Thursday, 27 February 2014

A Neat Rescue Operation

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), pp. 113-128.

I want to remain mentally with the Time Patrol for a while longer but, by the end of this post, will have no further installments to reread or post about so I think that there will be a pause in blog activity for a while.

By comparing dates as given in different stories, we notice that the home era of Feliz a Rach in "Gibraltar Falls" is about a century earlier than the origin date of the energy guns mounted on Time Patrol timecycles.

Tom Nomura has seen Feliz's timecycle with Feliz seated on it, held by her safety harness, pulled down into the massive waterfall that is the origin of the Mediterranean Sea. He has returned to the Time Patrol base to ask for help but this has been refused so he returns alone.

Leaping back and forth in time, he sees Feliz go under and his younger self flee for help;
hovering within a yard of the water, he returns through time and space, seeking the falling timecycle;
a score of him scan a few seconds but ignore each other;
seeing Feliz's falling timecycle, he locks a tractor beam onto it;
his one machine cannot pull hers from the fall so he is about to go under with her;
however, three other cycles with tractor beams arrive to help his;
they pull Feliz's cycle loose;
Tom goes back in time those three times to save himself and her.

In this story, the concluding section alone is separated from the rest of the text by a row of asterisks. Everard had received a message stating that Feliz had never returned to her home era. The Patrol does not disapprove of Tom's initiative in saving her but they "'...cannot have loose ends.'" (p. 127)

By the rules of time travel as stated in the series, I think that Feliz could now return to her home era. If she were to do that, then the timeline in which her home era office received a message capsule inquiry from Everard and responded to that inquiry by saying that she had not returned would be a deleted timeline. Instead, there would be a timeline in which she did return and in which no such inquiry from Everard was received. In that case, the only anomaly or inconsistency would the reply that Everard did receive saying that she had not returned. That message would have the same status as the Tacitus Two text in "Star Of The Sea," a text from a deleted timeline. However, the Danellians, and therefore the Patrol, want to inhabit a timeline in which such anomalies have been, if not eliminated, then at least minimized. The solution is that Feliz can base herself in another era as Mrs Thomas Nomura.

In "Brave To be A King," milieu HQ in 1890-1910 tells Cynthia Denison in the mid-twentieth century that her husband, Keith, never did return from a mission in ancient Persia. Everard says that, after telling her that, they ordered a search for Keith. Surely they would do it the other way round, not wanting "loose ends" if Keith is found after all? In any case, Everard does then search, find Keith and bring him back so does milieu HQ lie to Cynthia when she makes her initial inquiry?

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