Temporal Photography

by Professor Harvey Wangenstein, Electrodyne Engineer
March 27, 1882

Of all the elements of the universe, none is more ephemeral than time. By all appearances, time streams forward, never pausing or looking back over itself. With springs and gears, we give time the illusion of quantifiability. With the addition of observation, even the flow of time appears to vary, rushing past then, grinding to a snailís pace now, ever changing with our own perceptions. With the invention of photography, we can now capture a moment of time and hold it in our hands. That moment no longer exists and never will again, yet there it is, in all its sepia-toned glory.

Through careful research, I have concluded that the effects of time are caused by elemental particles which I have dubbed ďtemporonsĒ. Temporons accumulate on all matter at the rate (x ± y), where x and y are constants based upon the objectís mass and y < x, so that the older an object is, the greater the number of temporons it possesses. Because temporons accumulate at this relatively uniform rate, the age of an object can be determined by measuring its temporon density and applying a few simple mathematical calculations. Amongst the properties inherent to temporons is a weak but steady radioactive field. This unique radiation is what causes the effects commonly associated with aging, weakening the affected material and making it more susceptible to other factors, such as disease, rust, and so on.

Each moment in time has its own collection of temporon densities, called a temporon signature. By utilizing a properly-calibrated temporon filter in a camera and focusing upon a desired scene, the user may take a picture of the scene as it appeared at a different moment in time. The filter combines the desired momentís temporon signature with the light rays coming in through the lens, resulting in a photograph that appears to have been taken from the exact same spatial position, but at a different moment in time. By extrapolating these temporon signatures into the future, pictures of what a particular scene could look like at a future moment may be taken. Because temporons do not accumulate at an absolutely constant rate, it is impossible to determine which signature will actually apply at a given future moment. Scientists are therefore warned that an amount of uncertainty comes part and parcel with this Theory. The uncertainty intrinsic to the Theory increases sharply with an increase in the time differential.

The potential practical applications for this Theory are enormous. By using intent to shape the image created, possible outcomes for actions in the immediate future can be seen. For example, if I wanted to see what would happen if I over-charged my Solar Destabilizer Ray Cannonís capacitor, I could form the intent to do so in my mind, and take a picture of the cannon with the temporon filter set for ten minutes into the future. If, when the picture develops, I see a smoking, melted mass of iron where the cannon should be, I could then theorize with some degree of certainty that over-charging the cannonís capacitor would be a dangerous mistake. Law enforcement can use the temporon filter either to take a picture of the crime scene as the crime is being committed, or to see a crime before it occurs, and take steps to prevent it. Of course, outside factors can also affect what is seen in temporal photography, leading to premature assumptions about future events. The destruction of the Ray Cannon in the previous example could have been caused by an assistant accidentally spilling acid upon it, by an extra-dimensional being appearing from nowhere and attacking, or any number of other events completely unrelated to the cannonís over-charged capacitor.

Game Notes

(Second Edition.) By using the Temporon Filter in the camera as a focus, the Scientist sets the filterís controls for the desired timeframe and takes a picture as normal. Time ēē results in a photograph reflecting the desired time. By calling an action several turns ahead and taking a picture, the Scientist may, at the Storytellerís discretion, be able to see the consequences of the called action. This Effect should normally be coincidental, as there is little way to tie the altered picture to the Scientist who took it. It is most effective when used to photograph past events, as their temporon signatures have already been determined, though the Scientist may still be surprised by the image that results due to the uncertain nature of temporon accumulation.

1998 Derek D. Bass

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