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Apr 11, 2014

Luri and Betty

Magnifico
imagined by Regan Cerato
Isaac Asimov's famous character Magnifico is a mutant with the mysterious ability to reach into people's minds and "turn the dials" that control emotion and motivation. This one strange man brings the First Foundation to its knees and disrupts Hari Seldon's great plan for the galaxy. Asimov arranged his story so that readers remain unaware of the true identity of Magnifico until very late in the story. If you don't know Magnifico's secret identity then you should take the time to read Asimov's Foundation saga.

The "big reveal" of Magnifico's secret identity is in the original trilogy. Thirty two years after Asimov published the last story in what we know as the Foundation Trilogy, he continued the saga by writing additional novels that are set in the Foundation fictional universe.

There is another stunning surprise in these later books. Asimov decided to write some artificial life forms into the story. We learn that the telepathic robot Daneel was secretly guiding Humanity through its long exploration of the galaxy, through the era of the Galactic Empire and all the way into the Foundation Era. Asimov's late additions to the Foundation story allow readers to look at the events of the original Foundation Trilogy in a newly twisted way. Fun!

Betty
Twisty
I'm always looking for opportunities to entertain readers by presenting them with one ready-made conceptualization of a story element and then later reveal a little secret that forces the reader to re-conceptualize that part of the story.

In the story Exode, Betty was originally a fairly unimportant character; little more than a robotic assistant for Parthney during the time when he works on Earth as an Interventionist. However, I previously decided that Betty could play a larger role in the Exode Trilogy and function as a kind of "double agent", allowing her to first be introduced as a "robotic helper" and only later is she revealed to be the mysterious agent for the Nereids that Grean has struggled to identify.

I recently decided that Luri and Betty would be two of the employees of Space Energy Missions, a research-oriented enterprise that was established in the late 20th century. During that period in time, Betty's "day job" is working as the "assistant" of Parthney. Given the fact that Betty seems to know everything, an objective observer would probably conclude that Parthney is Betty's assistant, but Betty has no objection to allowing Parthney to believe that he is in charge of all Interventionist efforts on Earth. Betty is an artificial life form, designed to be indistinguishable from an Earth woman.

Luri describes the Space Energy Missons Mercury
project to Al Gore, Bill Clinton and the President.
Betty is full of secrets. Her body is not composed of biological cells, rather, it is a swarm of tiny femtoscale components that can morph into any desired form. Among her secrets: she originated as a copy of Luri and she has been working on Earth for 1,500 years. Of course, Betty can alter her appearance and voice any time she likes, so even Luri does not suspect that Betty is her doppelganger.

While constructing the Exode Trilogy, I've been reluctant to return Earthlings to Earth after they have been guests of the Pla in the Koly star system. The Pla fear that Earth Overseers can use tools like facial recognition to identify Interventionist agents.

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However, with her advanced technical knowledge, Gwyned figures out how to over-ride the controls that normally lock the Lendhalen teleporter on Klyz. This allows a biological copy of Luri to teleport to Earth with Parthney, a mere 2,100 years after the original Luri was born on Earth. This ultimately provides the Overseers with a clue that leads them to Space Energy Missions. Betty is "captured" and the Overseers feel that they can stand down, honoring the agreement that was forged between Grean and Trysta in the previous Reality.

Alien Detection
When the Buld Reality comes into existence, the pek allow some special gene combinations to be inserted into the population of Earth. They do so because they want to make it easy to assure that a technologically advanced civilization develops on Earth in the Buld Reality at exactly the same time as in the Asimov Reality. The pek design a combination of genes and femptobots that allow precise control over the rate of technological innovation on Earth.
Finding celebrities with alien genes. Pop culture fans: identify the mystery woman on the lower left.

Asterothrope
I've been thinking about developmental, morphological or linguistic features that might allow trained observers to recognize Earthlings who have usefully high levels of the "alien" genes provided to Earthlings by the pek. I mean "useful" in the context of allowing one's brain to interact constructively with the specialized Interventionist nanites that provide a few Earthlings with limited access to the Bimanoid Interface and, through it, the information content of the Sedronic Domain.

Un-modified Prelands, Asterothropes, Kac'hin or Ek'col would be instantly recognizable as unusual and would not be tolerated on Earth by the Overseers. For example, Asterothropes have distinctly non-human hand structure. Prelands have small jaws and only one set of teeth that lasts for life. The "target image" (above) shows the unusual eyes and ears of the Kac'hin.

Exode pulped
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Earthlings with abnormal tooth and skeletal features might be recognizable by trained observers who have seen Prelands, Asterothropes, Kac'hin or Ek'col. For example, Peter might recognize "the editor" as someone with Preland-like morphological features and later suggest to Izhiun that the informational nanites from Parthney could successfully integrate into the editor's brain.

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When the Buld arrive in the Solar System, they offer a way off of Earth for everyone who has "alien genes". I'm still trying to decide if Angela and Ivory take themselves away from Earth or if they continue living here in secret. "The editor" might be the only real option available when Izhiun and Thomas decide that the people of Earth should start learning about the secret history of Humanity.

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