Spooky Action At A Distance

Author : Gray Blix

A scientist, a priest, and a doctor walk into a bar. Sounds like the setup for a lame joke, huh? But no, it’s the beginning of a story about the end of the world. Or, I fear, not a story at all, but the actual end of the world. The truth is, I often cannot tell the difference between my stories and reality. A lot depends on whether I am taking my meds.

“Are you off your meds?” asks my brother, the psychiatrist.

“Yes, Pedro” I admit. “I can’t think right when I’m drugged. I can’t write right. And I have to keep my head on straight this morning to tell you something important.”

“I’m gonna make you boys breakfast,” says our mom. It wasn’t a bar. It was a restaurant. “Egg and pork burritos? Coffee for everyone but Alejandro? Orange juice for you, Alejo?”

We all nod yes.

“All right Al, what’s the story? What’s so important that we had to drop everything and meet you here?” says my brother, the priest. He likes to cut the crap and get right down to business. He’s already found the meaning to life, so he has little patience with those of us still struggling to figure it all out.

I want to build up to it slowly, to start with the first inklings I had and gradually add enough evidence to establish not only that it is The End, but that I am not crazy for saying so. Celio’s force of personality demolishes my plan, and I blurt out my fears.

“It’s the end of the world. This is not some plot I have dreamed up. At least I don’t think it is. Call it a premonition. All right, it was a dream. Many dreams over many nights. Each of you has told me, in your own words, what will happen, what is already happening. And I have told myself.”

Those looks. Worried about me. Concerned about my sanity.

I say to Juan, “Juanito, you told me it was something like, wait, I wrote it down.” Reading, “Something akin to quantum entanglement, something beyond particles, beyond large atomic ensembles, something on a massive scale, a planetary scale. You said the fate of our planet is forever bound to that of another.”

“I have told you not to call me Juanito. But I have never talked to you about quantum physics.”

“I know, Juanito. It was your twin, the other you in the other world, reaching out to me in my dreams.”

I expected them to stop me, to grab me, shake me out of…

“Go on,” the three said in unison.

Reading notes, “You, Celio, you said your planet was formed in the same firmament as ours and that it smote ours… uh, Juan, collided with ours and was… Celio, banished? Juan, ejected from the solar system, eventually to be captured by another star, a star that is going nova, whatever that is.”

“I, too, have had such dreams,” said Pedro. “I’ve been taking the meds I prescribed to you, but they haven’t helped.”

“I thought my dreams were premonitions of The Second Coming,” said Celio.

We all looked toward Juanito.

“All right, yes, I’ve had the dreams. My… twin… says they’ve detected changes in the star, gravity waves driving mass into… Their star is heating up, so their planet has been warming, slowly at first, but more rapidly of late. They predict eruptions before the supernova, explosions that will extinguish all life on their planet, which they call ‘Earth.'”

“Food will cheer you up, ninos,” said mom, bringing breakfast.

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Eventual Horizon

Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

Hawking proposed that information was not consumed by black holes, just held in super-translation holograms at the event horizon. I proposed that stored information is always accessible. Discounting the chaotic infoforms emitted as Hawking radiation, I was sure that there had to be a way to interrogate the universe’s archives.

Like the rest of humanity, I had witnessed the global schisms instigated by the Transit phenomena, although I was only a child. To me, the ability to switch from physical body to virtual was a magical thing. By the time the Hawking proposals were reaching tenuous confirmation, I had been Transited for over a century. With the fortune made by my own work multiplied nearly a hundredfold by speculators eager to reap the rewards of the biggest big data to ever exist, I spent the next century working with the most brilliant minds I could find. Many of them so brilliant that science regarded them as crazy.

Being Transited, I needed no life support of other bulky luxuries. The huge, freespace-built drive unit to carry the superdense, solid-state device I had transferred my consciousness to was fired up on what would have been my two-hundred and fiftieth birthday. Within minutes of launch I had attained ludicrous speeds, heading towards V404 Cygni faster than anything man had ever built. From that pinnacle, my ship dived into subspace and I left what is termed as reality for a while.

When I returned from the place where machines misbehave unless sentience is within to keep them anchored, I beheld V404 – and experienced helpless terror.

I remained in the throes of that terror until ejected by my vessel, whereupon I entered a state that I can only describe by theoretical allegory. If one was being eaten alive, I suspect the experience may share some with what I felt. The flashes of pain, the reduction of sensation, the frantic thrashing of phantom limbs. That last one finished me. I had never missed my body, until then – the moment where my consciousness was dying.

The blackness took me in chunks, something wholly alien to my digitised perceptions of self. When the dark consumed me, I was puzzled by my continuance, before resolving to at least fade away with some vestige of grace.

Then the community reached me and night turned to day.

And that is where I remain, dwelling in a proof of Hawking’s contestation that goes so far beyond it as to almost make it erroneous.

Everything is here. The information of a universe consumed. The sentiences of all those consumed, too. Not all survive intact, but those that do not are purposed with whatever they can achieve. Our reality is a toroid of super-translated data holograms architected by the sentiences that survived the transition into it.

This place grows as the hungry infostar we encircle draws in and translates everything without into dataforms within.

Of all the wonders I have encountered, it is the fact that I am content that staggers me most. This place is, I believe, the nearest a scientist can get to heaven.

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The Forgetting

Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“Lie back, Daniel Sixteen. This will be over in under five instants.”

I swing my legs up and settle into the logro, feeling the soft curves adjust to the contour and temperature settings supplied by my envi. Things have definitely come long way from my last forgetting. Not that I remember the exact details, but the echo of certainty – what used to be called déjà vu – hints me true.

Yarrie Four-Twenty Clone smiles and rests her hand on my brow, her entire forearm tailored to convey reassurance and gravitas with that single contact: I am safe in competent hands.

“Please drop your envi.”

A simple request that causes me more discomfort than the fact I am about to have three decimillennia defragmented. When one lives forever, the little things become so tiresome: shower temperatures, seat posture preferences, tea flavours and strengths, they all take up time and matter. So we have attotech personal processors – envi – to carry those environment invariables and free our matter for living.

I drop my envi and feel a lack that I cannot name. Then a grey twisting streaks across my conscious, is gone, and I feel lighter. My envi restarts without prompting.

“Arise, Daniel Sixteen. You are cleared.”

Man’s technology has allowed him to live forever. In conjunction with the need to limit the number who are permitted to do so, there is a need for those of us who are permitted immortality to remain sane – some early horrors taught us that lesson well.

The postulated problems with memory turned into hard limitations until selective memory removal became a science, two centuries after its genesis in the torture chambers of MK-Ultra. Amnesia is not enough: an amnesiac has simply lost the way to a memory, not lost the memory itself. Brains have a finite capacity and only a limited way to tidy up – after all, organically we’re still designed for around a hundred years of thinking at most.

The memory removal process has retasked an old term, and ‘defragmentation’ is what immortals voluntarily undergo. Formative memories – the first four decades – are inviolate. Apart from that, you can choose what you keep: the Euphorics only retain joyous events, Glooms keep their disappointments close, Screamers retain extreme events, Horrors retain catastrophes, and so on. The gamut is similar to the old book and film genres, but since we can come back from anything bar a total brain incineration, we are our own entertainment. Vicarious pleasures are a thing of the past for the eternals, and those who do not qualify for immortality can watch us for their entertainment.

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True Believer

Author : David Nutt

“Not just a thousand millennia ago, you sat in that chair and told me point blank that the only way to prove it to you was through mathematics.”

“You are correct Dane, but this isn’t really proof at all.”

“Lyle, you are such an intellectual fraud of the worst degree. We have plumbed the depths of space, engineered our lives so that our species life span is, for all intents and purposes, immortal by the standards of our ancestors. We have mastered physics and have catalogued every single galaxy that ever existed and have defined the limits of the entire universe. Yet you still cling to your ancient belief.”

“You have yet to prove me wrong. We may have missed a few universes.”

“Hogwash and you know it.”

“No, because we are still human and we are still fallible.”

“But the mathematics-“

“It’s more than that.”

“How ironic that you now fall back upon faith.”

“Don’t be insulting.”

“I’m not trying to be. All I know is when I came to you so long ago, (even by our standards), when we began the search for intelligent life, you said the mathematics was irrefutable.”

“I know what I said.”

“And I said ‘what if we do not find any intelligent life, and it’s only us?’ Do you recall what you said?”

“It was hyperbole.”

“No it wasn’t. You said, and I quote: ‘Given the constancy of mathematics in the universe and that this constancy has been proven by all proof text, logic, and reason, if there is no intelligent life other than ourselves in the vastness of space, no alien race advanced or developing, and we are truly a lone intelligence, unique and alone in this vastness….”

“Go on finish it.”

“I want to hear it from you.”

“Will that shut you up?”


“….then this is the mathematical proof God exists and we are God’s creation.”

“That’s all I wanted to hear. Come to temple with me this week end?”

“Go to Hell.”

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Along It Came

Author : Jake Teeny

When the first signs of alien life came, no one, of course, believed them. It took nearly every scientist from nearly every science to confirm that it was true:

Another form of life, on a planet other than our own was speaking to us.

Certainly there were doubters, as there are regardless of unanimity. But for the majority who believed that it was true, myriads of emotions shifted through them.

Rejoice. We are not alone!

Our God would not allow…

What does this mean for my children’s children?

The top analysts in cryptography from all across the world assembled to decipher the message, and with quiet breath, the world waited.

Every pundit with a camera had his or her most rational prediction. Water cooler chitchat. Late night whispers.

And then, one day, it happened.

At first, we only knew that there was some kind of disagreement between the code-breakers. A division. Seventy-two hours of heated debate.

But on a solemn day in late September, the lead analyst on the team held a press conference:
A warning. The message we had intercepted was a warning.

The extraterrestrial language had proved much more complex than ever possibly conceived. But as they augmented their understanding, an onyx message emerged:
They came for us. They’ll come for you.

The words that set fire to the globe as terror—seized—the world.

But after the shock, quick came denial. Surely they’d just read it wrong. Science’s made mistakes before. But as more of the alien tongue was unraveled, the certainty only cemented:
They came for us. They’ll come for you.

Within months, there wasn’t a news station talking about the amassing of weaponry. And as the ballooning power of nations was made aware, a subtle tension of wild destruction ensued.

One snap of a twig, and the world could crumble.

But humanity’s most superordinate category is human, and together, peace passed between brothers and sisters. The world.

It was one.

In unity, we waited. And waited. The communion between people did not falter, but the fear, admittedly, became less acute. And we waited. And waited. And waited. It seemed pointless to have all the weaponry divided, when we only had one foe. And we waited. In a single, world-shared bunker, all of humans’ capabilities for violence were harbored. And we waited. And waited.

And waited.

There came a time, when people tell stories of how there had once been a thing such as passports and wars. For left with only that single message from the aliens, we inevitably began to think, Well, now what?

To this day, there is speculation as to whether the intercepted message was the most elaborate scheme in human history. Fabricate a binding enemy, unite the disparate clans. And to this day, the scientists heartily deny it.

All the data’s there. Go and have a look right for yourself.

But even if you question, even if you doubt, the world’s a better place no matter how it turned out.

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