The CCM:  A Technical Manual


In these pages you will find most anything you might want to know about the CCM; where it came from, how it is operated, what it does, even the abstract theory behind it.  And if you want to know something that isn't here, then tell me; if it's a reasonable detail, I'll figure it out and add it.

Ready?  Well then, off we go . . .

I: History

1) First and foremost, what in the name of all that is Blakeney is a CCM?

CCM stands for Cosmic Convergence Mobile.  We call it the CCM because it's ever so much shorter to type.  Basically, it's a time-space machine; in theory, it can transport anyone or anything to any time or any place for any purpose.  But this is only in theory.  In reality, it doesn't work anywhere near that smoothly.

2) Why do you have the CCM anyway?

The CCM came into being because of a problem we had.  By two separate and totally unrelated cosmic convergences, we (meaning Chaumichele and I) found that our fictional dormitory suite (no, we do NOT live together, it would probably drive the whole world off its rocker) suddenly held two more occupants: a nineteenth-century French revolutionary named Jean Prouvaire from Les Miserables, and an eighteenth-century French revolutionary named Armand Chauvelin from The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Now, even though we didn't particularly mind having them around-- 'Chele, for one, was ecstatic--we realized that it would probably be best if we could get them back to where they were supposed to be.  So we recruited the help of one crazy Physics major (one of the last true mad scientists) to build us a machine that would do just that.  His creation: the Cosmic Convergence Mobile.

The first use of the CCM was disastrous.  You see, there was a tiny little detail that we didn't know about; when transported to a new time/place, you don't exactly stay the same way you were when you started.  If you've ever seen the television show Quantum Leap, it's very similar to that effect; your mind merges with the mind of a person of that time/place, and you become them until the time when you leave, when you separate from them and return to your rightful place at the very same point you left it.  We haven't yet figured out what happens to your body.  At any rate, when we tried to return Jehan and Chauvelin to their respective times, we found out that it was impossible as they automatically become someone else when they arrive.  So after many and varied adventures, we decided it was fruitless to try and return them and gave up on the concept.

We now use the CCM for fetching certain men from other times and places, and general time travel when necessary.

II: General Details and Use

3) What does the CCM look like?

This is a point of heated debate, so it should be dealt with first.

The original CCM was a very large machine, built from an old refrigerator with the door taken off.  The controls were on all sides of the fridge, with the inside filled with intricate, complicated circuitry.  A car radio antenna was perched on the top, from which a sort of vortex or portal emanated; this was what created the desired cosmic convergence.  It was bulky and awkward- looking, and made all sorts of unpleasant noises, on account of the fact that its creator used the large amounts of heat it generated to cook dinner on more than one occasion.  It was destroyed not long after its first use.

Today there are at least two CCMs.  Both are much smaller than the original, thanks to the replacement of integrated circuits in lieu of the previous messy, homemade circuitry.  The new versions are about the size of a small microwave, the shell made of stainless steel, the controls on the left side.  The one remaining part from the original is the radio antenna that creates the needed vortex.

The first of the two modern CCMs, the one created to replace the original, is kept in an obscure and very spacious NYC penthouse apartment.  It is bolted to the floor, so it isn't going anywhere.  The other of the pair is portable, and is currently kept in our fictitious college dormitory suite.

4) Controls?  What kind of controls?

The controls take up the whole side of the CCM, and can be very confusing when one first looks at them.  Yet each dial, switch, and button has a distinct and important use.

The most prominent of the controls is a four-inch square screen that displays a sequence of calculations, equations, and code across the bottom half as the vortex is generated.  This is not important for the general user to decipher, unless you actually WANT to decipher it all.  What is important about the screen is the top half, where there is written the target date and place of the last vortex created.

Underneath the screen is a small keypad, which allows you to type in the name of the place you want to go.  To enter the date, you use two dials to the side--one for the month, the other for the day--and then type in the year with the keypad.  This is a very straightforward and easy to understand process.

There are three more controls to explain--two buttons, and a switch.  First, one of the buttons.

The first button is blue.  It is the "delayed vortex" button--pressing this button will generate the vortex gradually, and when it is fully initiated, send it out from the antenna to send those in its immediate path to the designated time and place.  This is the method we usually use, as it gives a thirty second delay before the convergence.  At any point in the first fifteen seconds of this delay, the vortex can be aborted, which is a convenient grace period in case of mistakes.

The second of the buttons is red.  In contrast with the "delayed vortex" button, this is the "immediate launch" button--pressing this will generate the vortex at once, causing the convergence to occur at that very moment.  Obviously, this is a more dangerous method to use, since there is no margin for error--even more dangerous because of the side effect caused by it; using immediate launch locks the CCM into a strict time block.  There is no way to recall the vortex and bring the user back until the end of the time allotted has been reached.

This time period is set using the switch.  Pushing up on the switch increases this set period by increments of twelve hours, and pushing down does the opposite.  The length of this period is displayed with the target date and place on the screen.

5) Okay, I've pressed the button to go.  What happens now?

It depends on which method you've decided to use.

If you use delayed vortex, you'll hear a moderately loud whirring noise as the CCM warms up to initiate the convergence, and a digital clock display on the screen will begin counting down seconds from thirty.  This will be all that happens for twenty-five seconds.  At five seconds to convergence (commonly referred to as C minus 5 seconds) the antenna will begin to glow blue; then, at 0 seconds, a blue vortex (it looks like a wash of swirling light) will strike out from the antenna and engulf those immediately in front of it, transporting them to the time and place indicated.

The user is recalled by use of a portable button on their person; pressing the button will bring them back at the very point in space and time they left.

If, on the other hand, you use the immediate launch, the antenna immediately emits a bright green vortex that transports those in its path to the target time and place.  They are automatically recalled when the allotted time period runs to zero; the time period counts down on the screen much like the clock did in delayed vortex.

III: Theory

6) Time travel?  Is that even possible?

I'm not going to go into the physical details about how the time travel thing works, because it would be obvious to everybody that I don't know what the heck I'm talking about.  It has something to do with the movement of sub-atomic particles at the speed of light in the presence of electric current and such things . . . things I don't understand in the least.

What I do know: once the vortex engulfs the user, they are thrust into total blackness for an unidentified amount of time, much like being unconscious.  The first sense to come back is that of touch; you can feel the surface you stand on long before you see where you are.  After touch comes hearing, then smell, then sight--the assumption being that you never lose your sense of taste in the first place.  That hasn't yet been tested.

When your senses fully return, then you realize your unusual predicament, whatever it may be; you and another are compelled to share a mind.  It is possible, then, to have conversations with the other in your mind, or to suppress your own thoughts and allow them to dictate your actions.  This is impossible to explain or understand until you have experienced it for yourself, so I will not go any further.

However it is that the vortex is recalled, once it happens, you experience much the same thing on the way back; the total blackness, then the return of senses, one by one.  You return to the very place and time that you left, with nothing changed--unless you made the mistake of altering the fragile time line . . .

7) What about the time paradox?  How can events in the present time go on as usual while the user is in a different time if the user returns at the same time they left?

This is a complicated thing to answer, but let me try anyway.

When the user goes back in time, the timeline at the target time immediately splits off into a new branch.  So, while the user is operating on this new branch of the timeline, events in the present time are operating on the original line.  Now, as long as events on this new branch stay the same as events on the original line--in other words, as long as the new branch stays parallel to the old-- there is no problem, and when the vortex is recalled, the new branch disappears into the original line as if it had never existed at all.  But, if events on the new branch are somehow different than they were before, then the new branch will become the main line and the old line will disappear altogether, along with all people, things, and events on it.  In this case, once the vortex is recalled- -if, indeed, it is recalled at all, since there is no guarantee that the CCM is even invented on the new line--the user is transported to the time and place on the new line corresponding to the time and place they left the old line at.

All this talk of old lines and new branches is confusing, I know, but the long and short of it is this:  while the user lives a certain time at a point in the past, a person in the present day lives the same amount of time, because the two are on different timelines, not dependent on each other.  Theoretically, then, the user could communicate with a person in the present, as long as the user keeps that new line parallel to the old--and in fact, this has actually occurred more than once.  But once the new line deviates from the old (once events in the past are altered in some way), the old line ceases to be, and if the user can somehow be recalled to the present, it will not be the present that they know.  You see, then, the dangers of trying to change history.

Once the user is recalled, they come back to the point they left at, so the days in the present that were lived while they were in the past are erased from existence and memory; as if they never even occurred at all.

Again, if your questions about the CCM are not answered here, tell me and I'll do the best I can to answer them.

If all this theoretical mumbo-jumbo has you confused, don't feel stupid.  I don't understand what I say either. ;)