Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alllight

Eran flicked a couple switches off over his head and went back to gazing through the cockpit windows at the stars. Enhancements of various features and sectors occurred casually as he idly thought about the happenings and goings-on about this local stellar region.
He monitored the tunnel locator to see the eta until they could hit the next hyperspace vortex. It wasn't moving too fast nor erratically so the readouts report of 10 minutes seemed like a pretty reliable estimate. he looked up from the monitor to gaze out the window again. Straight ahead of them was a vortex - a vortex of causality and dimensionality. It was something to behold - and yet it was completely invisible. Eran overlaid synthetic vision so as to "see" it in the wild.
The synthetic vision system interpreted his desire for the fabrication to be minimal, so as to simulate barely being able to see the thing in real life. So a ghostly image was manufactured by the synthetic vision system, and overlaid the bare emptiness outside the window.
What Eran saw was a wisp, and barely visible streaks, like the afterimage of a firefly. Things where traveling into the vortex at great speeds. Things were appearing, caused by the future. All of it went through his head as he tried to understand the thing on his base level, without all the enhancements and explanations the computers could offer.
He stared at it for a few long minutes. It drew closer. It was finally time to flip the switch and get on to our next region to see what's going on over there.
He flipped the switch over his head and was greeted with a soothing, all-encompassing light.
---The Alllight---
His synthetic vision kicked in full-force and Eran was greeted with a completely computer-generated reality around him. Most of what he saw was just a good copy of what he would have seen without the synthetic vision - and if he could see while traversing hyperspace, which you can't.
The first people to travel hyperspace many thousands of years ago experienced the sensory depravation of the Alllight. When you entered a hyperspace vortex you give up your affinity for your precious dimensions, and give up your causal self to some extra, though related, dimensions. The effect being that the material of your body takes on some new properties - including the lack of the eyes to function on whatever analog of light the dimensional span you were flying on uses.
You remain yourself, so the experts pointed with evidence, and certainly everyone who traveled through hyperspace came through fine...physically. But there was, and continues to be, a bit of an aversion to hyperspace travel by a significant part of the populace.
Personally, Eran didn't mind it at all. The Alllight was a pleasant welcome thing for him. He had spent almost as much of his life in the Alllight as out in the main span. But, he had to admit, he wouldn't do so well for 24 hours in the Alllight without any sense of sight.
He reached down and brushed his hand across the control panel, feeling the smoothness of the crystal clear metal and wondering what kind of physics was going on down there inside that material, and what strange cousin to regular atoms and particles were moving around in there? What exactly composed us?
Scientists were working on these things, of course. But presently hyperspace vortices and the accompanying Alllight were just a day to day part of life - the synthetic vision helped greatly.
Eran sat back and brought up the pan-galactic net. Surfing lazily as he pulled open a drawer and retrieved a bit of cannabis.
He chuckled to himself as he thought about what a person he had become over these 2 thousand years. Eran had initially been one of the more usual trans-humans of the time. He had his brain replaced slowly over a decade by a better-functioning electronic version. It was called consciousness continuity. A process whereby cell-by cell your brain is replaced at a rate comparable to that at which your brain would otherwise change on its own.
After 10 years Eran had not a human brain cell left in his brain. At this point he replaced his body.
A genetic identical, of course! His new body was flesh and blood still, though 20% enhancements by weight. But still, it was "his" body. The genetic code that had brought him to being was now his property and his only. Only to follow a direct line through the future until such time as the original consciousness which inhabited it ceased to exist - at this point the genetic code would be written to many disparate databases for historical reasons.
As the years wore on Eran had realized, like so many others, that some of the synthetic versions of what they had enjoyed just didn't seem to live up to what they remembered. It was these people that decided to re-hybridize themselves with their former selves. And thus they began to add brain cells again. Only this time the cells were added alongside the electronic ones. Mirrors of each other.
It was a wonderful fulfillment for most, almost a second birth. Because the process could happen literally overnight, most of them had awakened feeling refreshed and revived. They were again with human minds.
Many scientists contend that the feelings are all in the minds of those who are hybrids. And it may be so. But all he knew was that when he smoked that first joint after 50 years of only simulating, it felt different, it felt better.
And here he is now, in hyperspace. Half-electronic, half-gooey mortal, pulling the bud of a plant out of the console of a space cruiser. And I am going to light it up with this dimensional span's analog of fire.
Eran pulled out a pipe, packed the weed and flicked an antique lighter.
---Everyone---
Eran was not alone in this hyperspatial journey. He could bring up the wisps of the others traveling within his "vicinity". They were, well, encrypted - so to speak. In other words, they were scattered. All of their particles and atoms worked. They just worked together in a spatially distant manner. Say, by millions of light years.
But those who were on similar trajectories as he, they could be partially deciphered by the ship's computers.
A large luxury liner. Probably cruising through hyperspace while it's passengers slept under anti-anxiety fields.
Another small cruiser, not to dissimilar to his.
The various ships were identified and enhanced around him, all seeming to be heading in the same direction. It was like Eran was floating in a huge fleet of spacecraft, all heading in the same direction. But of course, these ships were just assembled from little atom-analogs and the ship's great memory and computers.
but they did represent real things flying to real places in the real universe. And they were literally, really flying there right now as he looked at them.
Eran paused the ship's enhancement program and decided to visually examine a few of the ships.
The synthetic vision system made it appear as though Eran was moving around the other ships, but it was all just the synthetic vision system feeding him the visuals. After all, right now one of those ships he has lined up for examination might be examining him in the same way.
Ah, the manifest of the small cruiser came up.
It was 8 people, Eran browsed through the 3d reconstructions of them based upon the ships extrapolation of energy and matter interactions. The system was pretty darn accurate, around 99% accurate for extrapolating a person’s visual appearance.
Using this system was a secret pleasure of which Eran was certain many besides himself partook in. He located a particular female on the ship. She was sitting in front of a computer monitor - but he could not extrapolate what was on the monitor. This was a known issue of the fundamentals of extrapolation, that once entanglement is used to send information over a dimension, it cannot be used again. In other words, the light particles and their interactions were not visible via extrapolation. The monitor was a deep, dark, featureless black.
Heck, she could be looking at me looking at her right now, Eran thought.
In reality, she was probably looking at some pretty place on some pretty planet or generation ship. Where is that ship? where will it emerge?
Eran flipped on his recorder, "Hyperspace is a funny thing. It lets you get anywhere in the universe in basically no time. But it can't tell you exactly where anything is unless you already know. Here is this hot momma - apparently." He flipped a switch and the top layer of her clothes disappeared. "And she looks like she wants some of this." Eran pantomimed a humping action in the chair. "but she might be arriving at the same planet as me! Or she might be flying to and from some section of the universe infinitely far away. If she's close, then I will probably get a second sign of her when I next launch into hyperspace, and I might be able to track her down then." He turned off his mic.
---Hyperspace Trackers---
Hyperspace tracking is a difficult endeavor. so difficult that no one can in fact do it. but our hero thinks otherwise. Or so he's been working on. He's had some success. though some call this success luck.
Eran saved the girls visage and that of the crew she was with into the ships computer. he sent out a backup signal to trickle the data undetected to a remote data storage facility.
He flipped off the extrapolation monitor and the synthetic squadron of thousands of ships around him. Now all Eran saw out the windows was white. Finally he turned off the cockpit so that all he could see was white.
Then, suddenly, the white faded to reveal his cockpit and some bright stars outside the window. the especially bright one was his destination, and the ship set a course and moved on. Eran retreated to the kitchen to think about how to pass the next few days as he approached the planet.
---I don’t know, Dr.---
“Well, that’s just your take on the matter, Dr. Walker”, Eran made a dismissive hand gesture towards the wizened gentleman sitting across from him at the kitchen table. The man stared evenly at Eran and then spoke.“The human psyche cannot tolerate the thought of being absorbed into meaninglessness. This is where this desire to individualize comes from. This explains, simply, your condition – if you can call it that.”
The condition was Eran’s desire to remain largely human. Now, he was by no means a stickler in this regard. Let us not forget that a whole 25% of his body is artificial. And it had been significantly less then that in the past. In fact, you could say he is actually Eran 2.0 because he had completely replaced every bit of flesh on his being. But he had replaced much of it with flesh of his same genetic makeup. So those parts of him never really were replaced except by exact parts of himself.
On the other hand, there still were tens of billions of humans, by last estimate, still living around the universe - Entire planets of them – some unfriendly to anyone with enhancement even. Not many of those planets though, thank gad.
Being that Eran had these artificial enhancements he had also picked up the natural safety-net of being up linked as well. His consciousness was stored in a hyperspace vortex matrix quantum state.
At it’s most distilled, it was a single neutrino with an exact state which told the story of his being with it’s infinite sequence which would eventually repeat, since no consciousness was ever infinite, but neither were two the same.
Every possible state of the quantum consciousness extrapolation had to occur somewhere, sometime in some universe. Consciousnesses abounded in as many states as the universe possess. He was one of them, and he could be recovered. Eran was a part of the universe.
But most importantly, he was a Retrievable part of the universe.
And this did, in some small way bother Eran, for you see, he had never been retrieved – or had yet to.
Eran’s brain was encased in an extremely strong nanomaterial housing. The housing branched-out miniature, non-invasive nano-wires whose purpose it was to wind their way gently around the brain cells and follow the fragile creation and deletion of synapses between them.
This allowed his brain a direct interface to a wide array of abilities. But most important was the logging of his consciousness state.
It was logged instantaneously across the vastness of the universe by way of entanglement. It was rumored that eventually one could be stored in parallel universes as well. Quite the insurance policy.
It meant that Eran could have a horrible, ghastly and catastrophic accident in which he is maimed and destroyed – including his little squishy brain and the delicate, invisible nano-fiber network between the brain cells.
But hooray! For Eran’s consciousness was entangled with several quantum links and he never lost continuity. If anything is left of Eran and/or his brain, then state services will scoop it up and place it in a nano-reassembler. Thus allowing the sticklers, like Eran, the ability to feel there has been continuity.
It allows Eran to lie to himself that he was not still the same Eran of one thousand years ago. That he wasn’t or couldn’t be the same thing that came tumbling out of his mother’s womb that millennium ago. That was another creature, with another soul.
Eran smiled to himself and thought about how great it was to be here anyhow, regardless of where he originated. He turned himself back to the argument at hand.
The wise doctor was looking directly into his eyes.
“rewind to the point in the argument where you were saying that nothing can be two things. I want to hit the doctor with that quantum cat thing...”, Eran subconsciously googled his head and found the proper term, “Schrödinger s cat. I want to hit the doctor with that and see how that fits into his world view. And wipe his memory, of course.”
The ship’s computer responded, “Yes sir, I remember your preference to have your conversants memories wiped after rollbacks. But you still haven’t chosen to…”
Eran moved his hand to signal the computer to be silent. What was he thinking choosing a sarcastic computer to be his ships main AI? But the computer made him think. Why doesn’t he just wipe and then quantum-shred those memories? Is it because Eran felt that those AI consciousness hashes were living things? Well, he would ask the doctor just one more question. And then Eran would wipe and shred 100 years of AI consciousness rollbacks.
It was a profound step. But it was time. Eran was getting bored more and more often lately, and he didn’t like the implications.
After all, one could shred one’s own consciousness. It wasn’t hard at all.
It was just hard to shred someone elses – but had it been done? There were rumors. But there was basically no proof. Most considered it a form of supernatural thought – that someone could hijack the entire quantum state of a consciousness and then shred and evaporate it.
And after all, if someone or something were that powerful, wouldn’t it remove the logs of this happening?
At any rate, the thought had crossed his mind many times this past 100 years. But he never considered “evaporating” his consciousness – as the euphemistic term was called. Many do it often, but the vast majority do not and have not.
Core humans, those billions of unaltered people, evaporate completely, every last one. Never having their consciousness entangled.
Eran thought back on the early times, when he first began to receive his enhancements.

1 comment:

Telene said...

compelling!

i had to smile at this paragraph, as i felt i could almost hear the voice of futurama's fry:

==========
Eran flipped on his recorder, "Hyperspace is a funny thing. It lets you get anywhere in the universe in basically no time. But it can't tell you exactly where anything is unless you already know. Here is this hot momma - apparently." He flipped a switch and the top layer of her clothes disappeared. "And she looks like she wants some of this." Eran pantomimed a humping action in the chair. "but she might be arriving at the same planet as me! Or she might be flying to and from some section of the universe infinitely far away. If she's close, then I will probably get a second sign of her when I next launch into hyperspace, and I might be able to track her down then." He turned off his mic.
==========