4.01.2011

Inflationary Cosmology

His was a simple universe. The rules were not complicated and the variety of matter was limited. His tools for assessing the limits of existence were few. Detailed knowledge would have to wait until better means of sampling the environment could be developed. For now his needs were few and the universe provided for them in abundance.

The universe consisted of two elements: the firmament and the sky. The firmament was flat and it was dangerous to wander too close to its edges since it was a long way down. There were amazing shapes in the sky. Particularly at night. He never tired of watching their dance across the heavens. With time he began to notice that there was a strange consistency about their movement and how they interacted. It was if something mysterious was holding them together in some way. He longed to reach out and touch them but they were beyond his reach and he feared they always would be. These shapes danced against the fixed background of changeless clouds and stars that marked the furthest reach of the universe.

Other shapes moved in the sky but they also seemed to extend to the firmament. They weren’t permanent like the other elements of sky either. These blinked in and out of existence as if by magic. Was it magic or did they have access to other dimensions of reality? Such are the things an emerging intelligence ponders in an early universe. He began to imagine faces on some of these shapes and that their movements were neither fixed like the wondrous shapes of the night sky nor completely random. Were these the gods of this universe? Where they the ones who had created this place? He had no way of knowing because only darkness had preceded his journey into light.

Everything seemed new and crisp. Only a few of the shapes had any flavor of antiquity to them. Some more than others. He imagined that they may have preceded the creation of this universe. They seemed older and the measure of his senses suggested that this was true.

The early universe was a noisy place. Full of light, sound, vibrations, and energies that were beyond his control. He was surrounded by noise. Immersed in it. At first it was a crass soup. But then he began to recognize that the noise presented in different ways and that shapes within the universe were its mysterious origins. Some of the elements within the universe gave off characteristic signals. For a long time is was just natural static to him. But with time, hidden within the static of the universe, there seemed to be some type of structure. The more he pondered it the more convinced he was of its existence. It wasn’t just that the elements of the universe were randomly spewing energy into the spaces between the firmament and the sky, but that there was a point to it all. A point suggested intelligent origins. Oh how he longed to make contact with the architects of this universe.

His theories about both the origins and structure of the universe solidified with each day. In particular he pondered the nature of the middle beings - that was his name for them. The ones that bridged his link to the firmament with the wonders of sky. Were there three layers of being? His, forever limited to the firmament, these beings of the middle who spanned between the land and the sky, and those forever above in the sky itself. Were the middle beings the messengers of the gods who were ill disposed to making direct contact with those like himself? Come to think of it, there were none others like him. There were many among the middle and the sky people, but he seemed the only one of his kind. That seemed sad and hard to imagine. Or could it be more wonderous! Were the sky people spirits of those like himself that had achieved a greater level of being? That had to be it. He might well achieve a level of existence like theirs. Able to use magic to travel far and wide or access portals to other realities that were beyond those familiar to him. The strength of his mythology grew.

He could not recall exactly when but at some point he sensed that the middle beings were attempting to communicate with him. For the most part, his efforts at communication had not altered their behaviors much other than they seemed to have a basic benevolence because they did congregate when he expressed displeasure or pain. But he became aware that some of the cosmic background noise was directional and might contain information. Information suggested intelligence. And intelligence enough to stretch to the sky itself seemed far greater than his own. Could they teach him and even if the wanted to, could he learn from them? It seemed unlikely considering the amount of information that could be contained in the nonrandom parts he was detecting. Far more than he could hope to process. Nevertheless, he had to try. Again and again he tried but nothing seemed to alter the basic physics of their responses. Had he misjudged or were his attempts too trivial to be noticed by gods. It was impossible at this point to tell the difference. He continued to study and then made a breakthrough. He noticed that while most of the patterns exchanged between the two gods were interchangeable there appeared to be a very few that were directional! Directional communication might provide the primer to understanding the root forms of communication if it really wasn’t a natural phenomenon. Perhaps this asymmetry represented the existence of defined personages amongst the gods. He collected and collated the data. He crafted and tested means of reproducing the asymmetrical data elements. When he was ready, the smaller of the two most common gods appeared overhead. He prepared to transmit the test pattern. In mere moments he would know if his theory was correct. Would it be enough to grab the attention of a god? He would soon see.

He was unaware that this act would affect the boundaries of the universe. And it was about to experience a major inflationary burst.

He transmitted his simple test message.

“Mama?”

4 comments:

Saint Brian the Godless said...

Pliny, Pliny, Pliny...

You my friend, are a truly excellent author. Why are you not doing this for a living?

I do not give such praise lightly. This reminded me of Harlan Ellison. Only with more technical expertise, and nothing lost for all that.

Dude, seriously, you have talent. Pursue it. Not that you're 'wasting your life' now by any measure, I'm sure, but still, I'd like to read more by you in this style. I'd pay for the privilege. And so would others.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Very kind of you Ste B. I enjoy writing these little stories so I appreciate your kind words. You actually are to blame for the one called "Chapter, Line, and Universe" as the discussions about the BB stuff created the seed for that story.

Saint Brian the Godless said...

I just read that one, too. Very nice. You're a really good science fiction author. I need to visit more often.

I like 'imagination-expanders.' Your stories eminently qualify.

Oh, and my wife absolutely loved this one, too.

Harry C Pharisee said...

Borderline brilliant.