 2010s may be worthless wishful thinking
for norms, but if I want something badly enough, I really can get it to
happen.  A true villain makes his own rules, even if they're rules about how
reality itself functions!

     Think about it for a minute.  Say that I generate a megawatt of
electrical power.  Where does it come from?  Barring my will, it would come
from wherever is "easiest" for the universe to accept, breaking whatever
natural law is least stringent.  But that could mean that all of the stored
chemical energy in my body gets used up at once, leaving me weak and hungry,
not exactly MY preferred option, even if it's what the universe likes.  Or
maybe I'd draw on vacuum energy, leaving a tiny amount of space itself
totally empty.  But something tells me that drawing out vacuum energy might
have pretty nasty (if physically "legal") consequences.  So I just bend
reality a bit more and will it so that the energy I generate springs out of
nothing, violating the law of conservation of energy.  If you're going to
break the law, don't be half-assed about it!
     Similarly, there's got to be temporal conservation laws of some sort,
even if they're not something that mundane science could ever hope to
experimentally confirm (since any experiments on time travel would perforce
be the realm of non-mundane science).  People who engage in time travel will
run afoul of these laws, end up with paradoxes and alternate timelines and
all that unpleasant stuff...unless they know what they're doing and stop
being half-assed about breaking the laws of nature.  I expect JZ to try to go
with the flow and end up on the nasty end of all sorts of these laws, should
be an amusing tale to hear if he ever makes it back to the right future.
     The key, then, is to be bold about what I intend to do, while at the
same time taking steps to make sure my ontology can cash the checks my
aetiology writes.  Break the law with gusto, but be smart about it.

     So.  I want to make a better future to return to, and like all good
plans, this one has three tines to its fork.

     The central tine is the resurrection of friends and family.  Pollux is
pretty easy, given the way he died.  It wouldn't be too hard for my little
biomimetic insurance policy to fake his death and spirit him away for later
retrieval.  Peryton would be trickier, since I don't think I can fool Rebus
with a stand-in, but I've got some ideas around that one too.  By being
careful to work behind the scenes and in the gaps where I know no one was
looking, I think I can force reality to heal around these changes with no
unwanted alterations.

     The second tine will be a little something to smooth my path when I get
home.  I know, roughly, how I'm going to weather the 1900+ year interval and
how I'll get free, but this is one case where I can't make sure it falls
through the cracks of history.  To even the odds and make it easier to smooth
over the timeline, I'll arrange for a little unwitting help from someone I
admire.  Other than myself, of course.  I don't think I can directly warn
myself in the past without setting up a feedback distortion in the timeline
that even MY will can't counter!

     The third tine will take advantage of the fact that there's places in
the world that are pretty much always outside the flow of history, at least
until 2026.  Nothing I do there will have any impact on the outside world,
because those places have no impact on the outside world in the first place.
I still need to pick a location, but I've narrowed it down to a few likely
spots.  I'll need somewhere to hide between my arrival in the 21st Century
and the point where it's safe to reveal myself, plus making a small
investment now can pay off big in resources then.  It'll also give me a place
to stash Pollux and Peryton...I'm perfectly fine with utterly derailing the
way the timeline was going to go after April 15, 2026, especially since I
suspect I'm only here in the past because someone else was trying to
rearrange the future to their liking, but having Pollux running around alive
in 2025 would give Cas no motive to help me, and that particular paradox is
more trouble than it's worth.

     Okay, looking back at what I just wrote, I think that'll do for
convincing Cas.  And it'll look good in my memoirs later on, too.  Suitably
edited, of course.

            This has been a Conclave of Super-Villains Special:
   ( )                Derek Radner's Private Journal                 ( )
    I           An Academy of Super-Heroes Universe Comic             I
    I               copyright 2008 by Dave Van Domelen                I
                            #4 - Scrollwork 

Author's Notes:

     This fits into the "Coming Home" arc as a sort of prelude to CSV Annual
#2.  Given that Derek's plans involve a view of time travel that at least
partly contradicts the "Branching Way" presented in ASH #84, Tony suggested I
write a Journal entry to explain those differences so that it wouldn't need
to be done in the Annual itself, which already was looking to be pretty huge.
     In real life, there's no suppressed Dead Sea Scrolls concerning secrets
told to the Essenes by the angel Metatron, but in the ASH universe it's a
distinct possibility.  :)
     Ontology is one's view of the nature of reality, and aetiology is the
study of causes or origins, in case the terms weren't clear from context.


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