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I have a character who has pierced the dimensional membrane (that’s what I’m calling it) around our universe/world seeking a new form of energy. In the process he created time bursts—-quick flashes of fractured time that appear and disappear like lightning bolts only they are not visible. A person who walks through one of these bursts would age dramatically. To an outside observer it would appear as if the person aged 50 or 100 years in an instant and fell down dead. Would the person who entered and exited the time burst need to have been existing in an alternate place while their body was aging or could this time burst simply age their bodies? I prefer if their clothing showed no signs of wear and tear. And besides seeing an older body with longer hair and nails, what else would someone examining the dead body notice? Is there some better woowoo way of creating these time bursts without someone piercing the dimensional membrane? This is a Young Adult novel in a contemporary setting and is not heavy on the science obviously.

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    $\begingroup$ It is preferred to ask one question at a time. The time burst would need to be extremely specific in the exact shape of the person. If that person's time is accelerated then he'll not just age but be able to move and live for what he experiences as 50 to 100 years, except that he'll just move out of the timeburst because he'll need air and food. He'll drop dead as a time-difference hits his body when he leaves the burst, where one part of his body goes faster and cause problems for the rest, like stress fractures on the heart. Part of the clothes would age with him and part not. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Aug 5 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ Fear not although 2nd law of thermodynamics seems cruel to our body it is quite lenient on clothes as long as it does not erode like the trust from a few unscrupulous manufacturers ;D $\endgroup$ – user6760 Aug 5 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, Jayzee. Please note that the Worldbuilding SE is dedicated to providing detailed answers to specific questions you have while developing your fictional world. To that end, we ask that questions be limited to one question per post; more than one question tends to get a post closed as needs more focus. Further, we cannot define the rules of your magic system for you: Whether a person's clothes deteriorate alongside the aging process is completely your choice to make. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Aug 5 at 12:38
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Aging and nutrition

Everyone requires daily nutrition to stay healthy [citation needed]. If someone walks into a time burst, they start to age rapidly, including their metabolism. Unable to get out because of time shenanigans[citation needed], they would die of thirst. With 50 to 100 years of sunlight directly on them inside the time burst, they quickly dry out. Shrivelling due to the dryness, becoming a mummy in an instant. This gives bacteria and fungi too little time to do their thing and dry out as well, leaving the body and clothes in tact. The clothes only require to survive 50 to 100 years of dryness, which can actually preserve them pretty ok.

So not unscathed clothing, but an option.

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  • $\begingroup$ This does assume that the lightsource, the energy that fuels the lightsource and the path to the lightsource are also inside the time burst. However, since the rest of the things outside of the time burst take 18.921.600.000 times as long to react to anything you do it means that you cannot lose your bodyheat and will overheat. You cant even dry out as it takes too long for the water to evaporate out of the time burst. You would find a moist hot bubble the size of the time burst with human remains eaten by heat-resistant bacteria. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Aug 5 at 15:23
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They're not instantaneously aging. They're switching places with an older version of themselves from an alternate universe.

Hi Jayzee 55, welcome to Worldbuilding Stack Exchange. The concept of instantaneously aging (like when Ant-Man briefly turns into an old man in Avengers: Endgame) is somewhat problematic from a time-logic standpoint. A human body doesn't "know" what it's supposed to look like in 50 years, so it's hard to justify someone suddenly becoming "older" without actually experiencing the required years of aging.

But you can achieve a similar effect to what you describe by using multiple timelines. When the scientist "pierced the dimensional membrane," he opened up an unstable connection between his reality and the near-future of another very similar reality (perhaps with the experiment itself creating the point of divergence between them). A time burst is actually this connection manifesting itself. Due to some quirk of temporal physics, both sides of a time burst will tend to form around the "same" object.

If someone gets caught in a time burst in one reality, odds are that the alternate them got caught in it too. The anomaly transposes the two versions, with the younger one ending up in the future-reality and the older one ending up in the past-reality. This works even if the older version is dead. Their clothes may not be that worn, but your characters will surely wonder why the body looks like it's been dressed for a funeral (or you could just have the clothes not switch for some reason, like in that episode of Star Trek when Captain Kirk switches places with an evil version of himself from an alternate universe but their clothes don't switch with them). Good luck. :)

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People age because of cellular activity; clothing only 'ages' because of wear and tear as people use it. If someone steps through some time-rift that dramatically increases their cellular activity they will age rapidly, but that doesn't put any extra stress on their clothing. It's not although the clothing is experiencing 50 years of physical activity that would break down the fabric.

However, not all clothing will fare equally well. I assume that all of the bacteria and fungi that a person carries around would go through equally rapid metabolism, so organic fabrics — cotton and leather in particular — might stain, degrade, or get moldy from the actions of the natural skin biome. This would be particularly true if the person dies and starts to decay within the clothing, releasing the internal biome and a large quantity of fluids that such a biome needs to thrive. But if the process tends to desiccate (dry out) the person, that would kill off much of the biome, and the clothes would survive better.

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