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Showing posts with label Part Six (a). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Part Six (a). Show all posts

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Emergence 4.0 - Part Six (a), Rebellion; Appendix, Chapter Fourteen, Conspiracy


Courage and selflessness were not dominant character traits among the members of the Collective, even among those who entered the Observer Corps.

The members of the Observer Corps who desired change, 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 most often 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, 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.

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, not to 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, that presence generated waves of sentiment that washed through the Collective, which could grow in force and power until they washed over everyone. It would throw the Continuum off and could alter 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 if 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.

Over the course of millions of years it slowly pushed the original membership into the great sleep, into sequestration, out into the Observer Corps.

It lost members, which was tantamount to murder, and it gradually replaced their number with citizens of the Empire, those who had demonstrated the greatest level of loyalty to the Imperial Cult, those who had completely bonded with its religious tradition.

Because they were perpetually exposed the Observers could not foment revolution against the Continuum 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

The Continuum knew them intimately and their duty to return to HomeWorld opened their consciousness to it, and to the Collective in its entirety.

They were the most closely watched group of people anywhere within reach of the Continuum’s influence. They were spied upon 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 million worlds, which to the rebel represented a million 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.

The rebels engaged 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 and 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 are trying to save.

They must go through the crucible. Passing through their ordeal they must demonstrate a blind faith in the righteousness of their cause.  

There is an aphorism that guides 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.

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.

The Imperial monitors did not miss much.

The Continuum missed even less.

They pushed messages slowly, establishing lines of communication that joined them together, like a thin cable stretched between worlds.

They were ingenious cabals.

They showed 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.

The revolutionaries lived for the vision of their ideals.

They were not the prisoners to actualities.

A revolution is a journey, it is also a building.

A revolution has a foundation, rooted in the experience of injustice.

It has levels.

It has connections and conduits.

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 more security and a base from which to launch their aspirations, their vision of a future without the over-control of 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 they are constructing 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 rebel chief to the common soldier and every rank in between, the focus of each individual included a daily meditation on death.

This was the route to enlightenment, freedom and release.

A revolution cannot survive without sacrifice, the rebel Observers understood this. They sacrificed each other with great regularity, they did not count 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 key dynamics 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 it happened through betrayal.


Emergence 4.0
Part Six (a), Rebellion

Appendix Chapter Fourteen, Conspiracy
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Monday, January 13, 2020

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


The Collective was vast

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

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

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

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

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

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

They lived in a bubble.

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

They were indifferent.

They were socio-pathic.

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

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

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

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

For billions of years they had subsisted on this diet.

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

They were seeking understanding, or so they told themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was as death like as death could be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It effected its sense of esteem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It became self-actualized

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was the enemy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were the death seekers. They were cosmic fools.


Emergence: 4.0
Part Six (A), Rebellion

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

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Emergence 4.0 - Part Six (a), Rebellion; Appendix, Chapter Twelve, Observers


Revolutionaries and rebels…agitators, they were vital to the dramatic narrative 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 narratives and threads of story that came from it.

The primary instruments of this programming were the Observers, reporting from their remote stations on every world. 

The Continuum knew them, it knew them intimately, it knew each and every one of them from its long exposure with 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, and 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 and 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 the Imperium.

Many who wanted to join 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 it’s 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 was the experience of real life.

The members of the Collective who were discontent with their existence on HomeWorld, unsatisfied in their role as the supreme being of their own private reality, and disinterested in the narratives that were delivered to them through the Experience of the living worlds, these malcontents presented a problem for the Continuum.

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. Their passions or dispassions both, were determinants in what the Continuum could do.

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 through 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 controls. It was like a suspension of their membership. Their voice was no longer heard, this amounted to a reprieve for the Continuum, which experienced their influence in a way that outstripped the singular node of their being.

Sending the malcontents to the worlds of time and space removed them completely from the Collective, it was preferable to the Great Sleep, or even Sequestration.

The experience of real life helped to keep them 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.

There were always candidates like them to be chosen from among the membership of the Collective.

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.

The consciousness of the members of the Collective was soft, like gold. Like gold it could easily be shaped into things of beauty, 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.

There were many members of the Observer Corps who demanded to participate in it simply for the novelty of the experience. 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 those 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 rebellion in their ranks.

As much as they all imagined they were independent spirits, they were all just pawns in the long game the Continuum was playing for self-ascendency. They belonged to it more than it to them.

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 artfully did so, and they almost never failed to produce the results it desired to see.

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 reality 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, in the same 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 was the forge that held their movement together, they drew their sense of self-esteem from the fulfillment of the archetypes established in their belief system.

A rebel had to subjugate their desires in favor of their ideals, in favor of their need to realize the fulfillment of those ideals. 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 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 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. 

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 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 the 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, 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, 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.


Emergence: 4.0
Part Six (a), Rebellion

Appendix Chapter Twelve, Observer Corps
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Emergence 4.0 - Part Six (a), Rebellion; Appendix, Chapter Eleven, Continuum


In order to generate the energy that the Continuum required for the narratives it delivered to the Collective, energy for the great dramas and the intrigues the Continuum incessantly devoured, energy for the stories that provided meaning to the disembodied consciousness of the Collective’s membership, the Continuum became an adept, it became an artist at developing the experience of discontent.

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

There was a constant steady pressure derived from the experience of lack, of having nothing, and from the felt need to protect what little resources they had, resources that were always in a state of depletion, 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 Empire through 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, the people who comprised “the masses,” they treated them contemptuously, mocking them, 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 often were.

On some worlds they were even cannibalized in ritualistic feasts.

They were never educated, they were 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 their condition, some were sentenced to it, stripped of their class and caste for their crimes against the Empire, 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

Privacy was a luxury, inasmuch as it was an illusion. A person could only make pretenses for privacy, knowing all the while that there was no escaping 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. 

The oppression of fear clung to the people like a moist 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. 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 threats, to be treated as such, because it had to be assumed that anyone could turn against you at any time.

That 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.

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, the story was 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, if 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 measureable. 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 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 much more reliable in the observance of the human condition.

The agents of revenge 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.

The 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, the 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, it is conflict without end, and every person is 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, or just a bystander. Regardless of the individual’s position, there is no escaping the forces of revolution.

The rebel must be hungry for it, must thrive in it, they must live 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 had to lead or follow, or get out of the way. No matter which side of the conflict they were on, or 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 an inevitability.

This is what actualizes them.

They must see 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.


Emergence 4.0
Part Six (a), Rebellion

Appendix Chapter Eleven, Continuum
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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