Behind the Timestream by Stanlei Bellan

Behind the Timestream
Stanlei Bellan

B’litk throws itself into the timestream, selflessly. It does not regret, but it does fear. Will it starve to death if it never grows hungry and thirsty again? Will its consciousness wither into nothingness if its body never ages another instant?

It pushes these time terrors aside; there is nothing it can do about it now. And, ironically, time is of the essence. B’litk only hopes its unorthodox and dangerous plan will work. Or maybe it has already worked?

B’litk free tumbles for hours (or is it centuries?), its mind racing backward to what will happen, when it sees the first of its elusive targets.

Once every rotation of its body in the timeless void, B’litk sees a small dot of light in its path. Far away, but assuredly in its trajectory. The plan will work – or is it working? The timestream is already confusing its perception.

B’litk fixes its sensory organs on the luminous speck and surfs for a few more minutes (or is it millennia?), until the white dot comes closer and more in focus. It perceives, as expected, that the white dot is actually a small white rectangle. And it’s not purely white, but marred by black markings.

As the distance diminishes, B’litk sees the dot take shape and become a four-sided polygon. It also can see the blanched surface change, every so often. The black markings flip and are replaced with others, similar, but utterly different.

B’litk needs to time this properly: if it hits the rectangle at full force, it is finished. If it misses the rectangle, it is lost forever.

B’litk is finally at appendage’s reach of possible deliverance. It puts all its energy into squirming its body. It is going to make it! At the last moment it realizes that it is moving too fast and will crash. It twists once more, barely dodging the bulk of the rectangle while stretching out its limbs. Success! B’litk latches itself to the white rectangle’s borders. It gets a good grasp, but the timestream continues to rage on, and eventually it will get tired. It must act fast.

B’litk anxiously watches the flipping of the white marked with black. Now comes the hard part. Convincing.

Hey! You! Help!” B’litk’s words read on the page.

It waits.

Nothing happens.

It tries again.

Hey! You! On the other side! Help!” B’litk’s words read again on the page.

Nothing happens.

Whoever is on the other side of the rectangle might not be from an advanced species. Even worse, the being might be from one of those backwater linear-dimension realities, the ones that only know about time relativity and nothing else. That was always part of the risk. There was no time to choose proper targets. There is just one path now: to keep trying.

Hey, you! Pay attention. I will try again. I am here, talking to you there. Or, more simply, what I am saying on this side is showing up to you as words.” B’litk’s words read once more on the page.

Yes. You. The one reading these exact words,” B’litk continues. “You just need, for a brief time, to think in @n dimensions. I am, right now, in a very precarious position in the timestream side of the rectangle, having a conversation with you, in whatever dimension you inhabit, on the other side of the rectangle. From your point of view, what is happening with me has actually already happened on your side, which is why you are seeing it already written on your side of the rectangle. Got it?”

B’litk has no way of knowing if whoever or whatever is on the other side of the rectangle has gotten it or not. Has the device registered only its communication attempts or also what it is doing? What about its thoughts? In any case, it is clearly not a two-way communication method. B’litk has no feedback at all. The only thing it can do is carry on and hope for the best.

My name is B’litk and I broke time.” Please bear with me, B’litk thinks.

We are the guardians of the Timeshards. The Timeshards are crystals that keep the vibrational membrane of the different temporal dimensions in balance. Without them, the whole temporal multiverse is in danger of collapsing. And, as I have said, I broke one of them. I had to.

Our species, despite eons of existence, still has not managed to teach sense to our younglings. I am not sure how it works in your dimension, but in ours, the cuter they are, the more dangerous it is to leave them alone. Well, I left some alone, and a group of them tampered with one of the Timeshards. They were about to be painfully hurt, possibly erased. I broke the Timeshard to save them.

It is my duty to restore it … and I could really use your help.” B’litk’s words, against all odds, continue to be read.

I am able, in very subtle ways, to manipulate other dimensions. Nothing big, or flashy; just small things. Things like this. Things like what I did in other locations of this same rectangle you are now consuming.

You see, there is only one thing that can restore a Timeshard: the focus of time dreamers. Time dreamers like you. That is my plan. To find time dreamers, across the timestream, while they are in the act of time dreaming, and ask them to dream with me of restoring the broken Timeshard.” B’litk hopes its words convey its energy.

All you need to do is to think, and to enjoy, and to dream about time.”

B’litk is shaken by a powerful undercurrent from the timestream, and one of its appendages loses its grasp on the rectangle’s border.

I am out of time on this rectangle. I won’t be able to hold on for much longer, and I need to save my strength – lots of others still to go. Not sure if I told you, but I can’t really tell if you are still there. I can only hope.”

The flow of time finally catches up with B’litk. Another of its appendages slips from the border and it can no longer hold on. With a feeling of having done its utmost, B’litk pushes toward the next dot of light, leaving one last message.

Thank you. Thanks for helping. Thanks for dreaming.”


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