The Parascribe

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
What if I told you, the room you live in was inhabited by an infinite number of parallel universes each with a slightly different version of you. What if there were some way to interact with your other self. What would you do ? What questions would you ask ?

Submitted: March 05, 2016

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Submitted: March 05, 2016

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Prologue

“So, what do you think ?” Robi sat in anticipation as his agent browsed through the first few pages of the fresh manuscript. His furrowed brows almost touched his thick-framed spectacles as he scanned through page after page, muttering under his breath. 

“This…this is…You really wrote this ?” - His hawk-like gaze pierced through his personage, as he leaned back on his chair half-biting the tip of the pencil which perennially resided over his left ear. 

“What kind of a question is that ?” 

“Hey don’t take this personally. Its just that this is not really your style. It seems quite different, so much so that it took me by surprise.”

“I am highly obliged that you said ‘surprise’ instead of ‘shocked’. So you do like it..”

The sarcasm was lost on him - “Yes this is good! The narrative is bold, truthful…its like you have shed whatever inhibitions you had and went with the flow.”

“Well, you know about those spurts of creativity people have.” - Robi realised his voice didn’t sound as convincing as he was projecting himself to be. 

“Sounds good. Really good. I think I’m going to show this to the team once and we are good to go. I’ll be in touch, okay ? You came around Robi, you really did. I hope you continue this hidden streak of yours.”

“Sure yeah. Thank you.”

He wiped his brow as he walked out of that office. This had taken every ounce of courage he could have mustered. He knew he had gone past the point of no return. The manuscript had moved through his hands into the unpredictable universe. He wasn’t afraid of not making it to the Times Bestsellers list or any list for that matter. That thought hadn’t even crossed his mind. He knew it was different, great even for some who would be able to comprehend its meaning.

What if, just what if it became a rave. What if people wouldn’t stop talking about it. What if, he became famous. That’s what scared him. Truth had this convenient way and a usually inconvenient time of manifesting itself. It was not a matter of if, it was just a matter of when. He had ignored the queasy feeling in his gut and decided to go ahead with it. 

He checked his watch as he stood in the balmy Pune evening waiting for a rickshaw. It was going to start tonight. The last manuscript had been completed five days ago. It ran like clockwork, never late by a day, never making a mistake. 

The new one was going to start writing itself in exactly two hours and he had to be there when it did…

 

Part I

8 weeks earlier - Pune, India, 2005

“Can I have your order sir ?” - the cashier at the local CCD looked like Steve Buscemi with a bad meth addiction. 

“Uh-two café lattes please.”

Holding the receipt, Robi walked over to the table at the far corner. He looked around to check if any one was within earshot. A couple sat at a nearby table but they seemed to be oblivious to the world. 

“So it has started again ?” 

Satya put down his phone on the table and pulled the chair forward.

Robi cringed for a moment - “Shh..can’t you speak a little lower !”

He had known Satya since as far as he could remember. They had been childhood friends, growing up in the same neighbourhood. Satya had been a brilliant student even when they were kids and, no surprises, was a Researcher in the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research now. 

“Seriously Robi ? That’s what you are concerned about right now ?”

“Of course I am. Do you know how this sounds ?”

“I know how this sounds man. It sounds as crazy as the first time I heard it.”

“But you know its true…”

“Yes yes. However much I may despise the fact.”

“I mean how does one even begin to explain something like that ?” - Robi looked at him intently knowing very well even he did not have an answer. 

“Well, to begin with, let’s dismiss any thoughts about calling a spirit-medium or an exorcist. I would not, even for a moment, entertain the idea that this may be the work of a ghost!”

“Look, I never said that this would necessarily have a supernatural premise but you forget that I am living with this, this occurrence everyday. Having something in my home which I cannot explain is not the motivation one looks for every morning.”

“I understand brother. Although you have told me about it a zillion times, there’s still this sliver of hope that we may have missed something. As if there is some rational explanation just waiting to be unfolded.”

“I don't know what more I can tell you. I moved into this apartment last month. Settled in beautifully as if I had lived there all my life. Has a great view and the quiet I need.  Quite a steal in this market, you know.” 

It was a month back that Robi had mentioned about the incident to Satya. He still remembered the dark, rainy evening as they had sat in that very same café. At first Satya had dismissed it calling it a sick joke but Robi’s earnest eyes and the slight quiver in his voice had forced him to listen to his incredible narrative once - 

“My room has this huge, clunky teak desk. which sits like a monolith right by the window. It doesn’t really seem to fit in with the room which, to be honest, didn’t have much of a personality. Anyhow, the desk is good enough to serve its purpose. I arranged my Remington and all my books on it, and it still had room to spare. I kept a sheaf of papers on the table and put away the rest in the middle drawer. Completely forgot about them too. 

One morning I was looking for my car-keys. Couldn’t find the damn thing anywhere. I had looked everywhere and was half-mad by the time I reached the table. I never kept the keys there but I was getting late for a meeting with my agent and decided to glance through there. So I started checking the drawers. I opened the middle drawer and almost pushed it close when I realised something was amiss. I pulled it out slowly and there it was. The paper at the top had lettering on it. The whole page ! 

I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember when I had used any from that stack and it looked different. It looked very much like those old victorian-age handwritten manuscripts. I was sure it hadn’t been there when I had placed the stacks there.

But that meant someone had been in my room which didn’t seem likely as nothing was missing and I had the only key. Keeping my futile deductions aside for the moment, I picked up the page and lo the next one had lettering too. One by one I went through the whole stack and there it was, a whole ghost-written book just waiting to be read!”

Satya slammed the table with disbelief - “Every time I hear it! Would have made for a great story if it hadn’t been happening for real.”

“Hey relax now. We need to look at this objectively. Leaving aside all paranormal presumptions, what else could come close to telling me what is happening ? I mean you are a researcher in the Physical Sciences. Is there nothing in there you can use ?”

“You think I would be sitting here, talking to you if I knew how to explain this. I would, in all probability, be preparing my acceptance speech for this year’s Nobel in Physics.”

“Okay now you are just being insensitive !”

“Alright alright. You want to be objective ? Let’s be objective. This may sound a little too far-fetched but this is what I have right now that can come close to explaining this.”

“Give me a try…”

“Do you have any idea about the Multiverse theory of the Many interacting worlds ?”

“Umm…I know Potterverse…” 

“Thought as much. Well, this is just a theory mind you but many physicists seem to think that this may be the way to go as this would explain many quantum phenomena that we can’t as of now.”

“What kind of phenomena ?”

“Phenomena like Barrier tunnelling in Solid State Electronics, Black Holes and what not.”

“Now I know how Alice felt like in the rabbit hole.”

“Alice had it easy. She knew it was a dream. Anyway, so according to this theory - the reality we inhabit right now is not the only one. Many realities or universes, if you may, exist simultaneously sharing this very space-time in which we exist and interact with each other in immeasurable ways. The behaviour of these worlds was first attempted to being explained keeping Newtonian theories as the foundation but it was found that the slightest changes in one reality creates, possibly, large deviations in the Newtonian Mechanics in another reality. When Quantum mechanics was factored in, this number of realities became infinite.”

“So you are saying right this moment, there are infinite universes being inhabited by people like us, in this very room ?”

“Not like us…Us !” 

“You-you mean…”

“Yes, there is another such conversation going on between another Satya and another Robi in another reality. Maybe in one of them, you are the research fellow and I am the guy with the impossible problem.”

 

Part II

London, England, 1945

“So it has begun yet again, hasn’t it ?” Aytas’s trepidation could hardly mask the turmoil his mind was in. The moment he had received the haphazardly written note from his dear friend, he had known something was amiss.

As he had stared at the scraggly handwriting on the note, the letters had almost danced out of the papier like an opium addict’s delirium - 

 

“My friend,

Hope this letter finds you in the best of your happiness and vigour. As you have been very well acquainted with, my life has embarked upon a mysterious sojourn from which I am not fairly sure if I would return with my sanity intact. What seemed earlier, to be a chance occurrence, has manifested itself shamelessly upon my existence once more. All my beliefs have withered into oblivion. 

I can think of no one else who can be trusted. I am physically and mentally incapacitated. Without your wise counsel and vision, I am done for.

Save me, my friend. I hope this letter finds you soon. 

Yours truly,

Ibor 

His friend now lay on the Ottoman, pale and haggard, barely breathing. “It seems fate doesn’t appreciate industry. I am exhausted with this deliberate thievery every single day!”

“Calm down Ibor. Now take a sip of this, here, very fine whiskey. That should help you with your nerves.”

As the tiny glass of single malt was downed, Aytas pulled the chair closer - “Take a deep breath and tell me exactly what transpired.”

Ibor’s laboured breathing made it a monumental task for him to utter even a minuscule syllable but he began - “You do remember the incident that I had told you about, I presume ?”

“Yes, of course. I do remember it quite vividly, thanks to its bizarre nature.”

“So you know how distressed I had been, turning the house upside down, looking for it in every nook and cranny. We had checked every window and door but we had not found any marks or scratches and moreover, my room and the desk on which I had them, looked pristine!”

“True and none of the collectibles you had on your victorian shelf had been touched. If I were a burglar, I would have taken at least one. That would indeed have fetched a hefty price. Never made sense to me if you ask.”

“Not that I would have been particularly happy about it but yes, it would indeed have made at least a modicum of sense.”

“So coming back to our original problem, how did you come across it ?”

“Just like before Aytas, just like before. Since the last time it happened, I realised it was futile to dwell upon it and got back to my work. So I burned myself diligently through four gruelling weeks and completed my manuscript. You could actually see the marks of my labour on the paper which had subtle finger-prints that had inadvertently rubbed off due to the dye ink that I use. The night I finished it, I blew the candle, kept my fountain pen near the manuscript and retired. The following morning, everything came undone.”

“How so ?”

Raising his arm feebly, he pointed his finger towards the teak desk that sat by the shelf - “See for yourself…”

The table was strewn with the writing instruments any aspiring author would care to keep. Sheafs of paper lay unattended in a corner, a candle stand stood at the top of the desk while an ink-pot sat at the right hand side with a bevy of all sorts of fountain pens. Ibor was quite a collector. The only semblance of order in the chaos was the manuscript that sat in the middle of the desk, neatly arranged without a single sheet of paper teetering out the edge. He could see clear signs of work - a few smudges at the corners, some marks which looked like thumb-prints at the bottom of the page, probably made as Ibor re-assessed its value. Except that, the value stood for scrap now as there were no letters to read ! 

 

Part III

Manhattan, United States, 1890

“Pardon me, sir ? Your dinner…” 

His woollen robe did a satisfactory job of hiding his thin, anorexic frame as he vigorously rubbed down the chalk on the large blackboard which had been covered by what would seem like hieroglyphics to an ordinary mortal but this man was not ordinary by any definition of the word. He forgot the world when he became consumed by a problem and wouldn’t sleep for days until he had solved it down to its simplest form. The polite beckoning of his caretaker barely registered in his mind. He waved his hand without turning back and kept writing.

“Sure sir. I will keep it right here on this table.”

“Wait.”

“Yes sir ?”

“Did we receive any correspondence from Edison?” - his voice expressed a deep discontent. 

“No, not yet sir. Do you want me to send David with another message ?”

“No, that’s fine. You can leave now. And do not enter here until I require you…”

“As you please, sir.

His consternation threatened to drag him to the edge of insanity. He had been trying to deduce the solution for months without any apparent success. As he reached the end of the equation with an imaginary variable, he almost snapped and threw the chalk-nib at the wall. How can this be imaginary ? Why am I not able to define the spatial characteristics ? 

He stood for a moment and closed his eyes. As he opened them again, he saw the table propped up in the centre of the room, gleaming menacingly in the glow of the incandescent bulb. He had closed away all the electrical contraptions within its hollow body in order to simulate a closed system, essentially designed as a faraday cage with perfect insulation within. From the outside it looked like any other ordinary table but he knew its secret. His hand reached into the pocket of his robe and pulled out a soiled piece of paper - 

 

Dear Tesla Alpha, 

Hope this note has reached you on the date - 2/23/1890, as per my calculations. There is always an error limit of +/- 10 units from my year of 1885. The last solution you sent me was an enormous leap in determining the poly-dimensional discrepancies. Although I have still not been able to triangulate the spatial characteristics yet, I think I may try another approach I have been thinking for quite some time but that would have to be done based on a conjecture that as time passes, the time-difference of the interacting frames of references becomes larger. And if that is the case, in the next few years my interaction with you would be lost and you would, in most likelihood, be communicating with another frame of reference. One which would fit into this time-dilation equation. For instance, when you are in the year 1900, say, for you your own position would be constant but the distance of your time-frame to mine would have changed. That means you would be talking to a much younger you. But do remember the dual nature of this time-frame continuum. A much older you may also communicate with you which is what we need to control I feel. 

I do not know the progression of this dilation but I estimate that by the year 1947, we would be able to communicate with a frame close to 2010! The excitement I feel is unfathomable. We would be talking to a frame far ahead in the future. What advancements they’d have ! What new inventions ! Pardon my ramblings sir but this miracle we have here may someday make our leap for us. 

Do think on my conjecture, kindly. This might have some remarkable ramifications for us. 

Yours sincerely.

Tesla Beta

 

Part IV

Manhattan, United States, 1943

As Mr. Chapman read through the list of belongings, the life of the man flashed before his eyes in a ticker-tape, pausing at seemingly important moments and then moving along towards the inexorable end. The personal life stood lack-lustre in front of the illustrious achievements this man had exacted with an intensity which was and will probably be unparalleled. 

Most of those items would be auctioned by the end of next day including an exceptionally heavy victorian table which was large enough to have been used as his coffin. Tesla the inventor, Tesla the genius - he had many names and many admirers but here in his office, his life’s work and memories lay abandoned without any takers. Nobody had come to claim his notebooks or artefacts either. Mr. Chapman had taken the liberty to thumb through a few of them but alas, they were beyond his comprehension. 

With a final conclusive sigh he called his assistant - “Ms. Davis, could you kindly check with the Auction House on 5th Street as to when they would be picking up these items we have in our custody. We are a law firm and not the US treasury after all.” 

“I just got a message from them, sir. They should be here presently.”

 

Part V

Manhattan, United States, 1943

“Last item on sale - Teak Desk, Large, Victorian. Starting price $500. Yes, you sir…”

“$550 !”

“$550 one, $550 two…”

“$650 !”

“And we have $650. $650 one, $650 two…”

“$800 !”

The room broke into a murmur and the first caller was seen to wipe his brow with his tie. It was just a table after all. 

“Alright sir ! $800 one, $800 two, $800…”

“One thousand US dollars !”

“Good call sir. $1000 one, $1000 two $1000 three…and Sold ! To that British gentleman over there. You can collect your item in the adjacent room sir. Have a good day!”

 

Author’s note: Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Nikola Tesla. He was someone who was truly ahead of his time. Instead of minting money with his remarkable inventions, he quietly toiled away into identifying and solving deeper problems in a varied range of sciences. This is of course a fictional take on what happened to Tesla’s belongings. What really happened was, the FBI took all his work under their supervision and got it analysed to ensure that there was no “secret” or “powerful” technology that could be misused in the wrong hands. His prolific work consisted of around 300 patents in 26 countries around the world. And these were the ones that could be accounted for. Experts claim that there are many more remarkable inventions yet to be found and documented. 


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