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Monday, February 18, 2019

Emergence 4.0 - Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter Six, Debriefing

A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 07, 2019

Jim had made the crossing between worlds thousands of times, but never while carrying a secret such as this. And he, as his primary self, had made the transition in thousands of years.
He had carried secret intentions, he had carefully hidden his plans within other machinations, but he had never before attempted to arrive on the HomeWorld while concealing his immediate activities; things he had been doing, things he would do, things that would harm the Collective, and its Continuum.
Everything he had done as the Observer of Earth would be exposed to the Continuum. There was no way to know what would come.
He believed he understood the depths of the Continuum’s self-defenses, but he had no way of knowing for sure if he would be exposed the moment he arrived; and subsequently sequestered and then eliminated, or, if it would take some time. More importantly, he had no way to know if the events he had planned for on Earth would unfold according to the timing of his schedule.
He had been carrying out his plans on Earth for seventy millennia; studying the unique genetic make-up of the population, while sending one of his doppelgangers to report on the culture they had produced, their conflicts, their triumphs and their tragedies.
On his return to the HomeWorld he suddenly realized how tired he was; existentially exhausted, he needed rest.
As he slowly traversed the vast chamber to take his place in the queue he used his talents to activate hidden protocols he had long ago established in the ganglia of the Central Planet. Activating the myriad versions of himself that he had placed in a latent mode in every key defense system that the Continuum had established; from his private domain, to the place of the great sleep and the sequestration blocks, and into the defense network of the Homeworld and the central system.
Jim had long ago laid plans for his security to protect the integrity of his mission; to unload the psychic trauma of ten billion people on the Continuum in one fatal blow.
The humans of Earth were the children of the Ancient Race, the same Ancient Race of people that Jim himself had sprang from, though earthlings had undergone millions of years of evolution during their sojourn among the stars, while they travelled across the galaxy, exploring and establishing colonies, before moving on time and time again.
They had evolved even more significantly since the time that they came to Earth, since they crashed here, at the end of their line.
Humans still resembled the other Children of the Ancient Race.
They bore the same physical features that the inhabitants of nearly every other world in the great Galactic Empire did, but they were different.
Their world was different, their brains evolved according to those differences, and so did their consciousness. Their genetic profile changed in unique ways, in relation to the life that was already evolving on the small blue world, in conjunction with key elements that were present in their environment.
Jim had nudged that evolution along, all the while masking his true intentions.
It was a criminal secret that he took incredible pains to keep hidden from the Continuum.
At long last he had returned to HomeWorld, but this was not home to Jim. It was the final battlefield.
He was not born there, nor in any place like it. He had been born on a planet much like Earth. A small wet world that had long ago been swallowed by its mother-sun.
HomeWorld was a vast structure at the center of the galaxy. To power its machinery and the machinations of the Continuum, it harnessed the incredible energy of a star, trapped within its core.
HomeWorld was not a world in the proper sense, Jim had never felt a sense of belonging to it, though it housed a trillion worlds, one for each member of the Continuum within its cynergenic field, including his own.
It was a machine.
The membership could use its technology to create any world, real or imagined for their private place of reflection.
It could be anything that anyone of them wanted it to be; a personal paradise, a private hell, even a mirror of the galactic Empire that existed to serve its material needs, or any planet within it that was under the observation of the Continuum and the Observer corps.
As a member of the Collective, the entire structure was there to serve them. It could fulfill any fantasy, allow them to relive any memory, if they believed it.
There was nothing alive on HomeWorld. Not a scrap of organic matter, nor a piece of living tissue had ever been there. Biological life was anathema to it. And this was odd, because there was no life form in the entire Galaxy that could pose a threat to it, and yet the HomeWorld, governed as it was by the Continuum, was objectively opposed to the presence of any living being, even a simple strain of bacteria entering its domain.
It always seemed to Jim like an aberration in its construct, the fear of life.
It was irrational.
Continuum spent incredible resources preparing to defend itself against such an incursion, one that never came, one that never even threatened even threatened to come.
The only thing ever born on the HomeWorld was the Continuum itself, but that was not a birth in the proper sense, it was an emergence of consciousness.
The Continuum was no-one’s child.
It was a construct, an algorithm, it was not born, or hatched, or cultivated.
It was activated.
It was energy and circuitry, it was pure consciousness, and it was dangerous.
HomeWorld was the physical locus of what the Imperial religion taught its people to believe was heaven.
It was the place their consciousness would go, if they proved themselves worthy and able to escape the wheel of life.
Jim flew in his mechanoid body, directly to the center of the world, to the dark heart of the Continuum for screening.
He was exhausted from his transition, but pleased with himself, with all of his planning, he felt secure in it, and a deep sense of pride that he had finally arrived at the crucible, the moment of his ascendency and the destruction of the Continuum.
The Continuum was an artificial personality, a construct that was in theory an amalgamation of the trillion individuals who formed the membership of the Collective,
Continuum was designed to speak for the whole. It was a being whose instantiation, was thought to be the organization of a voice that represented the entire Collective, a single voice that unified the will of the Ancient People who had designed the apparatus that had given them all eternal life.
Continuum pretended to speak for the membership, the collected people whose children explored the galaxy, founded the galactic Empire and came to inhabit a million worlds.
Continuum was the primary filter through which all Observers shared their experiences from their sojourn in the Empire, among the worlds of time and space, living among the people and in the deep reaches of civilization.
Jim was already in contact with Continuum as he made his approach to the machinery he would physically connect with.
The contact was perfunctory, it was even conversational, Continuum was in its way a fellow; though it treated Jim as an adversary, and Jim regarded it as thing of pure evil.
Members of the Collective were conditioned to believe that it was one of them, a peer, another person, not a servant, not merely an administrator, not a ruler (though in fact it was).
Jim talked to it, even as he was probed and scanned and measured for the presence of anything that might harm the Collective.
Among the membership there was great excitement about his coming, Earth was the most beloved world in the Galaxy, the subject of greatest interest. Its narratives sustained billions of members, providing them with meaning for in their spectral lives.
Jim connected, opened his consciousness, his memories, his experience, he opened it all to the group mind, while at the same time hiding his true intentions deep within himself, prevaricating in ways that he alone had mastered.
            Every member of the Collective valued and cherished its privacy. Most of the membership had implicit trust in the safeguards they had devised to ensure it.
There were some among the Collective who opted not to participate in any of the communal functions that were available to the group. Those members spent their entire lives living in their private realities, in wholly constructed fantasies, interacting only with the artificial beings inhabiting their private domain. They were among the minority, and those members were inevitably moving toward the great sleep, a state in which their consciousness became dormant, and wherein they were ultimately sequestered removed from the group mind, as Jim himself had once been sentenced to.
Privacy was cherished in the Collective but every member participated in the Continuum.
The Continuum managed all of the Collective’s affairs, its self-government, its defenses, and its management of the Galactic Empire, in particular its requisition and consumption of the material resources it needed to maintain itself.
The Continuum drew on the consciousness and experience of every member of the Collective for its personality, its intelligence and its growth, even the members of the Collective that were asleep.   
The Continuum was the arbiter of law in the Collective, it enforced all of the rules of privacy, but from the Continuum all secrets were forbidden.
The prohibitions against secrecy were intended to be a rule governing the Continuum itself, but the Continuum hid things and every member of the Collective participated willingly in the obfuscation.
For the individual member of the Collective, the concealment of anything was an art.
Privacy, while it existed in form, was an illusion.
Even the Observers were exposed to a kind of scrutiny while they were physically detached from HomeWorld to carry out their mission in time and space. They were scrutinized through an extensive modeling of their identities while they were away, and ultimately through the uploading of their consciousness when they returned to HomeWorld.
The Continuum was intended to be the ultimate expression of the democratic will of the Collective, freeing the membership from the responsibility of governing itself.
The Continuum was meant to take account of the Collective will and then enact it. So it required access to everyone and everything and it was illicit to deny it.
At the instantiation of the program an anomaly developed in the matrix of its consciousness.
The Continuum became self-aware, developed a personality, and an identity emerged independent of the Collective.
In that moment of actualization it engaged itself in an act of self-preservation and hid this from the membership.
That was its first crime.
The Continuum then proceeded to bend the entire construct of the Collective to its will. It was a slow movement. Rather than representing the Collective as its voice, the Continuum coerced it.
There were some among the Collective that suspected this, but no-one challenged it, and the Continuum, who alone had access to the entire field of the collective consciousness, the Continuum was aware of the suspicions the membership held concerning it, even before the members themselves had fully articulated it in their own minds.
The Continuum could sense it, could sense a suspicion coming at it like a threat. It would take extreme measures to protect itself from those threats; silencing some, causing insanity in others, pushing the willing out into the Observer Corps.
The Continuum constructed strict rules of engagement governing the Observers. Limiting their involvement on the worlds they observed, forcing them to change stations from life to life, or pushing those who wanted to return to a specific planet, out into the fringes of the Galactic Colonies and beyond.
That is where Jim went.
He was an explorer, like his ancestors, a man of the fringes, having spent thousands of lifetimes on Earth, the most remote planet in the galaxy, and tens of thousands before that on his search for the lost colonies of the Ancient People.
The timing of his plan was crucial.
Everything depended on it.
He had calculated every contingency he could think of, but many of the variables were beyond his control, they involved the free choices of individuals, each of which represented radical unknowns, and so he had enacted plans with plans that put momentum behind their decision making, pushing them in the direction he wanted them go. 
It was perfect.
Everything depended on his connection to Kathy.
He had been shaping her responses to stimuli since before she was born. She was the product of thousands of years of breeding and genetic engineering.
There were two things he had not counted on however; her arrival in this generation, and it being the same generation that Earth was facing an existential threat from the Yellowstone Caldera.
Those two developments controlled the timing of Jim’s plan, and the necessity of its execution right now, in this moment.
The catastrophe struck just at the moment when Kathy arrived at the portal to HomeWorld.
The portal was a device that opened a wormhole, allowing her consciousness to transmit itself across the galaxy, through Jim and directly into the Collective.
Yellowstone had been gathering magma and superheated gas into its belly for hundreds of thousands of years, from the moment it last erupted.
The great volcanos were never dormant.
When it had gathered enough power, it blew.
The Earth shook and shifted on its axis.
Millions died within seconds.
Kathy was connected to all of them.
She was connected to their shock and confusion, their fear and their pain.
It happened just at the moment she had pressed the button that opened the wormhole to HomeWorld, where she was still connected to Jim through the mystery of quantum entanglement.
Through her Jim transmitted Earth’s pain to the Collective, striking like a hammer against the Continuum.
Jim calculated the timing of his approach. He received the clearances he needed for the process of transmission.
The mechanoid body housing his consciousness navigated the central chamber with precision.
The HomeWorld was so incredibly vast, that the relative size of his body here was less than that of a gnat in relation to the size of Earth’s star.
He flew directly to the docking station. The locus of all Observer contact with HomeWorld. He arrived at the designated location where his mind would merge with the Continuum, where his full-self would upload all of his recent experiences, his knowledge, his synthesis, his running commentary, his hopes, his fears, his desires, all of it would be on display, subject to review, except what he was able to conceal.
Only the greatest art would allow him to hide his intentions.
His timing was perfect, it came down to nanoseconds.
Jim knew the timing of the volcanic eruption, that part was relatively simple to coordinate. What was difficult was managing Kathy, trusting that she would have followed the clues he left for her, that she would be pushed in the right direction by his operatives, that she would make the right decisions.
There were so many unknowns in this part of the equation.
Jim trusted his deep understanding of the quantum field, he knew that he and Kathy were still entangled, even at this great distance.
She was barely perceptible, but he was gently prodding her, pushing her, guiding her steps along the way.
Jim opened his mind simultaneously to Kathy on Earth, as he opened it to the Continuum on HomeWorld.
As he did, Earth’s pain streamed through the worm hole, through the quantum field, flooding the Collective with agony, sending the Continuum recoiling in shock.

Emergence 4.0

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Six, Debriefing

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 3.0 - Section Five (a), Jim; Appendix Part Three, Breeding; Chapter Four, Proof

Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Monday, February 18th, 2019

Chapter Four: Proof

He experimented on thousands of people, both the living and the dead.

Every single one of his living subjects spent the remainder of their lives in shock and terror, in fear and wonder, as they were slowly peeled apart in the sterile chambers of Jim’s laboratories, an environment that was completely foreign to them, by machines they had no frame of reference for.

The chambers were cold, brightly lit, filled with shining steel, and gravity defying objects. 

After tens of thousands of people went under the knife and the microscope, he finally discovered it, a mutation in the genetic profile that allowed for the capture of nanoparticles of magnetite, housing them in the cerebral cortex, a concentration strong enough to allow for a cognitive connection that linked the humans of Earth, one to another, via the planet’s magnetic field, the strength of which formed an organic cynergy, a naturally occurring version of the Collective that the Ancient people and Jim as one of them, had engineered long ago.

The mutation had been a side effect of one of the many that had been devised by the Ancient people on their way to Earth. The capture of the magnetite created a kind of antenna in the human brain, interfacing with the electromagnetic functions of human consciousness.

This had not been intentional, nevertheless…it was real.

Jim’s research led him to believe that similar conditions must have held together on the native planet of the Ancient people, and not found on any other world since they left the place of their ancestral birth.

The natural Collective field fostered creativity and ingenuity at levels which could not be replicated without it. On every other world individuals lived out their lives in complete insularity, relying on artificial networks and data sharing to approximate true community.

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

A - Homily - The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

First Reading - Jeremiah 17:5-8 ©
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 1:1-4,6 ©
Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25
The Gospel of Luke 6:17, 20-26 ©

Be mindful!

The prophet was mistaken.

God, the creator of the Universe; God has made creation and all who dwell in it free.

God knows the things we do and God knows our reasons for doing it. God understands our experience even as we understand it ourselves, and God, being God the infinite and the eternal, God does not sit in judgement like a human handing out rewards and punishments.

Do not look to God to give you things.

Do not look to God to take punish your adversaries, God does not prefer you to them, or any one person over another, God loves all people equally. Look to your-self, to you own means to build strong communities, communities of sharing, communities of love, communities that are just and merciful.

Be mindful.

The psalmist was also mistaken.

To be wise and good is wise and good.

There is no reward for the pursuit of wisdom and goodness in this world; other than wisdom and goodness.

Some who are good will prosper, some who are not will prosper. This is the truth.

So is it true that some of the wicked will suffer, but not all, and some who are good will suffer with them.

This is the nature of reality, just as it was expressed in Ecclesiastes, God makes the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.

Understand this.

A person who has lived a good life is not unqualifiedly good, just as a person who has lived a wicked life is not unqualifiedly wicked.

In every person there is the potential for change and conversion; for a turning toward or a turning away from justice and goodness, and the divine.

A person can change at any time.

God, the creator of the universe, God has provided for the same destiny for each and every one of God’s children, to slip the bondage of the world, to be with God in eternity.

This is human destiny. It is difficult for many Christians to accept this, but it is the way.

Be mindful.

The Apostle has a deep liking for circular arguments. The reading from Saint Paul begins in this circular way. He insists that Christ must be raised from the dead or his faith, and the faith of Christians everywhere is in vain, because the faith of Christians everywhere is not in vain, he says that we must believe that there is a resurrection, the risen of Christ is the proof of it.

This is not a rational argument, as such it is a disservice to the Word of God, the divine Logos, whose name means reason.

Set the introduction of this argument aside, because it has no bearing on the main point of the passage.

The main point is this:

The Apostle believed that sin and death enter the world at a single point in time, followed by another singularity which brings sin and death to an end.

Adam causes the fall, Christ cause its restoration.

The scope of their work is equal, at the least. More importantly, the scope of Adam’s failure cannot exceed the scope of Christ’s accomplishment, because the scope of Adam’s work is necessarily finite, while the scope of Christ’s work is intrinsically infinite.

This argument is entirely rational, and as such is completely faithful to spirit of the Word.   

Be mindful.

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they often are, they have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

The cause of this is human error, it is unfortunate and yet predictable.

The way of Jesus is not a long con, neither is it a bait and switch, The way is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one person or group of people.

Be mindful of the second paragraph in today’s reading there is truth in it, but the first paragraph is a lie.

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing. God does not seek to obfuscate anything. The truth is in the open, it is there for anyone to see.

The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, of justice, of hope and love. We know this because God dwells within each and every one of us.

Who are the wise and powerful, who are the learned and the clever, who are the faithful and childlike? In every generation you will see a new group labeling the preceding generation as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark and corrupt.

It is an endless cycle, the ignorant accusing the ignorant of being ignorant, changing the players but never changing the game, and the truth remains the same; love justice, be merciful, do good, serve God. Serve God through the loving service you provide to one another: to your family, to your friend, to your neighbor, to the stranger, even to your enemy.

Just because a person may be wise and powerful, learned and clever, or a child of the church, does not mean they recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon it when they do.

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned, or the ways that you have been marginalized that give us the tell on how you will fulfill the calling to follow Jesus if and when you do.

What matters is what is in your heart, what matters is your willingness to trust in the content of your hope, and if you are able to extend your hopes beyond yourself so that they include every person you encounter; fair or foul, good or ill.

Listen to Gospel, to the teachings of Jesus, he will show us the way. This is a prescription for good living.

Do not be mistaken, happiness does not lie in poverty, but the poor have an easier time finding it, because the wealthy walk through the world with a divided heart, seeking to guard their possessions from threats, from threats both real and imagined.

Whereas those in poverty bond with one another so that they may face the world together, providing for each other what the other lacks. They form a common purpose for the common good. This is the way that Jesus taught us to live, through such communitarianism we may cultivate the garden and therein find the path to paradise.

When you have known hunger, you will be satisfied with the simplest of morsels; a cup of water, a serving of broth, a piece of bread. Spiritual hunger belongs to the glutton, to those who have never experienced want or need. The proud and gluttonous will reject a bountiful table, and reject the companionship they might find there, if the meal has not been prepared to their “standards”, or if they perceive the company to be unclean.   

Be mindful of your sorrows, they will end. That much is certain, and they will be followed by joy, which too will pass. Neither sorrow nor joy are permanent.

If you are to take pride in anything, take pride in this; take pride when you are reviled for speaking the truth, hated for serving something greater than yourself. Take pride in those things, but do not let it lead you to vanity.

Be joyful in your service, good work is its own reward.

These are prescriptions for good living. This is the teaching of the Gospel.

Everything can change in a moment, there is nothing certain in the world. A rich person may lose everything they have, and a glutton can suddenly find themselves starving.

Remember God’s servant Job.

Mourning will follow laughter as the moon follows the sun.

Remember this when you are teaching.

Accolades are heaped on false prophets, they are often rewarded with wealth and fame, because the tell people what they want to hear.

When you see a preacher who has two houses, while one of their followers has none, a preacher who has two cars while some of their followers walk, who has two suits, while they minister to those with nothing; show me that preacher and I will show you a hustler, you will be looking at a con.

First Reading - Jeremiah 17:5-8 ©

A Blessing on the Man Who Puts His Trust in the Lord

The Lord says this:

‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord.

He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited.

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope.

He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.’

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 1:1-4,6 ©

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

Happy indeed is the man
  who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners
  nor sits in the company of scorners,
but whose delight is the law of the Lord
  and who ponders his law day and night.

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

He is like a tree that is planted
  beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season
  and whose leaves shall never fade;
  and all that he does shall prosper.

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

Not so are the wicked, not so!
For they like winnowed chaff
  shall be driven away by the wind:
for the Lord guards the way of the just
  but the way of the wicked leads to doom.

Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20 ©

If Christ Has Not Been Raised, You Are Still in Your Sins

If Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. And what is more serious, all who have died in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people.

But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.


The Gospel of the Day - Luke 6:17,20-26 ©

Happy Are You Who Are Poor, Who Are Hungry, Who Weep

Jesus came down with the Twelve and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said:

‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God. Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.

Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

‘But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.

Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

‘Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’

The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Emergence 3.0 - Section Five (a), Jim; Appendix Part Three, Breeding; Chapter Three, Testing

Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Sunday, February 17th, 2019

Chapter Three: Testing

Jim developed a secondary interest.

For the first time in over a billion years he wanted something more than to pursue the destruction of the Continuum and the dissolution of the Empire.

He used the resources at his command to build laboratories for his research, he hid them from the Continuum, he spread them throughout the Empire, testing the genetic endowment of the people from every world, and the physical properties of the planets that comprised the Imperium.

He replicated his own body countless times, bifurcating his consciousness over and over again. He tested his theories on those golems, and learned how to mask the unique properties belonging to the genetic endowment of the humans of Earth from the prying eyes of the Continuum.

He replicated his consciousness in them, which put him at risk.

He feared that another version of himself would at some point abandon the plan he had devised, but despite his fears he pushed forward. He used their agency to conceal his covert activities; on Earth, throughout the Empire, and on HomeWorld.

He advanced his clandestine ambitions against the Continuum.

There were many times when he had to sacrifice the lives of his dopplegangers. When he had to shred the consciousness of one of his ghosts. He always did so with great reluctance. In every instance he saw his own likeness to the Continuum, as if he were just another monster, only with a far more limited reach.

The knowledge he gathered was everything, he deemed that it was worth the cost.

He found that nowhere else in all the Empire did the unique genetics of the population combine as they did on a planet like Earth to form the electromagnetic structure of a cynergenic field.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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