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John Rodrigues (M)
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    Vaticinate - draft part 3a
    Nate had never seen a truer day. Everybody knew that the system had the weather established ahead of time, but this time they had outdone themselves. It was gorgeous, sky, sun, sea and sand. There was no way that it could ever be any better than this. Perhaps there was some advantage to having a machine admin. He was in the right place at the right time. The guild was reportedly looking for an alien intruder. They were efficiently coordinated. There should have been something like this a long time ago. The human factors had been well considered. Nothing would ever tear him off this ground whether there were riches to be found in orbit or not.

    The row of habs were all raised on transport platforms that made them easily delivered autonomously. It was clear that they met the regulations, but were small enough to be easily maintained and for a group of them to fit in almost any corner of a vacant lot. Beside the amenities and grid sources, they were nice looking. It was a statement of independence by the occupants who did not want to reside in the standard megacity ultra rises. Nate liked the fresh air and he could get plenty of exercise when he wanted by using an exoskeleton to work his limbs. Since they were otherwise only active on Hali, they depended upon that to keep in physical shape. The surroundings changed to match the pace of exertion. He knew when it was time to get some sweat in, because he would lose circulation in some part. The movement was like breathing energy into his muscles. He had been told that it was the way out of boredom since they could get all the stimulation they needed. There was a rumor that this is what the pursuers did when they were not after bad guys so that they could go into full action at a moment's notice. Otherwise people would have the proxies complete it using as much machine automation as it required. Then he could get the explanation of what occurred afterward.

    Instead of the doldrums, Nate had resolved that someday he would know how to conjure up his own views of things, perhaps using augmentation. That was unnecessary so he did not put in the time to learn how yet. He only had to make the stuff that could not be found from the public ware, so he was rectifying the shortcomings of human nature. It had to be a fact, but he enjoyed the variety. He had tried to add the recent new types of personalities that had appeared in the news, the aliens or transhumans. So far he had only seen one of the latter group, but there had been reports of probes by the former which had caused dysfunction among them. The head of their mesh had been an extraordinarily vital female who had asked him about how to contact the admin after she had dropped from being carried aloft by a drone. That was the first time that Nate had met a transhuman.

    Nate shook his head as he opened his eyes. He must have passed out on the way to Earth, which was like going back in time to when they had lived there, before the abductions began.


    The meeting room on the Vat was occupied by a pair of figures standing face to face, the transhuman Trom and artificial Subtrahend.

    "Are you proxy?" Trom asked.

    "No, are you?"

    Trom shook his head sideways. "Have you seen any machines?" Since they were not on the same mesh, he was projecting images of what he was talking about around them.

    "None to speak of."

    "Well stay on their track also." He began walking back and forth.

    "We will monitor their activities as well as the aliens and report them to you."

    He stopped and looked at the other. "What else do you need?"

    "We will cover all domains." Charts of the universes appeared surrounding them.

    "In the meantime you need to contain all of the humans," Trom said.

    "We can maintain the original members of the species indefinitely."

    Trom raised his index finger. "Except the one that got away." He reached out to the picture of the multis and crumpled it in his fist.

    "We are looking for him."

    "I know where he is headed and will see to it." He crossed his arms.

    "Others will be reset if they are difficult."

    It was late for that. "What about the one that could not become settled?" Trom asked.

    "He had to be eliminated."

    This was no time to go into the fact that they were irreplaceable. "Contain the rest, including the fugitive who will be returned to the Vat." He pointed down at the floor.

    "We will defend it against the aliens."

    That did not sound convincing as of yet. "The transhumans must survive." He indicated himself.

    "Of course."

    He wanted the other to know where their own type stood in the rank. "And we must preserve our solar system as the initial basis for the posthuman expansion," Trom said.

    "The Vat keeps the exiles out of the way."

    "The person called Nate is heading for Earth after telling the betans and aliens about the Vat."

    "They were not supposed to know about the null station. Now it is compromised."

    They might as well hang a blinking sign on it as the latest hotspot. "As long as it can follow directions, it will be okay."

    "We do not have you on Earth right now."

    It was reassuring that he could still evade them, though he would allow no one else to. "No," Trom said, "somewhere else."

    "Your mesh link to Earth is operational."

    It allowed him to present there as well as here if necessary. "Yes. Don't worry about the details. The human's diversion to the betans was unsuccessful."

    "Either they or the Vore would have taken him out."

    "He outsmarted them somehow."

    "Now we have to trap him."

    "This can be done when he arrives on the planet," Trom said.

    "Okay."

    "Resume your proxy in charge here." He would have to review the plan with the other transhumans again because of this new development, but at least there would not be a string of people on the loose. What they did inside was less important. The transhumans could always produce more artificials as needed to improve the ratio. He would prefer to reduce the number of aliens, if possible.

    Both images disappeared and the room was empty.


    Nate was not sure if he would make it aince his former allies were gone. Somehow he got to Mars, but it had looked like the multis might self-destruct anyway. This must have been alien retaliation for the former proxy which Tarp had talked about that did this when a nonposthuman attempted to use the transport. The Vore had broken the multis around Terra Beta so that they could not be used to get to another domain. Nate would have to fix this if he hoped to reach the Vat again.

    Noone on Mars knew how to restore the multis. Nate hid it away for the time being. He needed an alternate way to the Vat. The transhumans and artificials had been who invented the multis, so they must have another way to get to the Vat. He had to find the predecessor artifact to the multiverse transport. It might be kept in a museum somewhere, but not on public display since it was irreplaceable and they did not want it damaged. That meant that he had to get to Earth.

    Nate met a person who had known a betan before. She was also a fan of his augmentation skills because she had her own type of expertise which had been learned through games, but was necessary for survival when the pursuers began tracking her movements as drive-by hacks and had ascribed their worst expectations to her motivations. Travel had its privileges, though, and she was able to get him approval to take a shuttle between the planets.

    Once on Earth it was a transhuman, Trom, who could reach him through the augmentation. Nate was pleased to have a local ally, but he did not tell them the whole history from before. They guessed that he was on the run, because an alien had coincidentally been sighted at the same time. It was a question as to who between them would be reported as leading the invasion. Nate assured Trom that he had no such plan, though he did not sound a hundred percent convincing to himself either.


    Nate found a patch of ground that was not taken by anyone else. It was serene. For a second he was on the Vat again. It seemed to match exactly, but without the background disturbances that made it so stressful on the station. People will be happy here. He could see bringing everyone down and setting up a space much like they had already to begin with. Then they would assemble in whichever ways they wanted to amid the inexhaustible resources of nature. The culture would adapt unerringly. There would be enough distance between they and the transhumans so that noone would feel impinged upon. The Vat would remain where it was and the posthumans could use it for their own purposes. The humans were not going to be techno zealots so there was no worry about the aliens becoming defensive toward them as they had the betans. They were satisfied with the planet so there was no contention between them and synds or artificials. They would enjoy what they could as naturally as possible so the machines would not be competing with them either. This left them all the time in the stars to continue with their own history. They would accept the exiles who were more human-like than anything else. Their means of regulation would return to the use of admins to correlate what was beyond any individual or group to worry about. It was possible that they would also put the megacities up again. That was going okay as long as they did not also imitate the excesses of the past that had led to the environmental effects which made them have to resort to machines and posthuman species for continuance. Those already had enough standing where they had gone to and were no longer necessary here.

    The humans may have been accused of faking their own extinction for the reason that it would make everyone else flee the planet, but that was easily cast aside. They were here again. The transhumans had their gratitude. Nothing was owed them. Things had worked out well enough.

    The same blight would not happen again since there was no large split between the humans as there was before. They had learned their lesson and would not be eager to repeat it. The synds had plenty of places to call their own, as did whoever might be considered to have issued the mechanism that had the unfortunate result before.

    Nate's desire had been granted. It had taken him a circuitous course, but he had made it. The others would be appreciative of it. They would no longer be cooped up or have to worry about everything they had being confiscated from them. This was the right measure and there would be no better time for it. He must announce it to the transhumans.

    There were spots in places around him which were throwing dirt up. He had not told anyone of his plan yet, so they should not object. This was like the alien probe that he had seen on the exoplanet, but there was no gang to oppose them. He had to check with the transhumans to be sure.


    Nate is being trailed by an alien. If he had not been told about this, then he would have seen it as a mystery.

    Humans had some perilous aspects of their culture in the past. They fell prey to spies, thieves, and assassins. The pursuers attempted to be a match by having superior collaboration and resources. In some cases the techniques were identical. If the determinant was the megacity, then they would have to accomplish what was necessary for its dominance. Those were not immune from everything as was seen in the records. Though the names might have been discredited because of political rivalries, the events were fairly well described. The humans were the slaves when put against the merciless posthuman or alien cultures. Machines had been indifferent so far.

    Nate would have been followed by the transhumans or their artificials, and possibly betans or aliens. He would initially think that it was exiles or cartel and then work his way through the classifications until he ran out of prospects. If he remained alive then his only option would be to remain ahead of whoever it was.

    He would not consider trading places with another person to pass the problem onto them. It was not a sense of immortality, but perhaps of being reset enough times that his reflex was to expect to have to begin again from the Vat. There would be a time when that was also the finish line.

    Each person seemed to assume that it was something else that was the solution. The culture had its own notions of identity which were repeated without limit. At least he was in a different set of those than what they had tried to foist upon him at the station. These were pretensions all the same, but he did not have to act like they were his own.

    He had to be careful about what remedies he put in place, because there could be any number of other aliens that might follow up once they thought they knew what the human vulnerability was in this context. Since it was the transhumans' show, they would have to be who would reward the group that prevailed. The humans were not in any position to make that promise. Nate had to get Trom to get some assurance that the aliens would not have the run of the planet. For this it might be okay for the humans on the Vat to benefit the posthumans in a different way. Nate merely had to figure out what that would be.

    There had been a time when humans were the sole supremacist species on the planet. That had been replaced by several who had finally gone their different ways until only the transhumans remained. They seemed to expect the others to return one by one to claim their rightful place and take it away from the present inhabitants. That was how the defenses were structured. If all of the groups reclaimed it simultaneously, then they would swamp the natives. That might be part of the alien plan to soften up the transhumans for conquest.


    Terra Beta was quiet without the alien storms. That is what they got from trying to take a planet from the posthumans. The betan station was intact from when it was abandoned. A small meeting room was empty save for some disheveled objects on the floor.

    An image of Trom appeared and looked around. Then Subtrahend appeared a couple of paces in front of him and they faced eachother.

    "Any difficulty finding this place?" Trom asked. He was actually yet to find the limits of the artificials reach, but he wanted them to need his approval.

    "The artificials have had it under surveillance for a while."

    Unfortunately they were not able to prevent the alien rise here. "We needed to talk away from the others for a minute."

    "Is something wrong?"

    "A transhuman was found disconnected from the mesh." This was an admission that he did not yet have full control, but that would soon be remedied. The others would have nowhere else to find support.

    "That is serious."

    He wanted this to be fast and final. "They are accused of being a traitor," Trom said.

    "What would you like done with them?"

    There would be a way to blame this on the artificials if they could not fulfill his requirements to the letter. "Their transhuman traits can be revoked."

    "The artificials can send them to a clone planet."

    That was clever. Perhaps the errant transhumans could be of use after all. "Have them report on those if they want to ever return."

    "Is that the same for the human?"

    This was a sign that they had begun to think for themselves and he wanted to keep a tight reign on them. "We are keeping Nate alive," Trom said.

    "He is still at large."

    So there was a boundary beside himself to their omniscience. "No need to worry about him. This is posthumans against aliens."

    "Then the artificials are crucial."

    Unless they could not see beyond their own desires. "We also need betan support."

    "Then we will need to confine the Noth. They are a new species which sacrificed the first couple of individuals since they wanted to form their own group against the others."

    "We will also need synd reinforcements," Trom said. This would likely be the hardest to implement and where the artificials fell down.

    "The synds tried to dominate their domains."

    "That's right. And we need machine allies." That would be inviting mayhem, but by making the request so large, they would at least complete the most necessary part of it.

    "The machines would notice that the aliens were taking over the multiverse and have to stop that."

    "In the meantime, we have to take out the alien bases and stations." This was wasting valuable minutes. Perhaps he should have told the proxy and let it anticipate the rest.

    "The aliens have a leader."

    "Yes," Trom said. "We have to capture Opqrst." That was one of the reasons that they had met here. There may be clues about their operation and how to circumvent them.

    "Opqrst is running the Vore against the betans and probing the Vat."

    That was quick. There is still a way to outmaneuver them. "They have a blind spot. We will use Nate for all of these whether the human wants to or not."

    "That would sacrifice Knawe. She wanted to have a much higher status among the humans and was trying to use the Noths to get it, but would switch to transhumans if possible."

    She was human and would be relegated to the same determination as the other. "Let her think that it is." As long as she did not get out of the station, there was nothing to be concerned about. They could make their betrayals all they liked. The posthumans surrounded them, and the transhumans contained them all.


    Nate was making a survey. The climate had modified the types of species that roamed the surface of the planet. There was a rise in sea level which covered the coastlines. The mines and camps were leftover by cartel. Drones were no longer used for much, but there were still some facilities that were inactive. The culture leaned away from mech so as not to repeat the machine crisis. Scale tended to be closer to their physical size as a result. There were tunnels for the previous industrial base to shuttle goods around. There were deep caverns which were used for stable locations. This was also the case in the ocean. Energy was sufficient anywhere on the grid so clusters could be mobile to follow the right locations for the seasonal conditions. There was less terraforming then Mars had. The orbital junk had been cleared.

    A transport could serve as a habitat since the inside could be augmenteded to appear like anywhere else. There were artifacts which had made maps over time that recounted how the current topography had come to be. A human user seemed to be anticipated. The bots and nanomals had taken down a lot of the metal structures since. The weather had been rough on the wooden frames. Rock byproducts stood empty. The humans had had infrastructural elements such as proxies, networks, automation, brain boxes, and complec. Individuals had used HAX for support. The loss of the humans must have left everyone with regret. They had then looked at the other groups to see what would be good for a long time on Earth.

    Humans had been admin to themselves. Transhumans steered other species. Nate found the usual human spots sparse and those which people would not be in were dense with transhumans. Therefore if these were superimposed, the Earth could maintain both. Pursuers had tread a fine divide and enough of them fell to casualty or corruption that the transhumans had had to consider whether those traits were adequate. It was the transhumans that invented the human reset. They took rehab seriously since that is where they got their numbers initially.

    The motivations of transhumans were not the same as humans, and vice-versa, so they each had to adapt their approaches to the other. Transhumans were averse to alien radiation. The transhumans had the mesh, artificials, multis and the Vat. Posthuman groups linked the planets to the stations. The artificials reported what the exoplanets and domains were up to, so the transhumans created their own versions to claim originality.

    This was also a contrast to the betans who had converted much that was natural to their own artificial mechanisms. The only way to use the machines would be as a diversion since they would result in an alert and immediate containment and shutdown. Multis let passengers travel between any points in space. If all times were bearing down on someone, then there would be a cancellation field which singled out the present. Nate would have to use the same materials that the transhumans had as camouflage against the aliens, but for all of the groups as well.


    Nate is trying to guess what a reset did. They showed up in a lot of places, e.g. if someone had a chip in their head, or if they were being given memories by machine, or if they were immersed.

    Perhaps he was trying to make his own by returning to Earth. It would be great if this was the default that the transhumans put him back to each time they accused him of a transgression.

    The transhumans seemed out of sorts. They could not forget something if they tried. Life was a lot simpler for humans that wanted to live for a long time. They could periodically go through a procedure to forget the worst quarter of the preceding interval and that made room for them to retain good experiences. It was like a really long nap, but without the downtime. The pursuers had thought this to be a valid way to alleviate stress disorders, but they were also who claimed that they could download a fresh soldier on command when what they meant was that they were going to upload the field so the dispute seemed to be won, but it was merely contained somewhere else at light speed. That seemed to change the rules enough that the uninitiated had to stop what they were doing or face obliteration which meant a reset in the dungeon. He did not want to know what that was like. That may be why the machines took to space and had become the least trusted of the groups. There was some flaw that had made it into their makeup which no posthuman could ramp up enough to fix.

    Any of the surviving betans could be reset to Terra Beta if someone had the right data. So could the aliens, so there might be a local branch of them from then on.

    The Vat also included the synds and artificials. The latter could get information from the rest of its kind instantaneously, so there would seem to be no point to it. The former, however, would merely synch to their ship. Until they had attached to their group's mesh again, they would be a new person. Maybe that was what happened to Lange.

    The next question then was how to undo the reset. That might restore their personality to its glory. Nate had the feeling that it would result in a loss of control for the transhumans, so they would keep that detail to themselves. He should ask Trom about this.

    They seem to have done the same on Earth since the exiles and cartel seemed to be identical to their earlier instances and had made no progress. The artifacts were okay with that. It was possible that, if a particular device made it out of the domain, it could attempt to reset that space behind it which would be like setting it to a past time. It would take either a time-traveler or someone from another domain to remedy that. Again the machines might have the upper hand in this from either angle.

    In any case, Nate was saving it all in his facility so that he could get it back if something should happen to him. There were a bunch of augmen in there accumulated over time who were bidding on who got to be him again, but he would face that issue when he had to.


    Nate used a component from the multis to form a makeshift comms to the Vat. This might only work once so he had to get it right. He needed to warn Knawes about what he was going to be setting up with the transhumans. He had to reach his augmentation configuration there and that could alert her to link with it and thus to him. It took some time.

    Finally he saw her features. "Knawe, hi, it's me."

    "Nate? What are you trying to accomplish with all this?"

    She looked like she was about to disconnect. "Wait. How are you?"

    "Okay. Are you in the station again?"

    "No. I needed to discuss something with you. This is between us. I know that you are leaning toward the transhumans." That was one reason that this would not be a romantic conversation.

    "What are you talking about?"

    "I can't ask for anything," Nate said, "but you should know that they may be scapegoating you."

    "For what?"

    "They will use the Noth as an excuse." That would be another reason.

    "Why?"

    "To attempt to prevent something from occurring here on Earth." She was going to be the vulnerability.

    "That has nothing to do with me. Why would I go there?"

    She was incapable of seeing it his way. "You might not survive it if you did," Nate said.

    "Is that what happened to the Noth?"

    "No. They never made it."

    "Nate! I hold you responsible for that and you know I'll get even somehow." That was the third reason.

    "I know that they were your means of improving your status toward becoming the human authority."

    "They had their own minds about things."

    "That is why it was important to make you aware before you might be reset."

    "If you are the reason for all this, then I will gladly disown everything about you." The contact was gone.

    Nate was pretty sure that noone could have eavesdropped on that. The artificials had tracers, but he had had to rig it himself, so they would not have any coordinates for where it originated from. Someone on the Vat might have heard something, but unless Knawe told them about it, they would have no idea that it was anything out of the ordinary.


    Nate was trying to fix his perceived flaw, not being posthuman, but rather an endangered species.

    This was supposed to be digital post-scarcity.

    The multis were mostly a symbolic device to make it seem like it was being done upon request.

    An OS scheme would have a limit to the word size or number of bits in a pointer, which would be the context counter that would bound the offsets. A virtual word size could be unlimited. The question becomes how the device supports the length. This may be compiled as a set of functions, such as register instructions, or dynamic as a callable address resolution or hash method. Therefore the limit could be infinite, or at least the upper value would be the number of countable items in existence. The machine may then have a couple of modes, one of the contexts is reserved to parse addresses, and the others are for computation. A multiverse is then a variety of schemes for the mapping. This switching happens faster than people notice. Sometimes another area will overflow into idle thoughts. An artifact is then like a pointer. It establishes permission for a link. No hierarchical themacloud is necessary. Circular recursion is then not prevented, but an element of the makeup. This led to basic intelligence and life. Each new perspective adds another meaning to the rest and any of them to it.

    Conceivably then something "in Nate" decides where he is. There may be another species after the artificials that has learned how to manipulate this, and perhaps the Noth have tried.

    The Vat occupied that place between the domains of the multiverse. It could be nowhere and everywhere.

    It was intuitively imminent for Nate though he could not hit it solidly. If it wanted to it could begin a process that would morph a domain changing the course of galaxies. Nate had been a single inhabitant that had had such an effect, but they all had that capability like wolves stabilizing rivers for the rest of the animate population. The attempt to build a habitat was the motivation for any species, but they were all part of the biosphere mesh.

    The transhumans had protected the humans to a certain degree. What Nate was attempting to accomplish was the dissolution of that preserve. This would lead to unpredictable consequences, not only for the posthumans and aliens, but anything else that was in them.

    He did not have to demolish the entire station. He could send sets of people out in transports. They could also be anywhere. Their effect would be uncertain.

    That is why Nate had to be put into the proper place in the order of things. He saw that location differently than Trom. Knawe could as easily have been who was dislodged. The Vat had provided the illusion that they were the same by virtue of coherence, but in the spacetimes, the ramifications were more complex. Convergence had not been reversible.

    Nate can try to put it the way it was, but now there are all these others who are looking at it also. He wore the Vat like a decoration if not a wound.

    Sat, Mar 1, 2014  Permanent link

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