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Author Topic: EP175: Reparations  (Read 15634 times)
Russell Nash
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« on: September 11, 2008, 04:24:37 PM »

EP175: Reparations

By Merrie Haskell.
Read by Mary Robinette Kowal.

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I just swab my arm and administer the cocktail, a booster for my radiation immunization. The taste of brass fills my mouth in seconds, and I know that the cocktail has flooded my system. With this stuff burbling inside, I can stare down three sieverts without blinking, or, more importantly, losing my immune system, teeth, hair, and intestines.

When I finish with my dose, I grab the skin on the newbie’s arm, swab her and shoot her up, too. “Ow!” She jumps and rubs her arm. I watch carefully to see her smack her lips at the taste. “You could’ve warned me.”

“No time,” I say, doctoring Ken and the others just as abruptly. We’re pressed, and they know it.

We’re all nice and anodized on the inside at 8:12. We’re waiting for 8:16, or thereabouts. There aren’t any atomic clocks in 1945, so all times are approximate, internally speaking. And from here on in, there’s no point speaking any other way.


Rated PG. Contains mass destruction and graphic descriptions of the wounded.



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alllie
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2008, 09:04:57 PM »

I want to know the rest of the story. I want to know how she ended up with the kid and the old man. I want to know how it all ended and if she made it back safely with them.

Maybe it is better that I have to make it up myself. Except I still want to know. It’s like a splinter.

Tell me this is just part of a larger work that I can go read.

Nice narration too.
 Cry
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2008, 09:16:44 AM »

I liked this one.  Yeah, it was short and the story could've been fleshed out more but it fit the mood of the day and was well told.   Nicely done.

I remember seeing in a college physics class many years ago a film shot not long after the bombs dropped in Japan.  Can't remember if it was Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  The graphic scenes of destruction and of the helpless survivors were shocking and horrifying.  Not sure why the prof showed it to us.   It was the only time I was ever physically ill after watching a movie.
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2008, 09:59:19 AM »

I loved this story on (the now sadly defunct) Fortean Bureau and I still love it.  I'm so glad Escape Pod chose to run it.  Nice reading by Kowal. 

I suspect many people here think I'm a cold-hearted bitch because I thought Edward Bear was sentimental bs, and instead of making me cry Resnick stories usually make me roll my eyes and mutter "oh, please", but this story right here, this one, gets me on an emotional gut level.  Properly sad and beautifully told and emotionally true and so satisfying.  Catharsis, thy name is Merrie Haskell. 

I loved Haskell's other Escape Pod offering too: One Million Years B.F.E., and between it and the Eekhout story grenades I was convinced of flash as a form and those, in part, provided impetus and inspiration for me to participate in the flash contest.

Anyway, because I pimped E. Bear's other wonderful stories so hard when "Tideline" ran, I should also point out that Merrie Haskell has another awesome story available online (I hope  hope hope it's the one PodCastle bought, but I dunno if it is or not): "Rampion in the Belltower". Because even fairy tale retellings are better with zombies.
 
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Zathras
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2008, 11:03:30 AM »

Meh.

The reading was very, very good.  The premise was great.  I just felt like it lacked something.
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2008, 12:13:21 PM »

  A good, but very heavy story.

  As has already been said, I would have liked to have known more about the boy and the old man. there's not much suspense regarding the protagonist since she obvioulsy does not get into enough trouble to bar her from future trips for her little stunt since her future self was there to switch places with her in the first place.

  I wonder why, if time travel is possible, no one just goes back and sabatoges the bombs or something. Too much of a paradox risk, or perhaps just the knowledge that the government would have kept on trying until they succeeded anyway?
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2008, 12:44:44 PM »

As has already been said, I would have liked to have known more about the boy and the old man. there's not much suspense regarding the protagonist since she obvioulsy does not get into enough trouble to bar her from future trips for her little stunt since her future self was there to switch places with her in the first place.

I don't believe this interpretation of the story is correct.  The self that gets stranded is today's self, not a future self.  She knows she didn't make her link today, hence she goes to the same pick up spot, so that her stranded self (if her today's self is compassionate enough) will cede her place in the pickup.  Today's self is then stranded for two days again, in a recursive loop.  I think we can safely assume she's in a shitload of hot water for bringing back the extra 2 locals that the tech won't count.

Quote
  I wonder why, if time travel is possible, no one just goes back and sabatoges the bombs or something. Too much of a paradox risk, or perhaps just the knowledge that the government would have kept on trying until they succeeded anyway?

Undoing the event isn't reparations.  Although there's probably another story waiting in your ideas.
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Zathras
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2008, 12:47:30 PM »

  I wonder why, if time travel is possible, no one just goes back and sabatoges the bombs or something. Too much of a paradox risk, or perhaps just the knowledge that the government would have kept on trying until they succeeded anyway?
[/quote

Maybe it had been tried and the results were worse, so they had to go back and stop themselves from stopping the bombings.  

And then maybe someone else gained control of the time machine and stopped them from stopping themselves from stopping the bombings and found out that it was a mistake to stop the bombings, so they had to then stop themselves from stopping the orriginal attempt to stop the people from stopping the bombings.

I figured out what my problem was with the story.  I knew what the safe zones were, and that they were coming again and again to the same moment in time.  What would the outcome be of all the stories that people told of the events?  When they describe the same people all over the city helping the injured, what kind of reaction comes?  It is that unanswered question that got me.
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Zathras
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2008, 12:50:25 PM »


I don't believe this interpretation of the story is correct.  The self that gets stranded is today's self, not a future self.  She knows she didn't make her link today, hence she goes to the same pick up spot, so that her stranded self (if her today's self is compassionate enough) will cede her place in the pickup.  Today's self is then stranded for two days again, in a recursive loop.  I think we can safely assume she's in a shitload of hot water for bringing back the extra 2 locals that the tech won't count.


Yes, why would they let her go back?  I understand how she gets back to the future, but wouldn't she be pulled from the team?
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2008, 12:56:23 PM »

As has already been said, I would have liked to have known more about the boy and the old man. there's not much suspense regarding the protagonist since she obvioulsy does not get into enough trouble to bar her from future trips for her little stunt since her future self was there to switch places with her in the first place.

I don't believe this interpretation of the story is correct.  The self that gets stranded is today's self, not a future self.  She knows she didn't make her link today, hence she goes to the same pick up spot, so that her stranded self (if her today's self is compassionate enough) will cede her place in the pickup.  Today's self is then stranded for two days again, in a recursive loop.  I think we can safely assume she's in a shitload of hot water for bringing back the extra 2 locals that the tech won't count.
All iterations of her arrive in Japan at T0. They leave at T1, which is in the evening of that day. It is at this time that the substitution happens. The emergency pickup is at T2, two days later. After T1 is past and the switch has been made, she has no way of going back in time to be that future person. She has to wait until T2; otherwise, why mention that they have to be on time for the portal back, rather than just saying "oh, you can use your personal time dohicky to go back and make it"? Therefore, she has to wait until T2, get picked up and go back to the future then, so that she could have been sent back (once again) to T0.
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2008, 02:36:19 PM »

All iterations of her arrive in Japan at T0. They leave at T1, which is in the evening of that day. It is at this time that the substitution happens. The emergency pickup is at T2, two days later. After T1 is past and the switch has been made, she has no way of going back in time to be that future person. She has to wait until T2; otherwise, why mention that they have to be on time for the portal back, rather than just saying "oh, you can use your personal time dohicky to go back and make it"? Therefore, she has to wait until T2, get picked up and go back to the future then, so that she could have been sent back (once again) to T0.

My head just exploded.  Shocked
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Zathras
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2008, 02:59:06 PM »

As has already been said, I would have liked to have known more about the boy and the old man. there's not much suspense regarding the protagonist since she obvioulsy does not get into enough trouble to bar her from future trips for her little stunt since her future self was there to switch places with her in the first place.

I don't believe this interpretation of the story is correct.  The self that gets stranded is today's self, not a future self.  She knows she didn't make her link today, hence she goes to the same pick up spot, so that her stranded self (if her today's self is compassionate enough) will cede her place in the pickup.  Today's self is then stranded for two days again, in a recursive loop.  I think we can safely assume she's in a shitload of hot water for bringing back the extra 2 locals that the tech won't count.
All iterations of her arrive in Japan at T0. They leave at T1, which is in the evening of that day. It is at this time that the substitution happens. The emergency pickup is at T2, two days later. After T1 is past and the switch has been made, she has no way of going back in time to be that future person. She has to wait until T2; otherwise, why mention that they have to be on time for the portal back, rather than just saying "oh, you can use your personal time dohicky to go back and make it"? Therefore, she has to wait until T2, get picked up and go back to the future then, so that she could have been sent back (once again) to T0.

That takes care of the extraction, but what about her return?  Do they just let her go back, knowing she's going to break the rules? 

She has been going back for 40 days now.  So you could label her point of origin as P40 and her as Dr40.  Obviously, the injured edition of herself is from P>40.  Dr>40 returns to P40+.  But in order for Dr>40 to make it to T0, Dr40 has to return to P>40<PDr>40

Get it?
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Zathras
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2008, 03:41:42 PM »

This is the fix of an earlier post, don't know what the problem is:

Maybe it had been tried and the results were worse, so they had to go back and stop themselves from stopping the bombings.  

And then maybe someone else gained control of the time machine and stopped them from stopping themselves from stopping the bombings and found out that it was a mistake to stop the bombings, so they had to then stop themselves from stopping the orriginal attempt to stop the people from stopping the bombings.

I figured out what my problem was with the story.  I knew what the safe zones were, and that they were coming again and again to the same moment in time.  What would the outcome be of all the stories that people told of the events?  When they describe the same people all over the city helping the injured, what kind of reaction comes?  It is that unanswered question that got me.


This is what my earlier post should have looked like.  I typed my post inside the quote, I am a goober
« Last Edit: September 12, 2008, 03:55:58 PM by Zathras » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2008, 03:42:57 PM »


She has been going back for 40 days now.  So you could label her point of origin as P40 and her as Dr40.  Obviously, the injured edition of herself is from P>40.  Dr>40 returns to P40+.  But in order for Dr>40 to make it to T0, Dr40 has to return to P>40<PDr>40

The remainder of my corpse spontaneously combusted.  Cry
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2008, 04:59:50 PM »

All iterations of her arrive in Japan at T0. They leave at T1, which is in the evening of that day. It is at this time that the substitution happens. The emergency pickup is at T2, two days later. After T1 is past and the switch has been made, she has no way of going back in time to be that future person. She has to wait until T2; otherwise, why mention that they have to be on time for the portal back, rather than just saying "oh, you can use your personal time dohicky to go back and make it"? Therefore, she has to wait until T2, get picked up and go back to the future then, so that she could have been sent back (once again) to T0.

Right, except there's an already future Laura-who-missed-her-pickup going back at today's T1, so the current Laura doesn't have to be rescued at all to be sent back again next week and break the rules, the future her can do that, leaving the current one stranded.  So the questions are: will they send future her back even though she's contravened policy because they have to, because it's 'already happened'? Will they pick up the stranded current her at T2 (and can they? The story casts a little doubt on the viability of the emergency pickup, though I think we're meant to think it's possible) or is the penalty for 'crossing the streams' leaving the current version of her in 1945 to die of radiation poisoning?
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Zathras
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2008, 09:24:15 PM »

The problem is that somehow, Dr>40 has to get to T0.  Unless the fact that she took Dr40's return trip is already a paradox. 

Steve should have put a warning on this episode to watch out for exploding body parts.  I don't think Darwinism is the only victim of this thread.   Shocked




Oh, and off topic, my wife never knew about the "crossing the streams" joke until after I explained it to her last year.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2008, 11:22:36 PM »

Right, except there's an already future Laura-who-missed-her-pickup going back at today's T1, so the current Laura doesn't have to be rescued at all to be sent back again next week and break the rules, the future her can do that, leaving the current one stranded.  So the questions are: will they send future her back even though she's contravened policy because they have to, because it's 'already happened'? Will they pick up the stranded current her at T2 (and can they? The story casts a little doubt on the viability of the emergency pickup, though I think we're meant to think it's possible) or is the penalty for 'crossing the streams' leaving the current version of her in 1945 to die of radiation poisoning?

  Of course they send her through again in the future, they have to because they already did as evidenced by injured Laura's existence. Injured Laura remembers being present Laura, and swapping places with the injured Laura that she encountered. To not let present Laura become injured Laura would create a paradox. That said, they may not let injured Laura go back after that since the chance of paradox is then over. They canot undo what they already will have done at a time some distance in the future anymore than the character in a book could cause a change to the end of the book, it's already written.

  I think Arnold Rimmer summed it up best:

"It will be happened; it shall be going to be happening; it will be was an event that could will have been taken place in the future.  Simple as that."
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2008, 09:06:09 AM »

All iterations of her arrive in Japan at T0. They leave at T1, which is in the evening of that day. It is at this time that the substitution happens. The emergency pickup is at T2, two days later. After T1 is past and the switch has been made, she has no way of going back in time to be that future person. She has to wait until T2; otherwise, why mention that they have to be on time for the portal back, rather than just saying "oh, you can use your personal time dohicky to go back and make it"? Therefore, she has to wait until T2, get picked up and go back to the future then, so that she could have been sent back (once again) to T0.
Right, except there's an already future Laura-who-missed-her-pickup going back at today's T1,
For each iteration, there is a drop-off time and a pick-up time, which may be different for each time, just as the place is different. It's possible that she missed her designated pick-up but still had time to get to the one she actually made. It's also possible that she never even tried to make the pick-up she was supposed to, and headed straight for the one where she knew the tech would let the wrong people through.
so the current Laura doesn't have to be rescued at all to be sent back again next week and break the rules, the future her can do that, leaving the current one stranded.
If she doesn't get rescued, there'll never be a future Laura for her to switch places with; she'll just die in 20th Century Japan and never travel through time again.
So the questions are: will they send future her back even though she's contravened policy because they have to, because it's 'already happened'?
Unknown.
Will they pick up the stranded current her at T2
Yes; if they don't, the future her won't be there to go back in time.
(and can they? The story casts a little doubt on the viability of the emergency pickup, though I think we're meant to think it's possible)
Yes they can. The story makes it abundantly clear that she has to be picked up for the future her to exist to be sent back and to meet her.
or is the penalty for 'crossing the streams' leaving the current version of her in 1945 to die of radiation poisoning?
No.
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2008, 09:24:06 AM »

Wintermute -

I believe you are assuming that the current Laura must be pulled back so that the future Laura can go back again, but since future Laura is picked up as today's Laura, and is going back into her own future past (the day she was sent), current Laura does not have to be picked up.  The premise of the story is that there can be more than one iteration (otherwise how do they speak to one another), so today's Laura CAN be left to die without affecting future (now also current) Laura's ability to go back and waylay her.  If future Laura goes back in current Laura's place, current Laura is an extra Laura.
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2008, 01:38:17 PM »

This all reminds me of Everyone Kills Hitler On their First Time Trip which is about a forum for time travelers who keep having to fix things that new time travelers do.


International Association of Time Travelers: Members' Forum Subforum: Europe – Twentieth Century – Second World War
    Page 263
11/15/2104
At 14:52:28, FreedomFighter69 wrote:
Reporting my first temporal excursion since joining IATT: have just returned from 1936 Berlin, having taken the place of one of Leni Riefenstahl's cameramen and assassinated Adolf Hitler during the opening of the Olympic Games. Let a free world rejoice!

At 14:57:44, SilverFox316 wrote:
Back from 1936 Berlin; incapacitated FreedomFighter69 before he could pull his little stunt. Freedomfighter69, as you are a new member, please read IATT Bulletin 1147 regarding the killing of Hitler before your next excursion. Failure to do so may result in your expulsion per Bylaw 223.

At 18:06:59, BigChill wrote:
Take it easy on the kid, SilverFox316; everybody kills Hitler on their first trip. I did. It always gets fixed within a few minutes, what's the harm?

At 18:33:10, SilverFox316 wrote:
Easy for you to say, BigChill, since to my recollection ...


You should read the rest if you haven't already. It's Desmond Warzel's Wikihistory. It would make a nice flash.

It's a pretty famous piece. And pretty funny.

But it does illustrate some of the problems with time travel, including killing yourself by killing your ancestor.

But back to this story, it was my interpretation that it was the same timeline for both nuns, if they were actually nuns. The first one lets herself who is 2 days older, go in her place. As a result she goes into the city during that two days, is burned somehow and meets the old man and the kid and goes back to take the place of her two-days younger self who then has to stay two days and goes into the city and gets burned and meets the old man and the kid and goes back to take the place of her 2 days younger self who then goes into the city...
EDIT: Now that I think about this more I think it couldn't work. But just illustrates how confusing time paradoxes can get.

I think I'm getting a headache.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 08:03:55 PM by alllie » Logged
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