In the future there has been established a giant global network system, greater in power than any data system ever built before; quite beyond the comprehension of a contemporary computer programmer. This network is known as TRAVIL or Transglobal-Rentner Audio & Visual Information Library. The library is vast. Huge areas of Old Australia have been converted into giant stainless steel vaults. In these vaults you will find sounds and images of every possible source – snapshots from the oldest family albums, the screeches and whines of extinct creatures and most importantly the proof of time itself, for the library is not for reference, in this new society the future is dictated by how the immediate past came into being. As well as being a machine of awesome technological power it also symbolizes the power of the corporation responsible for its manifestation: Rentner.
Although a well-oiled organisation, deadly efficient, uncompromising, Rentner has found that TRAVIL has flaws. There are gaps in the time data, this is unacceptable for a system whose function is to store every moment of the past. Furthermore, it has become apparent that merely having the images and sounds from the past does not guarantee a coherent view of the past – for every action has a reaction, every cause has an effect, every moment in time is a product of chance, an accident. As the past is established, it follows that if the correct methodology is used it would be possible to ascertain how an event came to happen. How it was conceived from a causal event and how eventually it becomes a causal event itself.
As well as being the superpower of time and information management, Rentner also governs a science administration. In the past companies such as NASA concentrated their efforts and resources on the dream of deep space travel and exploration, somehow continuing on with the stupid notion that humanity would benefit from, for example, a select crew of humans collecting dust from a moon of Jupiter. From an early stage in its development as a global power Rentner could see the potential in concentrating such resources on the exploration of time, knowing space was irrelevant to a rational debate on the future of society, in particular the control of society. Hence, when the Rentner Science Administration managed to control government funding, they pushed the space race into the shadows and perfected the Art of chronovelocital travel.
The sounds and images contained in TRAVIL are all primary sources, that is to say, every recording is an original, taken at the exact time of the event. These recordings are made by chronovelocital teams. They are sent back to the time frame containing the events selected for capture, the Rentner bosses refer to this process as the Pixel Harvest, as if they were reaping the crops sown by the hands of chance.
The selection process for chronovelocital teams, individually known as Chrononauts, is relatively simple. The applicants must demonstrate a sound knowledge of old world geography and culture, they must be competent in the use of old world imaging tools: film cameras, digital cameras, etc. and must declare their undying loyalty to Rentner. Upon selection, every chrononauts must swear the seven rulings of Rentner before a priest of the Holy Order of the Rentner. This ceremony closes with an orgy with the Rentner nuns and free cider.
Our story begins with a group of three graduates from the Rentner Filmproduktion Institute. They apply for a chronovelocital mission. They become Rentner #36-24-34.
The image retrieval work required of the team has been given Boss-Eye-Only status, that is to say the team is in complete ignorance of which time frame and geographical region chosen for their mission. The reason for this is that the time frame they are to be sent back is early 21st century western Europe. Hundreds of teams are sent back to this time frame every month and the information given is in so much detail, considering every cause and effect situation that the bosses have decided it would be easier to send back teams at random without properly planning the missions, for they have come to the conclusion that it is virtually impossible to give one moment in time precedence over another. Before being sent back the team is handed a brief, which contains their orders. It states that in the field they will be given signals left from other agents on other missions, these will mostly consist of time deadlines and geographical position. Under no circumstances are these deadlines to be missed and under no circumstances is the nature of their work or the fact that they come from the future ever to be disclosed: this could jeopardize the future of Rentner as a global mega power and could result in the chrononauts being stuck in the past.
During selection, each candidate was given the aforementioned testing. Two aspects of temperament, which were not considered by the selection committee to be important was that of the artist and that of the sex maniac. The team goes through the complex, dangerous process of chronovelocital flight and finds itself in a place with absolutely no idea where they are or what they should be doing. It was mentioned in their brief that their mission might coincide with past missions and that the tools they are to use may be retrieved hence. Their first objective is to find the materials they needed to continue their mission.
The above text is taken from a document, which was found in an abandoned house in a small English town along the river Medway on 22 December 2001.
Below is a scan of the first page of the document. More information about this can be found in this article.
© by Rupert Jaeger, all rights reserved