1. GaleSkies
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    Windows to Inevitability

    Discussion in '2012 Science Fiction Contest' started by GaleSkies, Feb 20, 2012.

    Title: Windows to Inevitability
    Author: GaleSkies
    Word Count: 3,946
    Special Thanks: The RPG Forum
    For reminding me of my love for writing daily



    Windows to Inevitability
    by GaleSkies​


    It was another regular day in the data entry department. Jinda Fairsey sat across the room from her computer console which was busy filing away on a prearranged formula. Her current project involved historic space flights in which people still used the Hohmann transfer to get around the solar system. The console calculated and entered everything for her: the fuel consumed, the mass of the transport, even the overall change in gravitons for the solar system. It was boring work with slow computations. It was data entry.

    She sat on one of the more comfortable chairs in her loft, a small workspace vertically aligned with similar rooms. She recollected the more memorable projects she had worked on. One in particular was an image analysis of the most beautiful painting she had ever seen. The painting had been digitized, and she was required to correlate, pixel by pixel, each instance the same color was used in similar paintings. It was one of her harder projects, but easily the most rewarding.

    All of the data she entered came from the hyper network of computers, but not directly. No consoles in the company were allowed to connect to the network. The hyper network was able to transmit and compute data faster than the speed of light. She, on the other hand, was stuck with shoddy machines and light-speed processing power. Instead of connecting directly, couriers were hired to transport data on hard files to the office. It lowered productivity substantially, but protocol was protocol.


    “Hey Jinda,” The voice came from upstairs, her supervisor in the loft directly above, “get a kick out of this new data.”

    Interested, she climbed the spiral staircase connecting their combined workspace. His loft was a cluttered mess that she usually tried to avoid. Leftover projects and bits of data were left hanging from the walls and ceiling for everyone to see.

    “What now Kimble?”

    “This data is next on the list for input, but I can't figure out why?”

    “Do you want me to find out?” She asked.

    “The project is all yours if you want it.”

    Kimble had done the same thing several times before. He made the project look more interesting than it actually was only to rope her into tediously long assignments.

    “How big is the file?” she asked warily.

    “Looks like a couple months.”

    “Go ahead and send it. The trajectories I have now put me to sleep.” She turned back toward the stairs.

    “Wait, you haven't even looked at it yet. I called you up her because I thought it was worth a laugh.”

    Obligingly, she leaned over his shoulder to focus on the caption he had zoomed. It read:


    Chaos Theory Common Knowledge
    Postulates Based on Historic Data​


    Small quantities of time and simple trajectories through space can be predicted when the laws of interaction are known.
    Predictions can be controlled comparably to the data accuracy. Newtonian Method.

    Large quantities of time and simple trajectories through space can be predicted when the laws of interaction are known.
    Predictions can be controlled only with adjustments to intervals of time. Doorway to Chaos.

    Large quantities of time and complex trajectories through space can be predicted when the laws of interaction are known.
    The complex trajectories cannot be controlled and attempts have unpredictable results. Turbulent Chaos.

    Large quantities of time and complex trajectories through space can't be predicted when the laws of interaction are unknown.
    Possible times and trajectories are near infinite. Pure Chaos.​



    Jinda pointed to the out-of-focus image below the caption, “What's that?”

    “Huh? Oh, let me just...” the image enlarged to show a hand scrawled version of the same text.

    “Hmm,” Jinda scanned it quickly.

    “It's just the same thing.” Kimble stated.

    “No, look at it. That part's different, and down there too, plus there's no title in the hand written version.” She pointed out, finding little difficulty interpreting the poor handwriting.

    “You can actually read it? I had trouble enough just recognizing it as English.”

    Jinda read it aloud for her supervisor:

    Large quantities of time and complex trajectories through space can be predicted when the laws of interaction are unknown.
    The laws of Chaos have shown certain constants that occur regardless of complexity. Viewed as windows of interaction
    the laws and constants point not to entire paths, which are still unpredictable, but to short space-times of inevitability.
    Possible times and trajectories are near infinite, yet inevitability still exists. Pure Chaos.”​

    “Like I said,” Kimble laughed, “this stuff is a kick. Why do we even need data like this?

    “Whatever. Send it to my console and I'll put it in.”

    “Hah! I knew you'd find it interesting.”

    Jinda left back down the stairs to her loft. The file was there when she queried it. She minimized the new data while her computer ticked away at its current task. However, the content of her new project did not recede to the back of her mind. The company did collect lots of strange data, and it was her job to file it in terms of relevance. This data on “chaos theory”, she guessed, must have relevancies that were near infinite. It would take a long time for her to input manually, finding an equation to do it for her would be better.

    “Jinda, your shift is up. Security won't be happy if you stay late, and I won't be happy if I have to input your timetables manually. I'll be damned if I have to calculate your oxygen use again.”

    She checked her clock and Kimble was right. Both the security and workload made punctuality a necessity. Jinda got up to leave with the vague feeling she was forgetting something. Ignoring it, she set her console to its automatic shutdown and left through the exit on her own floor.

    Security checked her over, making sure none of the data left the office with her. Not that she would take anything with her, although she could imagine the need for guards. People like Kimble refused to let anything go, filling their offices with photos, passages, and the strangest music. They couldn't take it home, they couldn't do anything with it, yet couldn't let it go either. Jinda couldn't relate to such a strange lifestyle.

    *****​

    Jinda's home was modest, and an appropriate size for how little she used it. If she was paying to live on a planet, spending her time outside made more sense.

    “Stradamus, I'm home,” she called to her pet.

    The cat, a male orange tabby, leapt onto the kitchen counter at the sound of her voice.

    “No Stradamus. Get down! I'll feed you in a second.”

    Feeding her cat and herself, Jinda spent the evening on the front porch watching her regular programs. Restless and refusing to retire, she focused on the stars appearing one by one. With Stradamus curled up next to her, the programs muted to a whisper louder than the wind, she nodded off to sleep, unable to stifle that vague feeling in the back of her mind. She had forgotten something.

    She awoke with a start.

    “Chaos theory!” she shouted.

    She remembered exactly what she was thinking before leaving work. The relevancies of her data entry were near infinite, but the last line in that strange paragraph also mentioned the same thing.

    “Trajectories are infinite, yet inevitability still exists.” she recited.

    Instead of going to bed she pulled out her personal console and queried as much data as she could find about chaos theory. She had thought it was a dead science abandoned centuries ago. The computer affirmed her assumptions, but it hadn't died out due to faulty hypotheses or bad mathematics. It simply wasn't a very useful field to study. Despite its versatility, the science of chaos theory had done little more than describe common knowledge of the past. But the nagging in her mind told her that passage was hinting at something. She would have to look at it again when she returned to work. Resolved, she returned to sleep.

    *****​

    It was a beautiful morning, exactly like her console had told her.

    “Morning, Kimble!” Jinda shouted up the stairs.

    “Good morning.” He responded.

    She immediately logged into her console, and queried the data from the day before. What she was able to find last night wasn't nearly as detailed or comprehensive as the file in front of her. She read the entire thing thoroughly, only skimming over the mathematical proofs she already knew. Surprised, that she already knew and used most of the equations. The prevalent constants were immediately recognizable, like pi and logarithm of e. Instead of those found in geometry, these constants were used exclusively in the field of chaos theory.

    “4.6692, and 2.5029. Feiganbaum's equations.... I know these. Everyday I-” She continued mumbling while delving further and further into her assignment, “and mapping data points in extra dimensional state space, I do that too.”

    Done reading, she pushed herself back and sat on the opposite side of the room, as far away from the console as she could get. She stared at it intently. In all her years working for the company it had never crossed her mind what it was she was hired to do. Data entry, of course, but to what end; she didn't know.

    Originally, she assumed her work was encyclopedic in nature, a collection gathered for posterity. But that didn't explain the need for such extreme security, keeping the computers separated from the network, or the format the data was compiled in. Chaos theory equations were in every file she sorted with relevancy queries.

    She walked back to her console and stared down at the hand scrawled text. Its writing was awkward and clunky. It chose to describe chaos theory in terms of prediction and control, windows of interaction, and paths to inevitability. The obvious connection between the data in front of her and the company was too ridiculous for her to think about. Besides, chaos theory posited that dynamic systems always veered from prediction over the course of time. The equations and proofs, however, showed that even the most complex systems still contained constants and inevitable trajectories through state space.

    “Hey, Jinda. How's the new project?” Kimble called, interrupting her train of thought.

    “Oh that? It's really engaging. The... uh, relevancies, there are a lot.”

    “Good, good. I'm the same way. There' so much exciting material that I just can't let go of.”

    “Yeah.” she responded flatly.

    “They just remind me that all my hard work isn't going to waste.” He said.

    “I know the feeling. To know that you're doing something truly worthwhile.” A feeling she had shared, if not outwardly displayed like Kimble did. At least, she had felt that way until today.

    She tried working on her actual assignment, filing the data in equations of relevance, but couldn't make much progress. The company itself stored immense amounts of data. It usually took months to sort through relevancies, sometimes years. She wished again that she could somehow connect to the hyper network and have it calculate for her instantaneously. The nagging sensation returned, this time bringing her to a full stop. Her equations stared back at her from the screen, waiting for another keystroke to complete it.

    She knew why the company didn't connect to the network, and the nagging propelled her to think about it. All these years working at light-speed, importing data with couriers, and tight security protocols around the data department weren't because of the data's value. It was how the data was stored and what would happen if you could compute it instantly, that made the company so strict. She couldn't tell whether it was all intentional or not, whether someone had tried it before or not, or whether the policies in place lay at the heart of the company's true motives.

    If she was going to find out, and know for sure, she first needed to know what would happen if she could compute instantaneously. She spent the rest of the day memorizing her project word for word. Copying it in her head until she could recite it at home for her own console.

    *****​

    The next few weeks were spent the same way. Jinda's console at home held a complete copy of the equations on chaos theory. At the same time, she transferred small bits of data still formatted in terms of relevancy. She typed word by word the new data she had learned into her personal console while Stradamus sat on her lap, purring softly. The routine continued, typing at home and memorizing at work, until she had a large enough data pool to experiment with.

    At work, Kimble approached her. Concern tinted the corners of his usually amiable face.

    “You look a little tired, Jinda. Everything okay?”

    “Yeah, doing great.” she smiled.

    “I noticed you haven't uploaded any relevancies into the system yet.”

    Jinda had prepared herself a response, “I know, I know. I wanted to make sure there weren't any errors before I finished.”

    “You're supposed to just input them into the machine and edit as you go.” he scolded.

    “Yeah, but this project is just too interesting. I really want to get everything perfect.” She lied. The real interesting project was the one she was working on at home.

    “Alright, but don't fall behind. It's okay as long as you're still making progress.”

    Jinda smiled him away until he returned up the stairs. The whole thing was ludicrous. They expected her to enter data on chaos theory into a machine built with chaos theory equations. She laughed silently to herself. It wouldn't be long until she could figure out what it all meant. Her trial runs at home were progressing. By giving the hyper network the equations to work with, she poured her data through the functions, receiving in return an 18 dimensional diagram plotting the course of the information. They weren't real dimensions, but vectors plotted as individual axes aligned by the data itself. She was no quick whiz when it came to such diagrams, but she knew how to read them from work. She constantly had to check back and forth between her data points, figuring out the roots of each curve. Until one day she found a repeating pattern.

    “This is it Stradamus!” she cried lifting her cat into the air.

    He meowed uncomfortably in response.

    “This is the window of interaction I was looking for, a window of inevitability.” She forced her cat toward the image, giving it a chance to take a closer look, “See, look how tiny it is. Infinitesimal. It goes on forever right there in state space.”

    The cat hissed back. He didn't like the static shock caused by her holographic display.

    “Still, I can barely read what it all means. Chaos theory says that its a prediction, and that no matter what shape the data takes, our hypothetical bird in our hypothetical cage will eat a specific seed 512 days after it hatches. Isn't that amazing Stradamus?”

    Stradamus freed himself with a scratch and ran outside. She followed after him sitting down on the steps of her front porch. The red dwarf was setting with a vibrant array of colors. Stradamus prowled through the yard, no doubt searching for a real bird or some other small animal to take his frustrations out on.

    What would happen, she wondered, if she could use all the data stored at the company. Would she still be able to find a window of inevitability? Could she plot the course of human history? Could she even discover her own future, including the knowledge of knowing what that future would incur?

    Jinda had to try it, she resolved, returning to her console. But first, she would need to preserve her work. She uploaded the original chaos theory article onto the hyper network. There it would be safe and accessible from anywhere. She then turned to the functions on the network, arranging her equations into all the questions she wanted a prediction for. Her first choice: what was the company she worked for actually doing?

    Finally, she proceeded to dismantle her console, carefully removing each part setting it aside for later. She pulled out the the tiny adapter used for connecting to the network, able to access its vast computing powers, their subatomic particles communicating faster than light. She tucked it into her shoe and set it aside for the morning. Tomorrow she would make history, recording the history of the future.

    *****​

    Jinda approached the front entrance with her usual attire, the slim pants that were in fashion and a light sweater. Her flat soled shoes echoed lightly through the hallway. The security guards waited by the exits, using electronic equipment to scan everyone who left the building. For someone entering there were no such precautions. It made sense to her; anything could go into the building as long as nothing was allowed back out.

    She took the lift to her floor, and walked down the hallway to her loft.

    “Good morning, Jinda.” Kimble called down.

    “Morning, Kimble.”she responded.

    Carefully, quietly, she started to open her console, plugging the adapter in, and reassembling the pieces. She turned the console on. She was almost ready, typing in the new BIOS for the adapter. With the questions prearranged on the hyper network, all she had to do was send the data through, and the answers would pop out in a state space diagram.

    “Hey, Jinda,” Kimble called down, “I've got a new project I want you to do.”

    “Great,” she chuckled, “Actually, I'm almost finished with this one. Just a couple more things left to do.”

    She entered the command into her console, sending the company's entire collection of data through her equations and back. The prediction returned instantaneously. She opened the diagrams in her display. The diagrams she saw shocked her. She couldn't even count the dimensions involved. Although, if the theories were true, the window of inevitability would still exist right in the predicted location.

    The window of inevitability wasn't there. She changed the scale of the graphic, magnifying it ten times. Nothing. Then 100 times. Nothing. She switched to a different diagram, this one supposedly plotted the course of human history to an indefinite future. Still nothing. She looked at her future, a question of where she would be in ten years. The data was there, her path laid out in front of her, but she couldn't find the window of inevitability. Why?

    There was a knock on her door.

    Jinda swiveled her head as the door opened. Two of the company's security guards entered the room. Their eyes moving from her to the display she had open.

    “Jinda Fairsey?” One of the guards spoke, flatly without emotion, “You are under arrest for preforming an unlawful prediction and will be detained until full force of the repercussions can be determined.”

    “Yes, I know. To serve a life sentence of infinity. Very appropriate.”

    Kimble poked his head down the stairs, “What's going on down here?” Seeing the guards he came down to ask questions more directly.

    The guard's scripted response wasn't even worth paying attention to. Jinda was still too focused on why her state space diagrams didn't show the window of inevitability. She knew the equations were right. All of them were aligned without rounding down a single constant. The data was fine; it came straight from the console. For some reason, she could make a prediction, but the window of inevitability remained absent. Without it, she was hopelessly trapped. She had read enough of the diagram to tell where she was headed, though.

    The guards lifted her up when she refused to respond, carrying her to the lift. They brought her to the top floor of the building, the company president's room. It was just as simple as her own loft, slightly bigger, but no more ornate.

    The president sat casually in his chair, ignoring her as much as looking at her. After a moment he spoke, “Considering the range of time your prediction spans, you will be confined for the entire course of human history.”

    “But,” Jinda's mouth felt dry. “How do you know what predictions I made? There's hardly a shred of evidence. Unless, you made a prediction too.”

    “Maybe, maybe not. We might not have known it was you. We might not have known when you'd do it. We could have only known it was inevitable to happen.”

    “A system like this,” she gestured at the president and the guards still holding her up, “can't last forever. I'm in data entry and even I figured it out. Eventually you'll be discovered.”

    “That too is inevitable isn't it?”

    “When!? Just tell me!” Jinda begged.

    “I think you'd know better than I do. Your data pool was more complete, yes? You read the prediction just now didn't you?”

    “Complex systems can't be controlled!” she was reciting from her articles on chaos theory.

    “We know.” he responded simply.

    “Then why? Why imprison me? Why continue to control something you obviously can't?”

    “Maybe we can't help it. We have to control.” he suggested.

    “That's not true. It's your fault. You are the ones. You have to control. You have to force. You have to dictate.” She accused him rapidly.

    “Hah! And look at you. When you learned of 'pure chaos', what is the first thing you tried to do?”

    “That was...”

    “You tried to predict it. You tried to change it. You tried to control it.” The president accused back. “How am I any different?”

    “That's because I did change it! Someone else will find my work. They'll know what it means. They'll come and get you.”

    “Now I know you're crazy. Put her to sleep. Lock her up.” The company guards dragged her away despite her resistance.

    Kicking and fighting she screamed, “I did change it! I did!”

    He answered her echoing screams softly, “Things won't change, not in your lifetime.”

    The crazed employee had left and the doors closed behind her. A spiral staircase descended from the ceiling of the presidents room. Another man walked down from the ceiling into the “top floor”.

    “Did you hear all that?” asked the president.

    The newcomer smiled briefly before nodding.

    “What about her predictions? Will any of them come true?”

    “She's got no better chance than the weather man. Today's weather is right, but a week? A year?” he said smiling again.

    “Why don't they ever figure it out? Chaos theory only works within non-linear systems. Mankind left that mess behind centuries ago, before we'd even ended the problem of war. Is it that hard to believe we'd balance out and form straight patterns?”

    “Who knows, it's all there in the data. Maybe they just refuse to admit that our interactions are so simple. They want to believe in an chaotic universe, that Newton somehow got it wrong.”

    “How many employees, so far?”

    “I don't keep track. It's there in the data files if you're interested.”

    “What about her back up files on the hyper network? Are we just going to let a courier pick it up again?”

    “We have to.” The mysterious man from above the top floor commanded, “The linear system must maintain its balance.”
     

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