I’m currently in the process of re-world-building the Tomorrow News Network series, and a key part of that is getting to know how science works in the T.N.N. universe (a.k.a. the chronoverse). Previously, we’ve looked at so-called primitive science and relativistic science. We now come to:
There are countless stars in the chronoverse, each with its own collection of orbiting planets. On a select few of these planets, life has taken root. And occasionally, that life has evolved into intelligent life.
As the various intelligent species of the chronoverse venture out into space, they eventually learn, either on their own or from their neighbors, that it is possible to travel faster than light.
The science behind FTL travel is known as hyperspace theory, and the technology is called the jump drive.
Jump Drive Technology
When a spaceship engages its jump drive, the ship effectively blinks out of existence. It jumps to a place that is said to be “outside the universe,” a place beyond normal, three-dimensional space.
The ship then drops back into normal space, blinking back into existence at some new location. The greater the distance you want to travel, the more energy is required to make the jump. Other factors can also raise the energy requirements of a hyperspace jump (more on that in a moment).
But if we remember our general relativity, we know that space and time are inextricably linked. So when a spaceship jumps to a different point in space, it also jumps to a different point in time. Typically, a point in time before the time when it left.
Initially, hyperspace theory alarmed physicists on Earth. The mathematics of hyperspace not only allow travel backwards through time but make it a necessary consequence of FTL travel. What does this do to causality? What’s to prevent time travel paradoxes?
When you try to push two magnets together, either positive to positive or negative to negative, the magnets resist. They repel each other. The harder you try to force the magnets together, the harder they push back.
Something similar can happen to spacecraft traveling through hyperspace. A hyperspace jump from point A to point B doesn’t seem to be a problem, but when you try to return from point B to point A—a trip which could allow you to meet your past self—you encounter a strange, resistant force.
The harder you fight against this force, the harder it fights back. You need to put more and more energy into your jump drive, or your exit point from hyperspace will be deflected away from your intended destination. In many cases, you cannot overcome this resistant force no matter how much energy you use.
It’s as though your present self and past self magnetically repel each other. This is called the chronomagentic effect or the chronomagnetic force. It’s something hyperspace theory failed to predict and could not account for once it was discovered. It would seem hyperspace theory is (or was, or will be, depending on your perspective) an incomplete theory.
In the final post for this science in the chronoverse series, we’ll find out more about chronomagnetic forces, as well as chronological resistance and temporal strings. And we’ll find out how time can be manipulated, how history can be changed, using the forbidden science of chronotheory.