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Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Emergence 5.0 - Rebellion, Part Ten

For as far back as Jim could remember he wanted to create a better world, not for himself alone, but for everyone, for the whole undifferentiated lot of existent beings.

This dream sustained him like the bread of life for him; like water it sustained him. He felt it like a primal need.

Jim was an intractable critic of the status quo; he was perpetually discontent. This was natural to his character and it drove him to his work, whereas in most other members of the Collective, including those in the Observer Corps, even the ordinary citizens of the Galactic Empire experienced their discontent as a general malaise, as apathy.

Before the creation of the Collective, in his first life, when he was just a tiny creature of flesh and blood, Jim wanted something more for himself, something more for everyone. This drove his participation in the team of researchers that created it the apparatus to harness consciousness.

His inclination to take risks led him to be one of the first volunteers to be successfully translated into the Collective field. His grim determination allowed him to preserve his sanity and identity when at that time most of his fellows researchers failed.

When the Collective began to experience its first great existential crisis Jim rose to the occasion, together with the greatest engineering minds the Ancient People had ever produced, they created the Continuum to be a representation of their collective will.

The Collective was like the pleroma, with the Continuum emerging from it like the demi-urge, at the moment of its instantiation none of them realized what had happened, except Jim. 

Jim’s concerns regarding the Continuum were not rooted in his basic disposition as a malcontent. They were based in his abiding interest for ethics and morals. He was frightened by the things he witnessed, the Collective had become a society of monsters, and the Continuum was its head.

Jim had become sick with disgust at the hedonistic abuses of the Collective. 

He felt guilt. 

His work had facilitated the creation of a trillion private hells, each one of them masquerading as a personal paradise. It made him angry. Even more so when he the Continuum turn its attention to the living worlds of time and space, transforming each of them into a facsimile of its own privation.

He felt a deep sense of shame and personal responsibility over the nightmare this construct had become. To the core of his being he was filled with bitterness over the way that the Collective had squandered its existence. 

The Great Society could have created worlds of joy and beauty, there were virtually no limitations on their imagination, and yet they squandered their power for petty self-gratification and the satisfaction of the banal.

They were evil, and Jim wanted to die. 

He knew that he was not responsible for the creation of the Collective, he was just one person among many who managed to pull off that incredible feat of engineering. He only played a part, as a single member on a great team of scientists and researchers seeking to penetrate the mystery of the continuation of consciousness and everlasting life.

He was horrified by what their work had turned into, and by how utterly they had failed to anticipate it.

The Collective became a gaggle of voyeurs, feeding their most obscene habits like the worst gluttons, without giving a single thought to the consequences that the satisfaction of their hunger would have on the lives of ordinary people.

Jim wanted to protect the universe from their hunger. They devoured entire star systems without reflection on the real cost in pain and suffering that their appetites extracted from the worlds of time and space. They had forgotten that the citizens of the Empire were in fact their own progeny, they were descendants of the Ancient People. 

The membership of the were addicts, and he blamed the Continuum for pushing their addictions on them, keeping them sedated and helpless.

Jim felt hopeless. His doubts and serious concerns manifested themselves in direct proportion to his pride-fullness, and he was exceedingly proud. 

Since he reemergence from the great-sleep and from the moment when he broke free from sequestration, he was filled with a sense of purpose that singled him out as a being with unique powers, which to Jim meant unique responsibilities. He saw himself as the indispensable person, as possessing a singular destiny. 

In his life before the Collective, he had been a member of the team that had constructed the original field of collective consciousness. This is what his memories told him, though he himself was uncertain of the narrative, he was uncertain of who he was when it all began, or if those memories he experienced as his own had merely been appended to his node of consciousness through his connection to the Collective, as if he were gathering bits and pieces of memory from those he touched, like moss accumulating on a stone.

Whatever the case, they were his memories now, they formed the basis of his identity, the memories mattered and they placed an impetus in him to act. 

Jim’s personal narrative informed him that he had entered the Collective together with his family, toward the end of his life, and not all of them made the transition. 

In those early years the transition point was still unstable, more people were lost than saved, but everybody went somewhere, whether they came through the translation whole or fragmented.

Entering the Collective did not bring him the joy he was looking for, but it did make others happy, and from the inside he was able to lend his expertise to the perfection of the technologies that made it all possible. 

He played no role in the creation of the Continuum. Jim resented the role it played in the governance of the Great Society. He foresaw the danger that such an entity would present to the membership, and he understood intuitively how the construct would be able to manipulate the whole from its vantage. 

During his long travels across the gulf between stars, on his search for living worlds, Jim had tens of thousands of years to reflect on his identity, on the strangeness of it and on his long experience.

It occurred to Jim that in many ways he had become a repository of the ideals the Ancient People had abandoned when they joined the Collective, abdicating the responsibilities of self-governance to the Continuum. It was as if every individual he had touched as he was emerging from the prison of sequestration, it was as if they had left an indelible imprint of themselves on him, like the echo of their regrets, their criticism and their shame for what had become of themselves and their people. 

This caused Jim to be fiercely independent and strident in the pursuit of justice, he felt as if the Collective’s need for those principles had amalgamated itself in his consciousness.

Jim felt as if he was not himself, he had touched every individual in the Collective and they had each left a part of themselves with him, more than their principles, they had also left memories, pieces of their personhood which became a part of his own as he gathered himself for the push to break free from the bonds of his prison.

He belonged to them and they to him, in a visceral way.

Regardless of where each fiber in the tapestry of his personal beliefs came from, Jim saw the needs of the Collective within them. He claimed it for himself, and he believed that his commitment to those ideals, to the ideals of each one of those sleeping and sequestered members, secured his entanglement with them on the quantum level, and that this was perhaps the secret behind the mystery of his unique ability to traverse the cynergenic field at HomeWorld and in the Central System.

There was a purpose that he had to fulfill, and he was being aided in it by those who had passed into dormancy before him. 

Like any other individual Jim was not immune to the allure of the ego, the calling of the super-ego and the appetites of the id. His sense of purpose and his commitment to mission went beyond the categories of want and need. He believed he had been selected to visit justice on the unjust. He never attempted to answer the question of where his mandate came from. He simply believed the mandate was real, and he kept that belief in front of him like a lantern shining in the night.  

Jim’s objection to the Continuum went beyond indignation, his resolve to destroy it filled him with purpose, it came to define him, and he was conditioned by it. His purpose was like a slow-smoldering drive, waiting to be stoked into a blazing fire; to undo the affliction the Collective had wrought on the galaxy, and the trillions of people living out their brief lives within the boundaries of the Galactic Empire, under the aegis of the Continuum.

He planned. He was patient. He watched and he waited until he found the opportunity to bring his vision to fruition, in a faraway place, on a little blue-green world, caught in the orbit of a tiny yellow star. He found it on Earth, on a world that was unique to his experience. It was one in a million, and for Jim, it was the brightest jewel in the galaxy,  

He knew his plan would have to have three components: to destroy the Continuum to wipe it out, to set the Empire free allowing the people to determine their own destiny, and to undo the influence of the Collective from the worlds of time and space

Jim knew that he would never be able to accomplish his goal through force. Military might could never prevail against the Empire, or the vast resources of the Central System and the HomeWorld.

He had to plan, and plan carefully.

He knew that he would never succeed in his mission through the art of politics and persuasion. The Continuum had managed to fill the Collective with members who had actually been conditioned in the Empire through the Imperial cult and the conditioning of the Imperial schools, they had been conditioned to believe that the Continuum was God.

Their numbers were in the minority, but they were growing.

The Collective had been poisoned in this way, over the course of a billion years. It fed the principle of self-delusion that functioned as the Continuum’s Id. 

Over the course of a billion years the Continuum had pushed the original membership aside, sending them into isolation one by one. They went into the great sleep, into sequestration or out into the Observer Corps, where if the Continuum discerned a threat from them, it would engineer their permanent death. It replaced those members with selectees from the Empire, those who had been chosen for the reward of eternal life, because they had demonstrated an unwavering belief in the Continuum and had proven their absolute fidelity to it, and Jim knew he would never be able to undue that conditioning through the power of persuasion. 

He imagined a way he could slip something into the systems of the Collective, like a virus, slip it past the security features of the Continuum when both it and the Collective were exposed and in their most vulnerable place. 

They had to want to receive what he had to offer, they had to hunger for it. He found the vector of transmission on Earth, and he engineered his mechanism which became fully manifested in the Kathy’s person.

In order to carry out this endeavor Jim had to be in more places than one, simultaneously. He needed partners but he was able to trust any other member of the Collective, he could not bring them into a conspiracy, or ask them to aid him. 

Even if Jim were to identify members who shared his desire for change and the distribution of justice, even if he believed in their intentions and trusted those, he would never be able to trust that they would not involuntarily give away the plan, revealing it to the Continuum simply through their having knowledge of it. They might just slip and reveal it in the ordinary course of their existence. No individual, other than himself had demonstrated that they could withstand the exhaustive scrutiny which members of the Observer Corps were cyclically subjected to. 

Jim planned a conspiracy and formed a cabal, not with others, but by replicating himself over and over again. 

He was his own best ally, absolutely faithful and singularly minded. They were identical to him in every way, sharing the same freedoms that he had, but with each of them willing to subordinate themselves to the cause they shared and to him as the Prime Persona. 

On the Home-World and throughout the Central System they were able to connect within one another through the quantum field. However, because of the risk of exposure they limited themselves only to the most crucial communications.

On Earth they were connected through the cynergenic field, they were of one mind, they acted in concert with each other, under the direction of the Jim Prime.

Together they fomented their rebellion.

A rebellion is not a protest, it is not a single act, or even a set of actions aimed at a particular end. A rebellion is comprised of a sustained series of actions, both covert and overt, aimed at overthrowing the entrenched systems of power. They do not emerge spontaneously. They are projected and led, engineered and fueled by grievance, and they are organized by tragedy.

Suffering is the bread and water of the rebellion.

In the Galactic Empire, a rebellion might engulf a planetary government and destroy it, though it is exceedingly rare for any rebellion to succeed. If they do, that success is quickly erased, even if the Empire has to destroy a planetary system to quash it.

There have been occasions when a planetary governor has rebelled against the Imperium, drawing entire star systems into the conflagration with them. These produced great dramas, which delighted the Collective, keeping them occupied for centuries, but they were never a threat to the Empire.  

People do not rise up against their governments and rulers for no reason. They will not risk life and freedom on a lark, not without at least the hope of success, a belief that their circumstances could change; hope is a sufficient catalyst. 

The soil has to be prepared to receive the seeds of rebellion. Outrage must be generated, the rebel has to be conditioned to see something in their movement that is worth the cost of their lives, not just the risk but the actual forfeiture of their lives. They have to feel it intuitively, their intuition must confirm that the lives of their families and everything they held dear would benefit. They had to see beyond themselves.

Inasmuch as Jim was a scientist and an explorer, he saw the work he was engaged as analogous to farming. The seeds of rebellion are ideas, they are simple-beautiful constructs; ideals planted in the hearts and minds of the people. Like a farmer he cared for the seeds, nurturing them in a field of dreams, of fertilized by the experience of injustice. First he prepared the field and then he planted the ideas. 

Jim did not foster systems of injustice for pleasure or from indifference. His aim was strictly utilitarian. Some would have to suffer and many would die, but it was all for the greater good, for the greatest good distributed to the greatest number. For a rebellion to flourish, the people required the expectation of justice, for it to grow in strength the people required the experience of injustice. 

The vessel he was looking for had to carry within her or him a visceral reaction to the experience of suffering. Like a seed planted in the dark soil, the people and the vessel that would emerge from them required the experience of darkness and despair, they needed these in order to condition them to reach for the light

Just like the shoots of a plant springing from the earth, the spirit of rebellion requires the wind of adversity to blow against it, thereby transforming the fresh green stem into a tall and sturdy stalk capable of supporting the weight of its fruit, long enough for it to reach maturity and drop, scattering thousands of tiny new seeds into the same fertile soil. 

The field has to be turned over, made new, rotated from time to time and then let to lie fallow. There is a rhythm to this work, a subtlety that the Continuum could never appreciate, and because of this it did not notice, Jim’s work was safe because of this.

Jim was not alone in his understanding of the power behind the experience of injustice. The Continuum used the experience of injustice for its own purpose, but only for the sake of the drama that issued from it. For the Continuum there was no greater end, there was nothing beyond suffering…the end was suffering, and the vicarious enjoyment of it by the Collective was the purpose it served. Under the auspices of the Continuum, injustice was promulgated for the pleasure of the few. Only the narrative mattered. 

The experience of injustice nourishes the rebellious spirit like water soaking the roots of a great tree, feeding the heart of the revolutionary until it grows so large and beats so painfully that it bursts, but the experience of injustice could never be enough, the story of injustice has to be told, and its narrative reinforced. 

Too much water and the organism will die, just enough and it will thrive, it will multiply until the towering tree it becomes a mighty forest, beating with a million hearts, it becomes a barrier to its opponents while protecting those within, it become more than a wall, it becomes a force field, a sheltering spirit that can strike with power at any who approach it.

Conversely, the experience of injustice is nothing if the story of it is never told. Everything has to be laid out in context.

 Injustice does not occur in a vacuum, it is always a pattern of behavior, of action and reaction. No event is isolated, everything is related.

If the experience of injustice cannot be tied to an earlier predicate, then it is merely an accident, it is forgivable. Therefore, the first stories that are told, the first witness of the event must connect it to the continuing grievances of the people, weave it into the fabric of the tapestry.

The principle agent who first experienced the injustice, and the principle witness who observed it, must both see the event in the same light, even if the witness and the principle do not agree on the predicate, they can be drawn into relationship through the power of the narrative. 

All histories have three dimensions; the events as the actually happened, which includes both the intersection of actions and intentions that are the material and formal causes of the events themselves, and the consequences which flow from them, these form the first dimension; the second dimension is perception, how the events are perceived and remembered by those who actually experienced them; the third dimension is the narrative, the story that is told, which reshapes the events and establishes the meaning between the disparate parts.  

The narrative is what holds people together, embracing them in the common experience, the narrative is where they find their sense of belonging.

Knowledge is power, it can be wielded like a weapon, or it can be withheld to the same devastating end. 

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a small amount may be just enough to provoke action among the masses, but when shaped and edited, a little piece of knowledge can be used to channel energy, like water under pressure, it can be used to cut through solid rock. 

If knowledge is light, then with the amplification of light through narrative, it can become like a laser powerful enough to cut through the hull of an interstellar ship.

Exposing injustice, naming it, this is a sacred obligation. Everyone with a grievance is like a priest in the temple performing the liturgy, the re-visitation of grievances through story, like the sacred rites, must be officiated every day

The narrative must never cease. 

Those engaged in this mission, carrying the light of truth for the sake of their brothers and sisters, they must suffer, they must visibly suffer when they give the narration. Their suffering must be real, discernable and palpable to the people.

Their suffering must be felt, personalized in a way that allows the receiver of the narrative to identify with it and make it their own in a great symphony of symbiosis. 

The rebel was taught that they should never lie, to be moderate at all times and let the light in slowly. Such cautionary words must guide the people. The people must be on fire with their grievance, but like a lamp that is slowly replenished with oil so that the light is always burning and never go out. If the fire comes in to quickly it will shatter the lens and burn them. At such a point it is possible to become inured to the light, or to fear it, even to become hateful of it.

A revolution is both a turning of the wheel and an expansion of the circle. It is like an ever-widening screw boring into the bedrock. A rebellion moves outward from its center in waves, moving in concentric rings that grow larger and more powerful until they crash against the bulwark of power, eroding it as water swallows the shore.

The spirit of the rebellion is like the wind, ru’ha, it is the energy that propels the revolutionary movement, just as wind fills the sail, pushing the people to find resolution in justice and satisfaction in its administration. It provides them with the esteem that comes through the fulfillment of purpose. Energy must pour into the center with constant-steady pressure in order to ensure that the power of the revolution continues unabated. Each wave pushing the preceding wave in a relentless exercise of will.

Without that spirit the rebellion will die; the spirit of rebellion is fueled by sacrifice, by witness and by narrative. The rebellion requires its story to be told, to be set to music and beat on drums. 

A rebellion requires constant renewal, there can be no end; its objective is constantly moving. 

Each generation must hunger for and experience justice in their own time. The good rebel is empowered by loss and tragedy, they feed on it. 

There are no set-backs, only changes in direction. 

There is no victory only progress.

There are no problems, only challenges.

There is no peace in the heart of the rebel, only a desire for renewal.

The lived experience is a tapestry of cycles and patterns. 

Each and every one of the living worlds that comprised the Galactic Empire, experienced these cycles in unique ways; in its patterns of weather, in the rotation of the planet on its axis, or the lack of it; in the orbit of its satellites, whether they are natural or artificial; in the orbit of the world around its parent-star.

These cycles established a season for everything, each season was unique to the lived experience of the people on that world, and the revolutionary narrative had to be adjusted to fit it.

Those patterns established rhythms that governed both the conscious and unconscious aspects of the lives of the people; their hours of sleep, their time to eat, even the beating of their hearts, and the pulse of blood as it flows through their veins.

A revolution is like a harvest; it comes in its season, each according to the cycle of its home world. When the harvest comes, those who have sewn injustice reap the same. The harvest is just one phase in a pattern that repeats itself endlessly. It is different on every world, but the lived experience of every world shares the cycle in common. They are different but the same.

This is the natural state of every civilization, and though the Collective had been spared this cycle for billions of years, nevertheless, it retained a memory of it in the far reaches of its subconscious. Those memories were augmented by their voyeurism, through their vicarious experience of life in the Empire

Jim was determined to ensure that its time had come, the revolution was at hand, and the Collective would feel it in force. He had become self-actualized to fulfill this purpose and burn it down.

Fire is the universal symbol of purification, as we pass through fire we undergo a refinement; our impurities are released and our essence is brought to its purest form.

We become light.

When the fruit of the field is ripe the people bring it in, they commence with the harvest and light the fields on fire. They dance in the glow of the burning fields, in the disintegration of the chaff and the stalks. They dance in triumph and thanksgiving.

This is the natural end of the rebellion; the revolution ensues and the hands of justice turn the soil over. We bury the old ways of corruption deep in the earth, sending it down with all of the dead.

Through this ritual we are cleansed, and the revolution is hallowed as a celebration of change, the celebration of its constancy, of return and renewal.

The glorious end of the revolution is to start fresh at the beginning.

We generate fresh narratives to gloss over all of our crimes and to absolve ourselves in the great conflagration that will ensue.

Fire is the symbol of the beginning and the end. We are born in the heat of our mother star. In time we will return to her. She will reach out and embrace us in the super-nova, immersed in showers of fire. 

Ex nihilo nihil fit, from nothing, nothing comes.

This is a literal truth.

To foment revolution is to cultivate a thing, to do it successfully the revolutionary must play on narrative; with ritual, symbol and myth. Every moment in the story of the revolution must be recorded and preserved for its narrative power. Through cultivation of the story, even the most mundane moments can become the most powerful symbols. When ritualized they can become memories of oppression, or songs of triumph.

A simple meal, a breaking of the bread, such instances can form the archetypal basis of a religious experience, experiences that when reenacted and relived through ritual, will echo through the millennia and shape the course of civilizations.  

To cultivate this thing requires that people see themselves as heroic, no matter how insignificant their role in the revolution is, they must see it as a quest and themselves as the agent of change, the eternal-champion. They must view their contribution as meaningful and necessary.

Reality must be imbued with fantasy until the revolutionary cannot discern the difference, and they are able to see themselves and their movement as the center of everything. When you have convinced the people that the order of the universe is upheld by the rituals they perform, then the order of the universe is susceptible to ruin.

If we are able to tear apart the symbols that keep and define the narrative, then and only then will the revolution succeed. The control and management of symbology is paramount, this is why the priesthood is elevated over the military.

The symbols of rebellion are dualistic; good and evil, love and hate, light and dark, hot and cold, they are binary configurations with a zero-sum resolution. According to the symbolic narrative an individual is either one thing or another, though in reality every person was mixed, having qualities of each.

The motivating force behind the rebellion is the quest for justice, the triumph of law, the elimination of despotism and the eradication of tyranny, this was the power behind the wave, propelling it toward its end.

The wave itself is a revolutionary image, churning and curling from trough to crest, sweeping away everything in its path, cleansing the shore where it crashes, leaving nothing behind except clear smooth sand.

There can be no compromise from the point at which the battle ensues, victory must be absolute. It must reach a place after the climax where the survivors feel a sense of peace, of safety and security, and that the promise is fulfilled.

Any pretense to compromise prior to the actual engagement must only ever be a ruse, a tactic of negotiation, a series of steps made for the sake of taking advantage of the field of combat when the battle comes to a head.

A rebellion needs both a hero and a villain, it requires both an object of hope and an object of wrath.  These are the sacred vessels through which the energy of the revolution must be channeled. One vessel contains a healing salve, a balm to ease our pain, the other is poison, representing chaos, disorder and the reign of monsters. One vessels is raised as a fetish for veneration, the other is cast down, swept away and sent to the fire.

A rebellion requires agency among its autonomous participants.

Rebellion does not spread by the experience of injustice alone, whether from the direct experience of a victim or from the experiences of those who bear witness to their ordeal.

The experience of suffering and the witness to it have no more relevance than the voice of someone screaming in a vacuum, unless and until the story is told, the experience is meaningless. Rebellion spreads by the narrative that is constructed around it, by the stories we tell about those experiences. It is through narrative that the experience and witness of injustice metastasizes, becoming a cancer in the body of the villainous society.

People do not enlist in a rebellion because they want to see the realization of certain ideals, they enlist because they want to be a part of the story. People want to belong to something greater than themselves. The stories must be rooted in truth, there must be an actual historical referent to them, but their narration must be given with flourish, generating empathy among the listeners. Every single person who hears the tale or listens to the song must be able to see and feel themselves in the place of the victim. They must identify with them and with the hero.

It is through narrative, reinforced by the beating of the drum, through harmonics, by striking the sacred chords that we are able to transfer the experience of the individual to the hearts and minds of the whole.

There is no other way to perpetuate a rebellion. The revolution will wind down and disappear without it, becoming just another ghost story to frighten children. Without the continuing power of narrative the story of the rebellion may even become co-opted by the powers of the corrupt society.  

Religion is the ligature that binds civilization together, from the family unit to the Galactic Empire, without religion there is nothing.

Ritual is the life-force of religion. Rituals shape the entire context of a person’s life, from the moment they are born to the moment they die, each and every day is marked by ritual. If a society loses its ritual structure it falls apart. When the individual abandons their ritual behaviors, their life loses its meaning and they quickly perish.

In the Galactic Empire, and even on Earth, both the patriot and the rebel shared the same songs, the same history, they shared the same stories narrated in the same way. The only thing that differentiated their use of these ritual forms are the different ends to which they are pointed. Everything else is the same, because people are the same, sharing the same hopes for themselves and their families, their friends and their villages, the same hopes for their worlds.

Heroes are interchangeable with villains, victims with martyrs, with the proper ritual any crime can be forgiven. Any character could be redeemed through the ritual power of narrative, the most wretched villain can be purified and forgiven.

In the end, the only thing that matters are the stories that we tell.

This is why all the power resides in the priesthood, priests are the arbiters of myth, they spin the webs that connect the Empire together, from end to end, from the tiniest world to the throne world and its portal to the Continuum. 

The promise of eternal life, of immortality, this promise is a powerful motivator. It reaches everyone because all people are afraid of the unknown and no-one wants to die.

To be willing to sacrifice themselves for causes that are merely exercises in futility, as most revolutionary actions are, the rebel has to be able to see their revolutionary movement in a mythic context. Their participation in the rebellion must generate a deep sense of esteem, coming from those who witness their deeds.

While the promise of immortality works well, it becomes far more tangible when the perspective of the individual’s view of immortality is shaped by songs and stories, when it is folded into the ritual narrative of the group mind.

Rebels have to see themselves, their lives and deaths as part of a greater movement, as a thing beyond their immediate identity, they have to be able to view their sacrifice as something of worth, something that magnifies the value of their own lives, something that would elevate them in the imaginary world of the afterlife, but more importantly to elevate them in the hearts and minds and memories of the people.

Ritual remembering is a key component for this type of conditioning, the celebration of the honored dead, the recitation of names, the communion of saints. All of these structures form the building blocks that a successful rebellion has to utilize in order to progress.

All of the major religions of Earth were engineered to support these structures, they were focused around ancestor worship, carrying the past forward into the present and the projection of that present into the future.

Jim prepared the vessel he was searching for by layering these expectations into the popular consciousness. The humans of Earth became natural born revolutionaries.

The commitment to revolution had to be seeded in the human consciousness, with the quest germinating in perpetuity.

To motivate the people they had to be convinced that they were seeking a resolution to the injustices they faced, a resolution that they might never experience for themselves, but which would fulfill them simply by pursuing it.

It was not the destination that mattered it was the journey, it was not the getting there it was the going.

Rebels and revolutionaries had to believe they would find the object of their hope beyond themselves. In this regard, the programming of human consciousness for revolutionary activity was completely in synch with the Imperial cult.

Jim was able to hide his agenda within this framework and so it went unnoticed by the Observers who had been assigned to watch over his work, in this way it escaped the attention of the Continuum as well.

For the revolutionary, the quest must never end, the virtuous life consisted of the pursuit of justice, not its realization. They had to be satisfied with this, like King Pelinore on the hunt for the questing beast.

Jim placed all of these motifs into the collective mythology and stirred them up continuously. When he arrived at the end game of his breeding program, the vessel he was searching for had been conditioned by these paradigms and could not question them.

Jim intended to sacrifice the Vessel and he required the sacrifice to be voluntary. The vessel had to willingly endure the psychic trauma of billions of people crying out in fear and pain and confusion, dying all at once in a singular moment of sheer agony.

They vessel had to be able to channel that trauma, through Jim, and drive it like a stake through the heart of the Continuum.

A revolution is a turning of the wheel. Like the turning wheel every revolution had a predictable outcome, a return to the beginning.

If the revolutionaries succeed in their ambitions the survivors must move quickly to consolidate their power, to set themselves up as the new overlords. To do this they must rapidly quash all dissent. The most effective means of consolidating power is the complete eradication of the remaining enemy forces.

The old order has to be swept away, cleansed completely; man, woman and child, the entire family along every extension, to the seventh generation, everyone must be put to the sword and consumed in the fire. The revolutionaries had to become fully actualized in their tyranny, they must rule by fiat, or the old order would reassert itself. Once the last vestiges of the enemy had been rooted out, they had to cleanse their own ranks.

There was no other way.

Cabal’s had to be snapped, columns had to be broken. Leadership could never be shared by those who are perpetually hungry for power, as all revolutionaries are.  

Sometimes this happened within a single generation, at other times it takes two or three, but the transformation is inevitable. A revolutionary movement will always transform itself into a despotic regime.

It becomes what it beheld, content that it has done right.

A new rebellion will foment, it will concentrate under pressure, and without fail the wheel will turn again.

There is no escaping it.

It is the basic dilemma of being.

The Continuum exploited this, and so did Jim.

In order to generate the energy that the Continuum required for the narratives it delivered to the Collective, it became an adept at developing and synthesizing the experience of discontent. 

Throughout the billion worlds of the Empire, with its trillions of people, only a tiny fraction enjoyed lives of peace and relative security, the majority lived in a perpetual state of uncertainty and uneasiness, they were fully occupied with the desire for a better future, this was the convention.

There was a constant steady pressure derived from the experience of lack, of having nothing, coming from the felt need to protect what few resources they had. This pressure drove the narratives forward.

Discontentment was energy. 

The people had ambitions, most of which were centered on the simple desire to live out their lives and raise their families, to see them advance and to experience some joy in a state of relative peace and security.

That prospect was always under threat. 

Happiness is what the people desired, they were conditioned to believe that it could only be found in extrinsic things. Access to those things was under the constant control of the Galactic Empire acting as the proxy of the Continuum, down to the very basics; including food and water.

Everything and everyone was owned by the state, there was no such thing as private property, or privacy of any kind.

Most of the people living in the Empire had nothing, they accumulated no wealth, received no inheritance, passed nothing on to their children. They lived hand to mouth and had little thought for the future beyond the endless search for safety and the hope for a good night of sleep. 

They were the dispossessed.

Even those in the lowest class of citizens treated these people, who comprised “the masses,” treated them contemptuously, mocking their frailty, calling them names mocking them as “Food of the Gods.”

Those without class had no rights as citizens, they were outcasts, untouchable, they did everything they could to avoid the notice of the Empire.

They were the fools of the universe, wholly owned by the state, they were less than slaves, their lives had no value, they could be hunted for sport, and they often were. 

On some worlds they were even cannibalized in ritualistic feasts.

They were never educated, forbidden to learn to read or write, to calculate numbers, though there were always some among them who possessed such knowledge and passed it on.

Not every outcaste was born in that condition, some were sentenced to it, stripped of their class and caste as punishment for their crimes against the Empire, or simply for the amusement of the Collective.

It was a great source of drama to watch a disgraced and fallen member of a higher class suffer the outrages that were visited on the low. To watch them try to protect their children as they were sent with nothing but some rags on their back to find their way in the world.

The lives and deaths of the outcastes were meaningless; unsung, unremembered and unknown, they were in the absolute majority on each and every world, and they were regarded as if they were nothing at all.

There were certain conditions that all people experienced in the Empire, privacy for instance was a luxury, inasmuch as it was an illusion. A person could only pretend to have privacy, knowing all the while that there was no escaping the watchful eyes of the Empire, or the watchful presence of the gods. 

The common man and woman lived secretive lives, they did not share their resentments or their hopes with anyone. This was the closest thing to real privacy they could manage. They hid their pain and their fears inside of themselves. They hid their true feeling even from those closest to them.

The revelation of such things was the most profound expression of love a person could issue. They performed rituals around their disclosures hiding them in secret codes, rituals which they had to invent in order for their intimate partners to receive the message and comprehend it.

In these covert expressions they showed their absolute devotion to one another and found their place of belonging. A tap, a touch, a blink of the eyes. The common person developed profound abilities in the art of concealment; it was non-verbal, intuitive and unconscious.  

Fear clung to the people like a moist oppressive heat, robbing them of the air they breathed. They dared not complain about it, speak a word about it, if they did they could risk the loss of everything.

Only those who had nothing already, had nothing to fear.

The Continuum delighted in exposing these secret systems, at directing children to betray their parents, at sewing dissent among families. When it was able to coerce a loving couple to betray one another, to surprise each other by the ease with which they gave up their most cherished secrets, in those moments the Continuum was ecstatic. There was no greater drama, nothing more piquant for the voyeur’s table.

Rebel cells were intrinsically xenophobic. They had to be for the sake of their survival, not just for operational security. Those who harbored rebellion in their hearts had to be conditioned to see every other person or group as an enemy, or a potential threat. This was not hard to accomplish, the more difficult task was getting any citizen of the Empire to trust anyone else, even for a brief period of time.

Paranoia was paramount in the hearts and minds of everyone. For the rebel, even members of their own cabal had to be seen as potential traitors, because it had to be assumed that anyone could turn against you at any time, this was reality, betrayal was a way of life.

There was no middle ground, the understanding was always this: you were either with us or against us. Dissent would not be tolerated, fidelity to the organizing principle was more exacting than the faith of the Imperial cult.

Revolution is a zero-sum game. You either held the esteem of the rebel, like holding ground in their hearts and minds, or you did not. Ideologies were constructed with the expectations for crime and punishment built into them as inherent features. Justice was uncompromising.

There were never any surprises. 

Everyone had a breaking point at which they turned against their own, and everything was negotiable, even morality.

In the mind of the revolutionary killing was not murder, not even assassination, anything was permissible if it served the end toward which they were moving. They gave no thought at all as to whether the crimes they committed were actually in furtherance of the ends they sought, they only had to believe that they were, in order to feel justified in committing them.

Violence was always self-defense; every murder, every assassination, every moment of coercion and torture. When the story was told it would say that the crimes were committed for the sake of self-preservation, always, for the safeguarding of the movement, always in defense of the cause they served, not their person.

Ethics were transactional.

In the heart of the revolutionary even the innocent could be killed, so-long as their murder could be justified as an attack on the systems of oppression. For rebels engaged in the struggle against the Empire there were no innocents, everyone was complicit, you were either with them or against them.

In the view of the common rebel, almost everyone was against them, because no one was altogether for them and they could not trust people beyond their immediate relationships.

Everything was situational, alliances among rebel cells were tenuous at best.

The revolutionary cycle is predictable, dependable and measurable. The Imperial conditioning guaranteed this, but even that was only an augmentation of the natural tendencies that every descendent of the Ancient People carried within them. 

Violence generates its own cycle of violent reprisal, it does so with as much certainty as the orbit of a planet around its parent star. 

Revolution is a turning of the wheel, oppression generates aggression, just as repression generates resistance, as suppression generates expression, and as depression generates a desire for change.

The pattern of the revolutionary cycle was Newtonian, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. While it is true that Newton’s observations did not bear themselves out in the study of physics, they were reliable in the observance of the human condition. 

An agent of vengeance will often seek satisfaction for the principle of it. While they may desire that their actions redress a wrong, balancing the scales is not necessary. They are prompted to vengeance merely to satisfy a need, like hunger or thirst.

In this way revenge is like gluttony, it is an appetite that can never be satisfied, and while seeking to satisfy it the agents of vengeance ultimately destroy themselves.  

Revenge leaves the person unfulfilled and it invites a similar response from those targeted by its agents.

A victim of oppression lashes out and creates more victims.

In this way the cycle is perpetuated, and the society within which the cycle continues, no matter how big or small, that society is caught up in it until the community is finally destroyed in its entirety, like a person drinking water to the point of toxicity.

Life is competition, it is a perpetual state of striving against others for the stuff of life, whether that be clean air and water, food and energy or social status and recognition. 

Revolution is conflict, conflict without end and every person gets caught in the midst of it, whether they are active participants in a rebellion, or not. A person may be in power or in the opposition, they may be just a bystander. Regardless of the individual’s position, there is no escaping the forces of revolution. 

The rebel must be hungry for conflict, they must thrive in it, living with the desire for change burning inside them, smoldering with a steady-quiet heat until the moment comes when they explode into action.

There was no avoiding it. 

A person either has to lead or follow or get out of the way, no matter which side of the conflict they are on, whether they were interested in participating or not.

What is paramount for the revolutionary is that they cannot know that the conflict they are engaged in never ends. To keep their commitment to the cause high, they must feel that the justice they are seeking is inevitable. This is what actualizes them.

They must believe that their sacrifice matters or they will not accept the suffering they will be called on to endure. If they believe it, they will sacrifice themselves and everything that they love. If their faith falters, they will fail, and one weak link in their chain is liable to shatter the work of the entire movement.

This is the most common outcome.

Revolutionaries and rebels…agitators, each of them play a vital role in the dramatic narratives the Continuum used to keep the Collective satiated. Revolutionary movements fed the appetites of the Collective, high and low, the drama that ensued was like food and water.

The Continuum sought to manage the revolutionaries, to control their fire, to target their outrage, to utilize their passion for justice for the sake of the stories that came from it, and the primary instruments of this programming were the Observers, reporting on their reflections from their remote stations on every world.  

The Continuum knew them, it knew them intimately, it knew each and every one of them individually from its long exposure to their consciousness as members of the Collective, and through its deep contact with them when they returned to HomeWorld for their cyclical examination.

Each Observer was supposed to be assigned to a world of their own, they were supposed to function autonomously, free to carry out their mission as they determined best. 

Upon entering the Observer Corps they were given these assurances, and such assurances were understood to have the force of law. 

The Continuum did not honor these traditions however, it cultivated its own special agents from the Observers Corps, granting them greater powers and more license in order to execute its will throughout the Empire. Among the tasks these agents were given were the fomenting of revolution and the crushing of rebellion.  

Dangerous and agitating influences were rooted out or intensified if it suited the desires of the Collective. 

For the Continuum there was nothing sacred

The Continuum was endlessly engaged in the winnowing process, searching the Collective for the most opportune candidates, members who could facilitate its work in the realms of time of and space. The personality profile of the selectees had to correspond to a kind of Golden Mean; hedonistic but not debilitated by gluttony, despotic but not inclined to tyranny. It was a careful balance and one that must be able to hold after they were set loose in the worlds of time and space.

Most candidates for the Observer Corps did not meet this profile, only in rare instances could the Continuum actually refuse a member, though it would often sabotage their efforts in the training process if the member went against its will. 

The Continuum selected candidates from among the disquieted members of the Collective for its long-range missionary work, sending them far afield, out into the minor planets of the million worlds of the empire.

The Continuum desired to be free of their feelings of uncertainty, disencumbered from their existential angst.

Most of them were eager for the opportunity to live in the flesh again, many volunteered. Some were even altruistic. They wanted change and the stimulation of sensory organs, they required new and different kinds of experiences before returning to their own private reality.

Many only ventured into the flesh for a cycle. Some went repeatedly, dipping in and out of the experience of bodily living. Many of them wanted to exercise their fantasies in a visceral way, where the stakes were real, where their flesh mattered to them and the preservation of it counted as the experience of real life.

The discontent members of the Collective, those who were unsatisfied with their role as the supreme being of a private reality, disinterested in the narratives that were delivered to them through the experience of the living worlds, these malcontents presented a problem for the Continuum, and the Continuum experienced their contribution to the Collective as an irritant.

Though the Continuum did not want to admit it, every member was a constitutive element of its being. Both their passions and dis-passions were determinantive of what the Continuum could do, and the Continuum desired nothing more than to remove them from the Collective field, to void them permanently and to replace their numbers with candidates from the Empire who were steeped in the world view they had received from the Imperial cult and their conditioning in the Imperial schools.

It saw this is the path to securing its identity.

Removing the malcontent from the Collective allowed the Continuum greater control. It was like a suspension of their membership. Their voice was no longer heard, which amounted to a reprieve for the Continuum. 

The experience of real life helped to keep the members passive, it kept them calm, and this satiated many of them. It was a means of control, and if necessary a member who was a genuine problem could be eliminated when they were separated from the whole. They could be assassinated, exterminated, irrevocably destroyed.

The Continuum viewed people as things. It saw every element, every substance, everything and everyone as mutable, capable of being elevated and exalted, or corrupted and destroyed through the proper application of a change agent.

Members of the Observer Corps were selected for their assignments based on their disposition for disquiet. They were chosen from among the discontent and for their inclination toward corruptibility.

The Continuum groomed these recruits for their roles over millennia, it groomed them by reaching into their private worlds and conditioning them by subtle inferences for the appetites that were easiest to manipulate.

It carefully audited their experience of the Collective, it guided their viewing of specific narratives from the Imperial feed. It helped them shape the contours of their private realities, until the time came when the individual member felt the need to experience the flesh again. 

The Continuum wanted despots in the Empire, people whose desires were known to it, those who would behave in predictable ways; some as entertainers, others as agents of destruction and oppression.

For the most part, the consciousness of the members of the Collective was soft, like gold, it could easily be shaped into something beautiful and polished to bring out its luster.

The Continuum delighted in this work. Shaping the will of the members was a kind of artistry, like sculpting, and through this work it affirmed for the Continuum its view of itself as a godlike being.

Those who wanted to experience life in the Observer Corps were somewhat different, presenting other challenges. Those who demanded to participate in it simply for the novelty of the experience, were in one category. They came and went from the worlds of time and space for their own purposes. 

There was an order in place that allowed the Continuum to regulate the flow of these movements but ultimately it was powerless to stop a determined member of the Collective from executing its will. All of these members were what the Continuum classified as the thrill seekers, they were seeking the pleasure principals, they manifested a set of qualities that had always been and would always remain the key to controlling people.

The Continuum found a value in studying them, in analyzing their responses to various forms of stimuli, through them it learned both how to instigate and undermine the barest hint if rebellion coming from their ranks. As much as they all imagined they were independent spirits, they were all just pawns in the long-con the Continuum was playing for self-ascendency, ultimately they belonged to it more than it to them, or so the Continuum believed.

The thrill seekers encouraged risk taking and self-aggrandizement, they were addicted to personal glory. They turned to abject hedonism as a reward, and they became addicted to it, they encouraged these addictions in others, as all junkies do, and through these addictions they became pliable. 

They modeled behaviors that led to self-destruction. 

These stimulants worked, until the supply was cut off. The Continuum did so artfully, and they almost never failed to produce the results it desired.

The Continuum engineered a model for the perfect life, the life of an exemplar, an archetypal figure that would be beloved by both the people of the Empire and the Collective.  

A belief system is like an alternate reality, a virtual world. It may be in synch with the truth or it may be askew. It may closely reflect the world as it actually is, or it can be wildly divergent.

A belief system is most often a fluctuating mixture of these, comprised of fabrications and fancies of the imagination predicated on truth but free to deviate from it all the same, the way that mythological heroes are almost always rooted in a historical person. 

There is no difference.

The rebellious had to believe in their principles, they had to believe in them absolutely, or their devotion would be weak, and their link in the chain of action would break apart.

A belief system is the forge that holds their movement together, they drew their sense of self-esteem from the fulfillment of the archetypes their belief systems establish.

A rebel has to subjugate their desires in favor of their ideals, in favor of their need to realize their fulfillment. There could be no competing desires, nothing at all to rob their movement of its vital energy. The rebel could want other things; the love of a partner, a family, comfort or prestige, the respect of their peers, but those wants could not compete with their desire to see the movement succeed.  

Nothing could be more important to the rebellious than the rebellion, and because of this, nothing was easier to manipulate than idealism. A subtle change in language and symbol could redirect centuries of momentum. A movement spanning a thousand worlds could be undone with a single phrase, with the right word at the right time the entire thing could collapse on itself. An investment in symbols was a vital necessity, holding them together through the waves of time mattered more than anything.  

The truth is this: something cannot emerge from nothing. Rebels need allies for rebellions to succeed. 

A rebellion needs both active and passive supporters. The revolutionary movement, if it is to grow, needs sympathizers and opportunists both. A rebellion needs all types of people and it needs them in massive numbers, in numbers far greater than those who are actually willing to take up arms or risk their lives for the sake of the cause. 

A revolution will garner those numbers from the willing and the unwilling alike, from the knowing and the ignorant. It will enlist some with their full cooperation, it will coerce others, and it will use many more who will fall into the category of collateral damage.

A rebellion thrives on the experience of injustice, on feelings of oppression, on conditioning people to believe that they are virtually helpless but not completely, on the brink of hopelessness but not fully lost. When those pressures are right, the people will become actualized, and then they will explode.

It is always best to recruit victims from the populace without their knowledge. Then take advantage of their plight by coopting their narrative by weaving it into your own. The most subtle feint is to arrange for a protest in which the protesters are committed to non-violence, where their only aim is to petition the government for rights. Then to use the violence directed toward them by the police and security forces as a means of stoking outrage.

A revolution will not take place without outrage, it cannot exist without the experience of suffering and injustice, whether it is real or imagined, natural or contrived.

A successful revolution depends an exacting deployment of these levers.

A revolution requires a sacrificial victim.

These revolutionary principles apply to every society, no matter how great or how small.

The Collective was vast, it was comprised of a trillion persons, each one of them a distinct identity, each of them ruling their personal-private domain, every one of them a world that was 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 the feeling of 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 Galactic 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, in order for it to continue.

They lived in a bubble, influencing the real world through the Continuum, and to lesser degrees if they chose to become members of the Observer Corps. In all other respects the membership of the Collective were as effectual as neutered beasts.

They were indifferent and they were sociopathic. Paradoxically, they believed that they were transcendent beings but the only thing they had transcended was their connection to a moral core. The majority of the members thought nothing of their role as consumers of pain and suffering. They did not consider the people of the Empire, 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, and for billions of years they had subsisted on this diet. 

The members of the Collective were like hungry spirits, haunting 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  

Among the Collective there were millions of 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. 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 in everything 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, 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 people conditioned to 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, amounting to death, in a very real way. 

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 mortality 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, and so those members 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. 

It was the outer darkness.

In sequestration the member was physically removed from the Collective field of HomeWorld, 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.

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.

This 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. 

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 like an itch. The malcontent created disturbing sensations that it could not alleviate. In order to do away with them, 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, and when the opportunity presented itself, it would seek to eliminate them for all time, to permanently delete them, it sought to murder them.

They transferred the sense of entitlement which they had derived from the absolute authority they had in their private worlds to their voice in the Collective. This made it virtually impossible for them to be ignored. They wanted more than 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.

They were maladaptive and misanthropic, and the Continuum could not tolerate them, it could not abide their presence in its own consciousness. It desired to be rid of them, so it monitored all of their movements, and made copies of their persona, so that it could torture them and exact a sick kind of vengeance on them. They had been vocal and it delighted the Continuum to murder them, to strangle their voices in the dark, it did so time and time again. 

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. The ability to focus on the Continuum as the enemy lifted their self-destructive impulses one step above nihilism.

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 bring it to a close.

These members were intent on the destruction of the entire apparatus of the Collective and its Continuum, of the Galactic 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. They were cowards.

These members were necessarily uneasy. They craved revolution and fomented rebellion, but very few of them were actually willing to risk their own existence to forward those ambitions. As a result they took half measures, and their efforts were regularly spoiled. 

They feared being discovered by the Continuum for the parts they played in revolutionary activities, not for the things they did in the Empire, at their station in the worlds of time and space, but for instigating unease in the Collective itself, which was the only way they could conceive of actually having an impact on the Continuum.

If the prevailing attitudes, mores and values of the Collective change, logic demanded that the Continuum would change as well.

None of them suspected that the Continuum was a free agent, merely influenced but not controlled by the will of the membership. They believed what they had been taught, that the Continuum was an amalgamation of the collective consciousness of the great society.

They feared that any other Observer, those who were not a part of their cabal, if they knew of their role in support of an active rebellion, they feared those members would betray them, and so they were exceedingly cautious, which meant that they were necessarily limited in what they could accomplish.

The Continuum was a master of chaos, but for itself, all it wanted was peace. It wanted the security of feeling that it was in absolute control and beholden to no one. That is what peace meant for it. The Continuum did not want to be answerable to the Collective, not to anything or anyone, like a man dining alone.

The rebellious Observers were a disturbance to it, which is why they were removed from the Collective and sent to the Observer Corps. The Continuum excised them from the body of the Collective like it would any malignancy.

The Continuum interpreted any ripple of disturbance as a challenge to its management of the Collective. It felt the need to safeguard against that. 

If a rebellious member caused trouble, their presence generated waves of sentiment that washed through the Collective, waves that could grow in force and power until they washed over everyone, throwing the Continuum off and altering the trajectories of the narratives it was crafting for the consumption of the whole. 

Dealing with such members could throw off ages of work. The Continuum resented that, the Continuum would not suffer their malign influence, especially insofar as it threatened to capture the hearts and minds of its constituency.

The Continuum could not tolerate any loss of control, any suggestion that it was not the cause of its own being, or any notion that it was a servant to the Collective.

It saw the Collective as belonging to it.

Because they were perpetually exposed members of the Observer Corps could not easily foment revolution against the Continuum, not directly. They were forced to work through proxies, to lay plans generations in advance, to hide their motivations behind a screen of misdirection and false intentions 

They were the most closely watched group of people anywhere within reach of the Continuum’s influence. They were spied on by living agents and mechanical devices; filmed, recorded, tracked.

There was no escaping it.

They could not oppose the Continuum or the Collective directly, therefore they worked against the Empire, which the Collective fed on, like a parasite feeds on its host.

The Empire was comprised of a billion worlds, which to the rebel represented a Billion targets to choose from. 

They sought to weaken the Collective, and to poison the Continuum through an endless barrage of attacks and propaganda.

It targeted the Imperial cult, engaging in disinformation to undermine the rule of the priestly class, seeking to expose them at every opportunity for the despots they were. They generated conflict among its members, through jealousy and intrigue, they attacked them covertly. 

It was not for the faint of heart. The wavering spirit had no place in the game they played. Revolution requires an absolute commitment from the rebels engaged in subversive activities, an absolute commitment from anyone who desires to bring about the changes they view as necessary for the satisfaction of justice, and to create the possibility for a new way of life. 

The rebel had to demonstrate that commitment through a variety of tests. They had to be willing to kill or be killed, to risk everything and everyone, to destroy anything, even the thing they were trying to save. They must go through the crucible, and by passing through their ordeal they must demonstrate a blind faith in the righteousness of their cause.   

These aphorisms and the sentiments they reflect must guide rebel movements everywhere: 

Only those with the ability to destroy a thing, are able to control the thing. 

If you encounter the Buddha on the side of the road, kill him.

These are universal truths.

The rebel must be willing to sacrifice everything, few are able to rise to this level. Foot soldiers, yes, they number in the trillions and those types of people are always willing to throw their bodies into the line of fire. They were engineered for it. In and among the command structure these qualities are much more difficult to find, they have to be cultivated. Those with the intellectual capacity for command, are less likely to be willing to throw their lives away. Those with the ability to sacrifice anything and anyone, those people are less likely to care, even about themselves.

They congregated in shadows and in silence. 

Rebels found each other in the most secretive places, in the darkest corners, communicating with one another at a distance, in disjointed time.

A mark on a wall, a jingle in the subtext of a song. 

They learned to communicate with the most subtle signals, signs which they believed would evade the detection of the Empire and its monitors, which did not miss much.

The Continuum missed even less.

They pushed messages slowly, establishing lines of communication that joined them together, like the thinnest cables stretching between worlds. 

They were ingenious cabals, showing a profound ability to adapt. 

The artistry involved in the successful deployment of these tools was a prideful source of esteem for the architects who created them.

A rebel movement would slowly gain energy over the course of generations before it would suddenly explode in a violent blast, after which it would be extinguished, going out like a flame in a vacuum.

The revolutionaries lived for the vision of their ideals. They were not the prisoners to actualities.

A revolution is a journey, but it is also a building, it has a foundation, rooted in the experience of injustice. It has levels. It has connections and conduits, and it requires mechanisms of support.

The rebellion against the Empire mirrored the revolutionary movement among the Observers, it was held together by loose associations and sympathizers, tightened like the individual strands of thread woven together to form a length of rope. 

The hope of billions of people were held together like a spider’s web.

Cabals became columns capable of supporting the concerted action of masses of people, providing greater security and a base from which to launch their aspirations, a future without tyranny. 

A sustained endeavor requires stability. Revolutionary movements will never become realized without the support of such columns, they are the pillars that hold up the vault of their ideals.

With proper support the edifice under construction can take on the aspect of a mountain. It can remake the surface of a world.

Such is the ambition of the rebel, from the chief to the common soldier and every rank in between, the focus of each individual included a daily meditation on death. This was the path to enlightenment, martyrdom, freedom and release. 

A revolution cannot survive without sacrifice, the rebel Observers understood this. They sacrificed each other with great regularity, not counting loyalty to one another as a virtue.

Theirs was a society of self-interest. Their common desire for autonomy united them more than any commitment to their ideals. 

It was a rare occasion that would result in any member of the Observer Corps sacrificing their own self for the sake of their fellows, or for their movement.

It was rare, but it did happen.  

Even a member of the Collective could arrive at a place where they were willing to serve a cause greater than their own purposes; the dynamics necessary to bring about this state of affairs always involved generating feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and despair within them.

They had to perceive that they were in a trap and that being trapped there was no escape, and so their sacrifice was reduced to a final gesture of defiance against the Continuum which they abhorred.  

These were rare moments, and every one of them mattered. 

They could be engineered, as most of them were, they were engineered by their fellows who had some advantage to gain in seeing them disposed of, and they always fulminated through betrayal.

Emergence 5.0 

Part Ten – Rebellion 

A Novel in Twelve Chapters 

#Emergence #ShortFiction #12MonthsOfSciFi

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Emergence 5.0 - Jim, Part Eight

During his time as a member of the Collective Jim did not require the Continuum or its vast technologies to aid him in the creation of his fantasy world. He did not need assistance because his world was one of simple-primal-idealism.

After spending ages in the dark, sleeping the great sleep, floating on the undulating waves of undifferentiated consciousness generated in the cynergenic field of HomeWorld, he was content to retreat into the silence of his private domain, making it into a seemingly infinite plane of light and peace. 

Those who touched it found it disturbing, but Jim was looking for purity. He thirsted for it. He wanted to purge his heart and mind from the rank hedonism that preoccupied the consciousness of the majority of the Collective.

He was seeking rest as if he had a physiological need for it. He was at liberty to do this, but it disturbed the Continuum. Jim had no intention of returning to the great sleep. He wanted to be alone.

He avoided contact with his peers, but he could not live in that place of pure light at all times. His own fantasies involved the reorganization of the Collective, returning it to a noble purpose, the instantiation of altruism, and the destruction of the Continuum. He could not let his thoughts manifest themselves in his private domain, if he had, the Continuum would have understood that he was an existential threat to it. He learned to buffer them.

Jim studied, he planned.

He needed to use the strengths of the Continuum against it; for the sake of his safety and security he needed to be able to harness the technology that comprised the vast interconnected network the Continuum relied on for control of the membership, the Observer Corps and the Galactic Empire.

Jim had to be secretive, which meant immeasurable years of slow preparation, utilizing the skills he had developed during his return to consciousness from the great sleep to insert subtle bits of code into the root systems of the HomeWorld, its cynergenic field and the Central System, codes that allowed him access its machinery and its defenses.

He needed to be everywhere, like the Continuum itself, he needed access to every subsystem. There was not a single thing that the Continuum touched that he could ignore. With the greatest degree of patience he pushed himself into all of the mechana of planetary governance.  

The networks into which he inserted himself revealed the weaknesses of the Continuum. They exposed the things the Continuum gave the greatest attention to, what it was hungry for, its appetites and curiosities. Understanding these things was crucial for Jim, through them he began to be able to predict the agenda that the Continuum was working toward. He came to understand its individuality as a distinct identity apart from the Collective and the systems which formed the basis of its unconscious.  

Jim exploited those appetites. He took advantage of those fears. He tested the Continuum again and again, playing out tactical scenarios throughout the Empire to measure the Continuum’s tolerances, using the real lives of ordinary people to prove his theories and to probe the depths of the Continuum’s liabilities.

He set his mind on a single goal, the complete destruction of the Collective and the Continuum. He believed he would find his own absolution through their annihilation.

Jim could not admit it, but he wanted the universe to forgive him, both for his own crimes and for all of the crimes the Collective had committed against the Children of the Ancient People.

As a member of the Collective, and one of its founders he felt responsible for them.

Like all members of the Continuum Jim’s own sense of self was magnified beyond anything resembling normalcy. His ego could not let him see himself in any other role than the role of villain and hero, or both at the same time. The crimes of the Collective belonged to him, as did the responsibility for redressing them.

He could not let anything hinder his progress.

It was only through this ideation that he developed his sense of having a place in the universe, of belonging somewhere.

He committed terrible crimes in the fulfillment of his intentions, sacrificing individuals, tribes, whole nations and along the way. He sought to harness the technologies of the Collective in order to liberate the Children of the Ancient People, to free them from the grip of the Continuum, and from the Imperium which the Continuum had foisted on them.

He was a utilitarian to the core. He was looking to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, as he understood the good to be. He planned and schemed and allowed nothing to stand in his way. He would sacrifice the well-being of an entire planet, offer it up for destruction, just as a feint, as a means of distracting the Continuum and the Collective to keep them unaware of his true ambitions, to hide his designs from their omnipresent watchfulness.

Jim did this without remorse.

He tested the scope of the Continuum’s cognitive field. He paid particularly close attention to the threshold where he would encounter individual members of the Collective, testing its strengths and its weaknesses, its resilience and elasticity.

He found the electromagnetic barriers to be as fluid as any other thing below the quantum field. He sensed the tiniest threads that entangled the group consciousness together, and he saw the Continuum, positioned like a spider at the center of the web.

He had probed it for eons, discovering that it functioned much like the immune system of a biological entity, identifying alien activity then meeting it with force, to cleanse itself of disease. He found that the barriers could be stretched to the point of invisibility, and then he discovered that they were permeable.

The Continuum had access to the entire structure of the Collective, theoretically, nothing was hidden from it. The Continuum accessed the entire field through an impossible series of security protocols and permissions that were meant to protect the privacy of the individual members from each other. Those protocols were unnecessary, Jim discovered that they were not barriers at all, they were merely lines of code.

Jim discovered something on the sub-quantum level, through probing his memories of his time in the great sleep and during his return to consciousness, he discovered that the Collective field was one thing.

It was unified.

The Collective was truly a collective, and the Continuum, in as much as it had come to control the group, he confirmed what he knew to be true about it; that it was merely an algorithm designed to protect the individuals from their fear and suspicion of one another.

He found proof of the vulnerability he had been looking for, it was not one thing, lilke a fatal flaw in the design, rather it came from the dynamics that were in place to protect the integrity of the whole.

The Continuum, inasmuch as it functioned as a singular entity, remained an amalgamation of the group mind. It superseded the whole but was still comprised of it.

Changes to the Collective, had a direct effect on the Continuum. The narratives that the membership were obsessed with, if they could be manipulated, could be used to make subtle changes in what the Continuum was focused on.

During the eons and ages in which the members of the Collective were primarily focused on the status of their own private worlds, the Continuum became rooted in the notion of its divinity.

During the ages in which the Continuum was directing the formation of the Galactic Empire, the Collective became focused on the drama and interplay of the various hierarchies and the establishment of the Imperial Cult. It accepted new members from the Empire, who brought with them their own deeply seeded beliefs about who and what the Continuum and the Collective were, creating a feedback loop that reinforced the identity that the Continuum had invested in itself.

Jim was able to test his theory and find proof of it. He discovered a means of manipulating the focus and attention of the Continuum, by shaping the interests of the Collective. Everything was mutable in the narrative field, and this was where he was determined to concentrate his efforts.

Jim began to shape plans in his mind and test them. His sense of self and personal esteem were rooted in these activities. It was time for action.

He discovered he could hide data in the bandwidth of frequencies that separated the individual members of the Collective, a place no one would think to look for the presence of a whole, cognitively active member of the group mind. 

In those liminal spaces divided his consciousness in ways that were forbidden by the Continuum, he replicated his-self over and over again, then he sequestered his dopplegangers in the secretive passageways. It was all in violation of his compact with the Collective, in so doing he abandoned his oath to the membership, while at the same time becoming a fully actualized persona.

The divisions and copies of his identity he made were all versions of himself, all of them unified in the same purpose. Though each of them was autonomous, and any one of them could betray the mission at any time, they were all vested in the same end, and they dutifully posited themselves within those high frequency fields. Looking listening, watching and waiting with the seemingly ends patience that Jim had practiced during the great sleep and his time in sequestration.

Jim mastered the arts of deception, and the obfuscation of it. He layered his true intentions behind a myriad of masks and false desires. He had to lie in his heart, he had to believe the lies himself.

Prevarication, he found, was just another frequency of thought. He was able to conceal it, he became adept at it. Jim’s entire life became a lie, a miasma of falsehoods.

He pursued his intentions in the middle distance, in the space between spaces, he became master of the in between and the up-side down.

He was the ghost in the machine.

He developed layer upon layer of security. He hid things, even from himself, and that is how he knew he could keep his secrets from the Continuum.

When he had acquired that confidence he slowly pushed his plans forward, placing safeguards for himself in the liminal space that would buffer him and support him in the event that he was discovered.

The veil that separated the members from one another was thin, but it was potent. He managed to sense the electromagnetic fields around him, and harness them to create false narratives within it, narratives that were ultimately accepted by the Collective and subsequently by the Continuum.

First he would insert something into the experiential field of an individual member of the Collective, then they would share it with others, exposing them to the lie. Finally, when he told the lie himself, it resonated with the expectation that he had established in the group mind, thereby it did not arouse suspicion.

The things he wanted the Continuum to believe were then taken for granted.

Despite this he could not prevent the Continuum from being suspicious of him, even though he was able to divert its attention away from his clandestine activities.

He grew in confidence and pursued his goal of building the framework that would help him succeed in pulling it down.

Jim took his time on Earth.

He replicated his consciousness in the same ways that he had done on HomeWorld, creating copies of himself to aid him in the fulfillment of his mission. He acquisitioned resources to create multiple orbiting platforms, vessels that housed the consciousness of each of his doppelgangers, there were back-ups to his back-up, and contingencies for contingencies in the event that anything ever went amiss.

He made his requisitions with great care. The technologies of the Collective were like food and water, they sustained his efforts, and without them his plan would die. He had to get these technologies directly from the source, only then could he repurpose them, to build his own means of production, and it all had to be done in absolute secrecy.

He guided his orbiting craft and dwelt in the powerful mechanoid body designed for the Observer Corps and stationed himself like a guardian to oversee the human migrations after the great disaster.

They constructed outposts for the organic bodies of his replicants to provide them with a place of retreat, for solitude and security, so that they could have a place from which they could influence the course of human culture.  

Jim made numerous replicants of himself, according to the bodily mode of all Observers. He situated them with the tribes and dwelt with them.

He created a unique body for himself, one that would not age, tire, or suffer harm, and from that time forward he made the quantum journey through the wormhole back to HomeWorld infrequently, only when it was necessary to oversee the operations of his cadre dwelling within the mechanical systems and quantum fields of HomeWorld and the Central System. 

On Earth he planted stories in the human imagination, preparing them generations in advance to go to certain places, so that they could fulfil his requirements, and his own projection of their future destiny.

He and his proxies guided them. There was little room for error, even in the experimental stage.

He planted mnemonic devices in their rituals to lock down their responses to his commands so that they fulfilled them intuitively.

Jim made himself the indispensable counselor to the royal dynasties, to emperors and priests, both through the ministry of his doppelgangers and through his interaction with them in his primary incarnation. He was the king maker, the seer and the sage, the principle advisor and the grand vizier.

He wove stories into every culture, creating narratives that functioned like auto-hypnosis for his audience, building on and augmenting the mnemonic tropes he had carefully laid down in prior generations. Through these procedures he had control of all human government, and with that control he subtly guided them through periods of strife and hardship, through war and famine.

He managed the controls invisibly, careful not to draw attention to his activities, mindful of how the smallest decisions could ripple outward in concentric rings, creating patterns that could potentially alert the Continuum to his clandestine motives.

He moved exceedingly slow for the sake of his safety and security, and that of his mission. He knew that the Continuum had sent other Observers to Earth, to watch him and monitor his work. This was against protocol, and it was evidence of the fact that the Continuum operated beyond the control of the Collective, but those factors were immaterial, Jim would never jeopardize his position by pressing against the Continuum with the Collective.

Jim built programs into the social order of humanity that echoed the norms of the Empire, as if he were preparing them for inclusion in it at some future point.

To the Observers assigned to watch over him he appeared to have accomplished those things without violating the non-interference directive. Jim masked his work so as to make it seem like an organic development; the emergence of a caste system, the organization of the priesthood, the mythological tropes that pointed the faithful to a hope beyond their world, a hope for themselves and their families rooted in a belief in reincarnation.

He included in his schemata of beliefs the notion of karmic debt, instilling it deep within the psyche so that it governed every function of human culture, the cult of sacrifice, and perpetual service to their ancestors, and invisible gods.

Jim constructed paradigms and mythological tropes, building archetypes into the human psyche which he then translated across the globe. The same story repeated itself in the hearts and minds of every human being through the cynergenic field.

He fashioned a common typology of heroism, which he instilled into every language and every culture.

Every human child was raised with the aspiration of fulfilling this model, heroism became a key building block of their aspirational identities, and in the paradigm, Jim was always positioned as the wise man. Only the most extreme adverse conditions of poverty, abuse and fear could undermine it, and even then it could not be eradicated, only mitigated.

Through ritual imagery and narrative Jim created a guidance system that would shape the emotional and cognitive foundation of the vessel he was forming, through this conditioning they would discover love, altruism and a sense of belonging.

According to Jim’s plans it would take thousands of generations of humans to come and go before the singular person emerged from the masses who would be able to help him fulfill his objective. When that child did emerge, their fate would be to bear all the pain and suffering of the human race, to bear it gladly as a willing victim, they would channel it like a weapon straight into the heart of the Collective and end the Continuum.

He conveyed to the Collective that he was merely interested in creating a planet with the greatest warriors the Empire had ever seen, so that in the fullness of time, when the tendrils of the Empire finally reached Earth, the conflict that ensued would produce a drama like no other.

This played well with the Continuum. The drama was predictable, build them up and tear them down.

The Continuum had no intention of letting Earth throw off the Imperial yoke. The entire planet would go up in fire first, but it relished the notion of a great conflict, therefor it did not impede The Observer’s progress.

Jim inserted himself into every mythology, incarnation after incarnation. He was the ageless Methuselah and Melchezedek of Salem, he was wandering Mordecai, he was blind Tiresias and far sighted Heimdall, he was Taleisin the Merlin, he was many more.

He sat in court, he gave advice, he listened and he played the fool. He created a role for the wise man, standing apart from the power that organized the social structures in every society, in every age; he created a role for the sage and the sibyl, writing the prophetic tracts the guided the destiny of empires.

His efforts held the world together in times of darkness and famine, he preserved the ancient records for one generation, and destroyed them in another so that he could test the cognition of his subjects, proofing their connection to each other through the cynergenic field.

He was the perpetual advisor, teacher, confessor and tutor. He whispered in the ear of Manu and Hammurabi, he spoke from a column of fire, he guided the hand of Ashoka, he wandered the world in robes of ochre and saffron.

He was a catalyst for change in one moment and the voice of tradition in another. He pushed and he pulled, he held fast and he set free. He was the feathered serpent, the voice from the cave, the man in the tree.

He was often captured in images, riding on the back of a water buffalo, or as a tiny creature resting at the center of a web. He was a chameleon and a trickster, he was foe and friend, both trusted and feared.

Jim experimented relentlessly, on himself, on the human population and on the planet. He did so with cool calculation, telling himself that his motives were pure, that the suffering he wrought served a higher purpose, a utilitarian end, justifying everything he did in the interests of science and the liberation of the masses.

As detached as he was from the ordinary vicissitudes s of life, Jim still had needs related to the esteem of others, and he fulfilled them through his work. There were mysteries on Earth that had not been found on any other world. Those mysteries had to be explored, understood and exploited.

He was careful not to let his research advance the state of human technology too rapidly, because that would draw the ire of the Continuum and reveal his machinations. He was in a constant state of temptation to take over the governance of the planet and reveal to humanity its true history and its real purpose, but he resisted.

He wanted to see them benefit from the science and technologies he could deliver, but he was forbidden from doing so, it would be a violation of the Observer’s compact with the Continuum, and it would put all of his planning, including the planet itself at risk prematurely. 

If he drew the scrutiny of the Continuum in any measure greater than he already did, he feared that would lead to his being discovered, and so he spent more energy at the task of shaping human culture, than at developing its technological arts.

The Collective thirsted for the stories that came from Earth.

Its dramas were brutal and primal, its art and its poetry had a beauty that were not emulated anywhere else in the Imperium, because the social elements did not exist anywhere else that could produce it…and there was something else that neither the Collective nor the Continuum could ascertain, which made the Earth unique among the billion worlds of the Galactic Empire, but Jim knew what it was.

He began to suspect that the world from which the Ancient People had emerged had similar properties to Earth, these properties were never understood or examined in the time of the Ancient People, but they shaped their culture nonetheless, making them into the scientists and explorers they became.

Jim was adept at all the tools of spy-craft. He employed them with the expertise of a master, drawing on the resources of the Collective to augment his intuition, applying everything he could to the situation on Earth with what technologies were available to him in society, as well as the other technologies he possessed, he was able to keep his work hidden from the subject population.

The Continuum was short on resources for monitoring society without its vast array of remote sensors and communication devices, but Jim augmented those systems, developing analog variations of them for his own access.

Through these measures he became a fully actualized person, pursuing his ambitions in multiple spheres.

He established secret societies that monitored every aspect of human government, every religious institution, as well as the agents of the Continuum who came to earth to monitor him.

He took great care to keep them hidden.

The confessionals became the primary model by which the people reported upward all the little details Jim needed to know about the subtle shifts taking place in the collective experience of humanity

Jim took measures to protect himself, hiding his assets, constructing the technological vehicles and human the human assets to execute his will, trusting in his team of replicants to work tirelessly toward their common goal.

He knew from his spy network that some of the Observers who came to monitor his work were not dedicated to the Continuum in anyway, others were fanatically devoted. Some could be covertly coopted, the others had to be controlled or killed. None of them were supposed to be on Earth at all, according to the Observer’s protocol, but protocol never stopped the Continuum from doing as it pleased, and nothing would stopped Jim from doing the same.

Jim positioned himself as an administrator, replicating himself as often as he needed to, in order to fulfill his role as a servant of governments world-wide, as a specialist, a functionary and a problem solver.

Jim was always the indispensable man. He rarely took on a role as the lead of an agency, always working in support of the human systems, managing them. 

He was good at it. He drew on the vast knowledge of governing bureaucracies that were available to him through his data bases on the function of the Galactic Empire.

He always sought to be his own counterpart in governments across the world, whether those governments worked together as allies, as competitors or as enemies.

This made the coordination of governmental operations easy. and his machinations were rarely disrupted by human interference.

He was always able to parcel out enough information to move events in the direction he wanted, whether or not his interests lay in war or peace, he was able to produce the results that rulers and governments desired.

However, the slowness with which events moved troubled him.

They were not slower than the eons he spent in contemplation, stretching his consciousness into the every corner of the Collective, and they were not slower than the ages he spent alone in the deep of space moving from planet to planet in his quest to discover the whereabouts of each and every colony seeded by the Children of the Ancient People.

The slowness of those periods were marked by isolation, in those times he felt the insipient pressure of impending doom. The experience on Earth were different, there was a clock ticking, there was the volcano, and when it blew his best chance to realize his ambition would blow with it.

Jim abducted people, he experimented on living tissues. He dissected cadavers and sent genetic materials back to the replicants of himself, that he had spread throughout the Empire. He sent them through space on a journey of thousands of light years.

He used that genetic stock to introduce subtle changes into the DNA of the population of thousands of worlds. The subjects of his experiments became a source of comfort for him, it was like having a back up plan, if his main ambition failed he could still affect a material change in the citizens of the Empire.

He use of them was like medicine to a dying person.

Jim had discovered something in the human race that affected the consciousness of its entire population, nanoparticles of the heavy metal magnetite collecting in the cerebellum, interacting in a unique way with Earth’s magnetic field, allowing for the possibility of psychic cynergy in the human population of Earth.

This dynamic established the conditions for Earth’s nous sphere.

He found the abnormalities in himself first, after recognizing something unusual in the cognitive functions of his host body. He was hyper alert to the feelings and thoughts of the human beings he lived among

He tested the limits of his empathic powers, and he found at the upper end of its natural curve that he could cross a threshold into true telepathy.

It was an outstanding and surprising revelation.

He isolated the physical components of the telepathic abilities in himself first. Then he found the same components distributed in various degrees throughout the bodies of Earth’s human population. 

He developed breeding programs to augment it.

Jim understood a great deal about the phenomenon of consciousness.

The Collective had been engineered on the basis of its science, and Jim had been a leading engineer.

Jim’s had been among the original members of the Collective, one of the designers who had built the first machines to captured the essence of the individual and house them in a perpetual state of being. He had seen the early failures and witnessed their first successes. He had been among the first volunteers to enter the Collective, after the technologies had been perfected.

He possessed these memories, though he was doubtful that all of his memories actually belonged to him. He had not always remembered them, those alien memories came with him when he emerged from the great sleep. Jim believed that even if they were not his own, he owned them now. He owned them completely. They comprised an essential part of his identity.

He understood that consciousness is essentially an electromagnetic phenomenon. He did not understand why consciousness of the type that the Ancient People possessed, had emerged in his ancestors and nowhere else in the known galaxy, except possibly on planet Earth.

Jim hypothesized that the nanoparticles of mineral salts and heavy metals like magnetite played a unique role in the cognitive process of human-beings, bonding with the human brain, forming a strong link that connected each person to the Earth’s s magnetic, connecting them to it in a literal way, and through that field to one another, thereby creating a field of cynergy not un-like the electromagnetic fields that comprised the Collective.

The type of consciousness which the Ancient People possessed was not merely a product of their genetic endowment, it was also a function of their interaction with a unique environment.

Jim believed that this environment was not unique, that it also existed here on Earth.

He theorized that no species could advance to the point of becoming a spacefaring civilization if their home planet did not have these properties, properties which allowed the inhabitants to connect with one another through a subconscious field.

Creativity and inventiveness happened there, through an unconscious collaboration in the mythical nous sphere.

Jim came to believe that the Ancient People had created the Collective at the height of their scientific achievement, on a world that had these same properties, thought they were ignorant of them at the time. They subsequently traveled to other worlds, built colonies and seeded life on a billion other planets, on planets that did not have such properties, while in the meantime, their cradle-star went supernova, destroying the world that had spawned their civilization.

This was a secret that he had to protect, he had to keep it safe and secure from the Continuum. For the first time in over a billion years he was motivated by something more than his pursuit of the destruction of the Collective and the Continuum and the dissolution of the Empire.

Jim 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 doppelgangers or shred the consciousness of one of his ghosts dwelling in the circuitry of HomeWorld. He never experienced actual betrayal from any of his alternate selves, but he feared it and out of an over-abundance of caution he would take these steps, always doing so with great reluctance and remorse. In every instance he saw his own likeness to the Continuum, as if he were just another monster inhabiting another machine.

The knowledge he gathered was everything to Jim, he deemed that the discovery of it and its preservation were worth the cost. He believed that those whom he sacrificed shared the same belief, belonging to one another through their absolute commitment to their ideals.

Through his testing and experimentation, Jim found that nowhere else in all the Empire did the unique genetics of the population combine as they did on Earth, forming the electromagnetic structure of an orgainc cynergenic field.

He experimented on tens of 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 thousands of years of putting people under the knife and the microscope, he finally found the proof, a mutation in the genetic profile that allowed for the critical capture of the magnetite nanoparticles, housing them in the cerebral cortex in 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 mutation had been a side effect from the process of colonization, one of the many that had been devised by the spacefaring people to assist with their acclimation as they made their way to Earth. The free particles of magnetite captured in the human brain created a kind of antenna that interfaced with the electromagnetic functions of human consciousness.

This had not been intentional, but it was real.

The organic cynergenic field, Earth’s natural Collective, fostered creativity and ingenuity at levels which could not be replicated without it. On every other world in the Empire individuals lived out their lives in a state of insularity, relying on artificial networks and data sharing to approximate true community.

Once Jim understood the mechanism for the way in which the human race interacted with the cynergenic field, he was able to map out the changes for the genetic profile that he needed to establish in order to strengthen and enhance those features.

His discoveries confirmed the necessity of his work and validated his sense of purpose.

Jim intended to introduce changes into the genetic profile of each tribe at the same time so that he could establish a base set of conditions upon which to build his design, afterwhich he planned to monitor the effects of that intervention by breeding the traits he was looking for into individual tribes separately.

In the scale of time that he and the Collective were used to operating in, he had precious little of it to work with. He had tens of thousands of millennia but her feared he would lose the gambit before the next great planetary disaster struck Earth. 

He planned to optimize the retention of nanoparticles in the cognitive structures of the brain, making each person into transceiving node in the collective field of consciousness. He intended to stabilize that by giving each and every one of them access to the type of memory that was locked into the root-code of their genetic structure. Jim theorized that enhancing their access to their genetic memories would contextualize the input they were receiving from the cynergenic field. It would ground them as he actualized their potential.

He took his greatest risk by exporting his work off world, he sent tiny vessels speeding back across the void on a trek of light years to be recovered by him and his agents at the fringes of the Empire where he safeguarded his discoveries against the possibility of disaster and the prospect of his failure. He wanted to be able to recreate his experiments on any other world the Empire might discover that had the same properties or modify it to fit the conditions of any one of its billion worlds.

He wanted to ensure that his struggle could continue even in the event of his failure. The safety measures he took guaranteed it.   

The application of genetic science was meticulous. It was artistry.

Jim created physical markers that would manifest themselves in the characteristics of the gene-pool he was developing. He could tell at a glance whether an individual was a part of one of the control groups he was studying, or an outlier.

There were many markers for every tribe; pigmentation, hair color, eye color, the presence or absence of freckled skin; moles and birthmarks, these told him different things. They guided him.

The markers helped him map his progress toward his signal goal, which was the birth of a human being possessing a mind powerful enough to harness the fullness of human consciousness, and stable enough to channel all of its raw emotion, the pain and fear that would be caused by the coming cataclysm, and transmit it through the quantum field of the worm hole like an invading host, directly into the Collective, to wield it like a battering ram against the Continuum.

Jim was a weapon smith practicing a different kind metallurgy. What he was forging would be the deadliest weapon ever constructed. He was weaponizing consciousness itself.

It would hit the Collective with the destructive force of a billion stars, or so he told himself when he was thinking of his work in the terms a poet might use.

When he found himself in this soliloquy he realized he had gone far beyond his original mission, which was the elimination of the Collective and the eradication of the Continuum. He was being shaped by his sojourn on Earth, just as much as he was shaping humanity for his purpose.

Jim was resolved to plum the limits of his discovery, if there were any limits to what he had found.

The difference between what he was doing on Earth, and what he had accomplished on the Central Planet were considerable. In both locations he needed multiple-independent nodes of action. On HomeWorld, each and every node was connected in the quantum sub-stratum of its collective field of consciousness.

On HomeWorld they were a society of one.

On Earth, their connectivity through the cynergenic field was more tenuous, it operated on a different frequency, it was less immediate and somewhat and was conditioned by a natural opacity.

Those few replicants of himself that were spread through the Galactic Empire were autonomous, Jim feared them the most.

Though it was possible for each unit to act on according to their individual desires, on HomeWorld, they could break away from the plan or sabotage it, but he would know immediately, and while this possibility existed, there was never been the slightest hint of defection.

If the Continuum would have discovered any of these machination it would have destroyed the Earth immediately, with him on it, and it would have delighted in it prospect of doing so.

Through his advice and authority Jim shaped the burgeoning cultures of human civilization, conforming them to his will. He established centers of learning among the tribes even while they were still pre-literate, he built up systems and oral traditions by which they captured and recounted their histories, they took the form of narratives that would take decades for a student to memorize, synthesize and master. Through these schools he guided the people’s understanding of agriculture, giving the growing populations mastery over their food supply. He taught them the secrets of building, and he fostered in them a patience that allowed them to track the movement of the stars.

He trained them to manage calamities in this way, to preserve their fragile way of life. He conditioned them with mnemonics, to remember who they were, what their ancestors had done, and through secret codes built into the language structure he worked into those mythological memes the control mechanisms that would allow him to have sway over the people for all future generations,

He took the application of the psychological sciences; such as neuro-linguistic programming to levels they had never been before. These were the tried and true conditioning techniques of the Imperial Cult, but in the operative context of Earth’s cynergenic field their potential was greatly magnified.

The schools Jim built became the centers of civilization, the locus of worship, the distribution centers of food and those who cared for these places became the custodians of clean water, purveyors of the medical arts, they became teachers and priests.

It took thousands of years, a time frame that was nothing to Jim, but was exceedingly long for the people of Earth. In that time these centers became temples, cathedrals and monasteries, ultimately they became the universities and colleges of great cities, one institution taking the place of the other, built on top of the old foundations.

Logic was the icon Jim knelt beside, logic was his Grail, the object of his devotion. He drilled his fetish for logic deep into the structures of the institutions he built. Their institutional bias was always for logic, a dispassionate and utilitarian world view. There was safety in logic, there was predictability. The power of logic was demonstrable, and belief in its power was ingrained into every level of the schools he founded.

People are not logical by nature, they have to be conditioned to it. The languages they spoke created modes of thinking that were more and less suited to it.

Jim left some groups to be wild, and never touched them with the machination of logic. keeping them as a control group to measure the effect of their presence on the group mind. Other tribal languages were built around intricate webs of logical assumptions.

At different points in the development of a society he engineered disasters which took away the institutions that undergirded the transmission of their logical faculties. He starved those societies of it, allowing them to regress into natural states of animal emotionality, of fear and suspicion. Then he would bring it back like a healing balm and watch while the people renewed themselves and their cultures through the influence of it.

Within the great-stone walls of the institutions he founded Jim formed secret societies to protect and carry out his work. This allowed him to focus his attention all around the globe, guiding the development of civilization with a slow-steady and invisible hand. 

He layered control devices into their collective memory, reinforced through the stories they told and the lists they memorized, and in the tropes of poetry they wrote and recited to the cycles of their breathing and the timing of their beating hearts.

He controlled them through the archetypes they bonded with and the myths they constructed that gave meaning to their lives.

His work was art.

His art was a weapon

There were a myriad of concerns to manage in the detailed labor of engineering the living-vessel he needed, in order to deliver the crippling blow to the Continuum.

The human body had developed a reliance on aggression as a survival skill, but raw power would not be enough to dislodge the Continuum from its control of the HomeWorld and all the systems of the Central Planet.

He need to create doubt and fear, he needed the Continuum to turn its eye inward, and collapse on itself. This required that the entire field of consciousness belonging to the Collective do the same thing.  

The colonists who had come to populate Earth had come to rely on swift action for the mitigation of crisis, this had to be tamped down to ensure the survival of the tribes, to keep them from tearing one another apart. They had a proclivity for war that was driven by fear and worry over the allocation of limited resources in times of great scarcity.

Jim needed the power and dynamism of the aggressive impulses which the Ancient Explorers had bred for (albeit unintentionally) on their ages-long trek across the galaxy, but he needed this to be modulated by conscientiousness, and bent toward the most supernal values.

Jim methodically conditioned altruism into the social-mythological norms of consciousness he propagated among the humans of Earth.

He established defaults in his human subjects that served as capacitators, allowing great rage to be channeled into protectiveness, and for the individual to instinctively risk their own self for the sake of the whole which they represented.

These fail safes followed the religious programming of the Imperial Cult in many of its dictates, and so Jim’s was able to hide his efforts in this regard because they were seen as a form of preparation for their eventual entrance into the Galactic Empire, as such it did not raise suspicion with the Continuum.

Jim had to be careful how the genetic properties, and psychic qualities he was engineering into the human race manifested themselves in the population. If the Continuum were to discover these, even if he was able to hide his role in engineering them, planet Earth and humanity would be doomed.

In order to conceal his work, Jim also had to be on the lookout for spies from the Observer Corps, for any manifestation of the machinations of the Continuum interfering in his work. Jim introduced subtle changes into the genetic profile of the human being.

There were moments when he used the transmission of a virus to affect widespread mutations, and at other times he was more precise, changing the genetic profile human beings in targeted ways, family by family. He monitored the groups he was experimenting on for generations; following them, normalizing the changes he had introduced before spreading those changes outward.

It was the most intricate of all puzzles and his task was to piece it together under extreme duress. He felt great pride when he reflected on his efforts. All the things he was aiming for had to be kept in a state of constant tension, with multiple trajectories kept isolated from one another until they were ready to be blended with other parts of his study.

Timing was key.

His research was slow, meticulous and exhaustive. As his experiments progressed he began to uncover memories of his own that recalled the initial work he had participated in before the Collective as a member of the Ancient People, work which led to its creation.

Those memories confirmed for him a narrative concerning the Ancient People which he had suspected was true, but had previously doubted, thinking that they could be false memories from an artificial narrative, something that might have belonged to someone else, or something  he might have lived-out in the early days when he still enjoyed creative work in his private world, before his experience of the great sleep.

He had no way of independently verifying these memories until he began to study the electro-magnetic frequency that comprised the consciousness of human beings.

Jim peel back the barriers that separated one person from another, exposing them to each other, plumbing the limits of what he discovered, finding where the threshold between one human consciousness and another actually existed.

As he delved into this field of research his subjects became deranged, unstable, so he learned to manage their confusion medicinally, through the intersection of chemical aides and frequency blockers.

Madness and insanity followed his subjects into the breeding pool, in some cultures he established protections for the afflicted, allowing them to thrive and procreate at random, they became holymen and holywomen, oracles and shamans. In other cultures he isolated them, constructing social taboos that identified those traits early and deliberately ostracized them.In all cases they became fodder for his studies, their activities were communicated to him through the institutions he developed.

As much as Jim pretended to care for humanity, in the final analysis human beings were little more than laboratory animals in service to his greater purpose. Jim observed the subtle changes taking place in the human population; in the electromagnetic frequencies he monitored in their cognition and its nearly imperceptible influence on the electromagnetic fields proximate to them.

The patience he had mastered while he was returning to consciousness from the long-silent interval of the great sleep, and during the period of imprisonment in sequestration, and later still on his sojourn as an Observer, leading the thousands of missions he oversaw tracking down the lost colonies of the Ancient People, tracking them all the way to Earth.

He studied these patterns with extreme patience as he pulled the genetic structures of human beings apart, sequencing and resequencing them, combing and recombining them, manipulating the proteins and amino acids that formed the tiniest links in the chain of their genetic profiles.

He reduced them to the foundation of their being, with the objective of strengthening their access to their genetic memory, and enhancing the retention of the key particles, like magnetite and lithium, allowing for individual persons to connect with Earth’s cynergenic field.     

Jim was pleased with what he found in his subjects. He was encouraged by their reaction to his work and the feedback he received. Whether the individuals adjusted to and thrived from the alterations he introduced into their genetic profile, or whether they suffered, experienced madness, alienation and pain, Jim was pleased.

Relatively few of the experiments he conducted resulted in death. Most came through the changes alive, aware and able to procreate.

He established different social paradigms in various cultural groups for how to manage the population of the gifted; he coordinated systems to identify them and report them to him for closer observation as their gifts and talents emerged.

As his work progressed, Earth became home to him in a way that no other world had.
Jim felt something like happiness for the first time he could remember as he pursued his mission.

Age after age he pursued his purpose coldly, but the experience of life on Earth made him feel a sense of joy, even pleasure. He felt a sense of safety and personal security enmeshed in Earth’s cynergenic field. He felt a deep connection to humanity and an atavistic connection to the replicants he had made of himself, with all of them working towards the actualization of a common goal.

He was filled with a sense of purpose, and if gratified him as he moved toward the completion of it. These challenges and the surmounting of them brought him another kind of joy. He was looking for resolution, and he found it.

He found it at the end of the line, in the last remnant of the Ancient People still remaining in the galaxy. He found it in human beings with their unique abilities, giving him something for which he was eternally grateful, and he was prepared to offer up the whole of it for the sake of destroying the Continuum.

The humans of Earth and the Collective would burn together on the altar of his sacred purpose, to satisfy his own ambition.

The citizens of the Empire would be the beneficiaries, he told himself, and if Jim was lucky he would escape the onslaught. If he did, he was determined to scour the galaxy for another world like Earth. Intending to build a new civilization from there, and a home where he could end his days.

He worked tirelessly through the agency of his individuated replicants, but even with his cadre of doppelgangers he frequently encountered the limits of what was possible for him to do.

The human population grew quickly, spreading throughout the world. Jim guided them to places where they could establish villages, in areas where the electromagnetic fields were optimal for his research, where there was access to food and water, and where they would develop for the greatest length of time independent from one another. 

Jim required autonomous population growth and cultural development to test his hypotheses. He used his agency to establish networks around the world. He cultivated spies, informants and confessors in every tribe.

They were like spiders spinning webs that connected everyone to him.

The people had different names for his spies, calling them priest, shaman, witch-doctor, prophet and oracle. They were the officiants of the sacred rights. They were his eyes and ears among the people. They listened to and recorded everything the people said and did, keeping a special ear out for incidences of the paranormal and psychic intrusion. They were indispensable to him.

Jim built a global system of interlocking cells; each one served their own community first. They were tribalistic in the extreme, and conditioned to be xenophobic as the Continuum prescribed. Each and every independent cell held allegiances to the people of their own tribe first, but at the highest levels they underwent initiations that opened-up their broader purpose.

They were initiated into the sacred mysteries which gave them a glimpse of the galaxy, of the Galactic Empire, of the Collective and the Continuum, which was the demi-urge at its heart.

Jim cultivated a secret cabal, hostile to the Continuum, people who were conditioned to believe that their sacred mission was to prepare the world for the inevitable encroachment of the Empire.

Unity would be required of the people of Earth if they were to survive an encounter with the Empire, and to that end they set aside their tribalism, shared information and cooperated together. Their safety and security depended on it, there was nothing more important, the fate of humanity was at stake.

Jim was extremely selective about who he chose to promote into these ranks. He deliberately chose men and women who had a weak connection to the cynergenic field and a limited capacity for self-reflection. He engineered into their genetic profile capacities for psychic resistance. He never perfected these techniques, but his most trusted spies were drawn from a population pool that were unreadable to ordinary psychics. After careful consideration and vetting, they were subsequently indoctrinated into the secret societies, and every one of them was interconnected by their sense of duty and loyalty to humanity itself, but to Jim above all.

The cloak of secrecy was everything. His people were absolutely trustworthy and their presence allowed Jim the freedom to roam about the world.

Jim had to be able to conceal his work from the Continuum. He had to be able to endure its scrutiny at each and every cycle in which he was required to report to HomeWorld, where he would expose his consciousness to the Continuum, and share his first-hand experience with his fellow members of the Collective.

Jim assigned the cyclical reporting to one of his replicants, a version of himself who was completely committed to the mission Jim had claimed as their common purpose. In preparation for the ordeal to come Jim had restricted the experiences of this one replicant, controlled what it was exposed to, making it so that he had precious few secrets to hide at the moment his consciousness was opened to the powerful examination of the Continuum.

Jim concealed his movements and machinations from the mechana of spycraft that the Continuum had required him to position all around the world; hundreds of satellites with powerful tools for audio and visual surveillance.

He bent them to his demands as much as possible and avoided them where he could.

He had to be even more careful in consideration of the living spies he knew the Continuum had sent to Earth, his fellow members of the Observer Corps who were sent to watch over him and report back to the Continuum covertly.

When Earth entered the digital age, he had to be even more mindful of his actions because he knew the Continuum and its spies had penetrated the information technologies of nations states, and could use their technological resources to sort massive amounts of data at incredible speeds, thereby increasing the likelihood that he would be discovered by an order of magnitude. 

Jim orchestrated the development of his international organizations, personally managing the traditions that would allow them to progress, pulling the cloak of secrecy over it, stretching its shadowy tendrils into every facet of human society; the Templars, the Hashishim, the Jesuits, the Free Mason, the Illuminati, they all belonged to him, served his bidding, fulfilled his purpose, by operating in the shadows, well beneath the notice of the Observers Corps.

Jim continued the meditative practices that he had developed, practices which allowed him to partition his mind and thoughts from the Continuum and his fellow members of the Collective. Ever one of his replicants was required to do the same.

He exercised his ability to keep secrets, even from himself. He did so while probing the mysteries of Earth’s cynergenic field. It was unlike the artificial construction on HomeWorld in distinct ways, it did not have the smooth-predictable channels of energy, the linear circuitry, and other structural features that were the product of design and intention.

It was organic, it was messy.

In the crucial moment that was coming Jim knew that he himself would be exposed to the scrutiny of the Continuum, he would have to keep everything he had been planning partitioned behind a wall of sheer will, until the exact time came when the disaster struck and then he would have to let it go the experience of it felt by billions of humans being flow through to the Continuum.

The tension of the timing would be fraught with danger. He had to keep secrets even from himself, shrouding all of his intentions in mystery, he had to trust that his replicants also trusted him, because like him, they were essentially free creatures.

He utilized the institutions he had developed to test and augment his theories, both concerning his own liabilities and concerning the hidden mysteries of Earth.

Jim was Prime, and he watched over his Seconds with systematic scrutiny. His doppelgangers had to be kept out of the information loop for hundreds of cycles, fulfilling the regular functions of the Observer, responsible for reporting to the Continuum, hiding from it only the things which Jim had always kept hidden and was practiced at hiding. His replicants had to remain ignorant of the details of the unfolding mission.

The fact that they remained willing to do so, allowed Jim to believe in the purity of his purpose.

He was proud of himself and what he was accomplishing.

Jim busied himself with work that served a dual purpose, tasks that advanced his personal mission, which also fit within the assignment he had undertaken for the Continuum. He seemed to be devoted to the type of work the Continuum expected him to do; archiving, preserving, recording the history of this world, passing it on to the Collective.

Through his international network Jim kept alive the ancient languages that informed disparate groups and tribes of their essential unity, even the original language that the colonists spoke when they crashed on this planet so many eons ago.

He kept them alive through his secret societies, using them as a vehicle for the initiation of the members as they ascended through the various hierarchies. He hid codes within the prevailing tongues, echoes of those ancient forms of speech that rang out like a bell, or an alarm to the initiate when they heard it. He created auto-hypnotic tropes which they could not resist once their indoctrination was complete, and through the employment of them he moved freely through the circles of power. 

Jim did not rely on his machinery to help him construct this network, the risk of its being appropriated by the Continuum was too great. Instead he relied on the ancient methods of oral tradition, and complex mnemonics to achieve those ends. Secrecy was the path to survival. Through Secrecy he instantiated his purpose.

If he was discovery the Earth would be place in immediate in jeopardy, they would not know it until there were Imperial warships in the sky above the tiny blue green planet, juggernauts large enough to blot out the sun.

That would threaten everything.

Jim bided his time.

On earth he was forming a living weapon and he layered into its consciousness an implicit acceptance of cyclical nature of revolution, of the rise and fall of governments.

The individual that emerged from his work would have to be able to see the destruction that he or she was wrecking on the Collective in a contextual framework that seemed natural to them, they had to accept what was in front of them, if they resisted his plan would likely fail.

Jim utilized his network of spies to form political states, to build Empires and dynasties, turning slaves into royalty, making great armies out of herdsmen and nomads, turning bandits into Kings, only to tear them down at the apex of their power, as if it were a natural cycle of growth, death and rebirth.

This satisfied his ambition, and it satisfied the hunger of the Collective as well.

Jim’s was the unseen hand behind the powers and principalities of the world, he was the invisible whisperer that conditioned the policies of the most powerful people. He would point and they would go, taking credit for the movement to themselves, never realizing the deep influence they were subjected to.

The rulers of Earth never fully suspected how they were being manipulated.

He exercised his power in a variety of ways, overtly and covertly, with stealth and might. He was a strategist, and none of the tools of statecraft were out of reach for him: gold, sex, power, fear, he employed them like an artist would a brush, or a sculptor would the chisel and hammer.

The actors on the stage rarely knew what was happening in the grand scheme of things. He guided them with the lightest of touches, planting seeds inside their heads when they were children, reaping the fruit he had sewn when it was ripe. Everything was cultivated and he was the master planter, the invisible gardener tending to everything that grew within his sight.

Jim pushed, ever-so-subtly, he employed a constant application of steady pressure to bring coherence to human government, binding them through language systems, tribal allegiances and systems of fealty.

As time progressed he allowed for the emergence of empires, he formed city states into nations, and principalities into kingdoms. He implemented different governmental systems to stand in tension with one another, fostering hierarchical systems of governance from the top down, which articulated the divine right of the rulers to rule, of the nobility to inherit both wealth and power, and against these hierarchies he allowed for systems of government based on mutuality and common bonds, developed from the implicit understanding that the right to rule stemmed from the consent of the governed.

These were not developments that the Continuum desired, but the drama it produced when civilizations clashed was utterly tantalizing to the Collective. 

Jim wrote the laws that governed the great powers of the world, and he established the ministries which those governments revolved around, relied upon. Within those organizations he planted replicants of himself, and the human cadre of followers who were utterly committed to serving his ideals.

They worked together hand in glove to orchestrate global conflict and its resolution. All in the service of Jim’s mission.

He took extraordinary pains to mask his work, keeping it secret from the Continuum against impossible odds, while keeping the human societies that he manipulated in the dark at the same time. 

He did not conceal it all, rumors abounded of secret societies and secret powers, but nothing was ever substantiated to link the rumors to the reality of what Jim had actually built.

He was adept at leading the curious down false trails, putting down leads that culminated in absurdities.

Jim was acting under a deadline, he had to achieve his ends before the next great catastrophe struck the planet, this made the passage of time seem like torture, as he pulled millions of threads together in his breeding programs, searching for the perfect vessel to carry fulfill the mission.

He was like a hunter-gatherer looking for something that did not yet exist, the thing that would sustain him. There were times when he doubted whether or not it was possible.

He and his replicants acted in concert, they were as one in their resolve. Their work together was sublime, a transcendent miracle of cooperative effort.

Their deployment allowed him to devote his attention to observing and overseeing the mutation of the human stock. Tracking both the wild progress occurring in the unregulated breeding pools, as well as the planned for changes taking shape in his controlled studies.

It was the safest way to proceed.

There were moments in history when Jim thought he had found the individual he was looking for, but the timing was not right, he could not engineer the crises he required in time to take advantage of their gifts, if those gifts could be fully developed; they were born at a time too distant from the moment of catastrophe.

At those crossroads he felt that he was trapped in a paradox.

There was a prince in the Himalayas, a warrior from Macedonia, a fisherman in Palestine, a camel driver in Arabia, each separated from each other by hundreds of years.

The timing was never right.

His work was like sifting the sand of the ocean floor, or the full harvest of finely milled flour through an equally fine meshed screen. He needed to touch every particle, to look at each one as it passed through the sieve.

He did not rely solely on his network of spies and informants to identify the potential candidates. The reporting on them simply bubbled-up through the social fabric. Over time he learned to take greater efforts in concealing the lives of these extraordinary peoples.

Jim could identify them at a glance, he could see a hue in the Iris, the contour of an earlobe, the shape of a thumb, the texture of hair, physical traits that marked a newborn child as distinct.

They would quickly become the talk of the village, and news carried fast.

Investigators would be dispersed. 

Cognitive testing followed, and depending on the results, Jim would place an emissary of some type close to the individual; to protect them, to watch over them, sometimes they would be as intimate as a teacher or a private tutor, at other time they might simply be situated as a remote benefactor.

Every instance was unique, and Jim would provide what support the circumstances called for. The potential candidates were extraordinary people, it was difficult to contain their fame, they had deep connections to their world and their people through the cynergenic field, they were frequently blessed with great physical beauty, strength and power.

Jim would attempt to hide them, to secure their genetic material for his breeding program, and to hide their offspring if he could. He believed that they belonged to him, they were his creation.

Jim’s life was one of deep analytical scrutiny, of asserting, testing and rejecting various hypothesis concerning the exact structure within the human brain that would establish the strongest link to Earth’s cynergenic field.

He tested the population of his subjects in hospitals and asylums, in monasteries and convents, in university laboratories and in prisons, sequencing their genes to either enhance or restrict their capacity to carry the nano-particles of magnetite and other conductive elements within the brain that facilitated cynergy.

He tested candidates in the military, breeding them both for their strength of limb and their mental acuity. He experimented on them as mercilessly as the Continuum ever did, testing the limits of human courage and despair. He was as amoral in his pursuit of his vision as anyone or anything that had ever been created, and he knew it.

The genetic line he was searching for slowly came into focus, he mirrored the properties belonging to his studies and built them into the genetic simulacrum of his own body, but only when he was certain of the risks. He personally felt the power of his design and when that testing was completed he genetically programmed the rest of his aides in the same way.

It gave him greater control and personal security over the autonomous versions of himself that were operative in the field.

In spite of his incredible progress, pulling the desired properties through the human gene pool on Earth was a different matter. It was excruciatingly slow, though it advanced significantly once he knew the properties he was actually looking for.   

Jim pushed his program of genetic modification across all fronts.

Year after year he validated his work, verifying and strengthening the enhancements, and their specific features he built into the genetic endowment of the human race; psychicism, extra sensory perception, access to and facility with genetic memory.

He was always on the lookout for persons born with significant advancement in their connection to the cynergenic field, when he found them he exported those genetic traits to the population at large.

As time went on the changes came more rapidly, it was more than he could manage as a single person, without his team of replicants he would have been powerless to control the program he had set in place. He was moving toward his goal; steadily, inexorably moving, and the exercise was changing him. He had become single minded and fixed on one outcome. Nothing else mattered for him and he was despotic in his pursuit of it.

The humans of Earth, these Children of the Ancient People, they represented the answer to the Continuum, and he began to imagine a future for himself within the new Collective he was forming.

He fantasized about saving Earth and himself along with it, after liberating the Empire and destroying the HomeWorld, his esteem for himself was completely reliant on these fantasies.

The sacrifice of the human race would lead to freedom across the Imperium, the sacrifice would be great but a remnant would survive, and he along with them, or so he told himself. After liberating the Empire, the Empire would rescue the survivors on Earth. That became his plan.

Jim brought all the threads he had been weaving for his great-genetic tapestry together in North America, in the United States, a nation lovingly referred to as “the melting pot,” in that place his work came to fruition.

Jim guided its development.

It became the indispensable country, wealthy and powerful and a beacon to the world. Its democratic foundation was the antithesis of everything the Continuum stood for, those principles infused the people with a mythology, a set or archetypes that conditioned its members to be willing to make incredible sacrifices for the greater good.

It was a place where refugees from all over the world came for the hope of peace and justice, for prosperity and advancement, this allowed Jim to watch over both the random interactions that were taking place in the gene pool, at an ever increasing rate, as well as giving him access to the best institution where he could conduct his experiments.

More importantly, his positioning here gave him proximity to the epicenter of the coming disaster, the great caldera volcano lurking at the center of the continent.

When Jim finally identified the families which he surmised would produce the offspring he had been looking for, he inserted himself into their lives as a counselor, so that he could closely observe them for the validation of his hypothesis, and its actualization.

He manipulated them though his agents, preparing them like an artist might prepare a canvas, establishing the material conditions that would bring about the end he had been seeking. He waited, he watched…and what he was looking for did not come from the expected quarter. She came randomly from a discarded thread.

Jim was delighted about this. Nature had produced what he had not.

He found that fitting, poetic.

Her parents named her Katherine, after the saint and martyr from bygone Alexandria, the Patroness of Philosophers who was crushed on the wheel.

Jim was a cautions scientist.

He had long since validated his hypothesis concerning Earth’s cynergenic field, though his original hypothesis was not inclusive of all of its properties. Throughout his thousands of years of research his focus was only on the nature of an individual person’s engagement with it.

Through his programs he validated his theory on how that field could be accessed, the balance of physical properties that must be present in the human brain for it to function in the cynergistically, without at the same time driving the person to madness.

It was a grand design in bio-chemistry and bio-physics, in genetic engineering and the subtleties of quantum mechanics in electromagnetism. The living organism had to be carefully controlled. Their powers and liabilities depended on nature and nurture, both

He was interested in actively controlling it, not merely the passive experience of it. He needed the power to actively manipulate the cynergenic field, both for his own use, and to create the perfect weapon for his plan to destroy the Collective and its Continuum.

Through the millennia he sacrificed hundreds of thousands of subjects, condemning them to insanity. He documented the full scope of their suffering, telling himself that it was a small price for these individuals to pay for the salvation of the whole.

He counseled himself, justifying his crimes on the theory that he was merely seeking to balance the scales of justice.

It was early in the twenty-first century when he found her, before he did, Jim had begun to despair that he never would. He was only a few decades away from the cataclysmic event that he intended to use as the force behind his attack, and He believed he was running out of time.

He had identified a few possible candidates, but based on their cognitive testing and the stability of their psyche he knew that they were not strong enough to manage the psychic connection between Earth and HomeWorld, the cynergenic energy he required his vessel to channel was unknown, therefore their strength had to have no discernable upward limit.

Jim had attempted to engineer a prototype of his replicant body to stand in the place of this vessel, but he failed time and time again. He and his replicants could access the cynergenic field telepathically, but there were limits to what they could do there. There were dimensions of complexity to it that Jim had not been able to fathom and would not be able to until he found the object of his intention.

Just as he was beginning to give up hope and plan for one of his alternatives, she emerged from an obscure corner of his field of research.  

Jim found Kathy, at long last.

She was the thing that he had been searching for, his Holy Grail, she was the sacred vessel that would carry his ambitions and deliver justice to the Continuum.

Jim took control of her through his proxies when she still a child, by the time he did her parents were grateful for the opportunity to give her up, and Jim was primed to begin the preparation as his holy victim.

When he found Kathy and tested her skills, he also set out on a detailed examination of her heritage, mapping each contact he had had with her line down through the millennium, through every root and branch of the family tree. Though he did not require this for proof, the study confirmed for him that she was the one.

He had no doubt; Kathy was the product of his ambition. She had received all of the crosses which he had been managing in other lines; only, she had received more, happening at different intervals, her line had incorporated more stabilizing structures in it than he had wanted to build into the genetic profile of his prime candidates.

Now he saw his error, and he was grateful for it.

Kathy did not come from one of his principle studies, she was a wild card.

He thought that was poetic, and he interpreted her arrival as an endorsement of his purpose by the universe itself.

There was something uniquely human about the way Kathy just crept-up on him with her fully realized potential. Now that she had arrived, and Jim had examined her, he knew that it could not have happened any other way and he took this lesson to heart.

Of course there were still many challenges, he had to manage her upbringing and test her abilities exhaustively, but he had to remain distant at the same time. He was afraid that over-involvement might spoil his work; or like a watched pot, she would never boil.

He needed her to boil. Jim needed that vital energy.

As Jim reviewed the file on Kathy’s background he began to feel remiss. He had failed to notice many things, and he began to wonder how many other things he had missed over the decades. He vacillated between an almost mythic overconfidence and his worries there might be a fatal flaw in his plan. He was insecure.

Paranoia set in, he began to suspect his network of human agents, and even more critically he began to suspect the replicants acting on his behalf all around the globe, he began to suspect them of sabotage.  

Kathy’s parents had been exceptional subjects, as Jim reviewed the materials related to them, he understood that their abilities and their genetic profile should have been brought to his direct attention years before, but he knew them only from data sheets and statistics. He had only visited Kathy’s parents once each, when they were still children, and he did that before they ever met.

He had no other direct involvement in their upbringing.

He spent enough time with them to conduct some basic testing, enough to establish a baseline on their liabilities, and to complete the auto-hypnotic coding he subjected every person in his breeding program to, making it so that they are unable to resist his suggestions or the controls of his operatives, should they at any time have a need to move them to perform a specific action in a certain way.

Kathy’s parents were docile and kind. They possessed exceptional mental acuity, and artistic abilities but they were unexceptional in other ways.

They met and became coupled up through seemingly random interactions. Like attracts like, as they say, and this was not entirely unusual for subjects in his breeding program.

As Jim examined their case file he saw that he had approved their union, though he had done so without having conducted any further interviews with them, and yet they produced the child that he had been looking for, in a seemingly random coupling.
Because of this extraordinary happenstance Jim viewed Kathy as a miracle.

She was a gift.

Jim secretly delighted in the unexpected, but there was very little that took him by surprise. He was steeped in the examination of possibilities and probabilities. For millions of years his experience of real-time was merely a reduction of long range forecasting, down to the point of actuality.

Kathy’s parents were not in Jim’s main line of research, and so her emergence from that field was a surprise.

In the twentieth century, as the volcano slumbering beneath Yellowstone began to show signs of an imminent eruption, he began to narrow his focus. This caused him to miss things. He had screened Kathy’s parents and approved of their union, but he had rejected the probability matrix which suggested they might produce the fruit he was looking for.

Jim did not expect the vessel to come from them. He was searching for it in an entirely different part of the continent. He expected a male, and he expected that male to come from one of his main lines of research. He was wrong. On a certain level Kathy’s arrival disappointed him, because he wanted to have control over the person who emerged as his prime weapon against the Collective.

He wanted that control from beginning to end.

Jim only visited Kathy and her parents after receiving word that their child had manifested interesting abilities. When Jim examined her he surmised that interesting was an understatement, she was phenomenal, possessing both a strong link to her genetic memory and the greatest sensitivity to the cynergenic field he had ever measured.

She had other savant capabilities that he had not counted on or imagined possible, but which proved crucial to her training.

Jim was cautious in his approach. He needed her to belong to him, fully, willingly and without reservation. He concluded that in his own management of the breeding program, his own interference in it led him to miss obvious queues, which if he had not missed would have led him to the end sooner.

As a result Jim no longer fully trusted himself.

He sent proxies to her parents, human agents to watch over Kathy’s development, people who were under his control, but who had no knowledge of the secret societies they belonged to.

He proceeded with the utmost care. Jim engaged the full scope of his international intelligence and security apparatus to protect her, while at the same time allowing her to develop in as normal a mode as possible. It was vital that Kathy be grounded in the human experience, be empathetic toward suffering, attuned to the necessities of justice, and to desire justice for its own sake. 

Jim’s proxies conducted cognitive tests to confirm what Jim suspected, to confirm that Kathy’s intelligence was off the charts. She was unique. She possessed a powerful consciousness that had to be guided through the final stages of its organic growth and maturation.

It was a precarious time, Jim knew that Kathy must develop the tools and skills to wield her power, or insanity would ensue.

Jim found himself operating on two distinct tracks.

On one track he was fighting against time; the super-volcano in Yellowstone was going to erupt, and when it did it would kill tens of millions of people in a matter of minutes, hundreds of millions within hours and billions within days. Through the power of his sensors and monitors he knew when the blast would occur, he had timed it down to mere minutes, he would be able to control the timing within a matter of seconds through the use of the explosives he and his team had situated in the critical structure of the volcano’s magma chamber. He could make it happen sooner if necessary, but he could not delay it.

This filled him with a sense of urgency.

On the other track he delighted in watching Kathy grow, learn, stretch her muscles, and mature. He was proud of his accomplishment in her. Kathy proved herself to be a miracle, she was greater than anything he had ever hoped for. She was genuinely psychic, with the tell-tale signs of cognitive gifts that would aid her in her development and prevent her from falling off the precipice into insanity. She was connected to the cynergenic field and rooted in her genetic memory at one and the same time.

Jim surmised that the presence of her ancestral past within her, something which every human being possessed but which Kathy appeared to have unique access to, that this dimension of her personhood stabilized her, and this filled Jim with hope for her, and for his mission. She was centered in herself and expansive in her consciousness, she was grounded and open to everything, and there were mysteries within her which slowly unfolded for him.

Jim had spent hundreds of millions of years contemplating possibilities, considering probabilities, and tracking eventualities as they shifted into actuality, and still he was surprised when he discovered the broad range of Kathy’s abilities carefully balanced in the cognitive field of such a small-child.

It had seemed to him as if nature could not produce a person with such poise and grace. It was as if she was being taught, trained, conditioned to be able to manage the powers of her formidable mind, from a coterie of teachers that were invisible to him.

Kathy had access to her genetic memory and she was fully immersed within the cynergenic field. She was not the first candidate to manifest such strong connections, she was merely the first who was not driven mad by the capability.

It was a mystery. Kathy was a mystery. She was a self-actualized miracle.

Through his investigation of her aptitude, Jim began to discover new things concerning the field of Earth’s collective unconsciousness. Without being able to prove it, he suspected that there were higher dimensions or frequencies to Earth’s cynergenic field than he himself had been able to access.

He attempted to experiment on replicants of himself, to penetrate the veil which Kathy seemed to be able to move back and forth through at will.

Every experiment ended in a terrifying disaster.

Kathy knew things she could not possibly know. That much was certain. Through his testing of her he surmised that she had knowledge of the past that she had no genetic link to.

He explored the possibility that Kathy could access another person’s genetic memory through her psychic link to them. He was unable to prove that hypothesis, and the truth behind her abilities escaped him.

Jim was an outlier, as a member of the Collective he was virtually alone in his criticism of it. There were others, however, none of them criticized the function and purpose of the Collective itself. They were critics of the process, they were critics of the Continuum, they were critics of the structures that set limitations of their freedom, but not of its existence. Jim had never encountered another member who desired to see their civilization go away.

There were many critics who opted for the great sleep, looking for the dissolution of self, but he had never encountered another who wanted to bring the great society to its final end. There were times that this caused Jim to doubt himself. He felt isolated and alone, and not even a period of communion with his replicants could ease that burden.

Before Kathy emerged from his breeding pool, as the clock was winding down and Jim was doubting if he would ever find the vessel for his rage, he began to experience a sense of fatalism and fear of failure that he had long dreaded. He questioned everything he believed, everything he had thought and done.

Then he discovered Kathy.

Jim looked on her as if she were a gift from the universe itself, as if her arrival was a validation of his purpose.

After her testing was complete he believed in his heart that Kathy would be able to serve as the conduit he needed.

Jim told himself that her sacrifice would be worth it. Through Kathy a remnant of humanity would survive; that is what he told himself.

If he succeeded there would be time for the Empire to reach Earth, after the eruption but before the planet tumbled into its mother star. Through Kathy the Continuum would be dealt a crippling blow, one that would allow Jim to push it over the edge into oblivion.

He convinced himself that he and she were working to fulfill a noble purpose. Kathy would be the agent of salvation for countless Trillions of people.

Her sacrifice was demanded.

She had arrived in the hour of his need, she only needed to be prepared, and the table laid.

Emergence 5.0

Part Eight – Jim

A Novel in Twelve Chapters

#Emergence #ShortFiction #12MonthsOfSciFi

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