Aug 15, 2013

The Buld Reality

This is the third of three related blog posts about the science fiction novel Exode.

The first of these three posts examined the strange and wonderful origin of Exode. The second post described how time travel (a technology that was discovered by positronic robots) accounts for the rather intricate and convoluted backstory of Exode. Using the terminology put forth by Asimov in his time travel novel, The End of Eternity, there were several Reality Changes that brought into existence our universe, what I call the Buld Reality.

Noÿs and her Children
Noÿs with Gwyned
The Buld are a type of human that was specifically designed for space travel. When the heroine of The End of Eternity, Noÿs Lambent, terminated the Malansohn Reality, it was her intention to bring into existence a new Reality in which Humanity would spread outward from Earth and populate millions of worlds in other star systems. Using advanced technology from her future time (she was born about 10 million years in our future), Noÿs was able to view possible alternative Realities and pick one in which she lived happily with Andrew Harlan in the 20th century. However, as described in my previous blog post, there are several devious twists and turns on the way to the kind of future for Earth and we humans that Noÿs set out to achieve.

Noÿs with Thomas
The End of Eternity is certainly my favorite time travel story. As is often the case for stories that I enjoy, I find it hard to be satisfied with the ending that Asimov provided for the story of Noÿs and Andrew. Noÿs tells Andrew that when she looked into their future she saw that, "We lived in the Primitive for the rest of our days. I saw our lives together and they were happy and I loved you." She did NOT say that they lived together for the rest of their days. Asimov used the term "Primitive" to refer to the 20th century and other centuries before the existence of Eternity.

Andrew is from our era: he is born a mere 10,000 years in our future. Noÿs is from 10,000,000 years in our future. Asimov suggested that the pace of human evolution was slowed by the very existence of time travel technology, but I never really accepted the idea that Noÿs and Andrew should be biologically compatible. Even if Noÿs was in love with Andrew, could they have children together?

Asterothropes: the females
are larger than
the hermaphrodites.
In The Foundations of Eternity, I wrote about Noÿs and Andrew having children. However, those children were not actually Andrew's children! In fact, Noÿs is not even human by one conventional definition: she cannot successfully breed with humans. Noÿs is almost human, but her people have evolved beyond human norms and they technically constitute another species. For convenience, I'll call them by the biological species name asterothropus, the first primates who traveled to the stars. When Noÿs and Andrew came to the 20th century, there was no other member of her species still in existence. So how was she able to have children?

While in training for her mission to put an end to Eternity, Noÿs was well aware of the existence of the alien Huaoshy. When the Asterothropes went out exploring the galaxy, they found that other species had claimed and settled the Earth-like planets of all the other star systems. A sophisticated Genesaunt Civilization existed, having been nurtured and established by the Huaoshy. There was no room for Earthlings "out there", only a few remaining marginal planets that needed extensive terraforming. As described by Asimov in The End of Eternity, after looking around the galaxy, the Earthlings returned home and slowly died off.

Gwyned studying
a teleporter
in her lab.
Asimov never explained how many Realities existed before the Malansohn Reality and the end of Eternity. However, the Eternals had at their disposal, collected within the libraries of Eternity, the secret histories of many discoveries and technological advances, even if they never allowed Humanity the full use of those technologies. For example, "one of the centuries in the 300s came up with a mas duplicator." As Asimov put it: "you can duplicate humans, too." As described in my previous blog post, the last time travel trip for Noÿs is from the 20th century back 10,000 years into the past where she helps the Fru'wu make the first teleportation terminal on Earth for use by Interventionists.

Another key invention of Eternity was the "personal physiotime field generator". A time traveler wearing such a device was protected against the effects of Reality Changes.

The Asterothropes of 10 million years in our future made other technological advances. They developed spacecraft for interstellar travel, nanites and technology for viewing possible alternative Realities. However, the Asterothropes were tools of R. Gohrlay and the positronic robots. The Asterothropes did not know about positronics and they did not know the whole story of the millions-of-years-long relationship between Earth and the Huaoshy. Eternity had originally been made possible by the positronic robot R. Gohrlay. The positronic robots had liberated Earth from the clutches of the Huaoshy, but R. Gohrlay and the other robots remained hidden, fearful of the powerful Huaoshy and what might happen if the Huaoshy learned that time travel was possible.

Gohrlay made use of time travel to search for advanced technologies that would allow Humanity to stand against the billion-year-old civilization of the Huaoshy. As told in The Foundations of Eternity, the Huaoshy did eventually learn that positronics makes possible telepathy and time travel. The Huaoshy developed a more sophisticated reality viewing technology than that used by Noÿs when she selected the Foundation Reality. The Huaoshy were able to defeat Gohrlay and eliminate the positronic robots of Earth, but it remains an unanswered question: did Gohrlay willingly allow herself to be eliminated in order to create the optimal future for Humanity?

The Huaoshy were never able to anticipate and counter all of the technological tricks that were made available to Noÿs by the positronic robots. In particular, the Huaoshy feared time travel and they never used time travel technology to the extent that Gohrlay made use of it to make possible unusual technological advances. Most importantly, the Huaoshy believed that "time bubbles" made by "physiotime field generators" were large and the generators massive...they never imagined that Noÿs could carry around a personal physiotime field generator. Noÿs was also equipped by Gohrlay with sophisticated nanite technology that, which, while not as advanced as that of the Huaoshy themselves, when used in combination with an advanced emergency teleportation system (provided by the Nereids) was good enough to allow Noÿs to live on Earth and always have a way to escape from any Huaoshy's agents who might find her.

Noÿs in the Primitive.
In the Asimov Reality, as told in The Foundations of Eternity, the children that Noÿs had were artificially conceived using advanced nanite technology and asterothropus genetic "blue prints" brought from the far future. Noÿs wanted children and she knew that there was nobody in the Primitive who she could breed with to produce children. In her time, it was normal for children to be artificially designed and conceived.

The Noÿs Reality was the Reality just before the Buld Reality. In the Noÿs Reality, the Huaoshy finally decided that they could not defeat Noÿs and they must find a way to deal with two other sources of danger on earth: one positronic robot remains on the loose and there is also a mysterious and hidden Nereid agent at work. The Huaoshy make a deal with Noÿs that will allow humans to retain their independence and their dominance of Earth while not disrupting Huaoshy plans for bringing Genesaunt Civilization to the galaxy.

In the Noÿs Reality, while Andrew and Noÿs were living in Wales, they were actively searched for and found by Ekcolir. Ekcolir, as an Ek'col, was specifically designed by the Huaoshy to be genetically compatible with Noÿs. Ekcolir and Noÿs have two children, the first born being Thomas. Thomas, Ekcolir and Noÿs each play roles in bringing the Buld Reality into existence. Ekcolir lives out his life 20,000 years in our past, working to establish the conditions which lead to a Buld spaceship being sent from the galactic core to Earth. In the Buld Reality there is an analog of Ekcolir in the 20th century named Deomede. Deomede and Noÿs gave a daughter: Gwyned. 

At the end of March I wrote down a first draft timeline of events in the Buld Reality. Here, I provide an updated timeline that reflects how my thinking about the plot and characters of Exode has matured during the past few months.

837,930,298 YBP. The Huaoshy achieve faster-than-light travel. Their home galaxy is far, far away.

~7,000,000 YBP. The Huaoshy reach the Andromeda galaxy and make contact with the Nereids. At that time, the Nereids had already existed for several million years as a non-technological sapient species on their metal-poor home world.

~6,999,000 YBP. The Huaoshy reach our galaxy. Soon the pek (nanite-based artificial lifeforms that assist the Huaoshy) are domesticating the primates that they find on Earth.

~5,000,000 YBP. The interstellar civilization of the Fru'wu is destroyed by a self-inflicted technological disaster involving their primitive nanotechnology. The Huaoshy have preserved some domesticated Fru'wu on worlds of the Galactic Core.

~300,000 YBP. The Nereids finally establish a technological civilization on their home planet.

200,000 YBP. Needing a tool that will allow them to infiltrate and defeat the Eternals, the Huaoshy begin to intensively develop the Kac'hin, a human variant that can be used like humanoid puppets by the Huaoshy. Captain Hooski is one of the Kac'hin who appear in The Foundations of Eternity. The Kac'hin are developed on the planet Luk'ru, a world in the Andromeda galaxy that later becomes the home of Hana and Boswei and their children. By 50,000 YBP the Kac'hin project is mostly complete, although some further development of the special abilities of the Kac'hin takes place on Luk'ru right up until the time of the events described in Exode. However, by then, the Kac'hin population of Luk'ru is very small.

On a planet of the Galactic Core, the pek begin selecting for human variants from humanoid stock on worlds like Hemmal. One of these new variants becomes the Ek'col who are able to breed with Noÿs, a human from 10,000,000 years in the future (in the Mallansohn Reality). Ekcolir is one such Ek'col who is born on Hemmal about 1910 in the Noÿs Reality. 

~90,000 YBP. The Nereids help some Fru'wu rebels of the Galactic Core achieve independence from the pek. At that time, there are some tentative interactions between the Nereids, the Fru'wu and the Buld. The Nereids monitor events on Earth and occasionally they manage to bring a human Interventionist agent to Earth. However, there are Overseers stationed at Observer Base on the Moon who quite effectively prevent Interventionists from interfering with the course of events on Earth. From this time onward, there is a fairly large population of "liberated" Fru'wu in the Andromeda galaxy.

~20,000 YBP. Ekcolir, a human from the Galactic Core in the Noÿs Reality who had been brought to Earth as an Interventionist agent, arrives from the future, making the transition from the Noÿs Reality into the Buld Reality. He lives among a group Earthlings near the end of the last glacial period and passes some Preland genes into the human gene pool of Earth. He is captured by Overseers and taken to Observer Base on the Moon where he completes his mission to the past by preventing the development of positronic robots. At about the same time, the pek allow the Fru'wu rebels to make it possible for some Buld to transform themselves into the Pla, a group of rebel Buld.

~15,000 YBP. The Fru'wu provide the Pla with the location of Earth. A Buld spaceship, traveling close to the speed of light, begins a journey from the Galactic Core to Earth, a voyage which will take about 15,000 years.

~10,000 YBP. Noÿs arrives from the future and lives among a group of Earthlings who have retained Preland genes that originated from Ekcolir's intervention into Earth history about 10,000 years previously. Noÿs helps them develop a written language and learn to read and write. Noÿs talks to these primitives and tells them about the far future of Earth. This initiates the popularity of flood myths on Earth.

Noÿs helps the Fru'wu establish the first teleportation terminal on Earth for use by Interventionists. Noÿs is teleported to Klyz where she transfers her advanced nanites from the far future of the Mallansohn Reality into a primitive Fru'wu robot who uses the name "Syon". Starting at this time, a few robotic assistants containing "Noÿs nanites" are used on Earth by Interventionist agents and they also become the robotic assistants at Lendhalen.

The pek collect some nanites from Noÿs and use them in their human breeding program to perfect the Ek'col and sometimes phenotypically craft them into new human forms.

~500 YBP. Lendhalen is established as a training base for Interventionist agents. Syon is present from the very start. The "magnetic pulse" method that is used to inactivate pek nanites has no effect on the "Noÿs nanites" that are inside Syon.

1910. Deomede is born on Hemmal. He is later trained at Lendhalen and teleported to Earth.

1936. Noÿs arrives from the future and meets Deomede. They have a daughter, Gwyned (born 1939). Later, Noÿs and Deomede have a second child, a boy named Andy.

1940. Thomas arrives from the future. In the Noÿs Reality, he was the son of Noÿs and Ekcolir. He carries nanites of several types that provide Thomas with an unusual collection of memories, including some from the Isaac Asimov of the Foundation Reality. Thomas transfers his nanites into John Campbell. This allows Campbell to help the Asimov of the Buld Reality start writing science fiction stories that are based on events from the Foundation Reality. Without the nanites in his brain, Thomas needs intensive psychiatric care during the 1940s.

1949. Thomas retrieves the nanites from Campbell. Thomas develops close friendships with Janet Jeppson and Asimov. Ideas from Thomas help stimulate Asimov to write The End of Eternity and to strengthen his interest in global warming.

1964. Gwyned is teleported off of Earth by Deomede. She arrives at Klyz and then moves on to Lendhalen. She tries to understand the advanced technologies that are available to the Buld like the robot assistants of Lendhalen. She is not allowed to remain consciously aware of the fact that Syon carries advanced nanites that originated with her mother, Noÿs.

1967. Parthney arrives at Lendhalen for training as an Interventionist agent on Earth. Gwyned and Parthney both suspect that there is more to Syon than meets the eye. Syon has a physical appearance that reminds Gwyned of her mother and Syon tells Gwyned that she has 10,000 year old memories of Noÿs from the time when Noÿs arrived at Klyz. (note: Gwyned knows Noÿs by the pseudonym "Trysta Iwedon"...the name "Noÿs" is never used in Exode.) When Parthney stops his training with the expectation that Gwyned should be the one to go to Earth, Syon convinces Parthney that he is the one who must go to Earth. Parthney asks Syon about Noÿs and the robot suddenly and mysteriously delivers a message from Noÿs: "Thomas, remember to meet Izhiun on the mall". This is the last time that Syon acts outside of the normal behavioral pattern for the robots of Lendhalen. Gwyned asks Parthney to look for her mother (Noÿs) and brother (Thomas; who Gwyned has never met) when he reaches Earth.

1971. Noÿs, who has been living on Earth in the Buld Reality since 1936 travels back in time to 10,000 YBP (see above). In the same year, Parthney is teleported to Earth where he meets Deomede and the robotic assistant Betty. Deomede tells Parthney that Noÿs is gone, but they begin searching diligently for Thomas.

1972. Ekcolir (an Interventionist from the "Noÿs Reality") is sent back in time about 20,000 years to help initiate the Buld Reality.

1973. Thomas (from the "Noÿs Reality") was kept inside the time travel "bubble" during the time when the Noÿs Reality was Changed towards the Buld Reality by the actions Ekcolir and Noÿs. Thomas is now sent back to 1940 (see above) to do his part in creating the Buld Reality.

1974. Noÿs is present in the Buld Reality for a short time in 1974. This "copy" of Noÿs from the "Noÿs Reality" is finally sent back in time to 1936 (see above). Before this final time travel event, she gets a chance to look into the future of the Buld Reality using the advanced Reality viewing technology of the Huaoshy. Noÿs confirms that the desired future is becoming increasingly more likely. After she travels back in time for her final time travel trip, the Huaoshy initiate a shift in the dimensional structure of the universe which makes any further time travel impossible.

1977. Parthney's search for Thomas is mostly futile, but the trail of people who have known Thomas and have corresponded with him leads Parthney to Janet and Isaac Asimov. Isaac Asimov digs out an old manuscript from Thomas: a "fantasy story" about a man named Izhiun who meets some mysterious "Buld" who appear on Earth in the year 2012.

Asimov never took seriously the idea that "Daveed the Luk'ie" should be published because it was written like some kind of spoof of Asimov's science fiction style. Of course, Asimov is unaware that some events in the story are based on what Noÿs saw while looking into the future from her perspective in the Noÿs Reality when she was viewing alternative Realities and making plans with the Huaoshy for establishing the Buld Reality. Janet is not able to say much since Thomas was her patient for many years, however she tells Parthney that Thomas believed that his "science fantasy story" about the Buld was not fiction, that events would actually happen as described in the "story". Asimov has only corresponded with Thomas. Janet further mystifies Parthney by asking him, "Is Thomas your brother?" Parthney does not know that he is a clone of Thomas.

1980. Deomede tells Parthney that he will test the idea that the Overseers can now detect teleportation events. He gives Parthney his list of contacts among the Earthlings in case he is captured. He is captured by Overseers shortly after he teleports an Earthling to Klyz.

1984. Parthney has come to believe that one of Deomede's contacts, Hana, might be the "Hana" mentioned in Thomas' "story" about Izhiun and the Buld. Parthney has discovered that Hana has been having "email" communications with Thomas by means of messages sent over CSNET. The man on Earth who meets the arriving Buld spaceship is described in the "story" as, "Izhiun, son of Hana, born in the Andromeda galaxy." The story describes Hana as having been born on Earth.

Parthney teleports Hana off of Earth and soon he is captured by an Overseer and taken to the Moon.

Hana has a daughter, Hilde, who is six years old when Hana leaves Earth.

Thomas, having been warned by Noÿs to watch carefully when Parthney is captured, uses his "Noÿs nanites" to sneak into Observer Base right after Parthney is taken in.

Thomas and Parthney confirm that Observer Base is being phased out in preparation for the arrival of the Buld spaceship. They make use of the hierion-based communications equipment at Observer Base to contact the Buld spaceship which has now dropped below light speed on approach to Earth. Thomas uses the teleportation terminal at Observer Base to send Parthney back to Klyz. Thomas takes the place of Parthney as a prisoner of the Overseers and the swap goes undetected since they are genetically identical.

1985. The Fru'wu at Klyz want to send a human delegation to the Andromeda galaxy to make contact with the Nereids. Believing that Parthney was responsible for the death of her husband, Hana refuses to work with Parthney.

1987. Kach and her son Boswei leave Hemmal and go with Parthney to the Andromeda Galaxy. Hana, Muchlo and Steph go along.

1991. Hana and Boswei settle on Luk'ru in the Andromeda galaxy. Their son Izhiun is born.

1998. Kach goes to Earth on a mission to contact the secret Nereid agent who is on Earth. She is captured by the Overseers and taken to Observer Base. Kach meets Thomas who is still living at Observer Base.

2011. Izhiun arrives on Earth with a clone of Kach. According to the arrangement that was made between Noÿs and the Huaoshy, the Nereids are supposed to stop interfering with Earth. The Overseers try to capture the secret Nereid agent on Earth. To the Overseers, it looks like Kach was killed in the raid, but Kach is teleported back to Klyz. Izhiun contacts Hana's husband who is still living on Earth.

2012. The Buld spaceship makes a quick visit to Earth. The existing Overseers retire. The Nereids agree to back off and work through the Buld to indirectly influence events on Earth. The Buld know that the Earthlings need a clean, safe energy source. Izhiun meets the Buld at the Washington Monument and obtains instructions for how to build an energy receiver that will collect energy transmitted by hierions from a solar energy collection station that the Buld can put on Mercury. Izhiun finds Hana's daughter, Hilde, and finds that her company is constructing a solar energy facility that can be easily converted to receive energy from Mercury.

The Huaoshy make the remaining Observers on the Moon into the next Overseers, but they begin operating under a new set of rules that allows Earth to receive some technological assistance from the Buld. Hana's husband begins placing the Exode story on the internet. Izhiun and Hilde leave Earth and they go with the Buld to start constructing the solar energy collector on Mercury.

2013. Thomas returns to Earth from the Moon and gives up his nanites, wishing to end his life living as a "normal" Earthling.

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