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.
Part Six (a), Rebellion
Appendix Chapter Twelve, Observer Corps
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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