Mar 1, 2014

Cory Corneigh

When I decided to "write myself into" the story Exode, it seemed quite easy to let Izhiun simply slip some "memory nanites" into "the editor". Those nanites, having originated in Parthney, would allow "the editor" of Exode to write about key events in the lives of both Parthney and his grandson Izhiun and their acquaintances. Simple!

Then matters became complex. I realized that Exode was actually just the final novel in a trilogy. How could "the editor" of Exode be well enough informed about the secret history of Earth so as to be able to tell the saga of the entire Exode Trilogy?

As described previously, "the education of the editor" required creation of the Atlantis Clones. Most recently, I decided that Angela would be the proximal conduit by which the bimanoid interface could channel information to "the editor" of the Exode Trilogy. Now I need to sketch in the backstory for Angela, particular some details about her family and her birth mother.

Arosa University
Lycée Trois
By the time I arrived, we all called it the Triversity. Sure, I'd seen "Lycée Trois" on the seal in the upper right corner of all official documents from the school, but I gave that no thought. So complete had been the Anglicization after the influx of students from the States during the1960s that French was almost completely unknown to the faculty and student body, even if French Canadians had founded and managed Lycée Trois during its first two centuries of existence.

The Triversity was created during the Vietnam war as a solution to the problem of how the wealthy could keep their son's from being drafted. Two of the original three schools existed for decades on the Canadian side of the border and remained strictly segregated, one for boys and one for girls. When the U.S. - Canadian border finally solidified, the third school had, by necessity, been founded on the State side where it eventually became Cook State College in the 20th century (originally Cook Agricultural College).

Gunta College
Arosa College (later, Arosa University) was created from scratch from the old boy's school during the war. Similarly, the girl's school became Gunta College. The sleepy college town of Arosaguntacook had grown to surround the three colleges and by 1975, Triversity-related construction had pushed it well beyond the boundary of "sleepy". Of course, by my time in residence, with the war over, enrollments were plummeting. I was attending Cook College because the state was willing to pay my way as part of a program to keep up enrollment by enticing state employees to send their children to Cook.

Arosagunta airport
I was only vaguely aware of Arosa College when I started my studies. During my first year I only took classes on the campus of the State College, which, by that time, had been given the designation "State University", but out of habit the locals still always said "college". The "Triversity" had been designed as a way to shield male graduate students from the States with Canadian citizenship during the war. By the 1980s the legal trickery that had made that possible was forgotten.

Still, Arosa College and Gunta College both attracted a fair number of "legacy students": sons and daughters of wealthy families who had become familiar with the Arosaguntacook area during the war. The Arosaguntacook valley had been shaped and reshaped by beaver for 10,000 years. During the war, hundreds of palatial "summer cottages" had been constructed in the area and, along with the Arosagunta airport, they still provide easy access to the Saddleback and Sugarloaf ski resorts during the winter.

Arosaguntacook valley
I only began to become aware of the historical landscape during my first summer in Arosaguntacook. With no summer classes, I was working just 8 hours a day in a university research lab (mostly washing glassware and cleaning cages for mice) and contemplating my future. I was still trying to decide between my competing interests in math and science and I had yet to select a major.

During that summer I went for long bike rides through the valley. I was amazed by the modern and carefully paved blacktop roads that wound through the sheep pastures and forests. Occasionally I would glimpse some of the "cottages" that sat by their private lakes at the end of their private drives. By the end of each day I ended up back in town at my dorm, blissfully unaware of the high society of Arosaguntacook valley.

A lake of rural Arosagunta
Much of that high society was across the border in the Arosagunta neighborhood. I seldom crossed the border, but I did sometimes use the libraries at Arosa College and Gunta College which had subscriptions to some journals that were not available at the State College. While on campus, "crossing the border" was just a matter of strolling along the sidewalks and students were never bothered by border patrols or crossing guards.

Professor Killian
That summer I registered for a mathematical modeling course that would be taught at Arosa College in the fall semester. My decision to take that course was angst-provoking for two reasons. The class schedules at Arosa College did not exactly mesh with the schedule of classes at Cook College. I'd have to leave one of my classes at Cook before it ended in order to arrive at the modeling class on time. In addition, by speaking to the instructor of the mathematical modeling course, I learned that most of the students taking that class would be graduate students. After reviewing my transcript, Professor Killian assured me that I'd be able to keep up since most of her students were economics majors with more interest in money than math.

Professor Killian teamed me up with Pete, the other undergrad in the class. Halfway through the semester Pete and I finally started working on our joint project, which was supposed to be a mathematical model. Early in the semester I'd spent several weeks suggesting topics for modeling and Pete showed no interest in any of them. He was always talking about computer programming and we shared an interest in APL, a programming language that was available to me through the Triversity mainframe.

Peter's "cabin"
At mid-semester, Pete invited me to his off-campus house which was one of the "summer cabins", five miles out of town and up on the east ridge above the canyon. The house was huge and had a great view out over the valley. I could see my dorm in the distance, then the first snow squall of that fall swept in and obscured the view.

Pete impatiently called me down the hall to his "study", which was a large bedroom converted into his computing room. Half a dozen PCs occupied most of the desk space, including an Apple II which was attached to a huge color monitor. In a closet there was a gleaming new PDP-11. Pete sat down next to a "home-brew" computer that did not exist in a case, but rather was strung out component-by-component in a rack half concealed by wires and cables. On a glowing green Tektronix screen were the specialized characters of APL code. He explained that he was making an APL interpreter that could run on a microcomputer.

I expressed my skepticism about being able to run APL on a microcomputer and he patiently explained how in another year or two, powerful microchips, cheep high-capacity storage devices and better displays would put affordable APL-competent machines on desktops across the country and he would have the APL code waiting. I tried to shift the conversation away from his dream of running APL on a PC to our class project. He insisted that his APL coding project was going to be our class project.

Toni Killian
I told Pete that he was crazy, that making an APL interpreter had nothing to do with the goals and instructions for the project in Professor Killian's class. He told me not to worry: he had "connections" and we would win a special exception that excluded us from the normal parameters for the assignment. After I expressed my doubts about his "connections" he picked up the phone and called Toni, a student at Gunta College. The call lasted only a minute during which he arranged for me to join Pete and Toni for dinner.

With Pete telling me tales of his "hot romance" with Toni, we stepped out into the chilly evening and brushed snow off of his sporty car. Ten minutes later we were back in town and riding up the elevator to the top floor restaurant above the Marriott hotel. Before we could go in and eat we were handed coats and ties and I was given a pair of leather shoes to replace my beat-up sneakers. I was surprised to find that we were not only meeting Toni, but also her mother, who happened to be Professor Killian.

Meeting Hana
Charlet Marial with Angela
As told in the Exode Trilogy, Toni's college room mate is Hana and it is through Peter and Toni that "the editor" comes to know Hana.

Peter is the son of Andy and the father of Hilde. Ivory Fersoni and the "Atlantis Clones" are cousins of Hilde. Peter plays an important role in making possible the creation of the Atlantis Clones. He recruits the young women who become the surrogate mothers for the clones. Initially believing that he is of another species and unable to father children with Earth women, Peter is something of a rake. After Peter fathered a child with Charlet Marial, she became the surrogate mother of Angela.

Angela getting technical assistance
for communication with the Buld
Cory Corneigh
with Anney
In addition to establishing telepathic contact with Hilde, Angela is able to sense the arrival of the Buld spaceship in the Solar System. Angela quietly seeks help in establishing contact with the Buld using radio telescope technology.

Charlet Marial and Peter are never really happy when restricted to the confines of Atlantis. Another of Peter's "recruits", Cory Corneigh, gives birth to the last Atlantis clone (Anney) and it is she who Angela grows up knowing as her mother.

Cory takes on the task of translating the Buld language, ultimately making use of Angela and her easy familiarity with the bimanoid interface to crack the problem and allow for meaningful communication between "Atlantis" and the Buld. The other "trick" that makes this communication possible is that the undersea "base" known as Atlantis is actually the sentient spaceship Many Sails.

Working with Cory and Angela, Many Sails is able to learn details about the Buld plan to visit Earth and the specific location of their landing.

In my next blog post I'll fill in the one remaining hole in Angela's back story, the identity of her genetic mother.

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