The Problem of Temporal Displacement

 

Lisa Clark

 

 

The Problem of Temporal Displacement

Journal of Stellar and Interplanetary Travel, vol. 102, January 2510

Psychological Consequences of Temporal Displacement

Spass Katery chairs The Committee on the Human Dimensions of Space Travel. His current research includes the impact of temporal displacement on the individual psyche as well as societal response to political rhetoric concerning the intentional development of time travel.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This research was financially supported by Grant No. ZT9-040 from the North American and Middle Eastern Alliance. The author wishes to thank the primary members of the Alliance for their cooperation in securing and providing access to relevant cases of temporal displacement. The author's work venue is: The Committee on the Human Dimensions of Space Travel, Dept. of Sociology, Global 5 University, Warming Center, Europe, Zone 6. He can be reached with Instant Global Communication Code 856-9922-1057-2B8.

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore the deleterious effects of temporal displacement on individuals who have experienced it and to suggest viable methods of treating such individuals. The author used the 2507 General Society Survey to examine a conceptual framework that postulates the repercussions of hypothetical temporal displacement. Exploring actual cases (largely from the past ten years), he developed his own model, activated by problem and self-transcendent awareness actuated by the individuals' experiences.

BACKGROUND: The fantasy of time travel has intrigued mankind for over seven hundred years. Writers from as early as the nineteenth century have explored the possibilities of temporal shifts. In some of the tales written, the mode through which characters passed through time was hazily depicted.
One prominent American satirical author of the 1800's, Samuel Clemens (nom de plume: Mark Twain) moved his character, Hank Morgan, through time from 1889 Britain (i.e. Europe's Northern Island) to the year 528, when the fictional King Arthur reigned over the Knights of the Round Table. Morgan is transported by means of a dream. This was the typical mode through which writers of this era and beyond moved their characters. It alleviated the writers' need to explain the yet undiscovered conditions under which temporal displacement takes place.

While living in these ancient times, Morgan introduces the telephone wire.1 He also seeks to change the ineptitudes of the feudal system by introducing schools, mechanical devices, and the democratic values of his own time. The trick of returning him to his own time is solved by a famous wizard of King Arthur's day, Merlin. The spell he casts on Morgan causes him to sleep until he again arrives at his own time.

Another notable example of early speculation about time travel was H. G. Wells' The Time Machine. Written in 1895, the story was popularized to an even greater extent through the ancient medium of film. The author's image of a device that moved a person through time fueled the imagination of writers and pseudo-scientists for hundreds of years to come. Although Wells' image of the future as well as his more than limited vision of the means by which temporal displacement might one day occur were vastly inaccurate, he did manage to project a degree of insight as to the possible effects temporal displacement may have on an individual's psyche.

In fact, stories of "time travel" became so prevalent during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that many people of that time believed it to be an inevitability (though they lacked evidence for such a belief or hope). Tales of time warps, storms, leaps, slippages and tears became fodder for the imagination. Reality, of course, makes science fiction irrelevant.

Though most peoples' speculations about temporal displacement proved to be profoundly erroneous, the fascination with time travel did unwittingly provoke people--in particular science fiction writers, who stood to gain financially from their sometimes bizarre surmisals--to consider some possible negative entailments of temporal displacement. The human elements of a number of such conjectures come close to the actual issues that need to be addressed in the modern age.

The world we live in is vastly different than that of the ancients who penned such imaginings. Toly Dimitrov's dream of "every person a space traveler" (a goal set fifty years ago) has essentially been realized with all but the most technophobic citizens of our planet. And, of course, along with space travel has come the ability and desire of many (I even dare to conjecture most) people to experience free-floating in space. Today's superbly equipped spacesuits allow an individual to free-float in space for up to twenty-four hours. And as advertisements clearly and honestly relay, a tethered experience of this sort has many benefits, perhaps the greatest of which is an appreciation and understanding of the nature of outer space and of our insignificance in relation to it.

The negative side of free-floating in space--especially during the current extreme sport of un-tethered space excursions, which leaves a person in wider areas of space without the protection of a solid body2--is the chance that one may be temporally displaced by a space ribbon. For this reason, the ramifications of temporal displacement on an individual is a salient topic of scrutiny.

There has been vocal and ongoing disputation among scientists, psychologists, politicians, recreational facility developers, social geographers, historians, and ethicists for more than twenty years as to whether time travel--at least, as we understand it—should be developed and fostered. Fortunately, efforts to win support for further investigation of the potentialities of temporal displacement among a substantial number of the aforementioned minor factions continue to fail across the board on a global level. Most of global society's citizens rightly recognize the clamor of many of these groups as a pretext for exploitation. Problem awareness concerning this issue after the first true documented case of an actual occurrence of temporal displacement--Zhu's encounter with his transference to the next year of his existence, totally bypassing the events of that year3—have highlighted the motivations behind ego-centric arguments in favor of such research.

For the uninitiated in basic temporal displacement theory--or "time travel," as it is referred to colloquially--the author offers the following explanation: Temporal displacement, as far as modern man understands it, can only be accomplished by an individual or group's contact with a time ribbon (also referred to as a roving or wandering time thread, string, or yarn). Such spatial phenomena are extremely rare. The composition of such ribbons is entirely unexplained as well as unexplainable for the basic reason that a person can never adequately predict when or where one may encounter a time ribbon and is thus unable to prepare himself for studying it (Katery, 2508). Additionally, evidence derived from the testimony of those who have experienced temporal displacement reveals that they had little or no prior signal to suggest that anything extraordinary was happening to them in the course of their temporal conveyance.

When a time ribbon passes an area of space, it has the ability to "capture" whatever is in its path, providing that the thing in its path is composed of organic matter. Because of this unique property, a roving time thread will only capture an unencumbered human being (or animal, of course; however, there are no such cases on record.) It may actually be a mercy to have an individual transferred without devices of our time (Perez, 2507). How would it seem to the citizens of a past or future reality to suddenly find in their midst a space pod with all of its—for that time--unfamiliar equipment and features? A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court may have had less to account for than a present-day space traveler would have to explain about a modern space vessel, even to a much more "enlightened" man from a more technologically advanced time.)

A person will thus be transported to a totally unfamiliar and unrelated time and space. There is apparently no way to predict the time and final destination of an individual thus projected. It is entirely possible, for example, for a person to be flung from the surface of Earth's moon to someplace in or near the Asteroid Belt, or to be removed from the exterior of a space ship to a time when--or place where--no stars are visible at all. The happy vision of myriad authors that time travel took an individual to some other epoch of Earth's own history is ludicrous fiction erupting from wishful thinking. Once the person/people have been thusly transported, they are enveloped in a—for lack of a clearer image—time warp bubble. This is an invisible surrounding. As explained by the very few subjects of this study who found themselves in the presence of other people after being displaced, no one else seemed aware of this time warp bubble, though the time travelers experienced it as a palpable aura around themselves. The speculated purpose of this bubble is for the time ribbon to reattach itself to this small part that has broken off. And, as far as every experience so far has shown, the ribbon will always seek out these parts of itself that have broken off. One may imagine the ribbon to be like a colossal magnetic whip, flinging itself through space. If a small part of the whip should happen to snap off, the magnetic qualities of the whip will cause it to return to precisely the place where it lost its small part, like a magnet gathering up fine magnetic filings (Arman, 2007). This explication also clarifies why a person returns to roughly the same time and place he was extracted from. In attempting to re-gather occasional lost bits, the ribbon will tend to follow a similar course as the one it initially traveled. The vastness of space as well as the apparent extreme length of time ribbons explains their rarity. As far as we know, space ribbons rarely pass by the same place more than once, except when a part of their substance has been detached (Bzik, 2509).

No one can ascertain how long the period may be between the transference of a being from one time and place to the retrieval of said being to their approximate point of origin.4 Furthermore, though speculation abounds as to how an individual might avert recapture, no theories have been tested or conclusions reached. Some have speculated that, if a person is hidden underground or within a structure, they should be able to avoid being picked up again by the time ribbon. There is concrete evidence that, in every substantiated case of temporal displacement, time threads picked up life forms that were in the open (Meder and Nti, 2508). In every single documented case we see that the people were clearly in vastly open areas and not enclosed in structures of any kind. Although, for an individual who wishes to try this theory and avoid recapture by the time thread that initially relocated them, he/she may have to spend a virtual lifetime indoors to avoid recapture; and even then, they would have no proof that this action was the one that spared them (because there is no set interval that dictates when the time ribbon will return to retrieve its missing fragment.)

Considered as a whole, time travel is both an intriguing as well as a frightening possibility in this age of space travel. The issues of altering history, introducing technology and ideology before its time, and using information gathered for one's personal use have all been discussed and considered almost ad nauseam throughout at least the past seven centuries. The author here wishes to reiterate that the purpose of this paper is to confront and offer solutions that address the psychological affects such displacement may have on an individual's psyche.

Methodology

Participants

As of the writing of this article, only eleven individuals since the beginning of recorded history have genuinely experienced temporal displacement.5 This author does not wish to defend the methods used to prove or disprove the verity of individuals' claims that they have experienced time travel. Too many of the purported cases of temporal displacement could, the author fears, be relegated to the sphere of urban legend. And, unfortunately, there still exist those whose suspiciousness and/or gullibility make them vulnerable to belief in alternate forms of time travel, visitations and examinations by alien visitors from far-away star systems, and conspiracy theories related to the topic. Given this perspective, the author has chosen to accept only the definition given by the established scientific community of that which constitutes a verifiable experience of temporal displacement.

Of the eleven authenticated cases of true temporal displacement6, only seven individuals are still living. And, of these seven, three, unfortunately, have been committed to psychological institutions due to unstable emotional health resulting directly from their displacement ordeals.

In order to obtain information related to the experiences of all of these cases (or, at least, as much as possible), the author has conducted the following research: a) four extensive live and/or holographic interviews were conducted, and b) medical and psychological records of the three who are presently confined to institutions were made and discussed with attending physicians, informed acquaintances, family, and friends of the individuals in question and/or through the use of official records, required of anyone who has experienced a time shift.7 Pertinent details will be presented in this paper in the form of individual testimony. (To view tables which present means and standard deviations for values considered, demographic characteristics and interpretations of time displacement experiences, results from regression analyses to predict future response of similar individuals, temporal displacement paradigms and shifts, as well as a detailed discussion of the author's conceptual framework, please contact the author at the GCC code given in the opening of this paper.) In each of the examples given, the resulting psychological effect on the individual in question will be examined carefully.8

Case Study # 1

In November of 2505, Yoshikawa Poremba, a thirty-year-old male who was doing maintenance work on the outer hull of the Jupiter space station, experienced temporal displacement. In Poremba's own words: "At first I had no idea anything had even happened to me. Although I at once felt disoriented and a bit light-headed, there were no other obvious clues that I had somehow been displaced, although I did notice an almost imperceptible aura about me. The strange thing to me was that the hull of the space station in front of me had changed color. The matte gray that I am accustomed to had suddenly transformed to a matte black with a grid of matte white lines running over it. I was very confused. The equipment I had been working on was nowhere to be seen. I spent several minutes investigating my surroundings before I decided that I must go inside the space station to report my findings."

What Poremba found within the Jupiter space station alarmed him. Many of the people aboard were now strangers to him. All were dressed in military clothing with side arms attached to their belts. Several people went into an attack stance crying, "Intruder aboard," raising their weapons toward him and demanding that he fall to the floor. Fortunately for him, two of his fellow shipmates recognized him and managed to diffuse the situation. However, these two shipmates seemed confused. While sitting together in an interrogation room with Poremba and two security officers, they told Poremba an interesting story.

Apparently, in their time line, Poremba had died a year earlier in a battle. There were several business conglomerates that wished to gain control of all space stations (as the reader is doubtless aware, there are fifteen active space stations in our time; in the altered timeline, however, there were ninety-eight fully operational space stations).9 The Poremba of that time line had died as an operative in that "war".

Following a grueling twenty-hour interrogation, Poremba was conditionally released to the quarters that he and his wife had previously occupied together. This woman—Petya—had been grieving the loss of her husband for over a year. The problem for Poremba was that he had never been married to this woman in our time line. In fact, she was a total stranger to him.

Poremba spent a full two years in this alternate time line. He was unexpectedly returned to his own time and place while servicing a visiting space ship that was delivering supplies to the station.

Besides the obvious questions that Poremba's experience raises concerning the existence of alternate time lines, there exist numerous psychological issues to explore in this case. By Poremba's own accounting of his experience, the most traumatic issues he had to deal with were: 1) being counted—and treated—as an enemy in an environment where he, only moments before, was considered a valuable and conscientious worker, 2) the shock of finding that he had a wife (actually, a widow) to whom he was never really a husband, 3) the grief associated in being torn from that wife after nearly two years in an intimate relationship with her, 4) wondering what emotional and other problems his wife, Petya, was now experiencing now because of his disappearance (and/or whether she now truly exists at all), 5) losing two years of his life on this plane (his reappearance in our time occurred exactly 741 days after his disappearance).

Fortunately, the enormity of Poremba's psychological problems has been dealt with quite capably by Dr. Brit Tset. (Fortunate, that is, for Poremba. The reason Dr. Tset was equipped to address the issues Poremba faced is due to a string of bizarre and sad occurrences in her own life that gave her the extraordinary ability to empathize with Poremba's losses (Lorenz, 2506). For Dr. Tset, these experiences were quite unfortunate.) Even with the doctor's ministrations, however, Poremba lost an additional two years of his life grappling with his overwhelming sense of loss. Additionally, he was forced to undergo a great amount of retraining in order for him to competently work again as a maintenance engineer. Because of a deep-seated phobia of being alone in space (resulting, of course, from Poremba's temporal displacement), a valuable human resource has been lost for the Jupiter Space Station team.

Case Study #2

Akiiki Mpofu's experience with the extreme sport of untethered space excursion in the year 2507 was not at all what he expected. The seventeen-year-old's older brother had boasted to him of his own success in the sport and challenged Akiiki to match his best time in the untethered challenge at Alpha Space Station (the station closest to earth). Though Akiiki's mother was hesitant to let her son participate, his school, naturally, had the right to override any decision of the parent/s and allowed Akiiki to proceed in his plans.

After being dropped off by a space pod, Akiiki quickly managed to turn toward the space station and begin his race through space against time. Wanting to keep track of his time, the boy looked at the chronometer built into the sleeve of his space suit. He had six and a half hours to go. He would cross the distance, he figured, in half that time. Just as he looked up to orient himself toward the space station again, everything changed before his eyes. Instead of the space station, he saw empty space in front of him. Instead of the sun to his left, he saw two bright orbs in the sky. The moon had totally disappeared.

Akiiki's heart began to race, but the words of his Space Exploration teacher came to his mind: "Whatever situation you find yourself in, don't panic. You may be tempted, but you must keep your mind clear. Panicking will never help." Akiiki forced himself to moderate his breathing. After what seemed like hours to him, he looked again at his chronometer. To his surprise, he found that a mere two seconds had passed. He still had six and a half hours to go before he lost life support. Then, just to pass his time until either his situation changed--though he had no inkling of how that might occur--he actually managed to fall asleep! Since he had been unable to sleep much the preceding night due to excitement over his upcoming adventure, Akiiki was very tired. When he woke from his nap, he discovered that only an additional fifteen seconds had passed. Very confused, he surveyed his surroundings and noticed that they had suddenly changed again. Now he found himself again near Alpha Space Station. Indeed, he was almost touching its hull.

After he entered the station, he took his helmet off. Awaiting his re-entry into the space station was his brother. Instead of greeting Akiiki with a smile as the boy expected, his brother wore a scowl and demanded, "Who are you? And what have you done with my brother?"

After a lengthy investigation, a probable scenario emerged. The seventeen-year old Akiiki had been ripped from his own time and place by a space ribbon that deposited him in a sector of space where time moves at a much faster rate than ours. Akiiki's chronometer and PPPS (Personal Precision Propulsion System)—non-organic devices—were unaffected. Akiiki's body, unfortunately, did not fare so well. When he returned to our time and space, he had aged seventy years. He is currently a ninety-year-old man, untrained and unskilled in any trade and with no more than a mere twenty-five years of life to look forward to.

Akiiki has been probed, prodded, and evaluated by a team of scientist/physicians (not to mention interviewed by various news agencies) for the past three years. For this, he has received inconsequential compensation in light of his extraordinary loss. Perhaps it is asking the medical community too much to be able to adequately address the needs of a twenty-year-old living in an old man's body who has lost so much and can never hope to regain it. How can a mere doctor or psychologist help such a person live at peace after such a catastrophic event? As of this writing, no one has discovered a way to adequately meet Akiiki's problems. The case is presented here only for the reader's consideration in light of the difficulties that may occur after temporal displacement.

Case Study #3

Although the case of Boris Rakovski and his two children, Dessi (age 9) and Ivo (age 7), is older than the others studied in this paper, the author felt that its peculiarities called for additional scrutiny. From the evidence gathered (Osa, 2500), the case may be summarized as follows: In June of 2210, thirty-four year-old Boris Rakovski left his home in St. Petersburg to go on a daylong hiking trip with his two children. Boris was an avid camper and hiker and desired to introduce his children to the joys of exploring less-traveled regions. Boris' wife, Natasha, had packed food and beverages for them, which they tucked in their backpacks. She sent them off with kisses and a wish for a pleasant day. It was the last time she ever saw her family.

The particular area Boris was interested in traversing was the area south of Lake Ladoga, a place he had not previously explored. He and the children took a transport from their home, which dropped them off in the village of Kikino (Lat/Long 59.950 N/32.300 E) in Leningradskaja Oblast at 9:45. Their destination was Novaja Ladoga, 14.8 km due north (Lat/Long 60.078 N/32.243 E), an easy day hike for the children following the extensive trail system of the region. The transport operator was instructed to meet them at a designated point in exactly eight hours.

The details and precise timetable of their experience is fuzzy at this point, but the evidence gathered revealed a broad picture. At some point during their hike, presumably at one of the higher and more open areas of the terrain, a time ribbon snatched Boris, Dessi, and Ivo from their own time and set them down twenty years later in nearly the exact location and time of day they had come from. Although the terrain, naturally, would not have appeared the same after twenty years' growth, all three said that it had been very windy at one point during their trip. Consequently, they were forging ahead with heads down and eyes squinted to avoid debris being blown into them. They failed to detect the change in their surroundings when it occurred. The trio did indeed reach their original destination of Novaja Lagoda. They felt they had made good time, since a full three hours remained before they expected their transport. They decided to forgo their packed food and partake in something warm from a local diner. While sitting at a table, they overheard conversation regarding current affairs. Eyewitnesses claim that Boris appeared increasingly agitated as he listened. Finally, he interrupted, saying something like, "Such things are not possible in the year 2210. You men are talking nonsense."

Several people in the diner chuckled at his outburst. One young man asked, "So? Who's talking about the year 2210? That's ancient history as far as I'm concerned. In the year 2230, these things are entirely possible."

By all accounts, Boris was quite shaken at this statement. He demanded evidence to prove that what the young man had said was true. Another man pulled out a communications device used at the time, offering its digital display and audio messaging as proof. Further, he found that day's news, verifying what the men had been discussing.

Boris seemed to break down at this point. Naturally, his children were quite disturbed by their father's seemingly bizarre behavior. Soon, Boris was taken to the local hospital and Dessi and Ivo were questioned by the police. The children quite willingly offered their home location statistics and a female officer was assigned to contact their mother.

When Natasha was reached, she resolutely refused to come and retrieve her husband and children. Her recorded words were revealing: "I have no idea what you're talking about. I haven't seen Boris or my children for twenty years. That monster kidnapped my children from me on the pretext of taking them on a hiking trip. I had no inkling that he would abandon me and leave me alone to face the burden of debt he had dug for us. I have never forgiven him for that, and I never will. As for Dessi and Ivo, I'm done with them as well. I can understand how their father may have poisoned their minds toward me when they were nine and seven. But they are now twenty-nine and twenty-seven. They have no excuse for the way they, too, abandoned me and never returned. No. I now have another husband and two children who love and respect me. I will have nothing to do with the others. They are dead to me."

Naturally, the officer argued that she must be mistaken. Dessi and Ivo were only children. And her husband, Boris, was near frenzy before he was taken to the hospital and given heavy doses of sedatives. He had been calling out her name and desperately needed her to join him.

"No. I will not come. They are no longer a part of my life," was Natasha's reply.

The story of Boris, Dessi, and Ivo was picked up by several news agencies. The response to the story was overwhelming. Although Natasha was reported as discounting the whole affair as a scam, many other friends and colleagues came forward to identify Boris and his children. And, when Boris' parents, who were living in Australia at the time, heard the news, they immediately made the trip to see their son and grandchildren. The shocked expressions on the faces of the entire company at their reunion were enough to verify the theory that a number of prominent scientists had proposed: Boris and his children had somehow been transported through time. And as far as anyone was concerned, they were never going back.

Boris began a new life for himself and his children in the year 2230. Although immense efforts were made to locate the Boris, Dessi, and Ivo of 2230 who, presumably, should have been older versions of the three who had been temporally displaced, they were never found. Many averred that the (then) modern-day versions of the three simply did not want to be found (and, yes, at that point, in the absence of Global Communications implants, this was, in theory, possible).

The three Rakovskis, after two years had passed, decided to retrace the steps that had led them to such a bizarre destination. So, on June 7th of 2232, they again embarked on the identical hiking trip that had so changed their lives. No one reported having seen them after they set out that day.

One month later, the badly decomposed bodies of an adult male and two prepubescent children were located on the southern shoreline of Lake Ladoga, a mere 5.6 kilometers from their planned destination of Novaja Ladoga. DNA testing unequivocally proved that they were the bodies of Boris, Dessi, and Ivo. Apparently, as is typical, the time ribbon that retrieved the trio did not drop them off at the exact location it had picked them up. There are no clues as to how far offshore they were placed. However, the discrepancy cost them their lives.

Within a week of the discovery, the skeptical Natasha had become a believer in temporal displacement. She resided in a facility for the psychologically damaged for the remainder of her days.

Case Study #4

This is another case involving the temporal displacement of more than one individual at a time. Although four people were involved in this particular incident, this author wishes to dwell on the most compelling story, which dealt directly with two of the participants (though he does not wish to diminish in any way the profound psychological impact the event had on the other two participants).

In December of 2503, four friends gave each other the gift of a sustained tethered space excursion as a shared Christmas gift. None of the four had ventured further than the moon and they desired the experience of a less-traveled vacation spot. They achieved their goal.

After extensive research, Space Station Beta was chosen because of the excellent view it afforded that December of the Karalla Comet. The four friends from the University of Northern Europe #1, Jon Fomich, Jeeyoung Chang, Etin Geszvain, and Kaili Kur, rested well prior to their tethered space excursion. They didn't want anything to escape their notice. After suiting up, they were escorted to the starboard side of the space station, which was in sunlight. According to standard procedure, the guide left them and returned to the interior of the station. They would have a full two hours to enjoy the view and the weightlessness of space together and without interference.

After forty-five minutes, however, they each felt as though they were moving very rapidly. When the sensation stopped, they saw that they were several hundred meters apart, no longer tethered, and at least a kilometer from the space station. One of the features of tethered space excursions that had drawn them to it was each suit was equipped with a communication device so that participants can communicate with their guide as well as station workers in the event of emergency. Curiously, though, this "failsafe" system did not seem to be working. Determined to find an alternate solution to their problem, the four devised a plan. They would use their PPPSs to work their way back to the space station. There, they would reevaluate their situation and decide on their next course of action.

Within half an hour, they were all safely back to the space station (if "safe" could be deemed the proper term). By all appearances, the space station they had rendezvoused at was now out of commission. They were no lights emanating from it, and they could see nothing through its small windows.

Fortunately, by the time they were down to their last several minutes of life-support, a science vessel passed their way. It had been sent to investigate why major systems of Space Station Beta had failed thirty-three years earlier. It was then that the four friends discovered that they had been temporally displaced forty-one years into the future.

Through a long series of interviews and re-education as to the events of the past forty-one years, a horrifying realization dawned on Kaili Kur and Jon Fomich. While they were in university, they had engaged in sexual relations on numerous occasions. Kaili had been homesick and lonely at the time and Jon found his studies less than stimulating. As is the case for many young people, sex became a pleasant distraction for them both. However, although the two happened to be at the top of their classes, they did not show a great deal of intelligence when planning their sexual encounters. Kaili became pregnant within a month of their first time together.

She took care of the problem with hardly a thought. When she informed Jon that she had terminated the pregnancy, he commended her for her good sense. Both were totally at ease with the decision. Until they were temporally displaced, that is.

The new world that the couple moved into was much the same as the one they were taken from. They even spoke to friends from their university days who, for the most part, looked terribly aged to them. (Global security forbade them to interact directly with the Kaili and Jon of this future time due to uncertainties regarding the possible outcome of such actions.)

This new world was not the same as the one they left in every way, however. In this time line, hunger had been entirely assuaged. This marvelous blessing to mankind had come in the form of a brilliant agriculturalist. His contributions had led to the alleviation of hunger as well as obesity. He was the most respected man alive and had won innumerable accolades for his achievements.

It did not take long for Kali and Jon to discover who this brilliant scientist was. All the evidence (including that of DNA) combined to prove that this brilliant scientist, Dr. Etin Kur-Fomich, was the son Kali had aborted.

The couple was allowed to meet Dr. Kur-Fomich. He bore the striking facial features of his father combined with the red hair of his mother. He was at once handsome, charming, and intelligent. As nearly a perfect son as the two of them could imagine.

By the time the realization of what could have been had finally dawned on—and nearly devastated—Kali and Jon, Global Security had come to a radical decision. Although they admittedly did not understand as much as they hoped about temporal displacement, they felt it their duty to return the four friends to the same point in space where they were snatched. If nothing happened after a reasonable amount of time, they would then re-evaluate the case and decide how to acclimate the four into the world of that time line.

Needless to say, Kali and Jon strenuously objected. In fact, both were nearly hysterical when they were told that they must return. How, they asked, could they live with the knowledge that they had deprived humankind of their son? The authorities had to physically bind and sedate them right up to and including the time they were set to drift outside of the then-dead space station. The time stream did, in fact, retrieve the four friends and return them to nearly the same location they had been snatched from. They were found adrift, but alive, five kilometers from the Beta Space Station.

We, in our time, may find it difficult to fathom why the authorities of the time line Kali and Jon entered would behave as they did. Kali and Jon were both committed to psychiatric hospitals, but have shown no appreciable improvement since the day of their admittance.

Case Study #5

The fifth and final case presented here deals with a rather unique situation in veridical time displacement (although it comes closer to the story-book examples mentioned at the beginning of this paper).

One and a half years ago, in July 2509, Fayat Abaz was taking daily readings at the Global Antarctic Exploration Station. As usual, he was alone. He went to the first post and recorded his findings. Little had changed from the previous day. When he arrived at the second post--a mere 100 meters from the first, though it seemed to take him an excessively long time to reach the position--he was confused. His equipment verified that he was at the proper coordinates, yet nothing was the same. There was meteorological equipment at the site, yet it was wholly unfamiliar to him. He looked around. Through the blustery air, he spotted the Antarctic Station, but it was not where it was supposed to be. Something was definitely wrong.

When Abaz stumbled through the door of the station, everyone sitting inside seemed to stare at him. Perhaps the reader can begin to understand the surprise of the researchers to see a stranger walk through their doors when we take into account the fact that no one accidentally showed up in Antarctica at that time; even today, although some coastal regions have been inhabited for over two hundred years, most of the continent is quite barren, supports little to no life, and is often dreadfully cold and subject to winds of up to three-hundred ten km/h. And, although the stations were often quite large, with many researchers in residence, people still recognized the faces of the people that worked with them, even if they didn't know them personally.

Additionally, Abaz's appearance, with his modern-day cold-weather gear as well as his darker-complexioned skin, was a shock in a place that tended to attract Aryan scientific researchers. (To those unaware, skin colors of the time period Abaz entered varied from very light to very dark, unlike the predominant dark tans and light browns of our time. The color of one's skin marked where a person was from and, to a lesser extent, what type of person he/she was.)

There was much confusion among the researchers as Abaz explained what he knew of his experience. When they told him that it was the year 2003 and that there was a war going on in the region that Abaz claimed to be his home (Iraq of that day), he merely sat down, stunned.

Although not hostile, intense questioning ensued and continued for some time. What are you here for? ("Antarctic exploration, of course"; at this point he decided to say nothing of present-day research into possible sources from that region of antigens used to cure myriad diseases in our time.) Where did you get the cold weather gear you're wearing? We've never seen anything like it before. (It's…uh…an experimental fabric our government is working with.) Your government? You mean the Iraqi government is experimenting with protective fabrics? (Of course. Doesn't every government try to improve life for its people?) Yeah. Right. Listen, buddy, you may as well just tell us now. Are you a member of al Queda? (What is al Queda?) Come off it. Are you a spy? (A spy? For what? A drug company? Of course not!) Okay. Then what Antarctic station are you connected with? The Australian station? Ukrainian? South African? Finnish? Franco-Italian? American? One of the others? Come on. There is no Iraqi station here. You have to be connected with someone. You didn't just drop out of the sky. (I am affiliated with Central Asian University #9, not with any of the names you mentioned. Would you like the name of the department head at my university?) No. Just tell us how you arrived. (You mean when I first came? By global transport, of course. How else would I arrive?) Global transport. Sure. Where did you learn to speak English so well? (In my home. From my parents and teachers. How else would I learn to speak?) Let's try this again. And this time we want the truth. Where are you from? (Ahhh!)

The interrogators seemed to grow as frustrated with Abaz's answers as he did with their questions. When the thought that he might possibly have experienced temporal displacement occurred to Abaz, he matter-of-factly voiced his theory. What did he think they were? Idiots? (Why, no. You seem intelligent enough.) Listen! There's no such thing as time travel—or temporal displacement, as you seem to prefer. (How do you know? What evidence do you have that it is not possible?) Ahhh!

During the course of the ensuing days, weeks, and months, Abaz voiced his theory that he had experienced a temporal displacement to many people. No one seemed to take his story seriously. Verifying the veracity of this is the fact that, when extant news stories of the period are reviewed, there exists not a single article about his experience. There is not even a mention of Abaz's name.

In the end, Abaz was lifted out of Antarctica by a small airplane--a primitive precursor to aerial non-land Global transport units. After being relocated and interrogated many times, he was deemed free to go. Having no passport, his description of his homeland led the Iraqi government to give him a conditional passport. This, it turns out, was not a blessing.

Abaz's homeland was engaged in a war with a major power of the time. It seems that an egomaniacal ruler who brutally exercised control over his people had ruled Iraq for many years. (Let us be thankful in our time for the Global Society and the wisdom of its government!) Although the major battles of the war had ended, there were hostilities for many months to follow.

Abaz found himself in the strange position of being dependant on the foreign power that had attacked his country for their help. They were among the few who understood him. Unlike our Global Society, where everyone planet-wide speaks English, native Iraqis spoke a language unique to their area.

Abaz did eventually find his family—great grandparents many times over--though they did not accept him. The fact that he could speak no other than the language of the invading force in the land did not endear him to his relatives.) He eventually sought refuge among British troops in Iraq and became a sort of liaison between the two sides. He later admitted that this was a total bluff on his part at the beginning. He had utterly no knowledge of the issues involved. However, as his time in Iraq spanned weeks, then months, then years, his ability to critically evaluate the issues like a non-biased third party—which he indeed was—became a valuable asset to both sides.

Learning to live and thrive in a war-torn land became a challenge to Abaz. At first, he was devastated by the loss of his family, the comforts of contemporary life he was accustomed to, the familiarity with the way things are done, etc. Soon, though, he accepted his new situation as something to be conquered. After a year, he married. Before another five years had passed, he and his wife were parents of three small children. At this point, he rarely thought about life as it had been for him. He was too busy with life in his new time frame. The only thing that reminded him that he really didn't belong in the world of 2009 was the aura that continually surrounded him (though no one else sensed it at all).

As work, he naturally resumed his occupation of scientist. He was well respected for his radical new insights in various scientific fields, which is no surprise, since he was drawing on the knowledge of our time.

Restless to resume his investigation on possible sources of antigens in Antarctica, Abaz was invited to join an international team of scientists to the continent. He felt that somehow his temporal displacement had landed him in that time for a reason. Perhaps he was destined to discover the key to treating diseases of that time, he conjectured. He willingly and enthusiastically shared much of the knowledge he had gleaned in his old life with his new colleagues.

Perhaps he should have been more prepared for his recapture by the time string than he was. One day, in the wide-open frozen wasteland of Antarctica, the time ribbon that had initially plucked him from his own time retrieved Abaz.

He was devastated. He had grown to love his life in that time line. His wife, his children, his position as a prominent man of science were all losses to him. Although not committed to an institution, Abaz has been seeing a counselor for the entire time since his return. He is being treated for depression and continues to struggle with grief over his tremendous losses. Often, he has difficulty discerning what is "real" and what is not. His aversion to Global Society's complete knowledge of his whereabouts, financial transactions, communication with others, etc. led him to physically excise his Global Communication Device from his arm, though naturally, it was re-implanted. In his bi-weekly sessions with his counselor, he often expresses feelings of guilt over incidents and actions that were a part of his alternate life; things for which he has no ability to "atone" (an ancient word meaning "to make amends for or to turn away from wrong actions and make them right;" the word is now used only in some strict religious circles, but has been dropped by society as a whole.) Although his counselor believes Abaz has made progress, there is still much healing that needs to take place.

  Conclusions

Although temporal displacement is rare and unpredictable, its effects may be both long-term as well as damaging to an individual's psychological frame. Since the event itself cannot reasonably be avoided, it is imperative that strategies be developed to deal with the after-effects of temporal displacement.

Three specific areas that must be addressed by a counselor are: 1) a subject's relationships with others in an alternate time line, should this be his/her experience; 2) the problem of confusion, i.e. helping the victim of temporal displacement discern what is real and what is not; 3) helping to alleviate their guilt for actions that they are not accountable for.

In order to meet this need, I propose a new course of study be developed in the Counseling Department of at least one major university. Since the problem of temporal displacement applies to so few people (at present, at least), only a small number of competent counselors would be needed to follow this course of study. I therefore propose that candidates accepted into the program be an elite group of perhaps five individuals. The question may be raised as to whether there truly is a need for such counselors and whether it is expedient to take from the best in order to meet the needs of so few. This author answers with a resounding "yes!" Since we are still unaware of the consequences of people being hurtled into another time and space, it is imperative that we take adequate precautions when considering the issue of temporal displacement. And this author dares to submit that the only substantive insights to be gained will be by learning as much as we can from people who have experienced the phenomenon.

The author leaves the issue of how to handle people who are displaced to our time from another to others who wish to tackle this sticky question. However, given the accounts of the above individuals, it seems clear that we have no choice other than to begin preparing ourselves for additional occurrences of temporal displacement. Perhaps we will help a few. Perhaps we will aid the entire human race. Only time will tell.

Endnotes:

Several salient questions have not yet been adequately addressed concerning the possibility of temporal displacement. What if, for example, a prisoner, during the course of his/her time at a penal space station, is condemned to a period of solitary confinement (i.e. he is attached to the exterior portion of the station with a Superex Body Tether) for the duration of his confinement? As the reader is undoubtedly aware, such a prisoner is for no reason--other than extreme medical emergency--returned to the station until he has completed his sentence. His bodily functions, including intake of fluids and sustenance as well as elimination of waste, are managed entirely through the Body Tether. This particular situation—freedom from confinement in open space—happens to be the way most people who have experienced time travel are picked up and displaced by a space ribbon. If a prisoner were thus transported, he may pose a great danger to those unaware of his criminal inclinations in his new reality/time frame. And even if his temporal displacement results in a relatively short period in which he is torn from his present reality, there is no guarantee that he will actually be redeposited in the exact location from which he was removed. (In fact, no one has ever returned to the exact time and place from which they were taken.) In light of the dangers of such an occurrence, this author proposes the following precaution: Every prisoner sentenced to solitary confinement should be tattooed to indicate his name, crime, and the remaining duration of his sentence. This precaution must, of course, be made in a humane manner, but also in a way that the mark cannot be obscured or disguised. A tattoo made with a time-disintegrating ink (i.e. one that will dissolve at the end of said prisoner's sentence) would serve the purpose quite well. A mark spanning the width of his face—from one cheek to the other, across the nose—would perhaps be the most efficacious. It could easily be distinguished with even the most cursory of glances, but could not be prematurely removed or hidden with facial hair.

 

NOTES

1. The telephone was a very early precursor to our Instant Global Communication. It was an auditory communications system with its basic unit located outside the body, i.e. with no dermal implant, bereft of visual and sensory-divulging capabilities. Wires were used to transmit the sound of a speaker's voice to the person he wished to speak with.

2. For those unacquainted with the recent fad of un-tethered space excursions, the author offers the following description: A person is released from a space vessel (generally a six-man pod) a given distance from a space station. He is given enough fuel in his PPPS (Personal Precision Propulsion System) to reach his target, but not enough to allow for great error. Life support capabilities are intentionally limited in order to add to the challenge of the sport. Because he has no access to his implanted Instant Global Communication Device due to the space suit, he is literally in a life or death situation. Fortunately for a few of these modern-day cowboys who aren't quite as adept at using their PPPSs as they think they are, the captains of the various space stations order routine visual sweeps of the area around their stations (Alpha Space Station, 2507). Because such sweeps were done at crucial times for several young thrill-seekers, they were detected and picked up before their oxygen supply was totally depleted. There have been, however, ten verified deaths as a direct result of this "sport" as well as two cases of irreversible brain damage, which, of course, led to euthanasia for both victims (Berita, 2509) To artificially maintain life-support for such victims is intolerable.

3. To examine the details of Zhu's case, the author recommends Rafshan Mandryk's thorough investigation in The Man Who Wasn't There, Timely Publications, Wolferton, South American District 5, 2501.

4. Rujita Padala, in her perceptive thesis Space Strings: A Study on the Correlation Between Length and Speed, builds a convincing case that the time lapse between the instant a person is initially plucked out of his/her own time and their return is directly related to the length of the time ribbon that captured them. However, even if Padala is absolutely correct on this point, the fact remains that there is utterly no way at present that we can determine the approach of a time string, not to mention its length.

5. The issue of counting the number of incidences of time travel is an interesting one. There have actually been many more suspected cases of temporal displacement than have been authenticated. No less than eighty-five people have vanished from space while engaged in job-related maneuvers on a space station or while free-floating in space. A full seventy-two of these incidents occurred while the individuals were engaged in un-tethered space excursions. They have as yet never reappeared (Kalof, 2508 and Cotgrove, 2510). Obviously, due to lack of evidence, we cannot conclusively say that these individuals were temporally displaced or—if they were—when we can expect them to return to our plane of existence. We cannot even affirmatively state whether they are dead or alive. At present, we must simply wait and see.

6. The author has excluded one authenticated case. In it, a woman from the future appeared in our time line for two of our days. Although conjectures concerning this instance are fascinating, hard and sure evidence cannot be derived due to the absence of the subject involved (Morris, 2506).

7. This was done after the sole privacy law restricting this information to doctor/patient "privilege" was finally dropped. The court case for this new and liberating decision may be experienced holographically either in its entirety or through selected highlights by accessing Global Communication Code: OPENCOURT. "Variations on a Theme," the new service provided by WWIS (Worldwide Information Systems), which explores alternative outcomes to recent court cases through dramatic reenactments, may also be viewed holographically following instructions given at OPENCOURT.

The issues involved in protecting the rights and privacy of an individual have, fortunately, evolved since the many overzealous and overly strict restrictions followed at or about the year 2000. At that point in history, a researcher had to file an extensive description of his interview questions. He/she was also required to present a consent form to each individual queried. The procedure entailed in a more invasive study of human subjects, e.g. medical experimentation, was entirely ludicrous. It is to the credit of the resolute scholars of that time and their unflagging indefatigability that any research at all was accomplished. Such restrictions finally began to change during the second and third decades of the twenty-first century, when privacy laws began to relax (or be forcibly removed.) Presently, researchers are given free reign to use whatever methods they deem necessary to carry on their studies, as they should be.

8. Although attempts at actual anonymity in our society are not considered favorable or beneficial, there still remains a portion of the planetary citizens who, for reasons only they can adequately express, yet feel that an individual's privacy should not be violated and exposed unless he/she has given express consent. In consideration of those readers who hold this quaint belief, the author offers fictional names for participants in his research. For those who feel a need and/or desire to contact these people personally, the author will readily supply the information.

9. Global Security has forbidden the release of the names of the warring business conglomerates in the altered time line that Poremba experienced. Fortunately, they are not integral to this study.

 

REFERENCES
Alpha Space Station (2507). Regulations Regarding Untethered Space Excursions,
        Procedures and Regulations Manual of the Alpha Space Station, 1095-2010.
Arman, Laura. "A Primer on Temporal Displacement," Lecture presented at Australian
        University #4, Feb. 12, 2507.
Berita, Oren (2509). Untethered Space Excursions and Euthanasia: An Inevitable
        Pairing?, Journal of Space Medicine, 31, 102-136.
Bzik, Ajit (2507). Time Displacement Theory: the Case for Obvious Scarcity,
        Journal of Space Dynamics, 52, 461-474.
Cotgrove, Aesilu (2510). Where Are They Now?, Space Matters, 81, 461-479.
GCC Editors (2510). Variations on a Theme, OPENCOURT.
Kalof, Ashijah (2508). Looking in All the Wrong Places, Review of Popular Science,
        56, 20-21.
Katery, Spass. From a study group discussion at Global 5 University, Jan. 6, 2508.
Lorenz, Yuri (2506). Dr. Brit Tset: A Hero in Our Midst, Everyday Psychology;
        Extraordinary Practitioners, 25, 18-24.
Meder, Jelena, and Nti, Jaha (2508). Avoidance of Time Ribbons, Advanced Studies
        In Temporal Theory, 91, 202-251.
Morris, Krassi (2506). The Visitor From Beyond, Space-Time Matters, 32, 44-59.
Osa, Ashraf (2500). The Rakovski Case: A Study in Temporal Displacement and its
        Effects, Humankind in Space, 21, 5-27.
Padala, Rujita (2509). Space Strings: A Study on the Correlation Between Length
        and Speed, Advances in Theoretical Spatial Dynamics, 5, 186-242.
Perez, Bo-wen (2507). The Problem of Unplanned Temporal Displacement, Stellar
        Concerns, 16, 3-21.
Yoshikawa, Koji, and Jones, Zakiyah (2510). The Cause and Effect of Time Transport
        Upon Living Beings, Annual Review of Social Psychology, 37, 81-99.

 

 

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"The Problem of Temporal Displacement" Copyright © 2004 Lisa Clark. All rights reserved.
Published by permission of the author.

 

This page last updated 07-27-04.

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