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Today, nobody believes in reality. Fiction remains stronger than fact. All stories are true - satires in particular. Imaginary heroes are more dependable than the other kind, living or dead. Whatever you need is unavailable, so choose the brighter new tomorrows that you want instead. FAX 21 is a muse (news) blog-fest of science fiction concepts and fantasy ideas for genre enthusiasts. Paradox free since next year!


Monday, 23 May 2011

It's the End of the World as we know it (and I feel fine)


A Pop Song on the radio? The prediction of a
deranged prophet? Or a new condition pervading the
multiverse? A special report from the CERN Large
Hadron Collider by ‘FAX 21’ correspondent
ANDREW DARLINGTON

A strangely volatile atmosphere pervades the plush PR suite of the CERN Large Hadron Collider. The kind of hush the tabloid hacks usually refer to as ‘expectant’, as the assembled multi-platform representatives of global media gather in feeding-frenzy mode. In truth, they’re mostly technical correspondents from academic journals and dedicated sites, anticipating the long-awaited announcement. High-profile in their limited fields, their numbers are swelled by popularisers from the more mainstream titles hoping for a sexy angle. As they sip complimentary wine, monitors and wifi’s are given fine-tuning tweaks and the panoramic glassed-in walls overlook the tranquil Franco-Swiss border countryside, with a few high white clouds in the sharp still air as dusk falls over Geneva. The first stars just visible. In every way, it seems very much a normal evening. The tall bespectacled Dr Harold Camping of the facility’s theoretical physics discipline opens proceedings with the deceptively simple prepared statement that the most recent particle acceleration sequences have finally yielded evidence of the elusive Higgs Boson, with data-files recording the creation of the nano-particle – and the release of related phenomenon, a condition existing for a billionth-of-a-second, yet confirming the twelfth-dimensional quantum nature of Einstein’s final enigmatic equations, and the teasing enigma of the Mass of elementary particles.

Invited questions follow the rapturous reception of the news, as events take a stranger turn. From the display of eagerly raised hands Camping stabs the air with his pen to indicate Ms Persson of the ZEN website, perhaps expecting an easy ride. She stands, brandishes her iTablet, and asks ‘in the statement, you refer to the ‘release of related phenomenon’. What is the nature of these phenomena?’ Camping hurriedly confers with his colleagues. ‘Dealing with highly exotic particles there’s an integral element of indeterminacy. What occurred happened within the same billionth-of-a-second time-frame, but involved the creation of spontaneous bubbles of micro-singularities that nevertheless set up a ripple-cascade of consequences percolating across, and annihilating a series of parallel or alternate continuums.’ There was a pause of perhaps ten long seconds of perfect silence. Then a low hum of confused comment. Camping makes as if to move along to the next questioner. But Ms Persson persists, ‘would these alternate continuums have been inhabited, and if so, would they have been aware of what was happening to them?’ Camping squirms in his seat, obviously agitated. ‘We are entering highly conjectural terrain here. If I can hazard theoretical data I’d suggest yes, each parallel universe is both superimposed on, and separated from each other, by the slightest step apart, like layers of an onion. Certain individuals are more sensitive than others, it’s not impossible some may have picked up advance tremors of what was happening. In all likelihood they would fail to understand what they were sensing, and interpret it through some simple superstitious belief-system. Now perhaps we can move along to another questioner…?’

There’s a scuffle at the back of the hall. Camping carefully removes his spectacles, and cleans them with a precise circular motion. But attention continues to focus on the tall ZEN scribe. ‘Dr Camping, if these parallel continuums duplicate ours so exactly, how can we be sure they’re not also carrying out particle acceleration experiments that will leak over and annihilate our universe?’ ‘Ms Persson, we can’t be sure. In fact, this might already be the case, and even now we are existing in a highly attenuated echo-state, which will only continue to become yet more tenuous.’ ‘You mean, as in the movie ‘The Sixth Sense’, we’re all dead but don’t realise it yet?’ ‘To a lay-person, yes.’ ‘And what can we do to stop this happening?’ ‘We can’t. It’s already happened. The Higgs Boson data is time-coded 18:00hrs on 21st May 2011. So it’s already happened….’

There’s a strangely volatile atmosphere pervading the plush PR suite of the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Outside, the stars are winking out…

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