Your rating: None
Average: 3 (1 vote)



Pretty Bea sits across the table in one of the food parks of Maginhawa Street while we enjoy the kebabs and beer. However, I am slightly pissed because it's a half-baked happiness, with a caveat not to let my guard down. Bea, for all I know, can put me in jail.

Things used to be so simple. Dating was a straightforward affair. But nowadays, you have to make sure that your date is not an alt-person. In other words, you have to make sure that that person is from this Universe, not an illegal. Otherwise, you may be charged with harboring.

After scientists discovered Quantum Jumping or hopping from one world to another using a Decoherence Machine (DM), there was a massive influx of illegals into our Universe, and other Universes, for that matter. 

It's unsure which Universe came up first with the DM, but one thing's for certain, it's been a multiverse swap ever since. Alt-persons wanting to escape their sad lives would illegally travel to start fresh in another world. And not a few did at a cost -- they resorted to crime to replace their other selves, either kidnapping, or even murdering their counterparts.

The Multiverse Quantum Police (MQP) are the ones tasked to go after these illegals. I can now see a couple of them across the street -- a male and a female cop -- standing in their silver uniform beside their black hover bikes. 

Bea is telling me about the adorable kindergarten students she teaches, and turns her head to see what I'm looking at.

I take note of her reaction, but if she's a poker player, she must be a good one. She sips from her beer glass.

"Do you have kids?" she asks.

"Oh, didn't Fudge tell you?" Fudge is Bea's co-teacher, and a mutual friend.

"No, sorry. All I know is that you're a widower."

It's been two years since Melissa died. I wish there was a way to hop worlds and go back in time. But decoherence only works moving forward. Entanglement leads to a one-way street.

Melissa was a tortured soul. She was lonelier than I was. I was a struggling writer, and she was a bipolar who had trouble keeping jobs, and we always fought. I felt trapped and always thought of leaving her, even going illegal. But she found ways to reel me in. I tried to make it work. One day, I found her overdosed on sleeping pills.

"Yes, she passed away before we can have one." I sort of lie. Without stability, having a baby was out of the question.

"I'm sorry to hear that." 

"Don't be. Might have been too painful for our child to find out about her mom when she grew up." I was always sure my firstborn was a girl.

"So you were saying that the end was a total surprise?" I say, to change the subject.


"The psychological thriller you were telling me last night on Messenger," I said. "But do not tell me. Like I said, I hate spoilers."

Online, we bonded over books. She loves mysteries and, like me, also plays chess. 

"Oh yes. That was one of the best sleights of hand I've ever encountered," she smiles.

"How did you find the book? Amazon?"

"Well, actually, it was one of the weirdest things. I did not find it online, but in the small bookshop down the road here in Maginhawa, at Danny's Bookstore."  

"You mean JP's Bookstore?"

She pauses for what seems to be an eternity, and that's how I find out. "Oh yes, JP's." 

"It's all right. Being a bibliophile myself, I also get confused with the names of all the shops. All I know is that the books are cheap."

We both laugh. I decide to go all in. "For example, remember that bookstore along Kamias?"

She stares into my eyes. "Of course. I would sometimes go there."

That's when I know. My next words come in a whisper.

"Bea, I know who you are."  Her smile fades. 

I look at the two cops. They are crossing the street.

"Where is she?" I ask.

She sees me turn my head, but she keeps her composure. She drinks from her glass.

"She's fine. In my Universe. But she wasn't doing too good here anyway."

"Why do it?"

"The usual reason. I had to start over again."

The MQP's are now entering the food park.

"Your story about your abusive father, was that true?"

"Yes, everything is true. It's just that it happened in another world."


"Paid smugglers with all my savings. I needed to start over. He was after me. It was my life or his life."

 "He’s not here?"

"No. Just my mother and I. We're very happy."

"Did she...?


I nod.

"She regretted it. That's why we had to swap."

That's how it is with parallel worlds -- sometimes the differences are so subtle and nuanced like the bookstore, sometimes life-changing and momentous. 

"Where's the body?"

"I don't know. She wouldn't tell me."

I didn't say anything.

"She also agreed to this,” she goes on. "It's perfect. She can live her life again, choose a different path. Meanwhile, I do not have to be afraid, and, unlike her, do not have a guilty conscience."

The MQP's are now behind Bea, in front of the Persian food store. They are talking to the male manager and the waitress. 

Bea turns around and then looks at me.

The manager is walking towards us.

Bea's eyes seem to plead, her arms on the table. 

The manager comes up beside us, and starts to talk, which startles Bea. "How did you like the food?" he says.

I look up, but past him, and I catch a glimpse of the future with our firstborn, a little girl as pretty as Bea, and both of us teaching her to play chess.

"Yes, everything's fine," I say. I look into Bea's eyes. "Absolutely fine."


About the Author: 
I am a writer and a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Human Rights advocate from the Philippines. I blog at FilipinoCreative.com, and write articles, poems and short stories using my pen name Dino Manrique. I have also written an unproduced historical screenplay about two of our national heroes.
Share this fiction

Quantum Theories: A to Z

B is for ...
Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

E is for ...

As the world makes more advances in quantum science and technologies, it is time to think about how it will impact lives and how society should respond. This mini-documentary by the Quantum Daily is a good starting point to think about these ethical issues. 


W is for ...

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

H is for ...
Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

U is for ...
Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

A is for ...
Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

L is for ...
Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

A is for ...
Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

E is for ...

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

G is for ...

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

O is for ...
Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

P is for ...
Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

Q is for ...
Quantum States

Quantum states, which represent the state of affairs of a quantum system, change by a different set of rules than classical states.

J is for ...
Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics and is a technology to build qubits for quantum computers.

H is for ...
Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

D is for ...

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

P is for ...

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

C is for ...

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now. This column from Quanta Magazine ​delves into the fundamental physics behind quantum computing.

I is for ...

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

U is for ...

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

K is for ...

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

W is for ...
Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

L is for ...

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

Y is for ...
Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

K is for ...

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a way to create secure cryptographic keys, allowing for more secure communication.

R is for ...

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

D is for ...

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

G is for ...

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

N is for ...

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

S is for ...
Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

T is for ...
Time travel

Is time travel really possible? This article looks at what relativity and quantum mechanics has to say.

Z is for ...
Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

B is for ...
Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

S is for ...
Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

R is for ...

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

C is for ...

The most precise clocks we have are atomic clocks which are powered by quantum mechanics. Besides keeping time, they can also let your smartphone know where you are.

M is for ...

Quantum physics is the study of nature at the very small. Mathematics is one language used to formalise or describe quantum phenomena.

I is for ...

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer

C is for ...

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

V is for ...
Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

T is for ...

The arrow of time is “irreversible”—time goes forward. On microscopic quantum scales, this seems less certain. A recent experiment shows that the forward pointing of the arrow of time remains a fundamental rule for quantum measurements.

F is for ...
Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

M is for ...

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

M is for ...
Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

Q is for ...

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

Q is for ...
Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

S is for ...

The feature of a quantum system whereby it exists in several separate quantum states at the same time.

X is for ...

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

T is for ...

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

A is for ...

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

T is for ...

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

S is for ...

Researchers are harnessing the intricacies of quantum mechanics to develop powerful quantum sensors. These sensors could open up a wide range of applications.

Copyright © 2024 Centre for Quantum Technologies. All rights reserved.