- Vol. 08
- Chapter 05
The portal opens. We are heady with sleeplessness and endorphins. Our breath comes, hummingbird-quick. Trillions of computations have realized what theorists have spun from overwrought speculations. Visions from H. G. Wells converge with the philosophical ruminations of Luce Chronus. Titans or Titians of intuitive insight and quantum confabulation have set the problem before the cybernetic cerebral cortexes of the entire planet—which was, is, will be the perforation of the membrane between time and space to save us from the frozen death our ancestors bequeathed us, along with the tools to which we now owe our salvation.
The irreversibility of time, the one constant that chained us to the arrow of our martyrdom now bends to flow backwards upon itself. Luce Chronus sacrificed their life to perpetual twilight, descending into dream stasis, where the organically-enhanced computational data synchronicum they conceived, built, and programmed absorbed them. Luce of the many embodied streams of data dreamed lines of instructions as their body, plagued by mortality, withered and died.
The portal is open. Wind whirs about us. As air floods through the portal into our underground station, it condenses into fog, then water. Rising heat, variance in atmospheric pressure, gusts of intentional air disorient us. To my right, my colleague, Sie Gau sheds outer layers of thermal protective gear. I try to stop them, but too late Sie pulls the tubing from their nostrils, tosses the helmet aside, coughs and sputters. But it’s too late to help them.
I fight the panic, squeeze my gloved hands into fists, and stare. The portal spirals through the mountain of ice, polishing the slick blue surfaces into gleaming glass. Sweat pools inside my suit.
PortalToo quick, the temperature control delays critically, then too little, too late tries to cool the heating gel that surrounds my body. Too little, too late, I claw at seams. Dizzy, my brain notes the start of delirium. But my eyes are riveted on the landscape beyond our portal.
Rimmed by evergreens that have long disappeared in our time, a lake refracts the cold blue of our world on its placid surface. Beyond, a frontier vibrates with all the colors of earth, grass, and stone. Life. It is there. Here. Now.
We have reached it. We can change the future, our past, our present.
Black spots swim now on the periphery of my vision. The green of the land drains to brown, the lake’s shimmering waters frost, then freeze in runnels. The gale-force wind whipping back and forth through the open membrane continues to raise the temperature of our winter-permanent home while it ices the earth of our past.
I collapse alongside Sie and other colleagues, my back against the wall that softens to cradle me. Am I the one who is screaming? Through a watery scrim, I watch our doomed world burn and a lost world turn to ice.