Déjà Vu

Truth be told, time travel wasn't anything like anyone had expected. Time travel wasn't even time travel, strictly speaking. After the jump was accomplished, that it could be accomplished wasn't even scientifically significant any longer.

Not compared to what Cassidy discovered on the other side.

It was immediately apparent to Cassidy that she was somewhere else. Not in the same place and time. Certainly not on the same date she had indicated. Whether it was the past or the future or even another space altogether remained to be seen. But the readouts held out hope.

Wherever "here" was, it was remarkably similar to Earth, if indeed it was not Earth. The time capsule had been built and programmed to be able to make an assessment of it's destination upon arrival.

Following the capsules re-manifestation in this particular time and space, the actualization protocols were automatically triggered. Cassidy had been petrified into a catatonic stupor when she first stepped into the capsule, but now all of her training and expertise came flooding back to her.

She needed to analyze whether or not the environment was one in which she could survive. The monitors in front of her were screaming at her with bright lights and flashing pages and the console was spitting out papers with tables, bars, and zig-zag lines decorating them.

What the data revealed was unbelievable. She was not in the same place, and yet she was. Her coordinates had not changed, although she was obviously no longer in the lab. All the elements she was familiar with were being detected in the places in which they should be detected. The visible plant life was carbon based. The ratio of oxygen to nitrogen in the air was optimal. Even liquid H2O had been detected as ground water. It was a little warm for her taste, but nothing a human couldn't handle.

The astronometer readout was the most unsettling. According to the analysis, none of the stars overhead were in the position they were supposed to be. Not a single known constellation was detected.

It was possible this was some post-apocalyptic future in which humans had been wiped off the face of the Earth. But the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere contradicted that possibility. For all trace of human existence on Earth to have been erased as completely as this place appeared would have taken so long that the CO2 levels from the Industrial Era should have reduced beyond the point at which they were.

That left only the possibility that this was the past. And yet, the data contradicted that as well. The climate was too unlike any period of Earth's history reconstructed by climate data.

Cassidy's mind gravitated toward the old quantum mechanical paradox of Schrodinger's cat. The problem calls for a live cat to be sealed inside a box with an opened cannister of poison. The question is then asked whether the cat is dead or alive. Theoreticians would say the cat is both dead and alive at the same time, until it is observed that the cat is either the one or the other.

Perhaps that is what time travel amounts to, Cassidy thought, closing the box on Schrodinger's cat. Time travel is not time travel at all, because time is not linear. It is a fabric woven together with space with infinite parallel strands. That is when it hit her. She didn't achieve time travel, she achieved dimensional travel.

Cassidy was in a parallel universe.

The End

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