And so at last I come to you, blessed Monopole, seed of the becoming, to whom this Hidden Sacred Book is most humbly dedicated. I am dictating this to the Princess Uskabellu in total secrecy, with instructions to reveal it to no-one. This work is not just an act of homage to you, Oh glorious Monopole, but as a stimulation to my thoughts as I contemplate the mystery of your current location. For it is beyond doubt that resolving this problem is the key to the fate of the Universe.
Your story begins in the skies above the domain known as Entroilia. At that time you still took the form of a cosmic seed. During the annual mating of Her Imperial Majesty Queen Karolinda, an unidentified drone did fertilise one of her eggs with you, thereby creating the Cosmic Egg and giving impetus to the unfolding history recounted with devotion in my preceding chronicles. Once inside the living egg, you became manifest as the object later known to mankind as “the Cosmic Monopole”.
When the Egg subdivided into incompatible regions with different physical laws, as I explained in Book 1, you were trapped at the junction between three of these regions which mankind would eventually call “Universes”.
Each region obeyed different fundamental laws of physics. You must have felt as confused as a child finding itself on the disputed border of three nations, all speaking different languages and obeying mutually incompatible laws. You shared aspects of all three domains but belonged to none.
From your vantage point between these regions, no doubt you surveyed them with much distress, for clearly you were different from the swarms of other particles flickering momentarily into existence around you in the intense heat of the complex sequence of events known to mankind, in his simplicity, as “before the Big Bang”. For one thing, the lives of those particles were short whereas you, blessed Monopole, you endured over time so that even many microseconds later, when those others had settled into stable configurations, you were still obviously special and apparently unique.
For of all the particles surrounding you, Oh Cosmic Monopole – may your name forever be venerated in the minds of all living creatures – you alone possessed that magical property which mankind would later call a “magnetic charge”.
True, many of those others had “electrical charges”. Of these the commonest were the large heavy protons with their positive charges and the tiny, cloud-like electrons with their negative ones, although some particles such as the neutron had no charge at all.
And true, some of their movements resulted in the creation of small magnetic fields around them. But not one of them had the magical property of a permanent magnetic charge, the single magnetic pole which gave you the wonderful name “Monopole”.
As I have explained hitherto, as time went on the Cosmos expanded and the energy density fell to levels below which particles could no longer be created. From now on their number was more or less constant. Occasionally two of the smaller ones would collide and fuse together to make a single large unit. Sometimes large ones would split apart into several fragments, but the great age of particle creation was over. Later still the opposite charges of protons and electrons attracted them together and they stuck into tiny objects called “atoms”. The cosmos was now full of a simple atomic gas.
But none of this was of any interest to you, Oh majestic Monopole! You still hovered on the boundary between three regions, unable to decide which one should be your home.
There were magnetic fields within these domains, lines of force which reached endlessly around space in wildly gyrating coils and spirals, loops and bands. As the Cosmos expanded, these fields interacted with charged particles, both pushing them around and in turn being itself shaped by their movement. And you too were affected by these fields, Oh Monopole. Unable to maintain your position on that narrow border between the three regions, the lines of force pulled you by chance into one of them, the one which mankind would eventually call “the Universe”, and henceforth you found yourself trapped therein, losing contact with the uncounted other domains in the wider Cosmos.
For a long time you drifted listlessly around your new home. Far away there appeared tiny splashes of light which men now call “galaxies”. Hundreds of billions of them traced out walls and filaments around vast dark oceans of almost empty space. But for all this time, Oh Monopole, you remained isolated within one of these spaces, drifting restlessly, pulled by weak magnetic fields, as if searching for another particle like yourself.
After a billion years or so, a winding line of magnetic force drew you closer and closer to one of these glowing galaxies and finally you found yourself inside. Wandering through this island of gas, you discovered the source of the light. It contained billions of those glowing globes of plasma men call “stars”. These too had magnetic fields and occasionally you would be trapped inside one of these nuclear fusion reactors, where the force of gravity was forging smaller particles together into larger ones and, almost incidentally, converting matter into radiation which seeped out as starlight.
Here, no doubt, you searched at first with great excitement, hoping to find another monopole like yourself. But when you found only the same particles you had seen in the Big Bang your disappointment must have been intense. You did, however, discover something entirely new. Occasionally one of protons around you was able to adhere to your outer surface. Although these new companions invoked in you no interest, nevertheless you began slowly to grow.
After a few million years of fusion, your star ran out of fuel and the nuclear power plant at its centre shut down. Normally a star dies quietly but your star happened to be larger than average. It exploded into a spectacular “supernova”, fusing smaller particles together and creating entirely new species of heavy particles such as you had never seen before.
This must have attracted your interest, for surely you wondered whether any of these new particles had a magnetic pole, like yourself. But you had no chance to find out, for the explosion which made these particles also spewed them out into the galaxy as a shower of pollution. You too were ejected from the dying star and you continued to wander the galaxy, observing new stars forming around you from this polluted gas. Eventually these stars also died and released more heavy particles. This pollution finally became so bad that particles were able to stick together to produce grains of dust. Dust absorbs starlight and the galaxy began to grow dark from the pollution released by generations of dead stars.
For the next fourteen billion years you wandered around the galaxy, poor disconsolate Monopole, moving in and out of stars, carried along by the lines of magnetic force. An observer might have imagined you searching these clouds of dust, picking over the debris of dead stars, hoping perhaps to find another like yourself, searching among the debris for a brother or even a distant cousin with whom you could identify. But you were destined to be utterly disappointed, for the new particles created inside stars were merely larger accumulations of the protons and neutrons you already knew and despised. No doubt you felt you did not belong here, unrelated to the particles among which you found yourself, a stranger in a strange place, trapped by the galaxy’s magnetic fields.
You probably did not notice that, on the surface of these grains of dust, smaller atoms were bonding together into little groups called “molecules”, and so the first appearance of water in the Universe almost certainly passed without remark. But you probably did notice that your galactic prison was changing.
For the whole galaxy was drifting through space and slowly rotating. As it drifted it occasionally collided with a neighbouring galaxy, creating new showers of stars. Even more important was the effect of its rotation. The resulting centrifugal force pushed its equatorial regions outwards while gravity pulled the northern and southern sections inwards. These forces reshaped the galaxy’s structure, turning it from a large ball into a flat, plate-shaped disc with a slightly bulging centre. Henceforth new stars would form within this disc. Furthermore the new stars would be organised not at random but in several narrow bands which spiralled elegantly outwards from the central region.
These stars were created from the debris of gas and dust left over from older supernovae, the pollution which had accumulated over the aeons. When finally humans looked up into the night sky, from their position upon a tiny planet within the disc, they saw it as a thin band of glowing light smeared across the heavens. This band came to be called the “Milky Way” and eventually when astronomers worked out its true nature, it gave its name to the whole galaxy, the “Milky Way Galaxy”.
Two million years ago, Oh Monopole, following a magnetic line of force, you happened to pass very close to a middle-aged star, the one later given the name “the Sun” . It was surrounded by a small array of planets spread out in a flat disc around the star. At first you hardly noticed the third one out from the centre, the little rocky planet which mankind calls “Earth” . Orbited by a single moon, this rocky speck in space did not at first seem very interesting. Only its beautiful blue colour and its unusual oxygen-rich atmosphere distinguished it from the millions of other planets which you had wandered past during your long life.
You had occasionally visited planets before. There were many of them scattered around in the Galaxy. Small ones such as this were mostly formed from the heavy atomic debris left over from previous supernovae, atoms such as oxygen, silicon and iron collected together in dirty little balls of rock. You had sometimes even passed through these objects, drawn in by their magnetic fields, but inside they were just as boring as everywhere else, same old particles, nothing you could call a relative.
The exact source of the line of magnetic force which drew you towards this planet has not been established with certainty. It might have been a chance configuration of the solar magnetic field. More likely it was the planet’s own field, originating in its iron core, which pulled you inward. In either case, you began to descend rapidly towards the surface.
And so it was that one morning in early April you were finally swept along by the Earth’s magnetic field, Oh Monopole, and approached the continent known as “Europe”. Plunging down through the thin cloud you descended rapidly towards a lake trapped between two mountain ranges. You might have been curious about this lake for you had never been close to liquid water before. Water ice yes, that was common enough upon dust grains in the Galaxy, but it was rare to find a planet which was at just the right distance from its star that water would neither boil nor freeze but remain as a liquid. You might even have hoped to plunge into this exotic medium, this curving lake, to explore its properties and probe its hidden depths.
But, as you approached the end of the lake, a long finger terminating in a small city called Geneva, you were suddenly pulled off course by a local magnetic field and you swerved towards the west. As you flew rapidly over streets swarming with shoppers and traffic, over planes heading for the airport, you must surely have been surprised at the difference between this and the other planets, sterile and lifeless, which you had visited during your long existence.
Did you, perhaps, notice a silver BMW driving up the long straight road, the Route de Meyrin, along whose path you flew? Did you note how it slowed as it approached the tunnel, or see it change lanes to follow the little road over the hill?
Probably not. And even if you had noticed the car, there was no way for you to know that your fate would be intimately connected with that of the occupants.