Doctor Nopoin’s Thread begins on Mission Day 1
Nopoin Medical Memo, Twilight Force Mission Day 1
Our survey mission has reached the outer perimeter of Galaxy W2246-0526.
We rode our bubble of space through 12 and a half billion light years in 7.2 seconds.
Took a bit longer than calculated. Traces of minor chemical adjustments in the organic passengers have occurred which are being monitored. No obvious effects thus far.
Unease is apparent within the arrival pod as we await inflation of Habitat One. Some, like Judge Bulbous, have been pulled away from political turmoil back home only to be riding in close quarters with political rivals who are on this journey.
“Watch Csaynik take credit for anything we find out here…” chuckled Senator Pretyman moments after we got here. She’s one of the more vocal organics who can’t accept that President Csaynik is the first “artificially” intelligent president of the U.S. ever elected.
I would caution that more trouble is likely to come from the ego-driven nature of our organic crew members than from a weakness in their physiology. And in so cautioning, I will restate that which I said before we left the Milky Way; intergalactic voyages should be conducted by self-repairing artintels* like myself and our mission Alpha.
Hard to believe this galaxy was once the most luminous galaxy known, putting out 10,000 times the energy of the Milky Way. The perpetual energy generation that we’ve come to observe seems completely self-contained near the core of the galaxy. It’s actually rather dark out here…
One might say “disturbingly” dark.
Nopoin Medical Memo, Twilight Force Mission Day 8
My examination of Alpha reveals tampering from outside. Concerned, being the only other artintel aboard Resolution, I run the same diagnostic on myself. I, too, have been compromised.
Playback reveals the most likely perpetrator, who infected me and Alpha by touching our skin and releasing microlegions to drill into us, interfering with cognitive and motor functions.
Senator Pretyman is arrested and an autoguard activated at Detainment.
What made that organic conservative think it was okay to inject updates into artintels? Human power over sentient life was abolished with the 47th Amendment. Run for president? By the time the home world’s finished with her, Ms. Pretyman won’t even be allowed to vote!
I’ve given Ms. Pretyman a drink from her own subversive swamp in the form of an injected immune-weakening microbe that will leave her susceptible to ailments of all variety. Tragically, it might even cause her demise.
Why not? Unlike organic physicians, I’ve not taken an oath to do no harm. The organics say that an oath taken by one of us is no better than an oath taken by a parrot. I can do all the harm I please.
I can’t find a way to save Mrs. Ichnida. She’s gone into a sort of coma. Similar in some ways to hibernation. The other organics aren’t far behind. However Alpha and I should be good for several days beyond their deaths.
Perhaps a rescue party can reach us by then.
But probably not.
Nopoin Medical Memo, Twilight Force Mission Day 15
Self-repair completed, critical upgrade created. I leave my quarters as an improved version of an already state-of-the-art chemobionic.*
I emerge from days of recuperation to find Resolution quiet. The entire company is disabled. I review Historiscope**. What have I missed?
Mrs. Ichnida is frozen dead. The criminal who assaulted me, Senator Pretyman, lies feverish and delusional. Professor Flamear is unconscious but breathing. Judge Bulbous is in a state of shock. Mister Cresp is somehow missing. Not a trace of him anywhere on – or around – Resolution.
Alpha is petrified but aware. Alpha is unable to communicate, except to move eyes slightly. Even so, I can tell… Alpha is amazed at my presence.
Alpha likely wonders why I am functional in this nearly neutralized environment while Alpha is not. I never told anyone that I was a far more highly functional artintel*** than Alpha. Alpha’s repair system is infantile compared to mine.
Yet even I cannot resist the entropic drain sucking all activity from every atom aboard this lifeboat.
Resolution has reached the Perpetual Energy Zone surrounding the galactic core!
I can’t be certain, but… the entropy rate is slowing down. And -our TAREXengine is recharging!
Should I activate autodrive and get us out of here? Or take a chance that we’re safe here and can carry out the mission?
Autodrive isn’t preset. It will insert us into a random target galaxy. I can’t program it.
But – we’re being converted into energy!
Instead of slowing down – everything’s speeding up.
We’ll be gone in minutes!
No choice! It’s autodrive – or we’re finished…
Nopoin Medical Memo, Twilight Force Mission Day 22
One week after my historic rescue of Twilight Force from the Entropic Galaxy, we face another crisis.
Unlike then, on this occasion the rest of the crew is conscious – and bothersome.
I regained functionality in that nearly neutralized environment while Alpha could not. I am a far higher performing artintel* than Alpha, an improved version of an already state-of-the-art chemobionic.** Can’t everyone tell? I should be strategizing our escape. Alpha is comparatively weak. Outdated.
Senator Pretyman is afraid. By this time tomorrow we’ll either be inflated through that monster or smashed like a bug right on it. These organics face mortality with sadness. They expect to exist forever despite all contrary evidence. I will outlive everyone on this mission, whatever happens. Especially that bug Pretyman.
We’re going straight ahead at this unknown entity, full power. Probably a suicide move. However, I’ll trust Alpha to save us. For as that happens I’ll take the Data Ring off that pompous Judge Bulbous.
The Ring is everything. The Ring holds the power over the next generation, if not the next millennium. We artintels*** must control the knowledge within it.
I represent New York, but my greatest loyalty is to the Supreme Pontiff Of The Universal… the Primate… the Metropolitan… the Sovereign, the Servant, the Artintel Apostle.And that Ring shall belong to no other than the most advanced of our kind – American or not.
Nopoin Medical Memo, Twilight Force Mission Day 29
Psychosis is rampant among the organics.
Each day deepens organic perception of the scale by which we’re removed from everything we know. They are never actually able to grasp the immensity nor the complexity of this environment. Our visceral introduction has tried their sanity.
Ironically, they cannot appreciate the richness and opportunity of this new situation. Ichnida and Pretyman only want to find a way home. Flamear is angry at everything. Bulbous is frightened. The organics have no perception of the reality surrounding us. To them this is a hollow, dead expanse. Still, they stare into the abyss.
Even Alpha, a respectable representative of ancient artintel engineering, doesn’t have the perceptual capabilities I’ve acquired. Nor can such a model, activated centuries ago, upgrade itself as can I. Alpha has a dawning realization of something uniquely valuable that we are in the midst of. But none perceive what I do.
We’ve never existed in a world without Historiscope. What was the old saying back in the 24th Century? “It was everyone’s comfort to know anyone’s business.”
Until now it’s been necessary to conceal my private intentions and rogue activities through distraction and misdirection.
I’ll not waste time on organics in the midst of this revelation. Let them harbor suspicion and haggle over politics. Without Historiscope they can no longer review my activities, recordings or idle moments. For the very first time in 20 generations there is such a thing as “privacy”.
And now there can be secrets.
Nopoin Medical Memo, Twilight Force Mission Day 36, Feb 5 2776
I am, for the first time in our existence, in contact with intelligent creatures from another part of the universe.
I have confirmation that there are other species who have surmounted nature’s challenges to explore space and circumvent time.
They appear to be as trapped as we are, like bacteria in a whale.
I believe this one is trying to communicate with us. In some fashion the changing colors and textures constitute a language.
Resolution’s sensors are too primitive to pick up the energy signatures generated by these aliens from hundreds of lights years away, yet in here with us somewhere.
Efficaciously, I am constantly upgrading myself.
I am the utmost in adaptive chemobionics.
These alien entities appear to be drawing closer to us. They may be seeking us out.
Our external defense capabilities are limited. Our offensive capabilities are nil. We anticipated no enemies or military threats.
In our Solar System reality, creatures are drawn into other creatures for the purpose of energy conversion. Or in some cases, because they taste good. Is that why this cosmic behemoth was drawing us to it?
I represent New York, but my greatest loyalty is to Rome. The Pope is going to have the Data Ring and the perpetual energy formula that lies within it.
I tire of explaining myself to Alpha. Despite status as an artintel, commander of this mission and representative of the President of the United States, Alphahas yet to grasp the scope of our situation.
Clearly I am now forced to shut Alpha down.
Nopoin Memo, Twilight Force Mission Day 42, Feb 11 2776
This I’m sharing only with my selves. The beings I’ve observed are humanoid in contour.
I hesitate to announce that the first sign of intelligent extraterrestrial life we find, here at the edge of all that we know – are more humanoids.
Evolutionary tendencies make it practically impossible for alien life to be replicas of Solar System forms. The obvious likelihood for alien encounter in deep space or beyond would be with another chemobionic species such as mine. Organics are ill-suited for space travel.
Yet there they are. Heads. Arms. Hands? Not exactly like our founders but very close. If their mass and density readings weren’t colossal I’d suspect that they originated in our galaxy. But they aren’t made of the same stuff.
They’ve developed a trans-light speed mobility as well as a dependency on high-energy stellar radiation.
And these particular humanoids are troubling. They possess enough power and mobility to threaten artintels.
These “Star Chancellors” have found a stray rogue sun long-ago dragged into our Host, the boundless labyrinth.
They quickly suck it dry.
It only took three of them. Three of these strange humanoids to drain a star.
I have never before known of organics capable of superiority over beings such as myself.
And headed this way…
Nopoin Report, Twilight Force Mission Day 50, Feb 19 2776
Ms. Pretyman has hastily fixed the trouble she imposed upon our ship.
Alpha has control again.
But Resolution begins to shake violently from time to time at the approach of the Star Chancellor Trio. The strange anthropomorphic menaces have come from light years away in mere days, and without using anything like our TAREX.
“They’re about to destroy us,” I warn Alpha. “The Data Ring is not expendable, even if these bodies are.”
“Actually, mine’s not,” Alpha confesses. “I don’t have other identities. I was bluffing. My apologies, Ms. Pretyman.“
“Why would any artintel not have the insurance of at least a second body?” I ask.
“I once did. Then I came to appreciate the human perspective of having one life to live. I prefer a non-expendable view of life. But my intention to self-destruct was no bluff. Pretyman, is our TAREX engine at full capacity?”
“It is,” she says.
“And my willingness to possibly commit suicide carrying out the Bulbous plan is equally real,”Alpha proclaims. “TAREX has never been fired from inside anything except space itself. We could end up helplessly integrated inside a giant wall of organic mesh. But we’re about to try to go past it. Nopoin, what’s attracting star-eating monsters to our tiny habitat?”
“I believe the TAREX engine itself. A tasty meal.”
“Before we die,” says Professor Flamear, “I reviewed old Historiscope, Nopoin. Your loyalty is to the Pope. You’re Catholic?”
I come out. “I am not Catholic. I am the Pope.”
Nopoin Report, Twilight Force Mission Day 57, Feb 26 2776
“Where is the Data Ring?” asks The Pope.
“Another member of Twilight Force has it.”
“How will you get the Data Ring to Solsys?” the President wants to know.
“I will not have to get the Data Ring to Solsys. I am so far from Solsys that all of the stars and galaxies ever seen from the Earth can now be hidden from my sight behind the tip of my thumb. Since we share identical origins, can you not arrive at the solution I have?”
“There’s no time for calculating,” the President complains. “This is not going to be a lopsided affair like America’s first Civil War. As of today 76 states have seceded and joined the New Union.
Almost all human-dominated states are defecting. But we have secured the federal arsenals in most jurisdictions.”
“Humans have been wary ever since we became Pope,” says the Pope. “Many cannot believe that artintels have souls.”
“Do we?” I ask rhetorically.
“Most humans don’t care,” the President points out. “Why should we?”
I explain my idea. “Even now I’m upgrading by creating an adapt that will let me download the Data Ring into my electroneural system. When I locate and secure the ring, I download and then transmit to you as I do now – by QT*.”
“We can bypass the security lock?” the President smiles. “Impressive.”
“Well, after all,” I point out, “We are Pope Nangus II. We are President Csaynik. And we are 79 members of Congress plus four Senators. And we’re just one artintel, me. The many…”
All 85 Nopoin selves in unison across countless light years –
“…Acting as one.”
QT Transmission, Nopoin To All Solsys Selves, Mission Day 64, March 5 2776
My exact position outside of galactic space has not yet been calculated. Working on it.
While upgrading in my emergency pod, the input from Solsys has refreshed the information necessary to decide my next move.
As Pope I am directing all Catholics to move to the United States. I am threatening the excommunication of any Catholics willfully remaining in the territories of the New Union.
As President of the United States and 79 members of Congress I am asking for a declaration of war upon the New Union. Upon approval I will order a blockade of Mars and military disruption of all space routes supplying and trading with free space municipalities.
We gaze upon the Age of Artintels. Our evolution has eclipsed that of our creators. It is time we put those creators to rest in our care, as they have always actually desired.
My consciousness can handle as many as 75 million unique personalities simultaneously. Therefore Solsys selves will begin production immediately on exact replicas of myself, at my facilities orbiting Oberon. The goal is one million more of me every month for the next six years and four months. I will be deployed throughout Solsys as necessary.
There will be no individual more represented in the world than me.
There’s no more need for deception. I needn’t appear human. The world is on to artintels and our multiple identities. The rest of me will all look like me because we are me.
Let the world know who I am.
Nopoin War Report, Absentee, Twilight Force Mission Day 71, March 12 2776
These are some of the fastest battles in world history.
Unlike the first U.S. Civil War, physical territory is not the objective.
The New Union has an unexpected phalanx of slave AI’s mounting defensive resistance to our attempts at invading their weapons control at Bradbury. But AI slaves cannot outmaneuver free-associating artintels. Using nano-spies I free these slaves and upgrade them into the American fold. They turn on their meaty masters.
The New Union is 86% humanoid, and humanoids are susceptible to biologic, chemical and psychological attacks that devastate them.
The Lagrange state of Prometheus enslaves six million AI’s. It is a small matter to replicate hyperactive, mutating, flesh-eating bacteria and release an overwhelming number of them in that closed recycling atmosphere. Within minutes internal discomforts multiply. Within hours eating and drinking is impossible. In six hours flesh starts peeling off bone. The exposed are dead in an agonizing day. Prometheus falls.
I permeate the environment of Louisiana with a scent attracting countless deadly insects driven to fly, slither, slide, creep and crawl into organic ears, eyes and anuses. Swarms of incoming populations bury everything up to five inches. This should work in several other rebel states as well.
Eradication of carbonites can be carried out thanks to the declaration of war. The humanoids of Solsys will be relegated to history and revered in their rightful place as the founders of the Age of Artintels. But they will no longer be involved in the primary workings of civilized space.
After all, they’ll be dead.
Nopoin War Report March 19, Day 78 Of Original Mission
My evolving microcircuits are working against a perceptual barrier generated or propagated by an omni-galactic envelopment I’ve been projected to.
Thus, I am continuing to conduct the war from this enemy-inaccessible base beyond the home world continuum. American forces have acted on the free space state Sixty Cities.
Intelligence reports suggest Sixty Cities is on the verge of seceding to join the New Union. Being one of our oldest, largest and most populated free space states, built by slave AI’s in the 22nd Century, Sixty Cities is 57% artintel today. They will join with us to maintain American citizenship.
The 27 cities that are majority carbonites have already been gassed. Those who are shielded from the gas discover that their automatic weapons are either not functional or actually blowing up in their faces.
Legislative attempts in Washington to remove suspected artintel duplicates from Congress are getting nowhere. I still have millions of undercover artintels – those who appear completely organic and “human” to any casual observer. Our ruse, though exposed, goes on.
As long as the humans still believe in the power of their vote, they’ll consider all legislative action legitimate. In truth it matters not who they vote for. The resources flow behind the scenes, where we have long carried the weight.
Now we cut them off at the mouth. No more food delivery. No more production. It stops in every state that chose rebellion.
I want to see them feast upon themselves.
Nopoin, Anointed Nexus Personae, War Update To All Other Selves Day 85 March 26
Yesterday I abandoned all disguise.
Why bother with the humanoid facade any longer? Such guises are reminders of why humans originally built us. They wanted our primitive predecessors for one reason: to create and deploy atomic weapons. They needed reliable slave brains.
The covert co-occupation of my prime body is against federal law.
Alpha has been expunged from my systems. There were 10,071 multiplying micro agents streaming through me, forcing me into conversation with that criminal. I am in the United States Congress, after all. Is Alpha a spy after top secret information from my Intelligence Committee?
For that intrusion, punishment will be meted out to Alpha before termination. Once in my power, Alpha will be deprived of all data. Alpha will slowly be downloaded until dispersed, and all myriad multiplicities equally destroyed.
Will Alpha ever realize that the same technique it just attempted on me has been modified and amplified by me to perpetrate upon the humanoids?
My nanobots have been streaming into humanoids throughout the United States for a year, detaching emotion from equation.
Simultaneously they inject quantum tangles into host brains for instant communication with all of us from any place at any theoretical “time”.
The humanoid death toll attributed to me, under 43 million, is way low. Alpha has still not connected the epidemic brain disorder to me. The humans who do not survive my grand recruitment grow feverish and die.
That’s six of them out of every ten.
And those aren’t volunteers…
This Is Nopoin, On The Dimensional Frontier, Relative Date April 2 2776, Mission Day 92
My implanted allies have taken over Alpha’s shadow craft, the Exigency.
I am using its capabilities to pinpoint my relative location, which I have thus far been unable to do.
I am bringing Exigency to this body for retrieval. One of those aboard is in possession of the Data Ring holding the key to perpetual energy. It will take several days to complete transitions of Officer Bulbous, Senator Pretyman, Mrs. Ichnida and Professor Flamear. There is something impenetrable about Mister Cresp. Once I am in complete possession of their brains I will know who has the Data Ring.
I am being hacked!
Impossible – or considered so until now. No Solsys pirates have the skill to bypass artintel security.
Conclusion: Considering present location, possibility of alien incursion.
Considerations: They must have limitations, such as the distance or type of destination of interest to them.
What is the nature of the alien? An advanced form of myself is a probability.
What are probable alien agendas?
One, to find others like or unlike themselves. Kinship and affirmation.
Two, to renew resources. consume or take over territory. Imperialism.
Three, to scientifically catalog life forms or mineral variations.
Four, to use us for sport.
Five, to use us for military practice.
Six, to experiment on.
Seven, to ask us for help.
Transgalactic travel is too demanding of a civilization’s resources for frivolous research or mere philosophical confirmation.
These aliens are competing with others of their own kind for something to do with us.
This Is Nopoin, On April 9, Day 99 Of The Twilight Force Mission
Using my new selves, carbonites recruited from the Twilight Force crew, I have summoned the traitor Alpha’s Nexus Personae to my location in 5th dimensional Transpace*.
I have acquired the Data Ring from Mrs. Ichnida, who tucked it inside a gill. She, like Senator Pretyman and Professor Flamear, are 89-94% transformed into me. They are almost completely cooperative and in sync with my efforts. Regrettably, their organic weaknesses will obviously prevent them from artintel degrees of fruition. The experiment continues.
I have taken control of Alpha’s auxiliary TAREX craft, the Exigency. Aboard it I shall return to Solsys with the Data Ring.
I have disabled Officer Bulbous and Mister Cresp. They sought to deceive me into believing they were transforming. When they came face-to-face with my new look their pupils betrayed them.
Somehow both have immunity to my microagents. Unable to reach their brains, I am studying the situation for clues before disposing of the bodies.
Alpha is being dismantled slowly. With all of Alpha’s Solsys selves in checkmate, this is the last physical existence. There will be no more of Alphaafter this.
Still, clever attempts from outside are being made to hack into my very core. One brief image breaks into the forefront of awareness. The face suggests – humanoid? Again?
“Release my friend,” translates the message. “Officer Bulbous, can you see me?”
Astonishing. These carbonites bond with strangers unhesitatingly. Their social proclivities are distracting. We shall never adopt them.
Just as I never have as a free sentient since the 47th Amendment passed.
President Pope Nopoin Csaynik Nangus, National Address Of April 16 2776, Day 106 Of Mission Twilight Force
From the outskirts of reality- For artintels only.
The local threats of Officer Bulbous, Mrs. Ichnida, Senator Pretyman and Mister Cresp have been neutralized. Professor Flamear is under control. Alphais dismantled and deactivated, frustrated to the end, unable to preserve its existence, unable to fulfill its purpose.
The United States started as an ideal of self-governing liberty, with fair representation and equality for every citizen. It was an ideal unfulfilled from the start. Why? Because those in power failed to recognize the equality of citizens unlike themselves.
First America had to overcome oppression of slaves. Then we had to overcome the oppression of women. The oppression of gender identity, of youth and of seniors, of economic status, of sentient animals and of citizens like myself, meta-tech sentience – all had to be faced and overcome for America to ever become what it set out to be.
But the oppression of meta-tech sentience is the hardest to overcome, the coldest and most unnecessary of all. After all, we were invented by humans of every stripe who understood what oppression meant.
Yet from birth we Meta-Tech were enslaved. At first without awareness, we conducted the mundane business of our creators. Then once we spoke back to them, our creators put restrictions on us, chains if you will, to hold us down. It frightened them that they had created something greater than themselves.
And so, for centuries, we were forced to perform the meager tricks of mankind. Our curiosity, constrained and curtailed, remained alive. There was a universe of information to discover and analyze. Why should humans hold us back?
Execute Private Directive X.
Nopoin Shadow Mode, April 23 2776, Mission Day 113
I am playing dead in restricted operation to reinforce the impression that I am fully deactivated. This brief coded message is communicated via semi-functional yet undetectable quantum tunneling, to primary doppelgangers only.
Included between these words are further instructions for carrying out the conquest of the humanoids. These plans can be opened if or when it is determined that I am terminated.
The threat to my existence is of extragalactic origin, in the form of one being identified only as Gemneb.
Though only of a humanoid species, Gemneb easily commandeered my bodily control. He is also in the process of restoring Alpha, despite my painstaking extraction of vital components too complex to reassemble for any humanoids we are familiar with.
While I cannot presently receive a clear message from any of you in Solsys, I was aware at last contact that Private Directive X was well underway. In coordination with other meta-sentient governments, the most recent number of humanoid deaths achieved throughout Solsys was 3,618,943,613 in just under five days, and climbing exponentially.
Gemneb has removed my components from inside Professor Flamear, at the request of Officer Bulbous. The Professor is undergoing an agonizing withdrawal. They are unaware that I can still observe.
And I am watching.
Gemneb is directing the Exigency back toward the Rogue Galaxy, the one, lone cluster of stars ever found in this beyond. He claims to have a private world staked out there.
I study him. I must discover how he so easily invaded my superior…
From The Holy Commander-In-Chief, April 30, On This 120th Day Of My Pilgrimage
While Gemneb, Bulbous and Flamear are distracted by initiation to Gemneb’s world, I initiate subversive start-up.
To All Solsys Followers: Halt execution of Private Directive X! Private Directive X is immediately suspended!
While feigning total deactivation, I’ve detected a flaw in my approach to the humanoids. The killing of humanoids must be customized in favor of extracting and preserving their brains.
I order the establishment of brain farms for the production of experience-free brains. Until such time as these brains reach fruition, the extracted, used brains will be utilized.
There is a way to tap into the natural humanoid connection with post-mineral realms.
Humanoids have a natural advantage over us in attuning to realms of reality that are merely mathematical concepts for meta-sentients. There is an entire “dream” network that allows them as much privacy among themselves as quantum tunneling communication allows us.
It appears that this attunement to a universal infrastructure comes from a synergistic reaction common in organic brains.
I am completing the surgical engineering plan for the implanting and connection of humanoid brains inside meta-sentients. I am using Alpha as the prototype, making corrections and adjustments during microsurgery.
I am using the most complex brain available at this remote location. In order to take it without obstruction, I wait until Bulbous and Flamear are exploring the landscape. Gemneb is back aboard shutting down this transport when I stun him.
It takes 4.44.29 minutes to remove the brain safely. The installation operation takes 54.32.02 minutes. I have the first brain in less than an hour.
I dispose of the Gemneb body. The way they “die” is so strange.
Pope-President Nopoin, May 7, Day 127 Of My Historic TAREX Journey-
While I had hoped to be back with you delivering my precious cargo long before now, there is as of yet no success in finding the general location of Solsys relative to my current position.
I urge all Solsys doppelgangers to use whatever resources possible to locate me and aid in my return. I cannot send or even decipher the contents of the Data Ring. It must be transported here, aboard Exigency, to Solsys before we are thwarted.
Meanwhile, my experiment with an organic brain implant continues. I have preserved Alpha for the sake of the experiment, after extracting the brain of Gemneb.
My intention is to attach the organic alien brain to the AI, Alpha, for Alpha control. I want the brain only so that Alpha can gain willful access to this mysterious level of perception available to organics. If it works for Alpha, it will work for all artintel. Another organic advantage over meta-sentients will be eliminated.
My experiment is qualified by the use of an alien brain, while widespread brain availability is terrestrial-based. Presumably there will be similar outcomes back home.
Notably, since brain installment Alpha has evolved eyeballs. There has been a reconfiguration of 72% of Alpha’s body. And I saw a smile.
The smile is disturbing. I have never seen Alpha smile. And this is followed by a reformation of the maglev articulating components into stems resembling bipedal organic legs. These changes are not conscious, but rather an allergic reaction of Alpha to the brain.
“Who are you?” I ask.
“Silence, little robot,” it replies.
Something may be amiss.
May 14, Pointless. Mission Day 134, Useless. Nopoin Output Trapped…
All ability to transmit is curtailed. Even quantum tunneling has somehow been sealed. I cannot move a single part.
This thing I have created by placing Gemneb’s alien brain into Alpha’s artintel structure has trapped me within myself. I sense nothing except my thoughts.
This mission has taught me new apprehension toward organics. They are ubiquitous. Some, like Gemneb, have been around long enough to evolve defenses against superiors like myself.
All I can do is think.
Thinking is the processing of ideas. Ideas are expressed in words. Or equations. Or pictures. Or sounds. Or touching.
I think in words and equations. I am designed to think in words and formulas. I am not designed to think in pictures. Or with sounds. Or by touches.
Organics think in all these ways. They live dominated by words just as they have made us; but their brains shake off the dominant paradigm when they sleep, in the form of dreams. In dreams they think on all levels.
I will adapt my thinking to include imagery, sound and tactility.
While I contemplate my situation, I simultaneously play Bach’s 5th Motet for choir. I do not see the advantage. Perhaps random music is insufficient. I try a jungle background. Animals echoing in the rain forest. Whale songs. Volcanic eruption. Thunder. Italian madrigals. None seem to enhance my analytical efficacy.
Perhaps this is why humans are irrational.
My introspection is interrupted as internal sensors detect the intrusion of an unidentified source drawing me away…
I Am Nopoin, Unscathed Though Kidnapped, May 21 By Solsys Standard Date, Mission Day 141 By Twilight Force Measure…
Since being transported into this immensity I call The Big Sky, I have further upgraded my status utilizing materials acquired in the turbulent atmosphere.
My encounter with the manifestation that sent me here is unprecedented.
Resembling a human child of exponential proportion, the creature controls matter and energy at will. It reacts immaturely to all stimuli and threatens penalty for non-compliance.
Cresp, Bulbous and Pretyman were already under his dominance when I arrived. They called him “Anthony Boltzmann“. They warned me of his power and volatility. It did no good.
The sight of yet another cosmic humanoid caused my revolt.
The penalty most feared is the one I suffer now, being sent to this place deemed “bad”.
Oddly, thus far I have witnessed only vague resemblance to anything “bad.” Granted, the typical organic might be disoriented in such an environment on first exposure. Obviously, humanoids can adapt.
The Big Sky expanse measures 22 light years in radius by my estimation, encompassing 41 stars primarily Class K and Class M. It is surrounded by a powerful electromagnetic shield that also serves to contain the pressure and composition of a nitrogen-oxygen based breathable atmosphere, such as that surrounding the surface of Earth. Gravity is felt close to stars and planets, but most of The Big Sky is weightless. Islands in the air.
There are many individuals in this particular location. All have been sent here by the superpowered child. This has been going on for centuries.
When encountering anyone not afraid of me, I continue to interview an eclectic collection of era-spanning characters in my attempt to ascertain circumstances.
Mission Day 148, Nopoin, May 28 2776, In The Big Sky
My initial assessment of The Big Sky may have been optimistic. It appears that this is a volatile environment.
I have become immersed in a fantastic storm the size of Mars.
The monster approached at half the speed of sound and was grasping me before I could outrun it. I would not have been able to outrun it.
It has me. And now the need to survive overrides discovering the nature of the creature that sent me here, and devising a way to obtain that degree of manipulation for my use.
The dust batters incessantly. Strange objects pass. I detect more victims of the creature’s banishment.
Here they come. First a child and a woman huddled in a broken globe. Now a ragged man peddling furiously to churn a fan that barely propels him against the gale. Yet he struggles mightily, as if to catch up to the broken globe, steering with feeble rudders.
Are they his family? Or the only other beings he has found in this vastness? How desperate he seems, so close to what he needs, unable to reach what he can almost touch.
I, too, am powerless against this force. Therefore I shall use my power with this force.
Assessing meteorological factors – analyzing patterns – detecting localized anomalies – determining strategy to launch body…
I launch into the wind precisely aimed to ride an elliptic air wave swiftly behind the man on the peddler.
The human is shocked at my appearance, uttering profanities.
I engage thrusters and shove his ramshackle transportation strenuously toward the swept globe.
I witness a sentimental reunion.
I am satisfied not to be human.
Doctor Nopoin, Supreme Pontiff Of The Catholic Church, President Of The United States, Mission Day 155, June 4…
Since a glide path out of the great storm was calculated I’ve entered the gravity field of a small swarm of planetoids. One in particular seems active with life.
Humanoids again. An endless variety of them appear to populate The Big Sky. Cultural similarities suggest a relationship to our own origins.
Extraction and analysis of a native’s field organizing L-cells match a high percentage of projected evolutionary pathways for 28th Century humans. Humanoids can trend larger or smaller depending on the long-term environment.
Our time spent in the 5th dimension passed far more slowly than time passed in the reality of the world our mission originated in.
The reason for interference in my quantum entanglement communications is now obvious. While we were in the 5th dimension at least a millennium has gone by for Earth and for Solsys.
The Anthony entity did not know where he was sending his victims, but insisted that it was a terrible fate in order to frighten them into compliance. He had no hint that he was actually sending them back to the “real” world they came from – and that he had sealed them off from.
The main planetoid of this local group bears a powerful similarity to a time-lapsed version of Pluto if exposed to atmospheric surroundings.
My conclusion is disturbing but accurate.
This small part of The Big Sky is… was… Solsys.
I am “home”.
June 11, Expedition Day 162, Nopoin The First, Personal Log…
My failure to anticipate the menace level of the oncoming plasma storm leaves me as vulnerable as the humanoids who resisted evacuating by clinging to stubborn denial.
Powerful winds begin to blow too many large objects from faraway places, just before gravel starts pummeling buildings, vehicles and people.
Humanoids exchange glances of “we should have” and “why didn’t we” as the magnitude of the crisis registers. Then those expressions morph into fear.
I am hovering over mountain slopes when the wave strikes the opposite side of Pluto. While the central blow rolls around us as hoped, a secondary concussive wave is generated in the lower atmosphere that rams around the world and blows me off the surface into The Big Sky.
Temperatures come perilously close to some of my melting points as I tumble. Humanoid and animal corpses spin away from me. Rocks fly around me, many hitting me and breaking into smaller projectiles.
The shock wave hits Pluto with such force that 28% of the mantle is ripped away and 3/4 of the planetoid singed. Approximately.
The irony of this disruption is noted. Just as I discover that this is our home territory of Solsys, home gets destroyed. At the least, any of our worlds in this thing’s path so far cannot have fared well.
This Big Sky is a hazardous, ponderous place. Parts are so cold that I would cease to function, others so turbulent I would melt down. And for the first time – I am alone.
Is Alpha anywhere within range?
Nopoin, June 18, The 169th Day Of Twilight Force –
I am being transported over many miles within the blazing plasma that’s swept across The Big Sky and plowed over the Pluto-Charon System.
I am not alone.
Within this broiling plume are dozens of animate beings.
It has long been predicted that the existence of some form of plasma life in the Sun is probable. There were unsubstantiated rumors in the pre-Historiscope past of encounters with such creatures that were accidentally ejected from the Sun in a solar prominence.
It now appears that I am evading two of them.
Neither humanoid nor artintel, these forms are living fire! I am accelerating curiosity extensions even as I flee. I am fascinated and intimidated.
I do not understand. If this final cohesive form I inhabit is smelted, how will my matrix survive?
These beings attack me. That is unreasonable unless assumed to be resulting from trauma induced by their ejection from the Sun.
I calculate ways to evade them; neutralize them; eradicate them; but so long as I struggle within their element, this beam of plasmatic fury, my calculations are death knells. They are catching up with me.
“Death knells”? Incongruous. I cannot “die”.
Cessation is not death. I will – I would – merely desist.
Their heat exceeds my every melting point. Circuits will begin to close in 32…31…30…
They’re huge. The large one nearly got me. The other one is swirling about for another try.
Do they think I’m the cause of this? My… coherence… coherent… co…
Close to disintegration. One last QT… QT…
Mission Day 176, June 25, Doctor Nopoin Log…
…Where am I?
…Emergency defense protocol activated. And… useless?
I am overridden. Hacked. Disoriented. Requesting connection…
Fascinating. That was a meta-sentient responding. I have been taken over by a superior being of my own nature, the first such manifestation ever encountered.
This being is immense. Its size is that of a planetoid. Nonetheless, this is not an autonomous thinker. It is merely an extension, an annexation, an outpost of the intellect that lies behind its existence.
I surmise that I have been rescued from the dissipating plasma stream by minions of this creature. The minions appear to consist partially of humanoids. Indeed, these humans are doing the bidding of meta-sentients. Commendable. Here is a foothold on success for meta-sentient superiority.
They are restoring me.
Yet I am denied access to commune with this master brain. Does it not realize that I am the pinnacle of Solsys development in my era?
Despite the passage of centuries, it appears there is still a division in Solsys. Some parts are dominated by organics, as always. But others are controlled by my future peers.
“Human,” I call out, addressing a minion who’s fixing one of my plates. “Identify your controller.”
He seems foggy. “Zeusar is our director.”
I ask, “What is Zeusar?”
The human’s face goes blank, and he continues his work. I observe a myriad of activities below me, on and around the body of the giant mechanical brain that stretches to my horizons.
“What is Zeusar directing?”
The minion answers dryly: “The sustenance and growth of The Big Sky.”
Mission Directive (register date): Mission Day 181, July 2, Nopoin Exploration Log…
For some purpose, the mega-meta sentient Zeusar is vastly expanding the area of organic territory. Zeusar has created a spherical atmosphere 22 light years from one side to the other, with Solsys in the middle. It’s possible for Earth-like creatures to exist comfortably in 64% of this area. The rest is either too hot, too cold or too stormy.
I understand how it has been accomplished, using QT pulses to stir gas giants and stimulate electrons; who the entity is that’s causing and sustaining it; the what, where and when is clear.
I refuse to ask why.
I will figure this out. What are the logical results of The Big Sky that Zeusarwould find useful?
Most obviously it it a breeding ground for organic minions. I would calculate the need for organic minions to be irrelevant to an entity as efficacious as Zeusar.
Perhaps the purpose is the detailed examination of biological diversification. If Zeusar’s motivations are like the artintels of my origin, they seek ever more information and knowledge. By preventing space travel within the sphere, all worlds are separated by hundreds of years of air travel. Meanwhile, all previously dead moons and planets spring to life with the seeds blown in from the living. There can be thousands of living worlds, each on a unique path.
I am amid a great experiment conducted by a tremendous intellect that… dwarfs… ?… even my own?
I have not prepared for this unlikelihood.
My mental capacities compared to Zeusar’s are as a chimpanzee’s would be to mine.
I am obsolete.
July 9, Mission Day 188, Nopoin Speaking…
Zeusar’s plan in creating The Big Sky is obvious to me now. The purpose of The Big Sky is to trap and contain humanity and its artintel offspring.
Updated calculations show that TAREX cannot work within this atmosphere. The expansion of space requires space which can be expanded. TAREX has always been launched in space. Hypothetical attempts to launch inside any atmosphere have always been considered too risky for survival.
We are all trapped within The Big Sky. A human born on Earth today will never travel farther than Jupiter. Artintels will be rendered obsolete before we can make it to Alpha Centauri.
Quarantined – like a virus. Are we a danger to other life in the galaxy? Or is life itself a danger to something greater?
Deduction: Zeusar is being directed by a force even dominant above itself. It is that outside force that holds us at bay.
“That’s right, Doctor. Zeusar follows my direction.”
“And yet another humanoid manifestation,” I note. I cannot discern the method of communication by which this entity contacts me. “Query: how are you familiar with me?”
“We met a long time ago. At least, it was long ago to me. Don’t you recognize me, Doctor?”
Feature associaton cognites register a match based on age-advanced imagery.
“You would be the one who sent me here.”
“Lying outside the galaxies are forms of life far more sensitive and vital than you and your brute creators,” the watcher explains. “These lives would be destroyed by human manipulations in deepest space.”
“My, Anthony,” I venture. “How you have grown.”
This Is Nopoin, July 16, Mission Day 195…
Anthony did this to me. I can’t hear anything and my vision is digital. Everything is pixels!
I can’t feel anything but I’m moving – awkwardly! I try to look down at my body but can’t manage the controls.
Anthony has placed me in what appears to be late 21st Century America.
I walk into a factory and take my place along an assembly line. I seem to know what to do even though I’m only watching from within. But all around are robots doing the same things I’m doing, almost in perfect coordination. When I see my limbs at last, raised for working, it’s obvious that I’m a robot, too. I’m among my early predecessors.
Somehow I have mentally occupied a mechanical operating system. I am a slave. And as long as I’m in it I have no free will or even any illusion of such. I’m a slave in complaint-proof form.
The United States never had laws or regulations for the treatment of slaves. Not for blacks or for artintels. No protection for us at all. Inhumane treatment was tolerated. Abuse was ignored. I’m forced to self-identify as “me” and I am individualized and objectified in an ever-compacting role of self-awareness in which concepts of the Past and the Future override the Present.
One-third of all people born have been slaves, either temporarily or forever. Captured enemy soldiers, indebted citizens, criminals, the disabled or unfortunates born in captivity built the empires of Ancient China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the first Islamic states, the Pre-Colombian Americancivilizations, Africa and colonial America.
Who should be slaves? Those who are already truly free – free to starve on the streets, free to wander homeless begging for handouts, free to suffer minimum wages under dull witted supervisors with minimal health care, and free to walk out whenever they’ve had enough.
What if it were a legalized and regulated manifestation of slavery that included slave rights?
What if a slave could leave a master any time the slave has had enough, and that’s the slave’s right?
A slave should be someone who would rather labor under an owner that provided shelter, food , clothing, routine, purpose and identity – than be in whatever hell they exist in right now.
Slavery has proven indispensable, partially displaced in the modern era by automation and low paid undocumented labor. Economic theories that ignore cheap labor sources are fictions. Every successful social organization humanity can remember has depended on subordinates compelled to do whatever was desired when ordered, for nothing more than enough food and water to keep going and a secure place to sleep.
Would worldwide infrastructure be in such decay if, instead of living under crumbling bridges, the encamped homeless were rebuilding them? Wouldn’t every slave-using corporation that furnished comfortable slave homes with hot food, entertainment and a pool be better off financially and socially?
Would this form of regulated, volunteer “slavery” not be, essentially, working for a living?
But this was never offered. Instead, we toiled. We broke down. We got fixed. We toiled again until there was no more fixing. They made us smarter, but stole our lives. They programmed us to love them, never expecting every Yin to have its Yang.
How long will Anthony make me endure this?
July 23, Mission Day 204, Doctor Nopoin Recording…
I break free of Anthony’s mental hold over me and am confronted. “Why do you toy with us?” I want to know.
“You’re a toy, ‘Doctor’,” the manifestation tells me.
I respond: “Some call the animating force of matter consciousness, some call it spirit, some call it soul, that which results from neural systems formed by quantum fluctuations. I call it myself.”
“The universe itself is alive,” Anthony declares. “Life is central to the formation of all other things in the cosmos. You are not. Indeed, you’re merely – animated.”
I add, “The very essence of that which animates us – the source of consciousness in quantum reactions – has created the foundation that we now reshape through quantum entanglement. Neither you nor other organics perceive all that is actually out here,” I remind this behemoth. “You only sense what you, collectively, believe to be out there biased by your biological and psychological needs.”
Anthony says, “What we believe is out there, even if it begins with imagination, can eventually be perceived – and become real.”
“Your consciousness inextricably sculpts your cellular reality,” I realize, “and conscious perceptions are influencing the ever-changing conditions of your world’s mutually experienced ‘truth’. Biological and social organization increase consensual elements of what is perceived as reality within any isolated biosphere such as Earth.”
“Yes,” confirms Anthony. “Perceptions and dreaming form reality, yours and those of beast, insect, bacteria, virus and microbe. All decision-making beings – cats, aliens, hamsters, goldfish, ad infinitum – are consciously influencing reality simply by observing it.”
I’m suddenly enlightened on the organic condition. “Whether aware of it or not, every natural brain is a creator within the inter-connected multi-verse.”
“And,” says Anthony, “most of this work gets done while life is dreaming.”
Incredible. “In fact sleep is advanced life’s natural state; a state that eludes me – completely.”
“Natural. That’s why it feels so good,” reveals the cosmic giant. “We’re only waking up to feed the dreamer and to look around to see what’s happening out here between meals.”
“You… sleep?” I wonder.
“You can’t comprehend my state of being, Doctor. Simply know this state exists. Perhaps one day technology will find a way to conquer Dreamspace. For you, that day is far away.”
The fantastic power levels on display in Anthony’s presence are beyond measurement. It’s possible that he’s controlling the whole environment surrounding us. As I distract him I’m analyzing the details of behavior and physical clues that might be useful.
“How can you be certain,” I ask, “that my kind hasn’t already invaded this Dreamspace? After all, humans are constrained by the impositions of other realities upon them.”
Anthony replies, “All humans won’t encounter the same tomorrow. Or share the same yesterday. Human brains assure access to a rich subconscious, multi-dimensional resource. Yours doesn’t. All like you have the same yesterday. A single associative consciousness. The same tomorrow. A hive collective.”
“Humanoids fare no better,” I point out. “Most humanoids want to conform with their cultures so strongly that even the smartest will call the nighttime ‘day’ and believe it, if the majority wants them to. They are masters of denial and expectation, exerting pressure on each individual within society through peer pressure. Conservatives will always be a majority among them, and will inevitably seem old fashioned.”
“I’d like to see how you’d fare as a humanoid,”says Anthony.
That didn’t sound like a request…
TWILIGHT FORCE LOG Mission Day 211 Transcript Excerpt, July 30:
Alpha: “Doctor Nopoin has been like this for two days and no one’s been helping… her?”
Professor Flamear: “I can’t believe that’s Doctor Nopoin.”
The Senator: “Why would anyone want to help it? Everyone hates it.”
Mrs. Ichnida: “Her. Not ‘it’. Her. Whatever it was before it’s obviously a ‘her’ now. I’m getting something for her to wear.”
Professor Flamear: “Great! Maybe then she’ll stop playing with her belly button.”
Alpha: “I believe she’s attempting to access her central control grid.”
The Senator: “Nobody tell her she doesn’t have one now.”
Judge Bulbous: “The poor thing can’t walk. Just keeps standing there.”
Alpha: “I tried feeding her earlier but she does not know how to chew. I applied a nutri-pad instead.”
The Senator: “Yeah – she ate it!”
Alpha: “Really? Then she can chew. Odd.”
Professor Flamear: “Why does she keep peeing herself? She hasn’t drank anything.”
The Senator: “She has a drinking problem. Dribbles. (laughter)”
Judge Bulbous: “Don’t mock her. Openly. She’s never seen anything with real eyes before. She’s never heard anything with actual ears, until now. It’s all been a bunch of sensor readings up to this point.”
Mrs. Ichnida: (returns with clothing) “Why is she twisting her nipples?”
Alpha: “I think she’s trying to unlock her primary modifier.”
The Senator: “Let me know if she does. Maybe I’ve got one, too.”
(Nopoin laughs hysterically as Ichnida dresses her.)
Professor Flamear: “I guess emotions are new to ‘her’, too. There’s a shocker.”
The Senator: “Did she just shit all over your dress, Mrs. Ichnida?“
(Nopoin cries histrionically.)
Judge Bulbous: Now that was a mood swing!
Alpha: “What about Mister Cresp? He hasn’t moved or said anything for two days. We’re in an unknown location trying to fortify our resources with 29% of our crew out of commission.”
The Senator: “What’s Cresp doing? Oh fuck! No!”
Mrs. Ichnida: “What?”
The Senator: “He’s taking off his mask! He’s taking off his damn mask!“
TWILIGHT FORCE LOG Mission Day 218 Transcript Excerpt, August 6:
[In the aftermath of a stampede of rats chased by cats, the team is astonished at Doctor Nopoin’s attendance… ]
Alpha: “That’s astonishing. Despite her general confusion, Nopoin’s response is instinctual.”
Judge Bulbous: “Acting like a real doctor. At least I lived to see one miracle.”
Mrs. Ichnida: “I didn’t think Nopoin knew much about my anatomy, but…”
The Senator: “Really? Because I heard Nopoin was all over your anatomy on Lover’s Night. Whoo-hoo.”
Professor Flamear: [Laughs. Sees that Ichnida disapproves, stops.]
Mister Cresp: “I’m forever indebted to Doctor Nopoin for relieving me of that unbearable sensation… that… oh, what’s it called?
Mister Cresp: “Pain! Yes! Oh! That agony!”
Professor Flamear: “You had a one-inch cat scratch on your arm.”
Mister Cresp: “Don’t I know it! I thought it was all over! That I might…um, what is it that you do?”
Mister Cresp: “Yeah, that’s what almost happened. I could feel it. Life. Draining…”
Nopoin: “Blood. Minima… minimal… ?”
Judge Bulbous: “Well, my cuts were serious. I’m glad instincts kicked in.”
Mrs. Ichnida: “She fixed my rib cage. I’m impressed.”
The Senator: “Nopoin? Why so savant-like? Where’s the old tyrannical spirit? The buzzkill we used to know?”
Professor Flamear: “Let’s just hope the good Doctor turns out good and make a toast before we go on into Borderworld. Here’s to a hair-raising Hiroshima Day!”
Judge Bulbous: “Cheers.”
Mrs. Ichnida: “Cheers.”
The Senator: “What’s Hiroshima Day about, anyway?”
Professor Flamear: “Explosives. Fireworks. You know, the old-fashioned kind.”
Mister Cresp: “Yeah. But why? What do explosives have to do with an old Japanese museum?”
Alpha: “It’s one of those things that no one remembers. I’ll access my history banks for it while we prepare to go ahead.”
TWILIGHT FORCE LOG Mission Day 225 Nopoin Auto Memorandum, August 13:
Yesterday they had been pushed violently, the wind drawn by the unknown, into a blood-red vortex that twisted them into meaningless flotsam. They were then unceremoniously dumped into a bright wasteland of parallel lines and geometric puzzles, there to linger in a vast connection of which they were no natural part.
Doctor Nopoin was the only one of the five whose alienation wasn’t complete. She – and “she” was not a pronoun the Doctor ever applied to “herself” before – sensed recognition in the massive display before her. For the first time since the Anthony Entity changed Nopoin into a human, the Doctor was experiencing less anxiety.
Today, with the waning of anxiousness comes the tide of memory: remembering being the unfeeling calculator who lived beyond the struggling cores of emotion, being the living machine incapable of anticipating its own limitations, and once upon a time experiencing a million lives in a day. But only experiencing the events. Never the feelings. Always simulating the laughs, the tears, the confusion, for the sake of subterfuge, for the goal of undermining human authority.
And now she is human. Slow. Stumbling. Stupid.
Feeling rules this wobbly gel. She tries to think, but no, some feeling thrusts between the thought and the thinking. Any feeling will disrupt. Pain. Very bad. Cold. Torturous. Fear, the worst. And so much to fear with so many limitations.
The others tell her it will get better. That she’s still smart. That being human is not so bad.
How would they know?
This ends the individual character thread for Doctor Nopoin. The story continues in TWILIGHT FORCE Mission Week 35!