Member 2442
49 entries

John Rodrigues (M)
Immortal since Jan 14, 2010
Uplinks: 0, Generation 6
  • Affiliated
  •  /  
  • Invited
  •  /  
  • Descended
  • johnrod’s favorites
    From Wildcat
    A Cyber Soaring Humanity
    Recently commented on
    From Wildcat
    Archeodatalogy - Entwined,...
    From johnrod
    Last of the Humans
    From Gabriel Shalom
    Proper Nouns
    From Venessa
    Amplifying Intentions
    From michaelerule
    [no title]
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    From johnrod's personal cargo

    Vaticinate - draft part 1b, Nate's pov
    Nate had heard that an abductee had arrived. He maneuvered to meet them in an out of the way location where the posthumans would not see. He was less worried about them than the Noth who had a tendency to descend like flying snakes when least expected. Anyway the person was unoccupied.

    "Have you got a moment?" Nate asked.

    "What do you need? My name is Tarp by the way."

    "Yeah we had heard about your being here. Anything you can tell me?"

    "You have to keep this in the strictest confidence."

    "Of course," Nate said.

    "There are more humans off Earth than on, which you may or may not know. The station is unique."

    "How did you end up here?"

    "If I were to recommend staying safely somewhere, then the Vat is better than any."

    "It is like Earth," Nate said.

    "There are transhumans on Earth now. It's been like that for a while. Aliens got into our domain. They were cleaning up the black holes or something when they found out about our planet.

    "What are the transhumans like?"

    "This place would make them berserk. Becoming a transhuman is no way to get out of imprisonment."

    "Are we expected to?" Nate asked.

    "I could use something to find my way around, but no."

    "I can provide you an augmented tracker so that you can always find your way here."

    "Great. I like talking to Knawe. The transhumans will want to convert her."

    "Are they coming here?"

    "The Vat could hold them, but I don't think so."

    "Is she going to become like them?"

    "Our goal is self-determinism. Humanity should keep to its own devices. Noone else can know what is good for a human without being one."

    "Is that how you avoided becoming a nonhuman?"

    "I have been a fugitive for so long that I knows how to hide in the station. "The exoplanets were in a struggle. The aliens had a plan for humanity from the beginning. The posthumans added a complication which needs to be eliminated. There were also others like me who were on Earth before, including the betans. This reminds me a lot of the Ship. They all need to be saved somehow."

    "So the aliens are after you?"

    "They want the transhumans once the artificials are down."

    "Will they want this station?"

    "The machines may lead to the dominance of nonlife if they can make energy. In that case, the Vat would destroy the humans if they were not careful."

    There were other people approaching us. Tarp was looking for a way out between them. They discovered who he was and grabbed him by the shoulders. Nate stepped toward them to intervene, but was straight-armed.

    "The posthuman wants to see him," one of them said.

    "You betrayed me," Tarp said. He must have thought that the augmentation had given away his position.

    "When will I be able to talk to him again?" Nate asked them.

    "You won't," the same person said.

    They hustled him out. Someone had used Nate's initiatives against him and the proxy had been neither accuser nor advocate so he did not know who it was.

    Nate was finetuning his augmentation to make it capable of replaying anything that had gone on in the Vat. He wanted to know what led to Tarp's demise and the posthumans were not telling. The Noths must have noticed that he was not harassing the other people as much so they had to find out what was going on. They just took over the augmentation and began making things that looked incredible which Nate could not have hoped to accomplish if he spent every moment on it. It was not like them to idle. He wondered if they had a source of information which he was not privy to. They had not told him what was going to happen to Tarp either. Perhaps they knew more.

    "If you are jealous of us, say so," Ing said.

    "What are you talking about" Nate asked. "Where's Knawe?"

    "She favors us," Er said.

    "Don't talk gibberish."

    "Humans cannot defeat the posthumans," Ing said.

    "Who said that we wanted to?" Nate asked.

    "Human aggression is still evident away from Earth," Er said.

    "It's you who seem like anarchists."

    "We too may be eliminated before long," Ing said.

    "I don't give much weight to allow to nonevents," Nate said.

    "We were supposed to adapt to the Vat," Er said, "but it is being changed by the humans."

    "Some defensiveness toward the aliens is justified."

    "It was humans who separated the species," Ing said.

    "You obviously have your own version of the future," Nate said.

    "All humans may go the way of Tarp before long," Er said.

    "If I follow in his footsteps most immediately, it might therefore be seen as a threat."

    "You are wondering whether Tarp should have been taken out for his actions or kept confined as an example," Ing said.

    "Humans are as primitive as the animals that they eradicated," Er said. "Enforcement of rules against suffering ironically leads to another type."

    "It is also obvious that you don't value proxies per say," Nate said.

    "From our point of view, it is all wrong, but it could be made right," Ing said.

    "We have to find out whether we can tend to the other types of posthumans," Er said.

    "What does that have to do with us?" Nate asked.

    "Posthumans may eventually displace humans on the Vat," Ing said.

    "An organic station might be preferable," Er said, "but it would have to be within a domain."

    "They made an assertion that anything that bends spacetime leads to life," Ing said, "including energy or matter."

    "We could learn to tolerate them," Nate said.

    "Humans may be incapable of acting like us due to limited capabilities," Ing said, "nor could they convert."

    "It is possible to have an aesthetic which does not conform to any experience," Er said.

    "I don't see that that has any relation to this," Nate said.

    "The aliens will likely clone Noths as they did the humans," Ing said.

    "The question becomes whether time runs in null space," Er said.

    Nate was in the activity area when there were not a lot of people around so he had gotten distracted and wanted to use the augmentation to reenact some of the Vat's past. He tried putting together a makeshift calendar and setting it for as long as it could go, then though better and put it just before he could remember. This should tell him how he got here. Something appeared and it looked like a big person, then a couple of them, then several and finally their heads became a single one over a set of limbs that were joined at the top and bottom.

    "What is this?" Nate asked.

    "I am Opqrst."

    "You are not posthuman."

    "And you are not a clone."

    "Why did you materialize?" Nate asked.

    "You had questions that no proxy could answer."

    "Do you know why we are here?"

    "They could have put clones on the station."

    "Are there any more of you?" Nate asked.

    "The Vore had used it as a base."

    "Were they defeated?"

    "Anyone who chopped a Vore in half would then be dealing with a pair of them."

    "Did that go for the clones?"

    "The Vore had found a way to prolong life by using a device to make stem cells."

    "How about us?" Nate asked.

    "Humans have finally found the everlasting reward that they had been after."

    "You mean the Vat? It's already full."

    "As you have seen, the size of the Vat could be increased."

    "Why are you here? Nate asked.

    "Because of the Vore, the humans finally had peace."

    "Is that why we have the synd guard?"

    "The posthumans are not needed here so many would not be added."

    "It is like Earth," Nate said.

    "The station had all the good aspects of the planet and nothing else."

    Nate could not be sure that he was not making all of this up himself. Maybe the air had a chemical which was making his see things. That could also be how they kept people so docile. He wanted to try to trick it into showing that it was a human projection if not a prank.

    "Where are the Vore?" he asked.

    "The Vore are not from Earth or Mars."

    "Do they intend to enslave us?"

    "If the aliens wanted humans to suffer, it could be gradually made horrible."

    "What about the posthumans?" Nate asked.

    "The synd are destructive. If they are around, then something is about to be taken out."

    "The artificials think they know everything. The transhumans believe that they can do anything."

    "They could not build this station."

    "While it is necessary to shelter us," Nate said, "our creativity cannot be contained."

    "The alien station was a unique feat among all of the stars."

    "I thought that it was made for humans."

    "That is right. There have been other humans that the aliens cared for, but that could not appreciate their good fortune."

    "I can also use the augmentation for any imaginable skill," Nate said. "There is no need for politics here since the groups are not from different places any more,"

    "The machines would take this away from them. There are no illusions here. The Vore have faced a lot of types of aliens who acted like the transhumans and brought them to their senses. Civilization have progressed in the long history of spacetime and humans are about to join it. Nate is the most likely to make people aware of what they have here. The status of the humans is renowned throughout the galaxies."

    "What am I supposed to do?" Nate asked.

    "You must keep the priorities of the aliens private. Eventually the posthumans will agree with the people. If this works out well, then the clones will be merged, but only when the humans accept them."

    "That should be easy enough."

    "Anything that the humans want, you can provide them as long as you have the Vore's support."

    "This is not what Tarp thought," Nate said.

    "Unfortunately Tarp's initial experiences were with others than the Vore which soured him."

    "He had been away too long."

    "The humans are not far from their native soil. Their rights will be preserved."

    "Will there be more of you?" Nate asked.

    "The Vore are not needed here in large numbers."

    "Will you be able to show me anything else?"

    "Make sure that you know who you are talking to. The Vat has been known to make up figures on its own sometimes. There are alien artifacts in a couple of places, but they are inert. That should convince you."

    Nate decided to make a sweep of the outermost areas which he had not been to lately.

    Nate was walking around in the furthest reaches of the Vat. He would like to get a picture of what it looked like from the outside. It could be the shape of a satellite or a couple joined by a bridge. It might be oblong. He assumed that it had to conform to the orbital stresses that would be common to space stations. As much as he tried to put together his own drawing, there was a lot of information that was needed. He could use an expert. It seemed like the time to ask the artificial. He brought up some augmentation and messaged Subtrahend, the proxy, to see if it could get a comm for him.

    "Why do you want that?" the proxy asked.

    "To get some images of the Vat," Nate said.

    "You are looking at them."

    "There has got to be more than this. What about the outer shape?"

    "You do not need to make calculations."

    "That's true," Nate said, "but things are beginning to change. Maybe it is further away now."

    "It is the same distance."

    "I thought it was elliptical."

    "There is none because it is stationary."

    "How does it avoid asteroids?" Nate asked.

    "It does not have to."

    "Look, any time a planet of significant mass passes thorugh a belt of them, it knocks them around which sprinkles it with their materials. Or they may be rogue and crash into it."

    "Not here."

    "Then where are we?" Nate asked.

    "If you mean in null space, then everywhere, else nowhere."

    "How is that possible?"

    "It is between universes."

    "I repeat," Nate said.

    "There are a couple of theories, neither of which have yet been disproved. It either migrated from the Earth spacetime, or it was built here."

    "Things can pass between universes?"

    "Yes, the interverse has been linked by the artificials."

    "How did they do that?" Nate asked.

    "Using multis which can go from one domain to another like through a wormhole."

    "Are we in that?"

    "This might be considered an inverse domain, and therefore the Vat would be such a multis."

    "The Vat can go where it wants?" Nate asked.

    "It does not go anywhere."

    "But you said that the multis could travel."

    "This does not."

    "Why not?" Nate asked.

    "No one has tried and it may not be structurally sound."

    "Maybe that is what is happening, it could be drifting."

    "It is not."

    "How can you know?" Nate asked.

    "The artificials would have seen it since they monitor the domains."

    "Can you see outside?"


    "Then you might not see it either," Nate said.

    "If it were possible, there would be ways."

    "Are all of these stationary?"


    "Then you could show me what another look like," Nate said.

    "Clever. Then this is how humans developed consciousness outside their own minds by attacking eachother?"

    "I don't mean any aggression toward them. We couldn't go anywhere anyway."


    "So we are stuck then," Nate said. "And we cannot see where." He waved the proxy off. Maybe there were other unexplored places inside that could shed some light on the conditions.

    Nate was alone in an area of the station used as a kind of warehouse. He was not supposed to know the contents. The Noth had not gotten in either as far as he could tell. There could be something that would set the Vat back to normal. He had to use the augmentation to search what he could not see if he could get to the manifests. He was not going to be able to fake his way through since there did not appear to be an entry console nearby.

    "This area is off limits," Lange said from beside him. He had a scowl. The synds could mimic humans very closely when they wanted to.

    Nate practically jumped. He imagined being thrown into a box and left there without anyone being aware of his location.

    "Have you seen the Noth?" Nate asked.

    "They should not be near here either. They are not now."

    "Out of curiosity is there anything in there that we could use on the Vat? Things are way off from where they were."

    "What do you mean?"

    "You know," Nate said, "the way that it used to be like Earth. Now it seems more machine-like."

    "None of this will do that either way."

    "Why? Aren't there any repair kits."

    "Use what you had before. If it becomes onerous, then the artificials will have to split the insides into smaller compartments which are easier to control."

    "Meaning we will have to do that," Nate said.

    "That could be."

    "Have they done this before?"

    "Not in this station."

    "In any other?" Nate.

    "I don't know. It was speculation."

    "If there are other stations, then where are they?"

    "They could be in almost any domain."

    "Can we get to them?" Nate asked.

    "Why would you want to do that?"

    "If this became unusable, for example."


    "How do the artificials get to them?" Nate asked.

    "They have transports which are called multis."

    "Do you use those?"


    "Where are they?" Nate asked.

    "You are not supposed to be in here."

    "We may not be long for this station."

    "You have been saying that all along for one reason or another."

    "Are all of them the same?" Nate asked.

    "They can be alide, but they are usually different based upon the types of inhabitants."

    "How many have humans?"

    "This is the only one."

    "Is this changing because of new people?" Nate asked.

    "It would look like a particular domain."

    "Now it looks like the Earth spacetime."


    "Tell me about the transport," Nate said. "Is that from Earth also?"


    "When will it return?"

    "It won't."

    "It can't?" Nate asked.

    "It could, but there are no transhumans scheduled to travel there."

    "Who would call it to go there."

    "that would be Trom, but you need not be concerned about it."

    "Okay, I better find the Noths." Nate left him. If they had been foraging around here, then he had to notify them that Lange was on to them. Or he could ask them to show him the way in.

    Nate and the Noth pair were side-by-side in the multis. There was oddly no heat inside. Their breath was not steaming, though. It felt like being upside-down. Nate craved something to eat.

    "This thing should be able to tell the distance to Earth," Nate said. "Find a way to verify the heading."

    "Why are you sure that it can make it there?" Ing asked. "How do multis steer anyway?"

    "That fact was smuggled from a transhuman source, Trom. Should have been Tarp here instead."

    "Were they aware of it?" Er asked. "Who knows where this thing has been."

    "No," Nate said. "That is why they could not be deceiving either. Compared to the Vat, this should be a breeze to maneuver."

    "Depending upon the artificials not tracking it," Ing said. "It could all be a set up."

    "Or whether the machines are controlling it," Er said. "There would be more artifacts for knowledge or action."

    "All it takes is the right wormhole," Nate said. "And first-class accommodations."

    "Let's be careful what we ask about," Ing said. "They'll send the entire multis support organization."

    "Maybe it would have been wise to try immersion ahead of time," Er said. "Might need comms eventually."

    "As long as the transhumans are not eavesdropping," Nate said. "There's no interverse traffic control."

    "Why are they separated on Earth?" Ing asked.

    "Some are in space like the Variate pirates. The transhumans wanted to surpass our emotions."

    "Maybe Knawe would like them," Er said.

    "Staying human is more important to the people in the Vat. They haven't seen any in a while."

    "What are the transhumans like now?" Ing asked.

    "They're not like you."

    "There is the possibility of trans-Noths," Er said.

    "We should have taken different multis," Nate said.

    "It would have been hard to synch," Ing said.

    "We are along because you did not want anyone to know there were still humans," Er said.

    "We could say it was an endangered species delivery," Ing said.

    "This was definitely not made for humans. How do they tell time anyway?" Nate asked.

    "As a measure of change, you can count the physical side-effects," Er said. "This is a one-way trip at any rate."

    "Or else get it from space center wherever that is," Ing said. "Maybe that was in the past."

    "What happened to the proxy?" Nate asked. "This needs more augmentation."

    "It could become a facility in itself," Er said, "although there do not seem to be any recordings."

    "They would be about heading to the Vat," Ing said. "We are not going back."

    "That depends whether we will be abducted again," Nate said. "There are not going to be many humans, so it is easy to stick out."

    "Maybe they will think this is a trans-Vat," Er said.

    "Not if it shows up inside the planet."

    "Didn't the other human say that it had museum corroboration?" Ing said.

    "That was before they were taken out which had not been predicted."

    "Noths would make something more fitting," Er said.

    "For you or humans?" Nate asked.

    "The synds would want a twin mesh adapter," Er said.

    "The main thing is to know that there are no aliens in the container," Ing said.

    "And that it did not thing that a human was an alien," Nate said.

    "That would be obvious from disorientation," Er said.

    "Getting back to the subject, it would be better to camouflage the thing."

    "Like we did at launch," Ing said.

    "Not quite, but we may need to make a fast getaway," Nate said. "Maybe we can hide it in a subway or hit the mines. Just do not look like a drone. And avoid the betan network or it might be interpreted as the seoond machine invasion. Speaking of which, I wonder how it could repel an assault."

    "Are we falling?" Ing asked.

    "Either that or cycling back and forth," Er said.

    "It's a failure of propulsion," Ing said.

    Conditions were beginning to feel unbearable to Nate. In their rush to get into the enclosure, they had unfortunately ruined the exosuits.

    Nate had never been this excited. It seemed like time was slowing down. That was usually what happened when there was something really bad about to happen, so this change was a good sign.

    The multis shut off. They had arrived.

    He let the Noths go first. They were able to climb out into a tolerable atmosphere. It was warmer than the Vat had been. His mouth tasted dusty. It was hard to take a full breath. His skin was tingling slightly. It looked like their movements had not resumed regular speed yet.

    "Welcome to my planet," Nate said.

    "Call it Earth," Ing said, "but it's still an exoplanet."

    "It's beta," Er said.

    "Some megacities on Earth had tried to setup a techno ecosystem before the machines took over," Nate said.

    "Terra Beta could have been made better," Ing said.

    "The Noths are going to rebuild a new civilization," Er said.

    "What? These things take the passengers to where they do not want to go," Nate said, indicate the transport. "It would be good to get a message back."

    "Then they will probably bring others that you do not want to see," Ing said.

    "So it is not the worst thing that we did not get to Earth right away," Nate said.

    "Earth could have been improved also," Er said.

    "That's not what I meant. Terra Beta's culture was based on the tech fanatics that escaped Earth. This was not considered posthuman territory."

    "Any new arrivals may be considered invaders," Ing said.

    "It could have a newer complec to defend against aliens," Nate said. "Though there are not a lot of drones after us."

    "The issue is how the place can tell that they are human other than lack of response to the proper protocols," Ing said.

    "We could be invisibly tagged," Er said. "The magnetics of the materials are unnatural like they had been tiled or geometrically activated."

    "We would be safer in exosuits," Ing said.

    "The quick way to find out what is after them is to declare this the strike point," Er said.

    "Or setup an unauthorized cartel stand," Ing said.

    "Anything that they say or do may be tranmitted to the aliens," Er said. The Noths were beaming.

    "This is nothing to laugh about," Nate said. "This was not the intended destination."

    "All of this appears to be a black hole to the Vat," Ing said.

    "The question was how to identify a universe," Er said.

    "There is something about a domain where most of the particles are taken out," Ing said.

    "Spacetimes are arbitrary sets," Er said.

    "They are not," Nate said. "There is supposed to be nature."

    "Maybe the betans figured out how to put their exoplanet into a different one," Ing said.

    "Or the aliens had," Er said.

    "Maybe they just put it in a new galaxy," Nate said. "Earth is still out there."

    "The multis was not that far off then," Ing said.

    "Maybe this could be returned," Er said.

    "Remain optimistic," Nate said.

    Exoplanets are almost all the same. They are like Earth, only bigger or smaller, or hotter or colder. He should be satisfied with any of them. Terra Beta was okay, but Nate still thought that he was supposed to be elsewhere. This was not the planet's original orbit, however, since it was in the alien galaxy. The light was thinning.

    "I don't see a lot of betans around," Nate said.

    Instead of the standard megacity formations, this seemed to have geometric shapes for the dwellings above ground. Transports were notably absent. There was no traffic for goods or people.

    "They could have either hidden from the aliens or put somewhere else," Ing said. "If they were abducted, then it could have been either before or after the planet was relocated."

    They could have tunnels. There would be signs of entries or shafts, but there were none. Nate wondered if the gravity changed below. It seemed normal here. He was seeing things blurry at near distances. That could have been because the fluid was going to his eyes instead of brain. The natives would have been acclimated, but anyone else would need a suit to compensate.

    "The planet does not seem to be automated," Er said. "They have not gone over to the machines which may be what allowed the aliens to get to it."

    "The betans had been closer to certain types of posthumans," Ing said.

    "The synds," Nate replied. "We can leave the rescue up to them. I do not want to go back to the Vat just yet."

    It might have been good to have had some betans back there with them. They would have set things up differently no doubt. Nate had wondered about what it was like for the clones before, but now he thought that the betans could have solved all of that. Maybe they had if they were given the chance. Nate appreciated the amount of space that surrounded them. This was a culture that had not wanted to makeover nature despite what he had heard about them. He wondered if their own nature would survive being taken by the aliens.

    "Since you are human," Er said, "and so had been the betans, there is no convoluted system of verification that you have to go through"

    "Noths are another matter so stick close," Nate said.

    This did not need a lot of augmentation to spruce it up, but it could use some indicators or guides. At least there was nothing to warn anyone.

    Nate was gently searching the objects around him. He was looking for artifacts. The Noths took a moment to do the same, but did not go out any further. If they stood around too long, though, something was bound to notice them.

    "What happens if we get separated?" Nate asked.

    "Meet at the nearest station," Er said. "Unless there is a better place."

    "If the aliens had gone on an exoplanet spree," Ing said, "then they may have grabbed Earth as well."

    The nights on Terra Beta reminded Nate of Earth. That was about the only thing. It was chillier. He had to be careful not to succumb to stereotypes of the betans. They were not like the easy kind that had stayed on their original planet. These had made what was merely inhabitable into a treacherous technocracy. It all looked normal, but was anything but. That illusion was meant to disarm the foolhardy. He was using the darkness to confer with the Noth away from whoever might be on the lookout for them.

    "I have to find the Vore," Nate said.

    Their expressions did not inspire confidence.

    "What happened to looking for Earth?" Ing asked.

    Nate put a hand on the ground. The surface was hard. The smell of his sweat was reflected up. It would have been nice to be in the right place instead.

    "That too, but there ha to be a reason that the aliens took the exoplanets."

    That they were picking off the populations seemed clear. It was too easy to expect them to be here as well.

    "Maybe they ran out of stations," Er said.

    Nate would be content to never see one of those again.

    There was a mechanical thunk nearby so they flattened out low. A period of clanking followed, but from the same spot so it was not looking for them. Nothing flew overhead. Must have been a shift in the asymmetrical thermal channels to release heat that had been absorbed in the daylight. The material around them likely had the capability at a much smaller scale. It would show almost no magnetic emanations and be harder to detect for anything that did not have human-like senses. There was a moisture in the air as a result.

    "The machines would make sense putting everyone in containers," Nate said, "but the Vore?"

    They had had him fooled since he really believed he had been on Earth all that time.

    "You'll end up like the clones," Ing said, "destined for device paradise."

    "That's what the transhumans are," Nate said. "If the aliens have another station for themselves, then we know how to get into that."

    There was some way that they were outwitting the artificials.

    "They might as well put up a sign that says one-way to Vore." Er asked.

    Nate did not see much of an alternative.

    "Unless the machines are lying in wait."

    They had been fairly thorough in their days on Earth.

    "It's a posthuman age," Ing said. "They don't have to worry about that any more."

    If that were true, they would not be going about things so deviously.

    "I'll have to see that."

    He regretted saying that because he knew they would remind him of delusions he had been under on the Vat. Noone harped on it for which he was grateful. He could wait as long as it took for them to convince themselves.

    They finally were all able to exhale having decided.

    "You'll never see Earth or the Vat again," Er said.

    Sat, Feb 1, 2014  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
    Add comment
      Add to favorites
    Synapses (7)