Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Time War Secrecy II

Poul Anderson, The Corridors Of Time (London, 1968).

When Lockridge escaped from Avildaro to, and into, the Danish time corridor, Brann informed his agents throughout Danish history. How? He was alone in 1827 AD and there is no equivalent of the Time Patrol message capsules. A Warden comments that Brann's agents:

"'...are, ah, still searching for our man, no doubt, and for any indications of a Warden rescue party [for Storm] being organized.'" (p. 127)

What does "still" mean? Brann (somehow) told agents in other millennia to search for a fleeing Lockridge. If any group of agents reports apprehending him, then, allowing for the uncertainty factor in the time gates, other agents can be told to stop searching shortly after they had received the order to start searching.

Brann has reason to believe that Lockridge will become disaffected from the Wardens and will defect to the Rangers. Therefore, he judges it safer to keep Storm in Avildaro, bringing in only a few Rangers to help with her interrogation, rather than to transport her elsewhere. "'This is a distant and seldom visited milieu.'" (ibid.) So he judges that, by staying where and when he is, he should be able to avoid detection by the Wardens. He does not suspect that Wardens based in sixteenth century Europe, alerted by Lockridge, will be able to mount a rescue operation by leading English soldiers in force field flying machines through another corridor in England.

"'...as a result, we now have him, and unbeknownst to his organization.'" (ibid.)

How is this unbeknownst to his organization? His agents throughout Danish history have received orders from Brann and a few (from the home era?) have been summoned, bringing with them sophisticated psychoprobing equipment, to Avildaro. Surely, then, Rangers in many eras know of Brann's presence there and then and will investigate if he becomes incommunicado?

"'When we have completed his processing, we will have the information needful to mount surprise assaults on Ranger positions throughout time, ambush individual agents, break up enclaves - deal them the worst setback of the whole war.'" (ibid.)

We might think that, if the loss of one Director could have such dire consequences, then he should never be risked alone on the field of battle. However, this contretemps is the result of a causal circle crucially involving a man from the twentieth century who otherwise could not possibly have had anything like such significance. The causal circle takes everyone by surprise.

Storm says:

"'We can decoy the enemy into thinking we have promptly moved away ourselves, while actually remaining.'" (ibid.)

If the Rangers, knowing that Brann had been in Avildaro in 1827 BC and now knowing that Brann is not to be found, think that the Wardens were there-then but have promptly withdrawn, then they, the Rangers, must conclude that the Wardens have either killed or captured Brann?

Storm concludes that it will be possible to organize secretly in the apparently peripheral European North:

"'When the Bronze Age comes, it will bear our shape, furnish us men and goods, guard Warden bases. The final great futureward thrust may well be pivoted here!'" (p. 128)

I do not think that Bronze Age warriors taken through time corridors can affect the outcome of a fortieth century global technological conflict. Does Storm mean that the kind of energy weapons that would be detected by enemy intelligence if they were to be manufactured in the home era can instead be secretly manufactured in past eras, that Wardens and their specially trained supporters can assemble in those past eras and that the "futureward thrust" will comprise a fleet of armed flying machines suddenly erupting from time corridors and attacking the Ranger hemisphere in the home era?

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