“You must be the change which you wish to see in the world.”
Salve amice (hello my friend)
Chapter 1, 2017
It had been five days of non-stop traveling since the attack, each day presenting a new set of challenges. The memories of recent days were a luxury that current time and situations allowed neither Max nor Beth to indulge in. Just one week ago the Yukon experienced the most unexpected perfect storm. A central pacific hurricane’s weather system suddenly grew to be much stronger than computer models had estimated and the resulting edge of the storm’s air pressure became a vacuum that sucked down arctic sub-zero air across the Yukon. That sub-zero air combined with an a-typical unexpected high amount of moisture being pushed west, across the Yukon from an eastern Atlantic storm, created almost instant blizzard conditions. Anyone traveling on either the Klondike or Dempster Highway in the Canadian Yukon would not have had a chance of survival with the blizzard and subzero temperatures appearing out of nowhere, and lasting just under a week.
Max and Beth had met each other and Spencer five years ago, the fall of 2022, graduate students starting a special MIT graduate program focusing on artificial intelligence. Max stood six foot, short dark brown hair, slate gray-blue eyes, almost always in brown jeans and blue t-shirt. Max looked like he was on leave from the military. Beth at five foot, eleven inches, looked like a college athlete with orange hair that seemed to emit light, like a Van Gogh painting, almost always pulled back into a single braid, the most unusual blue eyes, so much so almost no one noticed the light group of freckles on each of her rosy cheeks.
As he drove down the icy road, Max remembered that just one week ago, in Seattle, the Core instructing him to follow the instructions in the paperback sized notebook, and reading the introductory paragraph:
“In order to save yours and Beth’s life, you must follow these instructions to the letter. You both have been identified as high risk by Core2, which means Core2’s intent is no recovery for either of you. These instructions will provide what you will both need in order to avoid detection and get to a safe location… ”
As he drove, Max remembered his senior year in high school, ten years ago, 2017, which to him was the pivot point setting the stage for everything that had happened since. That was the year he wrote a blog post about the path of photons, the nature of arcs, and possibly circumventing time. It was then, after the onslaught of negative public response on his blog post that he decided to keep his research to himself. He remembered reflecting back of the process of communication, remembered thinking that words were only descriptions; reality was something different. Words could only attempt to describe, and then they were open to interpretation.
Max remembered as a senior in his high school physics class, reading about photons and light, how he thought about the path of light, a curve, down and away, that certainly something should be able to travel in a straight line under that curve of space, thereby beating the speed of light. Max remembered working through the math of the arc, which to that photon, the change in time was equal to zero.
Max remembered publishing his thoughts about the curve of space, the distance and time experienced by a photon along curved space, and the idea of traversing the underside of the photon curve as a straight line, at the same speed as the photon. He thought that if time stood still for the photon traveling along the curve, a photon traveling in a straight line under the curve would get to the intersection of the line with the curve before the photon traveling along the curve, since the line is less distance than the curve. He remembered thinking, writing on the internet blog, that if the photon traveling along the line under the curve got to the intersection point, the destination, before the photon traveling along the curve, where time along the curve would equal to zero for that photon, the photon traveling along the line, reaching the intersection point of the line and the curve, would effectively get to that point before the photon traveling along the curve, at some negative time relative to the photon traveling along the curve, since time for the photon traveling along the curve was zero. Time less than zero. Negative time.
Max thought, “What an ironic concept, both static, as in the word, and dynamic and relative, as in what the word represents.”
Just four days earlier, Max and Beth had left Seattle on a dark gray, cold and rainy November morning, in analog mode, no Mesh digital assistant, no more net to ask questions of, in an Oyster 53, first by motor, then by sail. It was a large enough yacht, 53 feet long, nicely furnished cabin, two bedrooms, and a small, but workable bathroom with shower. The yacht was stocked to the brim, and plenty big enough for the two of them. They didn’t question how it came to be ready for them. They simply followed their instructions.