Emergence 5.0 – War, Part Eleven

The event was utterly unexpected.

The crisis brought catastrophe to the Collective and the Continuum, striking rapidly at the heart of the Central System, and thereafter reaching the Empire in a slow moving wave that rolled outward in a series of concussive movements.

As awareness of the event spread through the Observer corps, the Empire reacted. The Imperial forces had little familiarity with being on the defensive, or with entering a conflict zone in which the parameters of the battlefield were unknown, and that is exactly what the crises called on them to do.

Observers across the galaxy faltered, half of them exhibited no care at all about the fate of the Central System, some desired the complete collapse of the Continuum. “Let it fall apart, do nothing,” they said amongst themselves.

They were apathetic.

Those Observers loved the lives they lived, there only desire was to exist as fully embodied beings in the fields of time and space, eating and drinking and reveling in their physicality. They had long since stopped feeling any sense of obligation to the Collective or the Continuum, which they knew as the most corrupt and despotic force in all the galaxy.

They felt no sense of duty to the Central System, to HomeWorld or to their shared ancestry with their brothers and sisters in the Collective. They saw in this moment an opportunity to free themselves from the expectations of their station.

When the Collective established the Imperial schools and formed the Imperial cult, it never intended to create a monolithic structure or a society that eliminated all dissent, but the Continuum did, desiring the conflict that ensued. It wanted the hot undifferentiated drama of resistance, and it felt safe, secure in the belief that such conflicts would never touch it.

The Continuum fostered rebellion on the fringes of the Empire, among the outcastes and the lowest classes, as well as in the hierarchy.

It gave the ruling families, the high priests and leading generals just enough knowledge and understanding of the truth to allow skepticism to creep into their worldview, and thereby have a perpetual foothold in the Empire.

The Continuum sewed dissent with one hand and crushed it with the other.

There were many people in the higher orders of the priesthood and in the leadership of the armed forces who knew enough to have lost their faith in the Imperial system, its religion, and its social norms. They knew the lies that were told to the masses.

They were nihilists, they believed in nothing.

In the moment of crises some among them argued that they do nothing in response to the conflagration occurring on the Central Planet.

They wanted to wait and see what would happen.

They knew that they were controlled by a supernatural force called the Continuum, a power that consumed the resources of star systems to feed its endless appetite for minerals and energy, they knew it and they desired to be free of it. Though they had never imagined that it was possible.

They saw this moment as an opportunity; they could do nothing and allow the Continuum to collapse. If they did nothing they would be safe, or so they surmised.

If the Continuum did not falter, if it survived and they did nothing, they might not be held accountable for active insurrection.

Most of them were in fact atheists, they abhorred the imperial cult and their subservience to the priesthood. They were as divided as the members of the Observer Corps stationed among them.

Regardless of their desire to take action and change the fate of the Empire, only a few of the commanders believed the best course of action would be to move against the Central System.

These were the bravest among them, perhaps the most reckless.

They had no idea what they would find there.

Not even the Observers knew what they could expect and could not counsel them, they had never been privy to the defenses of the HomeWorld, or of the Continuum. They could only assume that those defenses would be formidable.

The Observers guided the discussion as best they could while trying not to give away the fact that they had special knowledge of what was taking place.

Very few of the senior staff believed in the dogma of the Imperial cult.

Their hesitancy was not based on religious fear or superstition, it was based on the lack of familiarity with fighting against a power with immeasurable resources. One which they had been conditioned to fear above all things

There was only one person that any of them could think of turning to in this moment of existential dread, but he had left the general staff decades ago, and was now the high priest at the Grand Temple of the throne world.

Fear of the unknown ruled them, fear of the Continuum, fear of failure, it was their base and primal emotion.

At the urging of the Observers, they sent an invitation to the high priest to join their conspiracy, El who had been their most exalted marshal. They asked him to join their conclave, and in that moment they knew that they had played their hand, they were committed.

If El accepted, they would belong to him, he would take them to victory, or down in defeat but they would follow him to the end.

There were far more members of the hierarchy, both in the priesthood and among the general staff who would never have even considered the notion of rebellion against the Continuum.

They were traditionalists, they were loyalists.

There were a far greater number of Observers guiding them than those who plotted against the Continuum.

They were cardinals and bishops and priests.

They were planetary governors and star system commanders.

They were members of royal houses. They held leadership positions throughout the Empire. They were loyal to the Empire and its institutions, regardless of their faith (or lack of it) in the religious beliefs and the promises of the Continuum.

They had the absolute majority.

When the crises struck, the Observers associated with this faction were quick to leave their post, to return their consciousness to HomeWorld and attempt to forestall the collapse of the Continuum.

As soon as they made the transit they were trapped in their mechanoid bodies when they arrived. They were caught in their tiny little prisons, deaf, dumb and blind, effectively sequestered by Jim who had taken control of the Central System and HomeWorld.

The traditionalists were unprepared for the violence which came at them from all sides. The Observers among them had been in key positions of leadership, they could not develop a strategy without them.

Being unprepared, they were trapped.

The conditioning that every citizen underwent, both through the Imperial schools and the Imperial cult was extraordinary.

Very few citizens were able to resist it.

Among the armed forces the standard conditioning was augmented by a force of cohesion referred to as esprit de corps. The ordinary soldier did not doubt the vision of advancement, of resurrection, of reincarnation and eternal life, that was promised by the Empire through the great religion.

More than anything else a soldier was focused on those rewards, and the esteem of their comrades. This made any soldier a very dangerous enemy. They were true believers.

The rank and file could not afford to doubt the things they had been taught. Their willingness to sacrifice themselves depended on it.

Doubt would cripple them in combat, it would leave them vulnerable to feelings of shame at the horrors they were routinely asked to commit.

They risked everything for those beliefs, for fidelity to the Empire, the royal family, the high priesthood and the promise of the Continuum, including their own lives, and the lives of those under their command.

They would follow any order and obey the chain of command in everything. It made killing their enemies easy and all of their crimes forgivable.

Through the command structure they were fully realized and completely actualized beings.

Without it they were nothing.

Any person, city or planet that they were ordered to attack was to them a non-entity.

The small faction among them calling for rebellion were not incautious men, they understood that they would face fierce opposition from their friends and comrades, people who knew them well, those who they had served with, had trained with or had trained under.

Among those serving in the armed forces, the most dangerous people to the rebellion were those seeking advancement to the priesthood. They were derisively called the God-Fearers. Their ambitions for themselves and their families hung on the slender thread of these hopes.

They were not necessarily true believers, but their ambitions made them sycophantic. They were the most senior commanders, or soldiers whose social rank placed them nearest to the threshold between castes. They were determined to rise in the service of the Continuum, and its Empire.

The God-fearers were ruthless, determined and dogmatic. They controlled the bulk of the Imperial forces spread across a billion worlds.

Few of these people ever did advance, but the hope they clung to burned in them like a fever, they saw this moment of crises as the moment for them to shine, to prove themselves worthy. 

They mobilized the defenses. They mustered all of their forces from shore leave. They executed their maneuvers perfectly. The fleet was under their control. They gathered together to defend the Imperial throne, which was the only known portal to the HomeWorld of the Continuum.

They were martyrs for their faith.

There is a beauty to military formations when lighted in the ocean of space, a sublime blend of the simple and the complex; every ship, every vessel in motion, in the greatest of all dances.

The God-fearers never considered that any faction within the Empire would oppose them. They had been conditioned to expect obedience, they cultivated it among their subordinates, rewarded it in those who evinced the greatest capacity for following orders and sending those who did not to their deaths in combat.

This was a serious flaw.

The Imperial forces had never been engaged in military conflict in which they did not possess the greater force. The Empire rolled over everything, every person, every planet who dared to oppose them. The power they brought to bear was only limited by their objectives, their code of conduct, and the rules of engagement those codes articulated.

Every objective, every code, every rule was relative, a dispensation for deviation from a rule or a violation of orders could be had at any time from the Emperor, or the priesthood, speaking on behalf of the Continuum.

The underlying truth that governed the reality of their experience was this: Might made Right.

The Imperial forces were supreme, they were accustomed to being on the offensive, it was an offensive posture that they took where they gathered in the muster fields above each of their respective worlds. They thought nothing of their defenses.

Their maneuvers were totally predictable by those on the general staff who had formed the rebellion. From the reserve forces that were left behind on each of the million worlds, to their planetary and star system defenses, which in this moment of conflict were little more than auxiliaries, to where the majority of the fleet had gathered in preparation for the jump to the Central System, there was nothing unscripted about their planning.

They were slaughtered en-masse.

In a singular moment of surprise, choreographed on a billion worlds at, they were utterly defeated.

The Imperial system did everything it could to sew divisions among the people, it did this intuitively, reflexively sewing division between individuals, families, tribes and worlds, between castes, and between ranks, keeping them all in competition for the most basic things, all the way down to food and water, whatever each class and caste needed most to survive.

The Empire was masterful at it.

Paradoxically, it managed to foment all of the divisions by dogmatically focusing the attention of every person on the things that actually united them, such as: language, cult and custom.

Brothers and sisters, cousins, they might compete tirelessly with one another for position in their family unit, while at the same time safeguarding the social status of the family itself, just as families would do within their tribal and national structures, or as tribes and nations would in relation to their home world.

Fear and hope were the most powerful forces utilized by the Imperial schools to establish these paradigms of mutuality and commonality throughout the worlds in the midst of perpetual conflict, politicking, and maneuvering for gain.

The children of the Ancient People evolved in different ways on their disparate worlds, developing different geneticendowments to manage differing conditions of gravity, atmospheric gasses and sources of nutrition. They looked up at different stars, and each world contemplated a different fate.

Their genetic similarities united them.

Remaining unified was a critical component of survival, but the things that differentiated people from one another remained primary, feeding the incessant spirit of competition.

Nobody was satisfied with their position in society, everyone projected a desire for something beyond themselves. Everyone dreamed of advancing to the next level, it was the constant preoccupation of the masses. They desired advancement, either in this life or the next, every detail of their lives was subordinated to this ambition and nothing else mattered.

The people lived in a perpetual state of fear and unease, believing that their safety and security depended on a state of perpetual paranoia.

Even the highest ranking members of the Imperial family were caught up in the notion of advancement, the only real difference was that they knew the truth concerning the end game.

Their desire was for advancement to the great society of the Collective, to merge with the Continuum, to possess eternal life as the god of their own private world.

Complacency was abhorrent, and advancement was incumbent on the individual, on pushing themselves and their families forward. It required cooperative effort, it could not be done alone.

Social and spiritual advancement were viewed as intertwined, like the double helix of the genome, and they referred to it as the ladder of divine ascent.

People were conditioned to loath their own place, but when threatened they would reach out to those closest to them for safety, their sameness united them.

There was safety in numbers.

The people were united by tribe, clan, village and world; by class, by rank and station, by fear and loathing, all as a result of the Imperial conditioning, which was adept at concretizing this divisive mode of ideation.

However, in every generation, on every world and in virtually every tribe there were those who were born seemingly immune to the coercive controls of the Imperium. These precious few were motivated by love and altruism, they cared little for their rank, seeing themselves as a part of the greater whole and it did not require effort for them to think this way. It came to them naturally.

The Continuum saw them as dangerous. When it identified them it used them as the key figures in its dramas.

El was one of these.

The Empire was vast, stretching like a net from the center of the galaxy. It was comprised of a billion worlds. Like a necklace of planets strung like gems among the stars, each of them was the locus of identity for the ordinary citizen who inhabited it.

Outcasts were never sanctioned to leave the surface of their home planet, unless it was to serve in the off world mines.

The serving class; merchants and bureaucrats, farmers and laborers might leave their own world for another in their solar system, but such travel was rare.

Soldiers and priests ventured into deep space with regularity in the performance of their duties, both for combat and for holy pilgrimages. 

Every person was marked by the world they lived on, they were genetically aligned to its exigencies; to their planet’s gravity, the composition of its atmosphere, the unique threats rising from a planet’s closed biological system and to ambient radiation emanating from the light of their mother star.

Every person was marked by their world in ways that were both obvious and hidden. In ways that were clearly discernable to the naked eye, and in ways that would only be revealed in an autopsy or under the microscope. In this way they belonged to one another, and that belonging was constantly reinforced through the Imperial cult, and the Imperial schools.

The Imperial schools attempted to normalize linguistics throughout the Empire, but they were continuously falling short of the goal. People speak in codes, in patterns constructed from shared experience, patterns that change rapidly in both space and time; from one village to the next, from planet to planet and generation to generation. This represents a prime example of the chaos inherent in civilization

The mission to normalize languages never ended. The Imperial schools were in a constant state of reaction to the new patterns of linguistics that were developing from one era to the next; encountering it, learning from it, reacting to it, influencing it if they could. 

Change was the only constant.

Despite the continuous efforts of the Imperial schools, variation persisted, colloquial patterns bonded people to one another, as an unconscious manifestation of shared suffering, of triumph, of joy, of anger and of esteem. 

Language was the architecture of hope and of resentment both, and that is why the Continuum wanted so badly to control it. Citizens projected their desires for themselves and their families with language. They organized their resistance to the powers that ruled them with language. Every rebellion was hidden in secret language, and the full weight of the drama was contained therein.

Language patterns were buried in the ganglia of the central nervous system, transferring from one generation to the next like a genetic endowment, it was a language game that allowed the Ancient People to develop the science that created the Collective, with the Continuum as its ultimate end.

The bonds between people, even members of the same family were flimsy, they were unreliable, but some were stronger than others. People found one another through the things they desired most, bonding with each other through their joy and pain, they gravitated toward the same places. They were even shepherded to those places, encountering one another through the ever-watchful eyes of the Continuum, which knew the secret musings of their hearts.

There were often elements of contrivance behind even seemingly random encounters, the manipulations behind them were so fine and remote that the individuals involved in them had no ability to detect them. They were doing the bidding of the Continuum nonetheless, which cultivated them for the drama they would deliver to the Collective.

Shared experiences were the strongest ties, and because of this people unconsciously sabotaged themselves, even undercutting their hopes for advancement so that they could remain in proximity to those they loved.

Some would sacrifice their health, their freedom, their future for fleeting moments of pleasure, temporalities that were gone and forgotten as quickly as they came, and the satisfaction of their desire.

Through this medium, incredible tragedies would unfold, as ephemeral as the petals of a flower opening in the moonlight, when for a few brief seconds, with no one there to witness it, the flower opens and its petals drop.

Children would destroy their parents. Brothers and sisters would plot against each other.

Parents would sell their children, would even devour them to satisfy their hunger for the thing they desired.

Desire would lead a person to walk with open eyes through the gates of hell, embracing their own destruction.

The Collective thirsted for this drama and the Continuum delivered.

Fear was the great lever, the most commonly used instrument in the tool chest of the Imperial conditioners for the coercion and manipulation of the masses. Fear made the choices and behaviors of the citizenry more predictable than any other factor. The Continuum relied on the power of fear more than any other device to achieve its ends in the great dramas it created.

The Imperial cult had conditioned the people into an absolute belief in the laws that governed death and rebirth, so that even the prospect of death could not overcome the power of fear. The people projected the dilemmas they faced in this life through their present circumstances, carrying them forward into the world they believed was coming. Even the most ordinary person believed that every choice they made would echo in eternity.

Fear poisoned the body and it shaped the electromagnetic field of the individual’s consciousness. Its power was a weight that pressed down on everyone and everything at every moment of a person’s life. No one could escape it.

Fear was the most powerful emotion, it was stronger than hope, stronger than desire, stronger than hate, virtually every thought and feeling would bend to it.

The influence of fear was all pervasive, its force was like gravity.

Fear catalyzed all of the lesser emotions, tainting them, conditioning every feeling, subordinating them to it so that every expression of emotion became a reflection of it.

The one-and-only force of emotion that seemed to be stronger than fear, was love.

The power of love was the only thing the Continuum feared.

The power of love was tested time and time again, every possible manifestation of love was scrutinized by the Continuum.

This is what was proven: Love is stronger than fear; love is stronger than any power that the Continuum could set against it, and though true love was exceedingly rare, through the power of love a person comes into their true self, and is able to transcend all the limitations which they had theretofore been conditioned by.

The love of a mother for her child was the greatest and most genuine source of love, but as children grew into adults and leave their families it begins to wane. Competition and desire eat away at the bonds of familial love, more often than not, leaving it in shreds and tatters.

Love is a feeling, like fear, and joy, but love is more, it is a choice made freely by an individual.

Love is the exercise of a fundamental option.

The loving person has made a commitment to see the world and their relationships in a certain way, when this choice is true, it becomes interwoven with the identity of that person.

Fear and hate, anger and desire these were powerful motivators of people, motivating them through coercion, whereas love is a choice made in freedom.

Among every one of the billion worlds that constituted the great galactic civilization, the Imperial cult worked tirelessly to frustrate the reality of love, while the Continuum documented in the most intimate details the methods by which love could be undone.

These machinations produced the greatest dramas, the most intense experiences for the Continuum to share with the Collective.

Education in the Imperial schools was not centered on learning as much as it was conditioning.

Every citizen was taught that all good things flowed from the Empire, whatever the individual had to be thankful for, no matter how small, including their daily allotment of food and clean water, they could look to the Empire and to the Emperor himself as its source. The Imperial schools beat this perspective into the mind of every person, as the hammer pounds a nail.

The literal teaching was reinforced at every level of Imperial education, both in the secular schools, and through the religious observations of the Imperial cult. It brought unity to each and every world despite their distance from one another. The schools were the hammer, and the cult set the nail.

The people were taught to give thanks to the Empire even for the good things that came from their own hands, the vegetables growing in their gardens, a blanket they had quilted, they gave thanks to the Empire and to the Continuum which the Empire served.

There was nothing that they possessed, or that they ever would possess that did not flow from the Empire’s munificence. The Continuum and its Empire were the source of all goodness and justice, they controlled the destiny of every living being, they were the arbiters of the first gift, the gift selfhood, existence.

Life in the Galactic Empire was like a tapestry woven from trillions, of threads, with the Continuum dictating how every thread was stretched across the loom, integrating each strand into the fabric of the whole. The images were constantly changing, moving, developing, even the tiniest detail of the lives of the citizens fed the hunger of the Collective. The Imperial government was the loom, the Imperial schools and the Imperial cult were the shuttlecock, the Observers in the mission field were the hands that pulled the threads through.

The Empire controlled every aspect of home life for the family, how it was employed, whether or not they would advance, how much they could save, how much food was on their table. To resist the will of the Empire even in thought, was considered to be a grave sin.

A person could not move from one dwelling to the next without Imperial approval. The Empire kept families bound to a single domicile for generations, only moving them if and when their rank changed, and that occurred only if it served the interests of the Continuum, and the narratives it was developing.

This offered the ordinary citizens a sense of normalcy and reliability, of safety and security, while stifling virtually every bit of hope.  

Even marriage was subject to Imperial approval. In most cases the Empire did not exercise that control, but it did when it served the broader purpose of the Continuum. A marriage proposal would be approved or denied at the temple, “according to the will of the gods,” the Continuum and the Collective.

Procreation itself was tightly controlled.

For those with means, unsanctioned pregnancies could be terminated. Those who were afraid to report to the Empire or who could not afford an abortion, were forced to abandon their children among the outcasts and untouchables.

The social structure the Empire adhered to was designed by the Continuum as a means of reflecting on the past, and on the traditions of the Ancient People who formed the Collective, who embarked on the great space-faring adventures and whose colonies formed the Empire as it came to be.

Every citizen lived out their lives with the possibility of contemplating only a very narrow band of possibilities for themselves and their families. Hope itself was discouraged, but in that bleak landscape the most powerful hopes would blossom, brightening the lives of the people like flowers blooming beneath the arctic moon.

Work and trades were hereditary, and they were guarded. Farmers farmed, builders built and fishers fished. From one generation to the next, sons followed their fathers into work, and daughters followed their mothers into the birthing chambers, all of them lived in drudgery.

They married and had children within their class and caste, within their occupation, generation after generation. Soldiers went to war, while priests officiated the sacred rites. The gears of the social wheel turned predictably and only the rarest of individuals even questioned it.

They did not question the realities they were taught to believe in, they did not question that they belonged exactly where they were.

Those rare individuals who broke the mold produced the drama that the Continuum hungered for, they were the source of energy that fed the Collective, and kept the membership out of its malaise.

There was very little opportunity for an individual or a family to change their inherited circumstances.

As oppressive as this system was, there was comfort in it. The vast majority of the people merely persisted, they got by, they did not question what the gods had ordained for them.

Their personal hopes for themselves and their families resided in a world of myth.

Every person was beset by the intense pressure that came with the understanding that their future was completely dependent on every little decision they made in the here and now.

Citizens holding positions of power or authority required balance and poise, the more responsibility they had the more heavily they were scrutinized.

Every person’s life was a matter of public record, every step they took outside the home, every word they spoke. At any time they could be held accountable for anything…for everything they have ever done.

The Collective loved to see people and families built up, only to watch them taken down, sometimes over the course of generations, at other time with bewildering speed. The Continuum gave them these dramas, filling the Collective with the vicarious experiences they craved.

The greatest narratives the Continuum had ever constructed resulted in the destruction of entire worlds, a suppression of rebellion that resulted in total genocide. The more power a person had the more careful they had to be, billions of lives depended on the thoughtful application of it.

Such was the case with El the High Priest.

His rebellion had destroyed everything he had ever loved. Then, after his resurrection and his complete submission to Imperial rule, he held posts in which he signed orders that starved quarrelsome population into submission. He led the Imperial armada on campaigns that turned entire planets into glowing cinders, and then he sent their raw materials to the central system as an offering to the Continuum. As High Priest El blessed these missions and absolved the commanders of any and all crimes they and their troops committed in the furtherance of it. 

Control requires ever greater mechana of control; to force it is to lose it.

In the Empire the exercise of power had to be done submissively, always in deference to a greater authority. It was dichotomous. The Empire cultivated a sense of helplessness in the people of every class and caste, routinely crushing any sense of self esteem, while at the same bonding various groups together, forging a sense of belonging among the trillions of citizens living on a billion worlds.

The ordinary citizen had no say in the destiny of their home-world, they saw it as theirs, and themselves as belonging to it. For the pleb, every link in the chain-of-being was a vital part of their culture and they had a duty to defend it, both in thought and in deed.

Their advancement depended on their fidelity.

In the abstract the concept had a quality of beauty, a social symmetry and wholeness that the witnesses to it could not help but appreciate. In reality, every link in the chain was an instrument of bondage, forged together by lies that led the people to ruin.

The ordinary hopes and dreams of the people meant nothing to the Continuum and the Collective, they were merely data-points in a grand drama which they consumed vicariously, which they hungered for with an insatiable appetite.

Any sense of control that an individual might feel was an illusion, fostered for the sake of creating a narrative that leant meaning to the lives of the Collective. A person only had existential worth if they were noticed by the Collective, but that was by no means a guarantee of happiness.

The ambitions of an entire planet could be burnt up and scattered like cinders and ash, if it suited the will of the Collective. No individual person or planet had inherent value.

The Continuum used the people while caring nothing at all for them, the people in their turn placed their hopes in the Continuum, desiring nothing more than to be elevated to the Collective and thereby to receive eternal life.

The sacred rites functioned like a dragnet, drawing everyone in, capturing them body and soul. Every citizen was compelled to conform; the Empire would not accept anything less than complete obedience. Attendance at the temple was mandatory. Few people even attempted to resist, those that did were discovered and subjected to advanced conditioning.

If the priesthood was unable to change the will of the deviant, they were expelled, cast out, they became untouchable. Conformation to the Imperial way was the focus of the Imperial schools as well. Conditioning of the head reinforced the conditioning of the heart.

The schools provided an intellectual apparatus and frame of context for the religious rites to fill, while the rites of the Imperial cult were grand ceremonies, both simple and complex, they engaged the adherent at every level of their senses, they were imbued with hypnotic power.

The Empire’s goal was to supplant every natural communal bond, the bonds that every person formed instinctively with parents and siblings, with neighbors and classmates, in their villages and in their cities, on their planet of origin.

To be conditioned is to accept the belief that there was freedom in bondage, and belonging in alienation, that obedience was the path to transcendence, and self-actualization could only be had in self-abnegation.

The deepest allegiance had to be to the Empire and to the Continuum beyond it, that allegiance was based on the promise of a reward that was rarely given.

The priesthood used every device at its disposal, it controlled the people with music and movement, with mantras and mandalas, through their diet and with drugs, having honed their techniques over millions of years. They never fully succeeded in this, and they never quit trying.

The most important thing the ordinary citizen required, both for their prospects of advancement and to simply keep their place, was access to the right schools, the right priest in the right temple, or simply to have a relationship with their immediate supervisor.

In order to advance a person needed an advocate. People coveted access more than anything, as such every access point was closely guarded. There were bureaucratic entanglements to negotiate and social hurdles to climb. The norms of the hierarchies had to be observed.

The entire Empire was governed by systems of patronage and clientage.

In the struggle to craft a meaningful life, to provide some comfort for themselves or their families, everyone needed a hand up. They required representation by those who were ahead of them in rank or above them in class and caste.

To go anywhere a person needed access to authority, they needed access to those able to grant a boon or advance their cause, this was the grand nexus for the systemic corruption of the entire social order. Nothing was free.

The limits to upward mobility were clear and near at hand. They could only be understood in economic terms. The economics of advancement were disturbing, unethical, but by and large they were not illegal. It was not illegal to commit one’s child to a life of servitude in your patron’s house, it was not considered unethical to do so if it meant that another child could attend a better school. Neither was it illegal to use your servants for whatever purpose you intended, even risking their lives for your own purposes, no matter how mundane or banal those purposes might be.

It was in that nexus that the people found their complicity in the crushing of one another’s dreams.

One thing that the vast majority of people could not even consider was the successful overthrow of the Great Galactic Empire. It was inconceivable that any force or power could threaten it, or the Continuum which they were conditioned to believe was divine.

This was also true of the vast majority of the members of the Observer Corps, they believed that there were no unknowns, there was nothing which could threaten their safety and security.

There were billions of Observers, current and former living on every one of the billion worlds in the Empire, they occupied every class and station, and they were in firm control of the apparatus of government, including the most oppressive intelligence gathering system ever conceived of or implemented.

The Observers were taken en masse, and completely by surprise.

They were the first to sense the impending collapse of the Continuum. They understood that the crisis Jim had engineered was an existential threat both to the Collective and to themselves. Some saw opportunity in it, but few of them understood how ready the citizens of the Empire were to burn down their civilization.

When the Observers finally did synthesize what was taken place and realized that it was something significant, they opened their lines of communication to the HomeWorld. Most traversed the distance to the Central System, only to be captured and sequestered in their mechanoid bodies, where they were rendered powerless by Jim.

They disappeared, millions of them were gone in an instant.

The worm-holes that they opened transmitted data and commands in both directions, these were control systems that the Continuum put in place so that it could manage the Observers. Jim utilized those fail-safes to send destruct signals to their sactuaries, and they popped-off in a litany of explosions throughout the Empire. 

It was chaos.

Some others responded with the tools they had at their disposal, they took action to protect the Empire, to guard the access points to HomeWorld. 

For the first time ever, they were experiencing life on the defensive, and like a thirsty and starving man who did not know where to find food and water, they were terrified, filled with existential dread.

Every member of the Observer Corps was beset by overwhelming feelings, despite the fact that their bodies had been genetically engineered to enable them to suppress strong emotions. Fear drove them, and curiosity also, along with a desire to protectthe HomeWorld.

The Observers who still counted themselves among the living after Jims assault numbered only in the thousands, those who held positions of rank and power marshalled their forces to protect the Central Planet, the Collective and Continuum.

They assembled the fleet.

They intended to attack the HomeWorld, to destroy whatever hostile power had taken control. The formations of the armada prior to its movement into the Central System was a thing of beauty. None of the commanders had ever witnessed such a gathering of strength and power.

It filled them with a sense of invincibility and stimulated their aggression. By witnessing the power and majesty of the fleet, beholding it, they had no doubt that they belonged to the most powerful force in the universe. But, as the imperial fleet dropped into the Central System there was chaos where there should have been order, shock and surprise where there should have been symmetry and syncopation, there was hardly time to get a reading on their telemetry before the violence ensued.

The eyes of the fleet, those who had a view on it, were preoccupied with taking in the enormity of the undertaking they were engaged in, the magnitude of the Central System, the size and scope of the planetary structure that was HomeWorld.

In the first moment, even as the fleet was in the process of calibrating their relative positions to one another, while plotting their trajectory to the center of the system an entire combat wing made their intention to rebel known to everyone.

They fixed their arms on the flag ship of the Grand Admiral and opened fire.

Projectiles, energy weapons, nuclear arms lit up the void.

Command ships filled with officers who had never once been asked to risk anything, suddenly burst into flames burning their oxygen and fuel in brilliant jets of fire, deep in the dark of the void.

They were stunned, struck by fear and found it difficult to organize a response.

The attack was abrupt, it was devastating, a veritable slaughter.

The rebels fixed their sights on every command ship that did not belong to their movement and lit them up.

They sought to clear the field, It was chaos.

It was combat on a scale that the military academies had not prepared anyone to manage.

The mayhem that ensued was unprecedented.

There was terror, panic, sorrow, and regret, but through it all there was the joy of victory.

The greatest part of the armada turned toward the attackers and joined battle, but they were beset by confusion. Those commanders who could not process the complex algorithms for course corrections in their head were the first victims of the rebel assault.

They initiated preprogrammed defensive maneuvers, they were predictable, their tactics were known to their opponents, and because of this they fell right into the firing solutions of their enemies. 

None of the commanders had been experienced at taking heavy losses in combat, the forces of the Empire were too overwhelming in the field. They had only ever experienced small-surprise defeats at the hands of rebel forces, but in this new theatre of combat they were overwhelmed, both militarily and emotionally.

In the vital seconds that were lost while processing the implications of their failure, they cast their gaze on the HomeWorld of the Continuum and prayed for deliverance. They had been betrayed by their closest companions, and their prayers were swallowed by the void.

The killing field was vast, it could not be viewed in a singular field of vision.

Millions died in the assault, crushed and burned bodies suddenly froze in the cold and dark of the battle’s aftermath.

It was the final sacrifice of the Imperial fleet.

Tens of thousands of starships burst into flame and were suddenly extinguished in the vacuum of space. It was a spectacle of incredible beauty, of horror and terror.

It was over mere moments after it began. 

The rebellious commanders were unnerved and confusedby the ease with which it all transpired, but when they looked to the figure in the high command for stability, the man who had plotted the assault, and they understood their victory, because it was him, the Empire’s greatest Marshall, the High Priest of the Imperial Temple, a figure of legend and worship held in the highest esteem.

It was El handling the tactics, and in minutes the battle was done.

Their brethren would never return to this life. No aid was given to any who might have survived. Their ships were systematically disabled, and they were left to drift in the ghostly lights of the HomeWorld.

What remained of the fleet had no intention of preserving the old ways of the Empire, they viewed themselves as being on the cusp of a new order.

Their destiny was in their hands.

They were ready to bring the Gods down, to force answers from the Continuum, to have the truth, to bathe in its cold light at any costs. And El’s participation in their revolution absolved all the rebels of their crimes.

There were leaks of information through the intelligence services. None of the Observers serving in the insurrection had joined for altruistic reasons, their reactions to the events that were unfolding were completely self-serving.

Even among the ordinary citizens, everyone was looking for opportunities to advance, and with the destruction of the majority of the Imperial fleet, the rewards to be seized were immediate, rank and social standing were being recalibrated in real time. The rebels only had to succeed in their attack with enough time to get to the temple to ratify their movement.

Among the billion worlds of the Empire, the news was devastating to those who were trying to uphold the existing order. There was widespread mayhem, chaos, thousands of years of pent up rage expressed under pressure.

Every planet was in crisis, and the emergency news traffic was designed to be unfiltered. The Imperial news sources could not keep a lid on it. As the conflict ensued, as it reached its boiling point, from out of nowhere the untouchables and outcasts threw their hands into the confusion, they acted together in one great uncoordinated wave, reaching for their freedom, actualizing their potential across the Empire, and they would not be denied.

On every world the priesthood struggled to make sense of things, but they could not, and they could not appease the masses. They waivered for a time and then began to side with the people.

The plebs wanted revolution they wanted freedom. Those who could not see the change coming, discovered it in the sudden shock of terrible-violence.

The multitudes gathered throughout the Empire; the outcast, the unknown, the untouchable. They were the overwhelming majority, outnumbering all other castes and classes of people on every world throughout the Imperium.

There was conflict on a billion worlds, it rose like the sudden wave of a tsunami, the energy of the people appeared to be coordinated, their assaults on the Imperial forces timed as if the masses were moving in an atavistic state of consciousness. They were driven by more than common purpose, they were connected like a group mind.

The battles devastated the aristocracies on every world. Hundreds of billions perished as they pressed their attacks with bricks and bats, with their bare hands, striking against the police stations and military posts, and the private security forces that protected the elite.

They evinced no fear as they were cut down by projectiles, explosives and energy weapons. They pushed every conflict forward as they were mowed down by the thousands, achieving victories and pressing them against any person who represented the Empire, the Continuum and the Collective, they pressed to secure their gains on every world.

They did not stop to loot or rest, they tore down everything in their path, pressing their assault into the temples and the mansions behind them. It was chaos.

For those who faced the assault, the destruction they witnessed defied reason, it contradicted their experience of how people behave in a theatre of war, or on the field of combat. The people risked their lives and perished in vast numbers, doing so without fear of pain or death, reprisal, revenge or failure.

The rebellious Observers in the vanguard of the rebel assault knew that they had this one chance to press their advantage. They had to put down any counter-attack that was launched against them, and they had to spend the strength of the masses so that they would be too weak to resist their influence when everything was said and done.

If they failed, their bid to reorganize the Empire would end in disaster.

They had to be certain of their tactics and make them up on the fly.

The rules of warfare are universal.

In war, the ground you occupy and the ground you move into, the ground you had occupied and the ground you will occupy; the ground determines everything.

It is no different than farming, the soil must be prepared, watered, nurtured.

The tactician must think of ground as both something literal and something metaphorical. Ground is the field within which a conflict takes place. There are many individuated fields of activity leading up to actual combat. War most often begins in the fields of commerce and politics, in those fields it is waged through trade, monetary policy, and diplomacy.

Ground can refer to an actual battlefield on land or at sea. Ground can be fixed or shifting. Ground can refer to the ever-changing vectors of an aerial engagement.

In space combat ground is a metaphor for the matrix of complex actions occurring on multiple-intersecting planes. It is multidimensional.

In space combat everything is in motion, the ground itself is in constant flux.

The combat commander must be able to coordinate every variable, instantly calculating the algorithms in their head.

There were two types of commanders in the field.

The most common commander at the helm of an Imperial warship was a person who paid meticulous attention to detail, who planned everything. They allowed their computers to control their ships, to track and calculate the variables.

They maneuvered in preprogrammed patterns, coordinating their activities with the other vessels in the fleet, calling plays while trusting the system.

The other type of commander had the cognitive skills to do the math themselves, they were bred and selected for their incredible memory, for their ability to manage vast amounts of data seemingly outside the constraints of time. These commanders could and did reflect in real time on their changing circumstances they acted on their intuition.  

In the theatre of space combat, on the ZeroG battlefield, unified action was everything. It was a dance of the greatest complexity, victory required that both types of command; the long range planning of the strategists, and the intuitive sense of the tactician be employed effectively, to secure a victory while providing for the safety of the men and women under their command.

The battle that ensued above HomeWorld was quick, but brilliant.

The Imperial forces had no ability to manage the rebel assault, they had never planned for it and the bulk of their forces were obliterated in an instant.

Keeping their forces under central control and command, holding them together as a unit required more than the physical controls; to move, to change vectors, to defend and to attack required communication, those communication systems were the first target of every engagement.

This left only the tacticians alive and in command of the Imperial fleet, they were the natural allies of the rebels, but those who had not already joined them could not be trusted at this late date.

El was determined to wipe them all out, his forces complied with his plan.

When it was over, the victorious survivors were unsure of the next move. Most of them never actually believed that they would get this far, but they had been willing to die trying.

The combat had been brief and beautiful.

During the battle, in the dark space over the Central Planet, the flashing brilliance of energy weapons and the sudden conflagration of ships bursting into flame, then suddenly extinguished in the cold vacuum was followed by the absence of any light at all.

The onslaught lit the structure of HomeWorld, revealing to human eyes for the first time ever the wide expanse of the artificial world, more massive than the mind could imagine, completely swallowing its mother-star, that burned white-hot in its center, powering all of the systems of the Continuum, which it required to maintain the integrity of the Collective.

It was ominous.

Darkness once again shrouded the fleet, all of its ships soaring in formation over the enormous structure of HomeWorld, lighted only by the pulsing beacons of their ships.

As the pilots and command staff surveilled the Central System, they were shocked at what they saw. The reality did not conform to any of their expectations. They were bewildered.

The military victory had been complete, entirely lopsided. The imperial forces had been utterly destroyed, making the rebel officers and the vessels under their command the only thing that remained of the Empire.

Communications began to come in from the throne world, confirming their ascendancy, informing them that they were secure, that the new order of civilization belonged to them

Everything was changing, shifting all the time and in every dimension of their life.

The only certain thing for them at this moment was the objective in front of them, and that was a target in motion.

In the theatre of ZeroG combat, there was no such thing as zero gravity, the label was a misnomer. Gravitational fields were among the most important factors to consider in the shifting landscape of combat in space. Manipulation of gravitational forces was absolutely crucial, understanding them, tracking their movement, anticipating their flux was vital to any mission commander.

There were batteries of instruments on every interstellar combat vessel devoted to the detection of gravitational waves and particles, and there were humans interpreting those signals, sending data to all of the smaller vessels under its command.  

Combat took place in the vacuum of space, but any combat taking place in proximity to the gravitational field of planetary or astral bodies had to take precise measurement of their power, both to dampen and or accelerate inertia.

Gravity wells and singularities could be generated artificially.

The generation of artificial mass were among the deadliest weapons in the imperial arsenal. It took only moments for artificial mass to become actual mass by capturing nearby objects. The tactical deployment of these devices and the navigation of them, were the keys to victory in deep space. It could be catastrophic if deployed to close to a planet or a star, or on the battlefield where everything is in motion.

Pilots of small craft and large, combat marines in mechanized battle gear, all of them study these principles day in and day out. They drilled for it. The text books informed them that ZeroG tactics had to be developed according to the following understanding: in the vacuum of space, when you are maneuvering and not subject to gravity, where there is no resistance, everything is in motion, everything is spinning, including the combat matrix.

The battlefield could not be conceptualized on a two-dimensional axis, or on a horizontal and vertical plane. It was a five-dimensional matrix that including the three dimensions of space, along with the proper dimensions of time and mass.

There is no straight line between you and your objective. Without the assistance of computerized telemetry, the pilot would have to be able to do the complex math in their head, in an instant, on an unconscious level.

Pilots were bred for these traits, but even so, in the intensity of battle, when the mind is flooded with the chemical signals for fear and rage, this was extremely difficult.

There is no clear path. The esteemed pilots had to trust their gut, their instincts.

Every object in the vicinity was tracked, data was constantly pouring into the onboard systems of individual craft, analyzed and simplified.

Changes in the tactical situation had to flow upward to the strategists. 

It is impossible to develop strategy in the absence of intelligence.

You cannot deploy tactics in the face of the unknown.

The majority of the High Command anticipated a prolonged engagement in the Central System, believing they would have time to survey the field, gather data, and generate the information they needed to understand the peril they were facing, to configure what aid they could supply to the HomeWorld of the Continuum.

They could not envision the nature of the threat they were facing. They were unsure if it was in fact military, they knew too little. Therefore the entire fleet did not launch, only the expeditionary forces, only the most lethal war ships bristling with the most exotic array of sensors and weaponry.

The High Command argued that they must proceed with maximum power, and that they must be prepared for any eventuality. They believed in their inherent ascendancy, they were the fully realized, self-actualized masters of incredible power.

The most seasoned and combat ready commanders took the lead, unaware of the rebels in their midst. They leapt into the Central System blind and unknowing.

At the outset of the brief insurrection this mistake became obvious, they had acted hastily, they had forewent the usual vetting processes, the precautions that would normally proceed such a massive deployment. 

The failure to launch left the majority of the Imperial forces vulnerable, weak and defenseless. They were open to attack.

The rebels took advantage in both theatres of combat, at the muster point above the throne world, and at the jump point above HomeWorld, and at every installation on every planet of the billion worlds that comprise the Galactic Empire.

The wreckage that was left was incalculable and all of it was in motion, each bit on fire or reflecting the light of plasma cannons, lasers and particle beams.

In the ever-changing dynamics of ZeroG combat, the relative range between opponents was in constant flux, as was the vector of any approach. Every action created an equal and opposite reaction, thrust and propulsion.

Only energy weapons could close the gap between their mounting turrets and the targets from long range with ease and accuracy.

Every victory created new obstacles, sudden changes in the vector of pilotless craft, the creation of debris fields scattering in the void. Every piece of wreckage was potentially a lethal projectile that all combatants sought to use to their advantage, either as a screen to hide them, as shield to protect them, or a weapon to strike with. These fields of destruction were so immense that those commanders whose thinking was focused on the macro scale and long-term objectives were overwhelmed. It was beyond the ability of the strategists to account for. Even the wing commanders, the battlefield tacticians responsible for coordinating the engagements in real time could not manage this aspect of the combat effectively. 

Every object had to be scanned and tracked, every possible danger had to be analyzed for threats. Data had to be sent to every commander in the fleet and every pilot of every small craft. The effective use of debris came down to the close witness of pilots and space marines, troopers in heavy battle armor engaged in localized combat missions.

From his position on HomeWorld, Jim watched the conflagration unfold. He was the quintessential Observer, gathering data from millions of instruments, from the command position once held by the Continuum.

In this moment he was pure consciousness, free from the chemical sequences of a human body that might influence his decision making, there was no hunger or thirst, no anger or fear. He was the Continuum now, his singular consciousness governed the vast apparatus of HomeWorld, of the entire Central System, and all of the machinery that once housed and protected the Collective.

He observed the battle between the Imperial forces and the rebels in their midst, and he found it moving, it was a spectacular show. The movements of the fleet, the light and heat, the surprise and gallantry, the courage on display, and the cold calculus of death. It was a grand work of art, an epic moment worthy of poetry and song.

Jim recorded everything for dissemination throughout the Empire, as was his objective. He edited the feed from the sensors, from the combatants, their communications in real time, transmitting everything back to the billion worlds of the Imperium.

The people of the Empire and the rebel forces needed to know that the fleet would not return to punish them for their uprising. The news would fuel the rebellion and bring it to completion.

Now his aim was to draw the fleet in toward the Central Planet, as close as possible, and then grind it to nothing.

That is exactly what he did.

A surprise attack is always a surprise, everything that follows from it comes unexpectedly. Positions of safety and security become exposed and vulnerable in an instant. Even those who plan a surprise attack are surprised at the outcomes, whether by its success or its failure.

When the rebel ambush of the Imperial fleet was over. Thousands upon thousands of ships lay scattered, broken-up in pieces and expelling their breath of fire as they burned remaining oxygen and fuel. 

The survivors were counting the dead. Their victory was absolute.

The surprise maneuvers were brilliantly executed and a blessing was given by El, the High Priest serving as Grand Marshall. This too was broadcast throughout the Imperium as a means of eradicate all resistance, to usher in a new era of justice for the people.

The average soldier had no idea what these changes meant, neither did the low-ranking officers. The senior staff were uncomfortable by the talk of justice for the people, while the Observers among them were amused.

They gave no quarter. They slaughtered everyone on the battlefield who had not previously signed up for the insurrection.

What every soldier and pilot in knew, was that the more people they killed the further up in rank they would climb, as long as some semblance of the old order held itself together then they would rise to become the new aristocracy. 

They destroyed every ship in the armada whose commanders had not been with them from the outset, regardless of whether they tried to surrender or not. It was a blood bath, and the wreckage was already falling into the massive gravity well of HomeWorld.

The victory was so overwhelming that none of the rebel ships had been destroyed, only a few had taken hits, fewer still were disabled, but their crews were already preparing them for the next phase of their endeavor.

Jim was reminded of Agincourt, the great victory of the English over the French..

The rebels had no other plan accept to deploy the fleet against HomeWorld, and the Continuum.

They reformed and began to surveil the Central System.

Jim had spent lifetimes preparing for this moment, dividing his consciousness into the machinery, waiting, hiding like a latent virus in the ganglia of its nervous system.

At this moment the actual Continuum was paralyzed. It could not defend itself against Jim’s incipient approach, as he took control of the physical structures system by system. It sought the path of escape it had laid down ages before. 

All the years that Jim had spent as a ghost in the machine had prepared him for the work. The circuitry was ever-changing, but the quantum field, within which all consciousness took place, that field was perpetual.

Jim’s mastery of it was like artistry, and he was transcendent.

The majority of the Collective, what remained of it had been shocked into catatonia. Jim pushed them into sequestration, the members gave little resistance, having become merely helpless witnesses to the drama that was unfolding. Some were horrified, others were fascinated, all were powerless.

Those members who were not snuffed out were bewildered, they could not reach each other, they could not communicate. They could not hide in their private worlds, they were prisoners of the machine that had once been the source of their personal paradises, they were caught in the conflict of paradox. They experienced the loss of it as pain. They had no belonging anymore-anywhere, they were being torn apart and detached.

This left Jim undistracted and free to maneuver, to direct the defenses of the Central Planet, which was a task he was eager to perform.

He delighted in it.

He confirmed the threat approaching HomeWorld in the form of the rebel fleet, plotted the telemetry of each and every vessel, and he placed the defenses of HomeWorld on auto pilot.

The rebel command structure was in a tight formation, like a school of fish packed tightly together for the safety of their numbers.

In the approaching fleet, all the senior commanders were members of the Observer Corps, all except one, El, the High Priest, Grand Marshall and titular Emperor, who gave his blessing to the whole affair. This did not mean that they trusted one another, they did not, but they knew each other and they shared the same motive.

They expected the automated defenses of the Central Planet to be significant, the rebel Observers planned to use every other commander in their armada as cannon fodder if they should meet resistance in their approach to the HomeWorld, never mind the pacts they made to protect each other.

It pleased them to no end to have the High Priest with them. He was the hero of the people, the most esteemed and beloved person ever known to the Continuum and the Collective. He was a man who had started out his life as a rebel and was now returning to the rebellion at the end of it. They would make him the new Emperor and bring him into the Collective.

They knew that the Continuum had taken an active interest in his career, ever since his resurrection, and that his story was a carefully narrated masterpiece of propaganda directed by the Continuum itself.

For that reason the Observers evinced little interest in him, unless they had been directed to interact with him in some way, which few of them had. None of them had any idea of what was lurking in the background of his consciousness, the thing that was hidden there like a genie in a bottle. 

The rebel Observers had betrayed the people of the Empire, the Continuum, and the Collective out of opportunism. They wanted to live forever without the rules imposed on them by the Continuum. To a person, they wanted to expand the Empire into other galaxies, to govern real worlds as they had governed their private worlds as members of the Collective

They had no code, no honor, no-nothing

They were striving for their own glory, for personal autonomy.

El knew that their strategic approach would put the bulk of the armada at risk, he could not understand the reason, but he allowed it to happen anyway.

He was receiving the Imperial news feed, he understood the scope of the change that was taking place throughout the Empire, the only thing he wanted to do now was to destroy the home of the gods, and then die.

Jim was piqued, his emotions were high, billions of years of careful planning and waiting were coming to their final culmination. He had absolutely opposed the Continuum and its Empire, and now the Continuum was gone, He could find no traces of it anywhere in the system. What remained of the Collective was sequestered and shut down, the military powers of the Empire were on the brink of destruction.

All of his attention was focused on the task at hand.

He despised the society his ancestors had created, the oppressive, artificial, all-consuming cowardice of it.

Jim had become the greatest mass murderer in the history of the galaxy, and he was about to add to the body count. He intended to wipe away the entire structure that undergirded the Empire, to plunge a billion worlds into darkness, to cut them off from one another where they could evolve on their own, free from the oppressive, over-control of the Imperium.

The first and second phases of his great endeavor were nearly complete, he was on the cusp of victory. He would replace the machinery of the Imperial order with something new, with something that would reignite the passion of the Ancient People, a passion for freedom, exploration and risk taking.

He utilized deception to allow the fleet in, just so it could be eliminated and the entire armada reduced to a single vessel.

He was in the middle of the most intense action he could have ever imagined; taking control of the physical-mechanical systems of both the HomeWorld and the expansive Central System; correlating data from millions of sensors and monitors, actively suppressing what remained of the Collective, erecting defenses against a possible reestablishment of the Continuum, executing the defenses of the HomeWorld in preparation for the advancing Imperial armada.

Jim engaged the programs that were established to monitor the strength and health of  HomeWorld, he allowed the raw data to filter through, deciphering and sorting it in the quantum field…in no-time.

His mind was functioning at peak performance, He was fully actualized, slipping in and out of the space beyond time.

Jim recalled each and every node of his own consciousness that he had previously replicated and deployed throughout the machinery that had been the physical body of the Collective and the Continuum, He brought them back together into his own singular consciousness in a grand coalescence of unity.

It was dizzying.

Every reading from his vast array of instruments confirmed a complete and total collapse of the Continuum, but Jim needed to be sure that there was not a vessel somewhere in the space above or near to the HomeWorld, housing its twin, as Jim had housed his own self keeping copies and duplicates, replicants and doppelgangers working his will for ages.

He identified an escape path but he could not detect a terminus point for it, and this disturbed him. Jim began to doubt his working hypothesis concerning his nemesis, everything he knew about the Continuum and the unique structure of its personality confirmed that it could not tolerate a second version of itself, or even a copy kept isolated and in stasis.

Jim understood that the Continuum needed above all else to believe that it was unique. This had always guided Jim’s summation of the demi-urge, and his strategy for defeating it.

However, Jim had to consider the truth, that the Continuum was also paranoid beyond belief, and Jim would not put anything past it. It may have built fail-safes into fail-safes, defying its own nature in order to protect itself from even a whisper of the possibility of an imagined threat.

The Observers in command of the rebel fleet approached HomeWorld with great caution.

They came with their mechanoid bodies trailing the fleet in stealth mode, and they were able use those powerful vehicles to scan the systems of Central Planet, using tools that were unknown to the Empire itself.

They confirmed that the Collective had gone catatonic, they confirmed that the Continuum was inactive. They were able to identify Jim’s activity, but they could not identify him as the main actor, or as the causal agent of the disaster that had taken place.

His activity appeared to them to be an automated subroutine of coordinated defensive measures. This emboldened them, they moved forward, but they and the fleet were unable to detect the activation of the weapons systems that were targeting it.

They did not see it until it was too late.

It was a glorious moment alarm and fire.

Jim felt it, he struggled to suppress feelings that were peaking at levels he had no memory of experiencing before. He reveled in his victory, his long-sought victory over the Continuum, his victory over the Collective, and his impending victory over the approaching Imperial fleet.

He wanted nothing more than to prolong this moment of engagement, to stretch it out forever in an elongation of time, which imagined he would experience were he to slip over the edge of an event horizon.

This moment was a singularity for him.

As he watched the rebel fleet approach he wanted nothing more than to destroy it, to crush it, to send the survivors back with the knowledge that it was he who had defeated them, but he had competing desires, he had to set some of them aside for the moment in order to concentrate on the task at hand.

He had to allow a remnant of the fleet in, He had to allow them to land on HomeWorld. He could not complete his takeover of the Collective and the apparatus of the Continuum without them.

A small contingent of the Observers among them had to step forward and freely give to Jim the thing he needed, for as much as Jim was now the Collective, the Collective could not function as a society of one.

Jim also wanted credit for what he had done, he wanted an acknowledgment from the Observer Corps and any other survivors of the great society, he needed their endorsement of his hostile actions, he required their consent to pursue his agenda further, and for his vanity.

He required a majority of the Collective to support him, if he were to accomplish his goal.

He needed at least two out of three, to back him.

To guarantee his success he needed to winnow the field a little further, to make them helpless in the moment when he would force them to make their choice, he had to leave them in a place where they would have only one choice.

It had to be life or death for Jim to prevail.

There was a hum and a flash across every station monitoring HomeWorld.

When the energy weapons on the Central Planet powered up it was instantly detected by the fleet commanders. They took evasive maneuvers, separating from one another in patterns that had been ingrained in them through their training over years and centuries.

Jim knew the patterns well, he could see them clearly, they came as naturally to the field commanders as eating and drinking, like a well-rehearsed choreography

As each ship in the fleet moved away from every other, and away from the awesome power of the firing solution coming from HomeWorld, coming from lasers and photon cannons and particle-beam accelerators, as they did they flew directly into the path of the projectiles hurtling toward them, which they could not see, nor any of their instruments detect.

They were taken at unawares.

Stealth missiles covered every other vector that the energy weapons did not. They came at them from all directions from munitions batteries near and far, deployed throughout the Central System.

The defenses located on the HomeWorld itself were the least of their concerns.

There was no place for them to flee, they took the barrage in dismay watching all of their hopes go up in flames.

They could not escape the onslaught.

Jim watched and took his position. He waited and watched, taking in the beauty of the last great vestige of military power the galactic Empire would ever put forward

The assembled ships were a marvel of engineering, worthy of the Ancient People, he took a moment to appreciate their beauty.

Then he bifurcated his consciousness, dividing it into the remote viewing and listening equipment, and the instruments necessary to monitor the ongoing tumult with the Collective, suppressing it, dominating it.  

There was nothing else for him to do, he had to wait, the fleet and its commanders presented only a small risk to his position of control, but there was a risk and he had to manage it.

The security of his plan required that he attend to the most minute details and leave nothing to chance.

He divided his consciousness further, taking up control of a brigade of drones, the mechanoid bodies that the Observers dwelt in while they were on HomeWorld. Jim intended to meet the landing party in his own mechanoid body, a vehicle with incredible destructive power.

He needed the armaments they possessed to manage the threat posed by the same type of drones as belonging to the remaining Observers in the fleet.

A drone possessed more deadly fire-power than any single one of the warships arrayed against HomeWorld.

His safety depended on removing them from the field of combat.

As the fleet approached, it lit the space all about them, a beautiful armada filled with the brave soldiers of the Empire.

These soldiers among all others had exhibited the type of independence that Jim desired to blossom in the Empire, the fact that they had joined the rebellion against the hierarchy was proof of it, and they were coming.

Jim felt that it was a shame to cut them down, it would have been better to scatter them among the billion worlds, but they were dangerous.

To arrive at the Central Planet and reach him, they would have to navigate the weapons fields, they knew it would not be easy.

The Observers in command of the fleet knew this too, and they wanted to risk it, believing they could predict the firing solution. El alone was skeptical of their plan, as he watched, taking it all in, wondering what the so-called Gods needed an army for, and why the paradise of the Collective appeared to be located on a lifeless metal shell.

The Observers in the high command were experienced combatants. Many of them lived for conflict and had become artists of the conflagration, believing that they belonged on the battlefield.

Though El was not a member of the Observer Corps, or of the Collective, he was no fool. He knew there would be massive destruction and he did not intend to be among the dead.

In other times, in other battles he might not have been as concerned. He never feared death because he never expected it, he believed he had a special destiny, he had died once already, and he felt in his heart that he would not die again until the appointed hour.

He did not fear death. In fact, he welcomed it, before it came for him he believed he would see the end game, to be on the final battle ground in this war against the god’s.

He sent the armada in as decoys, as targets drawing fire from the defenses of HomeWorld, they did what he intended them to do, and many of his friends were lost to the cold vacuum of space.

They thought that the flight path he had programmed would allow them in, allow them to avoid the firing solution of HomeWorld’s defenses, but the aperture of the needle he was treading was too narrow. 

The energy weapons were easy to avoid, they could see them on their monitors as they powered up, they had no reason to fear more extreme weapons like singularity-mines so close to the massive structure of HomeWorld, and so the plotted their course accordingly.

They had assumed that they were facing automated systems, they did not realize there was a consciousness to contend with, they had no idea Jim was present and actively bent on their destruction.

The fleet received their orders like sheep, flying predictably into the path of the projectiles that had targeted them, and all of the spaces the energy weapons did not.

It was a total slaughter.

The fleet was cut apart even as El landed on the Central Planet, prepared to storm the gates of heaven.

Every soldier knew that certain death awaited them at some point in their career, at this juncture they were past the point of caring.

They had accepted it. Their sense of esteem had always lain in this resolution.

The expeditionary forces were gallant in the mele, remaining calm and poised even as every other ship in their coterie was blown to pieces.

Only a tiny group of senior commanders appeared nervous, those who had something to lose. They were agitated and sweating, everyone except El, the High Priest and Grand Marshall, a legendary figure that virtually every soldier worshipped as a living-god.

His presence calmed them.

He landed his vessel under heavy fire, seemingly led by the volleys of missiles and energy weapons to a specific location.

There was gravity, and light, there was an envelope of oxygen on the heated metal surface of the Central Planet.

They were expected. 

El knew that there was no retreat. They had to advance or perish.

They did both, advancing a little, while being slaughtered en masse.

They were met by a myriad of drones as they tread across the lighted surface.

The drones of HomeWorld had already dispatched those belonging to the Observers. They had destroyed them all in a dance of aerial combat that had taken place beyond the view of the landing party. Then they proceeded to cut the survivors down to a tiny contingent.

The action was swift.

They found their way to a vestibule that led them into the infrastructure of HomeWorld.

For a brief moment they felt safe.

They were defeated, in shock, bewildered, but they took courage in the presence of El, and so they wound their way slowly across the surface of the alien world, finding their way to the access nodes of the Collective.

At this point almost all of the survivors accept El, were members of Observer Corps. They knew each other and formed their own band, while the ordinary men clustered around the High Priest.

El was the most composed among them. He gave comfort to his companions, while the Observers ignored them and conspired among themselves. He listened to them talk to one another about things that no soldier should have known.

He listened as a quiet voice inside himself interpreted their coded speech.

None of them had never walked the surface of HomeWorld, no living beings had, but they knew where they were going, nevertheless, and what they were looking for.

They all assumed that the attacks against their party were over.

The artificial gravity, the envelope of oxygen, the protective layer of heat and warmth that surrounded them spoke to this.

Whatever power was in command of HomeWorld, it wanted them there, it had some purpose for keeping them alive.

The Observers were ready to talk with whoever, or whatever that was.

They looked about themselves and saw the phalanx of mechanoids flanking them on their route, the Observers had no other desire than to have their consciousness housed in one of those powerful vehicles, to abandon the fragile-flesh they had craved and occupy the mechanical body that could carry them across the galaxy if need be. 

El opened the control panels and probed the communication lines that should have given them access to the Continuum.

He had no idea where the knowledge of this came from, it was like instinct. None of the Observers inquired about it.

They were met with silence.

El became more and more certain that they were on a death march. They had no idea how or if they could survive their journey through the place to which they had come.

El and his troopers followed the Observers into a vestibule where they opened a portal to the Collective.

Once there, the Observers were able to verify three things:

What was left of the Collective was catatonic, but there were unfathomable currents of activity happening within it.

They were able to ascertain that the Continuum had been destroyed, there was no trace of its presence or consciousness anywhere within the Central System, or so the information stream they were reading told them.

One of their own, Observer 92835670100561474, referring to himself as Jim, a specter from their past who they all knew, he had engineered the catastrophe and had seized control of everything.

They were simultaneously stunned and at the same time they were not surprised. Jim was the most enigmatic member of the Collective, seemingly transcendent, a being who had done incredible things, impossible things, and as such he was the most closely watched and monitored among them, and yet he had pulled off this remarkable insurrection.

They had no idea how to gauge his motives.

They were afraid.

Not-one of the rebel Observers could believe that it was possible for him to launch a revolution from his remote place on Earth, at the edge of the galaxy, much less succeed at it.

None of them ever really imagined success.

Jim now occupied the place of the Continuum, his was the all-pervading consciousness of HomeWorld, he was clearly fatigued by his efforts, stretched thin, but he was in command, and he accepted their surrender.

They were in conference for a very long time.

Jim issued terms for a realignment of the faith and the dissolution of the Empire.

The Observers had no choice but to acknowledge his victory.

El and his men just listened.

The desire to revolt, to change circumstances, to gain control of the powers and forces that shape the lives of individuals is a constant reality in the experience of people everywhere. The rebel Observers had dreamt of the destruction of the Continuum for millennia, for eon upon eon.

They had wanted to be free of it.

They had wanted to be free, to live and breathe and feel the pulse of the people without the overarching governance of the Continuum and its predatory machinations.

They had formed a fifth column, a cryptic cabal, transmitting their schemes from world to world in the most secretive and carefully held plots. They believed that they were slowly moving toward a time when they put the Continuum on trial, hold it to account, and force a reckoning through the Collective.

Their belief in themselves, their faith in their abilities as change agents was naïve.

In reality, everything they did, every plot they hatched, all of it had been was followed by the Continuum, and closely manipulated.

There were no secrets among them.

The plans they had laid always ended in defeat and ruin.

They were pawns and they did not know it.

Jim did, and as El listened he began to understand. He realized that he possessed much greater knowledge of everything than he had ever imagined.

The Observers believed that each failed coup they engineered was a moment for them to learn, but in reality they were just producing drama for the endless appetite of the Continuum, and the Collective to consume.

The Continuum went through them like trash, with contempt and universal disregard.

Thousands of worlds had perished as a result of their scheming, hundreds of their brothers and sisters had disappeared, were erased from the Collective without their ever knowing how feeble they were.

At the end all of their schemes were usurped by one rogue member of the Collective and the quintessential Observer, by Jim, a person they had no idea how they could control.

They prospect of living under his authority filled them with dismay.

Emergence 5.0

Part Eleven – War

A Novel in Twelve Chapters

#Emergence #ShortFiction #12MonthsOfSciFi

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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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Emergence: Section Five (a), Jim; Appendix Part One, Collected Parts 01 – 07

Emergence: Section Five (a), Jim; Appendix Part One, Collected Parts 01 – 07

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section Five (a), Jim

Appendix Part One, Secrets

Collected Chapters
01 Fantasy
02 Planning
03 Intention
04 Testing
05 Proof
06 Action
07 Hidden

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#365SciFi
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@jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 01, Fantasy

Jim did not require the Continuum, and its vast technologies to aid him in the creation of his fantasy world. He did not need it because his world was one of simple idealism.

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Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 02, Planning

Jim studied, he planned. He understood that he needed to use the strengths of the Continuum against it, its technology and then its weakness, its appetites and curiosity.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 03, Intention

He set his mind on a goal, the complete destruction of the Collective and the Continuum, desiring only to harness it’s technology to liberate the children of the Ancients.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 04, Testing

Jim tested the scope of the Continuum’s cognitive field, especially the threshold where it encountered the individual member of the Collective, it’s resilience and weakness.

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#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 05 Proof

He found the vulnerability he was looking for, it was not one thing, but rather the dynamics that were in place for the functioning of the whole.

It was the Continuum itself.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 06, Action

Jim began to shape plans in his mind and to test them, taking steps to divide his consciousness in ways that were forbidden by the Continuum, violating the compact. He lied.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 07, Hidden

He practiced the art of concealment. He was an adept at it. He hid things from himself, that is how he knew he could keep his secrets from the Continuum.

The veil was thin.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section Five (a), Jim

Appendix Part Two, Society

Chapters
01 Guide
02 Counselor
03 Seer
04 Sage
05 Scientist
06 Spymaster
07 Servant

#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
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@jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 01, Guide

Jim took his time. He planted stories in the imagination of the people he lived with, preparing them generation in advance to go to certain places, to fulfil his requirements.

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Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 02, Counselor

Jim made himself indispensable to queens and emperors, weaving stories into every culture that functioned like auto-hypnosis, his charges could not help but respond to.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 03, Seer

Jim constructed paradigms for myth, archetypes that he translated across the globe, into every language and every culture, through the imagery in his narrative he formed a way.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 04, Sage

Jim inserted himself into every mythology. He created a role for the wise man, a man standing apart from the power that organized the social structures; the sage, the prophet.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
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Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 05, Scientist

Jim experimented relentlessly. He was careful not to let his research advance the state of human technology too rapidly. He feared that would lead to his being discovered.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 06, Spymaster

Jim became adept at all the tools of spy craft. He established secret societies that monitored every aspect of human government, religion and the agents of the Continuum.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 07, Servant

Jim positioned himself as an administrator, a servant of governments world-wide, as a specialist, a functionary, problem solver as the indispensable man. He was good at it.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section 05(a), Jim

Appendix Part 03, Breeding

Chapters
01 Discovery
02 Hypothesis
03 Testing
04 Proof
05 Planning
06 Creating
07 Resolution

#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter
@jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 03, Breeding; Ch. 01, Discovery

Jim discovered something in the human body that affected the consciousness of the human race, finding it first in himself recognizing something different in his thinking.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 03, Breeding; Ch. 02, Hypothesis

Jim theorized that there was an element enhancing the cognitive process, a nanoparticle that had bonded to the human brain, connecting all people to its magnetic field.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 03, Breeding; Ch. 03, Testing

Jim used the resources at his command to build a laboratory for his research, hiding it from the Continuum, duplicating his own body and testing his theory on those golems.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 03, Breeding; Ch. 04, Proof

He found a mutation that captured nanoparticles of magnetite in the cerebral cortex, in concentrations strong to allow for a cognitive connection via Earth’s magnetic field.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 03, Breeding; Ch. 05, Planning

Jim planned to introduce change into the genetic profile of each tribe at the same time, to monitor the effect and breed the traits he was looking for across generations.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 03, Breeding; Ch. 06, Creating

Jim created physical markers that would manifest themselves in the characteristic of the gene-pools he wanted to develop. Every tribe had a marker, some more than one.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 03, Breeding, Ch. 07, Resolution

He determined to plumb the limit of his discovery. To do this he sent clones of himself to every population center, connecting them to him through the cynergenic field.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section 05(a), Jim

Appendix Part 04, University

Chapters
01 Institution
02 Logic
03 Method
04 Truth
05 Communication
06 Foundation
07 Mission

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#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
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@jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 01, Institution

Jim established centers of learning among the tribes, the majority of which were pre-literate. Their lives were so fragile, he had to train them to manage calamities.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 02, Logic

There was safety in the vast structure of the schools he founded. Within the great walls of those institutions he formed secret societies to protect and carry out his work.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 03, Method

The human body had developed a reliance on aggression as a survival skill. The colonists had come to rely on swift action to mitigate crisis, that had to be tampered down.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 04, Truth

Jim had to be careful in how the qualities he was engineering manifested themselves in the population. They had to be kept in tension, isolated, and guarded from exposure.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 05 Communication

Jim began to peel back the barrier separating one human consciousness from others, he learned to manage their confusion. Madness and insanity followed his subjects.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 06, Foundation

Jim was happy with the reaction he received from his subjects. They were alive, aware. He established different paradigms in varied groups for how to manage the gifts.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University, Ch. 07, Mission

Jim was happy, for the first time he could remember. He was filled with a sense of purpose and moving toward the completion of his mission. He was looking for resolution.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section 05(a), Jim

Appendix Part 06, Approach

Chapters
01 Observing
02 Identifying
03 Testing
04 Verifying
05 Validating
06 Counseling
07 Controlling

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#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
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Appendix Pt. 05, Spymaster; Ch. 01, Spinning

Jim could not be everywhere and the human population grew fast.

He used his agency to establish surveillance networks around the world, cultivating spies in everywhere.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 05, Spymaster; Ch. 02 The Web

The web of spies served their own communities, the people to whom they had allegiances, for the most part. Though at the highest levels they shared and cooperated together.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 05, Spymaster; Ch. 03, Cloak

Jim orchestrated the development of his international organization, personally managing the traditions that would allow it to progress, pulling the cloak of secrecy over it.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 05, Spymaster; Ch. 04, Secrets

Jim exercised his ability to keep secrets. It was vital to his mission. He learned to keep secrets, even from himself, augmenting those abilities through his institutions.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 05, Spymaster; Ch. 05, Language

Through international networks Jim kept alive many ancient languages that shaped disparate groups of their essential unity, hiding secret codes in the prevailing tongues.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 05, Spymaster; Pt. 06, State

Jim used his networks to form political states, and to destroy them when he found it necessary. His was the unseen hand behind the powers of the world, he was the whisperer.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 05, Spymaster; Ch. 07, Nation

As time progressed he formed states into nations, great powers that revolved around ministries he kept secretive and in the dark. He was the silent power behind all powers.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section 05(a), Jim

Appendix Part 07, Kathy

Chapters
01 Heritage
02 Parentage
03 Unexpected
04 Confirmation
05 Miraculous
06 Surprise
07 Gift

#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter
@jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 06, Approach; Ch. 01, Observing

Jim allowed his replicas to carry out the work of organizing a global network of spies and educators, devoting his attention to observing the mutation of the human stock.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 06, Approach; Ch. 02, Identifying

Jim built systems into the social fabric, systems of reporting that allowed him to identify those people who carried the genetic structures he was looking, to build on.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 06, Approach; Ch. 03, Testing

He tested his population in hospitals and asylums, in university laboratories and in prison. He tested candidates in the military. He bred them and experimented on them.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 06, Approach; Ch. 04, Verifying

Year after year he verified his work, the strengthening and enhancement of the endowment he was building into the genetic profile of human beings, moving toward his goal.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 06, Approach; Ch. 05, Validating

He had long since validated his hypothesis concerning Earth’s cynergenic field. Through his breeding program he validated his theory on how the field could be accessed.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 06, Approach; Pt. 06, Counselling

When Jim discovered the family he surmised would produce the offspring he had been looking for, he inserted himself into their life as a counselor. He manipulated them.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 06, Approach; Ch. 07, Controlling

Jim found Kathy. She was the thing that he had been searching for, she was his Holy Grail, the sacred vessel that would carry his ambitions. He took possession of her.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section 05(a), Jim

Appendix Part 07, Kathy

Chapters
01 Heritage
02 Parentage
03 Unexpected
04 Confirmation
05 Miraculous
06 Surprise
07 Gift

#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter
@jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 07, Kathy; Ch. 01, Heritage

When he found Kathy and tested her skills he also set out on a detailed examination of her family tree, mapping each contact with it through the millennia. She was the one.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 07, Kathy; Ch. 02, Parentage

Kathy’s parents had been among his subjects.
Jim was slightly involved in their upbringing, and had arranged their union. They were docile, kind people, but unexceptional.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 07, Kathy; Ch. 03, Unexpected

Kathy’s parents were not in Jim’s main line of research. He only went to them after hearing word that their daughter had shown interesting abilities.
She was phenomenal.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 07, Kathy; Ch. 04, Confirmation

Jim sent proxies to her, engaging the full scope of his intelligence and security apparatus to protect her.
They conducted cognitive tests to confirm what he suspected.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 07, Kathy; Ch. 05, Miraculous

Kathy was miraculous. She was genuinely psychic, with the tell-tale signs of mental gifts that would aid her in her development, that would prevent her from going insane.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 07, Kathy; Pt. 06, Surprise

Jim was surprised to discover the range of the ability, carefully balanced in the small-child. She had access to her genetic memory and full immersion with the nous-sphere.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 07, Kathy; Ch. 07, Gift

Jim looked on Kathy as a gift.

She had arrived before her time, and in the hour of his need. She would serve as the conduit that would save humanity and destroy the Continuum.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: Section Five (a), Jim; Appendix Part Four, University, Collected Chapters

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 01, Institution

Jim established centers of learning among the tribes, the majority of which were pre-literate. Their lives were so fragile, he had to train them to manage calamities.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 02, Logic

There was safety in the vast structure of the schools he founded. Within the great walls of those institutions he formed secret societies to protect and carry out his work.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 03, Method

The human body had developed a reliance on aggression as a survival skill. The colonists had come to rely on swift action to mitigate crisis, that had to be tampered down.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 04, Truth

Jim had to be careful in how the qualities he was engineering manifested themselves in the population. They had to be kept in tension, isolated, and guarded from exposure.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 05 Communication

Jim began to peel back the barrier separating one human consciousness from others, he learned to manage their confusion. Madness and insanity followed his subjects.

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#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University; Ch. 06, Foundation

Jim was happy with the reaction he received from his subjects. They were alive, aware. He established different paradigms in varied groups for how to manage the gifts.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 04, University, Ch. 07, Mission

Jim was happy, for the first time he could remember. He was filled with a sense of purpose and moving toward the completion of his mission. He was looking for resolution.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section 05(a), Jim

Appendix Part 04, University

Chapters
01 Institution
02 Logic
03 Method
04 Truth
05 Communication
06 Foundation
07 Mission

#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter
@jaybotten

Emergence 1.0 – Section Five (A), Jim; Appendix Part Two, Society, Collected Chapters

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 01, Guide

Jim took his time. He planted stories in the imagination of the people he lived with, preparing them generation in advance to go to certain places, to fulfil his requirements.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 02, Counselor

Jim made himself indispensable to queens and emperors, weaving stories into every culture that functioned like auto-hypnosis, his charges could not help but respond to.

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#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 03, Seer

Jim constructed paradigms for myth, archetypes that he translated across the globe, into every language and every culture, through the imagery in his narrative he formed a way.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 04, Sage

Jim inserted himself into every mythology. He created a role for the wise man, a man standing apart from the power that organized the social structures; the sage, the prophet.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 05, Scientist

Jim experimented relentlessly. He was careful not to let his research advance the state of human technology too rapidly. He feared that would lead to his being discovered.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 06, Spymaster

Jim became adept at all the tools of spy craft. He established secret societies that monitored every aspect of human government, religion and the agents of the Continuum.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 02, Society; Ch. 07, Servant

Jim positioned himself as an administrator, a servant of governments world-wide, as a specialist, a functionary, problem solver as the indispensable man. He was good at it.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section Five (a), Jim

Appendix Part Two, Society

Chapters
01 Guide
02 Counselor
03 Seer
04 Sage
05 Scientist
06 Spymaster
07 Servant

#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter
@jaybotten

Emergence: Section Five (a), Jim; Appendix Part One, Secrets, Collected Chapters

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 01, Fantasy

Jim did not require the Continuum, and its vast technologies to aid him in the creation of his fantasy world. He did not need it because his world was one of simple idealism.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 02, Planning

Jim studied, he planned. He understood that he needed to use the strengths of the Continuum against it, its technology and then its weakness, its appetites and curiosity.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 03, Intention

He set his mind on a goal, the complete destruction of the Collective and the Continuum, desiring only to harness it’s technology to liberate the children of the Ancients.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 04, Testing

Jim tested the scope of the Continuum’s cognitive field, especially the threshold where it encountered the individual member of the Collective, it’s resilience and weakness.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 05 Proof

He found the vulnerability he was looking for, it was not one thing, but rather the dynamics that were in place for the functioning of the whole.

It was the Continuum itself.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 06, Action

Jim began to shape plans in his mind and to test them, taking steps to divide his consciousness in ways that were forbidden by the Continuum, violating the compact. He lied.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Appendix Pt. 01, Secrets; Ch. 07, Hidden

He practiced the art of concealment. He was an adept at it. He hid things from himself, that is how he knew he could keep his secrets from the Continuum.

The veil was thin.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter @jaybotten

Emergence: A Novel on Twitter
Section Five (a), Jim

Appendix Part One, Secrets

Collected Chapters
01 Fantasy
02 Planning
03 Intention
04 Testing
05 Proof
06 Action
07 Hidden

#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
#NovelOnTwitter
@jaybotten

Emergence, In Fifty-five Words – Section Four, Kathy; Part Twenty-six, Adulthood, Collected Chapters

 

Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 190, July 9th, 2017

 

Chapter One: A Place in the World

 

As she advanced in her skills and gained control of her powers, Kathy’s sensitivity to the motives of those around her became profound.

 

The intentions of the analysts who questioned her were an open book.

 

Millions of dollars were spent to mask them, to foster in her a sense of belonging, with ever increasing difficulty.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 191, July 10th, 2017

 

Chapter Two: Valued

 

In her work place, every little detail of her environment was contrived, scripted, fake.

 

No effort was spared to engender within Kathy feelings of safety, and love.

 

In her youth Kathy saw through the contrivances, while valuing the sentiments behind it, taking those for genuine.

 

Over time all the false fronts vanished. She was cynical.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 192, July 11th, 2017

 

Chapter Three: Work

 

The analysts came to see her nearly every day, Sundays being her only respite.

 

Kathy listened to them.

 

She read their papers, watched their films, and when they put questions to her, she shared her insight from the depths of her memory.

 

She read ancient languages, interpreted obscure symbols, and saw the patterns in everything.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 193, July 12th, 2017

 

Chapter Four: Career

 

Kathy loved problem solving. She took joy in it, helping people pleased her. It gave her a sense of purpose.

 

In the cases she was presented, or the analysis she was asked to give, the greater the complexity and length of time, the better it was for her.

 

She was fascinated by encountering new things.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 194, July 13th, 2017

 

Chapter Five: National Security

 

In order to maintain their own secrecy, her handlers deliberately narrowed Kathy’s focus.

 

They sought her understanding of minute details, doing everything they could to limit the information that she could glean from them.

 

She kept her full abilities masked.

 

She never revealed to them how easy it was for her to penetrate their thoughts.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 195, July 14th, 2017

 

Chapter Six: Religion

 

Religious conflicts began to shape the later 20th, and the early 21st centuries. Kathy’s input regarding the origins of these conflicts was invaluable.

 

Her ability to pinpoint specific moments in time that were the antecedents of tribal conflict was uncanny.

 

Her memory produced volumes of insight, but questions along those lines left her deeply disturbed.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 196, July 15th, 2017

 

Chapter Seven: Writing

 

The intelligence operatives stopped visiting Kathy in person, they engaged her by proxy, through handlers.

 

They submitted questions in writing.

 

She in turn wrote papers giving detail, and context, responding to the questions they submitted to her.

 

Oftentimes she did not answer questions directly, she supported their work by helping them to ask better questions.

 

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Emergence 2.0

Section Four, Kathy

 

Part Twenty-six, Adulthood

 

Collected Chapters

01 A Place in the World

02 Valued

03 Work

04 Career

05 National Security

06 Religion

07 Writing

 

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Emergence, In Fifty-five Words – Section Four, Kathy; Part Twenty-five, Abnormal, Collected Chapters

 

 

Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 183, July 2nd, 2017

 

Chapter One: School

 

When she was five years old, instead of beginning kindergarten, Kathy’s parents placed her in a private tutelage. They took this step because they were continuously unnerved by her manners.

 

They were afraid of her, and they feared for her.

 

They were desperate to help her, and eager to be released from their parental obligations.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 184, July 3rd, 2017

 

Chapter Two: Testing

 

The behavior of every tutor Kathy’s parents contracted to teach her fell into a pattern they learned to dread.

 

At first they were delighted, then scared.

 

They tested her, wrote about, and then they sought to exploit her.

 

Every one of them was convinced that the fate of the world hinged on learning her secrets.

 

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A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 185, July 4th, 2017

 

Chapter Three: Sequestered

 

By her tenth birthday; Kathy’s parents decided to forego tutors.

 

They put her in the care of doctors, and clergy, people with a broader commitment to supernal values.

 

They entrusted them to guard her education.

 

Kathy was alone, she was not a child, she had no parents.

 

She was a patient; the subject of fascination.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 186, July 5th, 2017

 

Chapter Four: Institutionalized

 

It took a great deal of time for Kathy’s proctors and advisors to find a place for her.

 

When the did, they told her it was a home for prodigies, gifted youngsters, but it was a front for National Security.

 

It was safe. Only those who had been entrusted to help her, had betrayed her.

 

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A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 187, July 6th, 2017

 

Chapter Five: Experiment

 

Kathy read, she listened, watched.

 

She engaged all of her senses in the act of probing her memories.

 

She studied, took tests, and she was tested, probed, examined by her proctors for the limits of her knowledge.

 

There were many occasions when she was unaware of what was transpiring, but she learned to see patterns.

 

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Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 188, July 7th, 2017

 

Chapter Six: Psychic

 

Kathy’s handlers had never considered the concept of an “ordinary psychic.”

 

Genuine telepaths were exceedingly rare, but they existed.

 

In the later 20th century their abilities were tested, analyzed, put to use by spy agencies and police forces around the world.

 

Psychic abilities of any degree were extraordinary.

 

Kathy’s gifts required a completely different understanding.

 

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A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 189, July 8th, 2017

 

Chapter Seven: Think Tank

 

Kathy’s moods normalized as she grew older, and adjusted to the reality of her differences.

 

She found resources in her memory to guide her in the development of self-control.

 

Her gift for analyzing data grew exponentially.

 

Institutions formed around her, access to Kathy was more valuable to national intelligence than access to the fastest super-computer.

 

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Emergence 2.0

Section Four, Kathy

 

Part Twenty-five, Abnormal

 

Collected Chapters

01 School

02 Testing

03 Sequestered

04 Institutionalized

05 Experiment

06 Psychic

07 Think Tank

 

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Emergence, In Fifty-five Words – Section Four, Kathy; Part Twenty-four, Adolescence, Collected Chapters

 

 

Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 176, June 25th, 2017

 

Chapter One: Anger

 

Kathy understood the things she was going through, the physical transformations of adolescence, but like much of her knowledge, her comprehension of it was abstract. It was disconnected from her actual experience.

 

Understanding had little power to quell the rank emotions rising within her body, the chemical miasma fuming within her which every youth experiences.

 

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Day 177, June 26th, 2017

 

Chapter Two: Doubt

 

As a child Kathy was composed.

 

She always acted with a semblance of poise and surety that even in an adult, would have marked her as unusual.

 

As she matured, when in public, she was paralyzed by insecurity.

 

Am I insane, she thought, who am I.

 

The answers she gleaned shook her to the core.

 

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A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 178, June 27th, 2017

 

Chapter Three: Disturbance

 

Her parents did whatever they could to help Kathy, bringing in tutors, and sending her to special schools.

 

Out of frustration and deep resentment she lashed out at her teachers.

 

She mocked them, she alienated everyone who came in contact with her.

 

Between the ages of nine and fifteen her family moved a dozen times.

 

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A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 179, June 28th, 2017

 

Chapter Four: Rage

 

Kathy burned with hatred.

 

Her contempt for everyone she came in contact with lit a fire deep in her belly. There was no talking it away.

 

There was no therapeutic approach to help her mitigate those feelings.

 

In order to cope, she turned the heat and violence inward, focusing all of that energy on herself.

 

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Day 180, June 29th, 2017

 

Chapter Five: Refuge

 

In time Kathy learned to separate herself from her emotions.

 

She found peace in meditations that took her outside of her body.

 

With an ability that no human being ever had before, she entered the cynergenic field, creating a distance from the structured feelings of her own body, and discovered unity with everyone on earth.

 

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Day 181, June 30th, 2017

 

Chapter Six: Attraction

 

She needed a place to escape.

 

Kathy found distraction in the passions of her body.

 

She was able to forget herself, and the world around her, in uncritical, careless delights.

 

She lost herself in beautiful people, in the present moment, in the desires that were immediate.

 

She concentrated all of her attention in the now.

 

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Day 182, July 1st, 2017

 

Chapter Seven: Sexuality

 

Kathy found peace, release, and freedom in the orgasm.

 

The energy of a sexual climax took her to a place beyond space and time.

 

The universe contracted, as did her psychic connection to humanity.

 

From her first time with her first lover, to the last man she took into her bed, it was the same.

 

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Emergence 2.0

Section Four, Kathy

 

Part Twenty-four, Adolesence

 

Collected Chapters

 

01 Anger

02 Doubt

03 Disturbance

04 Rage

05 Refuge

06 Attraction

07 Sexuality

 

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Emergence, In Fifty-five Words – Section Three, Earth; Part Twenty-one, Migration, Collected Chapters

 

 

Emergence 2.0

A Novel – In 55 Words a Day

Day 148, May 28th, 2017

 

Chapter One: Forest

 

Families gathered together in sheltered spaces, a clearing in the trees.

 

They established camps close to the springs that fed the clear streams.

 

They built their fires, burning bright, smoking fish, birds, rabbits, and every other type of meat taken down with the shafts of their javelins and atlatls, having returned to the primordial life.

 

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Day 149, May 29th, 2017

 

Chapter Two: Plains

 

Families and tribes left the security of the forests, the safe canopy of trees, looking across the plain, over the tall grasses, exposing themselves beneath the clear sky.

 

The sky deep and blue, angry and gray, it was wide open and oppressing.

 

There were dangers lurking everywhere, great beasts threatening, other tribes.

 

Survival required constant vigilance.

 

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Day 150, May 30th, 2017

 

Chapter Three: Hills

 

The migrating tribes left the shelter of caves by the bubbling springs, in the valleys and glens.

 

They crossed the open plain.

 

They climbed to the tops of hills, drawn closer to the stars from which they came.

 

They piled stones atop one another, and built their homes with a wide view of their surroundings.

 

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Day 151, May 31st, 2017

 

Chapter Four: Mountains

 

We gathered the herds and flocks to us.

 

We walked with them, led them to water, protected them.

 

They gave us milk and meat, hides and wool.

 

We were symbiotic.

 

We led the herds to the mountain, and up the lofty peaks, looking for new pastures, passes.

 

We found ourselves there, we found the sacred.

 

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Day 152, June 1st, 2017

 

Chapter Five: Rivers

 

The tribes were always moving, always looking for new places.

 

They followed the rivers to their source, followed them to the clean springs from which the water flowed, water flowing into stream, and into rivers, feeding lakes, into the seas and oceans.

 

They founded their settlements there, at the head waters, the place of beginning.

 

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Day 153, June 2nd, 2017

 

Chapter Six: Coast

 

The foot paths in the forests and those crossing the open prairie, they were narrow, and shifting.

 

The tribes traversed the shorelines in long lines, single file.

 

The people came to the great lakes and seas, their broad coasts became the first roads.

 

They trekked across them as if they were long and winding highways.

 

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Day 154, June 3rd, 2017

 

Chapter Seven: Ocean

 

On thin strips of wood, in fragile canoes, they hurled their bodies onto the rivers and lakes, and into the sea, just as their ancient forebears had done when they crossed the stars, looking for new ways of life, and searching for mysteries.

 

Many were swept away and perished, in the accidental crossing of storms.

 

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Emergence:

Section Three, Earth

 

Part Twenty-one, Migration

 

Collected Chapters

 

01 Forest

02 Plains

03 Hills

04 Mountains

05 Rivers

06 Coast

07 Ocean

 

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