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.I hadn’t become as much of a ghost, at least not enough to work free of my bonds.During that strange, half-real time, the treeman had made soup.I recalled his disquiet as he gave me a bowl.My hands had been translucent.He had hoped the food would make me solid again.The cavity was empty now.Beyond the entrance, day was darkening into night.Iridescent arthrops flitted around the fire.They must have been coming in for a while, because some hung on my hair, giving it a sheen.The effect created a sense of familiarity—one I hated.Aversion surged through my mind.Pain.My thoughts recoiled.Frustrated, I turned my concentration to the now absent treeman.What did he want? His mind had roiled with conflicted emotions: the urge for revenge that prodded violence; the compassion that stayed his hand; the desire that urged him on; the kindness that counseled restraint; the fear that gave him pause; the loneliness that sought company; and his growing doubt I was Manq.Unfortunately, no matter which emotions won out, none of the likely results involved him letting me go.How to leave? Cut the cords? With what? Yell for help? To whom? Those hordes of people I had seen roaming the forest? Even if anyone else lived here, I had no reason to believe they would help.My struggles so far had succeeded only in tightening the cords.I suspected the plant grew these “roots” to feed itself by holding its captured prey until it died, after which the decomposing body provided nutrients.Being plant mulch wasn’t on my list of useful pastimes.I needed a new approach, an escape too quirky for the tree-man to foresee.It would help if I understood why I had ended up here.But when I concentrated, the memories fled.So I let my mind wander.Math swirled in my thoughts: Fourier sums, Laplace transforms, Bessel integrals, Airy functions, beautiful, fascinating …Selei transforms.Selei?Like my name.My name.Dyhianna Selei.That was my name.Hah! I was getting somewhere.I had invented the Selei transform at age ten.A strange pastime for a child, but I had enjoyed it.It was a game, really, one that interested only a handful of scholars.The transform defined a universe outside our spacetime.That itself wasn’t dramatic; many math theories described spaces that were unusual compared to our own.They weren’t real in a physical sense.You couldn’t visit them.They were just math.But the Selei universe had a difference.We had found a way to visit.Academicians had a catchy phrase for it: a Hubert space spanned by an infinite set of orthonormal Selei eigenfunctions.Everyone else just called it psiberspace, or Kyle space.Matter couldn’t move from our universe into Kyle space.Only thoughts.People couldn’t enter that universe any more than they could physically enter their own mind.Except somehow my son and I had done that.We had become thoughts.I had almost dispersed in psiberspace, my mind spreading like ripples in a pond.Coming back to this universe was difficult.I was doing it now, wave by partial wave, but a void existed where I should have sensed my son.Taquinil.Taquinil Selei.He was gone.The treeman left me to brood, alone in the cavity, caught tight by the roots.Or maybe he left me die.I had no intention of doing either.I practiced shifting reality.First I relaxed my mind.Drifted.I became an infinite sum of partial waves.Spherical harmonics.Why I had fragmented into spherical harmonics instead of some other functions, I had no idea, but it had a certain poetry.Harmonics of thought.I focused on a purpose: leave.Could I enter psiberspace and come out in a new place? In math, if you took a function from one “space” to another and then changed its shape, it would also have a new shape when you took it back to the first space.Engineers did it all the time with Fourier transforms, going from a space where time varied to one where energy varied.For Selei transforms, spacetime defined the first “space” and thoughts defined the second.If I went into psiberspace, altered my thoughts, and came back, it ought to change my position and time here.Closing my eyes, I tried to fade.Except it wouldn’t work.After all the shifting in and out of this universe that had bedeviled me, now I couldn’t do it.If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought Kyle space had vanished, imploded like a contracting universe collapsing at the end of time.Pah.Psiberspace couldn’t implode.I thought of the Fourier analogy.If time existed, so did energy.You couldn’t have one without the other.The same held true for Kyle space; as long as people could think, it existed.But that didn’t mean we could reach it.We accessed it through the psiberweb, a network of specialized computers.In Kyle space, a thought could exist everywhere, like a peaked wave.Similar thoughts peaked close together; dissimilar thoughts peaked far apart [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]