I find it hard to believe that no sci-fi writer has come up with this yet, but if they have, I’ve never heard of it – so, for now at least, I’m claiming this as my own original creation … But I invite any enterprising writers or creators to take it and make it their own. There are lots of ways to explore this, and the story I’ve got in mind is just one of them.
Our whole universe began with the Big Bang, and it has been expanding outward ever since. So, imagine the universe as a sort of temporal pearl that adds another infinitesimally thin layer every second the universe continues to expand.
We always live on that outermost layer, being pushed ever upward by time as each layer is added on. And the vast history of the universe that is the body of that pearl is impenetrable to us.
A quick Google search and a bit of math tell me that the observable universe is 93 billion light years in diameter, and 292 billion light years in circumference. And since light speed travel is impossible, it would take us more than 146 billion years to travel to the exact other side of the universe, travelling as near to light speed as possible around the outside of that ever-growing temporal pearl – and that doesn’t even take into account the fact that the universe would be ever-growing for all those 146 billion+ years of travel, so even at the end of those impossibly long years, we’d probably still be quite a distance away from our destination.
And that’s also assuming universe didn’t stop expanding and retract back in on itself in that time. The universe is only 13.8 billion years old, and it may end in a mere 22 billion more (man, Google is great).
Even at our fastest possible rate of travel along the circumference of the universe, we would only ever be able to explore the tiniest fraction of it before our species (and/or the universe itself) ended.
But, if we could travel back through time (granting, for the sake of the story, at least, that time travel and faster-than-light travel are mutually exclusive), we could burrow down into that temporal pearl, back through the uncountable layers of time that the universe is made of.
Which is all well and good, but nothing new in the world of sci-fi. But here’s my idea:
In travelling back in time from any point on that outer layer of the pearl, you’d travel along a straight vector that would lead you directly back to the Big Bang, the beginning of everything.
But if you stopped at any point along the way, and nudged your ship even a millimeter up, down, left, right, or any combination thereof, you could then follow a different vector forward in time to that outer layer of the temporal pearl – and easily arrive one, ten, a million, or a billion light years away from your original point of departure.
The more you move your ship at the shift point, the further away from your starting point you would arrive back in the present. The further back in time you go, the smaller your shift would need to be to ride a vector back to an enormous distance away. If need be, you could shift multiple times along the way back or forward to get exactly where you needed to be.
That’s Chrono-Vector Space Travel: physical travel by way of time travel, over distances that would never be possible any other way.
Go far enough back, and you could pass through the Big Bang, ride out on the other side, and arrive 146 billion light years away – on the exact opposite end of the universe from where you started – in whatever time it takes to time travel … It could be seconds, minutes, hours, or years, depending on how the storyteller wanted to work with it. But it would always be faster than 146 billion years.
Of course, going past or through the Big Bang poses its own problems, no doubt. In which case you could just jump back close, shift several times on the way back, and still end up on the other side of the universe, without having to deal with trans-Bang travel.
It’s a solution to getting anywhere in the universe in virtually no time at all, by using time itself as the means of traveling impossible distances … and if it isn’t already out there, I hope this post will ensure that it soon will be.