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Chronozoetrope

[initiate transmission] Ok, so, if this reaches you it will be about... well, we're 500 years or so in your future. We had figured out how to grow Fullerene, energy was cheap, people were fed and happy, space exploration was in full swing and everything was, how would you say?, groovy?... it was good, no more racial, cultural, religious or status issues. We'd put it all aside long ago. That's the part I don't get. It was all water under the bridge by then.
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It was the largest natural spinning scaffolding we could reach so of course we just had to use it.
How could we not?
It would have taken generations to construct a disk of that size not to mention the length of time it would have taken to assemble the raw materials for the project, let alone get those materials then spinning, so we used the rings.
I mean, tens-of-thousands of kilometer wide disks with a ten meter thicknesses are kind of hard to come by right?
So we went and did it.
We diamagnetically manipulated every scrap of the ice in those rings and fashioned them into two distinct rings rising from above Saturn's surface at an ever so slightly widening distance from one another like a planetary 360 degree duck-beak.
This gave us the framework to build the single most costly human endeavour ever undertaken, and, if you're reading this, it was also our doom.

When we discovered that we could grow thin spinning sheets of fullerene, like spider webs in micro-gravity, and then statically adhere them to one another, we had the basis for 3D printing using electromagnetic waves to direct the growth of crystalline structures of unsurpassed strength in the vacuum of space. As a by-product, these structures also had the qualities of near perfect transmission of light and no resistance to the conductance of electricity.

So far so good. We built these incredible orbiting citadels with elevators to the planets' surface, and as compressed as humanity must have felt in your day, in very few years from your time it suddenly won't matter any more how many bodies are on Earth, they all were needed if we were to be able to expand outwards.

It was glorious.

So we had to attempt to build the Chronozoetrope.
It, it was too tempting you see. Just the chance to get a glimpse... we, we had to get just a glimpse, right?

The lenses, thousands of kilometers long, were grown sandwiched between reflective filaments made of mylar ribbons radiating outwards, like laser accurate slices through the solar system's largest crystalline pie.
In fact the press insisted in dubbing this achievement the Pi project.
It was like the whole set up had been left for us. The ice rings for framework, the fact that the planet itself precipitated diamonds, which could be harvested as large chunks of graphite at altitudes closer to orbit, in order to feed the huge demand for carbon that the growth of these lenses required... I think we may have demolished one of the smaller moons to meet demand... it's hard to remember, doesn't matter.

Once it was solid we connected the louvers.
You have to remember, this all happened in Grandpap's day, I'm just trying to recall as best as I can what he told me.
One side of these louvers was like chromed so that they'd bounce sunlight and one side was black. These louvers were adjustable so as to be able to twist and catch the most sun to get this ring turning as Jupiter twisted in space. For the first fifty years or so the shots were pretty normal, but then the outer edge of the disk began to experience the first relativistic effects of approaching the speed of light.

It was so incredible. The light bouncing between planes began arriving later than light received straight down each optic wedge, and as photons garnered at increasing angles bounced for longer periods of time the one's entering the array at the greatest angles also remained in the array for the longest lengths of time.
As the ends of each lens began to approach light speed and the most tangential photons began to... pile up I guess you'd say, they quit bouncing from one mirrored side to the other because the mirrored side they were bouncing from was just a hair slower than they were travelling... but they could still bump each other, at ever increasing speeds they began to exceed that unbreakable speed limit and travel backwards in time as they travelled linearly through our array.

Like some cosmic one-way Newton's cradle they started trickling in. So slowly at first. Just glimpses really, but the light from whichever slice of the heavens we were focussed on began returning as a spectrum slice of time. The longer light took to return the farther back in the Universes' time we could see.

When the plane of the rings coincided with Earth for the first time it was seen as a good thing. We couldn't see back all that far then. But that light just kept bouncing, and that wheel just kept spinning faster and by the time my generation had come along, all the old lies had surfaced. I mean Everything. You give your society another five hundred years and how secure do think your day and ages' encryptions will really be when re-broadcast anew?... every radio transmission, every satellite image, every communication ever sent, every wire-tap... all of it completely decoded.

Well, we fell apart didn't we? All the old hurts and prejudices surfaced. The racial and religious wounds reopened again as though fresh and we attack one another now for resources which can no longer be replenished.
Our links to the surface severed. The surface itself a smoking radioactive ruin.

I don't know how many of us are left at this point. I watched tower 11 plummet yesterday so I can't imagine this one I'm in staying aloft much longer, and I haven't crossed paths with another living soul for at least a week. I'm just glad this tower has held out this long.
Saturn's rings only align with Earth three times in a five year span, and sometimes only once, so I may only get the one chance to send this message back.

If you receive this, for God's sake you must stop them from building the Chronozoetr...

[end transmission]


[link]






       Dangit! I wasn't finished typing this yet and I must have posted it halfway through by accident.   

       //Ok, who left the door to the time vortex unlocked ?   

       — bigsleep, Mar 25 2014 [delete]   

       I'm pretty sure you will find that the total amount of mass in Saturn's rings is rather less than the mass of some of its moons. So, you might as well disassemble a moon to get the matter you needed to build your device. Also, the type of mass is likely important, if you don't have large-scale transmutation of elements. You need a moon with lots of carbon in it (like Titan has all that methane, see?), while Saturn's rings are mostly rock and/or ice.   

       — Vernon, Mar 25 2014 [delete]//   

       ...annos from the deleted original   

       [+]   

       Now I'm going to finish reading it.
Alterother, Mar 26 2014
  

       Yep, still bunworthy. Really excellent.
Alterother, Mar 26 2014
  

       [+] (Although on my last visit this was "?" -- Quite a common occurence with me. You'll notice that as far as actual ideas go, mine tend more toward the plumbing, and it seems wiser to just continue to lurk on some threads.)   

       Given the possibility of time travel, it would take tons of global co-operation to achieve it. Given about a week's familiarity with time travel (and even if it were only information that travelled, it was quite amazing to see, next week) ... er ... oh yes, it would take some small time of familiarisation to lose all wonder, and to go back to decaying into being hopelessly human.   

       So your story is True, even if it didn't happen in 20 years time. It tells us exactly what's going to happen when we looked back on the past in realtime.   

       Hmm ... but this must've happened? So we're not going to go ahead then? (And once upon a time, have done this.)
skoomphemph, Mar 26 2014
  

       Don't worry about your ideas lacking whimsy or narrative, [skoomph]; one of the uncountable facets of the 'bakery's beauty is that everyone has their own distinctive style. Just vomit forth what tickles your intellect!
Alterother, Mar 26 2014
  

       Edited to accommodate [Vernon]s' material requirement objections. : ]   

       To be continued...   
      
[annotate]
  


 

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