Wheel of Time - A Prequel

Azar Azi'Dahaka sighed, leaned back in his chair, and rubbed his eyes. His team's experiment, years in the making, wasn't yielding the results as originally hoped.

He looked around the lab at his fellow researchers, and wondered if the same fatigued, and dark-shadowed eyes on their faces were reflected on his face as well. Azar ruefully rubbed the stubble and acknowledged that working 16-hour days would do that to anybody. At least his university had submitted a compelling enough proposal, and secured the necessary funding to construct the massive infrastructure required, comparable to the ancient great particle accelerators, and pay for the related salaries and other expenses.

Azar let a crooked grin slip out, and admitted to himself that the setbacks were secondary to his team's success in securing the funding to access the vacuum energy suggested by quantum foam. A new source of energy, potentially unlimited! One step forward, two steps back.

He closed his eyes, and let his mind drift backwards. One step forward, two steps back. Experiments. Back in the 22nd century, experiments were conducted on the quantum mind, based on ideas pioneered earlier by Roger Penrose. He rejected that consciousness was greater than that evidenced by the physical structures of the mind. Instead, he postulated that quantum relationships created by the spacetime curvature of the brain's building blocks gave rise to human consciousness and its relationship with the universe.

Those experiments, based on quantum entanglement within the brain, were eventually recognized as the source of human consciousness. Researchers extended this breakthrough and wondered on the quantum relationship between humans and the universe itself. Incredibly powerful quantum computers were required to even attempt to gather data, but after decades of gathering, and more decades of analysis, the researchers were floored. Quantum inseparability between the brain, and by extension humans, and the universe was proven.

The researchers used this relationship and tracked the consciousness of individuals through their lives. They discovered that after their deaths, the quantum waveforms of the individuals and their connections to the universe remained. Furthermore, after a period of time, the same base consciousness returned to babies shortly before birth, although there was no recall of being in their previous bodies. The implications were staggering; reincarnation was no longer a thing of religion or faith, but was a reality. Entire nations roared with fury at the findings, and attempted to silence the truth using nuclear and even greater weapons, destroying and reshaping the faces of entire continents. The human world very nearly perished.

Humanity did eventually recover, although it took hundreds of years. Civilization was radically reshaped, although there were similarities to the old world. What was once Persia became again a centre of learning, particularly in the fields of math and science. Historians attributed this to the revival of Zoroastrianism in the region, which was once the dominant religion of Persia. Zoroastrians believed in the concept of reincarnation, and were thus one of the cultures able to adapt to the new reality. This, along with their research-driven personalities no longer stifled by religious dogma, were perfectly suited as scientific leaders in the new world.

One of the curious Zoroastrian beliefs was that they did not perceive time as a strictly linear process. Instead, they viewed time as a series of cycles moving forward, which fit reality...

Azar felt a slap on the side of his head, jarring him back to the waking world. His eyes attempted to focus on a blurry shape in front of him, which eventually coalesced into the smiling face of Mah'Dokht, one of his fellow researchers, and inwarding groaning, his girlfriend. Mah'dokht was beautiful, incredibly intelligent, and ambitious. She sometimes budgered Azar good-naturedly on findings that he struggled to make, but were obvious to herself.

"Sleeping on the job again," she teased. Azar attempted to respond by taking a swipe at her but she nimbly danced out of the way.

"Hey, I'm trying to figure out why we're not obtaining the results predicted by our model. All of our data indicated that we should be able to access this vacuum energy, or whatever it is." He waved his hand in the air in front of him. "All of it residing in this...should be able to be tapped by our machinery! We've spent years, and still nothing! Have we been going about this all wrong? Is all of this equipment useless?"

Mah'Dokht's face took on a thoughtful look, and she said, "You know, I haven't said anything publicly to the rest of the team, but I've been having similar musings. What if we are going about this all wrong?"

He groaned, and said, "I was just kidding! We've spent so long on this. I don't want to be ridiculed by the other research teams!"

Mah'Dokht stepped closer to him, dropped her voice, and whispered excitedly, "I recalled some old research, so I contacted one of the teams in the biology department to provide me with articles from the old world. Do you remember the old photosynthesis controversies back in the 21st century?"

Azar looked warily at her. "Perhaps...my knowledge on ancient biology is a little rusty. What about it?"

She assumed a slightly condescending tone, and said, "Well, back then, biologists believed that photosythesis was more than a straightforward biological process, due to the fact that the efficiency of the process itself was unable to be duplicated mechanically. That some quantum process was required to achieve that level of efficiency. Unfortunately, the research was never carried through, probably due to a lack of technology back then."

"I still don't understand what you're getting at," Azar said, with both palms up in the air. "So plants are able to convert sunlight into sustenance more efficiently than we're able to currently to achieve. What does that have to do with what we're doing here?"

"Don't you see?" Mah'Dokht asked, "We might be going about this all wrong. It's not all of this machinery that we should be using to access this energy, but instead biological entities!"

Azar said slowly, "So, you're saying that we, not our machines, are the ideal way to harness this energy? That's insane, the levels we've been predicting would vaporize us instantly."

Her face took on a slightly hurtful look. "It hasn't been done before, you can't automatically assume that. We can shoot guns, utilize our hovercars, use flamethrowers! All of the energy captured within those devices would also destroy us, but we've harnessed it!"

"But that's different. It-"

"Just listen, I've thought about an...unauthorized side parallel experiment we can conduct. The biology department did some work several years ago and created some rudimentary biological computers. What if we could create some RNA-based nanostructures and place them within the human body, to utilize the quantum structures of the brain to access and regulate that energy?"

"You're crazy. We're barely getting enough sleep as is, and you want to create a parallel experiment? Are you trying to kill me through sleep deprivation?"

Mah'Dokht pouted and leaned in closer, her face almost touching Azar's. "Please? I'll help you if you can't figure out your research."

Azar groaned and said, "Whatever, just let me sleep, err...ponder, and I'll try to help you when I can find some time."

Mah'Dokht clapped her hands and exclaimed, "It's a deal!", and danced out of the lab, their other fellow researchers with bemused looks on their tired faces.

Azar dropped his face into his hands, and thought what did he get himself into. Humans bio-engineered to access vacuum energy in the quantum foam? Incredible, he thought to himself. I can't believe I agreed to that. I must be more tired that I thought. The last thing he wanted was to be ridiculed and laughed out of his position at the Collam Daan University...