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Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) 2 years, 9 months ago

Poll: Composite Time Lords vs. Downstreamers/Xeelee/Photino Birds/Q Continuum Alliance (42 votes)

Time Lords 62%
Alliance 29%
Stalemate 10%

Every version of Time Lords from all universes/multiverses in Doctor Who setting goes up against this alliance.

  1. 1) All Time Lords from each universe(like main universe, Faction Paradox series universe, Word Lords, Ferutu etc), each timeline(including destroyed ones), each period of history(including future Time Lords) now operate together. All renegade/neutral Time Lords factions(like Faction Paradox, Celestis etc) and individual members(like Doctor, Master, Salyavin, Nobody No-One etc) enter into Time Lords alliance too.
  2. All of Dalek's/The Enemy tech is added to Time Lords.
  3. Rassilon(first incarnation), Omega and the Other lead Time lords.
  4. Each faction in height of power.

  • Battle takes place in neutral Omniverse.
  • Morals are off.
  • 100 years prep for both sides.

Scenario 1: high-end Time Lords, mid calcs for alliance, multiverse buster weapons are disallowed.

Scenario 2: high-end for both teams, all super-weapons allowed. (These include but aren't limited to Quantum Archangel, Key To Time, Avatar Of The Glory).

Rules - NO OMNIPOTENT and such bullshit, only feats.

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#3 Posted by Darth_Wayne (3022 posts) - - Show Bio

Time lords.

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#4 Posted by youmessinwithme (1700 posts) - - Show Bio

gotta go with the Alliance.

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#5 Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio
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#6 Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio
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#7 Posted by Darth_Wayne (3022 posts) - - Show Bio

@citizensentry: hy have time manipulation and a near infinite amount of members.

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#8 Edited by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump.

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#9 Posted by youmessinwithme (1700 posts) - - Show Bio

@citizensentry: the downstreamers have already survived the rebirth of the multiverse, and turned a finite multiverse into an infinite multiverse, in terms of more measurable powers, they can create shields that can withstand thousands of big bangs and big crunches per second etc. and I believe the time lords to be vastly overrated.

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#10 Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio

@citizensentry: the downstreamers have already survived the rebirth of the multiverse, and turned a finite multiverse into an infinite multiverse, in terms of more measurable powers, they can create shields that can withstand thousands of big bangs and big crunches per second etc. and I believe the time lords to be vastly overrated.

the downstreamers have already survived the rebirth of the multiverse, and turned a finite multiverse into an infinite multiverse,

Source and quote?

in terms of more measurable powers, they can create shields that can withstand thousands of big bangs and big crunches per second etc.

Source and quote?

and I believe the time lords to be vastly overrated.

LOL! A Single TARDIS which was/is classed as a "museum piece" destroyed all of reality.

General Staal: All Of Reality Is Threatened.

Cyber Leader: All Universes Will Be Deleted.

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#12 Posted by ssj_god (16749 posts) - - Show Bio

still x-man

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#14 Edited by AndreySemyonov1337 (1215 posts) - - Show Bio
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#15 Posted by VashtaNerada88 (3498 posts) - - Show Bio

I know the TL's and the Q continuum, not sure about the others. The Q would get pwned by this all star Timelord army very easily.

but i heard some crazy stuff about the downstreamers

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#16 Posted by LpnQ (3954 posts) - - Show Bio

Goku.

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#17 Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio

@citizensentry: Q blinks everyone out of existence. But after this, Chaos Gods would corrupt the Q Continuum and create a new civil war.

Based on what FallingCliffs?

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#18 Posted by AndreySemyonov1337 (1215 posts) - - Show Bio

@andreysemyonov1337 said:

@citizensentry: Q blinks everyone out of existence. But after this, Chaos Gods would corrupt the Q Continuum and create a new civil war.

Based on what FallingCliffs?

Yes, based on what Fallingcliffs said.

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#19 Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio

@citizensentry said:
@andreysemyonov1337 said:

@citizensentry: Q blinks everyone out of existence. But after this, Chaos Gods would corrupt the Q Continuum and create a new civil war.

Based on what FallingCliffs?

Yes, based on what Fallingcliffs said.

No i think you're stupidity interfered with your brains comprehension of the previous post, i was alerting everybody that you are fallingcliffs.

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#20 Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump.

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#21 Edited by AndreySemyonov1337 (1215 posts) - - Show Bio

Q blinks everyone there out of existence.

They are omnipotent and they are able to survive big bangs.

Don't listed @ratava, just watch this video:

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@citizensentry said:
@andreysemyonov1337 said:
@citizensentry said:
@andreysemyonov1337 said:

@citizensentry: Q blinks everyone out of existence. But after this, Chaos Gods would corrupt the Q Continuum and create a new civil war.

Based on what FallingCliffs?

Yes, based on what Fallingcliffs said.

No i think you're stupidity interfered with your brains comprehension of the previous post, i was alerting everybody that you are fallingcliffs.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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#22 Posted by CitizenSentry (12121 posts) - - Show Bio

Q blinks everyone there out of existence.

I see you've taken your level of Fanboyism to the next level.

They are omnipotent and they are able to survive big bangs.

LMFAO.

The Q are not Omnipotent. and you have yet to shown any member of the Q surviving Big Bangs, not that it matters considering They are up against beings that casually play around with Big Bang level explosions.

@citizensentry said:
@andreysemyonov1337 said:
@citizensentry said:
@andreysemyonov1337 said:

@citizensentry: Q blinks everyone out of existence. But after this, Chaos Gods would corrupt the Q Continuum and create a new civil war.

Based on what FallingCliffs?

Yes, based on what Fallingcliffs said.

No i think you're stupidity interfered with your brains comprehension of the previous post, i was alerting everybody that you are fallingcliffs.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I like how you didn't dismiss the accusation, let me guess you're still salty because the last time you tried debating The Q continuum against me you got banned?

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#23 Edited by NeonGameWave (19333 posts) - - Show Bio

Time Lords should win although a stalemate is possible.

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#24 Posted by Cooldudeachyut (501 posts) - - Show Bio

Time Lords FTW.

Even when a mere human(Rose Tyler) looked at the heart of the TARDIS and temporarily gained it's power, was able to scatter the moelcules of an entire Dalek fleet, create a person immortal and create an ontological paradox.

The technology of Time Lords is too advanced. Not to mention, Daleks were able to challenge them and are considered the greatest threat in the universe.

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#25 Edited by AndreySemyonov1337 (1215 posts) - - Show Bio

@citizensentry:

I like how you didn't dismiss the accusation, let me guess you're still salty because the last time you tried debating The Q continuum against me you got banned?

I wasn't banned. And I'm not @fallingcliffs who was banned in "Chaos Gods vs Elder Gods" debates

General Staal: All Of Reality Is Threatened.

Cyber Leader: All Universes Will Be Deleted.

In fact it destroyed: 1) just one universe 2) it was not a full universe. It was all stars of the universe.

The Doctor (with massive prep and Dalek tech!!!) created new big bang which restored/re-created the universe in the next episode.

@cooldudeachyut said:

Time Lords FTW.

Even when a mere human(Rose Tyler) looked at the heart of the TARDIS and temporarily gained it's power, was able to scatter the moelcules of an entire Dalek fleet, create a person immortal and create an ontological paradox.

The technology of Time Lords is too advanced. Not to mention, Daleks were able to challenge them and are considered the greatest threat in the universe.

Which is nowhere near this level:

"My thoughts created this universe. Can they get me out of it again?"

"That information is not available."

"I'm not talking to you!"

- Beverly Crusher, The Enterprise computer

After that she turned her universe (which was a normal universe with stars, planets, galaxies ect) to space-time bubble with 705 m diameter.

"Here's a question you shouldn't be able to answer: Computer, what is the nature of the universe?"

"The universe is a spheroid region, 705 meters in diameter."

- Beverly Crusher and the Enterprise computer

What about Dr.Who reality warpers? Some of them may beat Doctor and his TARDIS.

Examples:
Fear Her episode

Plot[edit]

The TARDIS materialises on the day of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. The neighbourhood is preparing for the passing of the Olympic torch bearer, but the mood has been dampened by the disappearances of several children in the prior week. A council worker named Kel also mentions that cars have been breaking down momentarily for the same period. The Doctor and Rose investigate and realise that the source of the problems is a solitary 12-year-old girl named Chloe Webber. She has the unique ability to cause people to disappear by drawing them. The Doctor hypnotises Chloe and finds out that she is possessed by an immature Isolus, an alien life-form that travels through space with a family of billions. This particular Isolus crashed its pod to Earth due to a solar flare. The Isolus relates to and befriends Chloe, who had a troubled childhood. The Isolus has also caused Chloe to draw a life-sized, exaggerated figure of her late father, who is strongly implied to have abused Chloe when he was alive.

The Doctor explains that if they can find the Isolus pod and provide it power, the alien will leave Chloe. A frantic Chloe draws the TARDIS and the Doctor, trapping them both in one of her sketches and forcing Rose to try to find the pod herself. She rationalises that the pod is located on the hottest spot on the street, a patch of freshly laid tar, and is able to dig it up. Meanwhile, Chloe has caused the entire crowd at the Olympic stadium to disappear and now is set on making everyone in the world disappear. Rose tries to find out how to power the pod, and uses visual indications from the Doctor's picture to understand that the pod needs heat mixed with emotion. Rose throws the pod towards the Olympic Torch - a symbol of hope, courage, and love - as it passes down the street. The missing children and the crowd at the Olympics reappear, and Rose realises that the drawing Chloe had made of her father will similarly come to life. Rose and Chloe's mother are able to calm Chloe by singing theKookaburra song, causing the unseen monster - having fed off of Chloe's emotions and fears - to disappear.

As the torch bearer approaches the Olympic Stadium he collapses, and the Doctor promptly and suddenly appears, picks up the torch, and completes the run to light the Olympic Flame. The heat of the flame and the emotion of the crowd power the pod, allowing the Isolus to leave Chloe and return home. The Doctor and Rose walk off to watch the games, and Rose remarks that nothing will ever split the two of them up. The Doctor becomes uneasy and muses that a storm is approaching.

Doctor and his TARDIS have been turned into a drawing by her powers. But she is nowhere near Q-like level of powers.

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Some examples of Q powers:

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There are 2 Q here - one of them is a shadow. Q can turn TARDIS and Time Lords into a shadows or drawings.

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Remember this moment? The Master planned to turn every Time Lord to his clone:

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Q snaps his fingers and turns every Time Lord into a dog instantly:

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The Q are not Omnipotent. and you have yet to shown any member of the Q surviving Big Bangs, not that it matters considering They are up against beings that casually play around with Big Bang level explosions.

Similar, not the same. Vulcans are similar to Romulans..... but possess different capabilities and weaknesses. Humans are Similar to Betazoids...but Betazoids are Telepathic. Just because the Timelords destroyed a race in-universe, doesn't mean that race is the same as the Q

Chronovores had to feed on time and were incompatible with this universe......two limitations Q don't have.

The Eternalswere elemental beings who used the thoughts and emotions of mortals for their own ends as their own minds were used up. They were parasites.

Again..... not something the Q are known for.

Nah, even Yog-Sothoth/The Great Intelligence was weakened because his universe was destroyed. Q would not be weakened, Yoggy had to feed from souls/information energy. Q don't need to feed. So Q > Yog-Sothoth > Chronovores or Eternals = Time Lords.

Fixed points in time = problems of Time Lords. That is why the Doctor lost his friends:

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Time paradoxes are problems for Time Lords. Q can create space-time paradoxes just for fun.

I honestly don't see what stops a Q from triggering an anti-time eruptions around Gallifreys to stop that and fragging right on off back to the continuum.

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#26 Edited by AndreySemyonov1337 (1215 posts) - - Show Bio
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#27 Posted by VashtaNerada88 (3498 posts) - - Show Bio

@andreysemyonov1337:

Claiming omnipotence =/= being omnipotent

as for the Timelords....

"Well, perfect to look at, maybe. And it was, it was beautiful. They used to call it the Shining World of the Seven Systems. And on the continent of Wild Endeavour, in the mountains of Solace and Solitude, there stood the Citadel of the Time Lords. The oldest and most mighty race in the universe. Looking down on the galaxies below, sworn never to interfere, only to watch. Children of Gallifrey were taken from their families at the age of eight, to enter the Academy. Some say that's where it all began, when he was a child. That's when the Master saw eternity. As a novice, he was taken for initiation. He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It's a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. We stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of Time and Space, just a child. Some would be inspired. Some would run away. And some would go mad."

As a rite of passage young TL's are put in front of the untempered schism; this is why they all know the fixed points and all things that are/have been/must be. (i can dig up the episode which shows a young Dr looking into the schism)

This however is NOT a limit on their power. The TL's (when around) had full control to manipulate the universe and different dimensions as they seen fit.

It used to be easy. When the Time Lords kept their eye on everything, you could hop between realities, home in time for tea. Then they died, and took it all with them. The walls of reality closed, the worlds were sealed. Everything became that bit less kind.

- Rise of the Cybermen-

And as far as destroying universes and such, what is the DC of the Q? what can they take? The daleks have void ships and those<<<<TL flat space dimensional tech. and both races had the means of deleting molecular disintegration and even destroying timelines iirc

void ships

RAJESH: And what's the Void?

DOCTOR: The space between dimensions. There's all sorts of realities around us, different dimensions, billions of parallel universes all stacked up against each other. The Void is the space in between, containing absolutely nothing. Imagine that. Nothing. No light, no dark, no up, no down, no life, no time. Without end. My people called it the Void. The Eternals call it the Howling. But some people call it Hell.

RAJESH: But someone built the sphere. What for? Why go there?

DOCTOR: To explore? To escape? You could sit inside that thing and eternity would pass you by. The Big Bang, end of the Universe, start of the next, wouldn't even touch the sides. You'd exist outside the whole of creation.

-army of ghosts-

And how are the Q suppose to attack any TL while their in a tardis which are HUGE and semi-sentient (as they are "grown" from the universe) Others have tried forcing entry into a tardis and it either blocks them outright/deletes the room their in/or places them in a temporal loop

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#28 Edited by AndreySemyonov1337 (1215 posts) - - Show Bio

@vashtanerada88:

As a rite of passage young TL's are put in front of the untempered schism; this is why they all know the fixed points and all things that are/have been/must be. (i can dig up the episode which shows a young Dr looking into the schism)

Some events may create new fixed point in time. - The Angels take Manhattan episode.

It's a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex.

Even 29-31century feds can scan timelines, there is nothing impressive here.

This however is NOT a limit on their power. The TL's (when around) had full control to manipulate the universe and different dimensions as they seen fit.

It used to be easy. When the Time Lords kept their eye on everything, you could hop between realities, home in time for tea. Then they died, and took it all with them. The walls of reality closed, the worlds were sealed. Everything became that bit less kind.

- Rise of the Cybermen-

You can enter thru this "walls" if you have better time travel/reality warping abilities.

And as far as destroying universes and such, what is the DC of the Q? what can they take? The daleks have void ships and those<<<<TL flat space dimensional tech. and both races had the means of deleting molecular disintegration and even destroying timelines iirc

Q can live outside of the universe and/or at the Big Bang conditions. This is greater than or equal to what the void ships have.

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Keep in mind that it is a suicidal Q, he wants to die.

The daleks have void ships

1) The Daleks have only 1 void ship. It is the experimental tech.

2) It hasn't done the job. We dont know at 100% can it survive a Big Bang/Big Crunch o not.

3) Void ships are better tech than everything Time Lords have. Void Ships are theoretical tech for Time Lords, they haven't them.

Also I remember a spaceship from a ST:Enterprise episode which was from future and it was bigger inside than outside.

And how are the Q suppose to attack any TL while their in a tardis which are HUGE and semi-sentient (as they are "grown" from the universe) Others have tried forcing entry into a tardis and it either blocks them outright/deletes the room their in/or places them in a temporal loop

TARDISes may be destroyed by a Living Asteroid, or turned into drawings by the alien with reality warping powers.

Q can survive Big Bangs with ease, create dimensions/universes with ease (Q created some of them just for his stupid games), Q have much better reality warping powers. Q don't need any tech for that.

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#29 Posted by Nomar (1721 posts) - - Show Bio

As a Who fan I'll never get the argument for TLs beating Qs. It makes absolutely 0 sense rabid fanboying aside. The Q can do everything TLs can do and more, without needing the assistance of any tech. Timelords without tech can be killed by damn near anything. You have to scrape for outlier feats(the 1 out of 99) to make them more than they are. If you watch the series I have no idea how people can come to the conclusions they have in here. Literally every single conflict in doctor who is trivial for Qs. While TLs and the Doctor have to come up with grand schemes the Q just think it and it is so.

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#30 Posted by VashtaNerada88 (3498 posts) - - Show Bio

@andreysemyonov1337:

As a rite of passage young TL's are put in front of the untempered schism; this is why they all know the fixed points and all things that are/have been/must be. (i can dig up the episode which shows a young Dr looking into the schism)

Some events may create new fixed point in time. - The Angels take Manhattan episode.

I think that was a paradox the angels had worked out to use time travelers. doesn't the Doctor describe the whole thing as a battery farm the angels were using?

But your right, fixed points can be made. That's nothing knew though, IIRC the TL's pretty much set up the vary design of their universe. Heck, Rose Tyler made Jack a fixed point unintentionally when she telepathically linked to a TARDIS. During that time she also easily scattered messages through time and space to make sure that no matter what she would end up down the same path: she was the "Bad Wolf" in all the signs she seen prior to that moment. (they were all her doing from the future) She even describes the vortex the exact same way as The Doctor:

ROSE: But I can. The sun and the moon, the day and night. But why do they hurt?

DOCTOR: The power's going to kill you and it's my fault.

ROSE: I can see everything. All that is, all that was, all that ever could be.

DOCTOR: That's what I see. All the time. And doesn't it drive you mad?

ROSE: My head.

DOCTOR: Come here.

ROSE: It's killing me

DOCTOR: I think you need a Doctor.

-parting of ways- (Christopher eccleston)

The Doctor could potentially do the same thing as Rose did if it weren't for morals/ethics.

It's a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex.

Even 29-31century feds can scan timelines, there is nothing impressive here.

all time lines/possibilities? proof please. The schism is a window into all realities. And can they scan timelines(all timelines or even just one) or do they have machines to do that?

Here's another quote of the doctor describing how he sees the universe; this time it's the 10th Doctor.

"That’s how I see the universe. Every waking second I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not. It’s the burden of a Time Lord, Donna, and I’m the only one left."

-fires of pompeii- (david tennet)

That's what looking into the untempered schism does to them, they see the whole vortex of reality. every reality.

This however is NOT a limit on their power. The TL's (when around) had full control to manipulate the universe and different dimensions as they seen fit.

It used to be easy. When the Time Lords kept their eye on everything, you could hop between realities, home in time for tea. Then they died, and took it all with them. The walls of reality closed, the worlds were sealed. Everything became that bit less kind.

- Rise of the Cybermen-

You can enter thru this "walls" if you have better time travel/reality warping abilities.

And what feats do the Q have against other species of time/reality manipulators?

The TL's have dealt with all kinds of civilizations that have time and reality manipulating powers and then some, the Daleks being their closest rivals but still not on their level. Wasn't the Federation even able to stop Q from coming on board at one point????

Entities like the Q (Great Intelligence) couldn't force their selves inside the TARDIS, who are the best species the Q have dealt with?

Keep in mind that it is a suicidal Q, he wants to die.

good video. Although they say, they have been moved back to the beginning of the universe, not outside of it.....And if the big bang is no harm to a suicidal Q that is trying to kill himself, why go somewhere he knows wont kill him?

1) The Daleks have only 1 void ship. It is the experimental tech.

Does anyone ever state that it was experimental? (i don't think they do) The Doctor DOES state that their were secrets on both sides, and technology even he was unaware the TL's had.

Considering the Daleks had the technology to pull 26 planets from across the universe and bring them to one location, as well as, hiding said 26 planets outside of their proper place in space AND time. (all completely covertly) Void ship tech doesn't seem that farfetched.

2) It hasn't done the job. We dont know at 100% can it survive a Big Bang/Big Crunch o not.

3) Void ships are better tech than everything Time Lords have. Void Ships are theoretical tech for Time Lords, they haven't them.

Didn't Amy jump start all creation via the TARDIS, with just her mind+TARDIS? I mean she brought Rory back AFTER his timeline was erased..... The same TARDIS that was at the epicenter of a paradox that was causing all time/space to happen at once? (im not asking rhetorically, i haven't seen the newer ones in a long time.)

That puts the TARDIS>= Void ship. (assuming we believe the void ship is better than TL tech)

TARDISes may be destroyed by a Living Asteroid, or turned into drawings by the alien with reality warping powers.

You aren't referring to "The Doctors Wife" episode, are you??....Not destroyed, removed and left to die so it could feed on the residual energies. Do you remember what happened when its corporeal body died inside the TARDIS? It immediately took control back control, because TARDIS's are sentient things (even Rose said that when she absorbed the heart of the TARDIS; that it "spoke" to her) and know more of the workings of the universe than potentially even The Doctor. It's unlikely the Q can replicate the same feat as there is no vessel for them to put it in. It even refers its self as existing across all time and space.

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Im honestly not trying to downplay the Continuum, they are very powerful, but perhaps you could address these points.

1: What other species of time/reality warpers have they (the Q) gone up against and beat?

2: What use would the Q make with the 100 years of prep before the battle?

For the TL's it's fairly obvious, prep is their bread&butter. But the Q just seem like almighty idiots with more power than intelligence. The Time Lords may not have the matter manipulation like the average Q but they seem a hell of alot smarter and have replicated many (if not all) feats the Q can do with their knowledge/tech; and even fought and beat other time/reality warpers.

This seems (to me) like a battle of knowledge vs. power. And the Timelords have a history of fighting super powerful things and using their knowledge to best them, I only recall the Q dealing with average humans. And they have even been bested before by people.

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#31 Edited by Cooldudeachyut (501 posts) - - Show Bio

@andreysemyonov1337:

Doctor's just one wandering Time Lord who on his own saves people from planetary to universal level threats. He also "rebooted" the whole universe, with prep of course(considering the time needed for prep shouldn't be a problem for Time Lords as they, you know, manipulate time and space to their own will).

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That's just a fraction of what all Time Lords with such a wide variety of tech can achieve.

Also, Doctor holds back a lot.

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TARDIS can exist outside the universe, create paradoxes, freeze an entire civilization in a single moment of time, recreate the universe, allow access to Time Vortex(which is probably a Tipler cylinder). One can already imagine what Time Lords at the height of their power can achieve using their advanced Gallifreyan tech.

Yes, Master had a plan to convert every Time Lord into himself but Rassilon completely turned the tables with just a gesture. Not sure what you want to prove by this.

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Changing a fixed point in time isn't a problem for Time Lords IIRC. It's just that changing it can cause greater catastrophes and it is against the "laws of time".

For example, in the episode "The Waters of Mars":

ADELAIDE:

But you said we die! For the future, for the human race.

DOCTOR:

Yes, because there are laws. There are Laws of Time. Once upon a time there were people in charge of those laws, but they died. They all died. Do you know who that leaves? Me! It's taken me all these years to realize the Laws of Time are mine and they will obey me!

After saving Yuri, Mia and Adelaide:

ADELAIDE:

But Susie, my granddaughter, the person she's supposed to become might never exist now.

DOCTOR:

Nah! Captain Adelaide can inspire her face-to-face. Different details, but the story's the same.

ADELAIDE:

You can't know that. And if my family changes, the whole of history could change. The future of the human race. No-one should have that much power.

DOCTOR:

Tough.

ADELAIDE:

(backs away) You should have left us there.

DOCTOR:

Adelaide, I've done this sort of thing before, in small ways, saved some little people. But never someone as important as you. Oh, I'm good!

ADELAIDE:

Little people? What, like Mia and Yuri? Who decides they're so unimportant? You?

DOCTOR:

For a long time now, I thought I was just a survivor, but I'm not. I'm the winner. That's who I am. The Time Lord Victorious.

ADELAIDE:

And there's no-one to stop you?

DOCTOR:

No.

It could have lead to some great catastrophe(collapse of reality and whatnot) if Adelaide hadn't committed suicide.

Another example is that Doctor's death in Trenzalore, despite being a fixed point in time(I'm not sure on this one) was altered by the Time Lords(who were frozen in single moment of time in a pocket universe) by providing him with more regenerations and enough energy to defeat the Dalek fleet.

Not to mention Rose with the power of a TARDIS was able to create Jack Harkness a fixed point in time.

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#32 Posted by The_Imperator (2275 posts) - - Show Bio

Q fights are rather silly, because the Q have no feats for erasing groups of beings from existence that have protections against simply being erased. Plus the Time Lords have the tech to one shot universe eating entities if needed. We saw in The Five Doctors episode that if a Time Lord is removed from time or caused to cease being causally connected to the rest of their life, their future versions can still exist (also in the audio Death in the Family). On top of that, with the Celestis and Faction Paradox here, erasing them doesn't work, they do that to themselves so they can exist on as ideas that then reinsert themselves into reality. The Time Lords in universe just consider that messy and too gross and vulgar to actually do, since it would break tradition and all that. Salyavin had universe wide telepathy, that worked on computers and Time Lords and other things.

Also, with the Word Lords here (like Nobody No-One), they are alternate universe Time Lords that are made of language. The Q haven't shown feats for erasing the concept of Language, that I know of, so they can't really kill the Word Lords easily.

The Ferutu have literal magic, and their universe being erased and them being slowly eaten away by time didn't seem to phase them when they came back as temporary big bads in the Bernice Summerfield novels.

@nomar said:

As a Who fan I'll never get the argument for TLs beating Qs. It makes absolutely 0 sense rabid fanboying aside. The Q can do everything TLs can do and more, without needing the assistance of any tech. Timelords without tech can be killed by damn near anything. You have to scrape for outlier feats(the 1 out of 99) to make them more than they are. If you watch the series I have no idea how people can come to the conclusions they have in here. Literally every single conflict in doctor who is trivial for Qs. While TLs and the Doctor have to come up with grand schemes the Q just think it and it is so.

You don't need to mine it anywhere near that far. The Time Lords hardly appear, and usually when they do its a massive universe threatening problem. Like that time in the episode The Three Doctors, where Omega was devouring all the energy in the universe and the Time Lords were matching it to keep the universe around. Or End of Time when Rassilon was going to just destroy the multiverse because he didn't want to lose a war. There are several "low showings" but even in the show, those episodes explicitly have the competent Time Lord groups (like the CIA) not bothering to fix the problems, which is later said to be because Matrix predictions told them those problems wouldn't matter in the long run.

All that said, the issue with Q debates is we don't really know enough about them. It can be argued whether or not the subspace damage disconnected the female Q from the Continuum, which I lean to probably given other evidence in the show (if it was the subspace damage, why wouldn't one Q faction just remove Q powers from all the others on the other side?). That said, though, there isn't really much to go on for how to damage Q or disconnect them from the Continuum, and we don't know how they would deal with conceptual attacks or attacks that can destroy Q-like entities in Doctor Who.

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#33 Posted by AndreySemyonov1337 (1215 posts) - - Show Bio

Q fights are rather silly, because the Q have no feats for erasing groups of beings from existence that have protections against simply being erased. Plus the Time Lords have the tech to one shot universe eating entities if needed. We saw in The Five Doctors episode that if a Time Lord is removed from time or caused to cease being causally connected to the rest of their life, their future versions can still exist (also in the audio Death in the Family). On top of that, with the Celestis and Faction Paradox here, erasing them doesn't work, they do that to themselves so they can exist on as ideas that then reinsert themselves into reality. The Time Lords in universe just consider that messy and too gross and vulgar to actually do, since it would break tradition and all that. Salyavin had universe wide telepathy, that worked on computers and Time Lords and other things.

Also, with the Word Lords here (like Nobody No-One), they are alternate universe Time Lords that are made of language. The Q haven't shown feats for erasing the concept of Language, that I know of, so they can't really kill the Word Lords easily.

The Ferutu have literal magic, and their universe being erased and them being slowly eaten away by time didn't seem to phase them when they came back as temporary big bads in the Bernice Summerfield novels.

@nomar said:

As a Who fan I'll never get the argument for TLs beating Qs. It makes absolutely 0 sense rabid fanboying aside. The Q can do everything TLs can do and more, without needing the assistance of any tech. Timelords without tech can be killed by damn near anything. You have to scrape for outlier feats(the 1 out of 99) to make them more than they are. If you watch the series I have no idea how people can come to the conclusions they have in here. Literally every single conflict in doctor who is trivial for Qs. While TLs and the Doctor have to come up with grand schemes the Q just think it and it is so.

You don't need to mine it anywhere near that far. The Time Lords hardly appear, and usually when they do its a massive universe threatening problem. Like that time in the episode The Three Doctors, where Omega was devouring all the energy in the universe and the Time Lords were matching it to keep the universe around. Or End of Time when Rassilon was going to just destroy the multiverse because he didn't want to lose a war. There are several "low showings" but even in the show, those episodes explicitly have the competent Time Lord groups (like the CIA) not bothering to fix the problems, which is later said to be because Matrix predictions told them those problems wouldn't matter in the long run.

All that said, the issue with Q debates is we don't really know enough about them. It can be argued whether or not the subspace damage disconnected the female Q from the Continuum, which I lean to probably given other evidence in the show (if it was the subspace damage, why wouldn't one Q faction just remove Q powers from all the others on the other side?). That said, though, there isn't really much to go on for how to damage Q or disconnect them from the Continuum, and we don't know how they would deal with conceptual attacks or attacks that can destroy Q-like entities in Doctor Who.

Based on what Mak Taru said Downstreamers have much better firepower than Time Lords. They can just crush their Transduction Barrier.

Mak Taru said:

The fact you think they devolved themselves (which was nothing but a random speculation from one character with no way of knowing, and basically proven wrong by their technology and presence shown in Phase Space) kind of proves me right there.

Here's why they are so impressive:

- Spacetime portals that alter the local laws of physics, letting them no-sell continuous Big Bangs and Big Crunches, molded spacetime structures basically immune to any kind of physical damage.

- Omniscience. Stated to know absolutely everything that ever happened, ever could have happened, is happening, could happen, will happen, or ever will happen in the original universe under its laws of physics. The number given for this was some absurd amount involving multiple exponent signs.

- Perfect (and abusable) time travel

- Even before any of the stuff mentioned above, they were able to build The City, a web-like structure spanning the entire universe, which had been expanding far longer than the universe's current age, and was thus much bigger. Since pretty much all matter had decayed at that point, The City was most likely made of molded spacetime like their portals. Aka basically a huge, indestructible hyperstructure that makes the Xeelee ring look like less than a mote of dust in comparison. Furthermore, when they warred with each other, there were huge holes blown in it, large enough to be significant compared to its entire structure. These holes were likely larger than the current size of the universe. Keep in mind, being stuck in Big Bangs and Big Crunches (thousands per second even) didn't even scratch a construct of the same stuff, which was only a few meters across. Can you imagine what kind of weaponry was used in this civil war to do this kind of thing?

And all of that was before their ascension at the end of Manifold: Time.

The VME was only designed to remake the universe into one where whatever form of life evolved wouldn't meet the same fate as them and become trapped in a cold and dead universe. The fact that they not only managed to survive this complete restructuring of physics, but transform this very limited multiverse into an infinite multiverse, and overviewed the entire thing, is impressive. The saw that humans were wiped out by aliens in most of the universes (already implying the ability to overlook infinite universes) and they isolated a sub multiverse (which was also infinite) and set it up so sapient life would only evolve on Earth and nowhere else. That is bona fide multiversal reality warping right there.

You know that quote about how the Culture simulates various universes with different laws of physics and stuff? The Downstreamers don't simulate it, they do it for real.

Time Lords have better hax abilities because they already had deal with magic beings. But now there are Q in Downstreamers' team who can give them hax power. So Downstreamers have magic like things too.

@citizensentry Source: https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/manifold-quotes-thread.279619/

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#34 Edited by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

Why are you guys wanking the Time Lords? Sure they have time hax but that is nothing compared to the concept and physics manipulation and reality warping hax that the Downstreamers posses. An example of their powerful reality warping hax is the conversion of their original finite multiverse into a type IV Tegmark multiverse. Essentially a type IV Tegmark multiverse includes everything every possible universe. Furthermore, the Time Lords' time hax does nothing to the Downstreamers because they have acausality, meaning they are not bounded by the effects of causality. Moreover, the Downstreamers have better regen hax than the Time Lords. Additionally, the Downstreamers are also omniscient which, along with the fact they have acausality, negates whatever time hax the Time Lords have up their sleeves. Oh, have I also forgot to mention that the Downstreamers too have time travel? By the way, the Downstreamers are also not just non-corporeal beings but abstracts unbounded by every physical means possible.

If we are considering the use of The Old Ones then they solo stomp the time lords because their capabilities which include the effortless manipulation of the fabric of existence, are nearly boundless, and they are capable of creating infinitely-layered multiverses that contain an equally infinite number of multiverses within them. The Manifoldverse itself consists of an infinite hierarchy of infinite multiverses, encompassing all forms of mathematics. The Old Ones themselves exist at the top of this endless hierarchy, far beyond the applications of normal space and time, and maybe one with an "Ultimate Manifold", that encompasses all other manifolds in the tapestry of existence. Superior to all physical laws as they can be described, they have a near complete understanding of existence itself, allowing them to modify a few rules governing how the entirety of the verse works, such as likely changing the type of the multiverse, which enables them to create "infinite possibilities for life and mind".

In a nutshell, all other races in the alliance will lose but the Downstreamers (especially The Old Ones) are able to effortlessly stomp the Time Lords because of the sheer and stupendous amount of reality hax the Downstreamers have.

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#35 Posted by The_Imperator (2275 posts) - - Show Bio

Why are you guys wanking the Time Lords? Sure they have time hax but that is nothing compared to the concept and physics manipulation and reality warping hax that the Downstreamers posses. An example of their powerful reality warping hax is the conversion of their original finite multiverse into a type IV Tegmark multiverse. Essentially a type IV Tegmark multiverse includes everything every possible universe. Furthermore, the Time Lords' time hax does nothing to the Downstreamers because they have acausality, meaning they are not bounded by the effects of causality. Moreover, the Downstreamers have better regen hax than the Time Lords. Additionally, the Downstreamers are also omniscient which, along with the fact they have acausality, negates whatever time hax the Time Lords have up their sleeves. Oh, have I also forgot to mention that the Downstreamers too have time travel? By the way, the Downstreamers are also not just non-corporeal beings but abstracts unbounded by every physical means possible.

If we are considering the use of The Old Ones then they solo stomp the time lords because their capabilities which include the effortless manipulation of the fabric of existence, are nearly boundless, and they are capable of creating infinitely-layered multiverses that contain an equally infinite number of multiverses within them. The Manifoldverse itself consists of an infinite hierarchy of infinite multiverses, encompassing all forms of mathematics. The Old Ones themselves exist at the top of this endless hierarchy, far beyond the applications of normal space and time, and maybe one with an "Ultimate Manifold", that encompasses all other manifolds in the tapestry of existence. Superior to all physical laws as they can be described, they have a near complete understanding of existence itself, allowing them to modify a few rules governing how the entirety of the verse works, such as likely changing the type of the multiverse, which enables them to create "infinite possibilities for life and mind".

In a nutshell, all other races in the alliance will lose but the Downstreamers (especially The Old Ones) are able to effortlessly stomp the Time Lords because of the sheer and stupendous amount of reality hax the Downstreamers have.

I must point out that acausality doesn't protect one from the weapons Time Lords use to erase things from time. Their tools that do such things interact with time lines as if time lines were contiguous objects, and scrub them from beginning to end. It doesn't change time, it physically removes you at every point of your existence.

How exactly do Downstreamers project force, though? I may not be remembering the 3rd Manifold book, but the original has them as Neutrino Computers that had limited energy to run on. They also caused a FVC to make the multiverse infinite, but the Time Lords can literally turn off FVCs with the tech they have available to them, so that's not really a way to do anything. They interacted with the past using anti-particles, but that's not really useful in this scenario without someone to influence in the past with said anti-particles. And their time portals only went forwards, not backwards AFAIK. Am I remembering the 3rd book wrong, I thought we never actually met them and just assumed they'd turned themselves into apes?

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#36 Posted by LPercepts (531 posts) - - Show Bio
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#37 Posted by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_imperator Okay but the DS can tank multiversal collapse during FVC so Ultimate Sanction would be useless. With you're reasoning it is possible that they will stalemate. I should also mention that the DS is omniscient which would mean they can counter every move the TLs make. They are capable of constructing things out of the very fabric of spacetime, as if it were a physical substance. They are capable of mining gravity as if it were a resource. They can transmit thoughts and intentions through time, alter the genomes of species in the past, and are virtually immortal and indestructible. Btw, I was talking about the Old Ones rather than the pre-FVC DS because the OP has allowed these civilizations to fight at their peak so they wouldn't be neutrino computers but are abstract beings.

Like I said before, the Manifoldverse itself consists of an infinite hierarchy of infinite multiverses, encompassing all forms of mathematics. The Old Ones themselves exist at the top of this endless hierarchy, far beyond the applications of normal space and time, and maybe one with an "Ultimate Manifold", that encompasses all other manifolds in the tapestry of existence. Superior to all physical laws as they can be described, they have a near complete understanding of existence itself, allowing them to modify a few rules governing how the entirety of the verse works, such as likely changing the type of the multiverse, which enables them to create "infinite possibilities for life and mind".

So yes, the TLs can stop FVCs but because we are using the Old Ones and they are at the top of the hierarchy and they can change the laws of physics and how the multiverse works with a thought so the Old Ones stomp.

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#38 Edited by The_Imperator (2275 posts) - - Show Bio

@thejeferd said:

@the_imperator Okay but the DS can tank multiversal collapse during FVC so Ultimate Sanction would be useless. With you're reasoning it is possible that they will stalemate. I should also mention that the DS is omniscient which would mean they can counter every move the TLs make. They are capable of constructing things out of the very fabric of spacetime, as if it were a physical substance. They are capable of mining gravity as if it were a resource. They can transmit thoughts and intentions through time, alter the genomes of species in the past, and are virtually immortal and indestructible. Btw, I was talking about the Old Ones rather than the pre-FVC DS because the OP has allowed these civilizations to fight at their peak so they wouldn't be neutrino computers but are abstract beings.

Like I said before, the Manifoldverse itself consists of an infinite hierarchy of infinite multiverses, encompassing all forms of mathematics. The Old Ones themselves exist at the top of this endless hierarchy, far beyond the applications of normal space and time, and maybe one with an "Ultimate Manifold", that encompasses all other manifolds in the tapestry of existence. Superior to all physical laws as they can be described, they have a near complete understanding of existence itself, allowing them to modify a few rules governing how the entirety of the verse works, such as likely changing the type of the multiverse, which enables them to create "infinite possibilities for life and mind".

So yes, the TLs can stop FVCs but because we are using the Old Ones and they are at the top of the hierarchy and they can change the laws of physics and how the multiverse works with a thought so the Old Ones stomp.

The Downstreamers were omniscient because they could observe everything. However, once you introduce time travel casually into the mix, that method of omniscience becomes much worse. Especially since Time Lords can literally separate chunks or space/time from the rest of existence and store it in things, or even cut out entire space/time continuums and stick them in universal prisons (The latter is a long running plot that started in the audio Axis of Insanity, continued through the long running Gallifrey audio series, and has popped up in recent 10th Doctor comics). Once time lines can be selectively pruned or added into existence, the Downstreamers method of omniscience becomes much harder to utilize. That's on top of the fact that Gallifrey itself (and insides of TARDISes) are separate space/time continuums, and so information from inside them won't necessarily drift to a place the Downstreamers can observe it, meaning they can't be omniscient in regards to the Time Lords.

All those things the DSs can do, Time Lords can too. It's really not that impressive at the level of this battle. Time Lords can also transmits telepathy through space/time (episode Shada, audio Dominion). Time Lords can literally push buttons to alter entire chunks of space/time (or even the whole thing) to be however they want thanks to the Matrix and Eye of Harmony.

Do the Old Ones actually have feats? Which book do they actually show up in?

Do the Old Ones have feats for changing universal constants when competing with other groups that can change and enforce universal constants?

EDIT: Ha, just actually read OP. Omega and Nobody No-One are here? Omega's universe/prison/black hole was literally breaking the entire multiverse the last time he opened it. Nobody No-One basically is a memetic life form that is a "living" idea, and can do anything if someone includes the phrase "nobody can X" or "No one can X"; limiting him by saying things like "Nobody can't live" or such isn't something that works, his powers are voluntary. Heck, Faction Paradox rigs up time line viruses all the time, that rewrite time lines from beginning to end, along said time lines. Their tech works on multi-dimensional life forms too. Oh, and given the Enemy is here, the Enemy is basically anything at any time, because it's simply the process of something being able to fight the Time Lords, so whatever it is at any given moment can change.

One incarnation of the Enemy are living ideas that turn anyone that knows about them into more of themselves, no physical interaction required. Another are magical fairies from a magical universe that can basically ignore physics at will. And another are time traveling bacteria that coalesce and rewrite existence around them so whatever is there is now just part of the concept of "Time Lord enemies."

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#39 Edited by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@darth_wayne @neongamewave @cooldudeachyut @vashtanerda88 @nomar @the_imperator Here are some quotes about the DS:

[Cornelius sat down and visibly tried to be patient. “It’s a sketch of the foundations of a theory of quantum gravity, which is a unification, awaited for a century, of general relativity and quantum theory, the two great pillars of physics.” “I thought we had that. String theory.” “String theory is part of it. But string theory is mathematically dense — after thirty years the theorists have only extracted a handful of predictions from it — and it’s limited besides; it doesn’t incorporate curved space in a natural way. And—”]

Info gained from Children whose brain was inputted with Downstreamers' knowledge. Implied to be Theory of Everything, in which string theory is a part of it. Means one universe, the universe they live in at least follows String theory. Evidence of it being at least 11-dimensional.

[Anna's face worked. "They are considering constraints on the ultimate manifold." Maura suspected that she was going to struggle with the rest of this conversation. "The manifold of what?" "Universes. It is of course a truism that all logically possible universes must exist. The universe, this universe, is described - umm, that's the wrong word - by a formal system. Mathematics. A system of mathematics." Maura frowned. "You mean a Theory of Everything?" Anna waved a hand, as if that were utterly trivial, and her beautiful wings rustled. "But there are many formal systems. Some of them are less rich, some more. But each formal system is logically consistent internally, describes a possible universe, which therefore exists."]

Explains that in infinite ensemble universes, all universes that follow formal systems must already exist. I presume this would automatically include universes with infinite dimensions (Hilbert space), universes that follow string theory, and numerous others. Since all mathematical structures are basically formal systems. That's including Hilbert space which is part of quantum mechanics. If my interpretation is wrong, feel free to correct me.

This multiverse seems to follow Tegmark's cosmology. From wiki : [Abstract mathematics is so general that any Theory Of Everything (TOE) which is definable in purely formal terms (independent of vague human terminology) is also a mathematical structure. For instance, a TOE involving a set of different types of entities (denoted by words, say) and relations between them (denoted by additional words) is nothing but what mathematicians call a set-theoretical model, and one can generally find a formal system that it is a model of.]

Basically, it contains every cosmology conceived by science. Its a 'Mathematical Universe Hypothesis'. Specifically called 'Level IV Multiverse: Ultimate ensemble'. Which could include Tegmark's Level III Multiverse (since it can also be described as a mathematical structure, thus, a formal system) too, which is Many-Worlds Interpretation. In which, Level III Multiverse also have Hilbert space.

So yes, 'infinite dimensional' isn't out of reach for Downstreamers I think. Also Considering they're described to create these universes in the first place. Then redesign the whole multiverse again because it's not good enough for them.

Despite already containing all possible universes, Downstreamers aren't satisfied with their First Multiverse. So they did Vacuum Collapse (as described above) to make new multiverse. This new multiverse contains new configurations not present in First Multiverse (even if said First Multiverse already contained infinite universes with all possible universes). Downstreamers possibly created 'impossible' universes too. Its described as 'creating infinite possibilities for life and mind'.

["But structure and change are not restricted to a single universe. They span the manifold of evolving universes. And so, therefore, does life. Do you see?" "No." "When this universe was spawned from the previous generation, it went through a series of phases. That is, the vacuum did."] Explanation how Vacuum Collapse Downstreamers would do will affect whole manifold, whole multiverse.

["After the Big Bang the vacuum itself descended through a series of energy states. This is the most primitive unfolding of all, the source of the time river, the source of life and mind." ... "You must see what this means. The evolution of the vacuum is a flow of information. But this is a flow that spans the manifold itself, and is therefore fundamental." Anna's eyes searched Maura's. "Life spans the manifold. The vacuum metastability makes you what you are. This is the reason for what we are doing. And this is what you must tell them."]

Explanation how Vacuum affects the whole Multiverse. And how it is the source of all. Time, life, mind. All is a manifestation of vacuum states.

Need to remind you that Vacuum Collapse restructure the whole multiverse, thus would destroy, and restructure 'all possible universes' explained above, which would include universes with infinite dimensions and others.

And Downstreamers survived such disastrous event where all dimensions are destroyed, and rebuilt, possibly with different physical constants no less. Essentially, a complete restructuring of physics, all over the multiverse. All is 'destroyed'. No space, no time, no energy, nothing. And when I mean nothing I mean NOTHING.

Also, that event dictates what physics would govern 'next' universe. How many dimensions it'd have, that sort of thing.

And in their First Multiverse (infinite universes, and already contained all possible configurations/states) there are all kind of weird physics. Like a universe where matter and light are reversed, and a universe with no Electromagnetism. And Downstreamers could already suppress any kind of foreign Laws of Physics in the Multiverse in a given area before their Vacuum Collapse experiment.

[There is a theory that our universe grew from a seed, a tiny piece of very high density material that then inflated into a great volume of spacetime, with planets and stars and galaxies. This was the Big Bang. But perhaps that seed was not unique. Perhaps there is a sea of primordial high density matter- energy - a sea where temperatures and densities and pressures exceed anything in our universe, where physics operates according to different laws - and within this sea universes inflate, one after another, like bubble in foam. These bubble universes would have no connection to each other. Their inhabitants would see only their own bubble, not the foam itself. That is my legend. The Ham's legend is that the Old Ones, created it all.]

A quote from the book. Old Ones refer to Downstreamers. Sea of cosmic inflation. Where a universe is just a bubble in a foam.

Kind of like PR!Beyonder-like in scale. Except in PR!Beyonder's case, a drop of water = entire Marvel multiverse.

Needless to say, Downstreamers can control/initiate cosmic inflation to make universes in some kind of primordial sea. If they are beyond laws of physics or even metaphysical in nature, then they should have no problem being in 'Outerverse' like this.

[Whatever the origin of the Manifold, within it there could be an infinitie number of universes. And in an infinitie ensemble, everything which is logically possible must - somewhere, somehow - come to pass.]

Manifold. Refer to a set of infinite universes. So First Multiverse = First Manifold, Second Multiverse = Second Manifold, etc.

Each Manifold contains (possibly) infinite subsets (only one such subset was described) with each contains infinite universes. Whether this means 1 Manifold = infinite multiverses, I'm not sure.

["There are an infinite number of possible universes in the manifold," Anna said. "Of these only a subset - nevertheless infinite itself - are capable of supporting self-aware substructures.] Explanation on a subset of Multiverse being infinite itself.

[“Malenfant, perhaps there are a cluster of alternate universes with identical histories up to the moment of some key event in the evolution of humanity — and differing after that only in the details of that event, and its consequences.” Nemoto waved her hands vaguely, as if trying to indicate three-dimensional space around her. “Imagine the possible universes arrayed around us in a kind of probability space, Malenfant. Do you see that universes differing only in the details of the evolution of mankind must somehow be close to ours in that graph?”]

[, different levels of the manifold.” “The manifold?” Emma asked. “The ensemble of possible universes,” Cornelius said.]

^More about possible universes.

[I imagine the possible universes arrayed around me in phase space.]

[“A great primordial collision shaped Earth and Moon,” Cornelius murmured “Everything about Earth and Moon – their axial tilt, composition, atmosphere, length of day, even Earth’s orbit around the sun – was determined by the impact. But it might have turned out differently. Small, chance changes in the geometry of the collision would have made a large difference in the outcome. Lots of possible realities, budding off from that key, apocalyptic moment...” Malenfant said, “So what are we looking at? ... “Phase space.” Cornelius seemed coldly excited. “The phase space of a system is the set of all conceivable states of that system. We’re glimpsing phase space.” Malenfant said, “Is this what we were being protected from? This – disorderliness?”]

The existence of 'phase space'. At first glance, it is rather similar to Xeelee's Configuration Space. Whether it also Hilbert-space-like in the structure like CS too I don't know. But it could be likely. An infinite dimensional 'structure' that contains all possible states of a system. In this case, a universe, specifically, Earth's history.

[If a system was comprehensible, then an entity must exist that could comprehend it. Therefore an entity must exist that could comprehend the entire universe, arbitrarily well or rather She must exist, as Babo put it. 'The God of the Manifold,' Manekato said dryly. The catch was that there was a manifold of possible universes, of which this was only one. So She may not exist in this universe.

Anyhow, it - She - was to be the ultimate goal of the Daemons' quest. 'Of course,' Babo said, 'She may actually be an expression of the manifold itself - or perhaps the manifold itself, the greater structure of reality strands, is itself self- referential, in some sense conscious.]

God of Manifold. Described to be outside the universe, but also described to be the very embodiment of manifold itself. If Downstreamers transcend any kind of laws of physics, then it won't be farfetched if they were like Gan of The Dark Tower for example.

Transcend the Manifoldverse but embody said Manifold Omniverse at the same time.

[ - or perhaps the manifold itself, the greater structure of reality strands, is itself self- referential, in some sense conscious. Or perhaps the manifold is itself merely one thread in a greater tapestry -' 'A manifold of manifolds.' 'And perhaps there is a further recursion of structure, no end to the hierarchies of life and mind, which -' Mane held up her hands.]

Speculation how a Manifold = infinite multiverse(s) is merely a thread in a greater tapestry. Or there may not even be an end to said 'greater tapestry'. The description sure has some similarities to DC's Overmonitor. And if 'all possible universes' already include infinite universes with infinite dimensions, universes with string theory etc. Downstreamers' scale is... quite large.

Combined with the possibility of an infinite number of infinite dimensional universes in each manifold, and considering a manifold = a tiny thread in a neverending tapestry, and considering Downstreamers are like the very embodiment of manifold but transcend the manifold omniverse itself...

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#40 Edited by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@darth_wayne @neongamewave @cooldudeachyut @vashtanerda88 @nomar @the_imperator More quotes incoming from (https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/manifold-quotes-thread.279619/)

Manifold: Time "This is what I have learned, Malenfant. This is how it is, how it was, how it came to be. In the afterglow of the Big Bang, humans spread in waves across the universe, sprawling and brawling and dying and evolving. There were wars, there was love, there was life and death. Minds flowed together in great rivers of consciousness, or shattered in sparkling droplets. There was immortality to be had, of a sort, a continuity of identity through replication and confluence across billions upon billions of years. Everywhere they found life. Nowhere did they find mind - save what they brought with them or created - no other against which human advancement could be tested. With time, the stars died like candles. But humans fed on bloated gravitational fat, and achieved a power undreamed of in earlier ages. They learned of other universes from which theirs had evolved. Those earlier, simpler realities too were empty of mind, a branching tree of emptiness reaching deep into the hyperpast. It is impossible to understand what minds of that age - the peak of humankind, a species hundreds of billions of times older than humankind - were like. They did not seek to acquire, not to breed, not even to learn. They had nothing in common with us, their ancestors of the afterglow. Nothing but the will to survive. And even that was to be denied them by time. The universe aged: indifferent, harsh, hostile, and ultimately lethal. There was despair and loneliness. There was an age of war, an obliteration of trillion-year memories, a bonfire of identity. There was an age of suicide, as the finest of humanity chose self-destruction against further purposeless time and struggle. The great rivers of mind guttered and dried. But some persisted: just a tributary, the stubborn, still unwilling to yield to the darkness, to accept the increasing confines of a universe growing inexorably old. And, at last, they realized that this was wrong. It wasn't supposed to have been like this. Burning the last of the universe's resources, the final downstreamers - dogged, all but insane - reached to the deepest past. And - oh. Watch the Moon, Malenfant. Watch the Moon. It's starting-"

A brief description of original DS.

Manifold Time - The siblings found new ways to control the firefly robots. They had begun to send firefly robots to explore the asteroid, places neither Sheena 5 nor even Sheena 6 had seen. They signed pictures to each other Sheena 6 couldn't recognize: great starburst explosions, squid writhing and dying. It seemed they had found something on the far side of the asteroid. Something strange. They would not discuss it with her. When she sent a firefly robot crawling over there to investigate, they turned it around and sent it back. The siblings took to wearing sigils on their chromatophore-rich hides. Bright circles. Dan told her they were blue. -

The offspring of genetically engineered squid are also being modified with super intelligence by the Downstreamers, possibly signifying that this phenomenon affects every intelligent lifeform in the universe (remember, humanity is alone in this universe, the genetically engineered squid are the only other sapient beings at this point in the timeline).

Manifold: Time -

It was an arc, bright blue. It seemed utterly smooth, geometrically pure. It stretched from one side of the frame to the other, obviously artificial.

...

"Holy shit," Malenfant said. "It's an artifact, isn't it?"

"That," Cornelius said, "is what our AWOL squid have dug out on Cruithne. What you see is only part of the structure. After sending this the firefly was turned back. I can show you an image of the whole thing." He tapped at his softscreen. "Taken from the ground, however. Distressingly remote, blurred."

...

Standing in a pit, deep and neatly round, there was a structure. It was a blue circle. Overenlarged, it was just a ring of blocky pixels. It was obviously the extension of the arc the firefly had approached. She had no way of gauging its size. There were squid habs clustered around the circle, golden splashes, not touching it directly. Within the circle itself there was only darkness.

"It's about thirty feet tall. We tried bouncing radar and laser signals off the artifact. It doesn't have the same reflective properties as the rest of the asteroid. In fact we don't seem to be getting any radar echo at all. It's hard to be definitive. The clutter from the surrounding surface-"

Malenfant said, "So what does that mean?"

"Maybe it's perfectly absorbent. Or maybe it's a hole."

Malenfant frowned. "A hole? What kind of hole?"

"An infinitely deep one." Cornelius smiled. "We're looking for a better explanation. We've also detected other anomalies. Radiation, high-energy stuff. Some oddities, pions and positrons. We think there must be high-energy processes going on there."He shrugged. "It doesn't seem to reflect light. That blue glow comes from the substance itself. It has no spectral lines. Just a broad-spectrum glow."

Emma shook her head. "I don't understand."

"If it were made of atoms," he said patiently, "any kind of atoms, it would emit precise frequencies, because the electrons in atoms jump between quantized energy levels."

"So this isn't made of atoms," Dan said, wondering.

-

Basic description of the Downstreamer time portal.

Manifold: Time - (a lot of stuff here, so I'll be abridging more to remove irrelevant/redundant dialogue and description. Page transitions will be indicated.)

"We papered the walls with softscreens. Not quite immersive VR. Much of the imagery comes directly from the various camera feeds we're managing to operate up there. The rest is software extrapolation."

...

"An hour ago this happened." He tapped at a desk surface.

...

Malenfant said, "That's our robot?"

"No. Not ours. Just watch."

...

"It's a squid," Emma said.

...

"Watch what happens now."

The firefly, with a neat pulse of microrockets, leapt through the portal. It was briefly dwarfed by the great blue circle. Then it disappeared; Emma glimpsed a red flash. The cables that trailed back to the beach ball oscillated, but they did not grow slack. The golden beach ball sat on the surface, quivering.

... (page 191)

"Where did the firefly go? Did it come out the other side of the hoop?"

"We think so," Cornelius said. "But the other side doesn't seem to be on Cruithne."

There was a long silence. The squid in the golden beach ball jetted back and forth, patient. Then the cables grew taut again and began dragging the beach ball forward. Watching the cables disappear into the artifact, apparently not connected to anything, was eerie. It took just seconds for the beach ball to complete its series of awkward, slow bounces to the blue circle. Then, after a single liquid impact with the blue circle itself, the beach ball shimmered through the hoop. As the curved golden wall hit the dark disc, it seemed to flatten out, Emma thought, quickly reddening to darkness. At last the beach ball was squashed to an ellipse, dimmed to a sunset glimmer. Then it was gone, not a trace remaining.

...

"A radio signal," Cornelius said. "Very high intensity. Coming from the artifact. I cleaned it up, and got this."

It was a TV image of a squid: coarse, the colors distorted, in golden gloom. She was repeating a simple sign, over and over."She's saying reef," Cornelius said.

...

"She used a camera in her hab bubble to send back that message. But she's... somewhere else. I suspect we're dealing with an Einstein-Rosen bridge here."

"A what?"

"A multiply connected space." He waved his hands. "A bridge (page 192) between two points in space and time, otherwise separated. Or maybe even between two different spacetimes altogether, different levels of the manifold."

"The manifold?" Emma asked.

"The ensemble of possible universes," Cornelius said. He took his softscreen and folded it over, pinching two places together with thumb and forefinger. "You must be familiar with the principle. If I take this flat space, two-dimensional, and fold it over in the third dimension, I can connect two points otherwise far separated. And the point where they meet, the place between my thumb and finger, is a circle, a flat place."

"So if you fold over our three-D space in four dimensions-"

"The interface you get is three-dimensional. A box of some kind, where the two spaces touch."

"You're talking about a wormhole," Malenfant said.

Cornelius said seriously, "A wormhole is only one possibility. An Einstein-Rosen bridge is a generic term for any such interface, which is Lorentzian. That is, it transforms like special relativity-"

Malenfant snapped, "I thought you needed a lot of energy to make a wormhole. Funny physics."

Cornelius sighed. "You do indeed. To keep their throats open, wormholes have to be threaded with exotic matter." He looked at them. "That means negative energy density. Antigravity."

"I didn't see any antigravity machines out there on the asteroid," Emma said.

Cornelius shook his head. "You don't understand. General relativity is barely a century old. We haven't even observed a black hole directly yet. And we believe that relativity is only a partial description of reality anyhow. We have no idea how a sufficiently advanced society might set up an Einstein-Rosen bridge: what it might look like, how it might behave. For example, it's possible the ring itself contains something like cosmic string. Channels of unified-force energy. Very massive, very powerful gravity fields."

"How could you manipulate such stuff?" Emma asked.

"I don't know." He smiled.

"How that thing works is less important right now than what it does," Malenfant said. "If the ring is some kind of wormhole, a gateway to somewhere else-"

(page 193)

"Or somewhen."

"Then the Sheena isn't dead. And if she stepped through that gateway, she can step back again. Right?"

Cornelius shook his head. "We think this particular bridge is one-way. That's theoretically possible. The Kerr-Newman singularity, for instance-"

Emma faced him. "Why do you think our portal is one-way?"

"Because we can't see through it. Because light falling on it, even sunlight, is absorbed completely." He gazed at her. "Emma, if it was two-way, we'd be able to see Sheena. Wherever she is."

... (page 194)

The robot, autonomous, moved forward once more. The portal surface loomed larger, the blue ring at its boundary passing out of the image, only a thin dusting of Cruithne regolith at the base of the image giving any sense of motion. There was a blue flash. Then darkness.

...

The image broke up into static, restabilized. Emma felt bewildered. "Has the firefly gone through?"

"We lost a couple of systems," Cornelius said.

"Overloads, I think..."

... (page 195)

There were no stars in the sky. Suddenly a bright yellow light washed over the regolith, drowning the firefly's feeble glow.

...

"I just turned on the floods. We can't see into the portal, but we can fire light beams through from the other side."

...

"It looks like Cruithne.

"I think we are still on Cruithne. Or a version of Cruithne. The firefly has a gravimeter, and instruments to study the surface material. The data's patchy. But the composition looks the same as Cruithne's, at first glance. The gravity strength is actually a little down, however."

"What does that mean?"

"Cruithne has lost a little mass."

"How?"

Cornelius just glared. A blue ring scanned slowly into the picture. Its interior was shining, bright, and yellow.

"The portal," Cornelius said. "That light is our flood, shining through. In fact when the sun comes up on our side, the sunlight should reach the far side-"

"If this is Cruithne," Malenfant said, "where the hell are we? The far side, the pole?"

"You don't understand," Cornelius whispered.

The firefly was moving its own small spotlights. The glowing ellipses spread across the regolith and fell on the portal. Malenfant grabbed a softscreen and began flicking through camera angles. "If it is possible to get back through that portal-"

(page 196)

"We should be able to see the firefly's glow, coming back through this side," Cornelius said. "Good thinking."

...

The portal stayed dark. Emma stared hard, hoping to see a twinkling glow, like a flashlight shone out of a dark pit. There was nothing.

"Damn it, Cornelius," Emma snapped. "This means the Sheena won't be able to get back. Doesn't it?"

He seemed surprised by her anger. "But we knew that already. This just reinforces the hypothesis."

...

"If the firefly's light isn't making it back," Malenfant said, "how come its radio signal is?"

"I don't think it is. I think the portal - the far end - is picking up the firefly's transmissions and rebroadcasting them, maybe through some kind of Feynman radio. And I think the portal on our end is picking up the Feynman stuff, and transmitting it again as radio signals, which we can pick up."

...

"What kind of Feynman radio? Neutrinos?"

"There is a higher neutrino flux coming from the portal since we started this," Cornelius said. "But I'm guessing. We're dealing with capabilities far beyond our own."

-

More on the Downstreamer time portal. This particular portal being one-way from past to future has led to a downplay claiming that the Downstreamers can't travel into the past, which is obvious nonsense. Cornelius just says that this particular portal is one-way, and the Downstreamers had to send it back in time in the first place, as well as place it in the asteroid and move the asteroid to that peculiar orbit around Earth. Obviously, they can travel through time both ways, as will be further proven later.

Manifold: Time -

[continuing from page 196] A crater came into the field of view: so vast and deep only its near rim, high and sharp, was visible. "Look at that," Malenfant said. "It must be a mile across. That isn't on our Cruithne."

"Not yet," Cornelius murmured.

"Not yet? You think the Sheena has gone into the future? Is that what you're saying?"

"Think about it. If there had been a crater like that on Cruithne in the past, what could have erased it?"

"How far in the future?"

(page 197)

"I've no way of telling," Cornelius said. "There's no sign of residual radioactivity from that crater. If it was caused by a nuclear weapon the detonation must have been ten, a hundred thousand years ago."

"A hundred thousand years?"

"That's the minimum. The maximum..." He checked another datum. "The firefly is carrying thermocouples. I programmed it to check the background radiation temperature of the universe. The cooling glow of the Big Bang... I can't see a change within the tolerance of the equipment from the present value, three degrees above absolute."

"What does that mean?"

"Hard to say. We've gone forward less than a billion years, perhaps."

Emma said, "My God, Cornelius. You expected this. You were prepared to track giant jumps in time by measuring changes in the temperature of the universe?"

"I didn't know what we would find. I didn't want to rule out anything."

"How can you think that way?"

He smiled slyly. "I'm an obsessive. You know me, Emma." He tapped his forehead.

... (page 198)

At Cornelius' command, the firefly's camera swiveled away from the beach ball and tipped up toward the sky, the way the Sheena was looking. A ceiling of curdled light filled the camera's frame.

"Shit," Malenfant said. "No wonder there were no stars..."

Emma found herself starting at a Galaxy.

...

"So, a Galaxy," Malenfant said. "Our galaxy?"

"I think so," Cornelius said. "Four spiral arms... It matches radio maps I've seen. I'd say our viewpoint is a quarter of a galactic diameter away from the plane of the disc. Which is to say, maybe twenty-five thousand light-years away. Our sun is in one of the spiral arms, about a quarter of the way from the center."

"How did we get here?"

"I'd guess that Cruithne evaporated out of the Solar System."

"Evaporated?"

"It suffered a slingshot encounter, probably with Jupiter, that hurled it out of the system. Happens all the time. If it left at solar escape velocity, which is around a three-thousandth of light speed-"

Emma worked it out first. "Seventy-five million years," she (page 199) said, wondering. "We're looking at images from seventy-five million years into the future. That's how long it took that damn asteroid to wander out here.

Cornelius said, "Of course if that isn't our galaxy, then all bets are off..."

...

"See those blisters? The e-systems are telling me they are bubbles of hot plasma, hundreds of light-years across, scraped out by supernova explosions. The supernova shock waves enrich the medium with heavy molecules - carbon, oxygen, iron - manufactured inside the stars, and each one kicks off another wave of star formation.

... (page 200)

"There's something not right. I - the e-systems - don't think there are enough supernovae. In our time the hot plasma bubbles should make up around seventy percent of the interstellar medium... That looks a lot less than seventy percent to me. I can run an algorithm to check-"

"What," Malenfant said evenly, "could be reducing the number of supernovae?"

Cornelius was grinning at him.

Emma looked from one to the other. "What is it? I don't understand."

"Life," Malenfant said. "Life, Emma." He punched the air. "I knew it. We made it, Emma. That's what the supernova numbers are telling us. We made it through the Carter catastrophe, got off the Earth, covered the Galaxy."

"And," Cornelius said, "we've started farming the stars. Remarkable. Mind has spread across the stars. And just as we are already managing the evolution of life on Earth, so in this future time we will manage the greater evolution of the Galaxy. Like a giant life-support system. Closed loops, on a galactic scale..."

...

"If this is intelligence," Emma said, "how do you know it's human?"

"What else could it be?"

"He is right," Cornelius said. "We seem to be surrounded by a great emptiness. The nearest handful of sunlike stars shows no signs of civilization-produced radio emissions. The Solar System appears to be primordial in the sense that it shows no signs of the great engineering projects we can already envisage: for example, Venus and Mars have not been terraformed. The face of the Moon appears to have been essentially untouched since the end of the great bombardment four billion years ago. Even if They are long gone, surely we should see Their (page 201) mighty ruins, all around us. But we don't. Like an ant crawling around a Los Angeles swimming pool, we might have no idea what Their great structures are for, but we would surely recognize them as artificial."

Malenfant said, "Today, there's just us; in the future, somebody spreads across the Galaxy. Who else but us? Anyhow seventy-five megayears is more than you need to cover the Galaxy. You know, we should look farther out. Another few megayears for the biosphere to reach Andromeda, three million light-years away-"

Cornelius said, "The nearest large Galaxy cluster is the Virgo Cluster. Sixty million light-years out. It's plausible that the biosphere might have reached that far by now."

The first time jump, 75 million years into the future, and explaining how the Downstreamers are farming the galaxy and stabilizing stars to prevent them from going supernova.

Manifold: Time -

But they could see that the beach ball was rolling across the surface toward the portal. Emma said "She's going to come back through."

"You don't understand," Cornelius said tightly. "She won't come back anywhere. The portal isn't two-way."

"So if she steps through, she will go-"

"Somewhere else."

... (page 203)

Another flash of blue light. And- And nothingness. The darkness before Emma was evenmore profound than the intergalactic night.

...

"Everything's working," Cornelius said evenly. "We're actually retrieving an image. And I'm picking up other telemetry. That is what the firefly is seeing."

...

"I'll try. But I don't think we can communicate with the firefly any more. It's passed through the portal again, remember, so it must have crossed a second Einstein-Rosen bridge. There's no longer a line of sight connecting us. The communication is one-way now, through the Feynman radio-"

"Then what do we do?"

Cornelius shrugged. "We wait. The firefly has onboard autonomy. It's programmed to investigate its own situation, to return what data it can."

...

"Cruithne looks older," Emma said. The firefly was panning its camera across an empty landscape; the shadows streamed away. "Those craters are eroded flat, like saucers."

Malenfant said, "Micrometeorite impacts?"

(page 204)

"It's possible," Cornelius said. "But the micrometeorite sandblasting must be slow. I assume we're still out in intergalactic space. Matter's pretty thin out here."

"How slow?"

Cornelius sighed. "I'd say we're farther into the future by several orders of magnitude compared to the last stop."

...

"The firefly's panning upward," Malenfant said. "Come on..."

And a new image resolved. "Oh, my," he said.

At first Emma could make out only a diffuse red wash. Perhaps there was a slightly brighter central patch. It was surrounded by a blood-covered river of light, studded here and there by dim yellow sparkles.

... (page 205)

"We switched to the infrared detectors." The picture abruptly became much brighter - a wash of white and pale pink - but much more blurred - in some ways more difficult to see. Cornelius labored at his softscreens, trying to clean up the image. Emma made out that great central glow, now brightened to a pink- white ball. It was embedded in a diffuse cloud; she thought she could see ribbons, streamers in the cloud, as if material were being dragged into that pink maw at the center. The core and its orbiting cloud seemed to be embedded in a ragged disc, a thing of tatters and streamers of gas. Emma could make out no structure in the disc, no trace of spiral arms, no lanes of light and darkness. But there were blisters, knots of greater and lesser density, like supernova blisters, and there was that chain of brighter light points - yellow before, now picked out as bright blue by the enhancement routines - studded at regular intervals around the disc. Filaments seemed to reach in from the brighter points toward the bloated central mass.

"It looks like a Galaxy," Malenfant said.

Emma saw he was right. It was like a caricature of the Galaxy she had watched just minutes before. But that central mound was much more pronounced than the Galaxy's core had been, as if it were a tumor that had grown, eating out this cosmic wreck from the inside.

...

"It probably is a Galaxy. But extremely old. Much older than our galaxy is at present - even than when we saw it at the Sheena's last stop-"

Malenfant said, "Is it the Galaxy? Our Galaxy?"

"I don't know," Cornelius said. "Probably. Perhaps Cruithne entered some wide orbit around the center. Or Cruithne might have had time to reach another Galaxy. There's no way of knowing."

"If that's our Galaxy," Emma said, "what happened to all the stars?"

"They're dying," Cornelius said bluntly. "Look - all stars die. (page 206) Our sun is maybe halfway through its life. In five billion years it will become a red giant, five hundred times its present size. The inner planets will be destroyed. The sun will span the sky, and Earth will be baked, the land hot enough to melt lead..."

"But there will be other stars," Emma said.

"The Galaxy reef."

"Yes. And the smallest, longest-lived dwarfs can last for maybe a hundred billion years, a lot longer than the sun. But the interstellar medium is a finite resource. Sooner or later there will be no more new stars. And eventually, one by one, all the stars will die. All that will remain will be stellar remnants, neutron stars and black holes and white dwarfs, slowly cooling."

...

"And then, this." Cornelius pointed. "The wreck of the galaxy. Some of the dying stars have evaporated out of the Galaxy. The rest are collapsing into great black holes - the blisters you see in the disc. That central mass is the giant black hole at the core. Even in our time it has around a million times the mass of the sun. And it's growing, as star remnants fall into it. You see the way the matter streams are straight, not twisted? That means the central hole isn't rotating. Wait."

"What now?"

"The firefly is returning the relic temperature. Th Big Bang glow. Well, well. It's down to one percent of one degree above absolute zero. A little chilly."

"What does that mean?"

"It means I know where we are. Or rather, when. The universal temperature is declining as the two-thirds power of time." He hesitated, and when he spoke again, even he sounded awed. "The data is chancy. But the consensus of my software colleagues here is that we're around ten to power fourteen years into the future."

... (page 207)

"So this is the end," Emma said. "The end of life."

"Oh, no." Cornelius sounded surprised. "Not at all." He pointed to the clusters of brighter light around the rim of the galactic corpse. "These seem to be normal stars: small, uniform, but still glowing in the visible spectrum."

"How is that possible?" Malenfant said. "I thought you said all the star stuff was used up."

"So it is, by natural processes," said Cornelius.

"Oh. So these stars can't be natural."

"That's right." Cornelius turned to Emma, his pale eyes shining. "You see? Somebody must be gathering the remnant medium, forming artificial birthing clouds. Somebody is still gardening the Galaxy, even so far downstream. Isn't it wonderful?"

"Wonderful? The wreck of the galaxy?"

"Not that. The existence of downstreamers. And they still need stars and planets, and warmth and light. They are still like us, these descendants of ours. Maybe they even remember us." He rubbed his face. "But those stars are small and cold. Designed for longevity. Their worlds must be huddled close - probably gravitationally locked, keeping one face in the light, one in the dark."

"Good God, Cornelius," Malenfant said. "That's a lot to deduce from one smudgy image."

"I've been thinking about this all my life," Cornelius said. "Plotting the survival of humandkind - of intelligent life, into the far future. Mind games played against an unyielding opponent - time - with the laws of physics as the rules. And the further downstream we look, the more we are constrained by the laws of physics. The future has to be like this."

The second time jump, 100 trillion years into the future. The Downstreamers of this period is creating artificial stars and engineering star systems after all the natural stars have died out.

Manifold: Time, continuing from page 208 (same considerations as above apply)]The image of the portal expanded out of the camera's field of view, and once more that deep black, blacker than galactic night, confronted Emma. There was a flash of electric blue. Another black sky, another Cruithne.

...

Emma would not have believed that the ground of Cruithne could look any more aged than it had before. And yet it did, its craters and ridges and scarps all but invisible under a thick blanket of dust. As the firefly labored Emma could see how its pitons and cables kicked up great sprays of regolith. The three of them watched in somber silence, oppressed by time's weight.

"How long, Cornelius?" Malenfant asked, his voice hoarse.

Cornelius was studying his data. "I don't know. The relic temperature is too low to read. And..."

And there was a dawn, on far-downstream Cruithne. Emma gasped. The sight was as unexpected as it was beautiful: a point of yellow-white light, sunlike.

...

It was so bright it seemed to Emma she could feel its warmth, and she wondered if somehow this long journey through time had looped back on itself, returning her to the dawn of time, the birth of the Solar System itself. But, she quickly realized, this was no sunrise.

(page 209)

A glaring point was surrounded by a tilted disc, glowing red, within which she could trace a tight spiral pattern. And there seemed to be lines of light tracing out from the poles of that central gleam, needle-thin. Farther out she saw discs and knots of dull red matter, much smaller than the big bright core object. The central light actually cast shadows through the crowded space around it, she saw, shadows that - if this was a galactic-scale object - must have been thousands of light-years long. It was oddly beautiful, a sculpture of light and bloodred smoke. But it was chilling, inhuman, even compared to the last grisly galactic vision; there was nothing she could recognize here, nothing that looked like a star.

"Our Galaxy?" Malenfant asked.

Cornelius studied his data. "Perhaps. If it is, it's extremely shrunken. And I'm seeing objects away from the disc itself now: a scattering of low-energy infrared sources, all around the sky. Stellar remnants, I think."

Malenfant said grimly, "What you said. Evaporated stars, right?"

"Yes." Cornelius studied the screen. "At a guess, I'd say ninety percent of the objects in the galaxy have evaporated away, and maybe ten percent are gathering in the core object."

"The black hole. That's what we're seeing."

"Yes. We've come a long way, Malenfant, and our strides are increasing. These processes are slow..."

... (page 210)

"The light we see is coming from that central accretion disc, where matter is falling into the black hole and being absorbed. Intensely bright, of course; probably more energetic than the combined fusion energy of all of the Galaxy's stars in their heyday. The hole itself is probably a few light-months across. Those beams coming from the poles - perhaps they are plasma directed by the magnetic field of the disc, or maybe the hole itself. Like a miniature quasar." He frowned. "But that's wasteful. It's hard to believe they don't have a way to harness that radiant energy. Perhaps they're signaling -"

"Wasteful?" Malenfant snapped. "What are you talking about, Cornelius? Wasteful to who?"

"The downstreamers, of course," Cornelius said. "The downstreamers of this era. Can't you see them?" Cornelius froze the camera's shuddering image. "Can't you see? Look at these smaller satellite holes. Look how uniform their size is, how regular the spacing."

"You're saying this arrangement of black holes is artificial," Emma said.

"Why, of course it is. I suspect the downstreamers are using the smaller holes to control the flow of matter into the central hole. They must be regulating every aspect of this assemblage: the size of the satellite holes, the rate at which they approach the central core. I think the downstreamers are mining the Galaxy-core black hole of its energy."

"Mining? How?"

He shrugged. "There are a whole slew of ways even we can dream up. If you coalesce two black holes, you get a single, larger hole - with an event horizon ringing like a bell - but you also get a monumental release of gravitational energy. Much of a spinning hole's energy is stored in a great tornadolike swirl of space and time, dragged around by the hole's immense inertia. You could tap this energy by enclosing the hole in a great mesh of superconducting cables. Then you could thread the tornado swirl with a magnetic field, to form a giant electrical power generator. Or you can just throw matter into the central hole, feeding off the radiation as it is crushed... No doubt there are better ways. They've had a long time to work it out."

"How long?"

(page 211)

Cornelius tapped his softscreen. "A guess, based on the nature of that black hole? Ten to the power twenty-four years: a trillion trillion years. Ten billion times as old as the last images we saw, the age of the star farmers."

...

"The universe must have expanded to, umm, around ten thousand trillion times its size in our day."

...

"We are the first, the only intelligence in the universe. We have no objective, save endurance: nothing to do but survive, as long as we can.

(page 212)

And in fact this era may be the peak, when we learn to tap these giant energy sources, the greatest in the universe, sources so great they outshine our fusion-driven stars as if they were candles."

"The manhood of the race," Emma said dryly.

"Perhaps. And-"

"And are they like us?" Emma asked.

"What does it matter? Your thinking is so small. Modern humans could never handle such projects as this. We can't imagine how it is to be such a creature, to think in such a way. Perhaps there is no real comparison between them and us, no contact possible. But it does not matter. They are magnificent."

The third time jump, one septillion years into the future. No more stars, the Downstreamers are creating and mining energy from black holes.

Manifold: Time -

This time the golden beach ball was visible as soon as the firefly emerged from the blue flash of transition. The beach ball was standing on a smooth, featureless plain, square in the middle of the softscreen. An arc of the portal was visible beside the beach ball, a bright blue stripe. The sky was dark. The black hole rose had disappeared. The only light falling on the beach ball seemed to be the glow of the firefly's dimming floods. The belt of horizon Emma could see looked like a perfect circular span, unmarked by ridges or craters. Emma watched the Cruithne landscape slide past the firefly's panning camera lens. Its smoothness was unnerving, unnatural. She felt no awe, no wonder, only a vague irritation.

"That damn asteroid has taken a beating," Malenfant said. "Look at that mother. Smooth as a baby's butt-"

"You don't understand," Cornelius said testily. "I - or rather my electronic friends - think there's more than simple erosion here. The gravimeters on the firefly are telling me the morphology of Cruithne has changed. I mean, the asteroid's shape has changed. Out here in the dark, it has flowed into a sphere."

Malenfant said, "A sphere? How the hell?"

"I think this is liquefaction. If that's so, it means that proton decay lifetimes must exceed ten to the power sixty-four years - and that means-"

"Whoa, whoa." Malenfant held up his hands. "Liquefaction? You're saying the asteroid flowed like a liquid? How? Did it heat up, melt?"

"No. What is there to heat it up?"

"What, then?"

"Malenfant, over enough time, the most solid matter will behave like a very viscous liquid. All solid objects flow. It is a manifestation of quantum mechanical tunneling that-"

Malenfant said, "I don't believe it."

"You're seeing it," Cornelius said tightly. "Malenfant, the far future is not the world you grew up in. Marginal processes can come to dominate, if they're persistent, over long enough time scales."

(page 215)

"How long?" Malenfant snapped.

Cornelius checked his softscreen. "A minimum of ten to power sixty-five years."

...

Malenfant pointed. "What the hell is that?" It was a blur of grey-red light in an otherwise empty sky. The firefly switched to infrared, and Cornelius cleaned up the image. Emma saw a rough sphere, a halo of motes of dim light that hovered, motionless, around- Around what? It was a ball of darkness, somehow darker even than the background sky. It looked about the size of the sun, seen from Earth; the motes were like dimly glowing satellites closely orbiting a black planet. Cornelius sounded excited. "My God. Look at this." He magnified the image, picking out a point on the rim of the central ball, enhancing as he went. Emma saw rings of red light running around the rim, parallel to the surface.

"What is it?"

"Gravitational lensing. Bent light. That means... It must be..." He scrolled through expert system interpretations, speed-reading. "We're looking at a black hole. A giant. This is probably the remnant of a supercluster. Just as what's left of a Galaxy after star evaporation collapses into the central hole, so galactic clusters will collapse in turn, and then the superclusters. That hole might have a mass of anything from a hundred trillion to a hundred thousand trillion solar masses, an event-horizon radius measured in hundreds of light-years."

"I don't understand," said Emma. "Where did the Galaxy go?"

"Our Galaxy hole was surely carried to the heart of the local galactic cluster black hole, and then the supercluster."

"And we were dragged along with it."

"If it's a hole it has no accretion disc," Malenfant said.

"Malenfant, this thing is ancient. It ate up everything a hell of a long time ago."

(page 216)

"So how come those motes haven't been dragged down?" Malenfant said.

"Life," Emma said. "Even now. Feeding off the great black holes. Right?"

"Maybe," Cornelius said, grimly. "Maybe. But if so they aren't doing enough. Even gravity mines can be exhausted.

"Hawking radiation," Malenfant said.

"Yes. Black holes evaporate. The smaller the hole, the faster they decay. Solar mass holes must have vanished already. In their last seconds they become energetic, you know. Go off with a bang, like a nuke." He smiled, looking tired. "The universe can still produce occasional fireworks, even this far downstream. But ultimately even this, the largest natural black hole, is going to evaporate away. What are the downstreamers going to do then? They should be planning now, working. There will be a race between the gathering and management of energy sources and the dissipative effects of the universe's general decay."

- The fourth time jump, 10^65 years into the future. The Downstreamers are mining energy from the black hole created from the collapse of the Virgo galactic supercluster.

Manifold: Time, continuing from page 216 (same considerations as above apply)]"Onward," Emma whispered. Another transition, another blue flash. The camera performed a panorama, panning through a full three hundred and sixty degrees. The portal, a glaring blue ring still embedded in the asteroid ground, slid silently across the (page 217) softscreen. There was Sheena's bubble, resting on the surface, lit only by the robot's lights and by the soft blue glow of the portal itself.

...

The camera tipped up, away from the asteroid, and the softscreen filled up with black sky. At first Emma saw only darkness, unrelieved. But then she made out the faintest of patterns: charcoal grey on black, almost beyond her ability to resolve, a pattern of neat regular triangles covering the screen. When she blinked, she lost it. But then she made out the pattern again. Abruptly it blurred, tilted, and panned across the screen. Now the triangles showed up pinkish white, very blurred but regular, a net of washed-out color that filled space.

"The firefly is using false color," Cornelius said. The pattern slid across the screen jerkily as the remote firefly panned its camera. And beyond the net Emma saw a greenish surface, smoothly curved, as if the netting contained something.

"It must cut the universe in half," Emma said. More of the framework slid through the screen, blurring as the camera's speed outstripped the software's ability to process the image.

"It looks like a giant geodesic dome," Malenfant said.

Cornelius said, "I think it is a dome. Or rather, a sphere. Hundreds of thousands of light-years wide. A net. And there's only one thing worth collecting, this far downstream." he pointed to the complex, textured curtain of greenish light visible through the interstices of the dome. "Look at that. I think we're seeing black hole event horizons in there. Giant holes, galactic supercluster mass and above. They are orbiting each other, their event horizons distorting. I think the holes have been gathered in there, deliberately. They are being merged, in a hierarchy of (page 218) more and more massive holes. I imagine by now the downstreamers can manage hole coalescence without significant energy loss."

"How the hell do you move a black hole? Attach a tow rope?"

Cornelius shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe you use Hawking radiation as a rocket. The details hardly matter. The dome seems to be an energy collector. Like a Dyson sphere. Anything still alive must be living on those struts, feeding off the last free energy: the slow Hawking radiation of the black holes. But it's a damn thin trickle." He glanced at his softscreen. "We can postulate theories for survival. Maybe they eke out their dilute resources by submitting to long downtimes: hibernation, slow computation rates, stretching an hour of awareness across a million years..."

Perhaps, Emma thought. Or perhaps they are conscious continually even now, in this ruin of a universe. Frozen into their black hole cage, unable to move, trapped like Judas in the lowest circle of Hell.

Cornelius said, "It may seem strange to you how much we can anticipate of this remote time. But the downstreamers are walled in by physical law. And we know they will have to manage their black hole resources. The supercluster holes are the largest to have formed in nature, with masses of maybe a hundred trillion suns. But even they are evaporating away."

"So they have to harvest the holes. If you combine two holes you get a more massive hole-"

"Which will be cooler." Malenfant nodded. "It will evaporate more slowly. So you can stretch out its lifetime."

"They're probably coalescing holes in hierarchies all over the reachable universe. This site, immense as it is, might be just a rung on the ladder. The engineering details are tricky. You have to bring the holes together fast enough that they don't evaporate away before you've harvested them. On the other hand it mustn't be so rapid that you form a hole so huge it evaporates too slowly and you are starved of usable energy... Remarkable," Cornelius breathed, staring at the dim, ghostly images. "To think that mind has now encompassed the universe - that the future evolution of the universe actually depends on conscious choices - made by our descendants." Cooperation, Emma thought, spanning a universe, projects (page 219) lasting millions, even billions of years. Whatever these people have become, she thought, they are not human.

...

Across a broad circular region the geodesic network was disrupted. It looked as if some immense fist had punched through it from the inside, ripping and twisting at the struts. The tips of the damaged struts were glowing a little brighter than the rest of the network; perhaps there was some form of repair effort under way. And beyond the damaged network she could see the event horizons of giant coalescing black holes - each, perhaps, the mass, the mass of a supercluster of galaxies or more - the horizons distorted, great frozen waves light-years long visible in their cold surfaces.

"What do you think?" Emma said. "Some kind of breakdown?"

"Or war," Malenfant said.

"War? Here, so far downstream? That's insane."

"Maybe not," said Cornelius. "These people have responsibility for the whole of the future. They are managing the last of the universe's energy resources. With responsibility comes tension, disagreement. Conflict."

Malenfant said, "To have come so far, to see this. How depressing."

"No," Cornelius said irritably. "We have no idea what kind of minds inhabit these giant structures. They may inhabit hierarchies of consciousness far above us. Their motivations are probably so far removed from our own that we can't even guess at them-"

"Maybe." Malenfant growled. "But I'm just a poor H Sap. And if I lived in that dome, I'd want to survive, no matter how huge my brain was. And it seems to me they are doing a damn poor job."

Reluctantly, Emma asked, "How far have we come?"

...

"Suppose we've taken another scale-factor jump downstream of the same size as last time. That puts us at around ten to power one hundred years remote."

... (page 220)

"And the immensity of the responsibility. We have to spread across the universe, make it possible for human descendants of the far downstream to have the power to do this, to survive the winter as long as possible. Because this is the last refuge."

"But this is a process without limit." Malenfant frowned. "This is a strategy that offers the prospect of eternal life, doesn't it?"

"No," Cornelius said sadly. "At least we don't think so. There's a paradox. You have to have some kind of framework, a structure to gather your energy, house your souls."

"The Disneyland sphere."

"Yes. The structure grows with time. And even if matter is stable, which it may not be, the structure has to be upgraded, repaired. The maintenance requirements go up with time, because the structure is getting bigger, but the energy available is going down with time. It's a squeeze, Malenfant. And it isn't possible to win. This black hole management policy is a good idea - the last, best idea - but in the end, it's doomed to fail."

The fifth time jump, to 10^100 years into the future. They view a Downstreamer gravity mine, one of the precursors to The City that would be built later. It's collecting energy from multiple supercluster-scale black holes being merged together. There have been wars damaging it, but it's being repaired. It also explains how the fact that the Downstreamers of this future era think so slowly is not a weakness, rather a choice they make in order to conserve energy.

Manifold: Time - Once more, emptiness. A piton, trailing a tether, was drifting across the field of view. The little gadgets were lit up brightly by the firefly's floods, a brightness that only contrasted with the illimitable darkness beyond.

Malenfant growled, "So why can't we see the asteroid?"

"Because we aren't on a solid surface. The firefly's accelerometers show it is rolling, tumbling in space."

Now there was something new in the frame, beyond the writhing tether. It was a blue circle, suspended in the darkness, glowing bright, turning slowly.

...

Malenfant asked, "So what happened to the asteroid?"

"Proton decay," Cornelius said immediately. "I've been expecting this." He checked his expert systems for details. "There are three quarks inside a proton, you know; if you wait long enough you'll see them come together to form a miniature black hole that immediately explodes... Well. The details of the mechanism don't matter."

"Are you saying that matter itself is unstable?"

"On the longest time scales, yes. But it's slow. The fact that you're standing there - that you can survive your own mass - tells us proton decay must take at least a billion billion years. Your body contains so many protons and neutrons that any faster decay rate would give rise to energetic particles to kill you by cancer. Now we've seen the rate is a lot slower than that."

Malenfant said, "So the asteroid just evaporated."

(page 222)

"Yes. It got smaller and smaller, warmed gently by the annihilation of electrons and positrons in its interior, a thin smoke of neutrinos drifting out at light speed."

Emma asked, "How long this time?"

"The theories are sketchy. If you want me to put a number on it, I'd say ten to the power a hundred and seventeen years."

...

"So where is everybody?" Malenfant snapped.

Cornelius turned to him, looking lost. "You're not listening. There is no more. When proton decay cuts in, nothing is left: no dead stars, no rogue asteroids like Cruithne, no cold planets, no geodesic empires. This far downstream, all the ordinary matter has disappeared, the last black holes evaporated. The universe has swollen, its material stretched unimaginably thin. Even if the black hole farmers had tried to gather more material to replace what decayed away, they would have been beaten by the time scales. Matter was decaying faster than it could be gathered and used to record information, thoughts, life. And when their structure failed, the last black hole must have evaporated." He looked misty. "Of course they must have tried. Fought to the last. It must have been magnificent."

...

Cornelius sighed. "The universe will presumably expand forever, on to infinity. But we know of no physical processes that will occur beyond this point."

Emma said, "And all of life, of any form, is extinct. Right?"

"Yes."

"In that case," Emma said softly, "who is Sheena talking to?"

...

"I'm sure I can see her signing," she said.

"My God," Malenfant said. "You're right."

Emma frowned. "There must be someone here. Because the (page 223) portal's here. And it called to us - right? - through a relay of portals, upstream through the zoom factors, to the present. Maybe it's called to Sheena, and brought her here."

"She's right," Cornelius said, wondering. "Of course she's right. There has to be an entity here, a community, manipulating the neutrino bath and sending signals to the past."

"So where are they getting the energy from, to compute, to think?"

Cornelius looked uncomfortable; obsessively he worked his softscreen, scrolling through lists of references. "It's very speculative. But it's possible you could sustain computation without expending energy. We have theoretical models... What actually uses up energy during computation is discarding information. If you add two numbers, for instance, clearing out the original numbers from your memory store eats up energy. But if your computation is logically reversible - if you never discard information - you can drive down your processing costs to arbitrarily small values."

"There has to be a catch," Malenfant said. "Or somebody would have patented it."

Cornelius nodded. "We don't know of any way of interacting with the outside universe without incurring a loss. No way of inputting or outputting data. If you want to remain lossless, you have to seal yourself off, in a kind of substrate. But then, nothing significant is going to change, ever again. So what is the use of perception?"

"Then what's left?"

"Memory. Reflection. There is no fresh data. But there may be no end to the richness of understanding."

Malenfant said, "If these ultimate downstreamers are locked into the substrate, how can Sheena talk to them?"

"Sheena is a refugee from the deepest past," Cornelius said. "Perhaps they feel she is worth the expenditure of some of their carefully hoarded energy. They must be vast," he said dreamily. "The last remnant particles orbit light-years apart. A single mind might span the size of a Galaxy, vast and slow as an empire. But nothing can hurt them now. They are beyond gravity's reach, at last immune to the Heat Death."

Emma said, "And these are our ultimate children? These wispy ghosts? The manipulation of structures spanning the (page 224) universe, the endless contest of ingenuity versus entropy - was it all for this?"

"That's the deal," Cornelius said harshly. "What else is there?"

The sixth and final time jump, to 10^117 years into the future. All matter and black holes have decayed, the Downstreamers exist as non-corporeal neutrino consciousnesses. Note further proof that their slow thought times are a choice on their part, as they are able to communicate with the squid over normal (human) time scales, necessitating speeding up their thoughts. Also note how the portal is completely undamaged and undecayed, shows the resilience of DCM (Downstreamer Construction Material).

Manifold: Time - The kids were building something: a cage of wires and electromagnets and batteries and coils. They'd been working all day, in fact, and Bill and the other assistants had had some trouble making them stop to eat, or even take toilet breaks, let alone do any of their other study programs. The kids seemed to be growing more purposeful in their activities. They didn't have a written plan, and they didn't even speak to each other much, but they all worked together flawlessly, according to their abilities. The older ones, including Anna, did the heavier work like the bulky construction of the metal frame and also more dangerous stuff such as soldering. The little ones generally worked inside the cage itself, their fine little fingers doing fiddly, awkward manipulations. Bill watched Tom clambering around inside the cage like a monkey, snipping and twisting together bits of wire with flawless accuracy.

...

As the day's end approached the kids seemed to have finished their cage. It was a box that was taller than Tom. Anna made them stand back, threw a few switches, and watched. Nothing happened as far as Bill could see save for a dull humming, a sharp scent of ozone. But Anna nodded, as if satisfied.

Construction of a very important device, you will see its relevance later.

...And them something came ghosting through the wall. It was a glowing, fizzing bullet: just a point of light, yellow-white; bright as the sun, and it cast shadows as it moved. Bill, shocked, skidded to a halt. The light slid smoothly through the air, floating like Tinkerbell, heading downward and toward the center of the room. Wayne, looming over Anna, didn't see it coming. The light slid neatly into the top of his head. There was a sharp smell of singed hair, burned meat. Wayne convulsed, eyes flickering. The light passed out at the nape of Wayne's neck, following an undeviating straight line, as if the man, two hundred pounds of vindictive muscle, were no more substantial than a mass of mist and shadows. Wayne, shuddering, toppled forward like a felled tree.

...

At the center of the room, something was glowing, yellow-bright. Bill turned. It was the yellow dot, the glowing Tinkerbell. It had come to rest at the heart of the children's wire cage; it bobbed to and fro, following complex paths.

The purpose of the device, which attracted and contained a quark strangelet. Also this is an example of the Downstreamers using highly precise tactical time travel, as will be explained later.

On the other hand, Dupree hadn't succeeded - and not because of the system or the presence of other adults, even a devoted parent like Bill, but because of the freakish plunging of the Tinkerbell anomaly into his body, just at the right moment.

"Which I can't believe was a coincidence," she told Dan Ystebo as they walked into the center's physics lab, now crowded with researchers.

Starting to hint at the time travel I talked about.

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#41 Posted by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@darth_wayne @neongamewave @cooldudeachyut @vashtanerda88 @nomar @the_imperator

"Quite a prospectus those kids offer," Dan was saying.

"Yes."

"New technologies, new medicine, new clean power. What sounded like a utopian political and ethical framework. Peace and prosperity for all."

...

"You think we can afford to give them what they want? The deuterium, the decelerator..."

"Representative, I'm not sure we can afford not to." Dan glanced around to make sure nobody else could overhear them. "So here we have these children building their magic cage just in time for this quark nugget - which has been wandering the universe since the Big Bang - to come floating in, ripe to be captured. And not only that, it arrives in the nick of time to save Anna from the evil clutches of wacko Wayne Dupree. And on exactly the right trajectory, too."

"Coincidence?"

"What do you think?"

"Not in a million years," she said.

Ystebo scratched his belly. "I'd offer you longer odds than that... I think we're dealing with another of those damn causal loops. Somebody, far enough downstream, has the technology to reach into the past to deflect the path of a quark nugget just so, to make it arrive right on cue to save the day. It may have been traveling a billion years, just to get here and play its part. The ultimate deus ex machina."

...

"But look: if we don't cooperate, the children will know in the future, when they grow up, when they get downstream. I mean, they'll remember what we did, and they'll send more quark nuggets from the Big Bang and get what they want anyhow, maybe causing a lot more damage."

...

"If you think about it, it could happen any moment, depending on the decisions we make. It won't even be necessary to wait for consequent actions to flow; the children will know. Representative, we can't be sure what we're dealing with here. A multiheaded monster, spanning past, present, and future. The children have, effectively, unlimited power..."

A detailed description of the Downstreamer's ability of incredibly precise, tactical time travel.

Manifold: Time said:

There. It was an electric-blue circle, containing its disc of inky darkness, its color a painful contrast with the dimming, orange-red background of the sky. But it was drifting away fast.

...

On the fifth or sixth time, the piton sailed neatly through the black mouth of the portal, dragging the uncoiling tether after it. He let it drift on. It was, in fact, a little eerie. He could see that the piton had just disappeared when it hit the portal surface, and now the tether, too, was vanishing as it snaked into the darkness. He began to pull the tether back, cautiously, hardly daring to breathe. My God, he thought. Here I am fishing for a spacetime wormhole. On any other day this would seem unusual. The tether grew taut. He pulled, hand over hand, gently.

...

"Malenfant, what color is the sky?"

"Red." Malenfant lifted up his gold visor. It was still bright, just a uniform glow, but it was not so bright he couldn't look at it with his unprotected eyes. "Like hot coals," he said.

"That makes sense," Cornelius said. "After all, our radios work again. So this universe must have become transparent to electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves-"

This universe. "What are you talking about, Cornelius?"

"Malenfant, where do you think we are?"

Malenfant looked around at the sky's uniform glow. "In some kind of gas cloud." He tried to think outside of the box. "Maybe we're in the outer layers of a red giant star."

"Umm. If that's so, why was the sky white hot when we got here? Why is it cooling down so fast?"

"I don't know. Maybe the cloud is expanding-"

"can you see a source? A center? Any kind of nonuniformity in the glow?"

"It looks the same to me every which way. Come on, Cornelius. Time's a little short for riddles."

"I think we fell into another universe."

"What other universe? How?"

Cornelius managed a laugh, his voice like a dry, crumpling leaf. "You know, Malenfant, you always have trouble with the big picture. You didn't seem disturbed philosophically by the idea of a gateway that takes you instantaneously to another time. Well, now the portal has just taken us to another spacetime point, instantaneously, like before. It's just that this time that point is in another universe, somewhere else in the manifold."

"The manifold?"

"The set of all possible universes. Probably one related to ours.

"Related? How can universes be related? ... Never mind."

Cornelius turned blindly. "Damn it, I wish I could see. There's no reason why this universe should be exactly like ours, Malenfant. Most universes will be short-lived, probably on the scale of the Planck time."

"How long is that?"

"Ten to power minus forty-three of a second."

"Not even enough time to make a coffee, huh."

"I think this universe is only a few hours old. I think it just expanded out of its Big

Bang. Think of it. Around us the vacuum itself is changing phase, like steam condensing to water, releasing energy to fuel this grand expansion."

"So what's the glow we see?"

"The background radiation." Cornelius, drifting in red emptiness, huddled over on himself, wrapping his suited arms around his torso, as if he was growing cold.

"How can universes be different?"

"If they have different physical laws. Or if the constants that govern those laws are different..."

"If we fell into a Big Bang, it occurs to me we were lucky not to be fried."

"I think the portal is designed to protect us. To some extent anyhow."

"You mean if we had been smart enough to come through with such luxuries as air and water and food, we might live through this?"

"It's possible."

...

"The Sheena squid came through the portal, and she found herself in the future. Seventy-five million years downstream. Staring at the Galaxy."

"I do remember, Malenfant," Cornelius said dryly.

"So how come we didn't follow her?"

"I think it was the Feynman radios. The crude one we built at Fermilab. Whatever was put into the heads of the Blue kids, Michael and the others. The messages from the future changed the past. That is, our future. Yes. The river of time took a different course."

"If this isn't the future-"

"I think it's the past," Cornelius whispered. "The deepest past."

"I don't understand."

"Of course not, Malenfant. Why should you?"

"Cornelius, I think the sky is getting brighter."

It was true; the reddening seemed to have bottomed out, and a strengthening orange was creeping back into the sky. Malenfant said, "That's bad, right? We're heading for a Big Crunch. We just lived through a Big Bang and now we're facing a Crunch. One damn thing after another."

"We can't stay here," Cornelius whimpered.

Malenfant looked around at the glowing sky, tried to imagine it contracting around him, the radiation that filled it compressing, rattling around the walls of the universe like gas in a piston, growing hotter and hotter.

"Cornelius, will there be life here? Intelligence?"

"Unlikely," Cornelius whispered. "Our universe was a big, roomy, long-lived place. Lots of room for structure to self-organize, atoms and stars and galaxies and people. Here, even the atoms will exist for just a few hours."

"Then what's the point? An empty universe, no life, no mind, over in a few hours? Why?"

Cornelius coughed. "You're asking the wrong person."

...

The sky was getting brighter, hotter, climbing the spectral scale through orange toward yellow. "Visors down."

Cornelius dropped his own gold sun visor into place, reached over, and did the same for Emma, by touch. Malenfant wrapped his suited arm around Emma's waist and grasped Cornelius firmly by the hand. He turned his back on the collapsing, featureless sky without regret, and pulled them both into the portal.

Explanation of where and when they went, back to the Big Bang of the earliest universe, showing the portal protects them and is unharmed itself, as well as the Downstreamers having time travel to the past and access to the entire manifold, which is the set of all possible universes, but still finite, meaning when they remade the multiverse they possibly made it including impossible universes as well. Also how they changed the past and rewrote the universe but still exist as well as the portal, meaning they are acausal and can't simply be erased from time. Also worth noting is that the glow of the radiation could be perceived even when the universe was opaque to the EM spectrum, meaning the portal gives them enhanced senses, similar to what is shown at the end of the book.

Manifold: Time said:

The blue faded. And there was a burst of light, a wash that diminished from white to yellow to orange to dull red - a pause, as if recovering breath - and then a new glissando back up the spectrum to glaring hot yellow-white. Then it happened again, a soundless pulse of white light that diminished to orange-red, then clambered back to brilliance once more. And again - faster this time - and again and again, the flapping wings of light now battering at Malenfant so rapidly they merged into a strobe-effect blizzard. The warning indicators on his suit HUD started to turn amber, then red. "Hold Emma." He pulled

Emma and Cornelius closer to him, gathering them in a circle so their faceplates were almost touching, their backs turned to the brutal waves of brilliance, the flickering light shimmering from their visors.

"Cornelius." Malenfant found himself shouting, though the light storm was utterly silent.

"Can you hear me?"

"Tell me what you see."

Malenfant tried to describe the pulsating sky. As he did so the clatter of white-red-white pulses slowed, briefly, and the pumping of the sky became almost languid, each cycle lasting maybe three or four seconds. But then, without warning, the cycling accelerated again, and the dying skies blurred into a wash of fierce light.

"Cosmologies," Cornelius whispered. "Phoenix universes, each one rebounding into another, which expands and collapses in turn. Each one destroyed so that the next one, its simple progeny, can be born. And the laws of physics get shaken around every time we come out of a unified-force singularity."

"A what?"

"A Big Bang. Or the singularity at the heart of a black hole. The two ways a universe can give birth to another... Black holes are the key, Malenfant. A universe that cannot make black holes can have only one daughter, produced by a Crunch. A universe that can make black holes, like ours, can have many daughters; baby universes connected to the mother by spacetime umbilicals through the singularities at the center of black holes. Like a miniature Big Crunch at the center of every hole. And that's where cosmic evolution really takes off... We're privileged, Malenfant."

Malefant shouted, "Privileged? Are you kidding?"

"We're watching the evolution of universes. Or rather, you are. A spectacle beyond comparison."

The pulsing cosmic collapses accelerated once more; the waves of light that washed down from the sky came so fast, one after the other, that it was as if they were caught inside some giant strobe machine. The three of them hung here, framed by the patient blue ring, their battered dust-stained suits bathed in the light of creation and extinction. Could it be true? Universes, born and dying in a time shorter than it took him to draw a breath, as if he were some immense, patient god?

...

"I'm heating up. These universes aren't long-lived enough to allow our suits to dump their excess heat."

...

The intensity of the light storm increased. Malenfant closed his eyes and huddled over Emma, trying to protect her a few seconds longer. The suit alarm sounded. And shut itself off. And the light storm died. Malenfant grunted. He opened his eyes and looked around. The sky was cooling in a soundless explosion of light, dimming as if exhausted from yellow to orange to red to a dull emberlike glow that was soon so faint he had trouble distinguishing it with his creation-dazzled eyes. He felt a huge relief, as if he had stepped out of a rainstorm.

Cornelius whispered fretfully, "Not every universe will make stars, Malenfant. There may not even be atomic structure here. In our universe the various atomic forces are balanced so precisely you can have more than a hundred different types of stable nuclei. Hence, the richness of the matter in our world. But it didn't have to be like that. Everything is contingent, Malenfant, even the structure of matter..."

The sky had become uniformly dark now, and the light, as far as he could see the only light in the whole of this universe, was the cold blue glow of the patient, unmarked portal.

...

He sensed the growing universe around him, its huge, meaninglessly expanding emptiness. And, it seemed, in all of this baby universe the only clump of matter and energy and light was here, the only eyes to see this his own. If he closed his eyes - if he died, here and now- would this cosmos even continue to exist? A hell of a thought. Therefore, he didn't think it.

...

"What the hell are you doing there, Cornelius?"

"Sending a message."

"Via the portal. Like the firefly we sent through. Radio waves into neutrino pulses."

"Yes."

"You think somebody is going to be able to come help us?"

"I doubt it."

"Then what?"

"Turn to band six."

Malenfant changed the tuning of his suit radio, and there it was; a wash of static, broken up by Cornelius' tapping. He was sending out a series of pulses, crudely controlled by the touchpad. He remembered where he'd seen a signal like this before.

"3753, 1986. 3753, 1986. That's what you're sending, isn't it, Cornelius? The message we picked up at Fermilab. You're sending the Feynman radio message back to yourself."

Malenfant could hear a smile in Cornelius' voice. "I always wanted to try something like this."

"And you're not afraid of breaking causality? That, umm, the universe won't explode or some damn thing to stop you?"

"A little late for that, Malenfant."

"But how do you know what to send?"

"You were there. I know what to send because I remember what I received. And since we did receive the message, we came here, and we can send it. So it's all perfectly consistent, Malenfant. Just-"

"Backward."

"I would have said looped. And the universe has reconstructed itself, knitting itself together quantum transaction by quantum transaction, around this central causal loop."

"So where did the message come from in the first place? The information in it, I mean. If you're just copying what you received-"Cornelius stopped tapping and sighed. "That's a deeper question, Malenfant. At any point in spacetime, at any now, there are an infinite number of pasts that could have led to the present state, and an infinite number of possible futures that flow from it. This is called the solution space of the universal wave function. Somewhere out in that solution space some equivalent of me figured out and wrote down the message, and sent it back with a Feynman radio."

"Even if I understood that," Malenfant growled, "I wouldn't like it. Information coming out of nothing."

"Then don't accept it. Maybe the message just appeared spontaneously."

"That's impossible."

"How do you know? We don't have a conservation law for knowledge." And he carried on with his patient tapping.

... (after a soldier follows them through the portal)

Malenfant called, "Wait. Can you hear me? You followed us all the way here, through a thousand universes. I can't believe you want to kill us-"

The portal surviving and protecting them from many Big Bangs and Big Crunches of sequential universes, and an explanation of cosmic evolution and time paradoxes with the causal loop created by the message.

Manifold: Time said:

"The arrow of time," she said. "Inner time. Do you understand? This is the key. If you close your eyes you feel time. You feel yourself enduring. Time is essential to awareness, where space is not, and so is more fundamental. The flow of time, events happening, the future coming into existence."

"Yes."

"But you don't understand time. Your scientists use time as a coordinate, a label. You even have theories that are time-symmetric, and work whether you run them forward or back in time." The girl actually laughed at that.

"And that's wrong?"

"Of course it's wrong. It is trivially wrong. There is a severe discrepancy between your theories and what you feel is the reality of the world. And that is telling you, should be telling you, something quite fundamental about the physics that actually underlies your conscious processes."

"Alright. Tell me about the arrow of time."

...

"There are an infinite number of possible universes in the manifold," Anna said. "Of these only a subset - nevertheless infinite itself - are capable of supporting self-aware substructures. And those universes are characterized by a flow of time, which is created by unfolding cosmic structure. Gravity is the key."

Maura was getting lost again. "Gravity?"

"A universe with gravity is driven from smoothness to clumpiness because of gravitational collapse. And the arrow of time comes from this flow of matter and energy, from the gravitational arrangement of this universe at its beginning, to the equilibrium state at its end. Life depends on a flow of energy and information, to be dammed and used. So the arrow of time, like perception itself, is intimately linked to the structure of the universe."

"Go on."

...

"But structure and change are not restricted to a single universe. They span the manifold of evolving universes. And so, therefore, does life. Do you see?"

"No."

"When this universe was spawned from the previous generation, it went through a series of phases. That is, the vacuum did." Anna was watching her, seeking signs of understanding. "The vacuum is a complex thing. Space can be bent by gravity, but it resists with a strength far stronger than steel. The vacuum is a sea of energy, of virtual particles that pop in and out of existence."

"All right," Maura said, struggling to keep up.

"But it is possible for the vacuum to take different phases. Think of water. Liquid water may achieve a higher energy phase - it may flash to steam - or it may seek a lower energy phase-"

"By freezing, forming ice."

"Yes. Systems lose energy, tend to seek the lowest energy state."

"I understand. And so the vacuum-"

"After the Big Bang the vacuum itself descended through a series of energy states. This is the most primitive unfolding of all, the source of the time river, the source of life and mind."

"Until it settled on the lowest, umm, energy state. Which is our vacuum. Right?"

Anna frowned. "No. Our vacuum is only metastable. It is not in the lowest level, not even now. This began in the Big Bang and continues now. But it needs, umm, help."

"Help? What kind of help?"

The girl grabbed her hands. "You must see what this means. The evolution of the vacuum is a flow of information. But this is a flow that spans the manifold itself, and is therefore fundamental." Anna's eyes searched Maura's. "Life spans the manifold. The vacuum metastability makes you what you are. This is the reason for what we are doing. And this is what you must tell them."

More physics, also implying that the Downstreamers' original multiverse was already infinite in a way and they expanded it to a greater degree of infinity, also possibly implying the Downstreamers can access/affect universes with no time or causality, as well as foreshadowing for the coming VME.

Manifold: Time said:

"Are we going to need suits?"

If we go like this. If you'd rather-

"Hell, no." Malenfant suited up quickly.

Michael came to him with a pen he'd taken from the desk. You have some notes to write.

"What notes? Oh. Okay." Malenfant sighed, and bent stiffly in his suit. "What if I make a mistake? ... Never mind."

He wrote out the notes hastily and stuck them where he thought they ought to be. And if he got it wrong, let some other bastard sort it out.

Demonstration that causal loops exist within the Downstreamer substrate itself, as Malenfant writes the notes he left for himself to read earlier. This means they have effectively infinite processing speed.

Manifold: Time said:

They turned and faced the door. Michael reached up and, clumsily, pulled it open. The corridor was gone. A blue-ring portal floated there, framing darkness.

"Is this going to hurt?"

No more than usual.

"Great. Michael... I saw the future. But what was it like?"

Michael paused. Huge. Primal. Beyond control. New minds emerged in great pulses.

...

Malenfant saw the portal's blue ring reflected in his visor. Then Michael took up his hand, like a son reaching out for his father. Malenfant took the hand. The child's fingers were buried in his own begrimed glove. They stepped forward. There was a blue flash, an instant of agonizing pain - and Malenfant was floating in space. The instant transition to zero gravity was a shock, like falling off a cliff, and he had to swallow a few times to keep his peanuts down. He was surrounded by patient stars: above, below, all around him, childhood constellations augmented by the rich, still lights of deep space. There was a single splinter of brilliance below him. The sun? It was a point source that cast strong, sharp shadows over their suits.

...

"What are we looking at, Michael? The sun?"

Yes. We're out of the plane of the ecliptic. That is, somewhere above the sun's north pole. We're about five astronomical units out. Five times Earth's orbit, about as far as Jupiter is from the sun. Forty-three minutes at light speed. What do you want to see?

"Earth."

Then look. Michael pointed to a nondescript part of the sky. Malenfant sighted along his arm and saw a star, a spark that might have been pale blue, a lesser light beside it. And suddenly there was Earth, swimming before him, oceans and deserts and clouds and ice, just as it had always been. Sparks of light circled it, and drifted on its seas: ships, people, cities.

...

We are two hundred years into the future, roughly. Our future.

"The Carter catastrophe date. So Corneliuus' prediction was right. He would have been pleased..."

Malenfant. There is little time. If you want to make your change, to reach back, it must be now.

...

He whispered "How do I do it?"

Just tell me what you want.

"Will I remember?"

Consciousness spans the manifold.

I don't know if I have the strength, he thought.

"She'll forget me. Won't she, Michael?"

I'm just a kid, he said. How would I know?

Your call, Malenfant. Keep her, or give her back her life.

"Do it," he whispered.

...And the universe pivoted around him, the lines of possibility swirling, knitting new patterns of truth and dream, and he clutched at the boy.

...

And the reality of my life is this, Maura: if I had gotten on that rocket ship with Malenfant, if I'd gone with him to the asteroid, I'd be dead now, as he is dead. But I didn't go.

...

And for Maura - who had never been to the Moon, and now never would - the Moon hung in the Washington sky as it always had, the scar of the failed attack invisible to the naked eye. She kept a NASA feed running in her office, compiled from Hubble and lunar satellite cameras, images of the unmarked bubble artifact there on the Tycho surface. After all, if things had been just a little different, Maura Della might have been up there when the shit hit the fan. She'd have been caught in the crossfire herself, rather than her envoy.

The Downstreamers change the past so Emma never went to space with Malenfant, and as a result she goes to the Moon instead of Maura. Note that this also removed the events of Emma traveling through the manifold of universes in the portal, so this is causality alteration on a multiversal scale. Malenfant also appeared with the peanuts he had eaten in the substrate still in his stomach, possibly indicating the Downstreamers can manifest things they create in their computer into physical reality.

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#42 Posted by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@darth_wayne @neongamewave @cooldudeachyut @vashtanerda88 @nomar @the_imperator

Manifold: Time said:

For a moment - a brief, painful moment - she thought she was with Malenfant. Where? Cruithne? But she had never been to Cruithne, never left Earth before this jaunt to the Moon to inspect Never-Never-Land on Maura's behalf.

...

She started to remember. The German blue helmet, his assault on her. The escape into the children's electric-blue spacetime anomaly wall.

...

They lowered her carefully - onto what? Some kind of smooth floor - and then the children started to move away, spreading out. She was lying on a plain: featureless, perfectly flat. The air was hot, humid, a little stale. Too hot, in fact, making her restless, irritable. There was nothing before her: no electric-blue wall, no far side to this unreality bubble, which should have been just a couple of yards away. She reached out a hand, half expecting it to disappear through some invisible reality interface. But it didn't.

...

The sky was an elusive grayness, blank and featureless. There was no sense of distance - no sign of stars, of sun or Earth or orbiting spacecraft, no clouds. The light was shadowless, sourceless.

...

There was one more substantial structure, a shacklike assemblage of wires and cables and bits of metal: a Tinkerbell cage, a quark-nugget trap.

...

"How do you feel?" Anna asked.

She looked down at her shattered leg. The pain had diminished so steeply the limb no longer seemed to be part of her, as if she were studying some broken piece of machinery. "Not better, exactly," she said. "But-"

"The pain can't reach you," Anna said gravely. "But it is still there. You should be careful."

...

Emma stroked the floor. The surface was smooth, seamless, warm, and it gave a little, like rubber. Like the floor of a playpen, or maybe an insane asylum, she thought sourly. She eyed Anna. "This place is strange," she said. "Distances are funny. It was like I was watching you through a fish-eye lens."

Anna frowned. "What's a fish-eye lens?"

"Never mind."

"Of course distances are funny," Anna said. "Everything here is folded up." She waved a hand at the blank plain, the neon-tube sky. "How else could we fit all of this into that little bubble you saw?"

"Are we still on the moon?"

"Oh, yes. Or rather we are still connected to the moon. Actually the geometry here is hyperbolic. An infinite volume contained within a finite circumference." Anna reached up, her fingers flexing toward the horizon. "The walls are infinitely far away, and six feet away, at the same time. Minutes pass in here, While two centuries pass on the outside."

...

"This has been a good place to cycle," Anna said dreamily. "Of course that's why we built it this way."

"You built a toy universe so you could ride your bikes?"

She grinned at Emma. "If you were ten years old and could build a universe, what would you do?"

...

Emma looked back the way they had come. She tried to remember the place where she had arrived here, the location of the invisible gateway back to her own familiar universe. Surely if there was any way out of here it would be from there. But the surface was as smooth and featureless as bare skin.

...

"So you built another Tinkerbell cage. More quark matter?"

"Oh no. Not yet. That stuff isn't quark matter. Can't you tell? ... I don't suppose you can."

"Then what?"

"It's yolk," Anna said. "Yolk, from an egg star."

"A what?"

Billie sighed with all the seriousness a seven-year-old could muster. "She means," she said, pronouncing the words carefully, "a neutron star."

"But it's like an egg," Anna said. "The collapsed remains of a supernova. Solid outside and a lot of funny liquids churning around on the inside."

"And that's what this stuff is? This Tinkerbell? A droplet of neutron star matter?"

"Only a billion tons or so," Anna said. "Originally material from the Moon."

...

"The degenerate matter is, umm, a fuse. In a moment a fragment of true quark matter will arrive."

"From where?" Emma asked.

But Anna didn't answer that. She said, "When the nucleus of quark matter enters the fuse, it will quickly develop an equilibrium strangeness content via weak interactions, and free neutrons will be absorbed as there is no Coulomb barrier-"

"Anna, my dear, I don't understand a damn word."

"The fuse will turn into quark matter very rapidly, all of it."

...

"In fact," the girl said with an element of pride, "the degenerate matter droplet has been shaped so that its collapse will be concentrated. At the very center of the droplet, in a space smaller than a proton, we will reach higher energy densities even than at the hearts of collapsing neutron stars. Higher energy densities than can form anywhere, naturally. Densities that need intelligence, design, to occur."

"Jesus. Why, Anna? What are you trying to do? Blow up the Moon?"

"Oh, no," Anna said, a little impatiently. "Not just that. The point is not the amount of energy that's released here, but the precision of its application."

"Which is why," Emma said with growing dread, "you are calling this thing a fuse. You're intending to use this to trigger something else. Something much bigger. Aren't you?"

Anna smiled happily. "Now you're starting to understand," she said brightly.

More on Malenfant's time change, as well as more info on the Blue children's vehicle, which is (to use Doctor Who terminology), dimensionally transcendental, bigger on the inside. Unlike a TARDIS, though, it's not merely large but actually infinite in interior volume. It's also complete with heat, a breathable atmosphere, etc. It also seemingly has the power to null someone's pain, as well as having a time differential, while minutes pass inside, centuries pass outside. It's described as a separate, constructed universe. Keep in mind the children built this with early 21st century Earth technology, their only advantage being Downstreamer knowledge and intelligence. They also transformed some lunar matter into neutronium, and are using time loops to set up a quark matter fuse to induce the vacuum decay. This thing is precisely calibrated to induce the VME.

Manifold: Time said:

Here was Malenfant, drifting in space. He remembered how he had grabbed Emma, coaxed her, forced her onto the O'Neill to be with him. And he remembered how he had pushed her away, protected her with lies, left her on Earth. He remembered how he had made love to her in the darkness and silence of space. And he remembered how he had stayed awake, weightless and disoriented, looking for her, and she had not been there, never had been there. He remembered how she had come with him on his strange journey through the manifold of universes. And he remembered how he had journeyed alone: lost, frightened, incomplete.

...

The change was done, the timelines rewoven. But, by God, it had cost him. Malenfant turned his head, refocused his eyes' new zoom feature, and there was the Moon, swimming alongside the Earth as it always had. Beautiful doomed Earth.

...

"...The downstreamers. Are they gods?"

No. They're just people.

"That's hard to believe."

But the human race is very old. They would not recognize you.

"Why not?"

Because your time was very strange. Really, it was still part of the Big Bang, the afterglow. Bright.

"What are they like?"

They are diverse. As diverse as you and me. More. But they have one thing in common. These are the people who chose to live on.

"There were others who chose death? Why?"

Because there are problems with the substrate. It is not infinite in size. No computer can exceed the limits set by the Bekenstein Bound.

"The what?"

It's difficult to talk to you when you know nothing.

"Sorry."

The uncertainty principle, then. You know about that. Because of the uncertainty principle, a given amount of mass and energy can only assume a finite number of quantum states. So the number of different states achievable is bounded above by the number of states achievable by the whole universe, if all its mass and energy were converted to information, which has not occurred. The number is ten to power ten to power one hundred and twenty-three-

"Ten to power ten to power one hundred and twenty-three, huh. And that's the number of possible thoughts, inside this computer. Is that what you're telling me?"

Yes! The substrate is a finite-state machine. It can take only a fixed number of states, and it works in discrete time intervals. A finite-state machine must, after long enough, enter a periodic state. That is-

"They live the same lives," Malenfant said. "Even think the same thoughts. Over and over. My God, what a fate." Like autism, he thought. "Why?"

The kid sighed. There was no other way for mind to survive the Heat Death.

...

Michael was watching him. You understand.

"Understand what?"

Why the... Feynman project was initiated.

"The portals? The messages upstream?"

There are some who do not believe it was meant to be like this. That life, humanity, had a different purpose.

"You're telling me we have a purpose?"

Oh, yes. Humans are the most important sentient creatures who have ever existed, or will ever exist.

...

"So these downstreamers of yours have reached back in time and changed things, created another timeline, in which-"

Michael frowned. Your language is like noise. But you are more right than wrong. Yes, I can say that. But there are no such things as timelines. There is a universal wave function that determines a sheaf of paths-

"I heard all that before, and didn't understand it then..."

...

"Tell me about Earth, Michael."

Michael smiled, and Malenfant heard voices.

Shows that Malenfant himself has become acausal, as he remembers both versions of events, before and after he changed the past (although his mind can't quite handle it). He has also been reconstructed somehow back in the past and given enhanced senses, despite floating 5 AUs away from Earth he can zoom in and see the Moon clearly. Most significantly, Michael explains the Downstreamer consciousness, which not only has access to all of the possible information that could exist in any quantum state the universe could take (an abso-frickin'-lutely ridiculous amount of information that would make a Culture Mind weep with envy), but they have experienced all of those states multiple times, so they effectively know everything. However, it's still not enough for them, which is why they decided to change the past and remake the multiverse. It should also be noted that thinking those thoughts, especially all of them multiple times, would require a lot more than 10^117 years, so they likely use some kind of CTC/time travel process in their substrate (supported by the causal loop of Malenfant leaving the notes to himself earlier). At the end of this, Malenfant asks about what is going on on Earth, so Michael lets him listen in to various things happening in the 200+ years until the VME occurs. Apparently his expanded senses let him hear through time, as well. A few highlights to follow.

Manifold: Time said:

A bolt of light streaked vertically down from the gray dome sky above. It headed straight for the degenerate matter, merged with it unerringly.

...

Anna's gaze was fixed on the Tinkerbell nugget in its cage; Emma saw its light sparkling in her clear eyes. And the Tinkerbell was getting brighter.

"How long?"

"A few minutes," Anna whispered. "This is what we were born to do. It is what you were born for-"

...

And the droplet exploded. Emma flinched. The cage held. Light flared, a baseball-sized lump, dazzling Emma, bathing the faces of the watching children, as if they were planets turned to this new sun.

...

The light got brighter.

"Nearly, now," Anna said softly.

"Why, Anna? Revenge?"

Anna turned to her. "You don't understand. You never will. I'm sorry. This isn't destruction. This isn't revenge. This is-"

"What?"

"It's wonderful."

Emma felt the heat on her face; a wind, hot air pulsing out of the cage, fleeing the heat of the Tinkerbell.

...

The light grew brighter, the heat fiercer. The wind was beginning to howl through the loose, shuddering framework of the cage. The children whimpered and pushed closer to Emma. There was a blue flare. Through the tangle of the Tinkerbell cage, Emma glimpsed an electric-blue ring, distorted, twisting away. And more of them, a great chain disappearing to infinity, a ribbed funnel of blue light. Sparks flared, shooting out of the blue tunnel, disappearing into the remote gray dome of sky. They're reaching into the past, Emma thought, wondering. Sending off the quark nuggets that reached the center in Nevada - even the one that initiated this event. Closed causal loops.

The ability to create more of the time portals at will, also these are two-way, as more portals can be seen within them. Again we see the precise tactical application of time travel as well, even from the inside of this artificial universe to the main universe and back. (Malenfant's alteration also crossed into the causality of this constructed universe, replacing Maura with Emma).

Manifold: Time said:

The brighter areas - the older terrain, the highlands of the near side and much of the far side - looked much as they had always done, tracing out the face of the Man in the Moon. But the seas of gray lunar dust, Imbrium and Procellarum and Tranquility, seemed to be imploding. Even from here he could see cracks spreading in the lava seas, sections of crust cracking, tipping, sliding inward. The Moon was two thousand miles across; given that, the speed of the process he was watching - and the scale of it, hundred-mile slabs of lunar crust crumbling in seconds - was impressive.

...

The Moon is being collapsed to a new form: quark matter. The weaker areas of the crust, the areas crushed by the ancient basin-forming impacts, are imploding first. Michael hesitated. Do you understand? The Moon will become, briefly, a single giant nucleon, an extended sac of quarks at nuclear density that-

"Who is doing this?"

The children, of course.

"Why, for Christ's sake?"

It is the fulfillment of humankind. Of this cosmos... Ah.

Now the Moon's ancient, cratered highlands were starting to crumble, too. Malenfant felt a stab of regret as the Moon's bony geography collapsed into dust and light. Five billion years of stillness, Malenfant thought, ending in a few heartbeats. And we thought those Apollo footprints would last a million years. Now a light started to shine out of the heart of the Moon, out of the eyes and mouth of the Man, as if something were burning there. He could actually see shafts of light cast through lunar dust, as if the Moon were a Halloween lantern hanging in a murky room. And - with startling suddenness, in utter silence - the Moon imploded, shattered, bursting into an expanding cloud of dust and rubble.

...

But now the dispersing debris revealed a point of dazzling white light, difficult to look into even with Malenfant's mysteriously enhanced vision. The dying Moon had birthed a new star: a terrible, brilliant companion to the sun.

...

The quark nugget is only a tool.

"A tool to do what?"

To create a pulse of high-energy density.

Malenfant longed to understand. "How high?"

Would the numbers mean anything to you? The most energetic particles are cosmic rays: iron nuclei fleeing the explosions of stars, moving close to the speed of light. If an apple falls from a tree to the ground, the energy it gathers is shared over its billions of billions of atoms. The most energetic cosmic rays have comparable energy focused on a single nucleus. If two such nuclei were to impact head-on the energy released would be two orders of magnitude higher again. It is believed that no such event has happened in the history of the universe.

"And the children-"

Are seeking to create an event six orders of magnitude higher even than that. There are no natural processes that could produce such a thing. This is the first time there has been a mechanism - a mind, us - to deliver such gigantic energies. In this universe or any of those preceding it.

Malenfant frowned. "Are you saying this is our purpose? The purpose of man, of life, is to produce a single unnaturally huge energy pulse, this one thing? That's all?"

The purpose is not the act. It is the consequences of the act.

The light in the Moon wreckage grew brighter. It flared, electric blue, and then white. And the point burst, becoming an expanding bubble of light, pink-gray, ballooning into space. In a heartbeat it overwhelmed the debris cloud. Malenfant glimpsed its glare in the oceans of Earth, like a terrifying new sun born out of Earth's lost companion. But it took only a second for the bubble to grow monstrously large, fifty or sixty times the size of Earth, dwarfing the planet. The wall of light swept across Earth, devouring it. And Earth was gone.

...

The bubble was growing, larger and brighter every second, a cancer that seemed to be sucking energy out of spacetime itself, and Malenfant saw its light washing over Michael's face, his round, childish eyes. It was huge, startling, already dwarfing the points of light that populated the universe.

Michael said, The interface is growing at near light speed. It took a little more than a second to cover the Moon's orbit to reach Earth, just a twenty-fifth of a second to cover Earth itself. After five seconds it was as large as the sun. Light speed is fast, Malenfant. Now we have seven or eight minutes before the wave reaches the sun. The inner planets, Venus and Mercury, will be covered before that.

The ballooning bubble wasn't a perfect sphere, Malenfant saw absently. It was becoming blistered, growing irregularly, as if diseased. Its surface glowed pink-white and it was speckled, as if illuminated by laser light. The stars seemed to be shifting around the swelling edge, their position sliding, turning briefly to arcs of light before the shell obscured them - gravitational lensing, perhaps, as the shell distorted spacetime itself.

...

Michael was watching him, as if trying to gauge his reaction. They would have seen nothing. An instant of glowing sky - a moment of pain-

"Michael, what's inside the bubble? What happened to Earth when it passed the barrier?"

Different physical laws. Anything of our universe that survived the unreality pulse itself would immediately decay into new forms. Physics, chemistry as we know it could not proceed. But even this new regime, the regime of changed matter, would not persist. The energy density in there is intense, the gravity field it generates very strong. In microseconds after the nucleation - even before the bubble expanded beyond the Moon itself, when the bubble was only a mile across - a gravitational collapse started.

"Like a Big Crunch."

Yes. But none of the slow collapse and compression you witnessed in the precursor universes, Malenfant. Immediate. This is the true vacuum, Malenfant, the final state of the universe...

When the universe was born, erupting out of its Big Bang, it went through a series of phase changes, the vacuum collapsing to new, more stable forms. And with each change, with the decay of each false vacuum, energy was released. Those monstrous energy pulses fueled the initial expansion of the universe. At last the phase changes ceased, and the universe stabilized. But the stability it reached was false.

...

Yes. Their high-energy event allowed quantum tunneling to a state of true vacuum... Ah.

There was a burst of light on the edge of the expanding bubble. Venus, I think...

The unreality wall approached the sun. The bubble was now sixteen light-minutes across, two hundred million miles wide, dwarfing the sun. But the star seemed unperturbed, even as the great hull raced toward it.

Light speed, Malenfant, Michael whispered. If you were standing on the surface of the sun, you would still see stars and Earth and Moon, the last photons reflected by the planet before its destruction. The wall arrives with the light itself...

The wall blew across the sun, a tornado engulfing a brightly lit farmhouse. But the sun, a million miles across, was no mere mote of rock and water and life, like Earth. The wall took three, four, five seconds to overwhelm the sun's glowing mass. Right to the end the surviving sector of the sun kept its spherical shape, kept shining, emitting photons generated by a fusion core that had vanished into unreality seconds before. Still, it took just heartbeats. When the sun was gone it grew darker. A final nightfall, Malenfant thought. And now there was only the sphere of unreality, growing ferociously and unevenly, sparkling, clumpy blisters bursting from its sides, stars curdling around its edge. Soon, he realized, it would become a wall, blanketing the universe.

There will be little to see for a while, Michael said. It will sweep across mars, the asteroid belt.

"Cruithne?"

Gone already. Then, in half an hour, it will reach us.

The bubble continued to swell visibly, its light glaring.

"It's never going to stop," Malenfant whispered. "It will consume the Solar System, the stars-"

This isn't some local phenomenon, Malenfant. This is a fundamental change in the structure of the universe. It will never stop. It will sweep on, growing at light speed, a runaway feedback fueled by the collapse of the vacuum itself. The Galaxy will be gone in a hundred thousand years, Andromeda, the nearest large galaxy, in a couple of million years. It will take time, but eventually-

"The future has gone," Malenfant said. "My God. That's what this means, isn't it? The downstream can't happen now. All of it is gone. The colonization of the Galaxy; the settlement of the universe; the long, patient fight against entropy..." That immense future had been cut off to die, like a tree chopped through at the root. "Why, Michael? Why have the children done this? Burned the house down, destroyed the future-"

Because it was the wrong future. Michael looked around the sky. He pointed to the lumpy, spreading edge of the unreality bubble.

There. Can you see that? It's already starting...

"What is?"

The budding... The growth of the true vacuum region is not even. There will be pockets of the false vacuum - remnants of our universe - isolated by the spreading true vacuum. The fragments of false vacuum will collapse. Like-

"Like black holes." And in that instant, Malenfant understood. "That's what this is for. This is just a better way of making black holes, and budding off new universes. Better than stars, even."

Much better. The black holes created as the vacuum decay proceeds will overwhelm by many orders of magnitude the mere billion billion that our universe might have created through its stars and galaxy cores.

"And the long, slow evolution of the universes, the branching tree of cosmoses?..."

We have changed everything, Malenfant. Mind has assumed responsibility for the evolution of the cosmos. There will be many daughter universes - universes too many to count, universes exotic beyond our imagining - and many, many of them will harbor life and mind.

"But we were the first."

Now he understood. This was the purpose. Not the long survival of humankind into a dismal future of decay and shadows, the final retreat into the lossless substrate, where nothing ever changed or grew. The purpose of humankind - the first intelligence of all - had been to reshape the universe in order to bud others and create a storm of mind. We got it wrong, he thought. By striving for a meaningless eternity, humans denied true infinity. But we reached back, back in time, back to the far upstream, and spoke to our last children - the maligned Blues - and we put it right. This is what it meant to be alone in the universe, to be the first. We had all of infinite time and space in our hands. We had ultimate responsibility. And we discharged it. We were parents of the universe, not its children.

The VME itself. Note that Malenfant and Michael's Downstreamer-enhanced senses are able to perceive the events in real time from around 43 light-minutes away, meaning FTL senses (this can also explain how they were able to see the glow of the Big Bangs and such in the earlier trip through the Manifold).

Manifold: Origin, pages 484-489:

There was a flash of blue light, an instant of searing pain. The floor turned to glass. With the Nutcracker, she was kneeling on nothingness. She gasped, pressed her hands against the hard surface. No, not glass: there was no reflection, nothing but the warm feel of the floor under her hands and knees. And below her, a huge chamber loomed.

...

Emma glimpsed a far wall. It was covered with lights, like stars. But these stars marked out a regular pattern of equilateral triangles. Artificial, then. She looked from side to side, trying to make out the curve of that remote wall. But it was too far away for her to make out its shape, too far beyond her puny sense of scale.

“It’s a hole,” she said. “A chamber at the heart of the Moon.”

“It is whatever it seems to be.”

“The chamber looks flattened. Like a pancake.”

“No,” Nemoto murmured. “It is probably spherical. You have the eyes of a plains ape, Emma Stoney. Evolved for distances of a few hundred miles, no more. Even the sky looks like a flat lid to you. Humans aren’t evolved to comprehend spaces like this – a cave thousands of miles across, a cave big enough to store a world.”

“Those lights are regular. Like fake stars on a movie set.”

“Perhaps they are the mouths of tunnels, like this one.”

“Leading to more holes on the surface?”

“Or leading somewhere else.” Nemoto’s voice was quavering. “I don’t know, Emma. I understand none of this.”

But you understand more than me, Emma thought. Which is, perhaps, why you are more frightened.

There was motion in the heart of the chamber. Blueness. Vast wheels turning. A churning, regular, like a huge machine. The Nutcracker child gurgled, her eyes shining. She seemed enchanted by the turning wheels, as if the whole display, surely a thousand miles across, were no more than a nursery mobile.

“Blue rings,” Nemoto breathed.

Emma squinted, wishing her eyes would dark-adapt faster.

“Like the Wheel, the portal I fell through to come here.”

Nemoto said, “This technology has a unifying, if unimaginative, aesthetic.”

“It is the world engine,” Mane said simply.

Emma saw the turning wheels reflected in Mane’s broad, glistening eyes. “What is a world engine?”

...

At the heart of the turning rings, there was a world. It was like Earth, but it was not Earth. Turning slowly in the light of an offstage sun, it was wrapped in a blanket of thick, ragged cloud. Emma glimpsed land that was riven by bright, glowing cracks and the pinpricks of volcanoes. Plumes of black smoke and dust streaked the air, and lightning cracked between fat purple clouds.

...

Emma saw again the hot young world, and another beside it now, a Moonlike world, evidently cooler than Earth, but large, surely larger than Mars, say. The two planets sat side by side, like an orange and an apple in a still life. But they were approaching each other.

“I think we are watching the Big Whack,” Nemoto murmured. “The immense collision that devastated young Earth, but created the Earth-Moon system...”

The planets touched, almost gently, like kissing. But where they touched a ring of fire formed, shattering the surface of both worlds, a spreading splash of destruction into which the smaller body seemed to implode, like a fruit being drained of its flesh.

“The collision took about ten minutes,” Nemoto said softly. “The approach speed was tens of thousands of miles per hour. But a collision between such large bodies, even at such speeds, would look like slow motion.”

...

A ring of glowing light began to coalesce in Earth orbit. As it cooled it solidified into a swarm of miniature bodies. And then spiral arms formed in the glowing moonlet cloud. It was a remarkable, beautiful sight.

“This is how the Moon was born,” Nemoto said. “The largest of those moonlets won out. The growing Moon swept up the remnant particles, and under the influence of tidal forces rapidly receded from Earth. Earth itself, meanwhile, was afflicted by huge rock tides, savage rains as the ocean of vapor fell back from space. It took millions of years before the rocks had cooled enough for liquid water to gather once more.”

...

“...Hey. What happened to the Earth?”

The glowing, devastated planet had blown apart. Fragments of its image had scattered to corners of the chamber – where the fragments coalesced into new Earths, new Moons, a whole family of them. They hung around the chamber like Christmas tree ornaments, glowing blue or red or yellow, each lit by the light of its own out-of-view sun.

Other Earths:

Emma saw a flat, solitary world, banded with yellow cloud. Here was another cloud-striped world, but the clouds swirled around a point on its equator – no, it was a world tipped over so that its axis pointed to its sun, like Uranus (or was it Neptune?). Here was an Earth like Venus, with a great shroud of thick clouds that glowed yellow-white, nowhere broken. Here was a word with a fat, cloud-shrouded Moon that seemed to loom very close. This Earth was streaked by volcanic clouds. It lacked ice caps, and its unrecognizable continents were pierced by shining threads that must have been immense rivers. This world must be battered by the great tides of air, water, and rock raised by that too-close companion. Most of the Earths seemed about the size of Earth – of the Earth, Emma’s Earth. But some were smaller – wizened worlds that reminded her of Mars, with huge continents of glowering red rock and brooding weather systems squatting over their poles. And some of the Earths were larger. These monster planets were characteristically wreathed in thick, muddy atmospheres and drowned in oceans, water that stretched from pole to pole, with a few eroded islands protruding above the surface, rooted on some deep-buried crust. The Moons varied, too. There seemed to be a spectrum of possible Moons. The smallest were bare gray rock like Luna, those somewhat larger cratered deserts of crimson rock more or less like Mars. Some were almost Earthlike, showing thick air and ice and the glint of ocean – like the Red Moon itself. There were even Earths with pairs of Moons, Emma saw, or triplets. One ice-bound Earth was surrounded, not by a Moon, but by a glowing ring system like Saturn’s. Emma looked, without success, for a blue Earth with a single gray, modest Moon.

“The Big Whack collision shaped Earth and Moon,” Nemoto murmured. “Everything about Earth and Moon – their axial tilt, composition, atmosphere, length of day, even Earth’s orbit around the sun – was determined by the impact. But it might have turned out differently. Small, chance changes in the geometry of the collision would have made a large difference in the outcome. Lots of possible realities, budding off from that key, apocalyptic moment.”

“What are we looking at here? Computer simulations?”

“Or windows into other possible realities. It is a glimpse of the vast graph of probability and possibility, of alternates that cluster around the chaotic impact event.” Nemoto seemed coldly excited. “This is the key, Emma Stoney. The Big Whack was the pivotal event whose subtly different outcomes produced the wide range of Earths we have encountered...”

...

Emma glanced down. The various Earths had vanished, to be replaced by a floor of swirling, curdled light. It was a galaxy.

Trip to the inside of the World Engine. The Downstreamers’ trademark teleportation/portal process occurs, and we see a chamber in the middle of the moon too large to fit inside it (at least not without severely diminishing its gravity), indicating it’s a type of transdimensional engineering. There are other openings to other tunnels, possibly leading to other Red Moons across the Manifold (hinted at but it makes sense as there are too many universes, visited too often, for a single Moon to account for... maybe there are even infinite Red Moons all linked here or places like this). There are also more portals inside, showing the past impact that created the Moon and many of the other versions of Earth the Red Moon visited.

Manifold: Origin, pages 489-492:

The five of them stood over this vast image – if it was an image – Daemon and Ham and humans and Nutcracker baby, squat, ungainly, primitive forms.

“So, a galaxy,” said Emma. “Our Galaxy?’

“I think so,” Nemoto said. “It matches radio maps I have seen.”

...

“The Galactic background is common to the reality threads bound by the Earth-Moon impact probability sheaf-“

“Whoa,” Emma said. “Nemoto, can you translate?”

Nemoto frowned. “Think of the Galaxy, a second before the Earth-Moon impact. All those stars have nothing whatsoever to do with the Big Whack, and will not be affected by it. The Galaxy will turn, whether the Moon exists or not, whether humans evolve or not...”

Mane said, “Our galaxy looks the same as yours. And it is unmodified.”

Emma snapped, “What does that mean?”

Nemoto said, “That there is no sign of life, Emma.”

“But we’re looking at a whole damn galaxy. From this perspective the sun is a dot of light. The place could be swarming with creatures like humans, and you wouldn’t see it.”

Nemoto shook her head. “The Fermi Paradox. In our universe, and Mane’s, there has been time for a thousand empires to sweep over the face of the Galaxy. Some of the signs of their passing ought to be very visible.”

“Like what?”

“Like they might tamper with the evolution of the stars. Or they might mine the black hole at the Galaxy’s core for its energy. Or they might wrap up the Galactic disc in a shell to trap all its radiant energy. Emma, there are many possibilities. It is very likely that we would see something even when we peer at a Galaxy from without like this.

“But we don’t.”

“But we don’t. Humanity seems to be alone in our universe, Emma; Earth is the only place where mind arose.” Nemoto confronted Mane. “And your universe is empty, too. As was Hugh McCann’s. Perhaps that is true in all the universes in this reality sheaf.”

...

“Something is happening to the Galaxy,” Mane said.

They clustered close to watch. The Galaxy was spinning fast now. All over the disk the stars were flaring, dying. Some of them, turning to red embers, began to drift away from the main body of the disk.

...

“It is – shriveling,” she said.

“We are seeing vast swathes of time,” Nemoto said somberly. “This is the future, Emma.”

“The future? How is that possible?”

Suddenly the stars died. All of them went out, it seemed, all at once. The galaxy seemed to implode, becoming much dimmer.

Again showing how primitive all of the hominids, even the Daemons, are compared to the Downstreamers. Also a view of the galaxy/galaxies in the sheaf of universes explored by the Red Moon. Note how some of the dialogue and description here is taken verbatim from Manifold: Time. In fact the next part is a description of the original Downstreamers’ galaxy which is exactly the same as the description of the view from 100 trillion years into the future in Manifold: Time, so I’m not going to retype the whole thing. The only differences are a bit of dialogue adjusted due to the different characters witnessing and commenting on it, but it conveys the exact same information.

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#43 Posted by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@darth_wayne @neongamewave @cooldudeachyut @vashtanerda88 @nomar @the_imperator Now this is where the DS truly shine (https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/manifold-quotes-thread.279619/)

Manifold: Origin, pages 497-498:

“They made the manifold.”

“Who did?”

“The Old Ones. They constructed a manifold of universes – an infinite number of universes. They made it all.” Nemoto shook her head. “Even framing the thought, conceiving of such ambition, is overwhelming. But they did it.”

...

Emma said carefully, “How did they do this, Nemoto?”

“The branching of universes, deep into the hyperpast,” Manekato murmured.

Emma shook her head, irritated. “What does that mean?”

Nemoto said, “Universes are born. They die. We know two ways a universe can be born. The most primitive cosmos can give birth to another through a Big Crunch, the mirror-image of a Big Bang suffered by a collapsing universe at the end of its history. Or else a new universe can be budded from the singularity at the heart of a black hole. Black holes are the key, Emma, you see. A universe which cannot make black holes can have only one daughter, produced by a Crunch. But a universe which is complex enough to make black holes, like ours, can have many daughters, baby universes connected to the mother by space-time umbilicals through the singularities.”

“And so when the Old Ones tinkered with the machinery-“

“We don’t know how they did it. But they changed the rules,” Nemoto said.

Emma said hesitantly, “So they found a way to create a lot more universes.”

Manekato said, “We believe the Old Ones created, not just a multiplicity of daughter universes, but an infinite number.” The bulky Daemon studied Emma’s face, seeking understanding.

“Infinity is significant, you see,” Nemoto said, too rapidly. “There is, umm, a qualitative difference between a mere large number, however large, and infinity. In the infinite manifold, in that infinite ensemble, all logically possible universes must exist. And therefore all logically possible destinies must unfold. Everything that is possible will happen, somewhere out there. They created a grand stage, you see, Emma: a stage for endless possibilities of life and mind.”

“Why did they do this?”

“Because they were lonely. The Old Ones were the first sentient species in their universe. They survived their crises of immaturity. And they went on, to walk on the planets, to touch the stars. But everywhere they went – though perhaps they found life – they found no sign of mind, save for themselves.”

“And then the stars went out.”

“And then the stars went out. There are ways to survive the darkness, Emma. You can mine energy from the gravity wells of black holes, for instance... But as the universe expanded relentlessly, and the available energy dwindled, the iron logic of entropy held sway. Existence became harsh, straitened, in an energy-starved universe that was like a prison. Some of the Old Ones looked back over their lonely destiny, which had turned into nothing but a long, desolating struggle to survive, and – well, some of them rebelled.”

...

“So they rebelled. How?”

Nemoto sighed. “It’s all to do with quantum mechanics, Emma.”

“I was afraid it might be.”

Manekato said “Each quantum event emerges into reality as the result of a feedback loop between past and future.”

Basically rehashing the explanations from Manifold: Time, with the additional info of how the Downstreamers made the manifold truly infinite, and what that means. The next part is a nearly word-for-word rehash of the explanation of quantum mechanics (the transactional interpretation) given in Manifold: Time, so I’ll not type the whole thing out.

Manifold: Origin, pages 499-501:

“The Old Ones must have come to believe they had lived through the wrong history. So they reached back, to the deepest past, and made the change – and the manifold was born.”

Emma thought she understood. So this had been the purpose the Old Ones had found. Not a saga of meaningless survival in a dismal future of decay and shadows. The Old Ones had reached back, back in time, back to the deepest past, and put it right, by creating infinite possibilities for life, for mind.

She said carefully, “I always wondered if life had any meaning. Now I know. The purpose of the first intelligence of all was to reshape the universe, in order to create a storm of mind.”

“Yes,” Manekato said. “That is a partial understanding, but – yes.”

...

“But,” Emma said, “the Old Ones must have wiped out their own history in the process. Didn’t they? They created a time paradox. Everybody knew about time paradoxes. If you kill your grandmother, the universe repairs itself so you never existed...”

“Perhaps not,” Manekato murmured. “It seems that conscious minds may, in some form, survive the transition.”

“Do not ask how,” Nemoto said dryly. “Suffice it to say that the Old Ones seem to have been able to look on their handiwork, and see that it was good... mostly.”

“Mostly?”

Nemoto said, “We think that we, unwilling passengers on this Red Moon, are, umm, exploring a corner of the manifold, of that infinite ensemble of universes the Old Ones created. Remember the Big Whack. Remember how we glimpsed many possible outcomes, many possible Earths and Moons, depending on the details of the impact.”

“It is clear,” Manekato said, “that within the manifold there must be a sheaf of universes, closely related, all of them deriving from that primal Earth-shaping event and its different outcomes.”

Nemoto said, “Many Earths. Many realities.”

“And in some of those realities,” Manekato said, “what you call the Fermi Paradox was resolved a different way.”

“You mean, alien intelligences arose.”

“Yes.” Nemoto rubbed her nose and glanced uneasily at the sky. “But in every one of those alien-inhabited realities, humans got wiped out – or never evolved in the first place. Every single time.”

“How come?”

Nemoto shrugged. “Lots of possible ways. Interstellar colonists from ancient cultures overwhelmed Earth before life got beyond the single-cell stage. Humankind was destroyed by a swarm of killer robots. Whatever. The Old Ones seem to have selected a bundle of universes – all of them deriving from the Big Whack – in which there was no life beyond the Earth. And they sent this Moon spinning between those empty realities, from one to the other-“

“So that explains Fermi,” Emma said.

“Yes,” said Nemoto. “We see no aliens because we have been inserted into an empty universe. Or universes. For our safety. To allow us to flourish.”

“But why the Red Moon, why link the realities?”

“To express humanity,” Manekato said simply. “There are many different ways to be a hominid, Em-ma. We conjecture the Old Ones sought to explore those different ways: to promote evolutionary pulses, to preserve differing forms, to make room for different types of human consciousness.”

Emma frowned. “You make us sound like pets. Toys.”

...

“Perhaps. Or it may be that we have yet to glimpse the true purpose of this wandering world.”

Emma said, “But I still don’t get it. Why would these superbeing Old Ones care so much about humanity?”

Nemoto frowned. “You haven’t understood anything, Emma. They were us. They were our descendants, our future. Homo sapiens sapiens, Emma. And their universe-spanning story is our own lost future history. We built the manifold. We – our children – are the Old Ones.”

Emma was stunned. Somehow it was harder to take, to accept that these universe-making meddlers might have been – not godlike, unimaginable aliens – but the descendants of humans like herself. What hubris, she thought.

Here’s the important part. After remaking the multiverse, the Downstreamers survived the VME and history-erasing paradox and ascended to an even new, greater form. Any weaknesses they might have had in their neutrino state were removed, as obviously that substrate was wiped out yet they still survived. They were able to perceive the infinite manifold and find that in every single universe with alien lifeforms, humanity was wiped out (this is already storing and processing infinite information, as there were by necessity an infinite amount of universes where this happened). And this isn’t just speculation either, all of this is derived from the information shown in the World Engine perused by Nemoto and Manekato, and now they are relaying it directly to Emma. So it’s straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The Downstreamers isolated a sheaf of universes (also infinite, see the note before about the convergence of worlds the Red Moon visited) where alien life never evolved and sent the Red Moon along it. In effect, this little section of infinite universes is nothing but their science experiment. And we will see more of their experiments, presumably in different sheafs/sub-manifolds, in Phase Space, when I get to it.

Manifold: Origin, page 502:

Nemoto hissed to Emma, “Listen to me. I have a further theory. The Old Ones did not disappear into some theoretical universe-spanning abstraction. They are still here. Wouldn’t they want to be immersed in the world they made, to eat its fruit, to drink its water? Maybe they have become these Nutcrackers, the most content, pacific, unthreatened, mindless of all the hominid species. They shed everything they knew to live the way hominids are supposed to, the way we never learned, or forgot. What do you think?”

This is the passage many people use to try to downplay. But there are several things to note here.

This was pure speculation from Nemoto, unlike the previous information gleaned from the World Engine database.

Even if it is correct, the Downstreamers were obviously still around after the VME to build the Red Moon (and the various other devices seen in the stories in Phase Space). In fact they must have been active as recently as 200,000 years ago, the time the Hams were taken to the Red Moon, as they have legends about them (that’s where the name “Old Ones” comes from, the Neanderthals’ legends of the ones who built the Red Moon).

No one is going to use them in a thread as monkeys. They’ll use them before they devolved themselves (if they even did)

The ability to transform these abstract multiverse-spanning consciousnesses into simple primates could even be an effective weapon if used on an enemy rather than themselves. Admittedly speculative, but the person who suggested the Downstreamers would turn Halo’s Forerunners into sheep could very well be correct. Of course it would naturally be harder to perform this process on an unwilling target, but that’s likely compensated by most potential targets not being disembodied, acausal, infinite-universe viewing gods.

Manifold: Origin, pages 417-418:

Of course there is another possibility. Maybe I should go with the Daemons, off into the manifold. If this really is a manifold of infinite universes, anything is possible. No, strike that – anything that can happen will happen, someplace. And so there must be one reality where you’re waiting for me. There must be. A whole universe, just for us. Kind of romantic, don’t you think?

I’m still blown away by what I’ve learned of the Old Ones. The Old Ones created infinite possibility – infinite opportunities for life, for mind. What higher mission could there be? And what really overwhelms me is that they may have been us. Or at least humans from some variant of our future history. Us: We did this. Think of that. You’d have loved it, Malenfant. But of course, maybe you already know all about it. To redesign an infinite ensemble of universes: what terrible responsibility, what arrogance... Maybe they really were us. It sounds just like the kind of thing your average Homo sap would do for a dare. An H. sap like Reid Malenfant. Is it all your fault? Malenfant, what did you do, out there in the forest of realities? Time to go. Good-bye, Malenfant, good-bye.

More on the infinite sheaf of universes the Red Moon travels between and how the Downstreamers redesigned the multiverse.

Phase Space, pages 232-233 (Grey Earth):

This is my proposal: that hominid speciation has been driven by the transfer of populations between parallel Earths. It is fantastic, but logical. If this is true, then everything about us – everything about me – has been shaped by the meddling of the Old Ones, these engineers of worlds and hominids, for their own unrevealed, unfathomable purpose. Just as my own life story – too complicated to set out here – has become a scrawl across multiple realities. What remains unclear is why the Old Ones, if they exist, should wish to do this. Perhaps their motives were somehow malicious, or somehow benevolent; perhaps they wished to give the potential of humankind its fullest opportunity of expression. But their motive is scarcely material. What power for mortals to hold. What arrogance to wield it.

More on the Downstreamers’ Red Moon and multiversal engineering.

Phase Space, pages 278-283 (Refugium):

That night we sat by the dying fire. There were no stars, of course, just bands of light on the horizons like twin dawns.

Celso said at length, “This place, this segment alone, could swallow more than ten thousand Earths. So much room... And we flew over dozens of other inside-out worlds. I imagine there’s a home for every life form in the universe – perhaps, in fact, a refuge for all logically possible life forms...”

I looked up to the cylinder’s invisible axis. “I suppose you’re going to tell me the whole thing’s built around a cosmic string. And the power for all the dinky suns comes from the huge currents left over from the Big Bang.”

“I would guess so. And power for the gravity fields we stand in – although there may be a simpler mechanism. Perhaps the tube is spinning, providing gravity by centripetal forces.”

“But you’d have to spin the tube at different rates. You know, some of the inhabitants will be from tiny moons, some will be from gas giants...”

“That’s true,” He clapped me on the shoulder. “We’ll make a scientist of you yet.”

...

“But what’s the point of all this?”

“The point – I think – is that species become extinct. Even humans....”

...

“I think the builders are planning ahead. I think this is a refugium, as the ecologists would say. A place to sit out the cold times to come, the long Ice Age of the universe – a safeguard against extinction.”

...

A new sun slid down the wire. The dew misted away.

...

There were two alien Bubbles. They bobbled in the breeze, side by side. One was ours. Its door gaped; I recognized our kit inside it. Within the second Bubble I thought I could make out two human forms.

I shook Celso awake. “We’ve got company.”

We stood before the new vessel. Its hatch opened. There was a woman; a small boy clung to her. They were a terrified mess. When they recognized Celso-

...

Celso grinned. “My friend Michael Malenfant. Please meet my wife, Maria, and Fernando, my son.”

Maria still wore the grimy coverall of an algae tank worker. She said: “The Bubble came and scooped me up from work; and Fernando from his school.”

I gaped. “The Bubbles have come to Earth?”

They had, it seemed: great gossamer fleets of them, sailing in from the Oort cloud, an armada perhaps triggered by our foolish jaunt

“They make the sky shine,” said the boy, beaming.

“Of course it is logical,” said Celso. “The aliens would want to reconstruct stable family units.”

“I wonder how they knew who to bring.”

Celso smiled. “I would guess they studied us – or rather the Bubble did – during the journey. Whoever was most in our thoughts would be selected. The puzzles of the human heart must be transparent to the builders of such a monumental construct as this.”

...

I said “I guess we know the truth about Fermi now. As soon as intelligence emerges on some deadbeat world like Earth, along come the Bubbles to take everybody away. Leaving all the lights on but nobody home. That’s all there is to it”

“But what a vast enterprise,” Celso said. “Remember, a key difficulty with the Fermi Paradox has always been consistency. If there is a mechanism that removes intelligent life from the stars and planets, it must do so unfailingly and everywhere; it must be all but omniscient and omnipotent.”

“So the universe must be full of those damn Bubbles.”

“Yes.” He smiled. “Or perhaps there is only one...”

“But why? Why go to all this trouble, to build this – this vast theme park?”

He grinned. “Extinction, Michael. This is a dangerous universe for fragile beings such as ourselves. Left to our own devices, it doesn’t look as if we are smart enough to get through many more centuries, does it? Maybe the Bubbles have come just in time. And remember that life can be readily destroyed – by impact events, volcanism and other instability – by chance events like nearby supernovae or the collision of neutron stars – by more dramatic occurrences like the collision of galaxies – and in the end, of course, all stars will die, all free energy sources dwindle... We are stalked by extinction, Michael, we are all refugees. But one energy source will not fade away: the energy trapped in the cosmic strings. So I think they built this place, and they sent out their trawler-like vessels. The refugium is a defiance of extinction – a mechanism to ensure that life and mind may survive into the unimaginable future –“

I sniffed, looking up at a fake sun. “But isn’t that a retreat? This great sink of life isn’t our world. To come here is an end to striving, to ambition, to the autonomy of the species.” I thought of the Bubbles clustering around Earth, like antibodies around a source of infection. I thought of human cities, New York and London and Beijing, emptied and overgrown like the dismal ruins of Alpha Centauri A-IV.

But Celso said, “Not really. They were just thinking of their children. Rather like me, I guess. And there are adventures to be had here. We will design flying machines and go exploring. There may be no limit to the journeys we, or our children, will make, up and down this great corridor, a corridor that encircles the universe, no limit to the intelligences we might meet. And here, sheltered in this refugium, the human species could last forever... think of that.”

...

“You have travelled across half the cosmos, and at the end of your journey you found yourself.”

...

The boy spoke around a mouthful of fish. “If you are lonely, sir, why don’t you go home?”

I smiled. “Easier said than done.”

“No, really. You know that screen in the Bubble – the one that showed our destination?”

“The cosmic string picture... what about it?”

“Well, in your Bubble it’s changed”

Celso stared at the boy, then ran to the Bubble. “He’s right,” he breathed. The screen showed a picture of the Earth – continents, grey-blue oceans, unmistakable and lovely. I kissed that damn kid.

Celso nodded. “They know you wish to leave.” He shrugged. “The choice of the species is surely clear; this, not that beautiful, fragile blue bauble, is mankind’s destiny. But individuals are free...”

There was a distant shiver of motion. A third Bubble sailed toward us across the plain. I hardly noticed it. Without hesitation I jumped into the open hatchway of our Bubble. “Listen,” I said to Celso, “are you sure you don’t want to come? It’s going to be a tough life here.”

He rejoined his family. “Not for us. Goodbye, my friend. Oh – here.” He handed me his softscreen. “With the information I have gathered in this you will become a rich man.”

The new vessel drifted to rest. I couldn’t have cared less. I banged the button to shut the hatch. My Bubble lifted. Through the net walls I could see the new arrival tumble out onto the raw earth. I recognized him. He was the reason the new Bubble had been summoned for me. The person who’d made sure he’d been on my mind throughout the whole journey. Frank J. Paulis was wearing his bathrobe. He wailed.

...

But maybe Paulis had got what he wanted, at that. The answer – in this universe, anyhow. My grandfather would have been pleased for him, I thought. The landscape fell away, and I flew past toy stars.

So we see that the Downstreamers have created a cosmic string construct that makes the Xeelee ring look like a hula hoop in comparison. It’s a net that encircles the entire universe, equipped with specifically designed environments for every possible type of lifeform, and a fleet of bubble ships (or perhaps just a single copy of one displaced through time, as was hinted slightly) is sent to pick up entire species as soon as they develop advanced space travel and take them here. The bubbles are also telepathic, reading the minds of their occupants and using that information to bring their families and friends to them in the habitats. All of this, however, is just one of the Downstreamers’ many experiments throughout the manifold. Recall that the sheaf of universes in Origin was specifically selected so no other intelligent life would develop outside of Earth, because in the universes it did, life on Earth was always wiped out. In this universe, they’ve prevented that problem with this system, which scoops up all intelligent life before it has a chance to mess up Earth or any other species (meaning this thing must have been in place since the very early universe, before the first species here evolved). Still this universe-spanning system is just another trinket of the Downstreamers for their evolutionary experiments.

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#44 Posted by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@darth_wayne @neongamewave @cooldudeachyut @vashtanerda88 @nomar @the_imperator The FVC FYI:

Manifold Time by Stephen Baxter said:

Excerpt:

The brighter areas - the older terrain, the highlands of the near side and much of the far side - looked much as they had always done, tracing out the face of the Man in the Moon. But the seas of gray lunar dust, Imbrium and Procellarum and Tranquility, seemed to be imploding. Even from here he could see cracks spreading in the lava seas, sections of crust cracking, tipping, sliding inward. The Moon was two thousand miles across; given that, the speed of the process he was watching - and the scale of it, hundred-mile slabs of lunar crust crumbling in seconds - was impressive.

...

The Moon is being collapsed to a new form: quark matter. The weaker areas of the crust, the areas crushed by the ancient basin-forming impacts, are imploding first. Michael hesitated. Do you understand? The Moon will become, briefly, a single giant nucleon, an extended sac of quarks at nuclear density that-

"Who is doing this?"

The children, of course.

"Why, for Christ's sake?"

It is the fulfillment of humankind. Of this cosmos... Ah.

Now the Moon's ancient, cratered highlands were starting to crumble, too. Malenfant felt a stab of regret as the Moon's bony geography collapsed into dust and light. Five billion years of stillness, Malenfant thought, ending in a few heartbeats. And we thought those Apollo footprints would last a million years. Now a light started to shine out of the heart of the Moon, out of the eyes and mouth of the Man, as if something were burning there. He could actually see shafts of light cast through lunar dust, as if the Moon were a Halloween lantern hanging in a murky room. And - with startling suddenness, in utter silence - the Moon imploded, shattered, bursting into an expanding cloud of dust and rubble.

...

But now the dispersing debris revealed a point of dazzling white light, difficult to look into even with Malenfant's mysteriously enhanced vision. The dying Moon had birthed a new star: a terrible, brilliant companion to the sun.

...

The quark nugget is only a tool.

"A tool to do what?"

To create a pulse of high-energy density.

Malenfant longed to understand. "How high?"

Would the numbers mean anything to you? The most energetic particles are cosmic rays: iron nuclei fleeing the explosions of stars, moving close to the speed of light. If an apple falls from a tree to the ground, the energy it gathers is shared over its billions of billions of atoms. The most energetic cosmic rays have comparable energy focused on a single nucleus. If two such nuclei were to impact head-on the energy released would be two orders of magnitude higher again. It is believed that no such event has happened in the history of the universe.

"And the children-"

Are seeking to create an event six orders of magnitude higher even than that. There are no natural processes that could produce such a thing. This is the first time there has been a mechanism - a mind, us - to deliver such gigantic energies. In this universe or any of those preceding it.

Malenfant frowned. "Are you saying this is our purpose? The purpose of man, of life, is to produce a single unnaturally huge energy pulse, this one thing? That's all?"

The purpose is not the act. It is the consequences of the act.

The light in the Moon wreckage grew brighter. It flared, electric blue, and then white. And the point burst, becoming an expanding bubble of light, pink-gray, ballooning into space. In a heartbeat it overwhelmed the debris cloud. Malenfant glimpsed its glare in the oceans of Earth, like a terrifying new sun born out of Earth's lost companion. But it took only a second for the bubble to grow monstrously large, fifty or sixty times the size of Earth, dwarfing the planet. The wall of light swept across Earth, devouring it. And Earth was gone.

...

The bubble was growing, larger and brighter every second, a cancer that seemed to be sucking energy out of spacetime itself, and Malenfant saw its light washing over Michael's face, his round, childish eyes. It was huge, startling, already dwarfing the points of light that populated the universe.

Michael said, The interface is growing at near light speed. It took a little more than a second to cover the Moon's orbit to reach Earth, just a twenty-fifth of a second to cover Earth itself. After five seconds it was as large as the sun. Light speed is fast, Malenfant. Now we have seven or eight minutes before the wave reaches the sun. The inner planets, Venus and Mercury, will be covered before that.

The ballooning bubble wasn't a perfect sphere, Malenfant saw absently. It was becoming blistered, growing irregularly, as if diseased. Its surface glowed pink-white and it was speckled, as if illuminated by laser light. The stars seemed to be shifting around the swelling edge, their position sliding, turning briefly to arcs of light before the shell obscured them - gravitational lensing, perhaps, as the shell distorted spacetime itself.

...

Michael was watching him, as if trying to gauge his reaction. They would have seen nothing. An instant of glowing sky - a moment of pain-

"Michael, what's inside the bubble? What happened to Earth when it passed the barrier?"

Different physical laws. Anything of our universe that survived the unreality pulse itself would immediately decay into new forms. Physics, chemistry as we know it could not proceed. But even this new regime, the regime of changed matter, would not persist. The energy density in there is intense, the gravity field it generates very strong. In microseconds after the nucleation - even before the bubble expanded beyond the Moon itself, when the bubble was only a mile across - a gravitational collapse started.

"Like a Big Crunch."

Yes. But none of the slow collapse and compression you witnessed in the precursor universes, Malenfant. Immediate. This is the true vacuum, Malenfant, the final state of the universe...

When the universe was born, erupting out of its Big Bang, it went through a series of phase changes, the vacuum collapsing to new, more stable forms. And with each change, with the decay of each false vacuum, energy was released. Those monstrous energy pulses fueled the initial expansion of the universe. At last the phase changes ceased, and the universe stabilized. But the stability it reached was false.

...

Yes. Their high-energy event allowed quantum tunneling to a state of true vacuum... Ah.

There was a burst of light on the edge of the expanding bubble. Venus, I think...

The unreality wall approached the sun. The bubble was now sixteen light-minutes across, two hundred million miles wide, dwarfing the sun. But the star seemed unperturbed, even as the great hull raced toward it.

Light speed, Malenfant, Michael whispered. If you were standing on the surface of the sun, you would still see stars and Earth and Moon, the last photons reflected by the planet before its destruction. The wall arrives with the light itself...

The wall blew across the sun, a tornado engulfing a brightly lit farmhouse. But the sun, a million miles across, was no mere mote of rock and water and life, like Earth. The wall took three, four, five seconds to overwhelm the sun's glowing mass. Right to the end the surviving sector of the sun kept its spherical shape, kept shining, emitting photons generated by a fusion core that had vanished into unreality seconds before. Still, it took just heartbeats. When the sun was gone it grew darker. A final nightfall, Malenfant thought. And now there was only the sphere of unreality, growing ferociously and unevenly, sparkling, clumpy blisters bursting from its sides, stars curdling around its edge. Soon, he realized, it would become a wall, blanketing the universe.

There will be little to see for a while, Michael said. It will sweep across mars, the asteroid belt.

"Cruithne?"

Gone already. Then, in half an hour, it will reach us.

The bubble continued to swell visibly, its light glaring.

"It's never going to stop," Malenfant whispered. "It will consume the Solar System, the stars-"

This isn't some local phenomenon, Malenfant. This is a fundamental change in the structure of the universe. It will never stop. It will sweep on, growing at light speed, a runaway feedback fueled by the collapse of the vacuum itself. The Galaxy will be gone in a hundred thousand years, Andromeda, the nearest large galaxy, in a couple of million years. It will take time, but eventually-

"The future has gone," Malenfant said. "My God. That's what this means, isn't it? The downstream can't happen now. All of it is gone. The colonization of the Galaxy; the settlement of the universe; the long, patient fight against entropy..." That immense future had been cut off to die, like a tree chopped through at the root. "Why, Michael? Why have the children done this? Burned the house down, destroyed the future-"

Because it was the wrong future. Michael looked around the sky. He pointed to the lumpy, spreading edge of the unreality bubble.

There. Can you see that? It's already starting...

"What is?"

The budding... The growth of the true vacuum region is not even. There will be pockets of the false vacuum - remnants of our universe - isolated by the spreading true vacuum. The fragments of false vacuum will collapse. Like-

"Like black holes." And in that instant, Malenfant understood. "That's what this is for. This is just a better way of making black holes, and budding off new universes. Better than stars, even."

Much better. The black holes created as the vacuum decay proceeds will overwhelm by many orders of magnitude the mere billion billion that our universe might have created through its stars and galaxy cores.

"And the long, slow evolution of the universes, the branching tree of cosmoses?..."

We have changed everything, Malenfant. Mind has assumed responsibility for the evolution of the cosmos. There will be many daughter universes - universes too many to count, universes exotic beyond our imagining - and many, many of them will harbor life and mind.

"But we were the first."

Now he understood. This was the purpose. Not the long survival of humankind into a dismal future of decay and shadows, the final retreat into the lossless substrate, where nothing ever changed or grew. The purpose of humankind - the first intelligence of all - had been to reshape the universe in order to bud others and create a storm of mind. We got it wrong, he thought. By striving for a meaningless eternity, humans denied true infinity. But we reached back, back in time, back to the far upstream, and spoke to our last children - the maligned Blues - and we put it right. This is what it meant to be alone in the universe, to be the first. We had all of infinite time and space in our hands. We had ultimate responsibility. And we discharged it. We were parents of the universe, not its children.

^explained in simple terms (not full story 'cause it's a six minute video, you can google up an article on this subject if you wish):

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#45 Posted by The_Imperator (2275 posts) - - Show Bio

So that's a lot, and I don't really want to spaghetti post, because that would be unreadable by the end, so I'll try to respond in order.

First, the idea that a comprehensible system implies someone exists to comprehend it is silly. Humans are so far from understanding how biology works, but that alone doesn't imply a god exists just because the human body is theoretically comprehensible.

Second, the idea that a bubble in the Downstreamer system equals an entire multiverse in another setting is silly and completely lacking in textual backing. On top of that, that's a human trying to explain something to another human, not an actual source that knows everything with proof, or has directly observed it. On top of that, just because there "could" be something, as your quote about the Manifold says, does not automatically mean there must be something. There could be a spontaneous quantum tunneling effect where I fall through the floor right now, that doesn't mean it has to happen. Finally, most of the manifolds inside of manifolds stuff is speculation by human figures who have no way of proving any of that data. It's like when the narrator of an old comic calls Odin omnipotent, just because someone said it doesn't mean it's true, especially since in this case the human is just extrapolating a theory.

(next post)

First, most of that isn't really combat relevant, which is what this thread is about. Those time portals are cool and all, but not really that impressive by Who standards. Time Lords can rig up time travel from some positrons and a couple mirrors (Evil of the Daleks), or even just fancy math equations (novels: Interference 1 and 2) (since they designed the rules of physics and know all the back doors in Who).

Second, those mining feats are that impressive. Time Lords can literally clone black holes with quantum physics BS and stick as many as they want in their TARDISes, in addition to being able to fly into and out of event horizons as needed.

So far those quotes are all well and good, but none of those are combat relevant here. None of them.

(next post)

First, the Downstreamer's time travel was impressive because they knew everything and could send anti-particles back to influence events. That's not really relevant in this scenario, because the Xeelee and Time Lords both have easier ways to go back and influence events.

Second, the post about going to a Big Bang says it's another universe, no time travel needed. You added the part about going back in time the Big Bang:

"The set of all possible universes. Probably one related to ours.

"Related? How can universes be related? ... Never mind."

Cornelius turned blindly. "Damn it, I wish I could see. There's no reason why this universe should be exactly like ours, Malenfant. Most universes will be short-lived, probably on the scale of the Planck time."

"How long is that?"

"Ten to power minus forty-three of a second."

"Not even enough time to make a coffee, huh."

"I think this universe is only a few hours old. I think it just expanded out of its Big

Bang.

Third, in a fight with Time Lords sending info back to yourself doesn't give you extra processing speed. Time Lords experience time changes at a slower rate than everyone else. For example, in the novel The Big Bang Generation, when the Doctor is describing a universal collapse, he points out that from his point of view it will take several thousand years (meta-time is the term for that in Who by fans, or Gallifreyan mean time in the show and books and stuff) to collapse, but from everyone else's POV it will instantly collapse. Time Lords make themselves coterminous with species they interact with, and they can detect time changes in the act of occurring and prevent them from taking place in the time line they're in (Audios: Erasure, Axis of Insanity; episode: The Five Doctors, and basically the entire show when Time Lords are involved). Time changes to not instantly effect Time Lords, for example when the Doctor's past selves were literally deleted from his time line in the Five Doctors, he had chest pains and felt it happening, but his nature kept the changes from actually touching his future/present self. In the audio set Only the Good and the set Eighth Doctor: Time War vol 1 and the set Gallifrey: Time War vol 1, we see changes in time not affect Time Lords' present states, and see them interact with things to stop time changes in the act of occurring. Simple acausality doesn't allow one to get around the Time Lords in the prediction department. On top of that, one common tactic mentioned in The Book of the War was to create fake history and insert it into time, so that opponents couldn't rely on the tactic of sending themselves information about events, because those events very well may only appear to be happening, rather than actually happening.

Fourth, that time changing feat is nice, but shows that all the universes are still connected temporally. Which means Time Lords can literally start collapsing them all and locking them away, something they do a lot and is the entire plot of the audios Axis of Insanity and most of the Gallifrey audio series. So again, that's nice and all but doesn't actually do much for combat here.

(next post)

First, there are actually posts from different people saying TARDISes are infinite, so if we wanna go with one person saying something is infinite we can also go with the Doctor from Journey to the Center of the TARDIS saying his TARDIS is also infinite:

Good. Now forget it. 'Cause this ship is infinite.

Second, yeah, those portal things and senses are cool, but again, aren't really relevant to combat where your entire time line can be cut apart and stuck into a bottle on Rassilon's dresser (the meta-plot of Zagreus, Neverland, and Scherzo to Terror Firma). And none of those quotes still show any way to actually harm the Time Lords. the Downstreamers are cool, and have amazing tech (those portals and letting people survive Big Bangs is really cool) but said tech isn't always relevant to a fight where one side has all of the hax and can, at the push of a button, alter how physics works not as an extending wave front, but instantly everywhere and (if they want) every when.

(next post)

First, the quote doesn't say the Downstreamers isolated the universes, it says they selected a "bundle" and then "they sent this Moon spinning between those empty realities, from one to the other-", and then they are informed said empty realities had humans inserted into them. None of that says they sequestered said universes, merely that they found empty ones.

Second, as to the next part being speculation, Nemoto uses the same unsure words to suggest that as he does the other stuff. When talking about the human only universes and what became of the Downstreamers he and Manekato use the words "perhaps", "we think", and "conjecture", none of which are words that show authoritative knowledge. They're seemingly conjecturing about a lot of this.

Third, that last bit is really cool. I need to read the Phase Space collection.

All in all, yeah, the Downstreamers are insanely powerful tech wise, and insanely intelligent. They don't, however, have feats that are comprehensive enough to show how they would take down a civilization like the Time Lords. They don't have combat feats, because their series wasn't about that. It's like using the Q in debates like this, they're ill defined on purpose because they have a story role that doesn't involve combat with other things that can kill them. The Who side, thanks to being composite, has a ton of hax that literally can't be interacted with by the other side because such things don't even exist in their settings. But the Time Lords have virtually nothing that can be consistently argued to be able to beat the Downstreamers either. And with the additional composite stuff, the Q and Xeelee aren't going to roll over the Time Lords even with Downstreamer help.

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#46 Edited by omnitool543 (22 posts) - - Show Bio

the combined techwank of the above factions causes the universe to implode.

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#47 Posted by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_imperator I give up, it's like trying to say which infinity is bigger.

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#48 Posted by The_Imperator (2275 posts) - - Show Bio

@thejeferd: You literally posted no combat applicable abilities. Yeah, the Downstreamers tech is insanely cool, but there are hardly any direct combat feats, which is what this Battle board kind of relies on.

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#49 Edited by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_imperator Well, if that is the case then I will my vote to inconclusive because the Downstreamers can do stuff but combat feats are lacking.

Side note (off-topic): If this battle board relies on direct combat feats then technically any of the Outer Gods from Cthulhu Mythos are weak asf.

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#50 Posted by TheJeferd (42 posts) - - Show Bio