I needed a garden variety phenomenon. Chi Band Radiation would have to be able to stand in for a lot of almost magical properties. It had to be a kind of technobabble thing. Hence I needed for it to sound just mysterious enough.
The idea would cover all sorts of issues. This would include crossing people over from one universe to another. Or it would be the kinds of temporal switches and shenanigans shown in Concord and Crackerjack. However, for both of those stories there were other explanations for their issues.
Chi Band Radiation particularly comes to fore in the Barnstorming series. I used it to show how and why the Mirror Universe was attempting to cross over and potentially invade our own. The Emperor would have been deposed and fallen on hard times. The radiation would be, to him, a godsend, a means of regaining his past glories. Therefore, he would be itching to use it.
Instead of living the high life, he’s living in a shack. He depends upon the kind charity of the native Calafan people. This would be quite the harsh reality for a proud man.
The radiation would also be a means of almost communicating. It would be a way of knocking on the door of another universe, as it were. This would attract the attention of weird ADHD-addled temporal engineer Levi Cavendish. Giving Levi a means of investigating all possible universes was a fun idea. The way to fulfill his mission to find the ultimate pumpkin pie (spoiler alert: it’s in the universe with a 49 centimeter radiation band on the hydrogen line) proved irresistible.
This Swiss Army knife has stood me in good stead. I am sure I will be using it again in the future.
In order to resolve the issues in Temper and bring everyone back to the correct side of the pond, I needed for there to be some way to signal Richard Daniels.
I particularly wanted to make the technology not look like anything special, and have it potentially work in other areas of Star Trek fan fiction, in case I ever needed it again. I am not a big fan of technobabble, so I wanted the technology to not turn into something that the typical reader would not understand. While it is not necessarily the most plausible piece of fictional technology out there, it is certainly easy to understand without having to go into any long, drawn-out explanations.
An Idea for a Dark Matter Flare
Hence I hit upon the idea of Christmas crackers, except these would be black.
Doug is given a pair of these before he and Lili are sent forward in time and to the Mirror Universe. The first one is a signal to Rick Daniels to bring them from the Mirror to the Prime Universe and also back from 2178 to 2166. The second dark matter flare used is to signal Rick to bring the family back from 2166 to 2161. However, in the second instance, the only traveling is in time. This is because the family is already on the correct side of the pond.
I like the idea of something so small and simple. Adding to the dramatic tension is the tiniest sound of snapping. Lili and Doug can barely hear it, and it almost feels as if it did not work. But Rick senses it with his far more sensitive instruments. These little devices get the family home.
Now I am wondering where I can possibly use them again.
In order to make some of my Star Trek fanfiction work, I needed a means of stepping from our universe to the Mirror, and vice versa. In Reversal, this is accomplished via shared dreaming, and a crossover is performed by the Calafans by using power from the NX-01, the ISS Defiant, the amplifier dishes on Point Abic, Calafan group meditation and the sodium vapor flares emanating between the two smallest stars in the Lafa System, Fep and Ub. All of this, acting together, brings Doug from there to here, over the course of several hours. The Mirror High Priestess, Yimar (a teenaged girl) decides to leave the doors open in perpetuity. This has the effect of allowing Calafans to pass back and forth between both universes although other species still cannot.
However, the sodium vapor flares in particular were meant to be somewhat uncommon occurrences. Plus I wanted a technological solution.
Having read about dark matter, the truth is that it’s exotic and there’s an awful lot of it. It is ripe for fan fiction treatment, as it’s abundant and mysterious. Hence I decided that it would be used for the purposes of heading from here to the other side of the pond, or back again.
In Temper, the Empress Hoshi Sato has her Science Ensign Lucy Stone, with the help of Vulcan slaves T’Pau and Kefris, devise a means of moving from one universe to the other. In canon, she (Hoshi) is well aware that the Defiant is from another universe. It is an advanced design, with superior firepower, defenses and accommodations. It makes sense that she would be looking for a spare or two or two hundred. And, as a person who wants to be known as a conqueror, she may have realized that it could very well be easier to subjugate our universe, as opposed to going out to hidden corners of the Mirror.
Therefore, in Temper, in 2161 the Defiant‘s main phaser is calibrated to twenty-one centimeters and is initially just fired into seemingly empty space. Because this works, Richard Daniels is summoned to the Temporal Integrity Commission, as he and Eleanor notice the time change immediately (an ornate sword she was lecturing about, Ironblaze, vanishes). This causes the first alternate timeline, and time becomes incoherent.
Due to temporal incoherence, a few years later, in 2166, a second passageway is opened up with another pulse shot, but this time it’s fired near the amplifier dishes. This shot opens things up more widely and it’s not just Calafans who can pass back and forth. Now humans and all other species can as well. At this stage, four people pass from our universe to the Mirror. This act changes history enough, and that triggers Daniels sensing the change but not the specifics.
Then a third instance occurs in 2178, but it’s not a new shot at all. Rather, it’s vestiges of incoherent time. It’s from this time period that the first repairs to the timeline need to be accomplished. This instance is well-known to Richard as it coincides with a major, independently verified historical event in that alternate timeline. After 2178 is repaired, 2166 is fixed and, once that is all done, Richard himself repairs 2161.
Beyond the temporal incoherence, the other effect happens later. Some of the pulse shot is, simply, “lost”. But energy can be neither created nor can it be destroyed, according to the Law of Conservation of Energy (Thermodynamics). So where does it go?
The correct question isn’t where it goes. It’s when it goes. And when does it land? 2366, and it hits Wesley and Geordi‘s shuttle, thereby causing the toss back in time in Crackerjack.
Further aftereffects are yet to be written. I might use this plot device again.
In order to “sour the milk”, the energy signatures are changed to a different background radiation band. It is revealed that the band for our prime universe is twenty-one centimeters. This comes from a very real concept known as the Hydrogen Line.
In Parallels, Worf steps through several quantum realities (e. g. several universes), but eventually a quantum signature is matched and he can be returned to his correct universe. I have taken the ideas and combined them.
Here, There and Everywhere
If we are a twenty-one centimeter background radiation band universe, then surely there must be a twenty, a twenty-two, and so on. For my fanfiction, the twenty centimeter band universe is the mirror. The twenty-two, as is revealed by Eleanor Daniels in Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain, is a place where, on Earth, the dinosaurs never died out. Hence a mirror-type situation could not develop there.
Radiation bands are inherited, and a cross-bred child will split the difference.
Hence the children of Doug and Lili and Doug and Melissa have a twenty and one-half centimeter band, reflecting his twenty and the women’s twenty-one centimeter bands. Per Eleanor, until crossovers became more common, a radiation band of anything below twenty-one was a sure sign that someone was one of Doug’s descendants.
Calafans, who can easily shuttle back and forth, and who have origins that are readily determined by the color of their skin (silver for here, copper for the mirror), are not tested, as there is no need.
Testing is accomplished in a few ways. During Temper, on the mirror side of things, the testers are table-top devices with wands. Eleanor is in possession of one (she is a docent at the Temporal Museum, with a specialty in the Terran Empire) and she demonstrates its use during Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain. The image shown is actually a bar code scanner. Imagine it plugged into some sort of a tabletop device, possibly something appearing to be a lot like a personal computer or the like.
For our side of the pond, the scanner is a pendant worn around the neck, but devoid of any charm or decoration. The pendant is worn and then placed against a person, much like the mirror universe’s wand, so that a determination can be made as to which universe is the origination point for a particular person. The image at right is actually a UV tester. Imagine it attached to a longer cord and worn around the neck, although with the shorter cord it could conceivably be worn around the wrist.
While the eventual future of these testers is as a curio, their history is far from pleasant for, during the war between the universes in Temper, anyone with the wrong band, on either side of the pond, is often shot on sight, with no questions asked. This shameful heritage is meant to drive home more of the horror of the Mirror Universe.