Ladies and gentlemen, how good it is to see youall here tonight on this august and festive occasion!How far we have come in the last decade, exploringnew horizons in science and history.
From our primitive beginnings we have forged anew discipline, we are inspired by a fresh muse.
I remember well the day that the first parallelresonant field translator was switched on. It was asunny Saturday and I was disgruntled to have to bein the lab when I would much rather have been outon the links. The device was behind schedule,however, so putting in the few hours required tofinish it seemed to be the order of the day.I applied power to the battery of Mollot cellsnecessary to run the bulky and primitive apparatus.Instantly the "Banding" effect that we are now sofamiliar with became evident. Instead ofdisconnecting the machine as any rational personwould have done, I poked a pencil into theprobabilistic flux and then pulled it out apparentlyunharmed.It was only later that evening that I discoveredthe import of what had transpired that afternoon.Having ordered a hamburger at Elsie's deli, I wasdoodling on a napkin while I waited when I noticedthat my pencil had printed on the yellow paint thewords "St. Edmundsburgh, NA" whereas I knew fora fact that that morning the words had been"Ticonderoga, NY." I knew of no city, American orforeign, called St. Edmundsburgh and I did knowthat something screwy was happening. Forgettingmy hamburger, I went back to the lab and scarredthrowing all manner of objects into the field, all ofwhich were transformed into or perhaps exchangedfor Xenolites, evidences of the universes next door.
In the following months experiments ofincreasing complexity and ambition were performedby my colleagues and myself: In that time evidencesof no fewer than sixteen distinct historical trackswere discovered.
Evidences ranged from bottle caps to, in onecase, a very confused baseball player; unfortunatelyfor him we have never successfully returned anythingto exactly where it came from. But the real treasurewas the books and papers that would occasionallycome through, for it was here that we would findthe greatest amount of information. One such tantalizing clue is a document which has come to be known as Boswell's Life of Johnson which has aluded, in an incomplete fashion, to a history rather different from ours.
Since that time we have identified hundreds ofdifferent worlds. Some of them are very removedfrom our reality, worlds in which life evolved onEarth differently or never evolved at all. Theseworlds are for all intents alien planets. But muchmore frequently the alternate realities we see are veryclose to ours, as if there is some central course thatmost universes stick close to. On the other hand,there may be problems with our equipment that willsomeday be improved and we will reach worlds yetundreamed.
What we now know is that the universe is moreplastic than anyone had previously thought. It is a"mushy zone" constantly reconfigured by chance.
The fact is that God does play dice with the universebut the game is rigged! We at the Institute have cometo believe that, at least in some cases, every possibilityis realized and static gravity technology has given usaccess to some of those possibilities.
Our future goals include learning how to target aparticular parallel and a particular xenolite, finding away to return xenolites to their space of origin, andultimately being able to get to these worlds ourselves.Our next ten years present the hard challenges thatwere created by our past successes. Where it win endis a moot question; it will never end; we havediscovered a quantum infinity, for that is what thePRFT has brought us, a greater infinity.One "funny" thing: it seem that this is not theonly track in which the Institute exists. In fact, wehave evidence of its presence on at least five of thecloser worlds. We have no idea if they are aware ofus.