June 23, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

By Amalia Chrysostomou

Posted June 10th 2022

This story was part of our spring sci-fi short story competition.

I was furious with him.

He knew full well the responsibility that he had as a newfound transformer and he actively chose to disregard it. I didn’t understand how he thought sometimes, and how his curiosity was the main thing driving him to do almost anything. Living here for all of my life already provided me with enough to explore, I had never cared for more.

Countless cities, different people, more energy than I could fathom, yet most of it, of course, was inaccessible to me. After all, we shared it, but we could only use it in one form, the one that was running in our family and in our city. In fact, even in Elora our bodies matched the environment perfectly, built to absorb every last sound.

I didn’t understand what he meant when he said that we had magic; this was just energy, energy is everywhere. They probably never bothered to use it properly. He knew for sure that I was staring but he was so focused on reading that book that we had stolen. Suddenly I was overly aware of my long ears flapping anxiously against my arms – it had been more than a day since I last managed to charge, my body was aching for sound. I had never seen my city so silent and still. We had been feeding on its vibrations and sounds for so long, we never stopped to think that Elora could exist without them.  

“Telarin, you know very well that you can’t just rearrange the Braid, someone messing with it is what brought you and your people here in the first place.” 

“Yes, but I have to try. It might not have been our fault but ever since we came, the sky has started to fall apart.” 

“First of all, you didn’t come, you literally created holes and fell from the sky, that’s why it broke! This is what happens when you mess with the Braid.” 

“No, this is what happens when you mess with time. I know here you’re all about the magic and everything but where I come from, we don’t have these kinds of luxuries—” 

“First of all, it’s not magic, it’s energy and I swear, if you start again with the whole book propaganda, I will find a piece of sky and smack it on your head! We do have it here, it’s just not needed so no one cares about it.” 

“Now you do need it though. I wish this was a figure of speech but the sky is literally falling on your head.” 

“And how will studying books fix this? Not even elementals could.” 

“I may not have been an important person back in Ava but there were some things I was good at. Healing your fallen animals and reading about Ascernia – the information is somewhere inside my head. I just need to remember.” 

“Alright, talk me through what you’re thinking, then. That might help you remember.” 

He finally turned his face up and looked at me after that. Orin’s star was now directly outside the window and warm light highlighted a perplexed look on his face. Then he started talking immediately. 

“From what I’ve read about the Braid, we can imagine our world as disks stacked on top of each other, but I’ve no idea how many there are or where mine is in relation to yours. Through their middle, an unidentified aura of energy passes that exists even in Ava, where magic doesn’t. We call it the stream of time, you call it the Braid, and we think that it’s a physical representation of time…” 

He paused and stared into a point I couldn’t see. I was waiting for him to continue, but the blank expression remained and after some minutes I began to get worried. 

“Telarin, please say something. You’re freaking me out. TELARIN!” 

“I remembered something…” 

“What?! What did you remember?” 

“The Braid in Ava…” 

“You just said that the Braid is the same, it passes through everywhere. Maybe you just remembered the braid here—” 

“No, no, the Braid in Ava is different, it’s a lot less dense. It might mean that the position of the planes relative to each other affects it. Maybe it doesn’t represent time, MAYBE IT’S SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY!” 

“TELARIN, stop!” 

“Why? Did I say something wrong?” 

“No but something weird is happening, I’m charging.” 

“You’re charging? But how? It’s so quiet in here.” 

“You might think I’m crazy, but I’m getting pulses from you.” 

“Well then why should I stop?! If this is true, we could really fix everything. Nefi, if this is true, if we have magic again, we could make sense of everything!”