Dec 4, 2016

Take a Hint

In the Ekcolir Reality. Original cover art by
Reginald Rogers and Earle Bergey.
Two weeks ago (see this blog post) Yōd suggested that the "original Arkady" of the First Reality lived on the planet Tar'tron. Today, Zeta, Yōd and I turned our attention to the mystery of the analogue of "Arkady" in the Asimov Reality.

During the past few years, I've received many reports (usually from the Atlantis Clones) about science fiction stories that were published in the Ekcolir Reality. Yōd and Zeta tell me that they frequently have contacts with Thomas Iwedon and other members of the Retrofuturians, some of whom apparently have direct knowledge of the Ekcolir Reality.

According to Yōd, one of the writers who fell under the influence of the Writers Block in the Ekcolir Reality was Victoria Phillips. Apparently Victoria was trained as a geochemist in the laboratory of Scott Roberts at the New England Institute of Technology. She began writing and publishing fiction in the 1930s while still working towards her Ph.D.

Planet Arcady
Star Trek Seirius
Her story, "Living Stone", was later adapted as an episode of Star Trek Seirius. In the story, the miners on planet Arcady become convinced that several large almandine crystals are actually alive. During the course of the story, it is discovered that by subjecting the crystals to high pressure, the crystals can be made to have a demonstrable decrease in mass. Further study leads to the discovery that the missing mass is in the form of hierions, a previously unknown form of matter.

Invasion of the Zeptites
Eventually it is revealed that long ago the planet Arcady had a technologically advanced humanoid species. All that remains of that lost biological species are "zeptite endosymbionts", a form of artificial life that resides inside the rocks of the planet. Ultimately, a truce is arranged by which humans can live on the surface of the planet as long as they leave the planet's interior undisturbed as the domain of the natives.

According to Zeta, "Living Stone" is actually a mangled retelling of actual events in the Asimov Reality where humans first learned about zeptite endosymbionts after starting their exploration of distant exoplanets.

Asimov Replicoid
Through their own replicoids, Yōd and Zeta apparently have contact with a replicoid of Asimov in the Hierion Domain. This is the replicoid of the Asimov analogue who lived in the Ekcolir Reality. Unfortunately, Asimov's replicoid cannot provide much help to Zeta and Yōd in their efforts aimed at identifying the real world elements that might be contained in stories such as "Living Stone".

Asimov's replicoid apparently has encyclopedic knowledge of the science fiction stories that were published in the Ekcolir Reality, but he has no first hand knowledge of events in the Asimov Reality. This revelation was deeply disappointing. I asked, "How can that be? According to Ivory, Asimov's replicoid from the Asimov Reality came over into the Ekcolir Reality and established the Writer Block."

At that point Yōd heaved a deep sigh and turned her attention to her tablet computer. Zeta patiently explained to me, "Those are two different replicoids."

I sputtered, "Oh, ya. I keep getting confused by the multiplicity of clones, replicoids, teleportation duplicates and selfies."

"We don't know what happened to the Asimov replicoid from the Asimov Reality." Zeta sipped her coffee. "He disappeared after the Trysta-Grean Pact was put in place."

Yōd set down her tablet and paced across the room, "I've been investigating another 'missing' Asimov replicoid."

Zeta and I watched Yōd traipse back and forth across the room several times. Out of respect for the cooler fall weather, she was wearing a set of thermal underwear that clung tightly to her curves. "The replicoid that once held all of the memories of the Asimov analogue from the Foundation Reality was apparently taken to the Galactic Core after the Trysta Truce went into effect. Just think of the progress that we could make in our investigation of the Asimov Reality if we could consult directly with a replicoid from the Asimov Reality!"

nanite extraction
Zeta shrugged, "It seems certain that efforts were made to restrict Earthlings from particularly dangerous types of knowledge about Deep Time. I accept as an axiom that detailed knowledge of alien technology such as hierion-containing femtobots would be catastrophic for we Earthlings."

Yōd suggested, "Everything that we think we know about hierions and sedrons and nanites might only be mis-information designed to confuse us."

I laughed nervously. "I have to believe that there is some truth in what I've learned about hierions and femtobots. Ivory paid with her life for sharing this kind of information with Earthlings. I've only been allowed to remain on Earth after having some of my own knowledge erased from my mind by the Overseers."

and also see the discussion here
Zeta added, "And the rules are clear: we can only discuss hierions and femtobots in the context of science fiction. When the Dead Widowers tried to go further, they were swept off of Earth and exiled to the Hierion Domain."

Yōd grabbed her tablet and sprawled across the couch. "According to Thomas, there is a connection between the discovery of zeptites on planet Arcady and the ancient Greeks. Apparently there were Grendels that operated out of Lake Stymphalia... they tried to teach folks like Aristotle about hadrons, hierion and sedrons, but that Intervention failed."

Zeta nodded, "That intervention was crushed by the Overseers, but a few legends lived on, such as stories about metal flying machines that used to visit ancient Greece."

Analogue of Arkady
In Deep Time
Zeta spoke in a wondering voice, "We've been left with a smattering of clues about the importance of Arkady as a fixed point in time. Will we ever know the fate of the Arkady analogue in the Asimov Reality?"

Yōd finished munching on a lemon and guessed, "I'd say the Arkady of the Foundation Reality lived about 23 millennia in our future." She picked up a knife and sliced another lemon. "Has anyone ever put a date on the successful creation of the tryp'At in the Asimov Reality?" Yōd bit into another lemon quarter and juice ran down her chin.

I suggested, "Vance's Alastor Cluster stories might have taken place 230 centuries into the future. However, it boggles my mind to imagine how R. Gohrlay's system of replicoids could have been spread to the entire galaxy."

In the Ekcolir Reality
Zeta nodded, "I agree. It seems more likely that 'Arcady' and 'Arkady' are simply popular names. We can't assume that there was an Arkady analogue in the Asimov Reality. And even if there was, she -or he- might not have been of any great importance to the galaxy."

I was not ready to abandon the search for Arkady. "We know that there were additional Alastor Cluster novels written in the Ekcolir Reality. They might have told the story of Arkady. There is still an outside chance that Akadie the Mentor is who we are looking for."

Yōd muttered, "Too many unknowns."

I sighed. "If only I had known to ask such questions when Angela was available. Maybe a miracle will occur and Many Sails might bring Angela back to Earth from Tar'tron or where ever she's been hiding."

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Dec 3, 2016

Observerless Base

In the Ekcolir Reality
In a war, how do you know if you are on the right side?

About six months ago I blogged about Observer Base. That blog post was concerned with the original Observer Base in the First Reality. Currently, I'm investigating the remnants of Observer Base that exist here in the Final Reality. Today I got into a discussion an argument with Zeta and Yōd over the entire concept of there being an "observer base" and if we should even worry about its continued existence.

Moon Shadows
First of all, back in the First Reality, the term "base" was applied because the pek insisted that the bumpha make it appear to the resident Observers that their home, called "Observer Base", was  located under the surface of Earth's Moon. At first, this deception was crafted so as to make Observers believe that spacecraft were needed to travel from Observer Base to Earth: the Observers would thus never think to look for a simpler way to travel to Earth. However, Zeta insists that Observer Base never had any actual physical connection to the Moon.

Yōd mercilessly taunts me about the fact that I had for many years believed that Observer Base is located on the Moon. Today I spent some time trying to explain the basis for that mistaken belief and she called me a sucker. She laughed at me and said, "You're such a puppet... a real sucker for just-so stories."

Zeta said, "A more charitable description is to say that he is always looking for another hypothesis to test."

Yōd laughed again. "But when you stop questioning an hypothesis, a bogus hypothesis, that is when you sure seem like a sucker."

Yōd's brutal comments cut close to my insecurities about possibly being a tool of the tryp'At, with no real capacity for independent thought and free will. I said, "What about the members of the Writers Block? For example, Roberta Williams wrote extensively about Observers and Overseers on the Moon."

Yōd simply shook her head and returned her attention to her computer. Zeta suggested, "The efforts of the Writers Block might have been entirely focused on preparing the people of Earth for First Contact. In an effort to prepare for the future, their goal was to write stories about contacts with aliens in the Solar System, stories that would prepare Earthlings for a coming meeting with the Fru'wu."

I asked, "Who did the looking into the Future? And how were those visions of the future communicated to science fiction authors such as Roberta?"

Yōd spoke in a disinterested monotone without taking her eyes from her computer screen, "That's a muddled question."

Zeta nodded in agreement with her sister, "During the Time War, control of Observer Base swung back and forth between the two sides in the dispute."

I tried to count those epic swings of power off, sticking up  fingers of my upheld hand, "First, I assume that the bumpha created Observer Base, maybe a million years ago. However, they had to follow the Rules of Intervention. I used to imagine that the Observers and the Overseers were on two different 'sides' of some sort of argument. Then, R. Gohrlay booted out the pek and for a time the bumpha had open access to Earth. Later, Grean took back control and R. Gohrlay has not been seen since. At this point, I have no idea if Interventionists are still in control of Observer Base."

Gohrlay's clones
Zeta shrugged. "Sadly, even our sister, Alpha Gohrlay, never received a clear account of which residents of Observer Base were on which side. Was Orbho Anagro a tool of the pek? Who can say?"

Yōd asked, "And why does it matter?"

I was able to appreciate the snarky mood that Yōd was in. My thoughts were on the present. Who currently controls Observer Base and what are their goals? "What I want to know is how Observer Base is being used today. Bluntly stated: are the tryp'At Overseers a force for good or evil?"

Zeta wondered out loud, "And do they even have a sensible mission and plan? Maybe the tryp'At took over the role of Earth Overseers after all the grown ups left the Solar System."

Yōd set down her computer, rose to her feet and began pacing. "Rumor suggests that there are only a handful of people remaining at Observer Base. It might be a relic of the Time War, just like the prison at Guantanamo is a relic." She looked at me and added, "You could easily have become one of the tryp'At who were imprisoned at Observer Base, but you agreed to have your mind wiped and remain here."

For a minute, silence fell over us. Zeta looked upon Yōd with disparaging eyes. Yōd marched back and forth across the room, her silk robe fluttering. That robe represented her minimalistic attempt to comply with Zeta's request that Yōd not run around the house naked. Zeta then glared at me while I watched Yōd's pacing. I finally noticed that Zeta was watching me and my mind returned to the matter under discussion. "So, are there any Observers remaining at Observer Base?"

Zeta suggested a working hypothesis, "Maybe the original operating code for the Base has collapsed. In different eras, the so-called 'observers' were either prisoners or a convenient gene pool. Even if they thought of themselves as Observers, that was just a kind of cultural momentum with the bulk of residents at the Base simply adopting a cover identity that had long ago been established."

Yōd briefly bent over her tablet computer and consulted a reference. She then straitened up, turned, resumed her pacing and said, "I wonder if the automated data channels are still feeding into Observer Base. It would be amusing if the tryp'At Overseers can still watch oceans of data from Earth's zeptites flooding into the Base, but maybe they lack the ability to decode and access all that data."

Zeta chuckled at Yōd's verbally constructed image of hapless Overseers. She asked me, "Which is worse, being trapped here in complete ignorance or being trapped inside Observer Base, afloat in an ocean of information yet lacking the needed tools to access that information?"

I replied, "I'm fairly happy here, on Earth. What bothers me most is this: maybe I have been allowed to know that there are human Overseers at Observer Base. Maybe I've been given this knowledge in an attempt to control my behavior here on Earth. Maybe I am meant to believe that because humans are now 'in charge' at Observer Base, I need not concern myself with the Overseers and their mysterious goals. However, given my ever-present paranoia, I wonder if an attempt has been made to create the comfortable illusion that humans are involved in the process of guiding Earthlings into a safe future? I could just relax and assume that I'm tryp'At, tryp'At are in control of Observer Base, we're all on the same side... and I can stop worrying."

Yōd pointed briefly at Zeta and noted, "We could all relax if Zeta wasn't so uptight."

Zeta fired back, "I'm not going to let you disrupt this household any more than you already have. Your lover boy will be here soon enough."

I asked stupidly, "Lover boy?"

Zeta explained, "Yōd lived for many years on Tar'tron and adopted the promiscuous ways of the society there. So, of course, on their long intergalactic voyage, Yōd could not keep her hands off of Asimov."

Yōd grinned and offered a weak defense, "It was he who could not keep his hands off of me."

Zeta nodded, "Yes, I'm sure that you tempted him... walking around naked inside Many Sails... I'm sure you made no attempt to resist his advances."

"That's not true. I allowed Many Sails to distract me. However, the voyage was simply too long. I discovered that Asimov has an amazing mind. I tried to resist, but eventually I was smitten. Not that it is any business of yours."

The truth dawning on me, I mumbled, "Do you mean-"

Zeta confirmed my guess, "Yōd fell in love with Asimov's replicoid during their trip back from Andromeda."

I laughed. "And so now you are waiting for him to arrive and join you here on Earth?"

Zeta complained, "She never learned how to wait."

Yōd laughed at her sister and told me, "Zeta never adopted the liberal philosophy. She doesn't approve of my style... living in the moment."

I asked Yōd, "When will Asimov arrive on Earth?"

"I don't know exactly. Many Sails never specified a date. In our original plan, I was to be returned to Tar'tron, then Asimov was to be brought back to Earth. Probably some time next year."

Zeta shook her head. "Surely the Overseers won't allow a replicoid on Earth."

A small enigmatic grin was on Yōd's lips. "We shall see."

I suggested, "I suspect that Yōd can figure out a way to deal with her sexual frustrations." I had my own problem. "In my case, I see no way to solve the mysteries that surround Observer Base. For a short time Ivory was able to smuggle information out of Observer Base and back to Earth. I can't help wondering if it might now be possible to plant an agent inside... a spy who could leak information to us from Observer Base. Maybe we could finally learn if the tryp'At are on our side."

Yōd produced a delicate little snort and asked, "Why must you always try to reduce a complex pattern to a simplistic binary choice?"

Zeta was intrigued by the idea of a spy who could investigate Observer Base. "Who would volunteer for a mission to Observer Base?" The three of us all looked at each other and silently thought about the answer to that question.

Finally, Yōd finished thinking and she plopped herself down in a chair. "Maybe Zeta should volunteer to infiltrate Observer Base. She was trained for such work."

Zeta made a snarky reply, "Maybe the kind of work you were trained for would be more useful at Observer Base... particularly if the mission were really aimed at distracting the Overseers rather than learning from them."

distracting Overseers
Yōd laughed. "I intend to wait right here until Asimov arrives. Besides, I don't really think that the tryp'At Overseers can tell us anything useful. Our job is to study the past, not worry ourselves about the Keystone Cops who have taken control of Observer Base."

Zeta got to her feet and headed towards the kitchen. "Well, I'm not going anywhere... at least no further than the kitchen for another cup of coffee."

Spying at Observer Base
I suggested to Yōd, "Maybe you should go to Observer Base. It makes sense... you might have been sent here to Earth at this time just for this mission-"

Yōd angrily cut me off. "What's the matter? Don't you trust yourself with me in the house?" She made a subtle shift of her posture and made herself suddenly even more eye catching and provocative.

I replied, "You're cute, but too dangerous for me. I fear the arrival of a jealous Asimov replicoid, arriving from the sky."

Zeta returned from the kitchen and ended the discussion. "We need not argue. When Asimov arrives next year, we'll all be here waiting for him."

Next: investigating clues for another Arcady
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