Ghosts of the Past, Present, and Future Chapter 4

By Artificer Urza

Year 2305 Fiona's Forest

After the fight against Lavos, all of the time-traveling companions had returned to their own times. It was theorized that Robo and the commander of Arris dome, Doan, would cease to exist once they had returned to their own time, due to the death of Lavos and the alteration of that future. In fact, what had happened was that they were both altered to fit the new timeline, but only Robo could remember the Lavos timeline along with the new one that was created. The strange phenomenon, called the dual memory, proved the possibility of time-travel, prompting the people of the twenty-fourth to create measures to protect themselves. Robo would have none of it; he was content to care for the trees in Fiona forest along with Atropos and others of the decommissioned R-series mechanoids. In fact, he was tending the trees when his sensors detected a faint temporal disruption; a gate had opened and closed somewhere nearby. Or had it? The reading had been so faint that it was nearly impossible to tell the exact distance from his current position. However the fact that he had definitely detected a temporal anomaly prompted him to contact Doan.

After Robo's 'return' from his little sojourn into the past, it became apparent that the need for a agency who could monitor the time-space continuum from the twenty-fourth century backwards into the past. Doan had been placed in charge of that organization and always kept in close contact with Robo. Robo entered Fiona's Shrine, a church that had been founded in the ninth century AD and had been meticulously well maintained ever since. He went to a small device in a cubicle-like room and programmed in the co-ordinates needed to communicate with Doan. The device projected a small holographic version of Doan, who had apparently received the signal at his desk in Arris Dome.

"Prometheus! What can I do for you?" The representation of Doan asked.

"I have come to report that I detected a temporal anomaly a short while ago."

"Are you sure? We detected nothing." Doan responded, concern showing on his face.

"I believe it would be beneficial if you scan the area. I will send you the energy readings of my scan now." Robo said as he grasped his right hand and removed it, revealing the plug in his wrist that would allow him to interface and send the information. He fit the plug into the socket in the computer terminal, uploading the information nearly instantaneously to Doan's computer.

"Thanks, but a new scan will take a while, even with the information you've sent." Doan replied as he typed in the information for the scan.

"In that case, has there been any word from Chronopolis?"

Startled Doan looked up from the console.

"Chronopolis? Why would you want to know about that?" Doan said, concern and suspicion clearly showing on his face.

"Several weeks ago, the sage Balthasar came and performed a diagnostic on me. When he finished I heard him mumble 'there will be important work for you at Chronopolis'. So, I was curious as to his meaning but never found the time to ask him before he left." Robo responded, perplexed at Doan's reaction.

"Balthasar? Hmmmm. He was stationed at Chronopolis, but it vanished weeks ago, Balthasar included. Why would he perform a diagnostic though? There is always a technician on hand to do it."

"I was unaware that Chronopolis had vanished." Robo said in slight surprise. After all, how can an entire island simply vanish?

"Well perhaps 'vanished' isn't the right word. However, the fact remains that we can't gain access to the area known as the Sea of Eden. There are too many temporal anomalies to make a proper temporal scan, which is why the current scan will probably come up negative. The reason you hadn't heard was because it became the jurisdiction of the Temporal Investigation Committee." Doan finished with a sigh.

"I see… Those are intriguing problems. With my experience with time travel, perhaps I could be of some assistance."

"Funny you should offer. Just when we lost contact with Chronopolis, the factory, in fact the whole system in Geno Dome activated."

"Was not Geno Dome supposed to have permanently been shut down years ago?" Robo said as he remembered both the 'Lavos Period' Geno Dome and the 'current timeline' Geno Dome had both been run by the Mother Brain A.I. program.

"Yeah it was, which is why I sent a team to investigate it. That was a week ago, the team never returned. I have decided to make it a more formal investigation, so I'm sending a time-cruiser ship to investigate this and the Sea of Eden. I would really appreciate it if you would help the crew in any way you could, Prometheus."

"I shall do everything within my power to help, Doan, rest assured. When and where can I come onboard?"

"The Enterprise is at the Trann Dome planetary port, where the last of the new crewmembers are coming aboard. They should be leaving in a few days."

"I will leave now. Goodbye Doan, I will solve this mystery." Robo said as he retrieved his hand and prepared to leave.

*******

A day later, Robo was waiting at the terminus for the Enterprise. It was unusual for a ship of this type to patrol inside the planet's atmosphere but in this case, the proximity was warranted. The ship itself was the largest ever built, capable of housing over five hundred people not including families. The front section, the area that housed all those people, had a bar and the bridge of the ship was shaped like a saucer and attached to a cylindrical drive section, which housed the engine, and shield systems. On either side of the drive section were cylindrical nacelles, which were what propelled the ship.

Robo marveled at the grandeur of the vessel, while not as familiar, or as small as the Epoch, had its own genre of majesty. Robo continued to observe the ship as a speeder bike pulled up; it was the same type as the bike Crono had ridden across Lab 32. The bike pulled up in front of Robo and a uniformed officer climbed out. By the markings on his collar and the color of his uniform he had a rank of ensign, the lowest rank possible for an officer.

"M-m-m-m-Mister Prometheus? I'm t-to es-escort you to the ship." The young man said nervously.

"Is there a reason you are so nervous?" Robo asked as he got into the bike.

"Well i-it's this assignment. I'm not trained for temporal patrol! M-my assignment here was an administrative cock-up! I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing!!" The young ensign wailed, his voice rising a pitch with each sentence.

"Well I am well versed in temporal mechanics, so perhaps I can help you with any questions you have. What division do you belong to on the ship?" Robo asked over the noise of the bike's motor as the sped toward the ship.

"I'm a part of the security force on the ship."

"That is a division where the knowledge of temporal mechanics is not as important, but it never hurts to know this kind of science on a temporal patroller. What do you know about temporal mechanics?"

"Only the basics."

"The basics are more than most people know. Tell me what you know and I'll tell you as much as I can about the rest."

"Well I know that time gates are created by a build up of chronoton particles. It has been theorized that chronoton particles regulate the flow time, but it has never been proven. These particles exist in nature at a frequency of one particle per one hundred cubic kilometers. A build-up of a maximum of 18000 particles is required to create a 'front' gate. The direction of the movement of these particles determines whether the 'back' gate appears in the past or the future. The speed of that movement determines how far back the 'back' gate appears. That's it, that all I know. What I'd like to know is how that's supposed to help us monitor the time-space continuum." The ensign said, somewhat out of breath.

"As I said before, that is much more than most people know. It is also theoretically possible for a build-up of chronoton particles less than 18000 to create time distortions, in effect creating areas where time moves at an accelerated pace, called 'fast-time fields' or areas where time moves at a decelerated pace, called 'slow-time fields'. It is impossible to determine if this is true because temporal experiments and time-travel itself is illegal for anyone other than the Temporal Investigation Bureau. Which is the reason for the existence of the Time-Space Monitor Commission, which commissioned this ship. We monitor the level of chronoton frequency to detect time-waves and other assorted time-related phenomena."

Here Robo paused in his explanation, as they arrived at the docking platform, had Robo the capacity to breath he would have taken a deep breath as he continued his explanation.

"Hold on. What's a 'time-wave'?" The ensign interrupted as they walked down the cold military-gray corridors on their way to the bridge.

"A time-wave occurs when someone travels to the past and changes an event. Then, in our time a time-wave spreads out at the point of origin and changes the present. Essentially everyone 'now' is deleted and replaced by people who fit the new timeline." Robo said as they entered the elevator.

"So then you and me would just disappear? What stops that from happening? We are the ones who are supposed to stop things like that from happening right?" The ensign asked, fear in his voice.

"As I know it, there are two ways to avoid the effects of a time-wave; one: you exist outside of your time. In other words, you travel to the past or future before the time wave hits. This means that you cannot be affected by the time-wave since you are not there to be affected. There are a few exceptions to this rule that I have heard of. Doan and myself re-entered this time as the time-wave hit so we were both altered to fit the new timeline. As to why I retain my memories of the alternate 'Lavos timeline', it is currently under study."

"Okay, but that's a little inconvenient for this ship, so I presume we use the second method?" The ensign asked as he visibly calmed down.

"Correct, as you may know there is a second generator in this ship. It is used to make artificial chronoton particles. These artificial particles are diffused into the ship's hull, creating a time distortion field around the ship. When hit with the time-wave anyone and anything inside the field is 'pushed' outside of time, allowing us to shut down the field and re-enter this time-space continuum unscathed when the time-wave passes."

"I see… So then, why not keep this time distortion field active all the time? I mean, time-waves could happen at any moment, you know."

"This was attempted in the initial experiment. The experimental ship maintained the time distortion field for approximately twenty-three hours, forty-five minutes and six seconds before it blew up. From transmissions that were received, it is believed that the flow of time on the ship became a subjective thing; time passed as each individual perceived it to pass. This may have caused the power flow of the ship to destabilize causing the explosion."

The ensign contemplated this as the elevator door opened onto the bridge, the command center of the ship. The captain of the ship, so denoted by his gold uniform, greeted them.

"Welcome aboard Prometheus. Ensign you may return to your post and thank you for bringing him hear promptly." The captain said as he shook Robo's hand.

The captain took his seat in the middle of the bridge, from where he could see all the action happening at the moment and asked Robo to take a position in the science section of the bridge where he could monitor the scans of the time-space continuum.

"It is an honor to have you here Prometheus, I am captain James Kirkis of the Enterprise." He said and began to introduce the rest of the bridge crew. "This is the ship's doctor, Henry McCoy." He said pointing out a man with a lined face, a possible sign of Mystic ancestry, and a blue uniform. "This is our helmsman lieutenant Hikaru Soulu and our tactical officer Pavel Checking." Kirkis said as he indicated the two men at the consoles closest to the view-screen. "This is our communications officer lieutenant Ouhura." He indicated a black woman in red uniform to the extreme right of the command chair, she was currently confirming the departure time of the ship. "And last but not least, this is our engineer, James Doohan." He presented a man in a red uniform who came and shook Robo's hand vigorously.

"Pleasure ta meet ye, sir." The engineer said with a thick Scottish accent.

"Our departure has been granted sir, we can leave anytime." Ouhura said.

"Alright then, lets get this show on the road people. Mister Soulu, take us up into standard orbit."

"Aye sir." Soulu said as he tapped in commands on his console.

"Engage!" Kirkis said, giving the final command to shove-off.


Chapter 5

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