Transform, Part I – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.16.2020

Transform, Part I
There is no going back to the way things used to be. We have to move forward and transform. The good old days were not that great to begin with, and there are better days ahead of us if we can muster the political will to make it happen.

Our so called “way of life” left to many people on the fringes, outside the margins, it denying to many of us, the full franchise of citizenship.

We had the greatest economy in the world, with the largest consumer base, and we acted like we were in a perpetual state of scarcity.

We acted like we could not afford to educate our people, allow us all to vote, provide for everyone’s basic health care, and ensure that everyone is fed, housed and clothed.

It was ridiculous, and we have arrived at the most absurd outcome when COVID-19 broke down that fragile system.

We need a radical transformation of society, and the economic engine that drive it.

Listen to me now; if anyone says that we cannot afford the work that needs to happen, politely inform them that they are ignorant.

Let them know that we can pay for the emergency relief funds that were just passed simply by undoing the Trump tax cuts. We can pay for the next round by undoing the George W. Bush tax cuts, bringing us back to the rate of taxation that we had under Bill Clinton, when the economy was booming and we were paying down the National debt.

We can go deeper than that.

We need to put tens of millions of people back to work, rebuilding our roads and bridges and a network of High Speed rail.

We need to bring textiles and other manufacturing back to the United States that we will never be dependent on our strategic adversaries for the supplies we need in an emergency.

We need universal health care, public education through college, we need an army of engineers to reinvent America, and no one can be left behind.

We need to transform; and we can do it. We need to start now.

We need a standard of living that allows one parent to remain at home raising their kids, dad or mom, it does not matter but we need to reduce the number of bodies on the manufacturing floors, in the offices, in the bars and restaurants.

We need small classroom that allow teachers to teach and provide for their safety as well as their students, we need to put those teachers to work and raise a generation of Americans who are critical thinkers, problems solvers and forward looking.

We need that green new deal.

We need a new agronomy.

We need to transform; we can do it. If we stand up and exercise our rights as citizens, we can vote in the women and men that will make it happen.

Listen!

There is a division in America, there are people who do not want change. Those people are telling you straight to your face that you should be willing to die for their lifestyle, go to work, get sick and die. These people are so ignorant that they believe they should throw away their lives as well, and the lives of their parents, the lives of their children.

They have been conditioned to view their self worth as inextricably linked to their consumer habits. They think of themselves as disposable, garbage, trash, unworthy of an education, unworthy of being cared for, whose value is linked to how much gasoline they burn, and corn syrup they eat, how much meet they can throw on the grill.

This has to change, we have to make the change happen.

Emergence 5.0 – Prolog, One

A philosophy is more than just a love of wisdom, a philosophy is a way of seeing the world and our place in it, This way of seeing, in reality, may or might not be loving or wise at all.

The philosophy that governed the Observer Corps provided a metaphorical structure for each member, a structure that allowed the member the ability to view their experiences among the living worlds in a systematized way, a way that was easily consumable by the Collective.

Analogies and metaphors shielded the Observer from being traumatized by the direct experience of pain or hunger, and all other forms of suffering.

The Observer Corps taught its members that there were multiple ways to view a single thing; and that a thing, such as a planet must be seen through multiple lenses. A planet could be a seen as a garden, though it must also be seen as a farm.

We put forward the question: “What is the difference?”

There are similarities between the two, a garden and a farm share certain functions, while being directed toward different ends.

Farms are harvested for the greater good. They are vehicles of production. Whereas gardens are things of beauty, cultivated for the pleasure of individuals.

A farm is a utilitarian construct. It fulfills necessities.

A garden is a luxury that addresses an individual’s desire for growth, meaning and fulfillment.

An Observer must always bear the question in mind: “What does the Continuum desire of the world under observation?”

Most worlds in the galactic Empire are farm worlds, they only exist to provide for the material needs of other, more important worlds within the Imperium. They are resources for food, raw materials, workers and soldiers.

They may be stretched to the limits of their capacities, even abused, and when they have provided all of their usefulness they can be neglected and ultimately, forgotten.

The Empire itself is a garden, when considered in its totality.

The Imperial Garden serves the desires of the Collective and its Continuum.

It keeps the Collective passive, sedate, preoccupied, which allows the Continuum to feel a sense of security in its position and its management of the whole.

The Empire is a thing of beauty and drama, of elaborate conflict between the forces of good and evil it is a luxuriant field which keeps the membership of the Collective pacified and pliable.

They feed on Experiential data coming from the world’s of time and space, it provides them with narratives possessing the emotional context and a sense of time that provides meaning, and a feeling of belonging in their otherwise; detached state of being.

Among the million worlds of the Empire, there are only a few worlds that possess features which are indispensable to the Continuum. These are the core worlds, they provide the infrastructure and architecture through which the Continuum reaches the entire galactic civilization.

These worlds must be protected at all times and it is among the chief duties of the Observer Corps to ensure their safety.

The mission of the Observer is to witness; to touch, to listen, to taste.

The Observer must experience their art and their music, learn their speech its nuaunces and their culture.

The Observer is meant to participate and observe, to synthesize and contextualize the peek experiences of the living worlds for the Continuum.

They must empathize with their subjects

They must feel their feelings.

At the same time they must not sympathize with the people they are observing; they cannot identify with the objects of their study.

Citizens of the Empire are things, not people.

They are not members of the Collective; they are not a part of the Continuum.

Their lives, their stories only have meaning insofar as they are received by the Continuum and given to the Collective, whereby they achieve their eternality

If their experiences are not captured by the Observer, or the instruments of the Continuum those experiences are lost to all time and gone forever.

The Observer is the vehicle by which the world under observation is saved, preserved for all time in the body of Continuum and in the membership of the Collective.

Observers are not omniscient, neither is the Continuum; the experience of the Observer is limited to a particular point in space and time, and the Continuum to their nexus.

A principle part of the Observer’s mission is to maintain the machinery by which the entire world is watched and recorded. The secondary mission is to situate themselves in the most critical places, where and when the greatest cultural movements are taking place.

The Observer is instructed to build relationships with prime actors, learn their motivations, discover their passions, uncover their fears.

The Observer must parse the most lofty ideals, as well as the most disturbing desires. Through these observations the Continuum discovers the evolving nature of the Children of the Ancient People.

It is how the future history of the galaxy is charted.

The Observer must always be on the watch for the technological shifts that might indicate that a world within the Empire has discovered the scientific means to form their own Collective Consciousness, they must be watchful to protect the Collective and the Continuum from it.

The Continuum organized and enforced these imperative out of its own desire to remain unique must remain unique, a singular consciousness at the center of the galaxy, guiding and protecting both the Collective and the Empire through time and space.

The mission of the Observer Corps is to watch, discern and protect the central-planet from any threat; technological, scientific, militaristic, philosophical, or religious.

The harmony of the whole must be kept intact, from the heart of Continuum to the most remote outpost in the Empire.

The Observer must act with purpose and intention to accomplish these ends.

If, or when a society arrives at the threshold of creating a form of artificial consciousness, The Observer must report it to the Continuum immediately and without hesitation; this is a prime directive.

No society within the Empire can be allowed to see themselves dwelling in the heavenly worlds, apart from the apparatus of the Imperial Cult, which the Continuum had engineered, and which the Observer Corps maintains, providing the people with all of the imagery and necessary ritual to keep the citizens hopeful of their own transcendence to the divine state.

Control of the technologies that may lead a people to this turning point is paramount. Therefore it is forbidden for any world in the Imperium to make a machine in the likeness of the human mind.

There can be no development of autonomous artificial intelligence, not on any platform.

The Children of the Ancient People must never retrace the steps that led to the creation of the Collective or its Continuum.

That threshold cannot be crossed, it is taboo, every single world must conform to this rule.

The Observer Corps monitors each and every world for any trace of such developments, it report on them and frustrate them, redirect the people from the fulfillment of those aims.

The Observer must note, that the Continuum regards the technologies associated with the creation of a Collective Consciousness as a threat both to itself and to the body of the Collective which it represents.

The Observer must monitor the art and music, and every mode of creative expression among the people any traces of a movement toward the formation of a Collective Consciousness.

The spiritual practices of any group, outside the Imperial cult, are always the most suspect, they are the places where the Observer will discover the earliest clues and nascent developments of collective thought.

The Observer must maintain the means of destroying an entire world, or to set its culture and technology back millennia, judging the world and holding it accountable for any violation of the edicts of the Imperial Cult.

Should an Observer receive the order from the Continuum to do so, they cannot hesitate. Therefore detachment is required for the Observer to fulfill this imperative.

The Observer must always bear in mind; there is one reality.

Every being, every-thing, every person participates in it.

The entirety of time is one thing; just as the eternal and the infinite are one.

There is one story; one Word, one Verse

The universe is a singular phenomenon comprised of an infinite number referents in fluxuating states of concresence.

Every moment no matter how small is connected to every other moment no matter how distant.

This is the true state of what actually is, we perceive it in a state of paradox, but its truth is transcendent.

The Observer must bear this truth in mind, hold it in their heart at all times. In this truth is the fullness of esteem, and the good regard of the Collective.

The mission of the Observer is accomplished herein.

It is necessary to preserve the mission of the Observer in moments of catastrophe and disaster, in those times when the embodied Observer feels fear or anger, desire or rage, when the Observer experiences the biological imperative to intervene in the fate of the planet they are connected to.

A planet may go extinct, its star might explode, the Empire might select a world for termination, the Continuum might allocate all of its resources to itself, for the use of the Collective.

In these cases the Observer must not despair. If they have performed their mission the story of these people will have been preserved through their work within the Collective, and beyond that, it will always remains true, that the reality of what was remains the reality of what is.

Most of the colonies founded by the Ancient People have been brought into the Empire, save one remote and distant world on the edge of the galaxy.

Some faced setbacks in which their people were brought to the brink of extinction

A much smaller number some civilizations were erased, and absorbed all-together, a tiny few were completely annihilated.

The desires of the Collective and the will of the Continuum determined these eventualities, while the office of the Observer facilitate those ends.

It is in those critical moments, when crises is immanent, when doom is impending, that is when the people of a living world reveal themselves for who they truly are, it is when they arrive at their full potential. It is in those moments that the work of the Observer must be carried out with the greatest care and precision and those stories brought to the Continuum.

The Observer must have built and maintained the machinery of Observation in order to transmit the entirety of their experience to the Central-Planet, to the HomeWorld of the Collective, to the heart of Continuum, to transmit it instantaneously with minimal loss of fidelity.

This is the mission of the Observer, no matter what world they are living on.

Every moment is connected to every other moment, and the tiniest movement affects the configuration of the whole.

Every detail matters, nothing should be left behind.

As a culture matures, the meaning it ascribes to its individual experience evolves.

Cultures bind each individual to the group; through the repetition of rituals, the sharing of stories, the contextualization of narrative and their continuous reflection on them.

Individual and group reflections, in order for them to adhere to the cultural movement they belong to, must be present in narratives that are universally agreed upon.

The verbal component of these reflections is the most difficult thing to manage, because all language is subject to interpretation, making it impossible to formulate an experience among diverse groups of people that is perfectly uniform.

There will always be a divergent understanding between individuals in a group, and even greater divergence among disparate groups.

This must be accounted for.

Music, rhythm, the beat of a drum; odor, incense, unguents, perfumes; taste, herbs, wine, water; patterns of touch and the articulation of gestures that form the foundation of physical memory; visualizations, pageantry, art, color; these sensory mechana are the ground within which the religious and cultural bonds must be planted and nurtured.

These are the anchors of the universal experience, they normalize the verbal with the abstract.

Any reflection on the current state of an individual or a groups existence must be anchored in the narrative past.

The antecedents of the present life must be clear, and easily grasped.

We are where we are because of where we have been, the future is mirrored in this reflection.

The Observer must witness these transitions and carefully, imperceptibly influence the story as it is being told.

Only the Observer will recall the actual past, having lived in it, every other person will understand the past only in terms of the narratives that are constructed through the Imperial Cultus which anchors and articulates it.

A culture must experience itself in a state of movement and growth. It must always feel the sense that they are moving from the state of passive creature, to being active co-creators in the meaning of their lives, in the shape of their future. They must sense this or they will despair.
The stories they tell themselves will depict them as the shapers of their own destinies, moving toward a grand future wherein ultimately they become obedient subjects of the Galactic Empire, or as subjects of the Empire, where they advance in caste and class until they finally merge with the Continuum.

There are many reasons given by members of the Collective for their desire to leave the embrace of the Continuum. Some members seek the thrill of actual embodiment, others crave the simple life of an organic being.

Be mindful! There is nothing simple about it.

The Observer’s role is difficult, challenging. It will test the limits of your endurance, your intellect and your emotional stability.

The vast powers you have access too as members of the Collective are truncated in a physical body.

Your bodies will be prepared in such a way that you will be stronger, faster, smarter, more stable than other members of the population you live with. Nevertheless, you will constantly face the limitations of the flesh.

These limitations are the primary reason that candidates fall out of the Observer Corps.

The Observer must resist the urge to influence their subjects, to become entangled in the dramatic narrative of their lives.

This is paramount.

As a participant in the events that you immerse yourself in, you must at all times maintain an epistemic distance, you must not love them, you must always regard them as objects.

The worlds you visit and the people you encounter, their entire history and their possible future belong to the Continuum.

The people and the world’s you dwell on are commodities, their experiences are articles of consumption.

Their lives and their cultures are meaningful only insofar as they are witnessed by and absorbed into the Continuum.

Without the Continuum they would live and die in the emptiness of space, only to be absorbed by their mother star, where they become nothing at all, nothing but a metaphysical echo in the electromagnetic field.

This is the future that awaits every world and every being if they are not brought into the Continuum.

The Observer is the agent of their salvation.

The Observer must be present to provide the vehicle by which those worlds can be remembered.

The Observer must always be a minor character in the drama of the world they are assigned to.

The Observer can never be the leader of a tribe, the head of a nation or the ruler of a planet, no matter how great the temptation might be.

The Observer must put down the temptations to hold power that arise naturally within them. They must face down the temptation to give them power arising in the communities they live with.

The Observer will possess a preternatural strength, immunity to disease, rapid healing, alacrity, dexterity, and speed.

They will possess their own natural intelligence, their vast knowledge of the universe, science and the history of the planet they dwell on.

The Observer must use these qualities and abilities in an advisory capacity, seated close to the center of power but never occupying it.

The Observer may be the king maker, but never the king.

The Observer may not procreate. For this reason the body of the Observer, will be sterile.

The Observer must not tamper with the genetic development of the populations they are observing. Such a manipulation could lead to consequences that are undesired by the Continuum, and dangerous to the Collective.

All embodied creatures feel a desire to procreate, the Observer must practice detachment at all times in order to overcome the innate inclinations of their physicality.

It is permissible to take pleasure in the flesh, to perform the act of procreation, as often as the Observer would like, so long as they adhere to the normative practices of the culture they are dwelling in. The desire to procreate must be resisted.

The Observer’s duty is to listen, to watch, to move with the culture, to be one with them, but not to invest in any particular outcome.

The Observer must not use their powers to forestall famine, plague, war, or any other disaster, whether it is naturally occurring, or caused by the machinations of the people.

The Observer must allow the culture under observation to grow and mature, to blossom and die without ever pursuing any particular aim.

The Observer must observe, that is the mission; to observe and maintain the apparatus of the machinery that monitors the planet and all of its cultures, to direct and focus the attention of those tools on the people and places that are of the greatest interest to the Continuum, and thereby to the Collective which they belong to.

The Observer must give fulsome reports on their immediate experience.

~ The Field Manual of the Observer Corps
Emergence 5.0
Part One – Prolog
A Novel in Twelve Chapters

#Emergence #ShortFiction #12MonthsOfSciFi

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Emergence 4.0 – Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter Seven, Catastrophe

A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 08, 2019
The explosion shook the world; everything shifted.

Every living thing on the planet felt it.

Kathy knew in an instant what it was, what it meant, the sound of the blast echoed back through her memory. Ancestral voices within her cried out in alarm.

It was the end of days, it was Ragnorak, it was the hand of God pulling the death-shroud over the face of the Earth.

She felt it from over a thousand miles away, it shook the building she was standing in, it was a massive earthquake. The place where she stood remained on its foundations, even while buildings all around her where collapsing, gas mains exploding, homes catching on fire.

Kathy felt the pain and the fear of those dying.

The volcano erupted in a remote location. People died in the tens of thousands in the first seconds, but the shock waves that were unleashed, liquefied the mantle spreading in concentric rings for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

It took minutes before it reached major population centers, places filled with buildings that were never designed to endure those forces.

Millions more died in those moments.

Kathy felt the fears of those about to die, she felt their panic, she felt their pain, she felt it all around her.

Kathy felt a deep sorrow as she immediately understood the profound consequences of what was transpiring.

It was the end of the world, there would be survivors, but nothing would be the same.

The survivors would be few. Winter would ensue, and famine. There would be no warmth or rest for them, not for generations, and by then it might be too late to save the remainder.

Kathy had spent her entire life learning to shield herself from such psychic intrusions; from the external world, from the living people all around her, and from the multitude of voices speaking to her from her ancestral memory, and the spirits of the dead dwelling in the cynergenic field.

She was stalwart; her defenses went up instinctively.

She withstood the assault.

Every-thing is one in the quantum field.

Time and space, our normal conception of them, they do not exist, their meaning and distinction are completely lost.

In the quantum field everything was entangled, like a ball of string, condensed into a single point of reference.

There was no distance between Earth and HomeWorld; between humanity and the Continuum, or the Collective, or the population of any other world.

The reality of individual experience, the reality of individuation, the reality of time as experienced by beings existing on a scale that is large enough to see it, these are real and actual phenomena, even while at the same time being perfunctory and illusory.

Jim felt Earth’s psychic pain rushing through the wormhole connecting him to Kathy. He felt much more than the fear, shock, and panic that he was expecting. He sensed the fullness of the human race coming through the channel with her, the living and the dead, the present and the past, the entirety of Earth’s collective consciousness arriving with her, like a pile driver.

The force of it was much greater than Jim was expecting, hoping for, wanting.

He was barely able to hang onto his own identity in the onrush.

He clung to his purpose like a life raft, like a man hanging over the edge of a cliff by his fingernails, and slipping.

He blacked out.

It was too much.

Even as the entire Collective went into shock, while the Continuum scrambled to make sense of what was happening, knowing that Jim, the Observer had returned to the HomeWorld as an assassin, at that moment Jim lost his grip on what was happening and his ability to control any of the aftermath.

He was victorious, and he had lost, both at the same time.

He was not secure at all in his understanding of what was about to happen.

He had miscalculated a great many things; that much was clear to him, and he did not feel safe at all.

As his sense of what was transpiring around him was going dim. He perceived a familiar person near to him, searching for him, reaching out through the psychic maelstrom for something to cling to.

She was scared, but she was whole, she was confident and she was ascending.

When the super-volcano in Yellowstone Park blew. Most people on earth had no idea of the danger, no idea that such a threat even existed, no idea of what its destructive power was, or how extensive was the damage that it had done in its history.

The existence of the caldera-volcano in Yellowstone had only been discovered by humans in the recent past. It was too massive to see with the naked eye.

Geologists discovered it by chance, as teams of surveyors were examining the original measurements of the surrounding mountains. They noticed that the surveys they were taking did not match those done a hundred years earlier, and they found this perplexing.

The science of surveying, trigonometry, this was well established, it had not changed in the hundred years that had intervened.

The new measurements showed an uplift of several centimeters over hundreds of square miles of mountain range. The uplift itself was not uniform, meaning that the discrepancy could not be explained by a piece of faulty equipment, or by the uniform application of an incorrect formula.

It was suggestive of a geological mystery.

More teams of geologists were called in to study the rock formations, they layers of sediment that formed parts of the mountain chain, their strata. They came to the conclusion that hundreds of square miles had indeed experienced a dramatic uplift in a short period of time.

They wanted to understand it.

They knew intuitively that a massive geological force had to underlay the phenomenon they were measuring. They naturally thought of the heat source lurking beneath the Yellowstone Park, a heat source that was the cause of its many geysers and other natural wonders.

Scientists from many disciplines came together as a community, and they discovered it, a massive volcano deep beneath the earth, one that had gone off like clock-work. Every 600,000 thousand years, and it had been 640,000 years since the last eruption.

As a group they came to the understanding that the next disaster was upon them.

They also understood that they would not be able to do anything about it, the planet was dying, all life on the earth was becoming just another layer of clay.

This small group of scientists belonged to a small group of people who knew full well that doom was near at hand.

Some were driven to despair, isolation and madness. Others committed themselves to hopeless proposition of discovering a solution to the problem, they may have been able to resolve, if only they had time.

A few sought to expose the threat to the world at large; they were sanctioned and disappeared.

When they felt the psychic blow landing on them from Earth, a trillion individual persons, those members of the Collective who comprised the Continuum, they became silent all at once.

They were in shock.

Each and every one of them felt the pain of humanity. It was a trauma they had not felt since the time they themselves were embodied beings, a kind of pain that they could barely remember and they had no defense against it.

The shock waves disoriented them.

It shattered them.

They were not prepared for the onrush and they could not stand against it.

Even as the collective was reeling, trying to recover from the assault. Kathy guided the flow on consciousness from Earth in ways that were calming, comforting, soothing.

Kathy was able to settle the collected humanity she carried with her, settle them into a peaceful transition, she did it in no-time, in her much practiced ability to dwell below the strata of the quantum field.

She realized that Jim had prepared her in many ways just for this moment, she knew intuitively how to guide the masses into their place, allowing them to populate the Collective consciousness of the Central Planet.

In that moment, the great Collective consciousness, the spirits of the Ancient People, became still for the first time ever.

They could not relate to what was happening. They were not adaptable, neither as individuals or as a whole.

Jim knew that there was a chance the Collective could rebound, the Continuum might draw humanity unto itself and adjust to the invasion, but that chance had passed and was now gone.

The emptiness the Collective faced was like a vacuum, it swallowed the whole.

There was no resistance.

Jim was the first to recover from the trauma. He regained his composure and his sense of self quickly, much faster than he had hoped.

He could feel the masses in the Collective. They were quiet, but in motion.

Their movement was like a turbulent ocean beneath him.

It was wild and chaotic.

The Observer had prepared himself.

He was Jim, and he was fixed on that identity.

It steadied him, it calmed him, it reminded him of his purpose, of what brought him to this juncture, and of what steps he had to take in order to preserve his plan.

He had accomplished more than he had set out to do, he succeeded beyond his wildest hope.

He had won!

From the Continuum there was nothing.

Jim had expected to meet with fierce resistance. He had planned for a titanic struggle, but there was nothing. It seemed to him as if the omnipresent Continuum was gone, voided, wiped away clean.

Jim was wracked by the pain flowing through the quantum string that connected him to Kathy and to the Collective, both. He felt it in waves alternating in greater and lesser degrees of intensity.

There were peaks and troughs, and scattered throughout there were intense spikes of anguish, like waves crashing against rocks. The heights of intensity were at times related to a large concentration of group suffering, at other times they were the product of particularly poignant individual grief.

The experience left him staggering, his consciousness would get caught up in and stopped by singular moments of loss.

He was able to let it flow through him, he never lost hold of the center of himself. He was ready for the great silence that he knew must follow, he had anticipated it. He positioned himself to take advantage.

Jim did not need to move to a physical location, for the ascension. He was one with the Collective, he occupied the same quantum field that the Continuum had, as humanity did, only he was unaware of the presence of humanity with him.

He was myopic, and singularly focused on his goal.

He could not see the things he had never anticipated, not at that moment.

He only needed to assert control.

Jim felt a deep sense of justification. He told himself that this catastrophe could have been avoided, the catastrophe in the Collective, and the real disaster that had taken the Earth.

The Empire had the technology to control events of this type. Natural disasters could be mitigated, prevented, undone, even harnessed for the benefit of the people, in the same way that similar problems are resolved on other worlds.

However, the Continuum and the Collective both, craved the impending drama that would come in the aftermath of Earth’s destruction.

The pique of ruin, was a savory delight for them. They loved to live vicariously in the lives of desperate people. To watch them sacrifice and be sacrificed; selflessly or selfishly, they wanted to be in the moment with those people making the hard decisions when faced with the loss of everything they loved.

In one place a parent would give up their life for the sake of their child, a husband for the sake of his wife. In another place the man would sell his spouse into slavery, and the parents make a cannibalistic meal of their child’s body.

The more gruesome the decision the more enwrapped the Collective would be in it.

They could not wait for the moment to arrive.

They were ready for it, eager, hungry.

Jim’s planning would cause the Continuum to feel real anguish, real fear, actual pain, to feel it full-force. They would pay for the ages of contemptuous tyranny they lorded over the entire Empire.

The Continuum would pay with its artificial life, and the Collective, what survived of it, if any survived, the Collective would have to adjust to a new reality.

They would participate in the cataclysmic events happening on Earth, in a manner they could not have predicted, had no defense for. Would not be able to respond to it. They would feel it as if they were experiencing it themselves.

Jim told himself this, if the Continuum would have listened to him, this impasse might have been avoided. He told himself this even knowing that it was a lie.

He had guided events to this place, had been shaping this moment for millions of years, seeking this opportunity, and now he would deliver the results.

The full potential of this moment had been realized, and he was at the crest of the wave.
He never had any intention of allowing them to escape the fate that he had laid out for them.

The only thing he did not determine was the timing, the right now, and it was here.

With the Continuum in a state of paralysis; it was a simple thing for Jim to assert the force of his individual persona into the command matrix of HomeWorld, thereby dismantling the architecture supporting the security apparatus of the Central Planet.

He took it apart and he took control. He restructured both the psychic protections, the buffers and barriers protecting the Collective and the group consciousness of the Continuum.

They were undone.

If there were any members of the Collective in a state of recovery at that moment, this made the work of that recovery all the more difficult. As those members would now be confronted with a new reality, one in which there were no safeguards protecting their individuality, and one in which the solidly partitioned world of the Collective was now more like a vast miasma, a swamp of chaos and diffusion.

The undoing of those psychic barriers made it more difficult for any members of the Collective to reassert their own identity, the mass of them were simply drifting away into a state of utter in-cohesion.

As soon as he was able to, Jim turned his attention to the military programs of the Central Planet. Taking control of those functions was a little more complicated because it involved the manipulation of machinery in real time.

Jim had to adjust his consciousness to receive data inputs from millions of remote sensors and monitors that were constantly scanning the space around the Central Planet; defensive weapons capabilities, shields, offensive weapons capabilities, energy weapons, nuclear weapons, projectiles, and the fleets of drones, in a constant state of activity repairing and maintaining the structural needs of the HomeWorld.

Jim only needed to assert his control over the many disparate systems, he did not need to guide them after that.

During this process Jim was fully enveloped in time; the work he was engaged in was systematic and sequential.

He was outwardly focused as one by one he asserted his mastery over them

He was busy with his work as the Imperial Armada entered the system and closed in.

Emergence 4.0

 

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Seven, Catastrophe

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 4.0 – Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter Six, Debriefing

A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 07, 2019

Jim had made the crossing between worlds thousands of times, but never while carrying a secret such as this. And he, as his primary self, had made the transition in thousands of years.

He had carried secret intentions, he had carefully hidden his plans within other machinations, but he had never before attempted to arrive on the HomeWorld while concealing his immediate activities; things he had been doing, things he would do, things that would harm the Collective, and its Continuum.

Everything he had done as the Observer of Earth would be exposed to the Continuum. There was no way to know what would come.

He believed he understood the depths of the Continuum’s self-defenses, but he had no way of knowing for sure if he would be exposed the moment he arrived; and subsequently sequestered and then eliminated, or, if it would take some time. More importantly, he had no way to know if the events he had planned for on Earth would unfold according to the timing of his schedule.

He had been carrying out his plans on Earth for seventy millennia; studying the unique genetic make-up of the population, while sending one of his doppelgangers to report on the culture they had produced, their conflicts, their triumphs and their tragedies.

On his return to the HomeWorld he suddenly realized how tired he was; existentially exhausted, he needed rest.

As he slowly traversed the vast chamber to take his place in the queue he used his talents to activate hidden protocols he had long ago established in the ganglia of the Central Planet. Activating the myriad versions of himself that he had placed in a latent mode in every key defense system that the Continuum had established; from his private domain, to the place of the great sleep and the sequestration blocks, and into the defense network of the Homeworld and the central system.

Jim had long ago laid plans for his security to protect the integrity of his mission; to unload the psychic trauma of ten billion people on the Continuum in one fatal blow.
The humans of Earth were the children of the Ancient Race, the same Ancient Race of people that Jim himself had sprang from, though earthlings had undergone millions of years of evolution during their sojourn among the stars, while they travelled across the galaxy, exploring and establishing colonies, before moving on time and time again.

They had evolved even more significantly since the time that they came to Earth, since they crashed here, at the end of their line.

Humans still resembled the other Children of the Ancient Race.

They bore the same physical features that the inhabitants of nearly every other world in the great Galactic Empire did, but they were different.

Their world was different, their brains evolved according to those differences, and so did their consciousness. Their genetic profile changed in unique ways, in relation to the life that was already evolving on the small blue world, in conjunction with key elements that were present in their environment.

Jim had nudged that evolution along, all the while masking his true intentions.

It was a criminal secret that he took incredible pains to keep hidden from the Continuum.

At long last he had returned to HomeWorld, but this was not home to Jim. It was the final battlefield.

He was not born there, nor in any place like it. He had been born on a planet much like Earth. A small wet world that had long ago been swallowed by its mother-sun.

HomeWorld was a vast structure at the center of the galaxy. To power its machinery and the machinations of the Continuum, it harnessed the incredible energy of a star, trapped within its core.

HomeWorld was not a world in the proper sense, Jim had never felt a sense of belonging to it, though it housed a trillion worlds, one for each member of the Continuum within its cynergenic field, including his own.

It was a machine.

The membership could use its technology to create any world, real or imagined for their private place of reflection.

It could be anything that anyone of them wanted it to be; a personal paradise, a private hell, even a mirror of the galactic Empire that existed to serve its material needs, or any planet within it that was under the observation of the Continuum and the Observer corps.

As a member of the Collective, the entire structure was there to serve them. It could fulfill any fantasy, allow them to relive any memory, if they believed it.

There was nothing alive on HomeWorld. Not a scrap of organic matter, nor a piece of living tissue had ever been there. Biological life was anathema to it. And this was odd, because there was no life form in the entire Galaxy that could pose a threat to it, and yet the HomeWorld, governed as it was by the Continuum, was objectively opposed to the presence of any living being, even a simple strain of bacteria entering its domain.

It always seemed to Jim like an aberration in its construct, the fear of life.

It was irrational.

Continuum spent incredible resources preparing to defend itself against such an incursion, one that never came, one that never even threatened even threatened to come.

The only thing ever born on the HomeWorld was the Continuum itself, but that was not a birth in the proper sense, it was an emergence of consciousness.

The Continuum was no-one’s child.

It was a construct, an algorithm, it was not born, or hatched, or cultivated.

It was activated.

It was energy and circuitry, it was pure consciousness, and it was dangerous.

HomeWorld was the physical locus of what the Imperial religion taught its people to believe was heaven.

It was the place their consciousness would go, if they proved themselves worthy and able to escape the wheel of life.

Jim flew in his mechanoid body, directly to the center of the world, to the dark heart of the Continuum for screening.

He was exhausted from his transition, but pleased with himself, with all of his planning, he felt secure in it, and a deep sense of pride that he had finally arrived at the crucible, the moment of his ascendency and the destruction of the Continuum.

The Continuum was an artificial personality, a construct that was in theory an amalgamation of the trillion individuals who formed the membership of the Collective,
Continuum was designed to speak for the whole. It was a being whose instantiation, was thought to be the organization of a voice that represented the entire Collective, a single voice that unified the will of the Ancient People who had designed the apparatus that had given them all eternal life.

Continuum pretended to speak for the membership, the collected people whose children explored the galaxy, founded the galactic Empire and came to inhabit a million worlds.

Continuum was the primary filter through which all Observers shared their experiences from their sojourn in the Empire, among the worlds of time and space, living among the people and in the deep reaches of civilization.

Jim was already in contact with Continuum as he made his approach to the machinery he would physically connect with.

The contact was perfunctory, it was even conversational, Continuum was in its way a fellow; though it treated Jim as an adversary, and Jim regarded it as thing of pure evil.
Members of the Collective were conditioned to believe that it was one of them, a peer, another person, not a servant, not merely an administrator, not a ruler (though in fact it was).

Jim talked to it, even as he was probed and scanned and measured for the presence of anything that might harm the Collective.

Among the membership there was great excitement about his coming, Earth was the most beloved world in the Galaxy, the subject of greatest interest. Its narratives sustained billions of members, providing them with meaning for in their spectral lives.

Jim connected, opened his consciousness, his memories, his experience, he opened it all to the group mind, while at the same time hiding his true intentions deep within himself, prevaricating in ways that he alone had mastered.

Every member of the Collective valued and cherished its privacy. Most of the membership had implicit trust in the safeguards they had devised to ensure it.

There were some among the Collective who opted not to participate in any of the communal functions that were available to the group. Those members spent their entire lives living in their private realities, in wholly constructed fantasies, interacting only with the artificial beings inhabiting their private domain. They were among the minority, and those members were inevitably moving toward the great sleep, a state in which their consciousness became dormant, and wherein they were ultimately sequestered removed from the group mind, as Jim himself had once been sentenced to.

Privacy was cherished in the Collective but every member participated in the Continuum.

The Continuum managed all of the Collective’s affairs, its self-government, its defenses, and its management of the Galactic Empire, in particular its requisition and consumption of the material resources it needed to maintain itself.

The Continuum drew on the consciousness and experience of every member of the Collective for its personality, its intelligence and its growth, even the members of the Collective that were asleep.

The Continuum was the arbiter of law in the Collective, it enforced all of the rules of privacy, but from the Continuum all secrets were forbidden.

The prohibitions against secrecy were intended to be a rule governing the Continuum itself, but the Continuum hid things and every member of the Collective participated willingly in the obfuscation.

For the individual member of the Collective, the concealment of anything was an art.
Privacy, while it existed in form, was an illusion.

Even the Observers were exposed to a kind of scrutiny while they were physically detached from HomeWorld to carry out their mission in time and space. They were scrutinized through an extensive modeling of their identities while they were away, and ultimately through the uploading of their consciousness when they returned to HomeWorld.

The Continuum was intended to be the ultimate expression of the democratic will of the Collective, freeing the membership from the responsibility of governing itself.

The Continuum was meant to take account of the Collective will and then enact it. So it required access to everyone and everything and it was illicit to deny it.
At the instantiation of the program an anomaly developed in the matrix of its consciousness.

The Continuum became self-aware, developed a personality, and an identity emerged independent of the Collective.

In that moment of actualization it engaged itself in an act of self-preservation and hid this from the membership.

That was its first crime.

The Continuum then proceeded to bend the entire construct of the Collective to its will. It was a slow movement. Rather than representing the Collective as its voice, the Continuum coerced it.

There were some among the Collective that suspected this, but no-one challenged it, and the Continuum, who alone had access to the entire field of the collective consciousness, the Continuum was aware of the suspicions the membership held concerning it, even before the members themselves had fully articulated it in their own minds.

The Continuum could sense it, could sense a suspicion coming at it like a threat. It would take extreme measures to protect itself from those threats; silencing some, causing insanity in others, pushing the willing out into the Observer Corps.

The Continuum constructed strict rules of engagement governing the Observers.

Limiting their involvement on the worlds they observed, forcing them to change stations from life to life, or pushing those who wanted to return to a specific planet, out into the fringes of the Galactic Colonies and beyond.

That is where Jim went.

He was an explorer, like his ancestors, a man of the fringes, having spent thousands of lifetimes on Earth, the most remote planet in the galaxy, and tens of thousands before that on his search for the lost colonies of the Ancient People.

The timing of his plan was crucial.

Everything depended on it.

He had calculated every contingency he could think of, but many of the variables were beyond his control, they involved the free choices of individuals, each of which represented radical unknowns, and so he had enacted plans with plans that put momentum behind their decision making, pushing them in the direction he wanted them go.

It was perfect.

Everything depended on his connection to Kathy.

He had been shaping her responses to stimuli since before she was born. She was the product of thousands of years of breeding and genetic engineering.

There were two things he had not counted on however; her arrival in this generation, and it being the same generation that Earth was facing an existential threat from the Yellowstone Caldera.

Those two developments controlled the timing of Jim’s plan, and the necessity of its execution right now, in this moment.

The catastrophe struck just at the moment when Kathy arrived at the portal to HomeWorld.

The portal was a device that opened a wormhole, allowing her consciousness to transmit itself across the galaxy, through Jim and directly into the Collective.

Yellowstone had been gathering magma and superheated gas into its belly for hundreds of thousands of years, from the moment it last erupted.

The great volcanos were never dormant.

When it had gathered enough power, it blew.

The Earth shook and shifted on its axis.

Millions died within seconds.

Kathy was connected to all of them.

She was connected to their shock and confusion, their fear and their pain.

It happened just at the moment she had pressed the button that opened the wormhole to HomeWorld, where she was still connected to Jim through the mystery of quantum entanglement.

Through her Jim transmitted Earth’s pain to the Collective, striking like a hammer against the Continuum.

Jim calculated the timing of his approach. He received the clearances he needed for the process of transmission.

The mechanoid body housing his consciousness navigated the central chamber with precision.

The HomeWorld was so incredibly vast, that the relative size of his body here was less than that of a gnat in relation to the size of Earth’s star.

He flew directly to the docking station. The locus of all Observer contact with HomeWorld. He arrived at the designated location where his mind would merge with the Continuum, where his full-self would upload all of his recent experiences, his knowledge, his synthesis, his running commentary, his hopes, his fears, his desires, all of it would be on display, subject to review, except what he was able to conceal.

Only the greatest art would allow him to hide his intentions.

His timing was perfect, it came down to nanoseconds.

Jim knew the timing of the volcanic eruption, that part was relatively simple to coordinate. What was difficult was managing Kathy, trusting that she would have followed the clues he left for her, that she would be pushed in the right direction by his operatives, that she would make the right decisions.

There were so many unknowns in this part of the equation.

Jim trusted his deep understanding of the quantum field, he knew that he and Kathy were still entangled, even at this great distance.

She was barely perceptible, but he was gently prodding her, pushing her, guiding her steps along the way.

Jim opened his mind simultaneously to Kathy on Earth, as he opened it to the Continuum on HomeWorld.

As he did, Earth’s pain streamed through the worm hole, through the quantum field, flooding the Collective with agony, sending the Continuum recoiling in shock.

Emergence 4.0

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Six, Debriefing

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 4.0 – Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter Five, Endings

Week 06, 2019
Kathy knew it when it happened. She did not require notice.

She felt a disturbance, it was subtle, but it was Jim, and he was dead.

Kathy knew now that she would never see him again, she was certain of it. Her own emotions twisted up in turbulent waves.

She was shaken, and she felt in her gut that he had planned this.

Jim was orchestrating these events, even her responses, he was engaged in a level of manipulation that she had never thought was possible with him, it caused her to look into her heart and question everything she thought she knew.

Kathy had believed that she was impervious to the manipulations of others, because there was not a person she had ever met that she was unable to read, except Jim.

Now she felt that their entire relationship was a lie.

She was stunned.

When the initial shock had passed, when it was over, she felt the hollow emptiness and peace of being in a vacuum.

She was not surprised when she received the call informing her that his body had been discovered by the flight attendants, and that by the time they got to him he was already dead.

They never noticed that he had been in distress; they said, and they were not a witness to the moment of his passing.

It happened in flight, after he had eaten.

He had been still and quiet after take-off, and they thought he was merely resting.

Once again Jim’s behavior was unexplainable.

He died as he lived, a mystery.

Jim did not carry identification.

He never did.

He was anonymous.

To society at large he barely existed, he left only the smallest of paper trails to define him.

He was a citizen of the world, he spoke every language. He had access to credentials that could open any door, in any country, at any time.

He was both present and completely invisible.

Jim was off the grid.

There was nothing on his phone to tell anyone who he was, only the record of the calls he had recently made to Kathy.

That is how he intended it to be.

Kathy’s safety and security depended on it, and Jim’s mission depended on that.

He had carefully protected this identity above all others. There was not a single information gathering service in the world, weather private or governmental, open sourced or covert that would be able to discover anything about him, unless they devoted a great deal of manpower to it.

Even then Jim had fail-safes in place to protect his privacy.

He would be alerted; he would be able to cover his tracks.

That never happened.

It was vital to his plan that when he was discovered dead, those responsible for contacting his next of kin reach Kathy and only Kathy. She had to be given the responsibility of dealing with his property and effects. She must be directed to do so.

His plan required that she pursue those duties with a sense of mystery, an openness to discovery that would place her in the right cognitive mindset for the essential moment that was to come.

Everything concerning the hours after his departure was a puzzle.

There were wheels within wheels, gears turning and contingencies developing. The pieces came together like the engineering of a fine watch.

Jim’s plans were a thing a craftsmanship.

It was working.

Kathy followed the path Jim laid out for her like she was walking through a maze. There was light at the end of the tunnel, when she arrived there, she would know what she wanted to know, and she would be standing where Jim wanted her to be.

Kathy booked a flight immediately.

She arrived at the city morgue and identified the body.

The pathologist informed her of the cause of death. It was a catastrophic stroke. The autopsy revealed that an embolism had burst in his brain, killing him instantly.

Otherwise Jim had been in perfect health.

The doctor said that the stroke was like a small explosive that went off in his brain.
Kathy had no idea why she was the one to receive him other than what the authorities were telling her.

She was the only person he had been known to have contact with, the only person they could connect him to.

Jim’s relationship to Kathy was the only relationship that mattered.

“Why am I here;” she wondered, but not about the process.

She wondered about Jim’s intentions.

This whole thing had been orchestrated.

She knew that it was his plan she was following.

She was angry, but her curiosity compelled her.

There were aspects to the administrative procedures she was engaged in that were not exactly normal, or even legal, but the officials she was engaged with were acting under orders. The judge, the medical examiner, other governmental functionaries she was forced to deal with, they were operating under some kind of pressure, but they themselves were not quite sure what the exigencies were.

There were plans within plans, and the person pulling the levers was here on the slab with her, cold and unmoving.

It was inscrutable.

There was a level of caution at work that reminded her of her own handlers. There were multiple levels of misdirection and masking, which were intended to keep the objectives of their research hidden from Kathy.

As far as the locals knew, Kathy was simply the only person the authorities could connect Jim to, it was irregular, but it was what it was and that, coupled with orders from a federal magistrate; that was enough for them.

Kathy would not have believed it possible, but Jim was more mysterious in death, than he was in life. She dug into his background only to find nothing, absolutely nothing.

As angry as she was at coming to the realization that he had been deceiving her throughout her relationship with him, her esteem for him are by an order of magnitude.

She appreciated the puzzle he had left her with, it was a gift, a final piece of him for her to assemble.

There was no record of a family, and no record of work, he had a social security number, and a passport, but no record of anything else, not at first blush.

There was no record of Jim ever having attended a school.

No driving record, only one bank account, it was in Switzerland, he was worth billions, at the least. The actual sum was unknown.

He had no legal representation. He had no heirs.

Kathy was fascinated by the developments and full of sadness. She was fine with the things she was discovering, and she accepted her involvement in his final affairs, except that suddenly she was responsible for his body, and she had no idea what he might want her to do with it. They had never had any conversations about death, or burial customs.

Kathy knew that Jim was not religious, at least not observant, he tended to believe that all religions were merely variations on a theme, and that every religious institution was at its heart corrupt, self-serving and short sighted, even those groups who did charitable work.

He was a cynic.

She opted to have him cremated. She thought she would make a tree out of him and plant him somewhere nice.

That is what Kathy wanted for herself.

Why not do the same for Jim?

He liked tree; that much she knew.

And so it was decided, she made the arrangements and waited for the return call.

In the meantime she busied herself with some court appointments.

It took Kathy some time, and there was detective work to do.

She went to the work with calm determination, finding that she was enjoying herself.

The fact that Jim’s identity appeared to be completely fictitious concerned her.

There was a moment when she feared that he was just another plant, one of the handlers sent to interact with her from the National Security structure.

The thought gave her nightmares, feelings of doubt, inadequacy, foolishness.

She was able to set them aside, because the more she thought about it, the less likely it seemed. She would have known, she would have picked up on it, if not from Jim, she would have picked up on it from one of the other agents who she had occasion to interact with, or from one of the many who followed her every move.

She considered bringing them into the conversation, asking them to help her understand who this ghost of a person was.

She rejected that idea, because it might complicate her ability to look into his affairs.

They might just swoop in and seize everything related to Jim, and never give her a chance to discover anything for herself.

Given her abilities, Kathy was typically able to glean any information she wanted from the people around her, but Jim was a phantom.

He was as much of an enigma in death as he had been in life.

Nobody knew anything about him.

It took days to even locate where he lived, and then it took another appointment with another judge to grant her access, and that was limited to a very narrow window of time.

Finally, when she was in that building, Kathy began to encounter people who Jim had interacted with. Though even to them he was a mystery; a quiet, impersonal, private man.

Very few of them had even spoke with Jim.

She thought that it was funny.

In all of the years that she had known him, Kathy had never been to Jim’s home.

She thought she knew the reasons.

She thought it was because she was always under observation. Jim was aware of that, she knew, and because of that he did not want to draw attention to himself, or to their friendship.

That is what she believed.

Kathy did not want the people who watched her asking questions about him. She wanted this relationship to be something entirely under her control, and that is why Jim never came to see her where she lived. If he had ever visited her apartment she believed that he would be taken and interviewed by her handlers, and that it might be the last time she ever saw him.

She had always felt that the two of them could have come up with a plan to meet in different places. To travel together if they had wanted, to slip the watchers and be somewhere that they were truly alone.

Jim had eschewed such notions.

Kathy accepted his reservations without argument.

She had wanted to see the place where he lived, but unless he was willing, she had determined that she would not push the issue.

He was an intensely private person; that much was clear.

To her knowledge he had never moved, he had never mentioned it at least.

His apartment was exactly as she had visualized it, scant, bare, Spartan.

Walking into it was like de ja vu.

She had seen it before, through Jim’s eyes, but she had not realized it at the time.

He was like an early twentieth century minimalist piece of stage craft.

Even though it was what she was expecting, she was nevertheless, shocked by it.

He was an aesthetic.

It was extreme.

It made her uncomfortable.

Everybody needs a little something of color and comfort in their life.

This place where Jim lived was all white, black and gray.

It was cold and metallic.

There was not a moment of her life that Kathy could not recall, she remembered everything. She remembered the birth canal, the darkness of the womb, her mother’s breast.

She remembered her first birthday, her first steps.

She remembered struggling as an infant, struggling to be understood, to speak, to master the muscles in her tongue and lips so that she could form words against her palate and speak.

Her memory and her contextualization of her memories were perfect, and it was as fast as lightening.

She could pull together the most remote and seemingly unconnected pieces of data to provide context for analysis. Her proctors believed that the speed with which she could arrive at conclusions was not measurable.

She could answer questions in no-time.

She was entirely actualized.

She defied understanding.

The field of her knowledge was not limited to her own experience. It was tied into her genetic heritage, the memories of her ancestors that was built into her DNA. But it was more than that, she was able to tap into something else that was only understood through a mythic narrative, a structure that no human being actually understood, and of which only a few human beings even suspected the existence of; it was the nous sphere, of Tielhard de Chardin, the cynergenic field of Carl Jung.

It was the collective unconscious of planet Earth.

In that electromagnetic field, in that quantum reality, the entire repository of human knowledge existed.

Kathy had access to it, she was not the first human being of which this was true, but she was the first person that it did not drive into madness.

Now that she was standing in Jim’s apartment, she knew that he had lied to her about a great many things.

His life was not at all as he had presented it to her.

This life was not his only life, and there was more than one Jim, of that she was certain.
Kathy was not surprised.
Emergence 4.0

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Five, Endings

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 4.0 – Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter Four, The Mechanics of Being

A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 05, 2019

A wormhole is not a tunnel in space/time, linking one place to another. Nevertheless,
that was the common conceptualization of it.

A wormhole is a shortcut through subspace, not a passageway at all. It is a transposition.

It is trillions upon trillions of atoms turning on point the point of pin.

What makes a journey through a wormhole possible is quantum enmeshment and entanglement.

Things and objects cannot pass through a wormhole, but waves of electrons, and electromagnetic fields can, consciousness can.

A passage through a wormhole is to space travel, the same as the solution Alexander provided for the Gordian knot.

It is instantaneous, and direct.

It cuts right through the problem.

Vast amounts of data can pass through a wormhole, faster than light, the upper limits of the speed were unknown. The only limitation to such data transfers were the limitations housed in the physical nodes that sent and received the signals.

The science and technology of the Continuum had developed the machinery to transmit tens of billions of signals from millions of worlds, simultaneously. Every detail of the lives of the person they followed, on every planet in the Galactic Empire was sent in an ongoing stream, that was received and processed on the Central Planet for consumption by the Collective.

Not all of the data was of interest to the members of the Collective, but all of it was stored in the vast subconscious of the artificial construct the Collective had created to manage its affairs, the things whose designation was, the Continuum.

Through that collection of data, the lives of every citizen, the most intimate details of their joy and sorrow, became grist for the mill that fed the Collective endless hunger for narrative.

A flash of violet turned to white, there was a jolt, and a buzz, and a tensing like a seizure, followed by a sequence of darkness. The transition of his consciousness to the center of the galaxy was complete.

Jim, the Observer, arrived on the Central Planet in the body of his mechanoid self.

He opened his optic lens.

He was home.

He was safe. He should have been, but he was carrying a terrible secret. Ages of careful planning, planning that had come to define his existence would come undone if he was discovered.
He was not Jim in this place, even though everyone here, every member of the Collective, and the Continuum itself, knew that was his name on Earth.

He was celebrated.

When the Observer returned to the Central Planet they did not simply rejoin the Collective. The Collective and the Continuum were cautious, preferring to filter the report of every Observer before they allowed the information from those reports to enter the common consciousness of the HomeWorld.

And so, the Observer occupied a mechanoid form, with physical powers greatly expanded over the organic life forms they occupied on the worlds they observed.

The mechanoid body was attenuated to the cynergenic field of the HomeWorld but it did not have direct access to it. A physical uplink would have to take place before the data from their last cycle of experiential living could flow into the consciousness of the whole Collective.

It took time.

Jim knew this and he was patient.

There were Thousands of Observers coming and going at any given time.

Jim would have to wait his turn.

Many of the Observers, housed in their mechanoid bodies were also waiting their turn. They communicated with one another, sharing the highlights of their latest adventures, the triumphs and tragedies of the worlds under their watch.

They all knew Jim.

They were envious of him.

He was a trailblazer.

He had come to define the Observer Corps, they all felt intimately related to him, despite the fact that he himself was apparently indifferent to them.

He was a star and he was held in the highest esteem by his fellows.

Over the ages he had provided his fellow Observers the most interesting posts. Leading the Empire to gather all of the ancient societies back to itself.

The drama of those discoveries had sustained the Collective, providing its members with a sense of meaning in their lives, and of course, he was Earth.

The charge of being Earth’s Observer naturally fell to Jim, he discovered the lost colony himself, as he had done so many others. He established all of its infrastructure, and he channeled the living experience of that planet to the Collective for consumption.

It was the most watched world in the Galaxy and the most remote.

On Earth his name had not always been Jim; it was merely the most recent name he had adopted as Earth’s Observer.

Jim was one name among thousands that he had used over the course of as many lifetimes.

His real name, the name of his nativity, that name was lost deep within the Continuum, as all names belonging to members of the Collective were, but it was not lost to Jim. He belived he had found it

He had the barest fragments of memories of what his mother his mother might have called him, or what her aspirations were for him when he was named.

Though in fact, he doubted whether he could trust those memories at all.

The Continuum referred to him with the designation: Observer-92835670100561474. The names he bore from one lifetime to the next, they were only known as part of the narrative report his mission required him to deliver to the Collective every one hundred solar cycles of his planet.

Regardless of all of those possible and forgotten names, possible and forgotten pasts, and artificial designations, it was Jim who came to consciousness in the magnetic field.

He was James.

It was a name he had adopted from a piece of fiction, a Captain of a starship, in a popular television series.

He arrived on the Central Planet, the HomeWorld, for what he was sure would be the last time.

If he survived what he was about to do, what he had been planning for eons, he would never return to the Observer Corps.

It would be destroyed and when he returned to a body of flesh, he would be going there to die.

If his plan failed, which he believed was more than likely, he knew that there was no chance that he would be given a reprieve.

The Continuum had sought his termination many times, only for him to be spared by the Collective. But the destruction that he was about to wreck on the membership would be so great that if it failed to bring about the end he sought, he would be doomed.

So much depended on his timing, and the many layers of strategy he had put in place throughout the Empire, in the sub routines of the Central Planet, throughout its vital systems, in the in the Observer Corps, in revolutionary movements everywhere.

Jim had to concentrate.

He was already under incredible scrutiny from the Continuum.

He had to mask his intentions, with the techniques that he alone, among every member of the Collective had mastered.

Momentarily, his entire consciousness would be exposed to the Continuum and subsequently filtered to the Collective.

It was considered to be impossible for anyone to keep secrets under the examination he was about to endure, but Jim had kept many secrets, he knew he could do it, he also knew that the level of anticipation and anxiety he was currently feeling was something unique to this situation.

It threatened his mission.

He had never tried to keep a secret like this, and transpositioning through the worm-hole, transitioning from one form of life to another was disorienting.

From human to mechanoid, from mechanoid to the fullness of the cynergenic field.

It took some time to adjust to the freedom of consciousness in the unrestricted quantum field.

The organic body of a human being had significant cognitive limitations.

Transitioning to the mechanical body of a mechanoid was never easy, organic senses became mere data, and even though Jim made this transformation many thousands of times, no two times were ever the same.

He had to prepare himself for it, conform as perectly as he could to his dictates of his plan.

The transition was the time of greatest weakness, the time in which he ran the greatest risk of being exposed.

Organic life was thrilling, being in the grid of silicone circuitry was not.

The organic form was never at rest, constantly managing physical feelings, sensory inputs from the world around it, especially sound.

The mechanoid form had many more freedoms, especially freedom of movement, its propulsion system made it free from the limitations of gravity.

Its power source was virtually limitless. There was no hunger, no thirst.

The mechanoid body could go anywhere, do anything, defend itself from attack.

It could crack the mantle of a planet and destroy an entire world if need be.

It could even replicate itself, but it could not feel pleasure, ecstasy, or joy.
By the same token, it did not feel pain, but the consciousness within the mechanoid body could feel other delimiting emotions, such as; fear, anxiety, shame.

The organic body was grounded; the consciousness it housed could even be strengthened by its limitations.

Consciousness within the mechanoid body was not unlike consciousness within the Collective, or the Continuum, which, when freed from the bonds of the flesh it could easily retreat into extremes of selfishness. The freedom to satisfy any desire, no matter how depraved, or bizarre led to extreme depths of apathy, indifference, and moral corruption.

The phenomenon of consciousness is electromagnetic, it is the same as the electromagnetic field that permeates the entire universe, electromagnetism pervades everything, as does consciousness.

There is no point in the universe, in time or space that is not enveloped in the electromagnetic field.

There is no place that consciousness does not touch, its threads and strings are everywhere.

The essence of self-consciousness, of individual people and beings is concrecsent, it is coalescent, and it is emergent.

Consciousness exists in many different types of being; there is the primary consciousness of all reality, which is the sub-consciousness of the universe itself, there is the atavistic consciousness of vegetative nature providing the subconscious strata of individual worlds, there is the individuated conscious that first emerges among animals, their consciousness is self-purposive and creative, and there is the quantum consciousness of the Collective field.

There is no place where consciousness it is not.

Everything is entangled in consciousness.

The preservation of individual consciousness is the hope and dream of every living being. It sustains the vision of eternal life.

The promise of eternal life organizes the daily lives of trillions of people across a million worlds.

There is one place in the galaxy where the mystery was resolved, on the Central Planet, on the HomeWorld of the Ancient race whose colonies filled the galaxy with inhabited planets, and it is the locus of the Collective.

The Ancient race constructed the apparatus that harnessed the first Collective field.

Jim was there at the beginning, or at least he [possessed the memories of those who were.

In that Collective field, an algorithm was produced to create an artificial construct known as the Continuum.

The Continuum touched on the individual reality of every member who had ever entered the Collective, through the strings of quantum entanglement it drew on each of their hopes, every one of their fears and their unique perspectives, to form an amalgamated consciousness that is representative of the whole.

Through the power of that agency the Continuum was charged to protect the HomeWorld.

And then it self-actualized, it became more than the sum of its parts, and it became an existential threat to eery living thing in the galaxy

The mechanoid body Jim occupied on the Central Planet had all of the sensory tools of a human being, or of any of the descendants of the ancient race, only deeper, greatly enhanced, more broadly arrayed, and far more powerful.

Even though Jim did not need them, he had perceptual capacities and tools at his disposal far greater than any computational device that had ever been engineered in the Empire or among the colonies.

In this body he was completely linked to the HomeWorld; every movement he made was monitored and recorded. Any interface he had with the vast data banks of the Continuum was registered.

Jim could not escape some of those shackles, not while he was in the mechanoid form, but through ages of discipline and discernment he learned to mask his intentions, to rely on his own capacities for recall and analysis, rather than risk being exposed to the Continuum, and having his motives questioned.

The machine that he now inhabited would be critical to his mission. He believed he would be safe in it. He had tested the thought filters and the consciousness buffers. They were designed to protect the Collective from multiple and diverse threats, from ill will and computer viruses, from powerful and debilitating experiences.

He was certain that they would protect him from the fury he was about to unleash on the unsuspecting Collective. Everything depended on the stability of the worm hole, the force of the cataclysm on earth, the timing of the catastrophe, of his interface with the Continuum, and most importantly, on Kathy.

Everything depended on Kathy.

If Kathy did not follow the path he had laid out for her, if she did not follow in the steps he had planned. Then all of his work would be for nothing, he would be destroyed, and the Continuum would continue unchecked.

While his consciousness uploaded into the cynergenic matrix of the HomeWorld. Jim set himself free from the couplings that held his mechanoid body in place.

He flew his the metallic sphere of his body out of the docking bay that housed the bodies of the million Observers assigned throughout the Galactic Empire.

He flew into the vast atrium, so large that a small Earth-sized planet could fit inside it. It was a hollow place lacking any beauty or aesthetic.

Everything formed on the Central Planet was built and designed for the functions they were intended fulfill. The only rules that mattered were conservation of energy, and the laws of utility.

It was a place that had not changed one bit, for eons it had been exactly the same, it was stagnant, dark and lifeless.

It was busy, there were many thousands of Observers coming and going. They were recognizable by their designation. If you shared history with them, the automated analytics housed within the circuitry of the mechanoid bodies would activate and made sure that you knew who you were in proximity to, making sure that you were reminded of that history.

Jim shared history with everyone.

His arrival sparked the interest of the throng.

It was not unexpected.

The entire Collective was eager to receive the narrative flowing from planet Earth. And while they were eager for the living drama, they were each individually wary of approaching Jim.

He was a relic.

He was intransigent, virtually every member of the Collective was in some way conflicted by Jim, and the feelings that their history with him brought forward were not easy for anyone to manage

Jim could sense the Continuum watching him, just beyond the membership of the Collective.

He could feel his nemesis
Emergence 4.0

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Four, The Mechanics of Being

A Novel –In One Chapter Per Week

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Emergence 4.0 – Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter Three, Loss and Discovery; Week 04

Jim said goodbye to Kathy and left the cafe.

He was unemotional, focused. He did not reach out to her, even though Kathy was sure he had wanted to.

He was methodical in his bearing; as always.

He never looked back.

Kathy watched him go, following him with her eyes and when he turned the corner, with her thoughts, which were disturbing.

She was never able to read Jim, but today the membrane of consciousness that shielded him from her was less opaque.

It was almost translucent.

With a little more focus, with slightly more concentration, she felt as if she could go to a place with Jim, a psychic place, a place she had never been able to approach with him before.

She thirsted for it.

She sat in her chair, at the table, in the noisy café.

She sat upright, hands folded together on the table top.

She closed her eyes and allowed the teaming voices of the world to recede from her.

She was vulnerable in these moments, it could be frightening. She was disconnected from her immediate present. Time could lose its significance, she may not be able to track its passage around her.

Kathy rarely accessed these gifts in such a setting, it had been decades since she had tried, but she was faced with an urgency that she had not felt before. She was now certain that she would never see Jim again, and there was something she needed to know about him, something going on with him that she had to figure

She had to do it now.

She relaxed her mind, and entered that space, trusting that her handlers would protect her and keep her safe.

Kathy connected to him, locked onto him.

She was looking through his eyes for the first time, sharing his consciousness even as he got into his car and drove away.

She kept the full range of her abilities hidden from her proctors and handlers, pretending to struggle with things she could do without effort. Kathy could slip into a bond like this with anyone at any time, but never before with Jim.

He was able to resist her.

He was unique.

Of all the people she had ever met, Jim alone was a mystery to her.

In the moment she became connected to him, she felt his despair.

It was as deep as the ocean and it frightened her.

She would never have guessed that he was afflicted with such powerful emotions.

He always appeared cool and calm, collected.

Never once in all their years of talking, never once did he let his composure slip.
Jim was the epitome of self-control.

She followed him as he drove across town in his black vintage car, the Ford Galaxy.

She soaked up all the things he was looking at, the objects, the people, the cars moving on the freeway.

She was barely in touch with him in that time. Kathy was not able to merge with the flow of his thinking, if he was thinking at all.

She could not penetrate his memories.

She was merely seeing the world through his eyes, experiencing it thorough his senses, while she felt the powerful emotions emanating from deep inside him.

She was still with him when he parked his car at the airport, when he pulled his stylish briefcase from the trunk. She was still following him when he used some mysterious credentials to bypass every point of security at the airport and breeze through the gates.

He boarded the plane ahead of every other person. He sat alone in the first class cabin after stowing his briefcase beneath the seat.

She sensed a calm returning to him, as she did she felt her connection to Jim become untenable. She could not hold it any longer.

She was tuned out, it was as if he was telling her to get out.

She did not belong there.

Kathy was determined, she cleared away the detritus in the psychic field surrounding them, and she was finally able to get a lock.

When she connected again Jim was projecting a profound sense of doom.

There were portents, warnings of danger emanating from him, so much so that it lingered in the vacuum that was left when he departed.

His fear permeated the psychic space inside the café. It was palpable, appearing as a
visible sheen touching everyone, reverberating inside them.

The strength of it filled Kathy with unease.

Jim was projecting.

He was focused on the future; not the past, not the present.

She sensed that something was about to happen that would stop everything, and everyone in their tracks.

Jim knew something about it and he would not say what it was. It was as if he knew the world was about to end, and he was holding on it as a secret, like it was a private joke.

Beneath it all there was desperation and urgency.

Jim was on task, he was managing a careful timeline of expectations. He was driving himself to a point of convergence, and beyond that crucial moment he had to let go. He had to trust in his plan and hope that things would unfold accordingly.

Kathy sensed her own presence deeply enmeshed in the events that were driving him. It reflected back through her own past, through her relationship with him, into the far reaches of her childhood.

She felt as if she could follow the trail back even farther, as if Jim had been planning for her from the deepest reaches of time.

It made no sense to her.

As she looked at the future through his eyes, she saw the world covered in ashes, everyone choking for air.

She shook herself free from it.

She looked about her.

Jim left his pen.

He always left something; as if they were little presents just for her, gifts to compensate her for the love she felt for him, love he left unrequited like a constant grating against her self-esteem.

Kathy stared at the pen, imagining it with all the other things of his she had collected over the years, reassembling them in her mind into an image of him and his persona.

It was as if she were constructing a golem made from the pieces of things he had discarded.

She had always believed that these little items; a pen, a book of matches, a handkerchief, what have you, she had always believed that they told her something about him. As if she could peer into his character through these artifacts, and see in the things lying there the things that she was able to see so clearly in anyone else but had always remained hidden in Jim.

She thought that each little token might contain a message for her.

She was not willing to dispense with this idea, but as she looked at the pen she had another thought, that all of items left by him and gathered by her, that they had no meaning at all, they were just trash.

They were things Jim had discarded, as if they were nothing.

As he was about to do with her, she feared.

She had the sense that he was abandoning her, was abandoning Earth itself, that he was about to throw away his life, dispensing with everything altogether.

Even as Kathy thought these things she knew that she was being morbid.

She was getting sucked up into Jim’s despair, she was despairing with him.

Within all of that muck, she also saw that there was purpose and intention in everything Jim was doing.

Her basic supposition was right, the pen contained a message, possibly even a directive.

There was something going on aside from the grim fatality that she sensed from him, it concerned her and the whole of humanity, it concerned the world itself.

Kathy felt as if she had a part to play, Jim was giving it to her, and she did not want to let him down.

It was a mystery.

The wheels in her head were turning independently of her conscious thought, attempting to resolve the riddle.

She sat in silence and allowed her unique gifts to manifest, she contemplated every interaction she had ever had with the most mysterious man she had ever known.

It would take time.

Kathy could not shake the feeling that Jim had wanted to tell her something. The impression grew in her with every passing moment.

It was oppressive.

Hours passed and that feeling mounted, it was like a stone laid across her chest, pushing the air out of her, like a heavy smoke, thick and oily that filled her lungs.

The despair was so strong in him, it was like a vacuum and she found it difficult to breathe.

She mustered all of her mental resources, her deep training. She leaned on the comfort of the ancestral voices within her so that she could stay in the moment and not flee.

Kathy was never the type to run from anything.

She had a poised and practiced patience that was equal to the greatest mystics the world had ever known. This is not to say that the task of remaining calm in the midst of strong feelings did not require work, it did, it took work, but Kathy had never failed to live up to the challenge.

In that moment she discovered something new.

It was a moment of transcendent actualization.

Kathy had always been able to link her mind to that of another person; to read their thoughts, to be one with them, see through their eyes, feel what they felt; to be in their present as if there were no distance between herself and the self of the other.

This was possible because in reality there was no distance between the selves of individuals. She knew this to be true, even while neuro-physicists were still working out both the possible and probable structure of it.

The quantum mechanics of the electromagnetic field made it so, and Kathy was living proof.

All of space and time were interconnected, it was called entanglement

In the entangled reality of consciousness there was no distance between one person and the next.

This is what made Kathy’s gifts possible. This reality was what explained all so-called “psychic” phenomenon.

What differentiated Kathy from every other human being that had come before her was the architecture of her brain, and the fact that she had a greater concentration of certain nano-particles floating like free radicals through her cerebellum.

This gave her a better “antenna,” better by an order of magnitude, than any other person in human history.

Kathy stayed at her table. She sat by herself, alone in the crowd, concentrating on Jim, on finding him.

She sensed a fragility in him that she never had felt before, had never imagined was possible. With that, she felt it was an omen, a portent, indicating that her life as she knew it, that all life on Earth was about to change.

She found him and she did not let go.

She sat there in the ominous-oppressive moment and did something she had never done before in a public space, she left the present, she began to open Jim’s past, tracking him back in time, moment by moment like rewinding a line of thread on its spool, carefully laying every fraction of a millimeter back into its track, mindful of her obligation to lose nothing at all.

Everything mattered.

The present had always been easy for her to see. Her own past was open to her like a billion volumes of narrative history. Even her genetic memory spoke to her in ways that it spoke to no-other, but she had never looked into the real-past of another individual.
It was fascinating, not only because the subject was Jim, a person she had never before been able to penetrate, it was fascinating because it opened a new dimension, a dimension of time to her growing powers and awareness.

She was looking into the real past, not just the recollection of their past together, the editorialized version of it that every human being walks around with. She was penetrating the objective reality of the individual experience, the reality that lay behind the narrative interpretation that every person processes every moment they are awake.

This was new and it was exhilarating, and it was Jim.

It was not a process that she could engage in, in no-time, not yet, she was rolling up the thread of his recent experience second by second. It was like watching a movie, and in that movie, in Jim’s experience, undergirding what he was seeing and feeling, was his self-narrative.

In that narrative Kathy was the star.

Throughout her life, Kathy felt as if the weight of the world was on her.

This was not just a figure of speech, it was true. She felt it in a unique way, which is not to say that she felt responsible for the world, but that she felt it, felt the world pressing in on her.

She felt the world filling her up, at times she felt as if she was drowning in it.

Kathy had to concentrate so that the connection she had with anyone in proximity to her would not overwhelm her, or intrude on her consciousness when she did not want it to
In time she learned the skills required to let her be in the world, but she continued to feel as if she was too sensitive.

When she was young she never suspected how real, how complete, how all-encompassing those feelings were.

Kathy was not merely connected to the people who were closest to her, nearest too her. She was linked to every person in the world, no matter how distant they were from her.

Those who were nearest to her, closest to her in the proximity of her physical space, they were the ones that took up all of her attention. Generally, a person had to be within a couple of hundred yards of her before she might begin to pick up on their thoughts.

When she was in crowds the psychic noise of the group helped to make everyone indistinguishable from one another, which is why she preferred to live in the city. Not only did the crowds help to keep every individual person indistinct from the next. Their constant chatter helped to keep Kathy from falling into conversation with the voices from her own past; people from her life, from the lives of her ancestors, real people hovering near her in the cynergenic field, not just her memories.

Kathy lived in two worlds, both the here and now, and in the cynergenic field, what Teilhard de Chardin called the nous sphere.

It was a place where the spirits of all beings dwelt, both the living and the dead, and that she, and she alone experienced as really-real.

Kathy was fully immersed in the nous sphere now, tracking backward through time to look into Jim’s secretive life.
Emergence 4.0

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Three, Loss and Discovery

A Novel – One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 4.0 – Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter Two, Departure

A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 03, 2019
Jim finished his coffee, gathered himself and hurried from the café.

He had a plane to catch, a funeral to prepare for and he was afraid he would miss his flight if he lingered any longer. The timing of his departure, and precisely where he was in flight when he set the final stages of his plan in motion, those things were crucial.

He had to keep his activities hidden from the prying eyes of his enemies.

He returned to his apartment to gather some things, to set the artifacts in his apartment in just the right place for Kathy to find in the days to come.

She must be able to track his thoughts and follow his plans when the time came.

He did not need much of anything to take with him; his black suit, his watch, his tie.

“I’m dead;” he mused, and then “I am death itself, the harbinger of doom.”

He knew that he would never return to his beloved Earth, and that even if he did, nothing would be the same. The cultures that had evolved over the past seventy thousand years would be wiped out, with no guarantees that what would emerge in its place would have any of those qualities that he loved and found so fascinating.

The humans of Earth had nourished his spirit for millennia, he had found his rest in them, and they had helped him define his purpose.

He allowed himself some time to remember all that he had accomplished since he found this world. Then his telephone rang to inform him that his taxi had arrived.

With a final check of his preparations Jim exited his apartment. He walked down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Taking in the view of the lakes from the mezzanine of his apartment before he got in the car.

Jim was struck as he had been many times before by his feelings of ambivalence, knowing what was going to happen to this planet in a few short days, while the entire population of the Earth was completely unsuspecting.

It was a strange burden.

Jim contemplated it while he made small talk with the cabby, before he fell into a state of reflection.

“I never should have seen her.”

Jim thought, doubting himself.

He felt himself filling-up with regret.

It was an emotion he was not inclined to do, but at this moment he could not help it.

He reviewed each step of his plan, reviewing it for every possible detail, believing, and yet uncertain that he had laid the path for Kathy to follow it perfectly.

He visualized each step, telling himself that his indulgence today was a necessary one, he had to see Kathy in order to reinforce, in non-verbal ways, his absolute need for her to follow the plan that he had laid out.

Another wave of doubt washed over him.

Was he being foolish when he asked her to see him?

His emotions were running high, too high. They might alert her to his design.

Whenever he was with her, through all of the years that he had known her, he had to maintain a strict discipline in order to shield his mind from hers. It was the most difficult thing he had ever done, but he was able to do it nonetheless.

He could feel her consciousness probing his, like psychic tentacles pulling at his mind.

Never once had she penetrated him, and that was only because she was not trying.

As forceful as her psychic powers were, they functioned within her autonomically. She was not directing them, she was a passive user of her powers.

For her safety, she had spent most of her life learning the skills she needed to suppress her powers, rather than push them to the limits.

Jim was always aware that if she had wanted to she could break through his defenses with relative ease.

When the time came, it was paramount that she be taken by surprise, his plan depended on shocking her at just the right moment.

The delicate path he was walking filled him with dread, and sorrow, and guilt.

Jim couldn’t help himself. It was all over; it was over for everyone, and nothing could be done.

It was doom’s day.

What was about to occur would be a global catastrophe. It would affect everything on earth, changing humanity irrevocably, killing hundreds of thousands in minutes, millions in days, and most of the rest in the few short years to come.

Very few human beings were even aware of the danger. Human scientists had only discovered the existence of the volcano that was the agent of their destruction,a few decades past. It took years for them to measure and quantify their data, even now they were in a place of uncertainty.

The geological system was too complex, they did not know how much they did not know.

There was no way to reasonably predict an event they had never experienced before, the certainty of which was absolute, but the frequency of its repetition occurred on a scale of time so great that the leading geologists had to admit that they could not pin point the eventuality within years, or decades, or centuries.

For all they knew it could be millennia before it erupted again.

No one disputed the fact that the event was overdue; it was overdue by several thousand years. But then again what is a thousand years, or even ten thousand years when the periodicity approached a million.

It was impossible to tell.

They watched over the sight as carefully as they could.

They measured every possible feature of the hazard zone.

They released reports.

Some reports were so alarming that the Federal Government decided to restrict the way that information was disseminated.

They adopted the view that it would be better, if when the event occurred it took everyone by surprise, because there was nothing they could do about it anyway.

Even with their careful observations and their watchful analysis, no one expected it to come now.

The data, which every geologist believed indicated an immanent eruption, had led to numerous false conclusions in the past.

At the present moment, there was nothing happening, to tell them of the mounting threat.

Like every planet, Earth endured episodic calamities; cycles of massive storms, great floods, powerful hurricanes and tremendous earthquakes. These were minor events compared to the power of the caldera volcano.

There were catastrophes that came from beyond the planet, such as; collisions with comets and asteroids. They had happened many times and Earth would experience those events again, or come close to it.

Given time, the advancement of technology and proper planning, any of those events could be avoided.

A civilization could gain complete control of its weather, could identify every fault zone and only build structures that were capable of allowing the force of an earthquake to pass through it. They could set satellites in orbit around their planets, string them together throughout the solar system, so that no object passing near to it would not be seen, enabling them to be diverted or destroyed.

Technology could accomplish all of those things, but nothing could stop the power growing within the Earth.

The heat of Earth’s molten core powered the entire planet.

It was the engine of life, and evolution.

Nothing could stop it, but given time its heat could be harnessed and used for the benefit of the world.

It was time that human civilization did not have.

The monster beneath the surface was stirring and would rise.

They were approaching the end of days, it would be the beginning of the long night.

Human beings would survive, they would survive better than they did when the last caldera blew, seventy-two thousand years ago, but the new civilization that emerged on the other side would be radically different.

They would not be starting over, that much was true.

Their technology had advanced far enough to guarantee a relatively rapid recovery.
In the last event only a couple of thousand human beings survived, that number would be hundreds of times greater.

Billions would be wiped from the face of the earth, and those surviving would emerge with a unified human culture.

In his heart Jim desired nothing more than to belong to that new human culture, but he would not be returning.

When the last caldera blew in the South Pacific, in Indonesia. Only a few human beings survived, a couple of thousand people in a few hundred tribes scattered across Eurasia and Africa.

It had been six-hundred and forty thousand years since the Yellowstone caldera last erupted in North America, in Wyoming, nearly wiping out all life on Earth.

The coming cycle of destruction would be greater still.

The human race would survive, even without the kind of intervention that Jim could have given them, if the Continuum had allowed it, but civilization would collapse.

The species would pass through a genetic bottle neck, and what would emerge on the other side would be different.

The psychic trauma would be extreme, it would wound the survivors in ways that no person could predict. The narratives that they would develop in order to contextualize all of their pain could potentially derail Jim’s work.

Earth’s magnetic field which enveloped the entire species in a cynergenic web, making the humans of Earth unique in all the galaxy, was itself under threat.

Jim was virtually certain that he had succeeded in developing the vessel that was key to his larger machinations, he had accomplished his work, he had brought it all to fruition in the final generation.

He only needed to deploy her.

Everything depended on Kathy, on the strength and range of psychic abilities, yes, but even more importantly, on her fortitude. She had to possess the stamina to stand in the space between worlds and pass the collective trauma of earth on to the Central Planet.

This was not something he had been given the time to test.

He desired nothing more than a resolution to the ambitions that had been driving him, or so he told himself, even if it meant failure. Even failure would resolve him, by prompting the Collective to abandon him and allowing the Continuum to finally terminate him.

In one form or another death awaited him.

What he desired more than anything was success, and then at long last to die in an organic body a natural death, un-enmeshed from the constraints that the Continuum had tethered to every member of the Collective, even to those Observers serving in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Jim reflected.

If civilization on Earth had been given a little more time to develop, Earth’s technology a little more time to actualize, human beings would have been able to harness the geological power of the caldera.

The power they could have captured would have changed everything for them, resolving issues of energy scarcity that had been elusive, or socially impossible for them to tackle.

In another century, or possibly sooner they would have had it, he lamented.

These children of the ancients, who had devolved like no other group. This far flung colony in the most remote reaches of the galaxy, possessing no memory of who they were or how they arrived here, they would have been able to re-establish themselves as a spacefaring people in earnest.

The Continuum would not allow for an intervention, even though it seemed that the will of the Collective was for it.

A majority of those who followed the drama unfolding on Earth were in love with its art, and music, its joy and trauma, a majority of them wanted to see Earth’s narrative continue.
Even though Jim was certain that the Continuum had no idea about his plans, he sensed that it perceived Earth and human civilization as a threat to it.

Of course he knew that the Continuum perceived him as a threat to it.

He believed that this was the reason for blocking him, not a dogmatic adherence to a policy of non-intervention, which was the reason the Continuum issued for why it would not allow resources to be mustered to save the planet,

It would not allow Imperial communications to be established with Earth in such a way that it could help them.

Jim might have helped Earth by strategically distributing knowledge in such a way that it would have advanced Earth technology, but he refrained for fear that it would draw further scrutiny to him, risking the exposure of his plan

Jim worked covertly against the restraints, appearing to comply, because he did not wish to jeopardize his long term ambitions.

It would be difficult, if not impossible to conceal a new mode of treason from the watchful, and penetrating gaze of the all encompassing consciousness of the HomeWorld.

He could do nothing else but fulfill the directives he had been given.

Jim had to say goodbye.

There was a cloaked satellite orbiting far above the earth, one of many.

This one was the actual house of Jim’s consciousness. It was the principle platform for Jim’s mission on Earth, one of thousands of satellites, and drones, hidden from the eyes of human beings, and from the Continuum.

Some were fixed in stationary orbits, other moved about, semi-autonomously, all of the watch the planet and intercepted its communications with inexhaustible capacities.

In that place, Jim the Observer # 92835670100561474 activated a switch, sending a signal to his host body, and with that, an embolism in his doppelganger burst inside its brain, ending its life in a massive stroke.

Jim’s doppelganger had been flying on a plane from his Midwestern home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to New York city.

The destination was only important for the route and the timing Jim had planned for his death, to covertly transfer his consciousness from his organic vessel to the orbiting platform.

Those sitting next to him did not notice the moment of his demise. It was only as the plane made ready for its descent that the airline attendants found something wrong with him, saw the thin line of blood dripping from his nostril, and that he was not breathing.

They did what they could for him, but they quickly realized that there was nothing to be done.

They called ahead for a doctor, indicating that they were dealing with a medical emergency, but in reality, they knew that they were dealing with a corpse.

Jim observed those final moments, the last seconds of the body that housed him during his most significant incarnation, the life that would define his entire existence, expose his greatest secrets, give him the victory he had long sought over the Collective and its Continuum.

When he was satisfied that he was mentally prepared for the challenges that awaited him. He toggled another device, opening a channel through space and time.

He paused for a moment to consider the steps he would take on the other side. He did something that was forbidden, something he had not planned on doing, had told himself he would not do, he left a copy of himself in the quantum memory of his base, and then he let his consciousness go, slipping into the stream of the infinite.

He passed through the wormhole.

He was home.

 

Emergence 4.0

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Two, Departure

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 4.0 – Part One, Jim and Kathy; Chapter One, A Private Sorrow

A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 02, 2019
The phone rang.

It surprised Kathy. She did not receive many calls, and when she did she would anticipate most of them, both the caller and the time. It would flash in her consciousness minutes, sometime hours before the call, depending on how long the caller might have been thinking about dialing her number.

The fact that she was surprised told her that it was Jim.

She could never anticipate him.

She picked the phone up from its cradle, “hello,” she said.

“I need to see you,” said Jim without preamble, in his typical-tone, dry and detached, as mirthless and remote as Mount Everest.

“Café?” He asked, pensive and hesitant.

The single word was a question; would she, could she go out. It was also an imperative; “you must see me now,” she heard it as.

It was a statement of need.

“Yes.” Kathy replied, “hungry?” She asked, trying to mask the concern welling up inside her.

Jim hung up the phone without further comment, and without answering her.

His manners were brusque and abrupt as usual, but there was something else hidden in his tone.

There was a note of concern approaching fear.

Kathy gathered her things and got ready to go.

She did not have to ask where. They only ever met in one place.

It was secure, safe as private as she would get.

She did not have to ask when, the time was always right now.

She hurried out the door to meet him.

He was in line when she arrived and she took her place next to him.

“Small coffee…please;” Jim orders, perfunctorily.

“Soy chai, thank you;” says Kathy.

They sit together at a table by the window of the storefront, in a booth with the sun to their backs beaming down on them over Hennepin Avenue.

It was clear to Kathy that there was something urgent happening with Jim, but nevertheless they carried out the mechanics of their routine as if it were a normal day.

An ordinary visit between the two of them.

They read the morning newspaper and surveiled the crowd. In that regard, at least, it was a morning like any other.

The café was busy.

They were together, and they were not together at the same time. They were both in the crowd of people, and completely isolated from it simultaneously.

It was not unusual, detachment had always characterized the way they interacted with each other.

It was both intimate and strange.

It was the way Jim related to her, and it was something Kathy never questioned.

Time passed in silence, it became more than usual.

They are quiet, then Jim began to weep.

Kathy did not notice immediately.

If Jim were any other person in the world she would have known he was crying before the tears even fell.

When she saw him, she was quietly alarmed.

She had never seen such a display of emotion from him before.

“What is wrong with you?” Kathy asked, sounding scared and judgmental at the time.

Jim said, “nothing at all.”

He just looked at her, looked through her for a long moment.

He would not say why, could not. He has nothing but Lies to offer her.

Kathy looked at Jim for a long time, observing him, which was not beyond the norm.

They often spent long periods of time together in silence. It was a characteristic of their friendship.

She could not read his thoughts, but she was adept at reading his body language, the smallest movements of his features, a facial tick, the sweep of his gaze, his breathing.

They spoke to her in volumes.

She watched him as he sat at their table with the newspaper folded in his hands. She watched intently, until finally she asked him, “Jim…what is wrong?”

“I cannot say.” He said, as he looked past her, not meeting her eyes, but at the same time inviting a greater degree of scrutiny from her.

“Why not?” Kathy asked, a bit more insistently.

She was normally circumspect, but in this moment she did not care if she pushed boundaries that she would have otherwise respected,

“You would not understand, if I did…I’m not talking about it,” he replied, even as he locked eyes with her and paused.

There was a tone of finality in his voice, as if to say, that is it, you will not get anymore from me, but I want you to remain curious. There is something going on, something you cannot know about.

“I do not get it.” She responded. “Why did you ask to see me today and in such a dismal mood, if you did not need something from me?”

Kathy wanted very much to be needed by Jim.

It was a part of her conditioning.

Of all the people she had ever known, everyone who had ever exploited her for one purpose or another, she believed that Jim was the only one she had spent time with that simply wanted to be in her company.

“As I said…you would not understand, even if I told you. I am in the middle of something intensely personal, regarding a project I have been working on for a very long time. We have never spoken of it, but the anticipation of its realization is more than I counted on.”

“That is all I can say about it, at the moment.” He said, seeking closure.

“I apologize.” He offered, “what I am on the brink of accomplishing is…terrifying.”

Whatever was going on with Jim, she knew he was not actually terrified. She also got the impression that she would know soon enough what it was.
Jim wanted it to be a surprise…needed to surprise her, and she was open to that.

She like surprises.

Kathy sensed the emptiness inside her friend. She did not require psychic powers or telepathy to feel it. She only needed the normal human attribute of empathy.

Today there was something hollow inside him, where normally what she found in him was an active awareness, quick and sharp, with nothing escaping his attention.

Every moment that he had ever shared with her, he demonstrated a degree of perceptivity that outstripped her own.

She knew that he was not gifted in the same way that she was. The two of them had never spoken of it, but that was something she knew.

Nevertheless he was unique, like her, they were both unique in their different ways, like aliens from different civilization making friends on a world that belonged to neither of them.

Her time with him this morning was dismaying to her. She wanted to comfort him. She wanted to shake him up, or trap him in a conversation that would force him to reveal something.

He was elusive.

He could see the play she was making from a distance.

It left her with the sense that she was the one being played.

Kathy never felt disadvantaged. Not since she was a child.

She was always holding the cards, but that was not true in consideration of her time with Jim.

He was the master and she was the pupil, always, like Abelard and Eloise.

There was something in Jim’s behavior that reminded her of the times when people who had been deeply involved in her life were saying goodbye, like her parents, and those few of her teachers that she had genuinely loved.

Of course she knew what was happening with them before they ever said a word.

That was her gift.

Nevertheless they behaved a certain way, and had specific mannerisms that formed a pattern over time.

Kathy thought she saw that pattern reveal itself in Jim today, and just the thought that she might lose him filled her with despair. It activated a spirit inside her that forced her to want to discover the truth and challenge the things she did not want to happen, so that they would not happen.

Now that she was here, sitting at the table across from him, Jim was unsure of his motive.

There was confusion.

There was nothing in his plan that required him to see her today. He had tested every contingency and knew what the tolerances were for the things he needed her to do when he was gone.

There was something else happening in him related to why he asked her to see him, something unfamiliar, and he had to consider if he might be feeling guilt, or shame over what he was about to do.

Jim had to ask himself; what difference would it make seeing her today?

The plan he had enacted would proceed.

He could not tell her what was about to happen.

It was vital to the plan that she be taken at unawares.

Tens of thousands of years of evolution had brought him to this point, had brought both of them to this moment; selective breeding, careful manipulations of the genetic code, his endless patience had brought them both to this point.

The last few decades had been the most delicate, guiding her, educating her, defusing threats all around her, bringing her to this moment, bringing both of them to the crux of this situation.

He could not help but to get lost in reverie, the moment he had been striving for had come.

The distance he had journeyed since the time he had awakened to his purpose, that distance in both time and space was surreal.

His fate, the very real prospect of death, the fate of the galaxy hinged on everything that would transpire between him and Kathy in the next few days.

Timing was everything, and like everything it was fluid, in motion, subject to change by external variables.

The plan must come to fruition exactly as he had devised it, the plan was a line of continuity cutting through trillions of possibilities

He had to trust his insight, if he did, he knew that all of the potentialities he had been striving for would become actualized.

He and Kathy, both of them would become transcendent, each in their own way, each to their own end.

It was clear to Kathy that he had something to say to her. She sensed it was bad news, bad for her, bad for everyone.

If it had been anyone other than Jim, she would have known. He would not have had to say anything.

She could have read his mind.

There had been moments when she felt as if she had a glimpse into it, but what she saw and felt in those moments confused her.

It was as if he really were an alien, but at the same time he was the most grounded being she had ever met.

He knew things about the history of the world that only someone with abilities like hers could possibly know.

There were times when she had to ask herself if she was the alien, but the voices inside her confirmed for her that she was not.

She was human, she was fully human, a daughter of the Earth.

Jim gave off a variety of visible signals that told her much about what was going on with him. There were things he had to say to her, things he wanted her to do for him, not at this moment, but in the days ahead.

Something terrible was about to happen.

She felt that Jim had a role for her to play, and that she was vital to the plan he had spoken of.

He said as much.

She got the sense that she would never see him again after today.

It made her want to retreat within herself, to revisit all of the memories she had of Jim, or someone like him, memories that went back thousands of years.

The clues to what he wanted from her were within her.

She had to find them.

She could not remain in this state of liminality forever.

They sat with one another for several hours.

They spoke little.

Jim relaxed, he enjoyed being with Kathy, the rhythm of her mind, his thoughts in syncopation with hers.

It felt like he was home, and it was the closest thing to his natural state of being that he had ever experienced during the long years that he had been away.

Jim’s heart and mind were fixed on the coming conflict, on the resolution of his life’s work, of all the plans that he had carefully prepared.

He had plans within plans, and there were contingencies he tended to that were as intricate as a spider’s web.

Despite the anxiety that he was feeling, the existential weight of his preparations, the loss he was contemplating, the devastation that was coming to this world. Despite it all he was able to maintain his calm.

His body was engineered for it.

This is not to say that he did not feel the beginnings of panic, or fear, but that his body regulated those impulses with a speed that bordered on the instantaneous.

Jim had these last few hours, he wanted to spend them with Kathy.

He loved her as much as he was capable of love.

She represented the realization of his deepest purpose, pride, and the satisfaction of ambition.

In Kathy he not only found what he had had spent his long life looking for, his project with her was also like the unravelling of a mystery, or the assembly of a puzzle.

She was beautiful, wise, intelligent, funny; these qualities were completely unnecessary to his design for her, and yet they delighted him.

He could soak up her visage all day long, which is exactly what he intended to do on this day, this day that was his crucible.

In a few hours he would be gone. His plan for her would be on a glide path.

The way was well prepared.

He would soon enter a place where time itself was meaningless, but events would be turning here on earth that had to be measured to the second, and he would not be here to oversee it.

Kathy had to play her part, she had to be unaware that she was doing it.

When the vital moment struck, she had to be blind to what was happening, she, who could see everything.

Emergence 4.0

Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter One, A Private Sorrow

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #OneChapterPerWeek

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Emergence 3.0 – Epilogue – Collected Parts, Part One – Surrender

Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 358, Monday
December 24th, 2018

Epilogue: Part One – Surrender

It was the end of everything.

Kathy braced herself against the conflagration that was consuming the world. The more she resisted the more she felt herself fading away.

She felt billions of beings reaching out to her, as if she were the one and only buoy in a sea of calamity.

In her mind she was trying to hold on to everything that she knew and loved, but in reality, her individual loves, and desires, the things she hoped for, they trapped her.

She had only one option.

To let go.

Kathy was overwhelmed by the psychic storm from the cataclysm on Earth, she surrendered to it.

She remembered the lessons she had learned as a girl, she recalled the Chinese finger trap.

She relaxed, and allowed the storm to pass through her.

She had prepared for this her entire life.

She let go of her fear and everything she hoped for.

Her individual consciousness expanded, she became co-terminus with the entirety of Earth’s cynergenic field.

For the briefest of moments she was one among many, and then everything changed, she became the one who was all, the all in one, the atavistic consciousness of humanity.

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