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Crichton's Notes

WORMHOLES

PART ONE

If D'Argo wants to get from one end of Moya to the other, he has to walk the whole distance. But if I could fold Moya in half — so that her front and back ends are close enough to be connected with a short tunnel — then I could slip through that tunnel and have my feet up and a drink in my hand by the time D'Argo arrives. That's a crude example (and Pilot would be pretty steamed if I made Moya origami), but that's how wormholes work. You don't go faster than light; you bend space-time itself and take a serious shortcut while light slogs through space the long way.

I think it's more than a coincidence that wormholes have appeared both times my Farscape Module flew a planetary slingshot maneuver during a solar flare. Before I came to the Uncharted Territories, Earth's physicists had not yet made a connection between solar flares and gravitational singularities. But here's what I think now.

When I was revving up the Farscape experiment, one of the mystery variables was that uncrewed spacecraft completing the same maneuver tended to pick up more velocity than the math should've allowed. In other words: Spacecraft using the slingshot method were zooming off faster than we expected. Some scientists speculated that intense electromagnetic charges picked up by the craft caused the anomaly. At any rate, extreme magnetic charge is only one of many possible forces strong enough to affect space-time. Couple one or more with the energy released by solar flares, and maybe that's enough to rip the universe a new one.

Some wormholes are very unstable. Fly into one of those without the right kind of shielding and you might suffer a complete cellular collapse — meaning no more body, just chunky salsa. It's as if unstable wormholes create their own destructive distortion. The good news is that, so far, only Peacekeeper ships have proved vulnerable to this problem. Don't know why; might be something in their hull composites, maybe it's their energy signatures. I need to work on this a little more.

The right equipment can identify and cancel out those wavelengths, harmonics, rantath-flux variances and photonic distortion bursts. Linfer was at first-and-goal with her phase-negative shielding, and I understand that Furlow's Phase Stabilizer even scored touchdowns before it became an unspeakable apocalyptic weapon. So far, my module's been the Volvo of wormhole transports: She ain't pretty, but she's got a five-star safety rating on the intergalactic Autobahn.

But learning how to traverse a wormhole safely still doesn't mean we're ready to pass "GO" and collect $200. What I've seen so far suggests that wormholes are one-way streets. As Pathfinder Neeyala showed me, however, groups of wormholes sometimes form themselves into massive loops with various possible exits. In this case, you could enter the circuit at any point and, while never reversing direction, eventually return to that same point.

They can also contain giant snakes with really, really big teeth. Just so you know.



PART TWO

Okay, everything I wrote before? That was the beginner's class, Wormholes 101. Ready for the next step?

As Albert Einstein said, it's all relative. Specifically, space and time are fused, which is why it's called space-time. A set of coordinates for each is required to locate a particular event. Motion at speed through space becomes motion through time. Wormholes bridge space-time, providing a unique ability to navigate across vast distances — and through time.

With me so far?

Wormholes also traverse other universes and dimensions than our own, and — thanks to a feature of quantum theory that states that all possible outcomes of every variable event occur simultaneously, each one branching off into its own quantum reality — they lead to a potentially infinite number of "unrealized" parallel realities within our own universe. In other words, there are an infinite number of potential realities that don't officially exist until you step into them.

"What would be so bad about visiting another universe?" you ask? According to informed sources, this apparently would result in a "cataclysmic unraveling of the precise mathematical harmony." Sorry I can't be more specific, but I think you'll agree that sounds bad enough that we shouldn't risk it.

Every wormhole system has an uncountable number of exits, each to a distinct time and place. Travel from point A to point B; now, attempt to travel back. You could arrive at point A immediately after you left. Or a cycle later. Or a cycle earlier. Or ten. Or ten thousand. There are millions of permutations — millions of chances to unravel the past and completely erase everything you ever cared about.

In other words, going forward in time is no great shakes; it's going backward that screws the pooch. A traveler who appears earlier in the timeline of his own existence is like a rock dropped on still waters; the ripples radiate from the point of disruption and cause bigger and bigger circles of change as they move outward. But if you fix the first thing that goes ape before the other temporal dominoes fall, time is elastic enough to recover its initial shape. If events are matched closely enough to their original course, they have a way of restructuring themselves to familiar outcomes.

Now, navigating a wormhole is a whole different ball of wax. Put away your machines and fancy toys; they won't help you.

From any point of entry, a wormhole system branches into multiple paths, like a maze that loops back upon itself. The subdivision continues until you finally tumble back into space-time. The trick is to know where you want to go. Every portal has a unique space-time signature. The only destinations you can go to by design are those you already know. The more you travel to new destinations, the more signatures you learn to recognize.

Now here's the really fun part: Navigation sensations inside a wormhole are counterintuitive. The farther you are from a destination, the easier it is to track differences in its signature. But since every destination is closely surrounded by similar, unrealized realities, the closer you get to where you're going, the more you have to maintain perfect focus. Get distracted and you'll wind up pulling a Marty McFly.

And never, ever, return to a familiar place prior to the last time you left.

Study hard, kids, because I'm certain there'll be a pop quiz when we least expect it....




JOURNEY LOG REFERENCES

Premiere

'Til the Blood Runs Clear

A Human Reaction

The Hidden Memory

Won't Get Fooled Again

Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part 1: Would'a, Could'a, Should'a

Self-Inflicted Wounds, Part 2: Wait for the Wheel

Incubator

Infinite Possibilities, Part 1: Daedalus Demands

Infinite Possibilities, Part 2: Icarus Abides

Dog With Two Bones

Unrealized Reality


STARBURST TO ANY NOTE