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Old 07-09-2019, 10:40 AM   #266
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default METEOR

I was contemplating my Meteor worldline, and tossed together this little drabble.
Coventry Parachronic Monitoring Secion:

In a little known room in the main administration complex, 4 bored techs sat monitoring the sensor arrays. The array of satellites if orbit was small, but they were extremely capable. Other sensor techs monitored interesting things--traffic, fusion reactors, radio traffic, and other matters of interest. These men and women were not so fortunate; they sat endlessly monitoring cross time traffic, watching for the unauthorized arrivals or departures that simply could not happen, not here. It was not a popular duty station for anyone with ambition, thought it allowed for lots of time drinking coffee and playing games on their computers.

Senior tech O’Banion was paying more attention to the clock, inching closer to shift end, than to any of the readouts when the pulsing alarm, familiar from the monthly test, sounded. As his coffee spilled onto the floor, the computer reported, “Unauthorized parachronic activity. Repeat. Unauthorized parachronic activity. Location not identified.”

“Locate source,” he ordered, as security alarms throughout the compound sounded. This was Infinity's worst nightmare--someone seemed to be arriving at Coventry, and it wasn't a scheduled conveyor.

Hitting the com, he reported to the watch officer, “Weak parachronic signature detected. Confidence 80%. Attempting to locate source.”

As guards rolled out of their bunks, gates closed, and drones launched, securing the complex against any intrusion, the suddenly not-bored techs were scanning their readouts. No location was reading, not even an approximate one. Arrival times should have allowed the satellite net to pin down the location within a fairly short distance, but nothing was showing.

The senior tech’s finders flew across the keyboard, his time as an EW tech on the USS Churchill serving him in good stead. As preliminary readouts popped up, he typed in a few more commands, and reported, “Unknown parachronic signature detected. Distance at least 10 BILLION—repeat ten BILLION—kilometers.” He reported the bearing from his location, adding, “Insufficient resolution to further refine distance. Distance is well beyond Neptune’s orbit.”

The suddenly panicked chief warden responded, “That's impossible. Only Infinity can reach Coventry, and besides, nothing could create a parachronic signature that far out. Infinity doesn't even have ships that can go out there.”

The senior tech replied, “Sir, I’m conducting further analysis.”

“Could it be some sort of stealth conveyor?”

“Negative. Bearing is very clear; this is not on Earth.”

At that moment, another tech reported, “Sir, I’ve found something interesting. The bearing of the signature is directly in the direction of Planet Nine, assuming that it’s in the right place for the current year.”

For a moment, the tech wondered if perhaps it was some sort of interstellar ship—stories all demanded that space be very very flat for “hyperspace" to be accessible.

At another query from the Warden, the tech replied, “Weak signature, but much more consistent with a jump than a banestorm—storms last. Whatever it is, it's too far away to be any threat.”

Although Coventry had essentially no natural parachronic activity, bureaucratic inertial filed it away as an anomaly, worth investigating if it recurred, but no threat. A few changes were made in the orbits of existing satellites, adjusting for somewhat greater resolution in the area of Planet Nine.

A week later, a second surge was reported, just as powerful, and in the same general direction. This time, the location could be more confidently estimated to be within one AU of Planet Nine. Out in deep space, the parachronic tug that brought the 9 billion ton cylinder to Coventry’s worldline had jumped back. Big crosstime conveyors are expensive, and the United States Cross World Service wasn’t going to leave one idle. Almost none of the big cylinders were equipped with their own parachronic systems; rather a few massive tugs move them from one worldline to another.

Reports were dispatched over the next few days, and additional instruments were brought in—just as sensitive, but now focused outwards, rather than just on the planet. Banestorm, natural phenomenon, or artificial, sensitive satellites in heliocentric orbit would detect activity anywhere nearby. Theory predicted that banestorms wouldn’t occur here—the whole point of Coventry was that the barriers to crossworld travel were almost too resilient to break. Whatever it was, the paraphysicists were getting curious.

In the extreme outer reaches of the solar system, the orbital activity on distant Earth did not go unnoticed. Apparently, someone on that primitive prison world could detect at least very large parachronic signatures this far out.
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