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May 5, 2013

May the Fourth be Time

I was reminded that some Star Wars fans think of May 4th as Star Wars Day when I saw a list of popular topics on Twitter (image to the right on this page). That got me thinking about the only part of Star Wars that I've enjoyed: the lowly midi-chlorian.

Several years ago when I finally got involved in writing a Space Opera story that included "mental powers" (The Search for Kalid) I tried my hand at formulating a "fictional science" of telepathy. I imagined that the key to human telepathy was the existence of imaginary "T-particles" and a fictional organelle called the "telastid". In a previous blog post I discussed my bias towards including such fictional science "explanations" of mysterious "future science" plot elements in science fiction stories.

When I developed the imaginary science of Telastids, I was struggling to create a physical mechanism that would allow people to have telepathic abilities. That physical mechanism depended heavily on conventional matter and the only new physics that I introduced were the imaginary T-particles and their associated twitinos, which in my thinking were the basis for telepathic information transmission.

More recently, I have developed a much more extensive extension of physics into the realm of imaginary science. For the story Exode, I imagine that the ancient Huaoshy long ago discovered many new fundamental particles that can be grouped into two types, hierions and sedrons. The advanced scientific and engineering skills of the Huaoshy allowed them to transform themselves into an artificial form of life with god-like powers. The artificial lifeform of the Huaoshy is composed of "sedronic matter" for which the bond lengths between sedrons are only about 500-fold larger than the Planck length.

Related Reading: Rooms at the Bottom.

Artificial Life
More photography by Chiara Fersini
For Exode, rather than imagine a biological basis for telepathy, I make use of a purely technological basis for telepathy-like communications.  Human brains can be "infected" by tiny machines that function as symbionts within the human body and provide the mechanistic basis for "telepathic communication". Typically I refer to these tiny symbionts as nanites, but there are three distinct types of symbionts with only those composed of conventional matter having nano-scale components. Devices made from hierions might better be called "zeptites" because of the zeptoscale lengths of hierion-hierion bonds. The Huaoshy use sedronic matter to make even smaller devices. These various "symbionts" are colonies of mechanical nanites (or zeptites, etc.) and are best classified as sophisticated artificial lifeforms. Pek nanites make telepathic communication possible because their structure contains hierions and they can transmit and receive hierion-based communications signals and integrate them into the brains of a host humanoid.

Time Travel
The backstory of Exode is built up around the conflict between the alien Huaoshy and humans from 10,000,000 years in the future. The plot of Exode does not involve a classic struggle between good and evil. The Huaoshy created the human species. Noÿs, a human from the far future, wants to make sure that the human species has a chance to thrive and survive. The Huaoshy have been hard at work crafting the Prelands, a new primate species that they hoped would replace we humans in the same way that Homo ergaster was replaced. Noÿs is able to force the Huaoshy to alter their plans and give we humans a chance to prove that we can survive within a technologically advanced culture without destroying ourselves.

I've read that George Lucas wanted God, good and evil to be included in Star Wars. As discussed above, Exode is not about good and evil and there are only beings with god-like powers based on advanced science and technology, no actual gods. What about religion in Exode? In my view, religion is a human enterprise arising from mistaken belief in supernatural/spiritual powers. It seems inevitable that pre-scientific societies formed by sapient beings will develop religious belief systems. People try to understand the world, but naked human senses can't reveal fundamental features of nature like tiny atoms. It is natural for people to imagine non-material spirits that might account for mysterious aspects of our world. In Exode, there is an additional source of religious beliefs.

The Huaoshy are about as interested in revealing themselves to humans as you might be in making your existence known to the scum of bacteria found growing on a plant pot. The pek are a type of artificial lifeform that acts as an intermediary between the Huaoshy and primitive creatures like we humans. The pek make use of the human penchant for religious mysticism. Due to the ethical rules of the Huaoshy, the pek are not allowed to explain the details of human origins and so it is often convenient for the pek to allow humans to hold religious beliefs about their Creators. In Exode, there are opportunities for information to flow from Noÿs to humans and I have been having fun imagining how some religious beliefs on Earth have been influenced by "cultural contamination" and human misunderstanding of the relationship between our species and the Huaoshy.

Clone humor.
Virgin Birth
In Star Wars, Lucas had fun suggesting that Anakin had no father. I have no idea what Lucas had in mind, but I've seen it suggested that the midi-chlorians were able to cause the virgin birth of Anakin. In Exode, Parthney is "created from scratch" by the pek. It is a trivial technological trick for the pek to create a new human who has the exact genetic pattern of any other human if the pek have that genetic pattern on record. In this case, the pek have long had the genetic pattern of Thomas, the son of Noÿs. Parthney is simply the most recent of several "incarnations" of the Thomas genetic pattern on Hemmal. Why the pek feel it is important to keep making cloned copies of Thomas is mostly the result of a silly mistake, but shit happens.

Robin
The closest Parthney comes to having a chance to talk to his biological mother is when he is with Robin (Chapter Three of Exode). Noÿs died thousands of years before Parthney is born, but Robin carries nanites that were originally inside Noÿs. Parthney was raised by pek and never thinks much about his biological origins. Thomas is the son of Noÿs and a "false" Buld who lived on Earth as an Interventionist agent. Robin is able to pass on some critical information to Parthney about Thomas and his friendship with Isaac Asimov. Those hints become important when Parthney reaches Earth and he gets to meet Asimov. It ultimately works out well that Parthney is a genetic copy of Thomas...Parthney's physical appearance provides a suitable "calling card" that allows him to ingratiate himself with Asimov and his wife, both long-time acquaintances of Thomas.

Pla'mak
The strange behavior of Muchlo and Robin combined with Pla'mak's "Bimanoid Theory" finally get Parthney thinking about the possibility that there can be meaningful contacts between the Creators and humans. I've reached this same point in my own thinking and I've been trying to imagine an earlier Interventionist agent (possibly another "instantiation" of the Thomas gene pattern) that might have carried some advanced scientific knowledge from the Huaoshy to the people of Earth, creating a kind of "cultural contamination" that would be known to Isaac Asimov because of his study of religion.

A great irony in Exode is that the human Interventionists have long struggled to speed technological development on Earth while they have never been able to make their own technological advances. The Fru'wu and the Nereids are potential sources of information about advanced technology, but the Huaoshy are rather ruthless is preventing aliens from interfering in the culturally development of Earth.

Gates of Light
In my thinking, I keep returning to the conclusion that Noÿs might be the only source of significant "cultural contamination" that could influence the development of a religion on Earth. The Huaoshy are very persnickety: some times they do reveal themselves to humans like Kach, but then the Huaoshy are very careful to make sure that such "contaminated" humans can't share what they know with Earthlings. I previously decided that within Exode there will be a link between future global warming and sea level rise and the popularity of flood myths. That "link" is made possible by the fact that Noÿs is a time traveler from the future.

Previously I was imagining that while there had been earlier "incarnations" of Thomas on Hemmal, none of them had ever made their way to Earth. I've grown uncomfortable with that rather arbitrary decision. It would be more fun if other "incarnations" of Thomas precede Parthney to Earth.

Back at the end of last year I decided that Exode should include an example of "cultural contamination" dating to about 500 years ago. I'm now thinking that there can be an "incarnation" of Thomas who is on Earth early in the 1500s: he grows up on Hemmal as a "false" Buld named Rechmain and he uses several other names while living in Europe during the first half of the 1500s.

Rechmain was one of the "practice versions" of the Thomas genome that were "instantiated" on the planet Hemmal in the centuries leading up to Parthney, the main character of Exode. As such, Rechmain spent time at Lendhalen with Robin and Annike. Annike was one of the many sisters of Thomas that the pek created. Rechmain and Annike became intrigued by physics and learned the basics of dimensional engineering and the importance of compact dimensions for the behavior of hierions and sedrons. Robin provided Rechmain with a mental image of the canonical three dimensional representation of the higher dimensional structure of the universe as it is known to the Huaoshy. A simplified two dimensional map of the dimensional structure (Ground State) of the universe is shown in the image to the left on this page.

May the Fourth Dimension be Time?
Cigar: ready to explore the 4th dimension.
Imagine that in this map (above) the shaded triangle represents the three extended spatial dimensions of our every day experience. If we are asked to locate an object in the universe we do so by specifying three spatial coordinates and make use of an additional temporal coordinate to locate the object in time. For Exode, I imagine that the Huaoshy long ago discovered that when our universe came into existence there were six additional spatial dimensions which formed "compact dimensions" rather than extended dimensions.

Teleportation
One of the imaginary technologies in Exode is teleportation. Huaoshy teleportation terminals constantly perform a calibration routine and display a holographic representation of a ten dimensional manifold that allows quick identification of potential disruption of the teleportation process between two points in space. Huaoshy teleportation terminals are too small for use by adult humans, but a human who stumbles upon one can carry on a conversation with the terminal or Huaoshy who are linked into it from a remote location. In one of the more famous examples of "cultural contamination" on Earth, an Earthling once had such a conversation with a Huaoshy teleportation terminal and came away describing the diagnostic animation as a "burning bush".

cultural contamination
Only rarely have Huaoshy teleportation terminals been accessible to Earthlings. However, a few less sophisticated teleportation terminals of Nereid design have been present on Earth for the past several thousand years. The default diagnostic animation displayed by Nereid teleportation portals is a three dimensional representation of the dimensional structure of the universe. In 1505, Rechmain rather carelessly allowed Paolo Riccio to witness a teleportation event. Paolo later showed Rechmain his own two dimensional drawing of what he could remember of the animated portal diagnostic. Rechmain proceeded to number the "leaves" of the tree using binary notation, written in the script used by the Buld scholars.

Poor Paolo was baffled by Rechmain's description of the dimensional structure of the universe, but intrigued by the four-character labels that Rechmain had placed on each "leaf" of the tree diagram. Later, Paolo modified the tree for use in illustrating the names of God and the Sephirot. Rechmain was particularly interested in mathematicians and astronomers such as Nicolaus Copernicus, but he recognized the importance of breaking down the entrenched power of European religions for the future advancement of science. Towards the end of his time on Earth, Rechmain spent his time in England working to stabilize the religious schism between England and Rome. Rechmain finally departs Earth, teleporting back to Klyz with Jane Grey. While Parthney is in training at Lendhalen for his mission to Earth, Rechmain is used as an example of how not to behave as an Interventionist agent on Earth.

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Exode is still under construction...collaborating authors are welcome.

Size matters?

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