TRANSCRIBED LOG OF DR ISA ALTAIR, MSc, PhD
ALL DATES ARE RECORDED RELATIVE TO FIRST LOG.
ALL TIMES ARE RECORDED RELATIVE TO GREENWICH MEAN TIME (GMT).
The International Global Warming Association has agreed to fund 1E9 units to my team, Climate Regulation Science, Incorporated, upon being approved by ethics boards at long last. It is my expectation that this endeavour will ultimately lead to a neutralization, and perhaps even eventually a reversal, of anthropogenic climate change, through the development and construction of gas fusion and climate generators. I also personally hope that the former may solve the world's energy crisis as well, providing power not only including but especially to those living in areas most detrimentally affected by climate change for centuries, although I did not include these hopes in my research proposal to IGWA. It sounds suitably ambitious, but in the end it is only one more thing that may prove fallacious. Our only reward would be lost standing, which would be a shame in the case of a research team which would otherwise save the world.
CRS has received the hardware, technicians and clearance that will be the proverbial vessel of our research. It will essentially create the laboratory in which we will work. The concept itself is new, and the technology is still very tightly restricted; most of the difficulties I have faced with ethics and IGWA are due to what I believe is the absolute requirement we have for an alternate reality. Small-scale laboratory settings simply will not be as efficacious, as true-to-life, as is necessary for such a bold project as we have on our hands, and of course simply experimenting on the Earth we have would be so ethically wrong that even the most heartless, greedy, megalomaniacal scientific mastermind would reel. I do not do this for greed; I have one billion units in my hands, all but literally, and all I can think of is the excitement I share with my team for that moment when we will step out of the confines of our universe and into a fresh, uncivilized world of our very own.
The Separate String Series Transference Device (S3TD) has been constructed and calibrated. I wish I could log an image of it, take a picture of it with my voice. It is enormous; it is hard for me to believe even with the best engineers and technology at our disposal it could be constructed in fewer than two months. The vacuum pump alone is larger than my apartment building. The diodes are two humungous saucers, like alien spacecraft from the first science fiction movies, large enough to cast a shadow over a turboprop. A technician just showed me the testing device, a little cube riddled with sensors and outputs, and told me with a smile that the world the S3TD links us to is identical to New Earth, and that our team and equipment will be transported reliably on top of a plateau at high latitude, where we will make our offices. I can't wait.
This place is beautiful. An unspoiled prehistoric Canadian wilderness in a world where Canada, English, or proper nouns of any kind have never been even conceived. Absolutely breathtaking: the tundra, the forests, the lights in a sky unspoiled by vapor trails. Until I remember the Earth I must return to at the end of the day, it seems to me the greatest tragedy that we are here to destroy it.
The automated clock on my device does not function here, as there are no satellites, no receivers. I knew this ahead of time, of course, and will note the date and time relative to my wristwatch by hand in my notes as I take these voice-to-text logs. I almost wish I did not need to, though. I wish I could explore this cold Earth, wrapped in my tunic, and imagine myself a primitive in a world without time.
We started work today, at last. All of our necessary building materials have been transported over, and our constructors are erecting the first man-made blemish on this world, which is where we will live and orchestrate our research.
The technicians on the S3TD assure me that it is not time travel, rather it is the establishment of tangible contact between our reality and another that existed millions or billions of years ago. Regardless of the distinction, it does not feel to me that over three months have passed for us in this ancient reality. It is not exactly scientific, but I feel compelled to log my feelings on this and other matters of our research. Perhaps they will make it into a biography after we have concluded.
I'm back with Neil. Even though three months passed for him while only weeks passed for me, and my hand-notes on subjective time of my previous logs are rendered irrelevant, what remains is that we each missed each other greatly. I of course have much more to tell him about my weeks than he has to tell me about his months, but words aren't always the best mode of communication. I don't even know why I'm recording this. Silly.
The offices have been completed to the point where we can begin research, the meat and bones of which is yet more building. We have the designs, however; IGWA wanted them in their hands before we gained funding, which nearly drove some of the more suspicious individuals on our team (who shall remain anonymous) out of their minds. Administration are fairly sure IGWA is not an evil international secret agency bent on applying untested research on humanity in the name of potential profit, however, so work will continue as normal. Right now, while the machinery is constructed, we will need to survey this world in regards to its climate, atmospheric composition, albedo, mass, magnetic field, and, most impressively, its geography. We are, in every sense, the successors to Erickson, Cook, Columbus: we are mapping out this new world, one step at a time, not only over a very short period but under its pristine atmosphere. Explorers at sea level. Trailblazers.
I travelled today to view the site of our first extension to the S3TD network, which is roughly one thousand kilometers away from main base. The climate generators have an effective radius of five hundred kilometers, so this will be the standard distance between them. If this Cold Earth has the same surface area as the real Earth, this means we will have to construct and deploy one thousand units. It is a daunting task, like building one thousand small nuclear submarines and then burying them in the ground, but we have the funding, and we have the manpower. And then, when our hypothesis is shown to be correct, we will do it all again in the real world.
I digress, however. The S3TD network will work as closely with the climate generator network as it can, to speed up construction. These smaller S3TDs are designed to be portable, so that only those sites that still need construction or monitoring will be connected. I am grateful for this, because the sprawling plain of tundra I am standing on now is simply too gorgeous to marr. It kills me that we are putting even a single hole in the ground.
The functionality of the climate generators is in three interdependent parts: They extract carbon compounds in gaseous form and other substances from the surrounding atmosphere to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases over time. These molecules then undergo electrolytic decomposition and their component atoms are used in fusion reactions until they are heavy metals and the process’s energy efficiency turns negative. The purpose of this part is twofold: one, to compress the biproducts, rendering them effectively zero in the short-term, and two, to produce energy for the third part, which is the climate generator. This is a rather complex invention of our team which utilizes electromagnetic fields to manipulate nearby weather. In this case, it will dissipate or deflect intense weather patterns, whether areas of high or low pressure, and high or low humidity, according to a series of algorithms. The combined effect should neutralize the more violent storms coastlines have been facing, and bring water to drought-stricken regions. My expectation is that after an extended period of greenhouse gas neutralization, this third part of the generators will no longer be needed, and they can instead become generators of electricity for common use. With them, we will solve the world’s problems with one swing.
Atmospheric and geological data are in. Composition is indeed identical to Earth’s. The geography is more difficult to tell, but I believe it is safe to say that the S3TD technicians were right, that we are in a world mimicking Neoproterozoic Earth. The global temperature is low, roughly twenty degrees Centigrade cooler than modern Earth, which would place us in the Tonian period. This means we are only a few hundred million years from a Snowball Earth scenario, but I believe this planet is close enough to the history of our own that we can accurately calculate the effects of our research in the very long term regardless. I have never felt more like a time traveller before than now; the idea is difficult to shake.
I am back in the real world, but Matt won’t be seeing much of me. I have a lot of calculations and planning to do if we are to stay on time, and on budget. Time does seem to play some role in the S3TD functionality despite the fact that it is supposed to be stable at this point in the study: One day here may be two there, or two there may be three here. It seems entirely random and however much I shout it seems no one can do anything about it, so I simply must work quickly and hope it is quick enough. This log is little more than stress relief. And not a very good one, at that. Damn it.
My calculations are completed, the planning meetings have gone through, the sites are laid out and unnecessary team members transported back to Earth. Now the Independent Pollution and Climate Change Activator (IPaCCA) need to be calibrated and, hopefully, everything will go according to plan. We won’t get a second shot at this.
It has been a while since my last log. Of course, in an objective sense it is impossible to tell, but my watch and calendar do their best. IPaCCA is ready: It really is an enormous facility. Most of it will be inaccessible after today as its burners fire up and this world I have come to admire — even thrive in personally, to the detriment of my marriage and sometimes even my research — will fall into ruination, like ours. Exactly like ours, if everything goes according to plan. The factory will produce gaseous waste of ten billion humans living on Cold Earth’s surface, every minute of every day for the rest of this poor world’s existence.
I am back home, finally, and this time for longer than a few days. No more meetings, no more calculations. This has been the hardest part, though, so far: the waiting. We aren’t yet testing the product of our research, the fusion climate generators, but we are creating the setting needed for a realistic dry run. If that fails, if I made a mistake somewhere, even a small one, this last year and all that money have been for nothing. I am going on a vacation with Neil to Nunavut to take my mind off of things. He is excited and always so supportive. I love him.
Nunavut is treating us well. The city is clean and the water is cool. I'll admit that being here reminds me a little of being on the north side of Cold Earth, where there is now a huge factory spoiling it forever, but I do my best to put it out of my mind. So does Neil. We are enjoying the cool air, the tourist sites, the cleanliness of it all. It is amazing that even with people all over the world coming to visit that it has retained the feel of a small city. Perhaps it is simply the temperature that makes everyone on the street seem so distant. And when our generators are proven to work, we can get them installed all over the world. It might not be within our lifetime, but perhaps our children could have a Nunuvut planet.
I got a call from the main office on our trip (the one on Earth, of course): IPaCCA is operating efficiently (or inefficiently, depending on how one looks at it) and work has begun on recalibrating the temporal coordinates of S3TD (which are, technically, spatial coordinates). Neil seems disappointed (as this means our holiday will be ending sooner than expected so that we can catch up to our schedule), but I can't muster up the same emotion; Nunuvut is wonderful, but the warming of our Cold Earth has been all that's on my mind. As a side-note, it is probably a good thing my speech-to-text program does not insert parentheses. Neil is making fun of me (currently reading over my shoulder).
I returned to meet my team on Cold Earth to find it not so cold anymore. I am told the S3TD destination has been recalibrated to the same reality, and the same point relative to IPaCCA, but five hundred years later than its installation. I am flatly refusing to listen to anyone who insists that we have not undergone time travel. I will have my infantile fantasy regardless; it's all I have here now that the permafrost I admired so greatly is gone. Installation of the generators is beginning now.
I took another trip today, this time several kilometers below sea level. The oceans are the largest reservoirs of greenhouse gases, so although no one will be living on the ocean floor when we get back to notice the immediate climate-shielding functionality of the generators, it is important that the units be installed there as well as in urban centers. In this world, for the sake of scientific rigor, the units are being installed roughly equidistant of one another, which I certainly did not stipulate because it meant I would get to explore the abyss in a submersible.
All one thousand generators have been installed, buried in the ground, and activated. Each one has been tested, each one should be working as planned. Now that I’ve been all over this world, it’s time to return to my own, and wait another century. Even if this century will only take the few days the S3TD team needs to recalibrate again, I know I will simply lose my mind. There has to be something else I can do.
Neil insists on a quiet week. I hope it’s only a week. We are looking at adoption agencies online. When this experiment is finished, and all the bureaucracy has been satiated and the awards and royalties are coming in the mail like department store fliers, we may start an even more important project of our own. This time, we’re both excited; at least the prospect of it is keeping Cold Earth off of my mind.
I just woke up to a nightmare. I’m fine now, Neil is going to get me a glass of wine, but that’s just it. I don’t really know anymore: which one of us is older now? What happened in between the time he had and the time I lost in my work with CRS? I can’t answer this right now.
I received a voicemail from the director of IGWA. It did not sound terribly positive, but I am certain we did everything right. There were no errors. Let me have a look at that sensor.
It must be a problem in the experimental setting. Did we correct for the geological changes during the Tonian period? Was it necessary to? I need a paleontologist. Who is CRS’s paleontologist?
En route to the S3TD— Why are you recording now? Put that away.
I’m not letting anyone tell me what to do. No one is going to take away my recorder. No one is going to inform me of the status of the experiment. I am going to do it myself. I am going to take my damn own measurements. I am going to see everything!