Part Five (pp. 259-265)
Guion is an enigma to Everard.
His English is deceptively pedantic.
Individuals can have a significance beyond their ostensible worth.
There is no destiny, only the structure of the plenum, which is to be preserved.
That structure is spatiotemporally changeable, subtle and tricky.
Coincidences can be more than accidents.
Everard's and Wanda's world lines appear to impinge on many others. Guion repeats, "'Appears...'" (p. 261)
So far, I have merely repeated statements made by either Everard or Guion but now I must pause to comment. If their world lines do impinge on many others, then are they personal causal nexuses like Lorenzo de Conti? (That cannot be said here because Everard has not encountered Lorenzo yet.) But why does Guion say, and even repeat, "appear"? Surely the Patrol knows how many people its agents influence? Everard must influence many and Wanda might through him. Is Guion acknowledging some limitation to Patrol knowledge because of variable reality?
Guion and his colleagues hope that whatever concerns them is nothing extraordinary.
He cannot say precisely what it is and it may be unknowable.
Monitors have noticed anomalous variations in reality.
The course of the world has inertia.
Most changes made by time travellers are damped out.
There is compensation and negative feedback.
However, there may be many small fluctuations.
"How constant is reality?" has no fixed answer and maybe no meaning.
Comment: here the "change is difficult" view and the "change is continual" view seem to meet. The original idea that there is inertia and compensation is reasserted but is also qualified by the suggestion that minor fluctuations are continual.
At an occasional nexus point, a key incident decides the large-scale future.
Comment: this is the original position but the text is working towards the revelation that a key incident can be changed not only by extratemporal intervention but also by quantum chaos.
The anomalous variations have no known cause, in particular no discernible chronokinetic source.
Plautus' Asinaria is first performed in 213 BC.
In 1196 AD, the Serbian Grand Zhupan abdicates and retires to a monastery.
There are several instances in both periods and at considerable distances.
The precise dates differ from the recorded dates.
Other anomalies are the exact text of Asinaria and the details of a scroll by Ma Yuan.
These discrepancies change neither the pattern of events nor anyone's daily life but they do indicate instability in those sections of history.
The Second Punic War was in progress in 213 BC.
Comment: Everard is concerned because he had to counteract a timeline divergent from that War. However, that divergence was caused by Neldorians, not by the mysterious processes that Guion is investigating.
It is inherently impossible to say how many divergent timelines there have been.
Concluding comments for today:
it is getting late here;
to do justice to Anderson's text, I must return to it tomorrow.