For as far back as Jim could remember he wanted to create a better world, not for himself alone, but for everyone.
His dream of doing this was like the bread of life for him. Like water it sustained him.
Jim was an intractable critic of the status quo, he was perpetually discontent. This was natural to his character and it drove him to work, whereas in most other members of the Collective, the Observers, even the ordinary citizens of the Empire that he encountered experienced such feelings as conditioned by 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.
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 failed.
When the Collective began to experience its first great existential crisis, Jim awoke to the occasion and together with the greatest engineering minds that the Ancient people had ever produced, they created the Continuum to be a representation of their Collective will.
Not a single one of them realized at the time that they had in fact given rise to the demi-urge, with the Collective itself, the Pleroma of its being.
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 was sick with disgust over the hedonistic abuses of the Collective. Through his participation in it he had facilitated the creation of a trillion private hells, each one of them masquerading as a personal paradise.
He was angry.
He was pained and distraught when he saw the Continuum turn its attention to the living worlds of time and space, transforming each of them into a mirror image of its own ruin and privation.
He felt a deep sense of shame and personal responsibility over the nightmare this construct had become.
The core of his being was filled with a sharp bitterness over the way that each member of the Collective had squandered its existence. They could have created worlds of joy and beauty, there were virtually no limitations on their imagination, and yet they squandered their power for petty-hedonism and the satisfaction of the banal, they were evil.
Jim wanted to die.
He knew that he was not responsible for the creation of the Collective, he was just one person among many managing that incredible feat of engineering. He was only playing a part 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 Continuum became a gaggle of voyeurs, feeding their most obscene habits like the worst of gluttons, without giving a single thought to the consequences that the satisfaction of their hunger would have on the lives of simple, ordinary people.
He wanted to protect the universe from them.
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 Collective were addicts, and he blamed the Continuum for pushing their addictions on them, for keeping them sedated and helpless.
Jim felt hopeless.
Jim’s grave doubts and serious concerns manifested themselves in direct proportion to his pride-fullness.
He was exceedingly proud.
Since he reemergence from the great-sleep and 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, and therefore 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, or so he believed. That is what his memories told him, though he himself was uncertain of his actual origins, 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, gathering them like moss accumulating on a stone.
Whatever the case, they were his memories now, they formed the basis of his identity, they mattered and they placed an impetus in him to act.
Jim’s personal narrative informed him that he had entered the Collective himself, together with his family, toward the end of his life. 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 whole or fragmented, shattered in pieces.
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, he resented the role it played in the governance of the Collective, he foresaw the danger that such an entity would present to the Great Society, and understood how it would be able to manipulate the whole organism from its vantage.
During his long travels across the gulf between star systems, while he searched 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, and when they abdicated the responsibilities of self-governance to the Continuum.
It was as if every individual he had touched as he was emerging from the great sleep, or freeing himself from the prison of sequestration had left an indelible imprint of themselves on him, an imprint 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 forcefully strident in the pursuit of justice, he felt as if the Collective’s need for those principles had amalgamated itself in his consciousness.
In many ways 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, there were moments in his long journeys when he understood that they had left more than their principles with him, they had also left memories, pieces of their personhood which became a part of his own identity 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 him as a matter of his own personal conviction.
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 of Home World and 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.
His objection to the Continuum went beyond indignation, his resolve to destroy it filled him with purpose, defined it, conditioned it.
His purpose was like a slow-burning-smoldering drive just 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 Empire, under the aegis of the Continuum.
He was patient.
He watched and he waited until he found the opportunity to bring his vision to fruition. He found it 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 home world.
He had to plan, and plan carefully.
When everything was prepared he would actualize his grand scheme.
He also knew that he would never succeed in his mission through the art of politics, and or 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, to believe that the Continuum was God.
The Collective field 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, into the great sleep, into sequestration or out into the Observer Corps, where if it felt as if they were a threat, the Continuum 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, those who had demonstrated an unwavering belief in the Continuum, and had proven their absolute fidelity to it.
Jim would never be able to undue that conditioning
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 it in Kathy.
Jim understood that he had to be in more places than one, simultaneously.
He needed partners but he never came 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, never mind the doubts he had that anyone other than himself could withstand the blaring and exhaustive scrutiny everyone in the Observer Corps was cyclically be subjected to.
Jim’s choice of allies was extremely limited.
Jim planned a conspiracy and formed a cabal, not with others but by replicating himself over and over again, they were absolutely faithful and singularly minded.
His fellow conspirators were each a version of himself. Identical to himself 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, which they identified as Jim.
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, and they were of one mind, they acted in concert with each other, under the direction of the Prime.
Part Six (a), Rebellion
Appendix Chapter Six (a), Jim
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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