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Old Jun 26 2015, 08:01 AM   #1
Daccio
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Default What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

This thought keeps occurring to me, so I thought I'd throw it out there for fun. First of all I know that this could never happen because time travel in the Pern universe just doesn't work that way. At the most, travel into the past brings you into a new parallel timeline, but leaves the one you were trying to fix just as it was.

What if Jaxom timed it, stopping every interval to rest and recuperate, all the way to the time of the colonists to warn them?

1. When would be the most effective time to show himself?
2. Would it be better to keep Ruth hidden, or just show up in the sky overhead on a white dragon?
3. Would the colonists believe him?
4. Would they even understand his speech?
5. If they heeded his warning, could they actually do anything to 'save Pern' from thread?
6. Can you imagine Jaxom's reaction to actually meeting the colonists?

Oh, if only I were a writer of fanfic...
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Old Jun 26 2015, 12:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

That DOES sound interesting... I'm a writer of fanfic myself, but I've currently got a full plate of it.
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Old Jun 26 2015, 07:03 PM   #3
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Hmm. Interesting idea!

Let's see:

1. As soon as possible. The first days of colonisation, when everyone is shaking off the cold-sleep stiffness and looking at their new home with excitement. Show up, throw a bucket of cold water on them.

They might not instantly believe his story, but there aren't a whole lot of alternative explanations. Clearly he's not one of the people on the colonial manifest and there's no possibility of stowaways. A quick genetic test, though, will confirm both his mitochondrial and Y-chromosome lines descend from genomes that currently exist in the colony. And there's that giant, telepathic firelizard he's riding ...

2. Show the dragon! More proof that he's not crazy.

3. After a while, lacking alternative explanations. If he's coming back from a post-AIVAS timeline, he could bring information that the colonial AIVAS could to confirm that Jaxom's been in touch with a future version of itself. He could also provide them with astronomical data regarding the Red Star and the hinky stuff going on in the Oort cloud, which they would have the ability to verify observationally.

4. According to AIVAS in The White Dragon, yes. There've been changes in pronunciation, but the Ninth Pass Pernese still speak basically the same language the colonists spoke. At worst, they'd take a while to understand each other's accents and they'd have to be careful about idioms. Jaxom is also literate and a good sketch artist, so they can communicate in writing and pictures if for some reason speech proves inadequate. And Ruth can act as a telepathic intermediary, too.

5. Sort of. I don't think they'd have the resources to divert the Red Star and avoid the First Pass entirely. They certainly don't have the resources to pack up and go back to where they came from, and even if they did they wouldn't be willing. A few more people might wind up thinking like Ted Tubberman and wanting to call in the feds to save them, but realistically, even with Thread raining down on them, the majority of the colonists hated that idea so much that he's never going to get an idealogical foothold, even with warning. Avril Bitra, on the other hand, might find some mischief to get up to ...

They can plan ahead, however. Don't build with vegetable-based materials that will get them eaten. Don't send wagon trains of the travelling folk out unprotected. Stockpile food. Establish as much resilient industrial infrastructure as they can stomach, so that they can make tools and replacement parts to deal with Thread-fighting's toll on their equipment. If they decide that a renewable airforce is the only solution, Kitti Ping and the other biologists have eight years to work on the dragon project, instead of a few hurried months. Jaxom and Ruth have time to train the first batch of Candidates -- granted, they're not expert combatants the way full-time Weyr pairs are, but they are still veterans and know far more than the colonists do.

Many of the colonists are veterans of a very nasty war and they're not going to lay down and die and let their home be overrun by this new enemy. They can't stop Thread, but they can cut the initial death tolls down to almost nothing, have a response ready to go and equipment on hand to cope with it, and plan how to adjust the kind of society they'd planned into the kind of society that can survive Thread.

You don't wind up with the Pern that we see in the books, but you don't wind up with a Pern that's unimaginably different, either, I think. The colonial women are going to take a dim view of "women are mostly for baby-making and you don't get to ride dragons or hold office or join many crafts," for example. And "Hey, here's an idea: I'll be the Lord and you'll all be my serfs" is kind of a hard sell. They're going to at least try to come up with a more libertarian arrangement, though idk how that will fair vs the strong man system the original-timeline Pernese set up.

6. He has to have gone back with a plan in mind, so he'll probably play it cool. He's probably awestruck inside, though!
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Old Jun 26 2015, 10:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

But of you wind up with a very different Pern with a different history - then Jaxom and Ruth would not exist as the same pair to go back and warn the colonists.
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Old Jun 26 2015, 10:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

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But of you wind up with a very different Pern with a different history - then Jaxom and Ruth would not exist as the same pair to go back and warn the colonists.
Aside from all the other problems, yes.
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Old Jun 27 2015, 01:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

They could also start building the Weyrs and major Holds much earlier and get the whole population under cover before the first Threadfall. And possibly manage a few more Weyrs and Holds in the south wherever the terrain is suitable.

They could keep using the shuttles till the fuel ran out and set up the satellite arrays on the moons with a Thread early warning system. (They only had coverage in the south where the colonists had settled, and the shuttles were rusting out or getting infested with Tunnelsnakes by the time they were needed for measures against Thread and transport to Fort.)
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Old Jun 27 2015, 09:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

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But of you wind up with a very different Pern with a different history - then Jaxom and Ruth would not exist as the same pair to go back and warn the colonists.
As Dalyna said, they would totally change history, and Jaxom and Ruth would never exist to come back and warn them. The only reason the Ninth Pass riders were able to go back and change the orbit of the Red Star without messing up the time-line was that there was evidence that they had already changed the orbit (the 2 Long Intervals).

Come to think of it, though, those 2 trips between time only ensured that what had already happened, did in fact happen. Could AIVAS really be sure that there would be no more Threadfall? Did he shut himself down out of shame that he'd mislead the Pernese? He'd given them the tools and data to figure things out for themselves, and they were going to keep a close eye on space via the StarCraft Hall, largely manned by dragonriders.
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Old Jun 27 2015, 10:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

I thought Avias shut himself down to prevent himself from becoming an oracle or something like that to the Pernese. Though now I'm curious... If they ever learned the knowledge, could they turn him back on someday?
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Old Jun 28 2015, 05:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

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I thought Avias shut himself down to prevent himself from becoming an oracle or something like that to the Pernese. Though now I'm curious... If they ever learned the knowledge, could they turn him back on someday?
Not all the system were turn off the safety system, which first deafen the ones attacking, then ID once more two laser beams in The Skies of Pern
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Old Jun 29 2015, 05:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

Could Jaxom bring data from AIVAS to verify his story? "Here, this flash drive will explain everything!"
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Old Jun 30 2015, 10:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

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Could Jaxom bring data from AIVAS to verify his story? "Here, this flash drive will explain everything!"
Just seeing Jaxom explain the whole thing to his august Ancestors would be worth reading. I imaging Paul Benden as the hardest one to convince.
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Old Jun 30 2015, 12:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

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Could Jaxom bring data from AIVAS to verify his story? "Here, this flash drive will explain everything!"
But did they have flashdrives?

Also, might be slightly off topic, but it's about Time Travel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHzcy2KKYiQ

If Jaxom and Ruth did go back and warn them though, would he never have existed to go back and warn them, thus creating a Grandfather Paradox? Or would it be like in Back to the Future, where the timeline splits and he gets thrown into an alternate Pern when he goes back into the future?
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Old Jun 30 2015, 06:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

Time travel in Pern works in stable time loops. There's only one timeline, and if you go back in time then you were always going to go back in time because you went back in time. So by the rules of the universe, Jaxom couldn't go back and warn the colonists, because he didn't go back and warn the colonists.

But it's fun to think about what could happen if the rules were different.
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Old Jul 1 2015, 12:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

Right. What could he warn them to do that would make a difference for them, without changing the larger timeline? Would he have to wait until he got there to find out what they were originally planning to do, and then convince them otherwise? Would he be able to find a record of their plan and sudden adjustment of said plan in the AIVAS files?
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Old Jul 3 2015, 11:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

There are 2 main possibilities:

1. Jaxom could get them to make a much earlier start on engineering the dragons and training riders. Several years' breeding from 10 queens should produce a pretty good Thread-fighting force even if they only had Fort Hold to protect at first. And some settlers who got a late start on their holdings, due to initial administrative or technical duties, could have started up in the North instead, close to another good Weyr-site.

2. Since the scientists had already been concerned about the "erratic planet" and the vegetation-free circles in the South, they could consider using the fuel in the ships to move the Red Star to a safe orbit where it would never come near Pern.

Jaxom could bring back very convincing evidence of Thread, since the recording medium, whatever it was, would be exactly the same as what the colonists were using.
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Old Jul 3 2015, 01:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

They could also build safeholds in the south and avoid relocating to the Northern Continent entirely, given enough time. The entire Southern Continent isn't volcanic, and it has vastly more arable land and other resources than the north. The reason that the colonists evacuated north was that they needed a lot of bedrock in a hurry. Given eight years' lead time, they could scout out locations in the south and also fortify some of the existing stakeholds. It's the difference between knowing that hurricane season happens every year, and waking up surprised to find yourself underwater.

Once the Pass actually starts, they'll avoid the massive loss of life that the first Fall brought. From the descriptions in Dragonsdawn, a substantial percentage of their population died that day. More died over the following weeks as they learned to fight Thread. And once they all crowed into Fort Hold, even more died as epidemics raged in the crowded quarters and the equipment to manufacture medicines broke down.

With thousands more healthy adult colonists alive, fighting, and building, they have a lot of breathing room that they don't get in canon. The timeline diverges rapidly from that point on.
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Old Jul 7 2015, 08:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

Who said he didn't. Since Ruth was about the size of the original dragons, and he was a blend of all the colors , where do you think kitty ping got the genetic material from?
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Old Jul 8 2015, 11:45 AM   #18
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

She could have examined his DNA to find out what changes she would need to make to the fire-lizard DNA to produce dragons. However, she might have ended up with a different kind of dragon, since Ruth was some kind of mutant, and at least possibly sterile.
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Old Jul 8 2015, 01:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

I was thinking... AIVAS and Jaxom already have plenty of secrets and illicit time-traveling. Why couldn't Jaxom have the colonists leave a file in the main computer bank, to be triggered at a certain date or something, and then AIVAS simply tells Jaxom what to go back in time and do?
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Old Apr 12 2017, 07:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

So, I was thinking, even though it's impossible in the Pern time travel universe for Jaxom to go back and warn them, there is an optimum time. He should show up on the Yokohama bridge right when they're arriving at Pern and BEFORE they choose a landing site. That way, he can tell them to choose an alternate Landing site so that they will not lose access to AIVAS or have to move all of Landing. He can also warn them of thread, so that they will have 9 years to prepare. That way, they can choose a site with stable bedrock in the South, build with Thread-resistant building materials, AND start breeding dragons. Kitti Ping would have 9 years to work on them, and with 10 queens (or more), they could have a full fighting force by the time thread arrives.

Jaxom should also bring back some grubs, so that they can start sowing the land and not have to worry about crops.

Most importantly, by choosing a different Landing site, they will not lose access to AIVAS, nor will they lose all the irreplaceable equipment that was lost in the transfer North. And with access to AIVAS, there will not be the deterioration or drastic loss of technology and knowledge that occurs. But, even more, with access to AIVAS, they can implement his plan to divert the Red Star and kill the organisms of the Oort cloud much earlier, maybe before even the end of the First Pass (just breed more dragons to make up the lack of size).

Of course, all this would result in a drastically different timeline. Chances are likely that when Jaxom returned to the future, it would be unrecognizable. Highly unlikely that Ruatha Hold, or many of the other holds would exist. There probably would not be a Lord Holder system, especially if they were able to get rid of thread earlier. Jaxom, himself, may not have even been born in that future, or impressed Ruth. If they had destroyed thread in an earlier Pass, there probably wouldn't be a Weyr system anymore. It's likely that there would be far fewer dragons, and Ruth may never have been laid. I'd bet that Jaxom would regret changing time.

Last edited by MarciH; Apr 12 2017 at 08:05 PM. Reason: additional comments
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Old Apr 13 2017, 08:32 AM   #21
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

If Jaxom went to the past and radically changed the future, then surely he would be unable to land when he came out of between times, because place and situation that he left from wouldn't exist any more.
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Old Apr 17 2017, 12:07 AM   #22
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

He just wouldn't come out. Even Ruth can't navigate somewhere that he has no true reference for. Change it that much, and at MOST, you might be able to use the stars and some geologic formations, but almost NOTHING they knew would exist. More, they wouldn't exist. The circumstances that lead to dragons at all and Jaxom's parents existing simply would never happen.
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Old Apr 17 2017, 12:40 AM   #23
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

Couldn't it just cause an alternate universe? One where Jaxom returns to the "visual image" he has in his head and another where the changes have occurred?

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Old Apr 17 2017, 07:12 AM   #24
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

Oh Dear! Here comes Pan-galactic Solipsism. AGAIN!
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Old Apr 17 2017, 11:27 PM   #25
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Default Re: What If: Jaxom Warns the Colonists

What if Jaxom simply never went back to his own timeline? He'd just stay in his own past.
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Old Apr 18 2017, 01:38 AM   #26
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What if Jaxom simply never went back to his own timeline? He'd just stay in his own past.
The question here then would be at what time in his life does he go back and when does he stop having an effect on his original timeline and what all changes in the new timeline because of his presence?
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