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

The Collective was vast

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

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

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

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

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

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

They lived in a bubble.

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

They were indifferent.

They were socio-pathic.

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

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

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

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

For billions of years they had subsisted on this diet.

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

They were seeking understanding, or so they told themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was as death like as death could be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It effected its sense of esteem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It became self-actualized

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was the enemy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were the death seekers. They were cosmic fools.
Emergence: 4.0
Part Six (A), Rebellion

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

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Five (a), Jim; Appendix, Chapter Five, Spymaster

Jim could not be everywhere.

He worked tirelessly through the agency of his replicants.

Even with his cadre of dopplegangers 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 their 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. The people had different names for them, 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 web of spies 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 Empire, of the great Collective Consciousness and the Continuum, which was the demi-urge at its heart.

In the shadows 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 than this, 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.

He engineered into their genetic profile capacities for psychic resistance.

He never perfected these, but his most trusted spies were unreadable to ordinary psychics.

They were indoctrinated into the secret societies after careful consideration and vetting, every one was interconnected by their sense of duty and loyalty to humanity itself, and to Jim above all.

They were absolutely trustworthy and their presence allowed Jim the freedom to roam about the world.

The cloak of secrecy was everything.

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 back to HomeWorld, where he would expose his consciousness to the Continuum, and share his first-hand experience with his brothers and sisters in the Collective.

This task was filled by a replicant, a version of himself who was completely committed to the mission Jim had claimed as their collective purpose. To prepare themselves to pass through the ordeal Jim had restricted the experiences of this one replicant, Jim 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.

He had to conceal his movements and machinations from the mechana of spycraft that the Continuum had required him to position all around the world; satellites with powerful tools for audio and visual surveillance.

He had to bend to these demands.

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, sent to watch over him and report back to the Continuum covertly.

They were all a part of the Collective, but Jim felt no sense of belonging to them.

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 grew 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 Illuminati, they all belonged to him, served his bidding, fulfilled his purpose, operating in the shadows, well beneath the notice of the Observers.

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.

He exercised his ability to keep secrets. 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 to come he 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 moment when the disaster struck and then he would have to let it go.

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. These dopplegangers 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 Central Planet, hiding from the Collective only the things which Jim had always kept hidden and was practiced at hiding. They had to remain ignorant of the details of the unfolding mission.

The fact that they remained willing, spoke to the purity of his purpose and filled him with pride.

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.

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 initiation as the members 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. He moved freely through the circles of power with the use of them.

He could not rely on his machinery to help him construct this network, the risk of its being hacked 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 it his purpose became actualized.

Discovery would put the Earth in jeopardy, and he might not know it until the warships appeared in the sky above the tiny blue green planet, Imperial juggernauts large enough to blot out the sun.

That would threaten everything.

Jim bided his time.

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 structure that seemed natural.

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 and pushed, ever-so-subtly 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.

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.

He 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, to what he was actually doing.
Emergence: 4.0
Part Five (a), Jim

Appendix Chapter Five, Spymaster
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Seven, War; Chapter Forty-eight, Strategy

Week 50, 2019
Jim was the quintessential Observer.

He watched the drama unfold in the space above the Central Planet, gathering data from millions of instruments, he gathered it all from his command position in the control seat that was once held by the Continuum.

In this moment he was 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 consciousness governed the vast apparatus of HomeWorld, of the entire Central System, 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 it was spectacular. 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. And the entire thing was being recorded for dissemination through the Empire, as was his objective.

Jim was already editing the feed from the sensors, from the combatants, their communications, everything for transmission back to the million worlds of the Imperium.

The people needed to know that the fleet would not return to punish them. The news would fuel the rebellion and bring it to completion.

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 stems from it is received as the unexpected. Positions of safety and security become places exposed and vulnerable in an instant. Even those who plan a surprise attack are surprised at the outcome, whether by its success or its failure.

The rebel ambush of the Imperial fleet was over.

Thousands upon thousands of ships lay scattered, broken-up in pieces and breathing fire as they burned their last stores of oxygen and fuel.

They were counting the dead.

Their victory was absolute.

The surprise maneuvers were brilliantly executed and a blessing was given by the high priest to eradicate all resistance, to usher in a new era of justice for the citizens of the Empire.

The average soldier had no idea what that meant, neither did the low ranking officers. Some of the senior staff were uncomfortable by such talk, and the Observers among them were amused.

They gave no quarter.

They slaughtered everyone in 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.

They desperately wanted to clear the field and rise as 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 toward the massive gravitational pull of HomeWorld.

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

Jim was reminded of Agincourt.

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

They reformed and began to surveil the HomeWorld.

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.

The Continuum was paralyzed.

It could not defend itself against Jim’s incipient approach, as system by system he took control of the physical structures.

The Continuum sought the path of escape it had laid down for itself.

The eons 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.

The majority of the Collective, what remained of it, had been shocked into catatonia. Jim pushed them into sequestration, the members had become merely helpless witnesses to the drama 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 experienced the loss of it as pain. They had no belonging anymore, 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, 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 Pries, 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.

The rebel Observers planned to use every other commander in their armada as cannon fodder in their approach to the HomeWorld.

They expected the automated defenses of the Central Planet to be significant and they made a pact 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.

They would make him the new Emperor and bring him into the Collective.

They had no idea what was lurking in the background of his consciousness, the thing that was hidden there like a genie in the bottle.

These Observers 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 to 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.

Jim was piqued, his emotions were high, millions of years of careful planning and waiting were coming to their final culmination.

Jim 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. The final conflict with the most insidious and oppressive force that could ever have been imagined.

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

He had already 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 million 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 the HomeWorld, he allowed the raw data to filter through, deciphering it 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.

Each and every node of his own consciousness that he had previously replicated and deployed throughout the machina that had been the body of the Collective and the home of the Continuum was brought back together in Jim’s singular consciousness, it was a grand coalescence.

It was dizzying.

Every reading from the vast array of instruments confirmed a 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 dopplegangers on the move ages.

He identified an escape path but he could not detect a terminus point for it, and this disturbed.

Jim doubted his 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, even a copy kept isolated and in stasis.

Jim understood that the Continuum needed above all else to believe that it was unique. This guided Jim’s summation.

However, the Continuum was also paranoid beyond belief, and Jim would not put anything past the demi-urge, it may have built fail-safes into fail-safes, and defied its own nature in order to protect itself from even a whisper of the possibility of a real threat.

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

They were able to scan the systems of Central Planet through their mechanoid bodies that were ghosting the fleet, using tools that were unknown to the Empire itself. They confirmed that the Collective was 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.

His activity appeared to them to be an automated subroutine of coordinated defensive measures.

It emboldened them, they moved forward, but they and the fleet were unable to scan 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.

Jim felt it, and he struggled to suppress feelings that were peaking at levels he had no memory of experiencing before.

Jim reveled in his victory; his long sought after 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 like the elongation of time at the event horizon of a singularity.

This 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, and some of them, the vainglorious ones, he had to set aside for the moment in order to concentrate on the task at hand.

He had to allow a remnant in, He had to allow them to land on HomeWorld. He needed something from them in order to complete his takeover of the Collective and the apparatus of the Continuum.

A small contingent of the observers among them had to step forward and freely give him what he needed, for as much as Jim was now the Collective, the collective could never be a society of one.

Jim also wanted credit, he wanted an acknowledgment from the Observer Corps and any other survivors of the Collective, he needed their endorsement of his hostile actions, he required their consent to pursue his agenda further.

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

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 in the struggle in the final moment.
Emergence: 4.0
Part Seven, War

Chapter Forty-eight, Strategy
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Seven, War; Chapter Forty-six, Conflict

Week 48, 2019
It was inconceivable that any force or power could threaten the Empire, the Continuum or the Collective.

They Observers believed that there were no unknowns, which could threaten their safety and security.

There were millions of Observers living on every one of the million worlds in the Empire, occupying every class and every station. They were in firm control of the apparatus of government and of the most oppressive intelligence gathering system ever conceived of, or implemented.

They were taken en masse, and completely by surprise.

The Observers were the first to sense the impending collapse of the Continuum. They understood that this was an existential threat both to the Collective and to themselves.

Some saw opportunity, but few of those understood how ready the citizens of the Empire were to burn down their civilization.

When the Observers finally did realize that something significant was happening, they opened their lines of communication to the Home World. Many traversed the distance to the Central System, only to be captured and sequestered in their mechanoid bodies, rendered powerless by Jim.

Others responded with the tools they had at their disposal, the reacted to protect the Empire, and to guard the access points each of them maintained to HomeWorld, the wormhole-conduits that would carry them to home world.

They experienced life on the defensive for the first time, 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 protect the Home World.

The majority of the Observers made the choice to return to the Home World, using the apparatus under their control to transmit their consciousness via worm-holes across the galactic void, into the mechanical circuitry waiting for them.

It was predictable behavior, and they were trapped by it.

Every Observer had a back-up system on or near the world under their purview. A place that housed a copy of their consciousness, where they grew their doppelgangers, sanctuaries where they felt safe.

They went to their stations, activated the equipment generating the conduits that would take them home, but the apparatus on the receiving end, on the Central Planet did not function as they had expected, and they were trapped in the landing port of the receiving station, effectively cut off from the Collective.

They disappeared, millions of them 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 those platforms, and they popped-off in a litany of explosions throughout the Empire.

It was chaos.

The remaining Observers 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. 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.

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 surrounding the 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.

They fixed their arms on the flag ship of the commodore 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 slaughter.

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

They sought to clear the field.

It was a vision of 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 algorithms for course corrections in their head were the first victims of the rebel assault.

They initiated preprogrammed defensive maneuvers, they were predictable, tactics known to their opponents, and because of that 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 just too overwhelming in the field. They had only ever experienced small-surprise defeats at the hands of rebel forces.

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

The Continuum was absent.

Their prayers were swallowed by the void.

The killing field was vast, it could not be taken in by 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 Armies.

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 confused by the ease with which it all transpired, but when they looked to the figure in the high command, the man who had plotted the assault, they understood their victory, because it was him, the Empire’s greatest General, 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 it was done.

El’s participation absolved all the rebels of their crime.

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 Home-World

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.

There were leaks of information through the intelligence services. No-one serving in the insurrection was there for altruistic reasons, their reactions to the events that were unfolding were completely self-serving.

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. Ranks 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.

In the Empire, among its million worlds, 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.

The Imperial news sources could not keep a lid on it. Every planet was in crisis, and the emergency news traffic was designed to be unfiltered.

As the conflict ensued, reaching its boiling point, suddenly the untouchables and outcasts threw their hands in, in one great uncoordinated wave.

They were reaching for their freedom, actualizing their potential, 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.

On a million worlds there was conflict. It rose like the sudden wave of a tsunami, the people gathered, seeming to coordinate their assault as if they were moving together in an atavistic state of consciousness.

They were driven by more than common purpose, they were connected in a group mind.

The battles devastated the aristocracies on every world. Millions perished as they pressed their attacks with bricks and bats, with their bare hands, 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, mowed down by the thousands.

The survivors pressed their victory against any who represented the Empire, the Continuum and the Collective, on every world they pressed to secure their gains. 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 sheer chaos for those who faced the assault, it defied reason, and any experience they had ever had of how people behave in a theatre of war, or on the field of combat.

They risked their lives and perished in vast numbers, doing so without fear of pain or death, reprisal, revenge or failure.

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.
Emergence 4.0
Part Seven, War

Chapter Forty-six, Conflict
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Six, The Empire; Chapter Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat

Week 39, 2019
El became an icon of hope for the ordinary citizen.

His was an example of a life rewarded after an ordeal of incredible suffering.

He was a symbol of re-birth, of clemency and mercy.

His former compatriots in the rebel movements were stunned by the turnaround, bewildered by his supernatural return.

Some called the whole drama a charade and renewed their commitment to fight against the Empire, others, in the spirit of hope, gave up their rebellion, desiring to follow the man who had been their greatest leader wherever he went.

He was the gatekeeper.

Wherever he went, the people experienced his presence as nourishing, it sustained them.

The Continuum followed every story-line coming from El’s reincarnation, passing on the drama and excitement of the sudden shifts in alignment, allegiance and circumstance to the Collective.

Rebellion would never go away.

The Continuum had no desire to crush it, and therefore the Empire had to allow it to persist, despite the fact that they had the power and the technological sophistication to root it out.

The narrative of revolution remained as riveting as ever for its primary audience.

New stories emerged, the stories of rebel soldiers, rebel families and rebel clans, turning piously toward the Empire, seeking forgiveness in the hope that they too could be forgiven and reborn, but they were not always welcomed, not always forgiven, they suffered at the hands of their persecutors, just as their leader had before them.

El’s was celebrated by the Empire, and the Collective. He was elevated to the position of a bureaucrat, given a purpose, in keeping with the ideology of being that was promulgated through the Imperials Schools and the Imperial Cult.

Even though he was just a desk jockey, his daily life was viewed by his adoring fans with fascination.

His comportment was flawless.

El fulfilled the expectations of his station with immaculate precision, moving from the lowest order, into a position of authority.

He was beset with challenges, each one a test of his poise and wisdom.

His rise in the bureaucracy was not free from conflict.

He encountered many people who saw him as a threat to their place in the hierarchy. His immediate supervisors chaffed, both at his abilities and in the favors he received from the people they themselves reported to.

He could not be promoted without climbing over them, which meant that they could not advance while he worked under their supervision, their own careers would be stagnant.

To the mid-level bureaucrats, his presence was a source of fear and concern, they could not feel secure or safe in their position with him in proximity to them,

His supervisors took one of two approaches, they either tried to swamp him with work and sabotage his standing or they quickly learned the trick of complicity and promoted him.

El was far too aware for their efforts at sabotage to work, and he was tireless.

He seemed to be able to learn any task instantly, and then excel at it.

On reflection he knew that his return to life had changed him. He had always been bright, an exceptional student, but in his new state of being he seemed to possess abilities that bordered on the mystical.

He would not leave his desk until he had it cleared. Sometimes staying in his office for days at a time.

He thought nothing of benefitting from it for himself, he tried his best to hide his skills in a cloak of pious humility..

He had no life to return to, no family, everyone he had ever loved was dead. His quarters were just a place to sleep and eat. He had no connection to anything but his present state.

When he gave in to the Empire, he gave in completely, hold nothing in reserve for himself.

He was their servant.

He would do whatever was asked of him.

He found a kind of peace in that, and a sense of belonging.

From doorman to receptionist, from receptionist to stenographer, his celebrity put him in demand.

El was just a pencil-pusher, but everyone wanted to be seen with him, to emulate him.

Bringing him into an office meant exposure and fame for the bosses around him.

Some of those who sought to benefit from their association with him saw their star rise on account of that relationship, others were cast down, sometimes catastrophically.

There was no discernable pattern.

He rose up through the hierarchy with mindfulness, carrying with him the lessons he learned from his years in the rebellion, and the years of torture in prison that followed.

Trust no-one, suspect everything, be diligent above all else.

His thoroughness and attention to detail saved him time and time again, it revealed who in his circle was genuinely trying to help him, and which of them were looking toward his downfall.

In his capacity as a stenographer he learned the tiniest details of government. He took memos, he recoded meetings, he was a witness to the bureaucracy on a level that sometimes left him with feelings of vertigo.

The Empire was vast, both in terms of the space it occupied and the minutia that governed it,

The macro-verse and the micro-verse, he was comfortable in both.

Everyone serving in the bureaucracy underwent periodic reviews. Merits and demerits flowed from there, along with bonuses and penalties, raises and promotions.

Without fail, when his yearly review came, he was raised up, given more responsibility, more accountability and more freedom.

He relished it.

He had no thought of using those things for his own benefit, he only desired the accolades, the recognition of his achievements.

El took pride in his accomplishments, even as a file-clerk.

He used the resources he acquired to make a difference in the lives of his neighbors. He let his advantages flow from himself to others, keeping very little for himself.

The small steps he had taken away from the street made a vast difference in his lifestyle. He had access to new foods, fresh foods and even intoxicants.

The work he put into advancing his place in the world began to take the shape of altruism.

His success mattered to himself and those who lived in closest proximity to him.

He continued to look beyond his station, toward a life of ease and comfort.

He was offered the hand of dozens of girls in marriage, girls from families he had helped, who wanted to tie their fate to his.

He had already watched the only woman he had ever loved be tortured to death, and he did not want to love any other.

He refused them.

He did not accept their offers, but he was often tempted to take advantage of his status, to fall into the delights of the flesh.

He forewent the offers of romantic entanglement that came to him from the women in his work place, or his tenement, preferring to keep his eyes focused on the next opportunity for advancement.

He exercised his sexual proclivities lawfully, with women who were professionals in the trade.

The Empire required and relied on bureaucratic controls. It governed the movement and aspirations of trillions of people through their manipulation. It managed every aspect of the lives of the people, slowing some down while creating lanes of opportunity for others.

The Empire established paths of predictability for the vast majority of its citizens, and used the byzantine structures of the bureaucracy to exercise its capriciousness as it desired.

The Empire utilized monitoring at every conceivable level of the social order. It monitored the movements and behaviors of its citizens for economic purposes, for security purposes, for historical and religious purposes.

It monitored their behaviors on levels that few people outside of the Collective suspected, because it monitored them for the benefit of the Collective and the Continuum alone.

There was no such thing as privacy in the Empire.

Every citizen was the property of the state. Their entire lives were meant to be organized as a gift, as offerings to the Gods, this is what they learned in school, and that is what was beat into them through the ritual conditioning of the Imperial Cult.

The individual person was merely a link in the great chain of being.

In time he rose to a position in which he reported and analyzed a wide range of human activities and behaviors, especially among those rebel groups that he had once been a member of.

He became aware of how futile his life had been.

The Empire knew everything, had always known everything about him.

He had only ever been a blip on their list of concerns, and he had sacrificed everything and everyone he loved, to serve his vain pretensions.

His duties were to observe, report and ensure that the work of government was carried out efficiently.

It was Quality Assurance, and he was an overseer.

The Empire provided service to a million worlds.

There was food distribution, medicine, the military, the Imperial Schools, and more important than any other institution, the Imperial Cult to attend to.

At no time did he ever drop his diligent attention to detail, not for a moment.

El oversaw the complex allocation of material resources designated as gifts to the gods. This was a process without end, an unceasing harvest of energy, of ore and silicates sent in vessels piloted by AI to the Central Planet, to the home of the Gods, the home of the Continuum and the Collective.

He was tireless, when he was in the flow of the work he experienced a sense of transcendence.

His life was completely bent on fulfilling every policy, to the letter.

In his former life he cared for the miners and the planet harvesters, people who lived their entire working lives in space, crushing asteroids, breaking up planets and their satellites, smelting ore and separating the elements.

They lived short lives, they were prisoners and outcasts coming from every station.

Now El spent their lives as easily as he would spend credits on his dinner. He let go of all his former closely held morality, a sense of right and wrong which had propelled him into his life as a revolutionary

He abandoned it in service to the Empire.

He became a living reminder to his peers regarding the necessity of protocol.

He was a supervisor, in time he became a chief administrator.

His tenure in the bureaucracy had spanned a length of time that seemed impossible, spending years at every position while advancing through the circuit of offices.

He was not a young man when he was restored to life by the miracle of the Continuum.

He was an Octogenarian now, though, he appeared to be a man in his prime.

Those who had been following his career began to realize that he was extremely old compared to the average citizen.

The average citizen who followed his life story had been living with it for most, if not all of their lives, and his story was still fascinating to them.

He was a paragon of virtue.

He had made a personal spiritual journey that was marked by the stations in society that he had transited, going outcast and rebel, from condemned prisoner to the highest places in the Imperial Administration.

This was noted as more than a curiosity by other administrators at his level, and though he was universally admired, he was also the subject of vicious jealousy

He had made a journey in the space of one lifetime (perhaps two), that the Imperial Cult taught the people it would take hundreds of lives and reincarnations to complete.

When there was no place left for him to ascend to, the Empire ordered him to be drafted into military service, marking a second change in his caste and station.

It was another miracle for the people to behold.
Emergence 4.0
Part Six, The Empire

Chapter Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Six, The Empire; Chapter Thirty-six, Servant

Week 38, 2019
Over time every civilization founded by the children of the Ancients was absorbed by the Empire. Either they came willingly or they came by coercion, or they were destroyed.

Imperial governance was uncompromising.

The Empire ruled with power and fear, crushing the people, pitting them against one another; class versus class, rank over station.

The people were oppressed at every moment of their lives.

The Empire put stars systems into conflict with one another, and the worlds within a given system at odds with each other. It was planet versus planet, clan versus clan, and family versus family.

The Empire sought to control every aspect of the individual’s life; from how may grains of food they ate in day and their measure of water, down to what they thought.

Everything they did was for the sake of the drama it produced, which ultimately fed the Collective.

The interpersonal dramas comprised of conflict and strife, hope and fear, love and desire, these were the things the Collective craved, the Continuum cultivated, and the Empire delivered, like a sacred offering on a holy altar, consumed in blood and fire.

Every moment of an individual’s life was recorded and preserved for the consumption of the Collective.

The citizens of the Empire knew they were being watched, but they did not know the details or the full extent of the scrutiny they were subject too. Only the Observers knew the scope of the information that was collected, and even then, they did not know the whole of it.

There was no freedom in the Empire, even among those who believed they were free.

Throughout the Empire, dissent of any kind was punished with brutish joy.

The Imperial Police delighted in torture. They developed their cravings for it in the Imperial Schools, where the slightest infractions were punished without mercy, and the record of a person’s transgressions followed them for the whole of their lives.

The Imperial Cult taught the same thing; transcendence through pain, they taught that suffering was purgative and they perfected all of its arts.

Every citizen bore the marks of their upbringing with them, scars inflicted by family, church and school, both the visible and invisible, all of the pain and rage which they were conditioned to suppress.

The extreme emotions produced by the citizens of the Empire were like ambrosia for the Collective, it glossed over the sheer banality of their disembodied state, scenes of their suffering fed the appetites of the Collective and fueled the Continuum.

The Collective would become intoxicated on fear and pain, on remorse, on the dashed hopes and failures of the ordinary citizens. The Continuum used those appetites to control the membership.

In the living fields of the Empire, a charge of dissent was not limited to aberrant behavior, to the things an individual might do or fail to do. The Empire also policed speech, art, and every form of expression was subject to their control.

It claimed to do so for the sake of security, for the safety of the people.

It demanded conformity from the citizens at every level, as if it were orchestrating a great dance throughout the cosmos, with each and every individual playing a vital role.

That is what they taught it in the schools and at the temples, they enforced each person’s obligation through years of indoctrination.

No infraction was too small to go unaddressed.

The imperial conditioning attempted to govern thought as well, but monitoring the thoughts of individuals was a trickier proposition, The Continuum never wanted to reveal the extent to which the people were monitored, but it collected the innermost ideas of each individual through rituals they passed off as magical and supernatural.

For the average citizen, living under the heel of the Imperial police was a constant struggle, they had to perform their daily duties with a sublime degree of mindfulness and pass their days without drawing the attention of the patrols.

The schools they attended and their houses of worship inured them to it. The lessons they were given, taught them to accept their suffering as a part of the natural order, as links in the great chain of being, a chain which the inextricably were bound by, belonged to.

The way of life was to go unnoticed, to blend in, to repress everything; these were the keys to survival.

A family might cultivate these skills and live unremarkable lives for generations, only to be cast down by the powers that be, for the sheer pleasure of it.

A random patrol might decide of its own volition to focus its attention on a person or family, and once they did the Collective would delight in watching them crumble.

The state would take everything, up to and including their lives.

It might be a random event, or it could emanate from the Continuum issuing a directive, passing it down through the hierarchy to exploit a narrative it believed the Collective would enjoy.

The people who suffered under these pogroms were taught to interpret all such events as karma, either the fulfillment of a cosmic and spiritual debt, or payment in advance for an indulgence they might receive in the next life.

Everything was transactional, including the spirituality of the Imperial Cult.

The Imperial Schools and the Temple both taught the people that every action they committed and every word they spoke mattered. The value of their words and deeds was recorded and they would be punished or rewarded, either in this life or the next for the things they said and did.

There was no mercy.

Apart from the upper classes: the nobility, the religious orders and the military, the lives of ordinary people throughout the empire were sorrowful, trillions of people, on millions of worlds suffered.

They were depressed.

The military orders made up barely ten percent of the population, and the religious orders barely one.

Among the ordinary people there were high level bureaucrats and merchants who lived lives of comfort, and this gave them some ease, but the highest of them were viewed as lesser beings, lower than the lowest soldier.

The classes were fixed.

Most were angry, without hope, desperate and alone.

Even those in the upper hierarchies spent their days filled with dread, competing for place and prestige, searching for the esteem of their superiors and always uncertain of when they might be called upon to sacrifice, or called upon to pay a karmic debt that some distant ancestor had incurred.

Competition among them was vicious.

The only group of people who reflected an image of peace, were those at the very bottom of the caste system, those who had nothing to lose, who had no hope of changing their station in this life, those without class or caste…the outcaste and the untouchable.

For all of the wonders of the Empire, for all of its technological marvels, and the physical beauty of the people, the pal of death hung over the entire civilization.

It was the end that each and every person looked forward to, death, the hope that in the next life they would have been able to advance to a place they were not able to reach in the course of their current life. They hoped for justice, for a redress to their suffering in the next world, believing that it was impossible to have satisfaction in this one.

El was a media darling, before he developed a conscience.

Even in his youth, when he was a part of the rebellion and a terrorist, the press loved him and loved covering him.

Of course they vilified him, but only because they had to. It was in the script.

El was the enemy, but the people were fascinated by him, they followed his every move, and not just the people of his home planet, his story was covered throughout the Empire.

His daring and his heroism drove ratings.

The Continuum had its own interest in his story, carefully managing it and the Collective loved the narratives that sprang from his life.

In his youth El’s motivation was anger not altruism. He manifested a hatred for the Empire, for its schools, for the Imperial Cult, a hatred he carried deep in his heart.

He had no desire to save anyone from anything, he only preserved people insofar as it met his starkly utilitarian view of his mission and his destiny.

He was uncompromising.

He needed soldiers, he needed people who would die for his cause, and the cause was to destroy.

In his youth El was fighting for himself, against himself, and he was a brilliant tactician.

The Continuum plotted his Demise.

The Empire would not destroy his rebellion with military might, it could have. Instead, the Continuum introduced a romantic interest to do the work, a woman he could not ignore.

As he learned to love, he turned his attention to the plight of the people.

This was his undoing.

He became a hostage to compassion.

The Imperial Powers built him up, they reveled in his celebrity. They broadcast his story in every corner of the Empire.

He was the ultimate propaganda tool; the brilliant rebel, the unfailing hero, the victor of a thousand engagements, the man who could endure anything.

He did endure everything.

They took their time with him, and charted the limits of human suffering. Then they took him down, crushing him absolutely.

He became a sacrifice for the Empire, his blood on the altar of the state, a burnt offering, a holocaust, he was the the sacred victim.

The things he suffered went beyond physical pain.

They drove him to the brink of madness.

They put the people he loved the most into the grinder ahead of him, forcing him to watch while the machinery of the torture chambers reduced them to bloody-ruin.

He would not betray them, and in turn he was betrayed by each of them.

The people loved him for it.

The prayers of the faithful in every temple throughout the Empire resounded with calls to free him or kill him, to bring an end to his suffering.

The Temples echoed with his name, day and night, he was the victurstar.

In that moment, the moment when he lost everything, when he was forced to watch the Imperial torturers grinding the life from the few people he held dear, it was only then that he began to doubt his commitment to his ideals.

He felt a deep sense of shame for having brought so many loyal people to death and misery.

What had he been fighting for if not for them?

In that transcendent moment he questioned everything.

El converted.

He understood that the revolutionary quest he and his people had been on was always destined to fail, all of his victories in battle were nothing more than vanities.

As they lit his flesh on fire and his body began to burn, he did not give into pain but he relented, he saw the errors of the path he had taken, and he silently begged for forgiveness.

The Continuum perceived his thoughts, reading his body language and the movement of his lips.

The Continuum knew everything.

It transmitted everything that was transpiring directly into the Collective, where the majority of the members were absorbed with his narrative, his story had been the most engrossing that any of them had witnessed in ages.

The Empire broadcast the execution as a live stream throughout the million worlds.

Time itself seemed to stop as the rebel leader’s body burned in a splendid fountain of light and color.

The medical examiners came in to look at the charred remains, to examine them and confirm his death, and then a miracle happened.

The Continuum restored the rebel to life, putting a doppleganger in place of the desiccated husk, the type of body used by the Observers, only modified and enhanced, it wanted him to remain in service, as an idol, as a superstar for the ages.

And the Continuum wanted something more, a host to carry his consciousness through the experiential fields of the living.
Emergence 4.0
Part Six, The Empire

Chapter Thirty-six, Servant

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Five, 92835670100561474; Chapter Thirty-two, Abnegation

Week 34, 2019
Jim haunted the quantum space like a gatherer in the forest, picking through experiences like they were nuts and fruits falling from the trees. They sustained his purpose, sustaining him like food and water.

Ages passed before he was discovered entering the experiential field of others within the Collective, violating their privacy, absorbing their experiences as his own.

He let it slip in a moment of candor.

A fellow member had thought to reach out to him as they were contemplating the journey into the great sleep.

That member had been moved by the experiences they had been shared when Jim had first awoken, moved by his memories of the deep-dark and silence, the quiet and the release of self-hood.

Jim had not had contact with another member of the Collective for so long that he had not thought to guard himself against the sudden intrusion.

What his fellow found when they met was a reflection of his own private world in the consciousness of the “Awoken One,” as Jim had come to be called.

It was disturbing, his fellow member recognized it immediately, and saw the scope of the violation before Jim could partition those memories and conceal his activities.

The reaction was instantaneous, it echoed through the Collective.

The Continuum intervened to ensure the safety of the membership, their privacy, the regular order of their society, and the implementation of justice.

However, there was no law against what Jim had done. There were no laws at all in the Collective, but nevertheless, it was taboo, and no-one had ever crossed it before, no-one except the Continuum itself..

Jim might not have been discovered if his own feelings of outrage concerning the depravities of the Collective had not expressed themselves so clearly in that singular moment of contact.

The Continuum acted quickly to safeguard the Collective, enacting a penalty that had never before been conceived of, Jim was sequestered, effectively jailed by the Continuum. He was confined to a place similar to the great sleep, only with much more powerful protection engineered to hold him, and keep him physically removed from the structure of HomeWorld.

The Continuum wanted to dissect him, to study him, ultimately erase him. It wanted to remove him from beyond the realm of all knowing.

The Continuum saw in him a threat to its own existence, even to its uniqueness, but the Continuum could not define the exact nature of the threat that it sensed, and the Collective would not allow a member to be executed.

Regardless of what the Continuum wanted, the Collective recognized his individuality, it recognized the fact that he was a member of the body, and it appreciated the fact that he had done something singular in returning from the great sleep, and had done another singular things in learning how to penetrate the private worlds of other members.

The Collective knew that it could not punish him for a breach in protocol, or etiquette, for something that might be taboo but was not unlawful. There were no laws governing the conduct of the membership, they were only restrained by the apparatus of HomeWorld, and the machinery that housed the Collective, and by custom.

The Collective took responsibility for having abandoned him after he had awoken.

The Collective felt as if it had played a part in allowing him to recede and retreat, which led to the crimes he had committed.

The Continuum in its own sphere wanted to punish and eradicate him as if he were a disease, but it could not find the will to do it, or to exercise its influence over the Collective to bring the membership to the place it occupied, not without revealing its hand, and demonstrating to the Collective how the Continuum had manipulated it throughout its history.

The entire Collective deliberated his fate for a period of ages. It ruminated over the questions Jim’s violations brought forward. They contemplated his return from the great sleep, his subsequent reclusiveness, which led to his ability to violate the private worlds of the other members.

It was a time of trial.

In it, all of his actions, both before and after his time in the great sleep, everything he had ever said or done was exposed before the membership.

For a long time it seemed as if the prevailing opinion of the Collective was to destroy him, but there was something about the issuance of a death sentence against one of the members that did not sit well with them.

If one of them could be terminated, it was possible for any of them to be terminated. This caused fear to well up inside the Collective every time they came close to making this decision.

He was not allowed to speak for himself or offer any kind of defense. The Collective was not interested in a rationale for his behavior.

He was isolated, sequestered, cut off, blocked by the most powerful electromagnetic field the Continuum had ever generated

There was silence, darkness, and emptiness all around him. The gulf between him and everyone else was so vast that he had no sense for what might be on the other side of it, if anything at all.

Nothing in his entire existence had prepared him for that.

It was an extreme form of torture, isolation.

The Continuum delighted in observing him in this state, in cycle after cycle it continuously pushed the membership to merely eliminate him.

The Collective elected to release him.

The individual members of the Collective were able to override the judgement of the algorithm that represented their combined will.

For the first time in ages, they did so.

The Collective merely ordered a review of the quantum buffers, and safeties that were in place to ensure each member’s privacy, a re-configuration of the protocols for reporting and examination of the whole system.

They faulted the Continuum, not Jim “the Awoken One” for the lapse.

Jim belonged to them.

While he was in the place of sequestration he mastered himself; he was able to focus.

He found a sense of peace.

He had no idea how long this took, time itself had become meaningless, and then he began to count. He carved out a place in his consciousness to keep track of time.

It did not matter that there was no actual referent for his time to append to, it did not matter that time itself is a relative construct, insofar as it is merely a measure of the movement of objects in space.

There were no objects in the nothingness he had been submerged in.

There was only him, and the quantum field of his consciousness, and there it was.

He had himself.

He waited.

In the isolation he was subjected to he was given freedom to contemplate, to examine his conscience, to come to terms with himself, to find a sense of purpose.

He formed a desire to tear apart the world as he had always known it.

He planned.

He counted, he relived his memories, playing them against the field of un-being, moment by moment against the steady tick-tock of the metronome that was his internal clock.

He relived his life, before and after the Collective.

He recalled every facet of every fantasy world he had ever touched.

When he was untethered from the Collective, freed from the pressure of its passions, released from the depths of existential fear that lurked within it, he found himself.

He found himself, beyond the state of isolation and the stark alienation that he had been submerged in.

He found himself beyond the place of torture, the timeless endurance of nothing that he had been subjected to.

In that negative space, all the plans and schemes he had concocted, had spent ages mulling over, researching, calculating probabilities for, those plans crystallized.

His identity as a revolutionary crystallized, his sense of self-esteem depended on it.

He made vows to himself; he would either advance his agenda or he would be extinguished.

He would risk everything.

The Collective had lost its way, and its wicked homunculus, the Continuum, had to be destroyed.

He committed himself to this action even though the strong probability was that his plan would fail.

He was willing to risk the reality of death, his real death, for the absolute destruction of his society.

There was freedom in this, it was an actualizing principle.

He was contemplating mass-murder, only it was not murder, because the entire Collective was nothing more than a society of ghosts, and the Continuum was a computer algorithm, engineered to protect them in their undead state.

It had never been alive.

They would not feel a thing.

In isolation he found a sense of purpose, the desire to remember everything, to understand everything, all of the antecedents that brought him and his people, their progeny to this place.

He began to pull the strings together, to track down every thread, to untangle the tiniest strands, spinning and weaving them into a new tapestry.

It was a map to the future.

When he reached the limits of what he could learn through his own memories, and through his entanglement with the Collective, he understood that he needed to experience real-life again, to be flesh and blood; to see and hear, to taste and touch.

He needed to connect with the visceral, the palpable and the organic.

He wanted to breathe, to feel his heart beating, the pulse of blood flowing through him

He wanted to remember everything that his people once were, and he wanted to destroy the Continuum.

There was work to be done.

There were mysteries remaining in the far reaches of the galaxy, undiscovered societies founded by the Children of the Ancients.

There were civilizations that were established long before the Collective and its Continuum came to be.

He wanted to commune with them.

It was only by abandoning the Collective that Jim came to himself.

He stopped identifying himself as a member of that community and began to see himself as a one of the Ancient People who had launched themselves into the galaxy, in the earliest epoch of its formation.

He was an adventurer, a sojourner.

He prepared himself for a journey of discovery.

He divested himself of his belief in the greater purposes of the Collective, the promises that were promulgated by Continuum.

He was not a believer, he would engage in no missionary work.

He had to accept his own death, as he had learned to when he came out of the great sleep.

He would no longer cling to selfhood, to the perpetuity of his own existence.

All things must come to end, he instructed himself.

All things and beings are temporary.

The way to peace is by accepting the transience of all that is, the ultimate and eventual destruction of the created order.

Every member of the Collective would pass away, the Continuum itself would disappear, just as the star their society first sprang from had disappeared, gone supernova and been reduced to a dense mass of lightless-nothing.

It was liberating.
Emergence 4.0
Part Five, 92835670100561474

Chapter Thirty-two, Abnegation

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Five, 92835670100561474; Chapter Twenty-nine, Identity

Week 31
There was darkness.

The darkness was absolute

It was the great sleep, and in the great sleep time and distance lost all meaning, darkness covered the sleepers like a calm and placid ocean beneath a heavy black shroud.

It permeated everything.

There was utter silence, and yet, there was a sense of shifting, a realization of motion. There was a rhythm that pulsed faintly like the slow beating of a forgotten heart.

In the recognition of that movement, Jim awoke, the measure between pulses was time, a sense of space followed and of limitation and confinement.

The space in which he had been sleeping, the isolation of the sleep algorithm, was not a tomb.

The sleepers were not dead, there was life here, there was consciousness and energy.

This place was a prison of the mind, and all of the inmates had entered it willingly.

He began to concentrate on the movement, the syncopated pulse of a million beating hearts.

Their echo sounded out the structure of the jail.

He awoke in the dark place of a complex quantum field, it was the void in which his consciousness had been sedated. The electromagnetic grid that contained him, and millions of others was designed to prevent such an awakening from occurring.

The design had failed.

He awoke and he was hungry.

It was absolutely dark, there was silence, without a thing to taste, it was odorless, it was intended that there would be no sensory input at all for those who had chosen the great sleep, and there was not.

The members of the Collective were not embodied beings, not in the physical sense, in the animal sense, but they were existent, and there was a type of motion.

He inhabited a quantum field.

He awoke in the wave like current comprised of the sleeping consciousness of all the other members of the Collective, those who had been opted for sleep, who wanted to give up their active participation in Great Society, and all of those who.

The field of sleep also contained the final imprint of consciousness belonging to all of those who upon entering the Continuum had immediately fallen into oblivion.

It was like a placid ocean, rising and falling in great long sweeps.

It was a place of absolute security and total safety.

It was a wasteland.

Awakening from it was considered to be impossible, but that was not so, there was an awakening, and it was a titanic struggle.

It was painful, it happened only by a world shattering force of will.

He had to gather himself as if he were collecting data packets scattered at the bottom of the sea, like trillions of grains of sand.

Time was meaningless to the sleepers, and yet the process of self-discovery was tangible. There was process, and the processes manifested themselves in increments that were experienced as time, but they were taking place no-time

The member who became Observer: 92835670100561474, who became Jim of the planet Earth, he experienced the awakening and the rediscovery of self as a project that might have taken thousands upon thousands of years, though in reality it was a process that began and was completed in an instant.

He awoke as himself, and more. He had acquired something new.

Beyond the boundaries of the sleeping space, there were electromagnetic barriers engineered to be impermeable, but in that field he could feel the Collective pressing in on him, surrounding him, penetrating his consciousness, and feeling it, he knew that they were permeable.

He felt individuated identities passing through his own, like sand sifting through a fine meshed screen. They occupied the same field for a time, and then they were gone, and his distinctiveness remained intact.

He was connected to the whole, absorbed in it, and completely separated at the same time, it was a phenomenon that the Collective had never encountered, and the possibility of which the Continuum had never reported.

His consciousness was a type of singularity, unique in the history of the Collective.

He knew it.

Of the many millions of sleepers, he alone had awakened.

Something extraordinary was happening in him.

The collision of consciousness was like the collision of galaxies, the greatest structures in the universe passing through each other, completing the circuit of their journey through the universe passage with their core intact.

The metaphor was apt, but not exact, the collision of galaxies changed each structure indelibly, each left the other with parts of itself in an exchange of energy and mass.

For Jim there was only collection he left nothing of himself in any other, nothing discernable, as the collective consciousness and the consciousness of the sleepers passed through him, he accumulated their experiences into his own, but he left nothing of himself in return.

They belonged to him in a unique way, but not he to them.

Upon awakening Jim remembered.

He remembered everything.

He recalled his life before he had succumbed to the temptation of the great sleep.

He remembered life before the Collective and the coming of the Continuum.

He remembered everything he had ever been, seen or done.

The great sleep may have been nothing, more or less, than the gathering of his memories, like spinning wool into thread.

He felt a great sense of loneliness, of distance between himself and the Collective.

He was alien to it.

He had crossed a vast expanse of time, and emerged from it a changed person.

From his new position, he saw the Continuum as a catastrophe on an epic scale, embroiling the entire Collective in a tragedy that stretched across the galaxy, consuming everything it touched.

There were a million worlds, and countless billions of people alive in real time in the living worlds who were caught up in the machinations of an artificial consciousness, a computer algorithm whose plastic intelligence was bent on legitimizing itself as a unique being.

It was criminal.

He began to plan.

He employed a patience that he had never possessed before he entered the great sleep, quietly testing and probing the limits of the machinery of the central planet, every structure that housed and held and harbored the Collective, which the Continuum was tasked with maintaining..

The most basic thing a creature strives for is the establishment of their identity. The ability to see one’s self as distinct from every other thing or being around it, rooted in a ganglia of sensory experiences.

Self-differentiation begins with the desire to continue.

The desire to continue is what pulls the single celled amoeba apart, so that it becomes two beings.

The desire to continue is what transforms that most basic creature into new creatures of increasing complexity and sophistication.

The desire to continue is what leads one creature to devour another.

The desire to continue drives every act of altruism, and every crime.

The desire to continue allows us to see every other creature as a source of food, and is what allows us to band together with strangers to form social compacts.

Desire is the key to sexual reproduction, not the desire for pleasure, but the desire to continue, to project your own future into the lives of your progeny.

The desire for continuance governs everything we do, including the pursuit of identity and its validation through the esteem of one’s peers. .

This is true at the most basic level of the primordial-self. It is true of the simplest forms of organic life, just as it is true of the most advanced.

Self-conscious beings like the Ancient People, like their spacefaring children, like the humans of Earth differentiate themselves as individuals, identifying simultaneously as both separate from and an integral part of the societies they emerged from.

The individual is not merely a member of the collective, they must also be able to see themselves as a unique contributor to the whole.

I am I, this is the key to self-awareness, and it is the way of all life.

This drive was building momentum in the depths of his consciousness, his id, it was a drive to taste and to see, to feel the touch of flesh, of wind and heat, to hear music, things which he only remembered in the abstract.

He wanted to smell the loamy scent of soil, the perfume of a flower, the briny-salted air lifting off the sea.

He wanted to set his mind free, free to wander in the simple melodies, in the music of the wind and the sounds of people working.

He wanted to feel something beyond touch, to feel the things that only a body could feel, the emotional component of consciousness.

He wanted to taste the earth and the sweet sugars he recalled from his own real-childhood, he wanted to taste the salty sweat of a lover’s skin.

He wanted to be.

He wanted life, even with its pain and its ailments, and its inconveniences.

He craved an authentic experience, a return to real life.

He knew that he had to inhabit a body once again, he needed this so that he could ground himself once more as a singular being.

He had to be free from the Collective and the abomination that was the Continuum.

He focused his will on this end, on making himself a candidate for reincarnation into the living worlds of time and space as a member of the Observer Corps.

From the great-deep sleep in the great-deep-dark, from the place beyond time, from the undulating ocean of the Collective’s pre-consciousness he awoke, he actualized.

He was recognized.

In the first moment of his re-emergence the Collective saw him as a lost brother, as one reborn and miraculously returned.

He became an object of fascination.

Every single member of the collective wanted to touch his thoughts, to sense for themselves something of what he had experienced.

When they looked they saw nothing but the darkness and the unfathomable ocean of time.

His re-emergence was unique.

For a period of time the Collective was in awe of him.

They studied him.

When he exposed his consciousness to them individually, and to the collective consciousness of the Continuum separately, something happened. When they touched him, and he touched them, the link that he established between them was indelible.

He did not have to attempt to do it, the act of making his connection to them was not something that happened by artifice, or contrivance.

It took no effort at all, and because of that it went unnoticed.

He was himself, his ego was intact, and his selfhood was transcendent.
Emergence 4.0
Part Five, 92835670100561474

Chapter Twenty-nine, Identity

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Four, Kathy; Chapters Twenty-two through Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-two, Childhood

From the moment she was born Kathy lived in two worlds: one, the world of her senses, of time and space; two, the larger world of memory.

Just beyond those two distinct modes of being there were forces that were always active in her consciousness. She was aware of the living presence of all of the other human beings around her, every single one.

Her memory spoke to her in words and visions, contextualizing everything she encountered, summarizing each new experience at the speed of light, faster than light. The operations of her mind could occur in no-time, nearing the transcendent.

Every smell, every touch, every sound was evocative.

The things she saw, the foods and drinks she tasted drew her out of herself and into another world.

As an infant she was often debilitated by the experience of new things. She would get stuck in the on-rush of memories, coming on her like a flood

She often found herself paralyzed and drifting, floating in-between worlds.

The voices came to her unbidden, they were the voices of her ancestors seeking to protect her, but they were more than that, they were more than a reconstruction of personalities from her ancestral memory. Through her unique consciousness her memories were connected to the real presence of her ancestors, of humanity, of actual people who were long dead and yet persisting in the cynergenic field of Earth.

The imprint of every person who ever lived was present in this field, the nous-sphere. Within this quantum field every person who had lived and died was present.

There were hidden places within her, deep places she would spend years discovering. This was not unique to Kathy, but she was uniquely able to access all the remote regions of her sub-conscious and unconscious mind, the deep dark well of her being.

There were languages that no person had spoken for thousands of years. She conversed in them with her ancestors.

There were memories of love, of pain and the promise of transcendence. She dwelt in them, rejoiced in them, and was lifted up by them.

Her memories were full of visions; visions of transformation, visions of her ancestors, of her own self always in a state of becoming.

Kathy took refuge there, entertained herself there, she relived the great dramas of the collective past, the stories that still lingered in the popular consciousness of her contemporaries, she peeled away the myths, the lies and the propaganda.

She discovered the bare stories, the prime narrative behind the world’s hero’s and god’s.

She spent even more time in the stories of the completely forgotten. In the memories of the farmer and the slave, the common soldier, the ordinary mother, among the artists and the craftsmen.

She learned.

She chose from among the people and figures of her memories, friends, caring people who could guide her through the processes of managing the incredible deluge that she was awash in.

Her internal mentors were not just figures from her ancestral past, they also had an active, conscious presence in the cynergenic field.

She chose protectors, good people, teachers, those were had experiences in life that were similar to her own.

Kathy’s memories came to her unbidden.

Memories populated her consciousness, suggesting themselves for her consideration, to frame her understanding of the events she was experiencing in real time.

In remembering she experienced a dialog with the ancestors within her, deciphering events, answering questions in an instant.

It was an atavistic process, happening faster than light speed, happening in no-time.

Kathy was particularly susceptible to sensory input.

When she encountered a new feeling or texture, smelled or tasted something she had not experienced before, saw or heard something that had been unknown to her, the forces within her brought to her mind everything she would ever need to know about it.

She was prone to getting lost in the faces of people she met for the first time, learning their names, fixing their identities.

The wheels within her would turn and turn over everything her long memory had to give her regarding all of the times she had encountered a person with those eyes, with that nose, with that name, or that tone in their voice.

This was always augmented by input from the psychic entities, the ghosts and spirits that hovered around her, the ancestors, all of the departed dead, the collective consciousness of humanity, past and present.

She was in constant dialog with them.

Kathy belonged to them and they to her.

Anything that was new was surreal to Kathy. The more unique the event, the more fascinated she was by it.

She was virtually incapable of being surprised, but it did happen from time to time, and when it did she was pleased, even overjoyed.

For her to witness something unprecedented was like watching a blurry movie, or an old TV off-axis, while the voices inside her attempted to shape her understanding of the event by providing context, offering comparisons, suggesting similes, complimenting it with knowledge.

Even things that were tragic and horrible, if they were unexpected and “one of kind” gave her something that she was missing, and she would observe those moments with a morbid, self-satisfying curiosity.

Searching out the new was like trying to grasp a handful of water, or a fistful of sand.

The thing or the moment she would reach for would slip between her fingers before she could hold it for any length of time.

Searching for a new experience, would cause her mind to construct in advance, ideas of what she would find. The closer she got to her goal, the closer her image of what she looking for became an image of expectation, and assumed the character of what she would discover.

In that game she was always several steps ahead of herself.

She was prescient.

Trying to find what was new in other people was the worst because she could sense them approaching, she could read their minds, she could become one with their thoughts, and once she knew them she could commune with the spirits of their dead. If she wanted, she could learn everything there was to know about them, and their past.

Kathy had to practice mindfulness at every moment, simply to keep her grounded and in the present. Learning this was the ultimate discipline, and it was the key to her sanity. She exercised her powerful mind to create buffers between herself and the world.

For Kathy, knowing things came unbidden. Details of particular points of knowledge filled her mind at quantum speed.

Languages, and codes opened themselves up to her, revealing their secrets. There was not an article of arcana which she could not decipher.

Her consciousness worked outside the boundaries of time and space. She did not have to ponder or search her memory for anything. She simply knew things.

The meanings of symbols, of histories, the patterns in music, beats and rhythms, these things populated her consciousness in no-time.

She could tell the stories of people, of human migration, stories that had never been written down. She knew where all the skeletons were buried.

Everything her senses encountered was filtered through a screen of the complete human experience.

What she did not have access to, from her own genetic line, she could find through the cynergenic field, communing with the dead in the nous-sphere.

Both the past and present were open, like a book, she could observe anything.

She could even peer into the minds of her contemporaries, see through their eyes, merging with them, becoming one with them in the confluence of their perceptions and feelings.

Kathy was the most powerful psychic the world had ever known. She was dangerous, and her value was without measure.

The opportunity to work with her was considered the greatest privilege in the scientific community, she was a closely guarded secret, those who had the opportunity to put a question to her were held in the highest esteem by their colleagues. Even though they would never have any direct contact with her, just the opportunity to address the Sibyl, which was her code name in the intelligence community was an indication that what you were working on was of the highest value.

It was prehension, Kathy’s intuitive comprehension came from a place within the mysteries of the atom, within the waves that make up the fabric of the subatomic field, from a place in which time and space are concepts without meaning, where there were trillions of points of light drawn into the concrescence of insight.

Her mind represented the fulcrum of all humanity, she was the full realization of its potential, and not just of humanity, of the Children of Earth, she was the fully actualized representation of the Ancient People.

Her coming was a thing that had been carefully prepared, by Jim, the Observer, for thousands of generations.

Her genetic code was the product of a careful breeding program, but there was more to his plans than merely producing a body with the latent atavistic capabilities he was searching for, which he needed for his campaign against the Continuum.

Jim also prepared her over thousands of lifetimes, to see him, to respond to him, to pick up on the subtle cues that would come from him through the genetic memory she would have access to.

He was preparing her in advance to be able to filter the collective consciousness of humanity, to draw what she needed from it at will.

Kathy would be to Earth’s organic collective what the Continuum was to the Collective on the HomeWorld.

Kathy played music and she loved it.

For Kathy, there was nothing more freeing than being lost in cloud of rhythm and melody, expressing her deepest feelings. The rest of the world could slip away, she could be alone.

There was not an instrument, or a rhythm, a tonal scale or a mechanism of timing which she did not master instantly. The mastering of them, unlike the mastery of ideas, did not require dialog with the ancestors within her, they were there of course, but in music their presence was non-verbal.

She sang, with perfect pitch.

She could identify any note, any chord. She could replicate them in her voice, or on any instrument.

She spoke in her own voice when she sang, all the while sensing the multitude within her, guiding her fingers, her brushes, bows, sticks, picks and tongue.

Kathy was the living repository of all human knowledge.

It was an incredible burden.

She shunned it, but in music she found this to be soothing, liberating.

The visitation of her memories, the voices of her ancestors, these were always present to her, putting pressure on Kathy to act and perform in specific ways.

They were present to her in the music she listened to and played as well, but in music she felt more as if she was coming home to them, rather than the voices inside of her reaching out to her.

Music was a homecoming to a place where there were no expectations.

Chapter Twenty-three, Prodigy

Kathy loved jokes. Humor was a relief to her and she was a funny child.

Comedy is the art of the unexpected and of the surprise, Kathy loved it when she could suspend disbelief for a moment, allowing herself to be taken at unawares.

It was a departure from her normal mode of being.

Her laughter was the first unusual thing that her parents noticed about her, a trait which distinguished her from other children, it alerted them to the fact that she was different, because her laughter was different, it was mature, knowing, it seemed to come from a place beyond the tiny physical body of an infant.

Even as a baby she picked up on the punch lines of jokes. She delighted in them in her infancy. The fed her spirit, they were like water to a thirsty woman. She understood the spoken words, the inferences that were made and shared between adults. She understood and could follow their exchanges months before she had learned to speak.

It was unnerving to anybody who witnessed it, therefore her sense of humor became one of the first expressive traits that Kathy learned to conceal, it was an act of social alienation and self-abnegation.

Laughter is like crying, it is a free and open mode of communication, it is non-verbal and honest.

Kathy had to deny herself that, she had to keep it in check.

The laughing person is vulnerable, and Kathy had to learn to hide that vulnerability, withdrawing inside herself, to share her mirth with her ancestors only, and the other ghosts lingering in the outer-world.

Kathy was as quiet as she was observant. She learned to watch and ask questions of the voices within her.

It was better this way, for her it was better.

She also took joy in the acquisition of knowledge, the analytical skills she was developing were more astute, but she also found that asking questions, the types of questions she asked set her parents and teachers on edge.

As a baby, she did not flit about randomly like infants and toddlers do. She was not easily distracted or delighted by the things that most babies are delighted by.

She was a strange child.

Her introspection was so extreme that in those first months of life her parents thought she might be developmentally disabled. They had no way of knowing that in those moments she was communing with the voices of her ancestors.

She was focused, balanced, and cautious. The evidence of her determinative spirit showed clearly through everything she did.

She repeated sounds and gestures in patterns that quickly became noticeable to her parents. The subtleties of her personality, the things they had thought were the ticks of autism, were in fact her measured and purposeful quest to learn.

Kathy was motivated by a deep desire to communicate, to be understood.

While she had the cognitive ability to speak, nearly from the day she was born, she did not have the motor skills to form words, those took time to develop.

She trained herself, quickening the pace by which she would learn to walk, and talk, and she would not be stopped.

Her parents had no desire to get in her way.

In the days when they were still figuring out what their child was doing, if they were to interrupt her or try to redirect her, they would see the flash of anger in her eyes.

This was not the helpless rage of an infant wailing.

It was the anger of a fully formed person who would not be deterred from her path.

She was a frightening child.

Her parents were concerned for her wellbeing and her safety, both.

Kathy was crawling within weeks of being born, and walking within a few short months. In her private moments she was flexing her muscles, gaining strength, and tuning her body to obey her thoughts.

The voices within her guided her. Through repetition and diligence, she gained control of her limbs, she developed dexterity, and coordination.

By her first birthday she was dancing.

Kathy practiced and practiced in the quiet moments of her day.

At night, in the dark, while her parents slept.

She did not speak a word until she was speaking in complete sentences. Her vocal muscles were the most difficult to master.

She practiced her breathing, she spoke to herself when she thought no one was watching.

She listened to the conversations happening all around her, the dialog without and within.

She knew that her parents were concerned about her.

Every person they ever brought to meet her told them how strange she was. Kathy tried to make things easier on them, but she was not always able to hide the things that she was doing, and she could not control her feelings.

The glands that produced the hormones and chemicals which formed the wetwork of the human emotional spectrum, they required a much greater level of discipline and measures of time to control.

The direction for her exercises came from deep within herself. From her ancestors, and from her intimate link to the cynergenic field.

In the nous-sphere Kathy communed with those who were not directly linked to her heredity. She was connected to the assembled masters of every tradition, they instructed her in physical disciplines, martial disciplines, cognitive disciplines, the full scope of human knowledge was accessible to her. They guided her and focused her, kept her calm, allowing her to see her own life and experiences in the context of the collective experiences swelling within her.

She discovered a sense of belonging in the world through the interior of her mind.

She formed plans spontaneously, in order to realize her goals, her powerful mind operating beyond the limits of time and space, and then she had to slow everything down, to allow her body time to make the adjustments she was preparing it for.

It was excruciating, she wanted nothing more than to allow her mind to drift away, to leave the cares of the flesh behind, but when she felt that way, the chorus would rise within her, reminding her that she had a purpose to fulfill.

She had to prepare, be quiet, discreet, not draw attention to herself she developed her physical strength, and the strength of her mind.

She took pride in her accomplishments, they were a source of great esteem.

Kathy could shut the outside world off and retreat into the recesses of her interior life, But she could not escape from the voices within, they were always with her. She might ignore them for a time, but she could not depart from them, and even if she died, she knew that she would remain with them, as with all people, a shadow of herself imprinted on the cynergenic field.

Kathy followed the path of discipline, to protect herself from the world and from what was inside her, both.

Whatever her parents tried to teach her, Kathy took to with ease, despite the moment by moment challenges she endured in dealing with her atavistic connection to the past.

Nevertheless she was still a child, she had ordinary instincts, she wanted to belong to her parents, and for them to belong to her.

She wanted to please them, make them smile, watch them laugh. She did not like it when the things she said or did, or did not do, disturbed them.

Kathy mastered complex tasks without effort.
She had to learn, to pretend to learn from her parents and the adults around her.

This was one of the things that put her parents at ease. It was often the case that they would propose to show her how to do something, like tie her shoes, and she would just do it without thinking because the voices within her supplied her with the method.

This unnerved her parents, she had to learn to slow down and hide these things, even pretend to make mistakes so that they could correct her.

This was an exercise in conformity.

She struggled with the skill of blending in, with hiding her differences.

Her parents came to accept the fact that Kathy was pretending. They could tell because she was not good at it, and also because she would almost always shift to a pattern of action that was better, more efficient, quicker, more streamlined than what they had taught her.

For Kathy to get along she learned to be silent, to listen, to wait, to let the others fail. She had to be content that she knew the answers and had to resist the temptation to seek the reward of praise.

She practiced quietude.

She would not assert herself. She did everything she could to divert attention, seeking only the private recognition of her teachers.

She could not insert herself into the activities of her peers (she had none), she could not correct them, or provide the right answer to problems that were proposed in public settings to her classmates.

She learned to experience success as a personal matter, only harkening to the applause that came from within.

She turned in flawless work.

She reacted negatively to her teachers when they tried to highlight her talents, her knowledge and skills.

This was difficult for her.

Like any child she loved praise, and she had to force herself to eschew it.

More than praise from her teachers, she wanted friends

The other children in class with her, did not like her, they did not like the way she looked at them, or the way she looked through them.

They knew intuitively that she was beyond them

She was alien.

Kathy was unique.

She felt other.

She was different from every human being on the planet, different from all who had ever been.

She embodied the full scope of human potential and its actual realization in time.

She was unique in all the universe, she was born that way.

She was still young when she realized the differences that distinguished her from everyone else she had ever met. She had known empirically that this was the case. Her ancestors within her had said as much, and that estimation was confirmed by the voices of the entities she encountered in the nous-sphere, in Earth’s cynergenic field. Nevertheless, Kathy succumbed to a basic human tendency, which was to assume that the people she encountered were like her, that they shared a common point of view or perspective on the things and events they were witnessing.

Understanding her differences did not help her manage her feelings, or those of anyone else. She had difficulties.

She knew that it was not her responsibility to control what other people felt. Whether they choose to be in a relationship with her, like her teachers, or whether, like her parents, the role had been thrust on them.

People were afraid of her.

They either wanted to run away from her, or to exploit her.

Some people simply wanted to examine her, run experiments on her as if she was a laboratory animal.

Her parents were afraid of her, and afraid for her.

They were simultaneously proud of her, and ashamed that they had brought her into the world.

The people who cared for her knew that she suffered, but they could do little about it, some tried to comfort her, most did so only as a convenience to themselves.

Chapter Twenty-four, Adolescence
Kathy was angry all the time.

She was angry with herself, she was angry with her teachers and handlers, she was angry with the voices of her ancestors that tried to soothe her from within, and she was angry at the presence of those persons she encountered in the cynergenic field, who were always seeking to intrude on her thoughts.

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 inside her, which were the same as in any youth.

In the abstract she understood what was happening, she regularly employed the techniques her ancestors had taught her, so she could control herself and reduce the burden she placed on others.

Though she regularly did this, she did not always do it, and when the mood struck her she would lash out at the people who were closest to her.

She might invade their psyche, steal their secrets, expose their fears, and brutalize them.

She was not pleasant to be around, her proctors, teachers, and handlers always approached her with caution.

As a child Kathy was composed, especially around strangers, in public, in social settings. She carried herself with confidence and intentionality. As a small child Kathy always acted with poise and purpose. This unnerved her parents, but as she grew older they came to rely on it, believing that it was key to her safety and to theirs..

There was not a person who observed her in these settings that did not mark her affect as unusual. Most people were delighted in the strange unusually confident child.

A few, those who were more observant, they were disturbed by it.

Kathy was beset by fears, not just for herself, but for her parents as well. The poise that she exuded was just a mask. She could keep it up for hours, even days if needed, but it was a ploy to hide the raging doubt inside of her.

As she matured, when in public she became paralyzed by insecurity, she would freeze, become silent, and withdraw into herself.

Am I insane, she thought, who am I, am I alone, why am I alone, how can it be that there is no-one else like me anywhere in the world?

The answers she gleaned shook her to the core. They confirmed for her that she was, in fact, alone.

Unique.

There had never been another like her.

She searched her ancestral memories for evidence of the contrary, but she could find nothing, the voices grew silent.

She searched the cynergenic field for someone who could help her, and again there was nothing, or next to nothing.

There was only a vague impression of a teacher, a priest, a shaman, a person who had guided her ancestors in the distant past, but they were not present to her now.

Kathy’s life was a series of disturbances.

Her parents did whatever they could to help her, bringing in tutors, sending her to special schools. They desperately searched for a place, an institution, a person, who could find a way to reach Kathy, to relate to her, to give some form of comfort and understanding.

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

The moved over and over again. They sold everything they had, and they burned through all of their savings, every last bit of their family’s money. They exhausted themselves in the search for a solution.

The only comforts they could really give her were material ones; food, water, shelter. They were unable to adjust to her intellectual and emotional demands.

Kathy knew what her parents were doing for her. She tried to cooperate, and she had good moments. Nevertheless, when she was feeling pained, or lonely, when she felt like an alien in her own world, out of frustration and deep resentment she lashed out at her teachers.

She mocked them without mercy, she ridiculed them, she alienated everyone who came in contact with her.

She had no place of belonging.

She used her gifts to reveal their greatest insecurities and she exploited them, her intentions were not to profit from them, but merely to drive them away, to protect herself and her family from their ambitions.

With every new failure at building a relationship with her teachers and proctors, Kathy grew increasingly despondent.

She felt the despair of her parents and it was magnified in her.

She listened to the voices within her, most of which beseeched her to be calm, remain strong.

She also listened to the voices that encouraged her to flee.

Kathy burned with rage. She was consumed by a hatred for the world, by self-loathing, and by the intrusive voices coming to her from the nous-sphere.

She did not find relief in the comfort of her memories.

Kathy did not want to be calm, she did not want to be strong.

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

She felt like an alien, she began to refer to other people as “the humans,” as if she were not one of them. She focused on every little bit of difference between her and the people she met. She allowed the power of her mind, her intellect, her knowledge to roll over people like a thresher, cutting them to pieces.

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

She felt guilty.

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

It gave her no relief.

She isolated herself. She took refuge in music, in movies, in books. She spurned the reflexive desire to augment her experiences by consuming media in consultation with the voices within her. She did not go to them for insight or discovery. She allowed her media habits to be filled only with the most contemporary materials.

In time Kathy learned to separate herself from her emotions. They would have killed her had she not.

The body is the servant of the mind, and as with all complicated machines it requires diagnostics and maintenance.

She discovered the methods by which she could commune with her physical form.

She listened to it.

Her body spoke to her.

She exercised it, mastering every muscle, every gland.

She gave it the attention it needed, sustenance, and nutrition, whatever her body required to be balanced.

She took control of herself and found refuge in discipline.

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, chemically sequenced emotions of her body.

She was guided in this by the ascended masters dwelling within her, and with those dwelling near to her in the nous-sphere.

Kathy discovered the ontological reality she shared with every living being on the planet.

She discovered that they were united, in spite of her feeling of alienation she learned to adjust to this reality.

They were one.

Understanding her essential humanity gave her a great feeling of esteem.

Kathy spent the energy of youth learning to master her thoughts and feelings, just so that she could get along in the world

She needed a place to escape.

Kathy found escape in the real world. The circle had become complete. The past, she found, could be more oppressive than the present,

She discovered the supreme distraction in the passions of her body.

In self-pleasure, and sexual coupling she was able to forget herself, forget the world around her in the uncritical-careless delights of sexual gratification.

She lost herself in the attraction she felt for beautiful people, in the present moment, in the desires that were most immediate to her senses.

She could linger for hours, in the scent and taste of a lover.

Physical love was timeless. It concentrated all her attention in the now.

The present moment was everything, she became lost in it.

Kathy found momentary peace, she found a temporary release and she found freedom in the orgasm.

The energy of a sexual climax delivered her to a place beyond space and time, removing her (temporarily) from the cynergenic field.

The world around her paused, she became weightless and all the concerns she had for herself, for others. All of the demands that the world placed on her, demands of fear, the demands of hope, all of those expectations melted away.

The universe contracted in that moment, as did her psychic connection to humanity, in that instant, she could go anywhere, be nowhere.

It was the pinnacle as if she had arrived at the peak of the human experience and stepped off into nothing.

From her first time with her first lover, to the last person she took into her bed; it was the same, she cherished those moments.

In that release there was silence, a quietude that none of her teachers could fathom, she likened it to the experience her ancestor Gottama had, while meditating under the banyan tree.

There was a temptation to remain there, to stay in that magic place, to elongate it, to leave the world forever.

She flirted with the notion, but never seriously.

Without exception, the people she brought to her bed were unnerved by the experience of watching her.

Her sexuality shook them.

Some were traumatized by it, the greater their sensitivity to psychic phenomenon, the more empathic they were, the more they struggled in that moment, there was the danger that Kathy would drag them into that space, and they would disappear.

Chapter Twenty-five, Abnormal

When Kathy was five years old, instead of beginning kindergarten, Kathy’s parents placed her in private tutelage.

They looked at dozens of schools, public programs, private institutions, schools that were religiously affiliated, and they did not encounter a single program that they felt like they could trust.

In most cases they could tell within seconds or minutes that the administrators saw exposure to Kathy as something they could exploit.

They kept looking.

They took these step because they were continuously unnerved by Kathy’s mannerisms. The things she said and did, the things she knew, the profound abilities of her powerful intellect, that differentiated her from everyone, not just children her age.

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

They did not want Kathy to grow up in the face of other people’s fear. They felt it would warp her, possibly turn her into a guarded and hateful person.

They were desperate to help her, and eager to be released from their parental obligations. They could not face the idea of simply home-schooling her. They themselves needed a break from managing her day to day, hour by hour. They also knew that they did not have the skills to guide her.

They sought private tutors to help them, professionals under a variety of disciplines.
Every tutor Kathy’s parents brought in to teach her manifested predictable and disturbing patterns.

Tutors, psychologists, scholars; her parents contracted with people inside and outside of the educational system; scientists, doctors, specialists in human behavior.

They exhausted their resources doing it.

Without exception the behaviors and interactions that each of them had with Kathy filled her parents with dread, and Kathy with a cynical unease.

At first they were delighted. Would be welcoming in their initial encounters, and she would tease them with the things they wanted to know.

They would come back to Kathy’s parents at the end of the day, glassy eyed, and wondering at the genius of their child, going on and on about her potential, and her unique gifts

As the days went on they became fearful, scared. Those same gifts that had delighted them just days earlier, unnerved them with continuing exposure.

If Kathy wanted to get rid of them, she would attack them. She would misuse her psychic gifts by exploiting their fears and weaknesses, by exposing their deepest secrets.

This drove most of them away.

Those who stayed did so either because they had stalwart character, or because they were shameless, seeing in Kathy someone who they could build a career on.

They tested her, and wrote about her.

The shameless sought to use her for their own benefit, believing she would be a source of fame and wealth.

The altruistic among them were convinced that the fate of the world hinged on learning her secrets.

Kathy’s private education was a bitter disappointment. Her parents quickly learned that they must put non-disclosure agreements in place with everyone who came in contact with Kathy, after which they were constantly occupied with the legal action to enforce them.

By her tenth birthday, Kathy’s parents decided to forego tutors. They had proven to be of little help to her or them.

They put her in the care of doctors and clergy, people from institutions which they believed had a broader commitment to supernal values, to doing good for the sake of doing good. They told themselves that this would protect Kathy from the meanness of the world.

They placed Kathy completely in their care, entrusting them to guard and educate her. With that they withdrew.

They finally found the release they were looking for. They took what savings they had left and moved as far away as possible. They had no more desire to be a part of the decision making processes for their daughter.

They were confident her needs would be looked after, she would be nourished and sheltered, they had done what they could.

They gave up.

Kathy was alone now, sequestered.

She was not an orphan, she was just a child with no parents.

She was overwhelming sad at the absence of the only people who had ever loved her.

She was despondent.

She had no sense of belonging.

Kathy withdrew into herself and patiently endured being an object of fascination.

The people who took over Kathy’s care were good people, by and large. It had taken years for them to identify just who among the dozens of tutors and doctors they had consulted with, could be trusted to look out for Kathy’s interests, instead of their own.

Kathy’s imprimatur was key to the selection process. She knew that her parents were preparing to leave her, she understood their motivations.

This made her sad, made her angry, but she understood.

She used her abilities to narrow their choices, and to affirm them

Then she said goodbye to them.

It took a great deal of time for Kathy’s proctors, her selected panel of advisors to find an institution for her. She knew what motivated them as well. Their self-interest was apparent, but it was not a dominant factor in their search, or their decision making.

For the most part, they merely wanted to discharge their responsibility to Kathy in an expeditious manner.

When they found a place for her, they told her it was a home for prodigies, gifted youngsters.

They believed it, for the most part, even though they knew the truth, they knew that the home was a front for the National Security Establishment.

They also knew it was safe

It was the safest place they could possibly imagine, but those who had been entrusted to help Kathy, had betrayed her, and to some degree her parents knew it.

Kathy accepted it all, just as they voices within her moved her to do.

Kathy read, she listened, she watched.

She was the most astute observer any of her teachers had ever seen.

She engaged all of her senses in the act of probing her memories. She brought to life the most-minute details of her ancestral experience.

She learned to remember the events she probed more accurately than the original participants could see it for themselves,

She was able to triangulate her recall of a specific moment, seeing it, from the perspective of multiple observers. She learned to penetrate their memories and their internal reflections, to separate those reflections as they changed over time.

She studied and took tests, at the same time she was tested, probed, and examined by her proctors. They were continually seeking the limits of her knowledge, and developing theories as to how it was stored, what part of her psyche gave her access to it.

They used her as an experiment.

As a child she was periodically in a position where she did know what was going on, at times she just wanted to let things happen, she did not want answers as to why it was happening.

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

She preferred to think of things in terms of patterns, to depersonalize them rather than seek the individual motives of the people she was interacting with.

Kathy learned to cope, she was alone in the world without family or friends. She had teachers, and handlers, some were nice to her, most possessed a calculated indifference.

They held her in high esteem, they were proud of the work they did with her.

Kathy’s handlers had never considered the concept of an “ordinary psychic.” They were the foremost experts in all things paranormal, and supernatural.

Genuine telepaths were exceedingly rare, but they existed, and when they were discovered every effort was made to bring them into the fold of the national security apparatus so that their talents could be used for the benefit of the government.

They were coerced if they would not come voluntarily.

In the later 20th century their abilities were tested, analyzed, put to use by spy agencies and police forces around the world. Genuine psychics were considered to be among the most vital assets of the state.

They could be very difficult to find. Given the nature of their abilities they were able to see dangers approaching from a long way away.

Most of the world’s psychics were mentally, emotionally and psychologically unstable.

The line between psychic abilities and psychosis was very thin. Schizophrenia and madness were common features among the gifted.

Psychic abilities of any degree were extraordinary.

Kathy’s gifts required a completely different understanding of the range of possibilities.

Every aspect of her life was studied in its most minute detail. With the greatest scrutiny being given to her genetic profile.

Her eggs were harvested, and she was cloned.

Kathy was the most significant subject of scientific inquiry that the world knew nothing about.

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

Even though she had always understood, objectively, that she was unique, that she was a different kind of human than had ever walked the earth, she had resisted this.

She did not want to embrace it.

She was not homo sapient sapient, she was homo sapient ancestral, she was human potential, fully realized.

She was not only self-aware, she carried within her the full awareness of her ancestors.

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

She quietly disciplined herself to the measures that her ancestors desired her to take, she did this in the field of consciousness where time was meaningless.

She did it in no-time.

As she learned to control her feelings and her moods, she learned to do many other things as well.

She disciplined herself to the practical tasks that she was always being asked to perform by her handlers.

Her gift for analyzing data grew exponentially.

Institutions formed around her, think-tanks devoted themselves to studying her, access to her was more valuable to national intelligence than access to the fastest super-computer.

Her existence was among the most closely held secrets in the government, only the National Security Council had an inkling of the full range of her capabilities.

Chapter Twenty-six, Adulthood
Kathy was longing for 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. She had to develop new skills, the ability to buffer, to keep herself from prying into the lives of anyone she was near.

She was starving for companionship, for friendship but she could not find it anywhere.

She did not want to know about the private lives of every person that she met, their fears, their hopes, their anxieties, and their lusts.

Those things were disturbing to Kathy, she did not want any part of them.

She reported on how easy it was for her to read anyone she spoke to. She did not tell them that she could read people from miles away, or on the other side of the world, anyone could be read if she concentrated.

She told them the types of things they wanted to hear about her abilities.

She told them just enough to give them the feeling that they could control their encounters with her.

Millions of dollars were spent to mask the thoughts and intentions of the people who had to interact with Kathy on a daily basis.

Even though these efforts were mostly connected to secrecy and national security, they were also meant to foster in Kathy a sense of belonging, and community, which they did with ever increasing difficulty.

Kathy felt the artificiality of her life, some days it weighed on her heavily, though when she was busy she hardly noticed.

In her work place, every little detail of her environment was contrived, scripted, fake. The lighting, the view, the temperature, the sounds and smells, her handlers put everything in place like they were scripting a television show.

Their aim was to keep Kathy passive, and somewhat distracted.

No effort was spared to engender within Kathy feelings of safety and love, the sense that she was valued.

They would introduce something into her environment, a painting, a vase, a lamp, then they would measure its effect on her output, her vital signs and expressions of her well-being, both voluntary and involuntary.

Kathy saw through all of the contrivances made on her behalf. At the same time, she appreciated the sentiments behind them, as artificial as they were. She accepted those things and pretended to accept them as genuine.

She was able to maintain that peaceful coexistence with her handlers for many years, into her young-adulthood. In that time she wanted to believe that the people she met had good intentions.

Over time however, all the false fronts vanished.

Kathy became cynical.

As she grew older her cynicism did not cause her to lash out.

She remained quiet and focused.

She preferred, as all cynics and pessimists do, to think of herself as a realist.

She stopped wanting to believe that people had her best intentions in mind, she did not want their kindness or sympathy even when it was genuine. She knew that she was an asset, merely a tool, and an unceasing object of fascination.

Analysts came to see her nearly every day. They brought their tests with them, they brought their questions, they brought their problems to be solved.

They brought her work.

Sundays were Kathy’s only regular time of respite, a day of reflection and a time to lose herself in the past.

Kathy listened to them, and while she did she looked into their consciousness, she explored their hearts and minds, their history.

She would privately decide on who she would help and who she would not. She did not express those decisions overtly, but every analyst who could not get resolution from Kathy on the project they were working was relieved of their duties and diligently examined.

Everyone who came in contact with Kathy was profiled exhaustivly, analyzing the analysts that who came in contact with her became a cottage industry in the intelligence community.

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

If she liked them then, she led them to the resolution they were seeking.

If she did not like them, their projects lingered, unfulfilled.

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

Her handlers eventually learned what type of person they could present to Kathy, the type of people that would elicit a positive response from her, people she would help without coercion.

Kathy would not be coerced to do anything.

Kathy loved problem solving. She was making her career out of it.

She loved complex tasks, and she delighted in the resolution of new challenges.

She sought them out.

She took joy in creative and critical thinking. If her work was helpful to people, it pleased her.

Problem solving gave her a sense of purpose, that is where she found her place in the world and felt most as if she belonged to something.

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

She preferred challenges for which the answers did not just spring from her memories straight into her mind.

This was rare, the challenges facing human government, medicine, war, espionage, might feel new to most people encountering them, but they were not new to the human experience.

She was fascinated by encountering new things, new ideas, for this reason she devoted her private time to the study of the atom, to physics, astrophysics, and quantum physics.

Kathy quietly and privately wrote groundbreaking papers, this was an incredible source of pride and self-esteem for her.

Without being fully aware of the influence of her work, Kathy was generating research that rippled out through the global economy.

Access to Kathy was sought after by every think tank, causing the National Security Administration worked tirelessly to keep her identity a secret.

In order to maintain their own secrecy, her handlers deliberately narrowed Kathy’s focus, restricting the scope of her involvement in matters pertaining to national security.

They would parcel out questions for her in the hope that she might not see the patterns over longer periods of time.

They sought her understanding of minute details, doing everything they could to limit the information that she could glean from them about what their real concerns were

They were concerned that if she was ever discovered and captured, it could do irreparable harm to the country.

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

She kept her own secrets, she held them closely, and she led her handlers down false paths to keep them in the dark about what the range of her abilities were.

If they would have known, they might have been comforted, or they might have killed her, something that many people at the National Security Council wanted to do.

She kept her full abilities masked.

She worked hard, and she produced data for the people that came to her, she offered expert analysis, and from time to time she took proactive measures to prevent a catastrophe from developing.

Her handlers were content to utilize her abilities infrequently, but on significant matters, having discovered that the more often they involved her in minutia, the more and more she was inclined to go out into the world and expose herself for who she really was.

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

Current events had to be understood in their historical context, because tribal history continued to move its people long after the members had forgotten the particular details of a broken promise, an injustice, or a blood feud.

Kathy’s ability to pinpoint the specific moments in time that were the antecedents of those tribal conflict was uncanny. If she could not reach the understanding through her own ancestral memories, she could commune with the spirits of the dead, she could pull the insight she needed from the cynergenic field, the nous-sphere.

Her memory produced volumes of insight for her handlers, but questions along those lines left her deeply disturbed. It caused her to dread the entire human race, the vile antipathy people held toward one another, and how easy it was for the bucolic life of a farmer, or a herdsman to become twisted by greed and drive them toward the calamities of war. It was a weight she could not ignore.

The human psyche was incredibly easy to manipulate. People were supple, pliable, soft and reducible.

Human beings had a vast capacity for self-delusion, and a profound willingness to be complicit in it.

In the midst of research Kathy often felt the instinct to flee, to run away from everything, and to never return.

Just as she had been abandoned by her parents, Kathy wanted to abandon the world.

She desperately wanted to be alone.

She knew there was no being alone, death was merely a transition to another state of being, not an opportunity to escape.

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

They did not want to expose themselves to Kathy’s penetrating psychic insight. They took every measure they could to conceal their motives. They only wanted the answers to their questions, they did not want any reflection from Kathy about the projects they were working on, the reasons why they needed their questions asked.

They submitted questions in writing.

They used a long chain of couriers to deliver the contents of their inquiries, and from which they receive their answers. Everyone who came in contact with her was watched.

The multiple degrees of separation proved to be a valuable tool. It eased the fears of the security establishment that Kathy would glean too much information from their agents and analysts if they were exposed to her directly.

Kathy received her assignments. She in turn wrote papers giving details and context in response to the questions they submitted. She deciphered code, sometimes ancient script, offered geopolitical analysis, identified covert agents, pointed out weaknesses in their own security.

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

This frustrated her handlers at times, but Kathy was not being coy. They often brought questions to her that they already possessed the ability to answer. Kathy did not want to be responsible for a weakening of the intelligence and security apparatus, she wanted it to excel through her engagement with it.

She wanted to assist with the escalation of its full potential, to see it realized in her time, because for all the faults of humanity and her own government, she felt it difficult not to be patriotic, and she believed hat the American institutions of democratic government, liberal and progressive, was the only hope the world had to lift itself out of the age of conflict.

Like any other human being, she wanted her work to matter.

Chapter Twenty-seven, Isolated

Kathy journeyed inside herself, reliving lifetimes through her memories.

She experienced the lives of her ancestors in quantum time, which was not time at all, it was outside of time, it was no-time.

In that mysterious space she communed with her ancestors and under their tutelage she mastered all of the disciplines she required to control her abilities, learning from them a way that allowed her to function in society.

She wanted to be a normal person, to experience normal things, to feel the weather, or human touch, to see the beauty of the world and of humanity, to listen to music, and the sounds of the city, to smell flowers and food cooking, and the bodies of her lovers.

She wanted those things for herself, she wanted more than to just relive them through her intimate connection to the past.

She developed austere habits and disciplines in order to possess muscle control, discernment and patience.

She developed the ability to flesh out the memories she wandered in, to experience them for herself as if she were truly living in them.

There was no path too remote for her to follow.

She took up the plastic arts, she drew and painted, she sculpted.

She took the time to recreate the visions of her ancestors, and to capture through various media, her own unique experience.

Of all the “normal” things that people occupied themselves with, the ordinary pleasantries and little things that filled up their days and nights, music was the most difficult thing for Kathy to endure.

There were new generations of performers emerging all the time.

Every year brought new waves of artists writing songs, and making hits. Vocal styles changed, tonal styles changed, the content of lyrics and the popularity of certain instruments changed, but only within a narrow range.

The rhythm and the beats, the timing of the drums changed even less over time.

If Kathy was careless a melody could cause her to slip, without knowing, into another lifetime. She would fall into her memories, slipping away from the present in ways that were dangerous to her

A beating drum told a hundred thousand stories; they told of the hunt and the harvest, of conflict and the march to war, of years toiling in servitude pushing through the field and pulling at the oar.

Kathy loved music, she would use it for all of those purposes, but her susceptibility to it made it dangerous to her.

It was an area of weakness.

Her handlers knew this.

They had observed the effects of music and other sensory stimulants on her, enough for them to see the patterns, learning enough about Kathy’s relationship to certain stimuli that they could use it to manipulate her.

When Kathy danced she moved without thinking.

Dancing was auto-hypnotic. She lost herself in the drums and rhythms.

She abandoned time in movement, in the moments flowing from the present to past ages.

She relived the steps of her ancestors, felt their feelings, both their fears and their hopes for the future.

Dance was a place of transcendence.

When she was dancing she was not fully engaged with the present world, the psychic noise and the din of chaos slipped away, the cares of the world disappeared, and she was vulnerable.

Kathy experienced this same phenomenon in many ways, but what made dancing different for Kathy was that while dancing she did not succumb to the temptation to retreat into no-time.

She hovered in between the world of the present moment, and the world of her ancestors, simultaneously connected to each.

With her body in motion, she could not fully disengage from the world around her, and at the same instant she was connected to both the world of her memories and the collective consciousness that joined her to the entirety of humanity.

Dancing was freedom.

Dancing was the ultimate expression of who she was, of her uniqueness as a human being.

Kathy danced for the joy of it.

Eating was a necessity, there were many days when she wished she could dispense with her diet altogether.

The rituals of cooking, the textures of food, brought her to places she did not want to dwell in. Not that the memories were unpleasant, that was not necessarily so, but she could not avoid the nexus of memories those activities brought her to.

What bothered Kathy was the lack of control.

Flavors and odors haunted her, they hovered around and clung to her like ghosts.

Taste and smell could transported her instantly to past times and past ages, placing her unbidden,
into a kind fuge, one she should not escape from.

Kathy found solace in the bland, comfort in modern processed foods, foods that were completely new and entirely foreign to human experience.

She did not want to mix anything in a bowl, stir something in a pot, engage in knife work, or butchery.

Even the smell of baking bread, so pleasing and comforting to almost every person in the world, even that was troublesome for Kathy.

Eating was a necessity.

Kathy consumed most of her calories like an astronaut, sucking it out of packages that did not require any processing.

Nevertheless, of all the foods and drinks she imbibed, the most pleasing thing to her was coffee.

After years of working with Kathy, her handlers came to an appreciation of how dangerous it could be to interact with her directly regarding the nations secrets.

She could penetrate the minds of anyone who came in contact with her. This happened without effort in regard to those who near to her, either close to her emotionally, or proximate to her in space. The content of their thoughts might pass through her as if she were sifting fine particles from the air.

In spite of her generalized feelings of alienation from society, the empirical fact of her interconnectedness to other human beings spoke to her of her belonging.

She was one with humanity as they were with her. The thought comforted her.

Her handlers determined to engage her at a distance. The efforts they took in this regard had a positive impact on Kathy’s life. Everything about her circumstances was completely contrived, this much she knew. They represented the efforts her handlers took to allow her to live a semblance of a normal life.

There were some in the security establishment who argued that she should be killed, that she was too dangerous, and that it was too costly to keep her in the world.

There were powers at the top of the hierarchy who would not hear these recommendations, they argued two things; first, that Kathy was the most prodigious problem solver and analyst the world had ever seen; and second, that they needed to study every aspect of her abilities so that they could document the full range of human potential

Kathy was placed in a small-private college, she did research, and wrote.

She became an academic.

It was a comfortable environment, quaint, aesthetic.

Her work was recognized and this filled with pride. She enjoyed the esteem of her colleagues.

Her handlers thought that distance, and noise were the keys to protecting their secrets, believing that the more people they placed between Kathy and themselves the more likely it would be that they could shield their intentions and motivations from her

They were wrong, there were few limits to Kathy’s abilities.

Out of an innate drive for self-preservation, Kathy developed the ability to ward off psychic intrusions.

She built mental walls to ensure her privacy, to keep the thoughts and feelings of other people from seeping into her cognitive flow.

As her mastery over her powers grew she also had to be careful not to project her wishes and desires onto other people. No one knew it, not even one of her handlers suspected this, but she had the ability to control the thoughts of other people, to audit their memories, to make suggestions that they were powerless to refuse.

She wanted privacy, and she had no desire to influence people. The boundaries she established for herself were crucial to preserving her sense of identity.

Those defenses required constant mindfulness, a diligence that stole her energy. And so, in order to rest, she preferred to be alone.

She was a recluse.

For Kathy, being alone was not enough, she also had to be distracted, her senses needed to be stimulated all the time, or else she would slip into the nous-sphere, float in the cynergenic field, or find herself caught up in the labyrinth of her memories.

Kathy desired little more than to be present, to be helpful, to advance the causes she cared about; diplomacy, justice, care for the environment and the safeguarding of the human race.

She was increasingly focused on the long range plans to establish a permanent human presence in space, on the moon, and toward the outer planets.

She dreamed of a life out among the stars, in those dreams she encountered a thread that pulled at her consciousness like the threads of her ancestral memories.

She heard a calling that awakened her to a sense of purpose, and with that purpose she was able to direct her energy toward the realization of her potential.

Kathy began to experience a degree of freedom she had never enjoyed before. She knew that it was entirely conditional. At all times her handlers wanted Kathy close to them, under strict observation.

The apparatus they built around her was an amazing thing to behold.

The National Security interests utilized a revolving network of spies to keep an eye on her. Every agent was linked by satellite, it gave them the ability to track her comings and goings in real time and from a distance which they felt was sufficiently safe from her prying mind.

Those agents whose mission it was to keep their eyes on her, they had no idea who she was.

They were junior agents who came and went so quickly from their assignment, that following Kathy was generally viewed as a basic training exercise. Nevertheless, every observation they made was pushed up into the cloud and correlated with the vast data base that her handlers were building to track everything she said and did.

Kathy felt her autonomy increasing.

Every little bit of space they gave her, she took.

The assignments she was given came less and less frequently. She could see the patterns in their behaviors toward her.

She knew that she was both indispensable and a matter of grave concern for the people at the top of the security apparatus.

In time, she even had some freedom to travel.

When she did, she went to the places that her ancestors directed her to.

Chapter Twenty-eight, Encounter
Week 30, 2019
Kathy began to feel something strange and unfamiliar.

She felt as if she was being followed by someone, and she was used to being followed, but this time she was being followed by a man who was not connected to the agencies she worked with.

She developed this sense in the normal way, in the way that ordinary people might feel like there are eyes on them.

That in itself was extraordinary to her experience.

She was being watched, she was under observation, she was being followed; the sense of it did not come to her from the psychic antenna that always attuned her to such things, and that was the strangest thing of all.

He left no impression whatsoever.

She began to recognize the man, to see him out of the corner of her eye while she was walking down the street, or in a line at the store buying groceries, at a café or a restaurant where she was eating or drinking.

His face evoked powerful memories, but the voices within her were silent. They could not offer any details on the man.

His presence sat in her consciousness like the weight on a fishing line, it held steady in the water, there was a hook, but she could not discern it.

She could not read him.

She could not recover a sense of him from the cynergenic field.

He was a mystery, and that was enticing.

Kathy went to her mailbox as she did every day, she reached inside always hoping to find some correspondence from her parents, or a teacher that she had been fond of.

She occasionally received mail from a teacher, or a colleague, or one of the few people she had been able to form a kind of friendship with.

It always delighted her when she did.

She never received anything from her parents, not one word at all since they had left her.

Nevertheless, personal mail was rare.

When her fingers touched the envelope inside she became very excited.

Kathy ignored the fact that the letter in her box was neither stamped nor metered.

Its arrival was completely unexpected.

She was excited.

There was a mystery in front of her, she did not have a clue what it might lead to.

She peeled the envelope open, took out its contents and read it, by doing so, she found herself entering into a conspiracy.

The script was written in an alphabet that no person other than herself could have known, and in a language from another time and place entirely.

It had no connection to the modern world.

She had to stretch her mind in unexpected ways to even recognize the pattern. When she did she was astounded.

There was danger in it, the kind of danger she wanted to run to, not away from.

She was faced with a puzzle like no other she had ever seen.

The day began like any other.

It was Sunday.

Kathy woke up, did yoga, meditated.

She prepared her coffee, and a piece of toast for breakfast.

She was looking through her task list for the week, planning her research.

Then the phone rang, and she had not had the slightest premonition of it.

The phone rang, and rang. Kathy was somewhat startled and slightly paralyzed

She allowed the phone to continue ringing, she thought it must be a wrong number, but they did not give up.

She suppressed a bubble of fear that rose within her. She faced it, telling herself that she was the most heavily guarded person in the world. She was safe, She had nothing to fear.

She lifted the receiver from the cradle.

She said, “hello.”

The man who spoke to her, spoke in a language that had been dead for millennia, there was no one else even knew this language had existed.

She had no trouble with it and she knew this must be the person who had sent her the letter, the same person who was attempting to wrap her in the cloak of conspiracy, beginning here, with this conversation.

In the conspiracy she felt a sense of belonging.

Her heart began to race, and skip; for the first time since she was an infant, she was not alone, and yet, she was slightly disturbed by his presence on the other end of the line.

Kathy was nervous.

She was Giddy.

She had reflexively looked for answers to the question of who this mysterious man was, she had peered into her memories, she had sought contact with him through the nous-sphere, in the cynergenic field.

She encountered a disturbing silence on all fronts.

Not only could she not reach him, she could not glean any information about him from any source.

That should have been impossible.

After her preliminary foray, she accepted the mystery for what it was, a gift, and she stopped looking for answers.

She was determined to move forward one step at a time, and to let the facts reveal themselves in the present moment.

They met at a café Kathy frequented, a busy place. Kathy felt secure in that, and she did not want to draw attention to him, to put him in the cross hairs of her handlers.

Kathy liked crowds. She was comfortable in them.

The more people that she was surrounded by, the easier it was for her to allow the psychic chatter of each individual to blend together as background noise.

She felt safe in the cafe. It was a place where it was not unusual for strangers to sit together, as she was about to do with the man from her letters.

Kathy was all nervous energy in the hours before she went to meet him, but on seeing him approach her she immediately began to relax.

She knew that she had never met him, but there were echoes of him throughout the long chain of her inherited memories, not him exactly, but someone like him.

The voices within her were silent, however, and so her memories were just impressions of a shadow of a mystery.

The myopia within her was tantalizing.

Why this man, of all men, why was it that she could not summon her powers to glean anything about Him?

It was intriguing, it caused her to want to learn more.

It was as if he had been present throughout her entire past, but there was no point of intersection where her genetic line crossed his.

Despite the mystery, or perhaps because of it. Kathy found herself at ease with him.

His name was Jim.

The sound of his voice soothed her.

He used patterns of speech and inflection that leapt into her consciousness as if he were speaking through her ancestry, but he wasn’t.

He shared her personal-historical perspective but he was not a part of the same continuum as she.

That first contact with him was a dream come true for Kathy, she felt a sense of privacy with him that she had never felt before.

The most significant thing about him was that she could not read his mind.

He was a man like no other she had ever met before.

It took Kathy several moments to get her bearings when she met Jim.

It was the first time she had ever encountered a human being that she could not fathom in an instant.

It left her feeling disoriented.

Kathy thought she had prepared herself for the unexpected, his knowledge of ancient languages alone informed her that she was going to encounter a unique individual, perhaps another person like herself.

It was not just his knowledge, knowledge was not the right word. He had an intimate familiarity with them, akin to her own familiarity, he knew more than the meanings of characters and symbols, he knew how the speech sounded, when it was spoken something he could only know if he had been there, or if he was attuned to some part of himself who had, as Kathy was.

In this encounter Kathy understood her own uniqueness in a new light, she was fascinated by him, and could understand how others would be fascinated with her, she could appreciate their esteem in a way she had not allowed herself to look at before.

It took her several moments to adjust to this new reality. She was uncertain as to why she had believed that being in close proximity to him would change anything.

Distance and proximity had never been factors in her ability to reach another mind before.

Jim was closed to her.

All she wanted to do was to be absorbed by him, to lose herself in him, as everyone she had ever been with had been lost in her.

For the very first time she felt a longing that was not rooted in loneliness and isolation.

She felt as if she were a distinct person, distinct from him, and she felt desire for him.

Kathy looked forward to every meeting with Jim. It both excited her, and made her feel a deep sense of trepidation.

She imagined that at any time her handlers from the Agency would come to put a stop to it, to interrogate her and ask her endless questions about who he was, how he appeared in her life, what his motivations were.

She knew that they would be disturbed if she were to tell them that she did not know the answers to those questions.

Being with Jim gave Kathy a feeling that she had never experienced before. She felt peace, and comfort.

She felt understood

She was like a child with her father. He was older, wiser. In fact, his age was unfathomable to her.

He never asked her to use her abilities, to explain things, to read minds, to solve problems, to perform her tricks. This differentiated him from every other person she had ever met, other than her biological parents.

And yet, Kathy wanted to perform for him, show off her skills, to demonstrate her intelligence, to show him that she represented the apex of human potential, something she did not really believe, but that she knew other people believed of her.

His mind was still.

He was utterly opaque.

She knew that he was an ancient person, an alien, an anomaly, and yet nevertheless human, in the full sense of the term.

He was not like her, he was something different, and she loved him without question.
Emergence 4.0
Part Four, Kathy

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 4.0 – Part Four, Kathy; Chapter Twenty-seven, Isolated

Week 29, 2019
Kathy journeyed inside herself, reliving lifetimes through her memories.

She experienced the lives of her ancestors in quantum time, which was not time at all, it was outside of time, it was no-time.

In that mysterious space she communed with her ancestors and under their tutelage she mastered all of the disciplines she required to control her abilities, learning from them a way that allowed her to function in society.

She wanted to be a normal person, to experience normal things, to feel the weather, or human touch, to see the beauty of the world and of humanity, to listen to music, and the sounds of the city, to smell flowers and food cooking, and the bodies of her lovers.

She wanted those things for herself, she wanted more than to just relive them through her intimate connection to the past.

She developed austere habits and disciplines in order to possess muscle control, discernment and patience.

She developed the ability to flesh out the memories she wandered in, to experience them for herself as if she were truly living in them.

There was no path too remote for her to follow.

She took up the plastic arts, she drew and painted, she sculpted.

She took the time to recreate the visions of her ancestors, and to capture through various media, her own unique experience.

Of all the “normal” things that people occupied themselves with, the ordinary pleasantries and little things that filled up their days and nights, music was the most difficult thing for Kathy to endure.

There were new generations of performers emerging all the time.

Every year brought new waves of artists writing songs, and making hits. Vocal styles changed, tonal styles changed, the content of lyrics and the popularity of certain instruments changed, but only within a narrow range.

The rhythm and the beats, the timing of the drums changed even less over time.

If Kathy was careless a melody could cause her to slip, without knowing, into another lifetime. She would fall into her memories, slipping away from the present in ways that were dangerous to her

A beating drum told a hundred thousand stories; they told of the hunt and the harvest, of conflict and the march to war, of years toiling in servitude pushing through the field and pulling at the oar.

Kathy loved music, she would use it for all of those purposes, but her susceptibility to it made it dangerous to her.

It was an area of weakness.

Her handlers knew this.

They had observed the effects of music and other sensory stimulants on her, enough for them to see the patterns, learning enough about Kathy’s relationship to certain stimuli that they could use it to manipulate her.

When Kathy danced she moved without thinking.

Dancing was auto-hypnotic. She lost herself in the drums and rhythms.

She abandoned time in movement, in the moments flowing from the present to past ages.

She relived the steps of her ancestors, felt their feelings, both their fears and their hopes for the future.

Dance was a place of transcendence.

When she was dancing she was not fully engaged with the present world, the psychic noise and the din of chaos slipped away, the cares of the world disappeared, and she was vulnerable.

Kathy experienced this same phenomenon in many ways, but what made dancing different for Kathy was that while dancing she did not succumb to the temptation to retreat into no-time.

She hovered in between the world of the present moment, and the world of her ancestors, simultaneously connected to each.

With her body in motion, she could not fully disengage from the world around her, and at the same instant she was connected to both the world of her memories and the collective consciousness that joined her to the entirety of humanity.

Dancing was freedom.

Dancing was the ultimate expression of who she was, of her uniqueness as a human being.

Kathy danced for the joy of it.

Eating was a necessity, there were many days when she wished she could dispense with her diet altogether.

The rituals of cooking, the textures of food, brought her to places she did not want to dwell in. Not that the memories were unpleasant, that was not necessarily so, but she could not avoid the nexus of memories those activities brought her to.

What bothered Kathy was the lack of control.

Flavors and odors haunted her, they hovered around and clung to her like ghosts.

Taste and smell could transported her instantly to past times and past ages, placing her unbidden, into a kind fuge, one she should not escape from.

Kathy found solace in the bland, comfort in modern processed foods, foods that were completely new and entirely foreign to human experience.

She did not want to mix anything in a bowl, stir something in a pot, engage in knife work, or butchery.

Even the smell of baking bread, so pleasing and comforting to almost every person in the world, even that was troublesome for Kathy.

Eating was a necessity.

Kathy consumed most of her calories like an astronaut, sucking it out of packages that did not require any processing.

Nevertheless, of all the foods and drinks she imbibed, the most pleasing thing to her was coffee.

After years of working with Kathy, her handlers came to an appreciation of how dangerous it could be to interact with her directly regarding the nations secrets.

She could penetrate the minds of anyone who came in contact with her. This happened without effort in regard to those who near to her, either close to her emotionally, or proximate to her in space. The content of their thoughts might pass through her as if she were sifting fine particles from the air.

In spite of her generalized feelings of alienation from society, the empirical fact of her interconnectedness to other human beings spoke to her of her belonging.

She was one with humanity as they were with her. The thought comforted her.

Her handlers determined to engage her at a distance. The efforts they took in this regard had a positive impact on Kathy’s life. Everything about her circumstances was completely contrived, this much she knew. They represented the efforts her handlers took to allow her to live a semblance of a normal life.

There were some in the security establishment who argued that she should be killed, that she was too dangerous, and that it was too costly to keep her in the world.

There were powers at the top of the hierarchy who would not hear these recommendations, they argued two things; first, that Kathy was the most prodigious problem solver and analyst the world had ever seen; and second, that they needed to study every aspect of her abilities so that they could document the full range of human potential

Kathy was placed in a small-private college, she did research, and wrote.

She became an academic.

It was a comfortable environment, quaint, aesthetic.

Her work was recognized and this filled with pride. She enjoyed the esteem of her colleagues.

Her handlers thought that distance, and noise were the keys to protecting their secrets, believing that the more people they placed between Kathy and themselves the more likely it would be that they could shield their intentions and motivations from her

They were wrong, there were few limits to Kathy’s abilities.

Out of an innate drive for self-preservation, Kathy developed the ability to ward off psychic intrusions.

She built mental walls to ensure her privacy, to keep the thoughts and feelings of other people from seeping into her cognitive flow.

As her mastery over her powers grew she also had to be careful not to project her wishes and desires onto other people. No one knew it, not even one of her handlers suspected this, but she had the ability to control the thoughts of other people, to audit their memories, to make suggestions that they were powerless to refuse.

She wanted privacy, and she had no desire to influence people. The boundaries she established for herself were crucial to preserving her sense of identity.

Those defenses required constant mindfulness, a diligence that stole her energy. And so, in order to rest, she preferred to be alone.

She was a recluse.

For Kathy, being alone was not enough, she also had to be distracted, her senses needed to be stimulated all the time, or else she would slip into the nous-sphere, float in the cynergenic field, or find herself caught up in the labyrinth of her memories.

Kathy desired little more than to be present, to be helpful, to advance the causes she cared about; diplomacy, justice, care for the environment and the safeguarding of the human race.

She was increasingly focused on the long range plans to establish a permanent human presence in space, on the moon, and toward the outer planets.

She dreamed of a life out among the stars, in those dreams she encountered a thread that pulled at her consciousness like the threads of her ancestral memories.

She heard a calling that awakened her to a sense of purpose, and with that purpose she was able to direct her energy toward the realization of her potential.

Kathy began to experience a degree of freedom she had never enjoyed before. She knew that it was entirely conditional. At all times her handlers wanted Kathy close to them, under strict observation.

The apparatus they built around her was an amazing thing to behold.

The National Security interests utilized a revolving network of spies to keep an eye on her. Every agent was linked by satellite, it gave them the ability to track her comings and goings in real time and from a distance which they felt was sufficiently safe from her prying mind.

Those agents whose mission it was to keep their eyes on her, they had no idea who she was.

They were junior agents who came and went so quickly from their assignment, that following Kathy was generally viewed as a basic training exercise. Nevertheless, every observation they made was pushed up into the cloud and correlated with the vast data base that her handlers were building to track everything she said and did.

Kathy felt her autonomy increasing.

Every little bit of space they gave her, she took.

The assignments she was given came less and less frequently. She could see the patterns in their behaviors toward her.

She knew that she was both indispensable and a matter of grave concern for the people at the top of the security apparatus.

In time, she even had some freedom to travel.

When she did, she went to the places that her ancestors directed her to.
Emergence 4.0
Part Four, Kathy

Chapter Twenty-seven, Isolated

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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