blue_ajah: (lady in blue)
Moiraine ([personal profile] blue_ajah) wrote in [community profile] milliways_bar2013-03-24 08:47 pm

(no subject)

It is an impulse that drives her this evening; an impulse and a restlessness, the combination of which leads her to lay aside her current work and enter Milliways, instead.

Soon enough, the Aes Sedai is settled at a table with a pot of tea gently steaming near at hand, and a delicate china cup in front of her.

As she sips, she observes the bar and its patrons with definite interest.
stilljustandrew: (neutral)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-14 03:32 am (UTC)(link)
"Like, forking timelines? Alternate histories? Yeah."

Half a beat. "What about it?"
stilljustandrew: (geek.)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-14 04:00 am (UTC)(link)
A beat.

(That's still not something he gets to hear very often: an open-ended invitation to hold forth on something.)

"Are you interested in, like, theory? Or examples? Stories about that kind of thing?"
stilljustandrew: (serious 2)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-14 04:27 am (UTC)(link)
... here we go.

"Well, there's two main forms of the theory," he says. "There's hardcore multiversal theory, which basically says that every single event all the way down to the quantum level -- that's, like, pieces smaller than atoms -- every single event that could possibly happen more than one way actually happens all possible ways. And each way spawns a new universe. Coin lands heads, coin lands tails --" He gestures. "Two universes. Maybe there won't be any other difference between them, if nothing was being decided by the coin toss, but maybe there will, because you never know what all the consequences of anything are. So everything that could possibly happen, happens somewhere."

A pause, to see if she's following all this, even though of course she's following all this.
stilljustandrew: (geek.)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-15 02:42 am (UTC)(link)
"Right," he says. "But there's a modified theory that says the universe doesn't split for every possible choice, only for certain significant ones. And that there's no way to know which ones the significant ones are."
stilljustandrew: (explanatory)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-15 03:36 am (UTC)(link)
"Yeah. And that's only if one somehow has access to multiple timelines at once, like the Monks of Time on the Discworld. Or like Niven's Crosstime pilots, except in that story it's explicitly the first theory. That for every choice anybody makes, in some other universe they make the opposite choice. But the Monks have been able to observe and they've found out that even though the theory says that should be the case, it demonstrably isn't, because there are physically possible outcomes that don't actually ever happen."
stilljustandrew: (hmmm)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-17 03:25 am (UTC)(link)
"... you mean like, north versus east instead of north versus south?"
stilljustandrew: (serious 2)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-17 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
He shrugs. "I don't think it's so much which alternatives you're considering as which ones are possible. Or probable, if you go with the Monks' observation. Like, if you could go north or east or south, then there are three possible outcomes, and each one gets its own timeline."
stilljustandrew: (hmmm)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-21 04:36 am (UTC)(link)
"... huh." He frowns thoughtfully. "You mean like timelines diverging and then sort of recombining, or like somebody traveling back in time and restoring an altered timeline to its original state?"
stilljustandrew: (hmmm)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-21 04:48 am (UTC)(link)
"Well, the second kind happens constantly in time-travel stories, but I can't think of any examples of the first kind. It sounds sort of vaguely familiar ..."
stilljustandrew: (serious 2)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-22 02:29 am (UTC)(link)
"Sort of, yeah, because we're all at the end of time here -- but you can't use this place to go back in your own timeline, or forward, and show up someplace where you already are. At least, um ... I haven't been able to."
stilljustandrew: (sidelong)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-22 04:08 am (UTC)(link)
He shakes his head. "I've tried and been prevented, and I know one case where somebody else did the same and had the same result. Never heard any counterexamples."

A long pause.

"Out of curiosity, why do you ask?"
stilljustandrew: (pensive)

[personal profile] stilljustandrew 2013-04-30 04:05 am (UTC)(link)
Andrew studies her in turn.

"Yes," he says at length, "unless you know some reason I might not."

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