by Nathaniel Bates
Gideon Barnes sat in his Study reading the finest of leather bound books. True gentlemen read hard bound books because those spoke of scholarship, antiquity and true authenticity. The Colonies held on to the old traditions a great deal longer than the Mother Country did, even into the Twenty-First Century. England was willing to jettison the old styles for new traditions. Even the Royal Family was willing to try new clothing styles and to read paper bound books. The American colonies were holdouts to the eighteenth-century fashions of the Mother Country. These old fashions included reading philosophers like John Locke and Algernon Sydney, hardly favorites among the Court in the Mother Country. Some among the more radical Americans even read the theories of Thomas Paine and Karl Marx, considered heretical by the Anglican Church and frowned upon by the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches. Paine’s attacks on George III were particularly irking to the Mother Country even after the Reunification of 1820.
The newspapers were all recording the French Republic’s latest excursions into South America that the most bellicose of patriots claimed necessitated joint British and American actions. Technically the States needed to sign off on any American cooperation with Parliament but every War received it. Most Wars were against the French Republic and its Atheist philosophy. Communal ownership of property and the overthrow of Kings were ideas that every true patriot opposed. Attacks on the King’s idiosyncratic mannerisms were one thing. Attacks on the King himself were something else entirely. From Tom Paine to the French Revolution and the New Orleans Caliphate one could see the evils of rebelling against God’s Anointed. At least this was how the Mother Country saw things.
Gideon himself secretly read Locke, Paine, Marx and Proudhon but his deepest passion was Physics. He was a manual worker but he managed to self-teach himself Calculus, Physics and the principles of Electromagnetism. He worked as an Electrician but he would have been an Engineer if his family could afford Primary or Secondary schooling. His early life was spent as an Indentured Servant and he would secretly read while his master forbade it. His parents did not so much abandon him as abandon themselves to the reality of life under the Crown. The well born ran society because it was the natural order. Indentured servitude was part of that natural order. Slavery was eventually abolished in 1889 but indentured servitude lasted longer. In the early Nineteenth Century the English Whigs who had initially supported the American Revolution pushed for the abolition of slavery. Once Reunification happened, Southern colonial representatives entered Parliament through the Whig Party and the Party became less favorable to Abolition. When slavery eventually was abolished, indenture continued. Gideon himself was White and not subject to lifelong indenture but he still had to buy his way out of it.
Gideon lived alone in the woods surrounded by his library, his trees, wild animals, and his wishes for a world that could have been different. Like most Unitarian Dissenters he remembered the far distant age of the American Republic with fondness. Lately he had been immersed in lucid dreaming of a strange parallel Universe in which the American Republic had not let the New Orleans Caliphate scare them back into the arms of the Empire. In this parallel world, the Republic abolished indentured servitude along with slavery. The Republic then went on to fight world wars and to pioneer a strange technology that linked all information in the world together. They formed a kind of global brain that was very different than what Gideon could see around him. Wars were different, ideas were different, but strangely people were the same. The same human nature was the same in both worlds and the same snares in the end.
Night fell and Gideon fell asleep with a scientific treatise by Hans Slieber in his hand. Slieber was the Mathematician who built an entire theory of space and time on the notion that light speed was constant. As with Kelvin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, the High Divines of the Anglican Church were not happy with such notions. “All is relative” could be a signal to the lower orders to revolt against the certainties of Church and King. There were often calls to ban such books from being in the hands of any current or former indentured servants. The Courts usually struck down such laws and they would never be enforced in the Colonies anyway. That night Gideon dreamed of a world in which Andrew Jackson had never converted to Islam during the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson attributed his victory to God and declared Jihad on the British, Federalists, Indians, Abolitionists and anyone who opposed him. The other timeline was a world in which Jackson became President of the United States instead of founding the Caliphate. He became a nationalist instead of a secessionist.
In the plain world of everyday history, the residual remnant of Aaron Burr’s bastions of western support flooded New Orleans and declared loyalty to a Scotch-Irish General who renamed himself Malik Al-Shabazz. In 1820 America petitioned the Crown with an appeal of loyalty. All English liberties would be observed and the new nations would be represented in Parliament. Only socialists, French supporters, abolitionists, old-line Jeffersonians, infidels, and followers of Al-Shabazz opposed this move but most Americans were glad for the trade. The trade! Infernal trade! Barnes fell asleep repeating socialist and Biblical phrases damning the men of wealth. He dreamt again of the world of so-called “computers,” and a world in which men had gotten to the moon instead of merely dreaming of going there. He dreamt of full freedom of speech and thought, democratic elections, “television” viewing instead of simply radio, and no religious book bans from an Anglican hierarchy. The Anglican hierarchy was oddly liberal in that world. On the flip side, Gideon noted that the world on the other side was superficial in many ways, lacking in authenticity. The grass was not entirely greener. Human nature was what it was on both sides of the divide.
Gideon woke up to a day’s work. As the senior electrician, he was the one who organized and designed circuits. In the other world, this job was restricted to Electrical Engineers but that distinction did not arise in Gideon’s world. He poured at ease over equations dealing with complex circuits with many logical steps. He had teams of men under him and they went on their merry way while apprenticed to Gideon, the Master Electrician. For lunch they would break for wine and bread, and then continue through the day. At evening time each man would go to his respective place of worship, or to a Tavern. Gideon would head for the Library and read the works of Newton, or of Michael Faraday. He reviewed his calculus and his systems of equations, simplified into lattices by mathematician Sir Edward Heath, and for a moment reflected on his dreams of “computers.” As far as he could tell from his dream voyages, such machines were powered by the same logic that went into circuits, but at a level approaching intelligence. The gods of Olympus never had such magic! Corn powered carriages allowed for horseless travel, but nothing like the “Automobiles” of the Republic that would have happened had Al-Shabbazz never declared war on the Northern States, had that fanatic never pushed both the Northern Federalists and the Tidewater Aristocracy back into the hands of Mother England. The principles of corn powered carriages and electrical circuits were devoured by the hungry mind of one Gideon Barnes, and so were the principles of Locke, Paine and liberty.
After the library, Gideon headed to a more secret location. The League of Samuel Adams was a legendary underground movement within the Masonic Lodges. Like all clandestine Masonic societies not under the Grand Lodge it was secret. Unlike the inside of British Lodges, one could and did talk politics. Speeches by Sam Adams and treatises by Marx could be read by workingmen there, speeches otherwise not found in Libraries. Gideon would attend those Lodges and read subversive literature under what he secretly suspected was a watchful eye of His Majesty’s Spies. They would do little more than glance menacingly but they were there. The works were not officially illegal. Anarchist literature was a lot more to be feared. Gideon was averse to anarchist literature because of the irreligion involved, and the outright disloyalty to the King. Gideon like most socialists wanted reform of the Monarchy and Constitutional rule but not abolition. Revolution, be it Republican, Marxist or Anarchist, was not on his mind. For one thing, it would open a conduit for the King of Spain and his Roman religion to sweep over the Colonies, or for the Caliphate to re-emerge. No true Englishman wanted this.
At the Lodge, Gideon looked at a map. Back in the 1820’s, the Continent north of the Mexican territory would soon become England’s after the defeat of the Caliphate, but legends still persisted of secret Islamic enclaves in league with the Spanish Empire, the Emperor of China, or the Russian Czar. California was a Spanish territory but much of the Southwest had become British. There were also occasional Indian uprisings encouraged by the French Republic or the German socialists. There was talk of allying with the Emperor of Austria against the Republic but anti-war feeling in the Colonies was too strong. Gideon still looked at the map and for a minute saw the title “United States of America” but he blinked and it was gone. The Lodge meeting was coming to order with a glowing electrically powered orb. The orb represented the world and its unity. The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. The night’s talk would be given by an esteemed Astronomer and Mathematician. The fact that he was also a Republican, a Socialist, and a Baptist Non-Conformist was not lost on anyone.
Dr. Jerome Farnsworth began his lecture with a plea for all to take their seats. The Lodge was a mixture of Dissenters, Jews, Unitarians, Deists and the occasional Socinian. Atheists never admitted to being Atheists since the Colonies frowned on them and the Mother Country prosecuted them if they were too adamant. The Jews were discussing whether or not the Baptists and Muslims of the former territory of the Caliphate would support a Nation of Israel before they took their seat. There was hope that they might. As they discussed the relatively tolerant position of the New Orleans Muslims toward a possible State of Israel, the Learned Doctor began his lecture on the idea of timelines. “We know of light as particles, and yet we also know them as waves. This uncertainty is an understanding of the New Physics made possible by knowing that light travels at a constant rate. We cannot know the location and the momentum of a very small particle at the same time. In a sense, the wave that we see is a probability wave. When the measurement is one of momentum, a very small particle is a wave. When the measurement is one of position, the wave collapses in a manner to become a particle. What is remarkable even beyond the wisdom of the Greeks is that the position of the particle cannot be predetermined. The particle could be anywhere, giving lie to the position of the ultra-Calvinists that everything is determined. Do we ‘create’ the position of the particle by observing it? Or, is it possible that we have many time-lines with one position of the particle in each time-line? The last is something that our Physics cannot rule out.”
The Lodge was aghast. The Lodge was a place of mystery, but in the end, it was a place of Enlightenment. The idea that men could determine a rational Universe was at the heart of their good natured mysticism. It was not a mysticism of the Far East, of the Occult, or of the hallucinogenic. Those other mysticisms existed in other Lodges in Europe, but not in the English or American Lodges. The mysticism of an American was the mysticism of ordered liberty, not chaotic liberty. Dr. Farnsworth was suggesting something else entirely. His Deism was beyond the rationalism of the French Republic. It was the pantheistic materialism of the German socialist, and this might well bring ill repute on the Lodge. Yet, it was strangely inviting. Too many workingmen attended the clandestine Lodge of the League of Samuel Adams to truly care about respectability. The possibility of there being many Universes was just the escape they needed. For Gideon the entire talk left him petrified. What coincidence, this talk and his dreams? Was this some way for a great reality to manifest in his small existence? In the other Universe, these ideas were known as “Quantum Uncertainty” and they had been discovered by Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and Schrodinger. They also involved discussions of possible parallel Universes.
The Learned Doctor continued with a discussion of the possibility that the different time-lines were all converging on one place. “Unlike the random Universe that our atheist scientists in the French Republic believe in, our British science is a science of order. Liberty, yes, but liberty under order. We do not have random time-lines but they converge on a Purpose. This Purpose is known to the Great Architect of the World alone.” The words continued to ring in Gideon’s ear as he went home with new purpose. The so-called “computer” rang in his mind as the key to the mystery. The other Universe of his dreams had some kind of “computer” running on these small corpuscles of light, smaller than the atom, one that could operate in many Universes. He then realized it was not a dream. This computer of his dreams, this “Quantum Computer” was real and it was accessing his own dreams and memories. He was somehow a bridge to this other world. This was not Bedlam. The computer came from the reality beyond all the time-lines that were possible, outside of space and time itself, and he knew that his dreams were real.
Gideon entered his home and sat down for a glass of very light ale, the only drink he would tolerate and only on occasion. He tried to eat a meatless dinner as much as he could, tempting vegetarianism as closely as possible to his tame eating of fish on occasion. His vices were on occasion, the better to pray over them. He began his evening prayers with intense concentration on God, the Teacher Jesus, and some Swedenborgian readings. He closed his eyes in meditation with the room lit only by candles. Twenty minutes later he opened them and saw an orb of light in his room. The orb was hovering above where he was, illuminating the room except casting no shadow. Gideon was not frightened. He wondered aloud if he was visited by an Angel. Alas, in that instant, a rip in the very fabric of space and time opened to show him a different world of technology, political revolutions, mass communication, huge cities, and a United States of many nationalities not simply the English, Dutch, Germans or Spanish. The twenty-dollar bill had the face of Al-Shabazz on it, still known as Andrew Jackson. Old Hickory remained a Protestant Calvinist in that world, or something of that nature. The world was real. And what was more, there were scientists on the other side of the door beckoning him through. Gideon was a scientist in his own right, of the sort that never went to school but whose curiosity led him onward. The invitation was not refused.
“Mr. Barnes,” a scientist in an odd white coat spoke, “welcome to the world that could have been.” Alas, Gideon thought, the world that could have been! If only men had valued liberty more than order! He had arrived at last! “Doubtlessly you have many questions,” the scientist continued, “but we do not have the answers you seek. All that we know is that you are important to the future of your world and that we needed to help you. We know this only because of our experiments in time travel, experiments based on the Physics you heard in your lecture last night. We receive signals from the future that we must help you, but the nature of these signals are shrouded in mystery. The source of them has never revealed itself to us and we are in the dark at this point.”
Gideon knew more than they did. His dreams told all. Finally, he remembered the entirety of it all. The worlds were not arrayed at random. They interlocked and all went to an Omega Point in which equality and justice would reign. Each world arrived there at a different rate, but the design of all time-lines led to the same end. Sometimes certain individuals in certain time-lines were given the ability to shift times and events in order to help those in other time-lines. This was only done to fulfill Omega. In this other world, the Republic was victorious but it was still not paradise. Powerful and wealthy men ruled behind the scenes and would often wage war against workers who dared to rise up. This world needed transformation too. But still it was freedom from the Crown and there was at least liberty. “May I look around?” Gideon asked. He meant by that an escorted tour of this brave new world, with such people in it.
Gideon’s hosts readily agreed to his request. The scientists took him out of a guarded laboratory in the Maryland Colony, the State of Maryland to them, and took him around neighboring Washington DC. They were driving in a horseless carriage that ran on oil. Gideon had never seen such a city, a veritable New Rome. In his own time-line the British had preserved it as a kind of historical museum but never allowed any new buildings or renovations. Looking at this new modern District of Columbia, he was momentarily fearful that it would be the Seat of the Anti-Christ spoken of in his Church. But Gideon was never sure about such things, preferring the Unitarian skepticism of educated Socinians. Gideon barely debated the issue when he saw a mass of people carrying signs. He demanded that the car stop. Every imagined statement was on the signs. Each sign was demanding a political cause of sorts. Gideon had never seen such a thing. “The First Amendment,” a female scientist smiled. “It is the basis of our civilization. Peaceful protest is as American as Apple Pie.” Gideon loved the sentiment even if the expression was ridiculous. They stopped and Gideon got out.
What impressed Gideon was the strange dignity of the men with shabby clothing and long hair. He was also impressed by the Black men who were speaking and the equality with which they were treated. Such equality existed in some cosmopolitan areas of the Mother Country but the Colonies rarely saw it. Protests existed in his time-line, of course, but the freedom to stand outside of the halls of government and protest without being gunned down was astonishing. This precious liberty was the one that the Colonists once fought for. Yet, it was fear of the Caliphate that led the new Republic to flee from liberty to security, deserving neither, as old Ben Franklin would have said. No one questioned the new laws that Parliament imposed on the Colonies. “Well, we have representation this time,” men had said. The very fact that propertied men could now vote for Parliament delegitimized all questions of dissent. In this strange new time-line, the same thing could happen in the Republic as happened at home.
They drove on as his hosts explained to him that they were protesting the new President. His name was Nicholas Underwood. His new bill to Parliament—Congress in the current reality—–involved cutting protections for labor and the environment. Free men (and women!) were opposing him! Yet, the power of the Moneyed Men was strong in the Republic. In some ways it was even stronger than in his own timeline given that it was not balanced by any Aristocracy. Gideon hated the Aristocracy, but he admitted that men of learning among them were sometimes more liberal and fair than the Moneyed Men. Gideon reflected on this as he was driven through a city breathing history he never knew. The sun set on the city and a strange foreboding of sinister twilight went through his bones. Freedom was fragile here as back home, he reflected.
Gideon was taken to a building that was an oddly demure and somewhat shabby dwelling, a type of warehouse. The car (their term for a horseless carriage) drove into the building and a door closed behind them. They opened the car door and headed for an elevator. “Gideon.” His name came from the small mouth of a normally quiet woman named Jane who was escorted them. “We are going to a secure base underneath Washington where more can be discussed.” Gideon was unused to calling women by their first names as it was improper and un-English. He had never been referred to by his first name from any woman other than his sister or mother but he gladly obliged. As they descended in the elevator, a man spoke up named John, “Gideon, we have to be in a secure location to fully explain everything to you. We are part of an intelligence unit that has explored time-lines. You are important to your time-line in a way we do not fully understand. You are also a person of importance here in ways we do not understand.”
John continued as they left the elevator and came to a room filled with old books, the kind that Gideon considered normal but which in the brave new world are considered rare and expensive. “The danger of America is that she will fall to oligarchy. Somehow, some way, you will prevent that.” Gideon had always thought of himself as a no one. To be important in two different worlds was something that he could not understand. Apparently time-lines were all controlled from an Omega Point in the future, a point that tied them altogether. The Epicureans and their modern followers consider the Universe an accident, Gideon surmised, but they do not realize how wrong they are. “All follows a plan, even that part of the All considered random to heathen philosophers,” Gideon said to himself. Every world aspires to a teleology of greater Freedom. The German philosopher Hegel knew as much. The Empire, the Caliphate, the Czar of Russia, the King of Spain, all were temporary blocks on the way to the road of human progress. Gideon could not help but to consider the possibility that the Omega Point was humanity in the future itself, possibly influencing multiple time-lines as its own past. It was possible that the future was determined before the past and that it was the future that was the real origin point.
A man in military Uniform walked in the room. His name was General Baker, a Five Star General. The General stared straight at Gideon and glared into his soul. He commanded the Base and it was only a matter of time until he entered the scene. General Baker was not happy about the time-line experiments. He was certainly not happy about the idea of bringing subversives into the time-line. General Baker was a supporter of the new President Nick Underwood and his agenda to Take America Back. Subversives opposed him in the media, the Universities, and among these godless scientists that got this freak from another dimension into his Base. Baker was not happy. The whole time-line idea came from the previous Administration and Baker hoped that the new Boss would see things his way. Outside of the Base, on the streets above, massive protests were brewing and the new President was considering martial law. General Baker would be the man to lead forces against the anarchists, socialists and whoever else might threaten the new direction of America.
Jane realized that it would be best to get Gideon to a different location. There was a Nature Preserve in the Rocky Mountains that was a safe haven largely free of hunters, diseases, and Washington politicians. She communicated her wish to John and he agreed. The entire team entered the elevator under the watchful eye of the General. Gideon thought the General looked a bit too much like the Caliph of New Orleans for his liking. The General turned around and walked away as the team left the building. He had other things on his mind, other issues of business that demanded his attention for the time being.
The Department of Energy had a helicopter on reserve during emergencies. The emerging protests, and civil unrest over Underwood’s open signaling that he would be declaring martial law to quell protests, meant an emergency was declared. The DOE allowed its most senior scientists to take helicopters to safe areas and the Preserve was a safe area. The helicopter lifted off and Gideon felt a sudden jolt. He then felt like he was lifting as his inner ear fell. He was above the ground and floating but it felt like he was on solid ground. After a minute his greatest surprise was in not feeling like he was moving at all. Newton’s First Law predicted as much, but it still surprised him that a moving object would feel stationary. They flew over farmland and over the beautiful plains of the Republic. The helicopter flew toward towering mountains and to the Preserve. Gideon Barnes knew that science was conducted there, real science. He longed to be a part of it. He, a humble electrician, would do real science at last.
Gideon immediately went to work in a laboratory that was partly an experiment in sociology. By Executive Order of the previous President, the lab was open to talented people who did not have science degrees. It was open to the Philosopher Mechanics of the type that the eighteenth century once treasured, but which the timeline of the Republic had largely not seen since it invested in professional science. Gideon’s own world was actually more tolerant of Philosopher Mechanics, oddly enough. Gideon was escorted into the laboratory of Dr. Galen Roth, the famous Dr. Roth whose famous paper on General Relativity was accepted by a prestigious journal, only to have him say that he did not believe it. The paper was mathematically correct, and in disclaiming belief in it Dr. Roth claimed to be refuting the infamous Sokal Hoax. In publishing a paper that was obviously true and then claiming it was fake, Roth concluded that Sokal might have done the same and that his claim to have refuted Post-Modernism was bunk. No one took Roth seriously, but the spirit of fun that animated his paper won him many friends even among those who should have been his enemies. His biggest actual enemy was President Underwood, whose increasingly authoritarian tendencies included scientists whose work on climate change threatened corporate interests.
Even though Dr. Roth was a Physicist, he worked on natural science and mathematical modeling involving climate. His world-famous work accurately predicting an increase in storms over the Indian Ocean refuted the work of a climate skeptic connected to Underwood. Underwood took to Twitter to target Roth’s reputation but it backfired when Roth stood up for himself. There were rumors of an FBI investigation of Roth as a subversive. The laboratory was once Federal, but it became private under the tutelage of wealthy investor Ronald Fulsom whose desire to fund science was also a desire to associate with interesting individuals. Like Underwood himself Fulsom was a wealthy businessman so Underwood respected him. Roth would be safe under his protection, for the time being he hoped.
Roth allowed Gideon to be his technician. Gideon quickly learned the ins-and-outs of electronic equipment and acquitted himself with honor. He then familiarized himself with the mathematical models involving climate and became an active participant in the work. The lab grew to include five people whose work on climate catapulted them into scientific prominence. While not working, Gideon engaged in strenuous hiking in the beautiful mountains. He had never seen the Rockies in his own time-line but knew of them. At last he saw them! On Sundays he attended Unitarian worship. On Monday morning he would enter the lab and begin his work all over.
The fateful day came that the FBI arrived at the laboratory to search it. They rifled through files in order to find supposed fraudulent data. There was no fraudulent data, of course. The pretext was obvious. Fulsom was on the scene protesting that it was private property and that the FBI had no proper warrant. The Agent mumbled something about terrorism and national security. Gideon could handle it no longer and yelled that his own time-line was more free under the Crown than under a Republic as decadent as that of Rome under Caesar. The Agent stopped and looked in Gideon’s direction. Gideon knew he erred. The Agent did not know what—or who—he was dealing with. By instinct he pulled a gun and aimed it at Gideon. The gun immediately dematerialized. The gun fell through the fabric of space and time itself and disappeared into the meta-verse between the various multiverses. Roth knew what he saw violated the Conservation of Energy but he also suspected that all laws of Physics pointed to possible greater laws of Physics. Unlike most Physicists, he believed that no phenomenon could be ruled out, including so-called “paranormal” phenomena. What he saw could not be refuted.
The Agent immediate retreated and everyone knew that they were dealing with a regime that would stop at nothing, including the Constitution that the President called an “eighteenth century relic document,” to either destroy Gideon or to obtain his power. Somewhere in the halls of power someone knew who he was. What they did not know was what he was. To himself, he was a non-conformist liberal Protestant colonist whose love of liberty survived in a colonial America divided between Anglican fundamentalists and the Islamic-Baptist confederation that still exerted power in Louisiana. A mild and unassuming working class philosopher, he was the last person to be associated with the French radicals or the German socialists. But it might be that he was closer to the radicals of Europe than he realized. How ironic that it took transport to a degenerated Republic falling to Caesarism to make Gideon realize that he was more of a radical Whig than he had ever realized.
A council of scientists was called and they debated whether or not to flee the country. They also debated just what exactly caused the gun to dematerialize. Debate generally centered around time-lines being potentially controlled from a collective future that they have all converged around. Some Physicists speculated that the future was actually a causative entity controlling various time-lines that converged on it. Following Teilhard de Chardin’s notion of “Omega,” the various time-lines are presumably interwoven from a common future that also functions as a common past in a kind of time loop. Somehow Gideon represented the gateway to the common future, a kind of freeway to the destiny of the human race. Debate cut off when they realized that they either had to flee or to somehow stand their ground.
A crowd amassed on the outer periphery of what had become a compound. A stunned silence filled the room as the monitors showed a crowd of people, all armed. These were civilians, not military or police. They turned on the television and saw that the recently nationalized news channels rattle on about how a crazy group of scientists were harboring a strange person from another dimension. The crowds that amassed were trying to get a glimpse of the interdimensional traveler. More ominously to the announcers, some were armed and ready for revolution. “Liberty or death,” they cried. “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God!” “Down with Underwood!” “Constitution forever!” All of them were waiting for their hero to rise up and restore the Republic. The scientists decided to open the gates. Whatever the future would bring, it had to be better than to live in darkness.
As the assembly of patriots gathered around them, Gideon experimented with his powers more and more. The Airforce was reluctant to bomb them but gradually the new President was eroding Constitutional barriers more and more. It was only a matter of time before the military came and Gideon knew that he had to perfect his art in a way that would matter. He also had to find a way to help the rest of humanity to achieve a degree of mental discipline that might help them to achieve what he was able to achieve. The material Universe was comprised of information. Ordinarily, quantum information was confined to the quantum level. However, when time-lines were crossed probabilities also crossed. “Quantum” reality was no longer confined to the quantum level. Causality could break down. More to the point, the dream of freedom, long denied humanity locked in rigid cause-and-effect, became a vivid and organic reality.
Gideon held classes of sorts in the powers of disappearance, teleportation, communication by extra-sensory perception, and levitation. The crowd began to catch on. It satisfied Gideon that many of them were putting aside their guns as being useless. With new powers dawning, weapons of violence became irrelevant. The real power to challenge Underwood lay where Underwood could not compete, in intelligence and wisdom. More and more the extraordinary perceptions went beyond simply the crowd assembled and went into the general population. It was not long before Underwood’s own followers also experimented with powers of the mind, powers derived not from love but from darker and occult practices. The war between good and evil that many in history suspected was coming at the culmination of things appeared evident on the horizon.
The clashes began in cities throughout the Union. The two camps would utilize their minds to manipulate reality. Each side would alter the causality to fit its agenda. The side of Underwood was able to summon telekinesis, mind control, and what ancient societies referred to as “curses.” The side of liberty was less capable of manipulating reality along those lines. What it had instead was the ability to alter the time-line and to manipulate reality such that a gun in someone’s pocket was deleted from reality. The person forgot their gun. They NEVER had a gun to begin with. Time-lines were able to change to suit the purposes of those who were then not forced to use their minds for evil. Evil would be contained by the manipulation of Quantum Physics, not through Gideon’s Army doing evil to the other side. Gideon saw himself as a humble servant of his God.
Underwood’s side tried to experiment with time-line changes. They attempted to change the Constitution by putting in an all-powerful President. This was actually Hamilton’s desire, one opposed by Jefferson. In the new time-line, Hamilton won completely. Gideon, who was less powerful than Underwood in that Underwood was able to manipulate the laws of Physics within the confines of reality, could actually achieve more power when reaching outside of the time-line. Gideon was able to give Ben Franklin a powerful enough voice to mock Hamilton’s pretensions to Monarchy. This entered the historical record and Gideon was even able to put the word the “under wood” into Franklin’s speech, much to the laughter of modern Americans reading it back into the original speech. The battle ceased to involve guns and became a battle of minds. Finally, at long last, Gideon won the fight and managed to re-arrange reality in order to get Physicist Galen Roth into the White House instead of Underwood. To solidify his victory Gideon then undid the entirety of the previous time-line involving Underwood, coups, wars and brutal police. All of it was wiped from the memory of the people he was with, including his own intrusion into the reality of the American Republic.
Gideon was what one might call a “fix-it” man. He was soon to leave. His role in the time-line was to edit it for good. His friend Dr. Galen Roth was now in the White House. He had always been in the White House. His friend would not remember him, of course. No one would even dream that someone from an alternate Universe had come. Galen Roth implemented a policy of removing the Republic from oil. He implemented an endangered species policy to restore wilderness to the planet. He then passed a guaranteed national wage based on the productive capacity of an automated economy. Debt currency was replaced by social credit. Cities began to be built in outer space in cooperation with other nations. Eventually, work itself was abolished as unnecessary and a creative world of abundance was achieved. President Roth sometimes had a funny feeling that he could not remember something, but he shrugged it off. There were strange dreams about men from outside of the time-line and battles with the mind. The idea that such things could exist conflicted with Roth’s scientific rationalism. But there was something of the imagination of the Physicist that often conflicted with the rationalism of the Physicist. How the two reconciled within the same man was a mystery at the heart of great scientists.
Gideon slipped back into the real world. His powers were gone. He was back to being a humble subject of His Majesty. The real world became solid. Gideon wondered whether or not he imagined the whole thing. His own fond dreams of freedom and a Republic could easily have created a fanciful dream. His life was back to what it was, and a sense of the glum set in. A dream it was! Gideon prepared to go back to work. When he showed up at his place of work he saw men amassed outside. It was a strike. The men were trying to form a Union and doubtlessly the police would accuse them of being German socialists or French Atheist Republicans. Strikers used to be accused of being in league with those who wanted to restore the Caliphate, but the usual accusation was that they were Atheists. Muslims and Baptists could not be prosecuted but Atheists could be. The police showed up and were ready for a mass arrest. They pulled out their guns.
The guns disappeared. Gideon was stunned, but then he smiled. Some dreams continue even during waking hours, and Gideon was going to make the best use of his dreams. Both worlds could and would be free.