Chess is an interesting game. Thirty-Two pieces arranged on a board. And though the pieces are always the same, and the board never changes, the game itself is never the same. Each move presents a multitude of choices, an ever branching tree of outcomes that reaches towards the infinite. Despite this, once every move has been made, and the game has ended, only a single story exists. One story, the tale of the struggle between these pieces is all that survives. As each choice is made, thousands of possible paths are silenced until only a single outcome, a single game, a single story remains.
Through it all, millions of stories go untold.
The same pieces acting differently, making different choices, ending up in different locations. It is the same game, but it is never quite the same. Never the same story.
We were given a new beginning, and like a game of chess, only a single game was ever played. However, I can’t help but think of the games unplayed. How things might have happened if a single move had been made differently. We’ve known there are other worlds, branching into the infinite in number. This game has been played elsewhere. The same pieces, the same board, a different story.
This is how it happened…
Everything began the same. It had to. The worlds were created, life emerged and progress was made. In fact, this stories beginning is exactly the same as our own. It wasn’t until the year 1973, as measured by the inhabitants of Earth, that a different move was made.
And it made all the difference.
Theodore James Balacova was, to anyone in the year 1977, a man of absolutely no consequence. He had to that date, accomplished nothing of importance in his life. This wasn’t surprising since at the time he was only 16 years old. Nobody knew it then, nor did they realize it even later, but Theodore would make a decision that year, on July 7th, that would change the world. Until this point, Theodore had experienced a duality, between two passions of his; his love of music and his interest in science. However, it was on July 7th, 1977 that Theodore James Balacova chose between the two and would set his live on one of two very different paths. On that day, Theodore received a very promising invitation to join a very prestigious school for gifted students, The Cadmus Academy. However, accepting this invitation meant giving up on music, something he was not overly keen on. And so a difficult decision was made.
What compelled Theodore to make his choice is a mystery. In our own story, Theodore declined the invitation pursued his love of music and became an underrated musician of no importance who was quickly forgotten by history. But here, in the same place, in a different world that was exactly the same, Theodore made a different choice and accepted the invitation. A wholly unremarkable choice that became the single point in which the universe’s course was altered.
Jump 16 years into the future. The year is now 1989, and though the earth was never graced with a particular sub-par musician, it has been blessed by nothing short of one of the most brilliant minds in decades. Dr. Theodore Balacova is a name recognized globally as the mind at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement in the field of Applied Harmonics. Balacova’s theories and research have created hundreds of breakthroughs in every field from military to medical. Using vibrations to heal the sick, creating sound wave force fields, establishing high fidelity communication across the globe. He is truly the embodiment of progress in his own time.
It is today, on July 7th, 1989, precisely 16 years from that fateful decision, that Theodore Balacova will alter the world one last time. In the years leading up to this day he had become obsessed with a new idea. A theory, that other worlds existed and could be reached with the right tools. To this effect, Theodore built a device that could, in theory, resonant a patch of space with another and bridge two worlds together. On that day, he tested it for the first time.
And it worked.
It worked too well…
A bridge to another world was made, but the event obliterated the device, and Theodore. It replaced the entire lab, erasing it from existence and replacing it with a patch from the other world. Without the machine though, nothing could regulate the connection and the earth’s resonation grew unstable. Soon bridges began to emerge all across the world. Opening doorways into other worlds.
Three other worlds to be exact. Three worlds, different from ours in many ways, joined to Earth through a series of interconnecting bridges. However, these bridges weren’t one way and it wasn’t long until the denizens of the other worlds came looking…
War was inevitable. The whole of Earth became a battleground as factions from the new worlds crossed into our world and fought for supremacy. Earth could only watch, the new beings were far stronger than us.
The denizens of the Mythical Celadon. A realm of power beings that seemed as if they had been birthed from myth and lore.
The elemental beings of Cykosha. Warriors and conquerors who wielded the very building blocks of the world.
And the people of the Core. Beings with powers and abilities that were as mysterious as their home world.
They fought for control destroying earth in the process. It wasn’t until 2009, we the soon to be Lord of Celadon, an immortal warrior prince whose name has been forgotten by history, stepped forth to end the conflict. He brought the leaders of the three worlds together before the leaders of Earth and pleaded with them to end the conflict for the sake of the humans whose world they’d all but destroyed. A truce was made and the fighting ceased, but not before many lives were lost and many enemies had been made.
And lives lost are not so easily forgotten or pushed aside.
“What do you mean you don’t know? How can you not know?”
Daniel leaned over his desk staring intently at the large man who sat calmly in the chair across from him. The man wore a large Hawaiian shirt that still seemed tight on his generous frame. The man took a deep breath and sighed heavily, much to the irritation of Daniel. Slowly the man replied.
“It’s like I said, Danny. I got a message last night from someone who claims they have new information on the War’s Ending. Information that isn’t exactly in the history books. He didn’t leave a name, just an address. He didn’t say anything else, so no…I don’t know who he is or what kind of information he has. Anyways, I thought you’d be interested seeing as your basically an advocate for conspiracy theories surrounding the war AND the have the means to get them out there.”
Daniel leaned back into his chair and sighed sarcastically, “Kaz, I’ve told you a hundred times. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m a journalist. I just like the let the people know there’s more than one version of a story. That there are different perspectives. “
Kaz grinned slyly, “Right, sure buddy. All I’m saying is that if this guy really does have information that could rewrite history books that have been around for over thirty years, it’d be a pretty big deal is all. It might even make you the next big name, huh.”
Reaching into his pocket as he spoke, Kaz pulled out a grimy, folded slip of paper and held it out to Daniel. “You could at least talk to guy, right? It could be worth it seeing as he asked for you specifically.”
Daniel eyed the slip of paper, mulling over the proposal. It was a lead, and as much as Kaz liked messing with him, the man always brought him good leads. Maybe he was on to something. Something that just might be his ticket out of Dallas and into the big times. Daniel snatched the paper from Kaz’s hands and opened it up, scanning it with interest. A frown formed on his brow.
“Kaz, this is the address of the Vault Corporation Headquarters. They’re a big time corporation. Why would they ask for me?”
Kaz shrugged in his traditional nonchalant manner, “beats me bud, but hey I’m just the messenger today. Anywho, you take care alright Danny. I’ve got to get headin’ out. Got a hot date tonight.”
Kaz lumbered out of his seat and turned to the door, waving to Daniel over his shoulder, “…and Danny? Stay out of trouble will you?”
“Sure thing, Kaz,” Daniel answered idly, still staring intently at the address scrawled on the note in his hands. It was minutes after Kaz had left that Daniel finally set the note down and sighed heavily. He’d made up his mind. He was going. He was going to find out if this was all a hoax.