Bob and George
Friday, February 16th, 2001 #308
Prelude to a Bad Time Bad Things Happening
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In case it's not clear, Mega Man is still talking about the events of Megaman 7 in that first panel, not realizing that Bass has walked away. It might be a little confusing, since Mega Man and Bass were talking about a different subject in the last comic, but maybe it was one of those situations where, after a brief and awkward pause in the conversation (in which Bass probably walked away), Mega Man returned to the previous conversation topic and simply continued on.

This comic features one of my favorite concepts regarding time travel: the temporal ripple effect. That is, the idea that it somehow takes "time" for the effects of time travel to be felt further up the time stream. Usually, the further you are from the event, the longer it takes before the ripple overtakes and alters your time period. In this case, though it's not yet known that Bass has traveled into the past through that portal, clearly he has done something that has screwed up time, and the alert is due to the detection of that temporal ripple on its "way".

What's never really explained, though, is why the effects of time travel would work this way. Why aren't any changes to the the time stream felt instantaneously throughout the entire space-time continuum? Why would it take "time", from some observer's perspective, for reality to be altered? I mean, aside from it being really inconvenient to the plot to have the main characters be unable to fix the damage to the time stream since they've already been affected and altered by that damage, that is.

I suppose you could argue that like any effect, changes caused by time travel have some sort of speed limit as they travel through the space-time continuum, perhaps even the speed of light somehow, and cannot instantaneously affect everything, in the same way gravity can't cause instantaneous changes between masses. But then, if the ripple effect is traveling at some speed limit, what exactly is it supposedly moving through? If it's moving through the fourth dimension, time, then why would we have any perception of a time delay? After all, we're limited to traveling at a fairly constant speed through that dimension, and our perception of the passage of time is rather limited.

Though, it all obviously makes perfect sense once you have an understanding of the fifth dimension.
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