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Invitation

the possibilities are endless...

By Peri LiveseyPublished 2 months ago 24 min read
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Nov. 22, 2022 The weirdest thing happened today. This morning, I heard something buzzing, and Tasmin started barking. Just a couple normal barks first, then she started going crazy, barking and yipping and whining. I looked out to see what was getting her so wound up.

She was jumping and lunging at the end of her tether, jumping up and running back, barking and whining, but I couldn't see what she was after. I thought maybe the fox was around, but couldn't see it. Our fifth-wheel is parked in the driveway, though, and there are a pine, a spruce and some poplars in our yard, not to mention a small cargo trailer and two big sea-cans, so vision is pretty limited. Then I caught sight of movement through the trees. I couldn't tell what it was, but Tasmin was still going crazy, so I went to the door to bring her in.

She came dashing when I opened the door, and the thing moving outside came closer. I went to grab her tether but she dashed off again, straight for what I could now see was a drone with something dangling below it, hovering within her reach at the end of our sidewalk. It didn't hover for long. It started towards the doorstep, but did a quick reverse away from the charging Taz, hit the camper, ricocheted up into the branches and fell right back down towards her. Tasmin darted out of the way and the drone crashed to the ground. It jumped and stuttered a couple of times, then the rotors stopped moving.

I went and picked the drone up, saw that the thing that had been dangling from it was a small package. My name and address were on one side of the package, in flowing calligraphy, but there was nothing else: no stamps, no return address.

One of the drone's rotors broke - doesn't look like it will be flying anywhere anytime soon. I went out to the sidewalk and looked around, but no-one was in sight running to retrieve their damaged drone. I don't know how far away it can be operated from. Maybe someone in the apartment building across the road was operating it. They have a good view of our front yard. Of the trees in it, anyways. Well, whoever sent the drone knows where they sent it and can come get it if they want it.

So anyways, I took the package and the drone inside, and handed the drone to hubby, who had come to see what all the racket was about. He's been wanting a drone. He might even get this one flying again.

I unwrapped the package. Inside was a purple box with 'miniBWAIN 2.1' embossed on it in silver letters. I've never heard of it before. It sounds like some smart home device or something, but the box looks more like a jewelry box.

There was also a postcard of Whitehorse in the box. On the back is printed 'Want to trade places for a while? Think about it.' I don't know what that's supposed to mean. Trade places with whom? How? For some reality show or something? The printing looks vaguely familiar, but there's no signature.

Of course I opened the box, and inside was some kind of headset or something. It's quite beautiful, actually, elegant, with lots of wire kind of braided and wound around each other. More like a circlet, a tiara, than headphones. There are also no ear pieces that I can see, and no microphone. So I couldn't figure out what it was. So I looked for instructions. Finally found them under the packaging – it was pretty securely packaged, over all, so shouldn't be damaged by the crash. Unless some delicate inner workings have been put out of alignment or something. Which would make me hesitant to use it, especially considering what the instructions claim it does. Which is send the wearer to another universe. Another timeline, to be more precise. Yeah. Right.

The 'BWAIN' in miniBWAIN stands for 'Biverse Wave-function Alignment and Integration Normalizer'. Uh-huh. There are a couple of little knobs and sliders you can adjust to choose the timeline you want to travel to – though it does warn that this is new technology and not entirely accurate. Comforting. So you adjust the settings, put it on your head, and away you go, body and all, to some other timeline. Maybe not the one you were aiming for. Guaranteed to get you home, though. Pretty hard to believe. But I haven't put it on my head at all yet, just in case.

I have no idea who sent it, or why. Neither does hubby. He pooh-poohed the idea that the miniBWAIN will take the wearer to another universe. And I can't blame him for that – seems pretty unlikely.

Even if it was possible, why would anyone from another universe want to trade places with me? Their life can't be all that good if they want to switch with me, so why would I want to switch with them? It's really all too weird.

Nov. 23 I hardly slept all night, wondering about this 'miniBWAIN' thing. Who sent it? Why? Does it really do what it says it does?

I did an online search and didn't come up with anything for miniBWAIN, though BWAIN has a few different meanings. It's a 'creative web browser', a 'cigarette smoked in the company of shady and/or gully individuals' ('gully' meaning 'from the streets', apparently) (thanks, urbandictionary.com), and an acronym for Blog Without An Interesting Name.

BWAIN! is also a band. They have very few followers, but they're not too bad. So a lot of things named something I've never heard before, but none of them have anything to do with travelling to other dimensions.

This is going to drive me nuts at work today.

Later That was a long day of work. I don't know why anyone would want to switch to my job. That's not true – I wanted to, when I was working at my last job. Which some people might consider a “better” job. I like this one more. I like cleaning, and the folks I work for and with, but it's not for everyone. While I was working today I kept wondering what whoever sent the parcel does for work. Is it something I can do? Would taking over each others jobs be part of the deal of trading places?

Maybe they live in a world where people don't have to work for a living. Maybe they have a really good job doing something meaningful and interesting. And maybe they sit at a desk transferring numbers from one column to another all day. Or maybe there are no jobs and everything is in turmoil because of some catastrophe or something.

What I keep coming back to is why anyone would want to trade places with me. There's nothing particularly appealing about my life. I'm sure not happy living it these days. Yes, we've got enough food to eat, though the way prices are going who knows how long that will last. (Stuff left by guests sure helps fill our pantry! I got an unopened pack of frozen shrimp one day last week, and a box of wings the next.) And we've got a roof over our heads. Thanks very much to our landlord for that. He is being exceptionally good to us.

And now I finally have what's left of my belongings back, so I'm thankful for that. Of course there's the 'what's left', bit, and I do miss much of what's gone forever from my life.

And overall, life has lost a lot of luster since the pandemic hit. I'm still not comfortable going out and dancing on a crowded dance floor packed with other dancing, heavily breathing people, so I haven't been going out much at all. Which sucks. I feel like I don't even know how to go out and socialize any more.

Maybe the pandemic didn't hit their world. Maybe it was worse. Maybe it was handled better. Too many maybes, if there's a whole multiverse out there. All of them.

But maybe their life is better than mine. At least it'd be different. A change. I've been wanting a change. This could be what I've been looking for. Right, I'm going to escape my life by travelling to another dimension. It's ludicrous. And I have to go to bed.

Nov 24 So I've been trying to figure out who it could possibly be. Either someone in this universe is playing a prank on me, or someone in another universe has contacted me. No-one has come looking for the drone. There are no special markings on it that we could find. It's just an easily available online, cheap delivery drone.

There are no drone delivery services in Whitehorse that I can find – just photography, and delivery to remote sites. I don't think delivery is allowed in cities in Canada yet. So I think it was more likely operated by an individual than a business. At least an official one. They could have been hired to make the delivery, and keep it as discreet as possible. And write off the drone if necessary.

... Okay, just did a search - drones are allowed, but not in busy, populated areas, among others. It's certainly populated here, but not busy. And the operator, or pilot, is supposed to be in sight of the drone. If they were, they didn't stick around to retrieve it.

Must have been a pretty good operator, to get the drone as it far as they did through the aerial obstacle course of our front yard. Between the camper and the trees, it's a pretty narrow approach, and then low under the trees, and up the steps. Even without Tasmin there it would have been tricky. With her that drone didn't stand a chance!

I wonder if someone could use the camera/location/GPS system however it works to figure out where it was transmitting from, or connect to the controller or something, find out where it is and who owns it. Not me, that's for sure. Maybe in real time someone with the right equipment and know-how could track the location of the signal somehow, triangulate it or something, but I don't know how much you'd be able to narrow it down anyway. And to match the drone to a particular controller they would probably both have to be turned on and within range of each other. And whoever had the controller likely got rid of it when they realized they lost the drone, especially if they don't want us tracking them down.

Sis does calligraphy, but it doesn't look like hers. And I got it just before her birthday. A reverse birthday present? I can't see her putting something this techy together. She'd go for more of a mystic vibe.

It's been two days now and there's been nothing else. It's gotta be a prank. But who would do it? And why? My mind goes blank when I try to think of someone who would play this kind of joke on me. I mean, it's pretty elaborate, and somewhat costly, not just the drone but rigging up the beautiful circlet, the official looking – and sounding – instructions, even the box! Why would someone go to all that cost and bother just to throw me into a state of confusion? As if I'm not already confused enough by life and how people act!

Is it to make me think about my life? How much I value it? Whether or not I really want a different one? It did say 'think about it'.

I do want a different life, but not just some random, unknown other person's life. I want my own life. I want to find a way to really be me, whoever that is. I've been suppressed for so long I have no idea who I really am. A while ago Vocal had a challenge to write about a time when you felt authentically yourself. I broke down completely over that, trying to remember ever feeling authentically me, and free to express myself. I wrote a lot about that, but nothing I cared to share. I want to break free. I want to be bold, to speak my truth. How can I do that by trading places with someone else?

Nov 25 Holy shit! It's real! It's all over the news and the internet. There are other universes, other worlds, other versions of us. The many-worlds interpretation is correct, apparently, and we branch off with every decision, every change. It's mind boggling. My mind is certainly boggled. I was confused when someone was claiming it but I didn't really believe it, but now...

So many worlds! Where do they all come from? Poof! Out of nothing? Just because I can't decide what shirt to wear, poof!, there's a whole new universe so I can where both of my choices, one in each universe? That's just absurd! But apparently true. And we know this because someone in another universe figured out how to travel from one universe to another, and people have come here from other universes.

This was all discovered just recently, like less than a week ago, but it's been spreading like crazy. I guess the nature of the many worlds hypothesis - or process - ensures that it will spread quickly, because every thing that can happen does happen, so any chance of someone telling another person about it happens, and any chance of it getting out of the control of the original discoverers happens, and someone is bound to want to make money off this, and I'm sure some worlds don't have as stringent rules about testing new gadgets, so no wonder something like this has spread so quickly.

It's just amazing, to think of all the worlds that can be connected now.

The person who sent that package to me must have been in one of the first universes involved. I don't know how they expect to trade places if they don't get in touch with me again. Of course hubby doesn't want me to trade places with someone else – then he'd be stuck with the someone else.

Maybe it's another version of me he'd be stuck with, a me who has made some different choices and wants to see how the ones I've made – this version of me – have worked out. Not ideally.

Would they still be me? Truly me, so that we had some kind of connection? Or are we completely different people from the moment we split, with no idea what goes on in each others heads? I hardly know what goes on in the one that's directing my hand as it makes ink flow onto the page in the shapes of letters. Roughly the shapes of letters.

Distractions, that's what goes on. I distract myself from thinking about anything serious. No, that's not true. I distract myself from doing anything about the serious stuff I think about. Some of it, anyway. I shouldn't be too hard on myself, I suppose.

I am kind of feeling, though, that my mind doesn't really want to confront the reality of a multiverse head-on right now. I need time to adjust to the idea. I mean, if I've got this right, every possible variation of every particle's state at every moment leads to a new universe, which is just absurd. But that's what Everett's interpretation of quantum mechanics was based on – the collapse – or rather, the non-collapse of the wave function. The wave function defines all possible positions of a particle, and if the wave function doesn't collapse, all positions are realized. Every possible outcome happens.

So another me has already gone and traded places with the person who sent me the package. And there are lots of that person already, and some of them will get a visit from me and some won't. So I'll do every thing, make every response or non-response. But what about this me? The one I'm experiencing now?

I haven't made the bold choices. I didn't even go sailing with M---, when he offered me my dream on a golden platter. I wonder how that worked out for the ones who did? I've certainly envisioned a lot of ways that scenario could have played out over the years. Anything from sailing to England for tea and me being able to captain my own boat to getting raped and killed before we crossed the border. I hope that didn't happen to any of me.

All the other things I've thought about doing in my life, all the ways I could have put my brain to use, has one version or another of me done them all?

There could be a me working on computer graphics for movies, or as a physicist at CERN. An activist me working to protect wildlife. A entrepreneurial me whose online shop is a great success, because I figured out how to market it properly. Even a me who's a published author.

Where does that leave this me? Feeling like shit. I guess if all decisions play out, one of me must be the one who makes the poor choices. I have made some good choices along the way, done a few things right. But I could do so much more with my life.

So, what is this me going to do?

I want to be a me living in the forest, gardening and doing art. Writing. Preferably with a view. Mountains and water. How do I get there? Swap with a me who's already got it? That'd be cheating. And why would that me trade? Maybe she'd share with me. That'd be weird. And probably not a good idea for existence, anyhow. Like going back in time and creating a paradox by seeing yourself, or something. This isn't time travel, though. But timelines are supposed to be completely separate from each other after they split. Decoherence. So maybe everybody popping willy-nilly from universe to universe isn't really a good idea. There could be dire consequences. But when has the threat of dire consequences ever stopped the human race from forging ahead and doing what they wanted? This is just another way we could wipe ourselves out.

Nov 26 Maybe they want to live in the Yukon for a while without having to actually move here. Especially this time of year. Stay as long into the long, cold, dark winter as they feel like, and leave when they've had enough cold and dark. Which for me will be long before the cold and dark are gone. But then so much light!

A month before winter Solstice. Heading into the darkest two months of the year. I'm so glad I'm going home for Christmas this year! That will get me through the dark. Thanks to my darling daughter. It'll be so good to see everybody! Everyone's a little freaked by this multiverse thing. At least a little freaked, some more than a little.

If you start thinking about it too much, your head goes down way too many 'what if' scenarios. Like flying home for Christmas. If every possible thing happens, then some of me are bound not to get home for Christmas. Some planes carrying me are bound to crash. And some mes will die before December even comes. Maybe tomorrow morning, while I'm getting in the van to go to work, it'll be slippery and some car will slide right into me. Could happen. Will happen, to some of me. Life becomes more scary, because all the bad things happen.

The good possibilities happen too, though, the raises and lottery wins and hard work that earns rewards. Friendship, love, art. Hopefully more good than bad, and that's all we can really hope for in life anyway, isn't it? That the good outweighs the bad? That there are happy times before the end?

Thinking about the hard times other mes are having depresses me even more than thinking about successful mes. I think it's the time of year.

I have been thinking about using the miniBWAIN to escape for a while. Not necessarily to trade places with myself or whoever is making the offer, but just to go somewhere else. Although my understanding is you don't travel physically. You stay in essentially the same spot. Though they do say you'll move enough so that you don't materialize in something – or someone – else. So I would still be in the north, with winter coming on. Without a place to stay. No way to make arrangements in advance. I wonder if that's going to become a thing now – travel agents for inter-dimensional travel. I suppose they'll develop a way to communicate between universes without going to them. I'm sure someone will try. In the meantime, some want to ban inter-dimensional travel to and from this timeline “until further study has been conducted”, of course. But there's no way they're gonna hold this down. Maybe in a few timelines, since everything happens, but overall, uh-uh.

miniBWAINs and other models of 'Coherence Modulation Devices', or 'jumpers', as people are calling them, are for sale online. Pretty pricey. Hubby says we should sell this one. Tempting, but not without using it first.

Nov 27

Nov 28 I couldn't write yesterday. I sat for a while with my notebook open on my lap, and stared at nothing. Too many things going around in my head, and yet a kind of deadness, too.

It's all a game. Life, the multiverse, everything...

We're all on a computer somewhere. A really big one, they're saying. Like planet-sized. Or maybe it's moon-sized. 'They' being people from other universes, and scientists here are confirming it. Something about not everything possible actually happens, only some of the infinite possibilities occur, and that must be because there are algorithms controlling which ones happen.

My head is whirling. So much came out over the last two days. The computer talks to some people. There's been a lot of jumping, people coming and going, and I sit here with the miniBWAIN in my hands, just staring at it. I want to go, but I don't know where. And it can't be good, can it, people jumping back and forth all over the place? From 'verse' to 'verse', as we're calling them now, and 'versa' for plural. Doesn't seem stable, somehow. What about laws of conservation of energy and stuff like that? Is that all just out the window now?

There are rumours whole worlds – whole versa, which could have many worlds in them – have collapsed because too many people went to them. 'Destination' worlds, already.

A lot of this information is from a group travelling from verse to verse, trying to start a revolution against the people who run the computer. The computer is in on it, they say.

The computer we are in. The computer we are part of. We are the result of uncountable (well, maybe the computer knows how many) calculations and nothing more. Maybe some energy input. How can that be?. Everything can be described mathematically, I know, but I didn't think that meant the math came first. I feel solid to me. But even that 'solidity' is an illusion, in a way. Things we call 'solid' are really just very dense energy fields. Or maybe just descriptions of very dense energy fields. Generated by a computer...

My mind can't grasp the reality of all this. It's too much.

So this revolutionary group says one of the reasons our world is so violent is because it's a game, and we're being played with all the time. And we make such a good game because we are violent. Because we're made to be that way. Like them. Programmed to be that way. By them.

So things like mass shootings, they say, are sometimes games, with the shooter being played by them, the makers. Not always, but often enough. And some of the worst ones. And there are other kinds of games, too, political, criminal, living the good life. Lots of ways they interfere with our lives, not caring how it affects us because to them we aren't even real.

So this group wants to break free. Stop the gaming. I don't know how they plan to do that. Things have gotten pretty chaotic, though, since they appeared and started spreading their information around. News of the multiverse was wild enough; hearing we're pawns in a game – that's devastating to a lot of people. I sure as fuck don't like it.

Later Mystery solved: I finally came to see me again. Not on purpose, though, it turns out.

The me who sent the drone stayed up here with hubby when we went south. They've got a place out on Annie Lake Rd. He's working as a site supervisor and she's doing craft shows, stained glass and upcycling. That's a path I can see happening, if we hadn't moved around so much. Sounds great, but life's still not perfect. She – and having met her, it did feel more like she was someone else than another 'me' – wanted a change, felt stuck in a rut just as much as I do. So when news of the multiverse hit her universe, she bought a couple of miniBWAINs (they were cheaper there), grabbed a drone (hubby has a few; I'm not surprised), chose a verse more or less at random, and came here.

Tracked herself down. She didn't want to freak me out by showing up at the door with no warning, she says, so sent the drone with the package.

She's been trying to get back to her own verse ever since, but every verse she visited has a version of her already. Her miniBWAIN was faulty, it turns out. Doesn't make me trust mine. But she managed to find someone who was able to not only fix hers, but make it read its history and go back to the versa she visited in reverse order. So she was very excited, because her next jump should take her home.

She doesn't want to trade places anymore. She's been to enough timelines and just wants to get home. She wanted to warn me not to use the miniBWAIN she sent me, especially considering how it crashed when Tasmin grabbed it. (She doesn't have Tasmin. Her Tallulah died of cancer, too, about the same time as mine. She got another husky.)

She heard a lot about this being a game, and the revolution against it, from the guy who fixed her miniBWAIN. He was planning on joining, but didn't know anything specific about how they intend to fight people outside the computer. Thinks it's worth trying, though. I don't know. Seems like there are enough tough fights in this world. But I guess they mean nothing if we get deleted.

I've been sitting here holding the miniBWAIN since she left, fiddling with the controls, reading the instructions, looking up what people are saying about them online. Wanting to use it, but... So many buts.

The other me had a faulty one, will be lucky to find her own verse again. I can't use this one.

Then there's the whole “Will it destroy versa?” question. I don't want to cause the collapse of an entire universe, even if there are quadrillions more. But they're saying that won't happen. Some are saying that. Some, of course, say there should be no jumping at all, everyone should stay in their own verse and any jumping endangers us all. Not necessarily for scientific reasons.

It's been happening more and more, though. When I first searched 'miniBWAIN' I got nothing, but now they're for sale – and being talked about – everywhere.

Nov 29 I decided. I bought a new miniBWAIN, and I'm going to jump. I can't just sit here and be played with. So I'm submitting this last week of my journal as a record of what has happened to me, in case I don't return. There are dangers in jumping...

I have to take a chance, though. This could be the glorious adventure that changes the course of my life... It's time to be the me who takes chances, who makes bold moves. I know it's in me - I have to let it out.

So I'm all packed as if I'm going on a long hike. Food, clothes, warm sleeping bag. No tent, though. I'll have to find accomodation.

I've told hubby and darling daughter that I'll be about a week, and then I'll be back. Neither of them is happy about it. Darling daughter partly because it'll break our more than a year streak of talking on the phone every day. I assured her some version of me would continue to talk to some version of her every day. She pouted.

But this is something I have to experience for myself. I can't let this piece of science fiction become fact pass me by. I'm not going to trade places with anyone, though – I don't want anyone else pretending to be me, trying to take my place. Even if they are me, they're not this me.

This me needs to see what's out there, at least another verse or two of the song of the multiverse, then I'll come back here and make this life the best one I can.

So here goes. Deep breath - !

Multiverse, look out!

Sci Fi
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About the Creator

Peri Livesey

An artist/writer spreading my wings.

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