This story was first serialized in 31 daily parts during July 2022 via the @InternetofWords Twitter feed @ 9am. It is now reproduced in this complete form, with a number of small edits and corrections made to improve narrative flow and maintain correct continuity.
I produce fiction bi-weekly on Ko-Fi: this includes flash fiction (250 words) which is being put together to form a long-form narrative, plus a bi-weekly full novel presented in episodic format. I also record weekly videos.
Gregory Jones never existed. If anyone asks, you never met. He wasn’t anywhere near San Francisco on that fateful morning. He was at a symposium in Denver, Colorado. There was never any indication he’d returned to the Bay Area. He may have lived there before—NO. Start again. It began, corner of… no, the Mirror was on the intersection of 18th and Texas. The store sold groceries and lottery tickets and had a deli counter. It was a front, like every single other point of convergence, because once the door was jammed open it would be impossible to close.
There was also a Mirror at the best Seafood restaurant in Pacific Heights, another on Lincoln Way, a third in West Portal, which always made me laugh, because if you were gonna hide doors to parallel dimensions anywhere in San Francisco? Absolutely go and place one in that space. It was first assumed by the Foundation that all Mirrors were being generated in the same particle space this planet occupies. This is your scheduled reminder that quantum physics has only recently become more than theoretical. This planet is very much behind the progress curve.
Assuming that your badly-educated guy was Subject Zero? Even more typical human arrogance. These Mirrors opened not because you provided an entry point, but because the quantum signature was picked up by MY equipment. These, bozos, are EXIT points. I am the one opening portals. There are potentially an infinite number of Gregory Jones’ if I decide that’s the game. Human, mammalian generally, reptilian, pure energy, pure terror… this is not your existence any more. Team Ape is VERY low down the pecking order. Really, you guys need to get over yourselves.
Someone really needs to tell YOUR Gregory Jones his fortune.
I still find it hard to believe that this space doesn’t exist in linear time, but every fibre of my being knows it to be true. This doesn’t feel normal, or look it. Hell, even the food tastes odd, almost ethereal. I’m not a prisoner, but am not allowed to leave. If I did, they tell me, then the fabric of existence will disintegrate. This was never bigger than the here and now: I created something to save lives, nothing more. To discover what had been uncovered was spanning the Universe…
It began as moving a ball from one side of the lab to the other. There was that moment before the first test, where I remembered The Fly and was gripped by panic. Boxes were built for both units before anything else took place. After three years, a tiny, fractal wormhole appeared. I thought the changes made after an initial moment of joy perfected these devices, but the truth according to those people who saved me was considerably more problematic. I’d punched a pinprick hole in the fabric of reality instead, creating countless alternate versions of Earth.
My captors made a potent argument. I’d obsessed over my own ideas, the compulsive need to succeed, and had obscured from view a far greater truth. There was no idea why the transfer would work, where the ball went when its matter signature vanished from my accepted idea of reality. If I’d sent the matter through a conduit that there was complete control over, things would have been different. Instead, I had shoved them into a quantum space where their introduction was akin to infecting someone with a deadly disease. Quantum space had reacted accordingly.
The result was alteration in space-time extending for twelve years and six months across a potentially infinite number of alternative realities. In my reality, this event became responsible for the formation of the Tachyoscope Foundation, nine years on from that first experiment. They have mastered the technique of Cyclical Temporal Displacement using my own calculations, and have dedicated themselves to attempting a focussed and controlled attempt to close the vast number of fractures that were created by my errant baseball, with an increasing success.
There was a rule in place, however, which involves me at its core. This rule was broken by someone not allied to the Foundation. It resulted in a drone being sent back to a point where I had inadvertently saved someone’s life, using the device after an accident on the way to work…
It wasn’t inadvertently. That’s a big fat lie, and he knows it.
After an initial success, he thought, of moving different baseballs across his lab, he got cocky because that’s what humans do. He’d already had funding denied for this because of the potential unknowns involved. But NO, he just kept going. Having seen a ridiculous video game where a gun opened portals between two disparate surfaces allowing seamless transportation between planes, he stole the idea, unaware that the more one reality was fucked with, the more unstable quantum space became.
He ‘claims’ his portal saved the life of a middle-aged woman, knocked off the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s another massive fabrication of the truth, an assumption because HE was the person with tech that somehow this means that any Save must have been him. What an unmitigated liar! All humans are self-serving, capricious louts. It is why our brethren have been reduced to the status of second class citizens, mere companions. However, this does mean we can move amongst them in most planes, with apes no wiser to our true intentions. That alone is an advantage.
The Grand, Revered and Primal Feline Collective moves ahead of these apes, for quite some time now. They have never been the enemy. Their selfishness and greed is, in the end, a better control mechanism than any amount of brainwashing or mind control. However, there is a problem. A group of evolutionarily advanced humans have emerged calling themselves the Tachyoscope Foundation. It is a basic confirmation that what is happening here is understood by them, feeling it is somehow their task to reverse the effects of the Jones human’s errant experimentation.
What is not yet apparent is how far they realize the Interdimensional degradation has spread…
The Grand, Revered and Primal Feline Collective believe they’ve made an important breakthrough in the quest for ultimate Interdimensional superiority; they are ahead of the curve… Boy, are they in for a surprise. Without me, they’d not even exist. In fact, until the whole Quantum Space Interface Situation took place? Cats were never supposed to evolve past the point they’d reached. They were the epitome of an evolutionary dead end. Losers, the lot of them.
Then, there’s the Tachyoscope Foundation, labouring under a misapprehension they’re the only Good Guy Gig: evolutionarily advanced humans my ass. They have the wrong Subject Zero. The cats know there’s an enemy in quantum space they can’t yet locate… but that might now change. The pieces are coming together. We all know a human-made bridge is Location Zero. Humans think it rests on one ordinary human being’s actions. Cats believe one of their own kind is the key to all this… and they call the apes arrogant! There’s feline logic for you, same difference!
The Quantum Overload wasn’t created by Gregory Jones’ actions because Gregory Jones is a deception. The guy the Foundation have now hidden away in secret thinks his portal creation device was a success. It wasn’t. It became a convenient excuse I co-opted, making him the Patsy. The cats think they are the only species with a handle on circumstance, that Jones’ actions cover a bigger truth, and if they get to him, they’ll be able to work out the rest, which is fair. I gotta give them snacks for that. By the time they work it out, however, I’ll be long gone.
The key, you see, is me. Yeah, that sounds massively arrogant, but in truth it’s anything but… because I’m neither human, nor mammalian. Physical forms are so very passé when the Universe is basically all Dark Matter, when all is said and done. They can’t see, at least not yet. At the beginning, when this all began, I lied. Gregory Jones did exist. There’s a human one, and a mammalian one. A reptilian one too, if truth be told. It’s only a name though, a point in time, a collection of atoms. Humans can’t cope with anything not them. That’s the problem.
All carbon-based forms also need linear time to exist because of their very nature, that as they degrade, time becomes one way only. Except, of course, linear time only matters when working with finite lifespans. Once humans evolve past that? If mammals move into infinite live…
It’s a lovely place, if your tiny, mammalian brain can cope with the consequences. Take it from someone who knows the process.
Gregory Jones never existed in this form until quite recently, either. If anyone asks, he just vanished.
Gregory Jones has unexpectedly become infinite.