you may need to read exposition first to understand this
alright so i dunno how much sense this is going to make bc i'm going deep into the conceptual but let's hash stuff out
marvin as a time deity is sort of a misconception, because it implies he has a sort of power over time that the others don't, or can time travel, or other wacky misadventures. it would make sense to presume this, because alphanumeric (tech) and petrichor (nature) are both sort of direct avatars of their representation, but marvin actually appears pretty damn average whilst also being the most powerful of the big three. before i get into marvin, though, let's discuss the nature of the sheer ability these six people have
magninium is at the core of numbers - it's the magical handwave juice, it's what technically powers everything, etc. as element 419, it would be far past the normal island of stability in chemistry, but remains stable anyways, because it's able to perform nonlethal nuclear fission and also grows like a fucking weed by eating the other elements. this is a bit inherently paradoxical, because magninium has been characterized as being Really Hungry and seeking out other "timelines" to consume
actually wait yknow what, let's break down the barriers of what timelines actually are. you know the multiple words theory, where like, if you choose to eat cereal A today, there's another universe where you ate Cereal B, and butterfly effect, and whatnot? i want to make it clear that that is not actually what happens in numbers. that version of timelines implies that there is a central timeline that everything "splits" off to. numbers timelines are more comparable to infinite railroad tracks, all with similar trains and similar passengers. new trains are being made constantly, and are intended to look like the original train. but the makers of the new trains actually don't know what the original train looks like, and so every new train looks a bit weirder and more outlandish, which is how you come from the main timeline and then still be able to interpret earth/our existence as another related timeline - think of it as a very removed train. there was no conscious "choice" that split it. sure, there will be a numbers timeline where you ate cereal A and one where you ate cereal B, but that didn't cause a split. it was inherently always going to happen. there was always going to be a timeline where you ate cereal A, and one where you ate cereal B, before you were even born.
on that topic, though, this isn't predestination. nothing *made* these choices for you. the idea is that every choice you ever made or will make is already *explored*, it already is set to exist, but the choices are still *your* own. you are Timeline A version, and you *chose* to eat cereal A. Timeline B you also chose to eat cereal B. there was nothing saying "in timeline a, you must eat cereal a", it's just that in timeline a, you were going to eat cereal a. (that sounds confusing, and probably doesn't make sense)
continuing the train metaphor, since the trains are all running on tracks next to each other, it's not an impossible task to jump from train to train. granted, it might be hard, and you might fall onto the tracks and die, but generally it's not IMPOSSIBLE. this is where fragments and timeline hoppers* take the metaphor; they hop between trains at their free will. (mag frags, in this metaphor, exist outside of the train tracks entirely, maybe like, floating in the sky above the trains.) original genny/bean also existed outside of the trains, although nothing else not in their direct care or protection could not exist outside of the trains.
the alpha timeline is not the original train, although that seems like a "what?" moment. the *original* train would be considered the MAIN timeline, since the previous timelines genesis made were so inherently unstable and destructive that if the main timeline didn't exist, they would've derailed by now. the main timeline's existence stabilizes all other existences; it's really hard to explain in words why, though. inherently, the main timeline's stability is in part due to the fact that genesis first split in it, which was also paradoxically caused by the timeline being stable - it's hard to explain. just think of it like the grandfather paradox: there's no real answer, it's just endlessly looping conjecture.
anyways so this sets up the framework of our universe: we have the stable main timeline, from which all other timelines derive from, and we have a few entities that exist out of these timelines in a completely different state. the timelines are all existing at once, with no actual branching, and can be jumped between as we please. this gives mag frags the power to overwrite a timeline as they please; when the only difference is "this one mortal in one universe ate this cereal on this day at this time" between a successful timeline and a failing timeline, there's literally no reason to not overwrite the failed timeline with a copy of the successful one. this is like casually picking up the failing train and placing a copy of the good train on the same tracks. (destroying a timeline is akin to destroying the very rails that the train is running on, so no more trains can exist in its place, and you can't rebuild the rails).
except the fallacy here is that if the only difference between these two timelines is that bowl of cereal, then how can one fail and one succeed?
the answer comes in entities that are outside of the scope of the timelines - namely, the mag frags, regular frags, the big six, and genesis/bereave. since these entities were all born outside of the timelines, their actions are not accounted for when the trains were first made, and so any action they take disrupts the very nature of the train. hence, malicious fragments are SUCH a fucking problem to society - they literally are unravelling the very fabric of the universe, because their actions were not mapped into neat little infinite universes.
this is compounded when you consider the big six. four of the six exist in all timelines at once, but as individuals - alpha in the main timeline doesn't know that alpha also exists in the alpha, and beta, and etc., whereas marvin in every timeline is the same person. he is a superimposed existence in a nutshell - existing in all states at once, in all times at once... but we'll get into that more later. anyways the four who are individuals in each timeline end up causing a lot of problems, because instead of it being 4 x infinity, it's 4xinfinity x infinity. statistically, they're just going to be the source of more issues, bc there's at least four fuckers running around per timeline breaking shit that the timeline didn't account for and fix inherently.
fragments are a lesser problem, because the mag frags are instinctively built to want to protect the world and will try to squish people who do bad shit (as will the coalition of reality). it's in their interests to preserve the entire set of timelines (trains) because they find intrinsic worth in existing. (there's a few exceptions, but those arose from years of watching people suffer anyways and becoming disillusioned with the entire idea of maintaining this charades of power and existence).
*timeline hoppers become unaccounted-for entities once they timeline hop. basically if you're not the big six/a frag of some sort, you're NOT supposed to jump around the trains.
on the other side of the coin, we have the entities of marvin and kismet. as explained earlier, these two exist in all states at once, in all times at once. this means their choices infinitely have more impact; it's like knowing the outcome of every event and reliving every single event ever when you wake up. it's not a time loop, because they're not stuck in it - it's more like you'd know what numbers win the lottery because you saw the lottery being won in another timeline you also exist in at the same time. it's being able to adapt in real time because you're literally living everything at once. if this sounds overwhelming, good! it is. it's very overwhelming. it's stupidly overwhelming - human minds would not be able to process it. so thank god that the numbers characters' minds are made out of magninium instead of gray matter!
kismet is similar, but while marvin is intrinsically time/choice, kismet is fate/passiveness. kismet doesn't care about the timelines - he's all about letting fate take its course, while marvin is about actively engaging "fate". hence kismet kills himself in most timelines, anyways, but that's beside the point i think
looping back around to magninium, i mentioned earlier that it seeks to consume other elements to turn into itself, but also will nuclear fission itself into other elements. why's that?
well for that one i'm gonna have to dip into our world for another second - theoretically, magninium is everything. technically, you could argue that all other elements are just magninium having nuclear fission-ed into them. what does that imply?
it implies that magninium is a singularity from which everything came from, and is what we will all return to, at the end of the day. magninium is existence and nonexistence; it is the singularity of the big bang, is the cold entropy that will surround us after the last star burns out. magninium formed in a beautiful creature, capable of destruction and creation, which then broke itself into halves out of loneliness, and then shattered into six individuals. life comes from the first fusion, forcing itself apart (and forcing magninium into other elements) out of a desire to have companionship, and will eventually reunite with itself so far into the future that our minds cannot literally comprehend
so anyways yeah i forgot my original point, but