5 October, 2006 at 22:56 (Uncategorized) (, , )

Chardin raised his head from the silicate bed and ran his fingers through his thinning hair. He blinked as he looked towards the darkening sky. Had it been a mistake, he wondered, to stay on this planet long after the others had fled? Of course if everything held true then it wouldn’t matter if the approaching comet did hit it square on or not. Not if he could get the first computations finished on time, then he would have forever to finish the final ones. If he could just manage to keep his mind on the job. Chardin plunged his hands back into the rolling silicates.

Natasha Zeitel continued her lonely trek across the snow. Up here the light from Sol 3 was brightest, which only served to emphasise the darkness as the oncoming comet, Eschaton-Suess began to hide the sun. Natasha wondered to herself if she was the last woman left on the planet, maybe even the last human, standing up there, headed for the pole, waiting for the end it certainly seemed as if she was.

Most of the population of the planet had left as soon as news broke of Eschaton-Suess’s trajectory. Daniel Darwin would happily have left himself had it not been for his fiances strange attitude. First Natasha had broken off their engagement of three years and then she had vanished before the shuttle that was supposed to take her off planet had even arrived. She wasn’t the only one to be acting irrationally, as one of the more influential men on Arcadia Daniel had access to the travel logs. Three of the Abrahamic cults had opted to stay, one, the Peterian Saints had even been shipping people in until they’d been found out and fined heavily. There were still two thousand people on the southern continent that had been given up as a bad job by the rest of humanity. Two thousand people on the southern continent, some bizarre programmer refusing to leave his home on the northern continent and one woman…somewhere. Daniel continued to study the reports looking increasingly desperately for some trace of Natasha.

It was when the comet was a day off that Chardin had his big break-through, up to his shoulders in the flowing silica, only thinking now in streams of numbers and code that caused his fingers to make curious patterns in the liquid where no eyes could follow. He felt the almost magnetic pulse of the equation flow out from his fingers and surround him and knew that he was close. He blinked the sweat from his eyes and ignored the increasing darkness. It was coming fast now the comet, but if Chardin had been able to think in terms other than those of his computations he would have known that now it did not matter, with only hours to go before the comet destroyed all life on the planet he had only hours to imprint the right codes.

There was a shudder in the snow, Natasha braced herself for the ice to crack beneath her, but nothing happened. It was a permanent twilight out there on the sheets, but she sweated as if under the hottest sun. The ever-decreasing distance between the planet and the comet could be felt out here more truly than anywhere else. She wondered how long before all the ice was gone and herself along with it. Then there was another shudder in the snow and Natasha found herself face down slipping away from her goal. She dug one of the picks in defiantly, the pole was where she would feel this planet end, the pole, the top of this world was where she would end. She dragged herself inches further, only a mile to go and only a matter of hours to do it in. She felt the elation begin.

Daniel knew when he had found her. He could feel the moment before his eyes alighted on the record of a skimmer taken as far into the northern continent as it could go before the electro-magnetism allowed it no further. If he could find her now, if he could fly the shuttle himself over the pole as if it were a skimmer and pick her up then he could make it out of the atmosphere before the comet entered. He’d be cutting it fine but he could do it, he could rescue her and save himself and then everything could go on as before, she would be happy with her heroic fiance and renew the engagement. He strode out to the shuttle bay, counting down in his head.

The numbers in Chardin’s head would no longer make sense to anyone else. The ways his fingers, his hands and his whole arms were moving within the silica could not be understood anymore and the ripples, which can usually be read by anyone with a basic knowledge of binary would require hours of study, hours that anyone now off-planet would not have.

Natasha sat on the spot where the electromagnetic null declared the ultimate north was. She looked out at the flaming dark mass covering the sun. She sweated as her hands begand to sink into the melting snow. Natasha smiled at Eschaton-Suess, light in the darkness and dimming the daylight until everything was a gloriously rich twilight. Now she could begin to consider the beauty of her chosen ending, now she could feel the shudders and think of when she would be no more, think of how it would feel to be final. Then the shuttle with the Darwin markings pushed it’s way onto her horizon and her smile was replaced with a frown.

Chardin knew he was nearly there, or he would have done were his whole mind not concentrating on the matter in hand, as he pushed those last few syllables out into the silica via his fingers.

The shuttle could not land, Daniel knew, but if he hovered and opened the doors then he could get low enough to reach her, he was sure. By now Daniel knew that it was almost too late, the shuttle had taken too long to fuel, had taken too long to reach the pole, he would have to get Natasha quickly or they would both die here. The fact of his own death was too awful for Daniel to contemplate, he must reach her and take her quickly away from this dying place.

Natasha watched the shuttle approach and prayed for the comet to come faster.

Chardin felt the light dimming further and the heat increase but could not think anything of it.

Daniel shook as he pushed the shuttle controls to hover over the pole.

Natasha opened her pack, the one she thought she would never need. She saw the bay doors gape before her and Daniel opened his mouth to shout for her. The gun went off before she even thought about it and Daniel was down, bleeding as his shuttle continued to hover, continued to spoil the blessed silence of the pole until the ice began to crack loudly beneath.

Chardin breathed out as the silica breathed in and the numbers flowed.

Two thousand cultists cried out in awe and wonder as they felt themselves ascend, as they felt the numbers wrap around them and pull their own numbers out and become one.

Natasha heard the ice-crack and smiled as she let herself go.

Then she felt herself come back and knew that Chardin breathed out as the silica breathed in and the numbers flowed and two thousand cultists cried out as Chardin breathed out as the silica breathed in and the numbers flowed as she let herself go and Chardin breathed out as the silica breathed in and two thousand cultists cried out as she let herself go and the numbers flowed.

Omega began on Arcadia. Millenia before anyone became aware that a small part of the universe had achieved immortality through it’s own inifinity. Omega began on Arcadia without the infinite creativity that was supposed to come before it.

Omega began on Arcadia.


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A Single Moment

23 June, 2006 at 18:22 (Uncategorized) (, , )

Sometimes I think I won’t be here for much longer, I really think that any day might be my last, thats why my life gets so crazy I guess.

You had your plans and I had mine, and they didn’t coincide.

We knew that then, thats why it never went any further than it did, I was destined to be here and you were destined to be there with her. I wonder if you think of me sometimes, think of what could never have been.

Today is finally the day. The day when all of the craziness stops, and you moved years ago, I don’t know where but I know just as certainly what you’re doing as you do what I am. I suppose after today I will know better – but will it be me? All the energy packed in to a single life getting stretched out into eternity…will that still be me?

And you with your kids, is it three or four now? Or have you gone for the new government bonds and had more? I heard that out in the new worlds they’re encouraging beta couples to have more than five or six. Maybe you’ve moved out there with your wife. Except that no, I remember now, you had a fear of take-off, even planes freaked you out.

Mostly I suppose, I don’t remember you, I remember our solitary afternoon together. Completely irregular and contrary to all the rules I suppose if we’d been found out then you’d be in some squalid gamma factory by now with no kids in sight and I’d definately be out of the program. I don’t know if I’d have been put all the way back to gamma, could they really have wasted my resources for the sake of punishment? I wonder if it might have been a persona-wipe…that seems awfully harsh for messing around with a pre-beta. But then you were messing around with a pre-cybe…

I never realised how much of a risk it was for you. I never really thought of how much you were gambling, but you never kicked me out when I turn up at the entrance to your dorm, I knew you wanted me there.

I suppose if you do think of what might have been then you realise that they only way we could have ended up together was both being upgraded to the cyber-program and you’re too attached to bodyli…sorry ‘real life’ you termed it. I could never have become a gamma for you, even a beta I’d have done something stupid. The notion of it all, that breeding…sends shivers through me.

I’ve tried to see all I can since we parted, it’s not just prepping for today and ever after, I wanted to do all the bodylife….’real life’ stuff before I go cyber. I know a lot of pre-cybes drop out at this stage because they’re attached to food or breeding or something but I said goodbye to all that after our afternoon was over. I’ve been running around this planet, fitting everything in, because it makes me think of you. All this bodylife.

We could have tried for alpha I suppose. I heard alphas breed for fun and they are allowed to succeed sometimes too, so it’s not as pointless as a gamma doing it. You wouldn’t have liked the politics though and I don’t think that there would have been enough of them for me.

They call me the pure-pre up here you know. The technicians prepareing my port were really surprised when they did the exam, they’ve been asking me if I want them to organise an epsilon, some male injected with steroids who knows all the moves. I said no, of course, after you theres no one.

Is touching her the same as it was when we were together or is it different when you’re doing it for the government? I remember the feeling of your lips on mine, I’m going to upload that into the port somehow, it’s the only bit of bodylife I need to remember somehow. I suppose it will be different encoded. I remember the way your hand reached out to touch my skin and the instant you pulled away, as if scalded, when you remembered I was pre-cybe and you pre-beta.

But I suppose with you being a beta now you don’t think about my favourite part of our afternoon. Now I’m being a snobby cybe aren’t I? I know you’re not like they make betas out to be, all little breeders happy to play in the muck of bodylife. We both felt the linking. I never realised someone who wasn’t pre-cybe could do that.

And we looked into each other and there was no one else around and we said goodbye. I’m going to remember that for the cybernity I’ll have your eyes in my memory banks.

Its weird I live as though each day will be my last when I know once I’m in the port I’m effectively immortal, I mean I know the body melts off into the liquid surrounding the computer but all the studies show that the energy powering the supernet continues indefinitely. My soul in cybernity with your eyes.

I know that despite what all the cybes say about betas that that means something to you. I can’t wait to spend my cybernity in that moment, that afternoon when we said goodbye.

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