Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Confessional - Part III

Confucius 21, 2463.

Dear Holy Father,

Often, I wonder why after being an ideal civilization for two hundred years or so, we humans still fall prey to greed. And, I have wondered if the greed in a man can result in his destruction, even if the rest of the world leaves him alone. The last few weeks have made me wonder a lot about the seven deadly sins and I am ready to make another confession. About not listening to advice given to me by my superiors, and doing things that greatly interfere with nature.

After the rather bitter experience that Swamy had with woof-woof, I have a feeling that he has become unusually suspicious of my activities. And rightly so, since I have violated every single instruction given to me by the academy, when I was banished to the space-station. Holy father, I was asked to stop experimenting with time. The academy thought that being so far away from my laboratory, I would not have the right resources to. What they forgot was that a space station has some of the most advanced technologies available in our civilization. And, with a few modifications, one can experiment with whatever one wishes to.

I have greatly refined my theories on time travel in the last few months. I have not only been able to move photons across time, but I have also been able to connect them to my hologram generator. As a result, my phantoms of light, have now become the phantoms of time. I have been able to witness many historical events that have shaped human civilization. And, I have witnessed them like a person standing in the room or the street it happened in. Except, that I was not physically there. Yesterday, I watched the Crucifixion of our lord, with tears in my eyes. And today, I attended a meeting of yours in the Holy See, with powerful men of God, who would like to see stricter punishment for heresy. I must say holy father, that I am greatly impressed with your desire to protect people for their independent thoughts, as it was quite evident that you didn't want to punish people like Galileo beyond what was absolutely necessary. I was quite proud of myself, that across the ocean of time, I picked a kindred soul to confess to.  Holy father, I won't disappoint you.

For the last few weeks, I have been experimenting with the next logical step to time travel -- that of  transporting a physical object across time. And yesterday, I was finally successful. I had foreseen this event for quite some time, which is why, I was actually writing these letters to you on paper. Holy father, I am extremely fortunate that yesterday, as my experiment succeeded, I was able to transport my first confessional letter to you. Right to your desk, across the ocean of time. I made sure that no one was present in your chamber at that time, since I was viewing the holographic image of your room, as if I was standing there. Unfortunately, this time-travel by a piece of paper, required a large amount of energy, and the lights in our space-station dimmed. I think, Swamy immediately suspected that I was responsible.

As our captain, he has the access codes to all of our living quarters, and he barged into mine before I could shut down my hologram. As he walked around my room, he asked me questions about the strange room I was viewing, with medieval collections of paintings on the wall. I told him that it was an artificial hologram I had created, of a Roman palace from the past, but I think he suspected that there was something beyond it. And, as he walked close to your desk, I think he saw the letter that I had sent to you. He tried to reach out and touch it, but like a phantom's hand, his hand went through the letter, and I hoped that he would be convinced by my explanation. Then, he walked over to a small collection of statuettes kept in the corner of your chamber. As he looked at these objects made of gold, I noticed that his eyes had turned glassy, as if, he was in a trance. Holy father, completely forgetting that he was viewing a hologram, Swami reached out and tried to grab one of the statuettes. And when realized that he couldn't, he got extremely angry. As he walked out of my room, he had a strange expression on his face as he told me, "Babu, watch your back. Since I will be watching you."

I just assumed that the times ahead would be quite interesting for me.
And now, I have been wondering about the consequences of transporting objects across time, and how that interferes with nature. Since you have received a letter from someone, who is from about a thousand years in your future, I wonder how that knowledge changes you, and, our human civilization.

Since the papers my letters are written on, will eventually disintegrate with time, I request you to hide them from the public eye. And holy father, may I request you to not discuss these letters with anyone, since that could have grave consequences on my own times, which happen to be your future. Till I reach a definitive conclusion on whether I should keep experimenting with time, I have decided to voluntarily stop my research. Who knows, what damage I might have already done with my experiments so far!

Holy father, I hope this to be my last confessional letter. Please forgive me for my transgressions -- with time.

Your servant in God
Deshprem Babu


In addition to these Facsimiles of the letters to the Pope, assumed to be personal copies made by Mr. Deshprem Babu, several other documents were found amongst his possessions, by a curious descendant of the Babu family. These letters shed some more light on what happened to Mr. Babu after his experiments with time suddenly stopped due to the voluntary abandonment of his research.


Tathagata 25, 2470.

The Chief Prosecutor
Interplanetary High Crimes Division
Harare, African Continental Authority.


With this letter, I , Deshprem Babu would like to confess to the involuntary manslaughter of Mr. Swamy, the captain of the "Above India Space Station (AISS) ", in the month of Confucius, 2463. If you would like to convene a trial, I will be able to supply the details of the circumstances that led to his death. I am enclosing a bunch of letters that I wrote to the Pope of the Holy See, which will prove that I was experimenting with time travel, against the wishes of the Terran academy.  

In addition to the facsimiles of the letters as evidence, I would like to state the following for the record:

A. My experiments with time travel were successful.

B. After my final letter to the Pope, I realized that Mr. Swami, using the powers entrusted to the captain, had looked at the station's video logs, and possibly learned all about my experiments, including the operation of the time travel machinery. On Confucius 30, 2463, while the crew was celebrating the ancient earth festival of Halloween, Mr. Swamy was seen walking towards my quarters, rather surreptitiously. He was dressed as the devil, as many people do, during Halloween, complete with realistic horns and wings of leather. He was last monitored entering my quarters, without my permission, or presence. After a few minutes, a massive power glitch happened, which turned off the station's power supply for a week. Mr. Swamy was not found anywhere on the station.

C. After this incident, I extensively researched the historical records of the Holy See, during my vacations on earth. In one of the medieval Papal records, I found a short, but strange note by the holy father, to himself. The text, appropriately translated, is reproduced below:

" First the letters arrived, and now the Devil, who appears not to be Lucifer himself. He was captured by the guards, trying to steal the statuettes of Gold. I always thought that Lucifer had more than enough gold, why would he need ours?! I can hide objects, but how can I hide this agent of Lucifer! Against my wishes, I had to recommend death."

This leads me to believe that Mr. Swamy had somehow transported himself through time using my equipment and was captured by the Pope's guards. I hold myself responsible for the punishment meted out to him, and request to be punished accordingly.

D. I made the strange discovery that a fountain pen, originally belonging to the famous Bengali writer Biswanath Ghosh,  had disappeared with Mr. Swami. I had borrowed the pen from the Kolkata museum to write the letters. I am very concerned that if a strange writing instrument appeared during the medieval times,  it would have terrible consequences on our own times. After the incident, I went back to the online biography of Mr. Ghosh and found that his writing career was not affected at all -- by the transportation of his favorite pen to a time, that was a few centuries before his own. I am assuming that the pen was somehow lost in our own century, and so, had no consequence on history. This has however, been a source of worry for me, since I cannot explain the disappearance of Mr. Ghosh's pen.

E. I have discontinued all experiments with time travel.

I will await your reply, and act accordingly.

Yours sincerely
Deshprem Babu

(To be Concluded)

Final Part

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