A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 08, 2019
The explosion shook the world; everything shifted.
Every living thing on the planet felt it.
Kathy knew in an instant what it was, what it meant, the sound of the blast echoed back through her memory. Ancestral voices within her cried out in alarm.
It was the end of days, it was Ragnorak, it was the hand of God pulling the death-shroud over the face of the Earth.
She felt it from over a thousand miles away, it shook the building she was standing in, it was a massive earthquake. The place where she stood remained on its foundations, even while buildings all around her where collapsing, gas mains exploding, homes catching on fire.
Kathy felt the pain and the fear of those dying.
The volcano erupted in a remote location. People died in the tens of thousands in the first seconds, but the shock waves that were unleashed, liquefied the mantle spreading in concentric rings for hundreds and hundreds of miles.
It took minutes before it reached major population centers, places filled with buildings that were never designed to endure those forces.
Millions more died in those moments.
Kathy felt the fears of those about to die, she felt their panic, she felt their pain, she felt it all around her.
Kathy felt a deep sorrow as she immediately understood the profound consequences of what was transpiring.
It was the end of the world, there would be survivors, but nothing would be the same.
The survivors would be few. Winter would ensue, and famine. There would be no warmth or rest for them, not for generations, and by then it might be too late to save the remainder.
Kathy had spent her entire life learning to shield herself from such psychic intrusions; from the external world, from the living people all around her, and from the multitude of voices speaking to her from her ancestral memory, and the spirits of the dead dwelling in the cynergenic field.
She was stalwart; her defenses went up instinctively.
She withstood the assault.
Every-thing is one in the quantum field.
Time and space, our normal conception of them, they do not exist, their meaning and distinction are completely lost.
In the quantum field everything was entangled, like a ball of string, condensed into a single point of reference.
There was no distance between Earth and HomeWorld; between humanity and the Continuum, or the Collective, or the population of any other world.
The reality of individual experience, the reality of individuation, the reality of time as experienced by beings existing on a scale that is large enough to see it, these are real and actual phenomena, even while at the same time being perfunctory and illusory.
Jim felt Earth’s psychic pain rushing through the wormhole connecting him to Kathy. He felt much more than the fear, shock, and panic that he was expecting. He sensed the fullness of the human race coming through the channel with her, the living and the dead, the present and the past, the entirety of Earth’s collective consciousness arriving with her, like a pile driver.
The force of it was much greater than Jim was expecting, hoping for, wanting.
He was barely able to hang onto his own identity in the onrush.
He clung to his purpose like a life raft, like a man hanging over the edge of a cliff by his fingernails, and slipping.
He blacked out.
It was too much.
Even as the entire Collective went into shock, while the Continuum scrambled to make sense of what was happening, knowing that Jim, the Observer had returned to the HomeWorld as an assassin, at that moment Jim lost his grip on what was happening and his ability to control any of the aftermath.
He was victorious, and he had lost, both at the same time.
He was not secure at all in his understanding of what was about to happen.
He had miscalculated a great many things; that much was clear to him, and he did not feel safe at all.
As his sense of what was transpiring around him was going dim. He perceived a familiar person near to him, searching for him, reaching out through the psychic maelstrom for something to cling to.
She was scared, but she was whole, she was confident and she was ascending.
When the super-volcano in Yellowstone Park blew. Most people on earth had no idea of the danger, no idea that such a threat even existed, no idea of what its destructive power was, or how extensive was the damage that it had done in its history.
The existence of the caldera-volcano in Yellowstone had only been discovered by humans in the recent past. It was too massive to see with the naked eye.
Geologists discovered it by chance, as teams of surveyors were examining the original measurements of the surrounding mountains. They noticed that the surveys they were taking did not match those done a hundred years earlier, and they found this perplexing.
The science of surveying, trigonometry, this was well established, it had not changed in the hundred years that had intervened.
The new measurements showed an uplift of several centimeters over hundreds of square miles of mountain range. The uplift itself was not uniform, meaning that the discrepancy could not be explained by a piece of faulty equipment, or by the uniform application of an incorrect formula.
It was suggestive of a geological mystery.
More teams of geologists were called in to study the rock formations, they layers of sediment that formed parts of the mountain chain, their strata. They came to the conclusion that hundreds of square miles had indeed experienced a dramatic uplift in a short period of time.
They wanted to understand it.
They knew intuitively that a massive geological force had to underlay the phenomenon they were measuring. They naturally thought of the heat source lurking beneath the Yellowstone Park, a heat source that was the cause of its many geysers and other natural wonders.
Scientists from many disciplines came together as a community, and they discovered it, a massive volcano deep beneath the earth, one that had gone off like clock-work. Every 600,000 thousand years, and it had been 640,000 years since the last eruption.
As a group they came to the understanding that the next disaster was upon them.
They also understood that they would not be able to do anything about it, the planet was dying, all life on the earth was becoming just another layer of clay.
This small group of scientists belonged to a small group of people who knew full well that doom was near at hand.
Some were driven to despair, isolation and madness. Others committed themselves to hopeless proposition of discovering a solution to the problem, they may have been able to resolve, if only they had time.
A few sought to expose the threat to the world at large; they were sanctioned and disappeared.
When they felt the psychic blow landing on them from Earth, a trillion individual persons, those members of the Collective who comprised the Continuum, they became silent all at once.
They were in shock.
Each and every one of them felt the pain of humanity. It was a trauma they had not felt since the time they themselves were embodied beings, a kind of pain that they could barely remember and they had no defense against it.
The shock waves disoriented them.
It shattered them.
They were not prepared for the onrush and they could not stand against it.
Even as the collective was reeling, trying to recover from the assault. Kathy guided the flow on consciousness from Earth in ways that were calming, comforting, soothing.
Kathy was able to settle the collected humanity she carried with her, settle them into a peaceful transition, she did it in no-time, in her much practiced ability to dwell below the strata of the quantum field.
She realized that Jim had prepared her in many ways just for this moment, she knew intuitively how to guide the masses into their place, allowing them to populate the Collective consciousness of the Central Planet.
In that moment, the great Collective consciousness, the spirits of the Ancient People, became still for the first time ever.
They could not relate to what was happening. They were not adaptable, neither as individuals or as a whole.
Jim knew that there was a chance the Collective could rebound, the Continuum might draw humanity unto itself and adjust to the invasion, but that chance had passed and was now gone.
The emptiness the Collective faced was like a vacuum, it swallowed the whole.
There was no resistance.
Jim was the first to recover from the trauma. He regained his composure and his sense of self quickly, much faster than he had hoped.
He could feel the masses in the Collective. They were quiet, but in motion.
Their movement was like a turbulent ocean beneath him.
It was wild and chaotic.
The Observer had prepared himself.
He was Jim, and he was fixed on that identity.
It steadied him, it calmed him, it reminded him of his purpose, of what brought him to this juncture, and of what steps he had to take in order to preserve his plan.
He had accomplished more than he had set out to do, he succeeded beyond his wildest hope.
He had won!
From the Continuum there was nothing.
Jim had expected to meet with fierce resistance. He had planned for a titanic struggle, but there was nothing. It seemed to him as if the omnipresent Continuum was gone, voided, wiped away clean.
Jim was wracked by the pain flowing through the quantum string that connected him to Kathy and to the Collective, both. He felt it in waves alternating in greater and lesser degrees of intensity.
There were peaks and troughs, and scattered throughout there were intense spikes of anguish, like waves crashing against rocks. The heights of intensity were at times related to a large concentration of group suffering, at other times they were the product of particularly poignant individual grief.
The experience left him staggering, his consciousness would get caught up in and stopped by singular moments of loss.
He was able to let it flow through him, he never lost hold of the center of himself. He was ready for the great silence that he knew must follow, he had anticipated it. He positioned himself to take advantage.
Jim did not need to move to a physical location, for the ascension. He was one with the Collective, he occupied the same quantum field that the Continuum had, as humanity did, only he was unaware of the presence of humanity with him.
He was myopic, and singularly focused on his goal.
He could not see the things he had never anticipated, not at that moment.
He only needed to assert control.
Jim felt a deep sense of justification. He told himself that this catastrophe could have been avoided, the catastrophe in the Collective, and the real disaster that had taken the Earth.
The Empire had the technology to control events of this type. Natural disasters could be mitigated, prevented, undone, even harnessed for the benefit of the people, in the same way that similar problems are resolved on other worlds.
However, the Continuum and the Collective both, craved the impending drama that would come in the aftermath of Earth’s destruction.
The pique of ruin, was a savory delight for them. They loved to live vicariously in the lives of desperate people. To watch them sacrifice and be sacrificed; selflessly or selfishly, they wanted to be in the moment with those people making the hard decisions when faced with the loss of everything they loved.
In one place a parent would give up their life for the sake of their child, a husband for the sake of his wife. In another place the man would sell his spouse into slavery, and the parents make a cannibalistic meal of their child’s body.
The more gruesome the decision the more enwrapped the Collective would be in it.
They could not wait for the moment to arrive.
They were ready for it, eager, hungry.
Jim’s planning would cause the Continuum to feel real anguish, real fear, actual pain, to feel it full-force. They would pay for the ages of contemptuous tyranny they lorded over the entire Empire.
The Continuum would pay with its artificial life, and the Collective, what survived of it, if any survived, the Collective would have to adjust to a new reality.
They would participate in the cataclysmic events happening on Earth, in a manner they could not have predicted, had no defense for. Would not be able to respond to it. They would feel it as if they were experiencing it themselves.
Jim told himself this, if the Continuum would have listened to him, this impasse might have been avoided. He told himself this even knowing that it was a lie.
He had guided events to this place, had been shaping this moment for millions of years, seeking this opportunity, and now he would deliver the results.
The full potential of this moment had been realized, and he was at the crest of the wave.
He never had any intention of allowing them to escape the fate that he had laid out for them.
The only thing he did not determine was the timing, the right now, and it was here.
With the Continuum in a state of paralysis; it was a simple thing for Jim to assert the force of his individual persona into the command matrix of HomeWorld, thereby dismantling the architecture supporting the security apparatus of the Central Planet.
He took it apart and he took control. He restructured both the psychic protections, the buffers and barriers protecting the Collective and the group consciousness of the Continuum.
They were undone.
If there were any members of the Collective in a state of recovery at that moment, this made the work of that recovery all the more difficult. As those members would now be confronted with a new reality, one in which there were no safeguards protecting their individuality, and one in which the solidly partitioned world of the Collective was now more like a vast miasma, a swamp of chaos and diffusion.
The undoing of those psychic barriers made it more difficult for any members of the Collective to reassert their own identity, the mass of them were simply drifting away into a state of utter in-cohesion.
As soon as he was able to, Jim turned his attention to the military programs of the Central Planet. Taking control of those functions was a little more complicated because it involved the manipulation of machinery in real time.
Jim had to adjust his consciousness to receive data inputs from millions of remote sensors and monitors that were constantly scanning the space around the Central Planet; defensive weapons capabilities, shields, offensive weapons capabilities, energy weapons, nuclear weapons, projectiles, and the fleets of drones, in a constant state of activity repairing and maintaining the structural needs of the HomeWorld.
Jim only needed to assert his control over the many disparate systems, he did not need to guide them after that.
During this process Jim was fully enveloped in time; the work he was engaged in was systematic and sequential.
He was outwardly focused as one by one he asserted his mastery over them
He was busy with his work as the Imperial Armada entered the system and closed in.
Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Seven, Catastrophe
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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