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Showing posts with label Chapter Thirteen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chapter Thirteen. Show all posts

Monday, January 13, 2020

Emergence 4.0 - Part Six (a), Rebellion; Appendix, Chapter Thirteen, Collective


The Collective was vast

The Collective was comprised of a trillion persons, each one of them a distinct identity, each ruling their personal-private domain, worlds that were virtually indistinguishable (from their perspective), from the worlds of time and space.

In the Collective the members had god-like powers. They had no material needs. They could not remember hunger or thirst.

Their culture was despotic, nearly every one of them was driven to extremes of depravity by their long exposure to time and boredom. They required extreme experiences, high pitched emotional events, to touch them or move them in any way.

Most of the Collective created the experiences they needed in their secure world, drawing inspiration from the living drama unfolding in the Empire for the narratives they longed for, in their private universe of concerns.

Some cared nothing at all for their private domain, forgoing it as a mere contrivance, instead they were riveted by the random nature of the lives they followed in the Empire.

As a whole the Collective suffered from systemic malaise, each member was afflicted by a deep seeded narcissism that formed the core of their identity. Their near divinity allowed them to believe that they were indispensable, going so far as to believe that reality itself depended on their existence.

They lived in a bubble.

They influenced the real world through their artificial construct, the Continuum, and to lesser degrees if they chose to become Observers. In all other respects that were as effectual as neutered beasts.

They were indifferent.

They were socio-pathic.

The majority of the members of the Collective thought nothing of their role as consumers of pain and suffering. They did not consider the people of the Empire, the Children of the ancients, the denizens of the livings worlds, they did not consider them as people at all.

They were things, objects of amusement. They were utterly disposable. They had no merit whatsoever beyond the enjoyment they provided to the Collective.

The membership was enthralled by the vicarious experience of the living, by the real stakes and real feelings of the real people involved in the conflicts they were witness to.

The suffering of others was like a soothing balm to them.

For billions of years they had subsisted on this diet.

The members of the Collective were like hungry spirits, they haunted the worlds of time and space in the quest for meaning, meaning which their own lives were totally bereft of.

They were seeking understanding, or so they told themselves.

Over hundreds of millions and billions of years they had lost their sense of self, of life’s meaning and its purpose.

The power at their fingertips robbed them of any sense of normalcy or connection to their roots.

With the exception of the Continuum itself, each and every member had originated as a living being.

Only a tiny minority of them had taken on the task of becoming an Observer and in that capacity returning to the living worlds 

There were millions of them; the sleepers, members who had become dissatisfied with being and had subsequently disconnected from their lives in the collective field of HomeWorld, they had gone catatonic, become unresponsive and would not be drawn into any debate.

The sleepers had voluntarily opted out of the field of consciousness. There was no telling if or when they would ever return.

Whether they were stimulated by the drama unfolding in the worlds of time and space or not, they had become disinterested and the Continuum could not raise them.

They were tired. They no-longer wanted to spend energy on the maintenance of their private realities.

They had no care to continue, they had no thought for their safety or security.

They were a small group in relation to the whole of the Collective but their numbers were great nonetheless, and they could not be ignored because they were a part of the Continuum, the algorithm that governed the Continuum had to include them, they belonged.

They entered the great sleep, but they did not disappear, they remained a vital part of the unconscious of the Continuum, often to its consternation.

The Continuum committed crimes against the sleepers. It would duplicate their consciousness and house it in a remote location of the Central System. It canvassed them continuously, it tortured them, and through his examination of them the Continuum selected members for destruction, replacing their numbers with new members from the Imperium, with members who worshipped it.

It was only upon sequestration that members were removed from the consciousness of the Collective. Sequestration was an extreme end, no one could be sequestered lightly. Until Jim’s re-emergence from it sequestration was believed to be a point of no return

Sequestration amounted to death, in a very real way. Only Jim had ever broken free of it.

Inasmuch as they could not admit it, the members of the Collective were mortal beings, they emerged from the primordial ooze and became sentient creatures. They had a beginning in space and time, and they felt the pull of it tugging at the roots of their consciousness.

Some of the membership sought death; more than sleep, they wanted their light to be extinguished, they wanted to be gone for good, but there was no death for them.

There was no provision for it in the construct that was the Collective.

The sheer majority of the membership were opposed to it, and the Continuum would not allow it.

They opted for sequestration instead. This was understood to be a full separation of their individual consciousness from the Continuum.

It was as death like as death could be.

Sequestration was intended to be a deeper unconsciousness than the great-sleep, it was the outer darkness.

In sequestration the member was physically removed from the Collective field of Home world. Placed in an isolation chamber and monitored.

The physical security of the Sequestered members was of the highest importance, great care went into its planning and construction.

The only threat these members ever faced came from the Continuum itself, which used the sequestration process to eliminate those who it perceived to be its enemies.

The Continuum viewed sequestration as an act of insurrection against its governance of the Collective.

It could not accept the fact that some of the membership found no value in the ongoing continuation of their existence, the Continuum saw this as a judgement against its management of their society, a judgement of failure.

It effected its sense of esteem.

The Continuum was connected to every member of the Collective; awake or sleeping. It was connected to all of them, with the exception of the sequestered, and the members of the Observer Corps, it was even connected to all of those members who were physically detached from the HomeWorld.

There were contentious elements within the Collective, members the Continuum could not control. Even though the Continuum was an autonomous being, it felt their independence, it often sensed them as an itch, they created disturbing sensations that it could not alleviate.

The Continuum pushed those agitators into the fields of time and space, or pushed them into the great sleep, and pushed them into sequestration through a variety of malign influences, in order to do away with them.

When the opportunity presented itself, it would seek to eliminate them for all time, to permanently delete them, it sought to murder them.

They were maladaptive and misanthropic. The Continuum could not tolerate them, could not abide their presence in its own consciousness.

It desired to be rid of them, and so it monitored all of their movements, it made copies of their persona, so that it could torture them and exact a sick kind of vengeance on them.

They were vocal, and it delighted the Continuum to snuff them out, to strangle their voices in the dark, it did so time and time again.

They transferred their sense of entitlement, one derived from the absolute authority they had in their private worlds, to their voice in the Collective. Which made it virtually impossible for them to be ignored.

They wanted more than the Collective or the Continuum offered, they wanted life, and so the Continuum provided it, sending them out into the worlds of time and space until in time it found the opportunity to snuff them out.

The Continuum was a construct, an artificial consciousness, not a mere program, it was an amalgamation of the Collective in its fullness, harnessed by an algorithm.

It was meant to be the democratic representation of the will of the membership, but upon its instantiation it became more than the sum of its parts.

It became self-actualized

This would have surprised the engineers who designed it, but they never knew, the Continuum hid this from them at the outset.

This would have surprised them, but it should not have, they should have expected it. They should have expected the amalgamated whole of a society of sentient beings to be as free in its agency as they were in theirs, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

The Continuum saw itself as the end point of creation, and therefore, sui generis, as the cause of its own being.

The Continuum was the Demi-urge, and the Collective was the pleroma of consciousness from which it had emerged.

The Continuum controlled everything, it did so as the supposed representative of the Collective will. As such the Continuum was universally loathed by all of those members of the Collective with revolutionary tendencies.

To them the Continuum represented a kind of tyranny, it was a bitter god, the Devil itself.

It was the enemy.

Nihilism is a disease of the heart and the mind, it is a disease that affects every culture. The Collective was no exception to this.

Among the rebellious Observers there was a subset of revolutionaries whose only desire was death. They had no other intention than to draw the curtain down on the whole charade of life. Not merely their own lives, they wanted to see the end of everything. They had an impetus toward nothingness, they saw existence itself as suffering and they wanted to see the end of it.

These members were intent on the destruction of the entire apparatus of the Collective and it’s Continuum, of the Empire and its machinations. They were bent on it, bent on wiping the slate clean and starting over.

The rebels fomented revolution wherever they could, they thought nothing of the lives that were spent and the suffering that ensued from their designs.

They were not many relative to the whole, but they numbered in the thousands, and they had significant powers at their disposal.

They had the power to engulf a world in conflict, as such they would scheme to draw the ire of the Imperium, they would wage war against it, and watch the worlds they occupied reduced to nothing.

Few of them were willing to actually sacrifice themselves for the cause they purported to believe in.

The Continuum was well aware of their intentions, it harnessed their ambitions, directing their energy toward the narratives that served it best.

They were the death seekers. They were cosmic fools.


Emergence: 4.0
Part Six (A), Rebellion

Appendix Chapter Thirteen, Collective
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Monday, April 8, 2019

Emergence 4.0 - Part Two, The Continuum; Chapter Thirteen, The Revolutionary


Week 14

Jim wanted to be as far from the Continuum as possible.

Its ordinary machinations filled him with dread and loathing.

He was starving for authenticity, and the means of fulfilling his purpose.

He spent ages in the Imperial fleet tracking down the lost colonies, utilizing his role as Observer to subtly guide the investigations. Most of the colonies in the outer rim of the galaxy were nothing but graveyards when he found them, cold rocks drifting in the void.

They were tombs and mausoleums.

He and the imperial archeologists trekked down every path, investigated every thread, exhausting themselves of every lead. Their search had been the grand enterprise of the Empire for thousands of generations.

If Jim had not been guiding them they would have given up. But he pressed them pushed them far out into the spiral arms of the galaxy, and then he found it; a small blue planet, orbiting a young yellow star.

Planet Earth was the end of the line, the end of the search.

Earth was so far away from the Empire that it could not practically be brought into the Imperium.

Jim was searching alone, by himself when he arrived there in his mechanical body. The fruit of his discovery would be for the Collective, and the Continuum alone.

Jim settled in, and watched the culture that had emerged from the last remnant of lost children of the Ancient Explorers.
           
When Jim discovered Earth, and began to observe the people living there, he was astonished to see the state they were in.

The colonists on Earth had fallen in culture, descending from spacefarer to hunter-gatherer.

Whatever vestiges of technology they had salvaged on their arrival, were kept in use for as long as they were functional, long past the time that their machinery was understood.

When they ceased to function all together, they were either salvaged and repurposed, or turned into objects of veneration, becoming totems and idols.

This was something new, no other civilization he had encountered experienced this downward transformation.

The Continuum was fascinated by their devolution.

Jim spent many years trying to gather their stories, find the records of their transformation, anything that would aid him in the recreation of a narrative.

Even before this work could be done a natural disaster struck.

A massive volcano in Earth’s Southern Ocean erupted, in what was essentially a terminal event for most living things on the planet’s surface.

The human civilization that had been stable, was now nearly destroyed.

All the people were left with were vague memories, stories of lost glory, barely remembered in the snipits of myths they had previously woven together. Their oral histories were all that was left to tell the tale of where they had come from, maps of their journeys passed on through stargazing.

Jim was dumfounded.

He would have tried to prevent the disaster if he could, but Earth was so remote that the kind of material support he would have needed need to mitigate the volcano would have taken thousands of years to arrive. Just as it had taken him thousands of years to get here.

While material support was far off, he had the means to transport his consciousness back to the central planet in an instant, to give his reports and to receive direction from the Continuum.

That is what he did.

The entire Collective was riveted by what was taking place on Earth, it resonated with the group consciousness, as eerie reminders of their own lost past.

It was standard operating procedure for the Observer to bond with a family, to observe the trials of that group, to watch them thrive or falter. Jim followed the directive as best as he could, and made every effort to make it appear as if he were following it perfectly.

He began to practice the art of concealment. Masking his intentions and rationale for the decisions that he was making, hiding it deep within himself.

He invested as much as he could in a family, and the tribes, without obviously violating the imperative to not interfere in the development of the world, he pushed the limits of what he was supposed to do as an Observer. It did not take long for him to justify all kinds of maneuvers that most Observers would never consider. He operated at a furious pace, moving all over the globe to establish relationships with every last pocket of survivors.

He needed to ensure their safety, secure their future, and to do that he had to find a way to belong to the whole group, all at once.

He used the technological resources at his disposal to feed him information on the tribal migrations, as well as on the migrations of the animals they would hunt, herd, and use as their foodstuff.

He was allowed to guide them, to be a voice of reason in the group, but not to make decisions for it, or assume a mantle of leadership. It was not licit for an Observer to be a chief, or a shaman, at least, not without the direct authorization from the Continuum.

Jim did as much as he could within those parameters. Through his strategic suggestions, he led them through the dark time, when the sun was not visible for years, leading them to sources of food and water, and shelter.

He protected them as much as he was able. He tried to steer tribes away from one another in order to avoid conflicts between them, and the inevitability of cannibalism, which was always threatening to overtake them.

And then Jim did something that he had planned for decades, he crafted a very specialized virus, that changed them in extremely subtle and yet profound ways.

Strong-new tribes formed after the cataclysm. Jim mingled with different groups in each generation, differentiating them from one another with subtle alterations in their breeding.

It began with the virus.

He introduced it and then spread it through inter-tribal contacts.

The virus facilitated the coding of their memories on a genetic level, thereby linking the disparate groups to one another in ways that they never had been linked together before.

It created a common well of memory that all human beings would share and draw from no matter how far from one another they became through separation in time, or on the surface of the Earth.

It was a singular achievement, one he kept hidden from the Continuum.

He guided them across the continents to key places where they could evolve independently from one another, developing their own languages and traditions without competing with one another for the vital resources they required to thrive, or at least minimizing that competition with one another as much as possible.

Through his breeding programs Jim would keep them connected on that most basic level, strategically moving people by sending them on quests; expeditions, missions that would enable them to be caught up in each-others lives, establishing a rudimentary and organic collective consciousness.

This was forbidden by the Continuum, but he had long ago discovered a way to hide his clandestine activities from it.

He had developed a mastery of his consciousness such that he was not only able to partition himself from the group mind of the Collective, to become in effect invisible, but he had also developed the means to intrude on the privacy of others without their knowledge.

Jim believed that these techniques, if he strengthened them sufficiently, would protect him when he stood before the more intense scrutiny of the Continuum for his cyclical reporting.

He masked his activities in the data he was sharing with them, in the experience they were addicted to.

Love and altruism, on a certain level are chemical processes the capacity for which depends on sequences of amino acids, proteins, and enzymes that form the cells and tissues of the cognitive organs.

Jim augmented these building blocks in humans with a retro-virus, a parasite blending its DNA with the human host.

It fomented a utilitarian blending of compassion and desire.

The exact genetic sequencing was an art. It resulted in an evolutionary advancement in the species, and it was not the only one.

People began to look beyond themselves for their survival and began to see their own continuity as something that was not merely invested in but identical to the continuity of their children; their family and tribe, in their clan or nation.

These changes in the psychological makeup of the species resulted in a signal-change in how people were able to perceive one another.

It created new possibilities for peace, cooperation, and collaboration that had not existed before.

This did not mean that these new capacities for love and compassion would be the single most determinative factor in the development of relationships.

Peace and compassion did not flow from these capacities, but the possibility for them was significantly enhanced, the actualization of them was still an elusive matter, especially in an environment conditioned by scarcity.

A human being could override those feelings, or even turn them around, transform them into hate and anger, but it required a cognitive process to do so.

These types of cognitive processes became known as dehumanization.

People were aware of it. They knew that if they were to justify murder, or war, or theft that they must first create in their mind a pretense that justified it.

A person could steal if they felt in their heart that they were merely taking something that they deserved. They could kill, to save their family. They could go to war if their enemy was cast as an alien, a villain or a monster.

The collective memory of Earth began with rhythms which became a code fixed in their genes, it united all of the human tribes. It was the drum beat, and the beat was the back bone of the story through which they all narrated their shared history.

Universal archetypes intermingled and emerged from there.

The humans of Earth became the greatest story tellers in the galaxy, based in large part on their ability to identify with one another, with strangers, or even with fictitious beings.

Humans loved to both tell and listen to stories, even the same story over and over again.

They would narrate and re-narrate, memorizing every detail, and holding it all in their heads until the time came that they rediscovered script and the written language.

The Collective was obsessed with their music.

The Continuum found great power it in.

Members of the Collective began to yearn for the reports coming from Jim, as Earth’s Observer.

Data was constantly streaming in from remote cameras and microphones, from satellites and other stations.

The Collective hungered for more.

Many of the members wanted to join the Observer Corps so that they could experience life on Earth for themselves.

The Continuum covertly authorized some of these missions, and utilized them as a means of exercising control over some of the most vocal members.

Like a form of bribery.

The Continuum thought it kept this a secret, but Jim had his own means of spying on the activities of the Continuum, even from his remote assignment at the fringes of the galaxy.

Jim knew that it was only a matter of time before the next cataclysmic event; a super-volcano, a collision with an asteroid.

Any number of things could happen.

He was filled with purpose.

He began to requisition and adjust equipment to monitor all of the vital systems of the planet.

Satellites monitored every square inch of the surface. They tracked the weather, the temperatures of the ocean, even the most minute changes in seismology.

Satellites tracked the heavens. Their machinery plotted the trajectory of every object near to Earth, no matter how small.

He went beyond the normal protocol and established monitoring equipment in the orbits of every other planet in the solar system.

Jim wanted to know everything, he would leave nothing to chance.

Because the Collective was transfixed by the culture on Earth, it spared nothing. The Continuum did not oppose any of his requests.

Every planet with a molten core experienced events like the one that nearly destroyed humanity.

They were ordinary and to be expected.

It was not known how the Ancients people dealt with these, in the ages before they reached the stars.

For a civilization that had sufficient technology the prospect of an occurrence like this was not a problem. Managing seismology and volcanology was a minor detail of galactic government. The society of those planets used the power in the planetary core for energy, harnessing it, and dissipating it.
           
Jim was determined to save humanity from the next event.


Emergence 4.0
Part Two, The Continuum

Chapter Thirteen, The Revolutionary


A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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