May 30, 2016

The Noÿs Intervention

Not long ago, the mystery surrounding the ultimate fate of R. Gohrlay and the positronic robots of Earth began to fade away.  First, Ivory Fersoni and her clone sisters began revealing some secrets from Deep Time. Their revelations served as an organizing force that began to help me to start deciphering the infites that I had obtained from Thomas and Izhiun. Then, most recently, Gohrlay revealed herself to me and I have had some success in wheedling more information out of her. I suspect that Gohrlay has access to all of the memories and past experiences that R. Gohrlay accumulated from the First Reality right up until Gohrlay began her life on Earth here in the Final Reality.

Viewing Realities
With some guidance from Gohrlay, I recently realized that I have access to the story of how Trysta became a time traveler and the agent who was used by R. Gohrlay to bring into existence the Foundation Reality. I was fooled by personal name differences and a language barrier, but with a few hints from Gohrlay, I've now broken the code and provide the following translation of the story as it was originally passed from Trysta to her son Thomas. Angela Fersoni pulled this story out of Deep Time, apparently without ever explaining its importance to Ivory.

The Noÿs Intervention
In Angela's version of the story, her account begins with two poetic descriptions, rendered in a less than poetic fashion below after translation from the original source language:

Skaña was crafted with care from the genetic constituents of the Asterothrope species, but forced to adopt the physical features of a human female. Born well after the extinction of the human species, Skaña was born into a small artificial society where everyone was an Asterothrope or an artificial life form. In fact, it was only those artificial life forms that could physically give birth to these mock humans. Skaña never knew that her entire life was shaped and guided by R. Gohrlay. When Skaña interacted with R. Gohrlay she thought that she was being mentored by an Elder, the esteemed Master known as Tomaught Mystry, the high Magastar.

The Skaña Intervention
Skaña grew up in a community of learners and scholars known as the Lykeion. The majority of the residents were artificial life forms who did all of the menial tasks required to keep students such as Skaña free from distractions. The Lykeion was an artificial environment that existed within the Hierion Domain, but the residents believed that they inhabited a space station in the asteroid belt of a planetary system [editor's note: apparently the star we know as 61 virginis] of a Sun-like star not too far from our Solar System.

[editor's note: Angela's version next provides a detailed account of the Lykeion community and of the monorail line that Skaña routinely used to travel between the Scholar's Nexus and her home dome.]

[editor's note: apparently Skaña exercised complete control over the artificial environment of her home dome. As the story opens (below) it is late evening and the simulated sky is crawling with a simulated display of purple lighting, there is a constant hot wind blowing and tossing the leaves and branches of the trees that grew near her house.]

The 111,394th Century
original cover art by Swen Papenbrock
Skaña returned to her home, weary after a long shift at the Lykeion. She was four years into the qualifying phase of her research studies and she found herself pressed hard to efficiently deploy her scholarship skills under the difficult and challenging conditions that arose while Viewing ancient (Primitive Era) history in the First Reality. Her research topic was mathematical physics, and now only one Magastar even understood the difficulty of Skaña's research.

Skaña sat down in her favorite chair at the dining table and watched her assistant Yequel scurry in from the kitchen with her dinner. "Good evening Yequi." With more than just a little delight, Skaña watched his arm and shoulder muscles ripple as Yequel quickly and efficiently set out her meal on the table.

With a grin and a sly glance from the corner of his eyes, Yequel said, "Welcome home, dear. Why so late again?" He handed her a hot towel and magically brought a hair brush into his right hand. With a few practiced strokes he quickly brushed back her long hair from her face, setting it in place with a silver clasp.

Glancing at their image as reflected in the mirror on the wall across the room, Skaña felt her spirits rise as Yequel transformed her from the appearance of a frazzled and tired girl into a dazzling and confident woman. She squared her shoulders and looked hungrily upon the first course of her meal. "I was making some excellent progress with my German translations. I did not want to stop." She picked up a spoon and began devouring the soup.

Yequel switched effortlessly to German: "Natürlich hast du, mein Liebling." Rather than take his usual place at the table across from Skaña, Yequel set out another set of dishes on the table. "Magastar Mystry is coming up the walk."

Skaña sputtered and spit out some soup. Caught by surprise, she asked, "The Magastar is coming here? Tonight?"

Now sharing her alarm, Yequel raised a hand to his lip. "I thought you knew. Magastar Mystry spoke to me as if you had been forewarned."

"Well, I wasn't told. Did she say what she wants?"

"I was not told." Yequel ladled soup into the bowl that he had set out for Magastar Mystry and then he returned to the kitchen.

The door signaled and the Magastar's voice could be heard through the com system. "Hello the house, I'm coming in."

Skaña rose to her feet and went to stand in the archway that led to the dining room. She bowed to the ancient scholar. "Welcome to my home, Magastar." 

Magastar Mystry crossed the room and passed close to Skaña. "Sorry to arrive in your home on short notice, my dear, but Time waits for none of us."

Skaña gestured towards the second place setting at the table and said, "I'm honored to host you in my little home." Magastar Mystry commented politely on the decor of the house then both of them took their seats.

The Magastar said, "Sorry to intrude at such a late hour, but I could not wait to discuss with you the exciting news."

Skaña picked up her spoon, then waited to see if Magastar Mystry would eat. With some guilt, Skaña said, "I'm sorry, but I got busy this evening and I have not seen my recent personal messages."

Magastar Mystry nodded. "I know well your refusal to use a messaging prosthetic, and I approve. In fact, your aversion to using electronic implants was part of what qualifies you for Advanced Standing."

Skaña had worked steadily for years with the goal of attaining Advanced Standing, but she had imagined that as a long-term and distant goal. Now all she could manage was to repeat the words robotically, quietly and with the smallest possible intonation: a mix of interrogation and excitement. "Advanced Standing?"

"Yes, that is an operational category that very few people even know exists. I gave you a few hints about it three years ago and you have worked efficiently to meet every requirement that I have laid before you as a prerequisite for attaining Advanced Standing. I am pleased by your rapid progress as a scholar. In essence, you will now become my agent."

Skaña again set down her spoon, her attention quite effectively diverted from her hunger. "I am now to study directly under you?"

"Yes, of course. You sound surprised. But why? You know that only I understand your research."

"Well, I thought you were..."

The Magastar smiled and asked, "Too old?"

Skaña shook her head. "I imagined that you are retired, only occasionally offering advice and support to young students such as myself. I did not know that you still accept trainees. Had I known, I would have included you on my examining committee."

"Well, yes, technically I don't take any students. But you are past that level now. Your new rank is Technical Agent. You will be taking orders directly from me, but in the field of 20th century physics, you are the master."

Yequel came in and picked up the cold soup that sat on the table, untouched by the Magastar and now also too cool to appeal to Skaña. He scowled at the Magastar and said, "I suppose you don't eat, but Skaña needs food." He set out the main course on the table.

Magastar Mystry told Skaña, "Go ahead and eat, girl. I'll make a little speech." But she waited until Yequel left the room. "I run a little project that I call the Time Service. As an agent of the Time Service and under my command, you'll now start training for a mission back into the past."

Skaña dropped her fork. "Time travel?"

The Magastar nodded. "Needless to say, those of us who serve in the Time Service don't make public displays of our activities. You must also keep the secret: nobody outside of our small cadre can ever know that we travel through time."

Skaña snapped her fingers. "So that's what happened to Natalya!" She'd wondered where her friend Natalya had disappeared to. Most people who left the Human Colony traveled off to visit Earth or went to live on one of the exoplanets or possibly to visit the Asterothrope Capitol on Mars, but Natalya had simply vanished.

"Yes, you can now resume your friendship with your old chum Natalya. In fact, she will provide most of your training for the first part of your time travel mission."

In half of her mind, Skaña realized that she should be shocked and astounded by the Magastar's revelation that time travel was possible, yet somehow the other half of her consciousness was not at all surprised. From an early age her teachers had trained her to imagine living in the past times that she studied. Now, Skaña again picked up the fork and tried to eat a few bites of her dinner while once again imagining what it would be like to actually visit the 20th century on Earth. Strangely, that thought now made her think of the present. With an anxious tone in her voice, Skaña asked, "When I travel back through time, who will... will anyone go with me?"

The Magastar shrugged. "On the first leg of your journey through time you must travel alone into the past, although Natalya is already at work scouting out your destination and making preparations for your arrival in the past. However, you will be allowed to select your ultimate destination in time and the options available to you actually do include having a fellow time traveler as a companion."

For a moment Skaña tried to imagine forever leaving behind the Lykeion and living out the rest of her life in the Primitive Era of Earth's past. She wondered: who would I take as a companion? Natalya? Yequel? Skaña tried to weigh and compare the different varieties of love that she felt for the others in her life. Thinking of Yequel and her unquestioned faith that he would always be a part of her life, Skaña cursed herself as a fool. What an idiot I was to constantly make use of Viewing to watch the past while never thinking that it was possible to actually visit the past!

Magastar Mystry continued to speak. "But the details of your time travel mission will be decided later, after you have studied all of the possible paths for your intervention into the course of events on Earth."

With a growing sense of alarm at the responsibilities involved in such a time travel mission, Skaña asked nervously, "This is not the first such mission into the past, is it?"

The Magastar slowly shook her head. "No, the Time Service has changed the history of Humanity many times."

Skaña wondered out loud, "What is the goal of these changes to Time?"

Magastar Mystry replied, "Since you ask, I'll share another secret with you, although we may be rushing the details of your training just a bit. First, you tell me: what is the great goal of the Lykeion?"

Skaña replied without hesitation, stating the answer that she had been taught since her earliest days as a student. "We study the History of Humanity so that we can gain the wisdom to start again with a second human civilization on Earth."

"Yes, that is what you were taught. Now, adjust your thinking to the fact of Time Travel which you have only today become aware of: imagine how we might accomplish the worthy goal of the Lykeion by venturing back into the history of Earth and creating a new path for the development of human civilization."

A frightful possibility came into Skaña's thoughts. "Pardon me for asking, but if we change the Primitive History of Earth, won't that change everything here in our present?"

"Exactly so, my child. Does that prospect alarm you?"

"Yes, it terrifies me. Are you telling me that I must go into our past and erase all of history, erase the Lykeion from existence... and in so doing, won't I erase myself?" The last question was asked with astounded and hushed amazement.

Gazing upon the anguished look that was now on Skaña's face, Magastar Mystry laughed. "You must not worry about such paradoxes until you have learned the full details of Time Travel. For now, suffice it to say that you will be protected from the effects of any change to the timeline. You will have the honor of living out your life in the Primitive Era, launching Humanity on a new and better path into the future."

"But you and everyone in the Lykeion will be erased from existence?"

"You will make a better Reality, my child. Nobody will mourn the loss of the Lykeion. In the Reality that you bring into existence, Humanity will avoid the mistakes that turned Earth into a ghost world.  You will be celebrated as the founder of a new and better Reality for Humanity."

Skaña called out, "Yequel!"

After a few seconds, Yequel came rushing into the dining room. "Yes, Skaña?"

With some guilt, Skaña looked towards the Magastar and asked, "Can I discuss... what you have told me with Yequel?"

"If you must. But it will do little good. Yequel will not be allowed to remember any details he learns about time travel or your planned mission into the past. My advice: get some sleep then start your new life in the morning. Natalya will come by and lead you to the secret dome of the Time Service. Tomorrow you will begin a new phase in your life and Yequel will slowly fade away from your thoughts. Remember: where you are going you will have no servants. You will have to live out your life as a fully competent person who can take care of yourself and your family in the society of the Primitive Earth. You will make that adjustment. Your minimal reliance on -and attachment to- Yequel is one of the qualifying factors that won you an appointment as a Technical Agent." Magastar Mystry stood and nodded across the table to Skaña. "Welcome to the Time Service. Goodnight."

Skaña and Yequel followed the Magastar to the front door of the house and watched her walk away down the path towards the monorail. The wind in the trees seemed to speak. A strange idea popped into Skaña's head. She called after Magastar Mystry, "You were watching me work today?" It was more a statement than a question.

The Magastar stopped walking down the path, turned and explained, "I've always watched you."

Skaña felt her doubts and uncertainty about changing the flow of time all evaporate. "You found the future that you've been searching for. You have it now, don't you?"

"Nein, mein junger Nymphe. You found the key to the future, just as I knew you would." Magastar Mystry turned and was gone on the wind.

Yequel slowly closed the door then asked, "How about some dessert?"

Skaña looked at Yequel as if seeing him for the first time. "You knew. You've always known."

Yequel inclined his head in a tiny nod of acknowledgement. "Before you were born I was trained to be your servant and help guide you towards this day."

"And you never warned me, never gave me a hint of what was coming?"

Yequel put his arms around her and replied, "We are caught up in an optimization process. Everything in your life is directed towards allowing you to create the best possible new Reality for Earth and the human species."

For a minute Skaña allowed herself to be cradled and comforted in Yequel's arms. Then she gathered her wits and took him by the hand, leading the way into their house. That was their last night together and then Skaña went off into the future that had been so carefully planned for her, a future in which she changed human history all the way back to the Primitive Era, the time before space travel, in the Era when people only existed on Earth.

Dr. Asimov
Editor's note: Angela's version of the story continues on with an account of how Skaña was given 5 possible detailed plans for how to change the past. Natalya helped to infiltrate Skaña into the 482nd century, where she used the name Noÿs. In an act of misdirection, Natalya had already played a major role in creating and spreading the belief in that century that physical contact with an Eternal could give extended life to a non-Eternal.

blog posts in May
The final time that Skaña spoke to Natalya was when they were together in the 111,394th century, cut off from the Eternals by the temporal barrier that had temporarily been placed in the kettleways at the 100,000th century. Once inserted into the 20th century, Skaña began using the cover name Trysta Iwedon.

Next: the goddess of science fiction

May 2016 in review.
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Hyper Relay

The Time Teller
Last year I sketched out some of the key events leading up to my first attempts to tell the Exode story. Of course, I cannot escape from a fundamental problem: I have no sure way of knowing where the boundary lies between my imagination and factual knowledge about the Hidden History of Humanity.

Ten Years of Doubt
It was ten years ago that I was first allowed to begin recognizing connections between my science fiction story telling and odd events in my own life. As an example of one such odd event, I need only mention my own death, or, more importantly, how my death was avoided. When I died, time travel was still possible, so it was not difficult for the Time Teller to make a quick Microchange to Time, allowing me to avoid a stupid accidental death and live on.

During the past ten years it has been a difficult slog to fight through the depths of my ignorance towards an understanding of the Hidden History of Humanity. In this struggle for enlightenment, I have sometimes had helpers and I have at other times been hindered and tricked into even deeper states of ignorance and confusion. Even now, after having made my way so far into the light of understanding, I am constantly distracted by doubts.

Back in 2010, I was allowed access to the information content of some infites that previously had been provided to me by Thomas. I usually think of Thomas as my first collaborator from Deep Time, although prior to 2010 I had no knowledge of infites and no conscious memory of having met Thomas back in my college days. Still, Thomas had known Asimov well and so Thomas was the conduit by which I first learned an important truth: that the Foundation saga, as written by Asimov, reflected events in human history, past events from Deep Time.
Return to Tar'tron

Beyond Asimov
Because Asimov (or, at least, his analogue) lived in the Foundation Reality, there is always the great temptation to accept his account of the events that took place in that Reality. However, the sources of Asimov's knowledge about the future Foundation must be taken into account. Much of his understanding of the Foundation era in human history came to him by way of a mind-bending invasion of his brain tissue by infites that had originated in a positronic robot. It is my belief that the Asimov of our Reality knew the basic outlines of the future history of the Foundation Reality, but then he used his fertile imagination and built creatively upon that thin layer of knowledge to produce the entertaining stories that we know as his Foundation Saga.

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original cover art by Michael Whelan.
As a measure of how limited was Asimov's own knowledge of factual Foundation history, we need only recall that in the 1940s he wrote his Foundation saga and Robot stories as two separate sets of science fiction stories. It was only later, after years of prodding by Thomas, that Asimov finally expanded his Foundation saga to include Daneel and the fact that positronic robots had guided the formation of the Foundations and Galaxia.

Special thanks to Miranda Hedman ( for the DeviantArt stock photograph "Black Cat 9 - stock" that I used to create the blue "sedronite" who is in the image to the left.

I have faced my own years of prodding by Thomas so that I finally came to understand how Daneel was guided by R. Gohrlay. According to Gohrlay, the analogue of Asimov who existed in the Ekcolir Reality had a much deeper understanding of events in the Foundation Reality. In his Robots and Foundation, Asimov revealed how it came to pass that Sedronites like Grean were able to put an end to the Foundation Reality.
In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original cover art: Michael Whelan
and Fred Gambino.

Hyper Relays
For the past six years, I have worked hard to close the large gaps in my own knowledge concerning the Reality Change that brought an end to the Foundation Era and Galaxia. For several years I've struggled to understand the fact that the Huaoshy were masters of interstellar travel, using an odd mix of spaceship and teleportation technologies. How far did R. Gohrlay and her tribe of positronic robots go in their attempts to master the technologies of space travel?

Frustratingly, with no guidance from Asimov concerning the events in the Foundation Reality past the first 500 years of the Foundation Era, I had to put on hold my attempt to tell the story of the end of the Foundation Reality and my task of learning about the final technological advances that were made by R. Gohrlay. Now, with the "help" of Gohrlay, I'm again making some progress towards understanding what happened to R. Gohrlay and her cadre of positronic robots at the end of the Time Travel War.

Our Reality Chain
Towards the end of the Foundation Reality, R. Gohrlay was still tying to play catch-up and match the advanced technological abilities of the Huaoshy. However, R. Gohrlay was mired in a logical abyss. The more she allowed humans to develop a scientific understanding of the universe and create advanced technologies, the sooner Humanity self-destructed. R. Gohrlay was programmed to defend the survival of Humanity and she also felt the need to defend humans against the Huaoshy, but she could find no way to successfully accomplish both of these two goals. Finally she was forced to reach a negotiated settlement with the Huaoshy.

According to Gohrlay, Asimov actually did name the last great technological advance that was made by humans in the Foundation Reality. In order to complete Galaxia, a a full scientific understanding of gravity was needed. To achieve "her" final scientific and technological advance, R. Gohrlay allowed the First Foundation to have a limited amount of scientific research, culminating in the last great human technological breakthrough: creation of the hyper-relay. In fact, as the story was told by Asimov, creation of the hyper-relay actually only became possible when The Mule was able to take control of the mind of a First Foundation scientist, pushing that one man to complete the task.

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Later, after the Mule's demise, Foundation scientists such as Kleise were able to apply the hyper-relay to solve quantum computation problems. It was the culmination of that research project that was the real reason for creating the Foundation in the first place. Quantum computations using hyper-relays made possible a "mind-static" defense that R. Gohrlay deployed against the Huaoshy, using Galaxia as the "launching pad" for that great weapon. Also, R. Gohrlay finally obtained an elegant and efficient means of interstellar travel, the gravitic drive. However, in the end, the Huaoshy still had technological superiority and they were able to race ahead and develop a sophisticated Reality Viewing device that was more advanced than anything available to R. Gohrlay.

With their ability to view entire Reality Chains, the Huaoshy were able to force R. Gohrlay into a negotiated end to the Time Travel War. According to Gohrlay, the "hyper" in "hyper-relay" is actually just a cover for mention of the Hierion Domain. Apparently this is one of the fine points of the Secret History of Humanity that Thomas wrote into his book, Daveed the Luk'ie.

Gohrlay insists that providing primates with knowledge of hierions is the quickest and surest way to ensure their self-destruction. Apparently the tryp'At Overseers of Earth are now taking pains to make sure that we Earthlings remain ignorant of hierion physics.

Next: creating the Foundation Reality
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May 29, 2016

Who Else?

What does it mean to "be on Earth"? We are comfortable with the idea that human beings are born on Earth, live out their lives here on this planet and then die. Maybe some day an Earthling will go to the Moon or Mars and die there, never returning to Earth.

The Lives of Gohrlay
New Worlds
Contrast that conventional understanding of life on Earth with the life of Gohrlay. She might have originally been the clone of a prototype human who was crafted on a distant world. She grew up at Observer Base in the Hierion Domain, "near" to Earth. Twice during her first life she visited Earth for a short time. Then she was taken away to the Galactic Core. Before Gohrlay died, she was "copied" and the pattern of her human body was saved and archived.

the template for positronic brans
Meanwhile, the pattern of Gohrlay's brain had been used as a template for creating the positronic brain (as told in The Foundations of Eternity). There were multiple instantiations of that positronic brain pattern, the most important being that of R. Gohrlay. As a robot, R. Gohrlay persisted as the Queen of Eternity, witness to millions of years of both human and Asterothrope society as the two species existed across an uncounted multitude of Realities. Eventually, with the human species extinct, R. Gohrlay faced a dramatic decision. In order to fulfill "her" programming and save Humanity, R. Gohrlay had to achieve a negotiated end to the Time War and remove herself as the guardian of Earth.

As part of the Trysta-Grean Pact, a "copy" of Gohrlay was returned to Earth and forcefully inserted into the Ekcolir Reality (question: maybe this was first done in an even earlier Reality?). Gohrlay was "amplified" by the inertial generators that had long ago been "installed on Earth", ensuring that Gohrlay would have an analogue in the Final Reality.

Apparently, all of the vast and past memories of both Gohrlay and R. Gohrlay were made available to the Gohrlay analogue who now resides here in our universe.

Who Else?
The tryp'At Overseers
I've been led to believe that Earth is now overseen by the tryp'At Overseers. Apparently these Overseers of Earth take seriously the goal of making sure that Earth adheres to the Rules of Intervention by which we Earthlings are not supposed to have contact with and knowledge of Genesaunt Civilization and the entire Secret History of Earth.

Is Gohrlay a special, privileged exception to the Rules of Intervention? And what of myself? With my special knowledge, should I be allowed to remain on this world? Is it enough that I have been deprived of any objective evidence to support my belief in the Secret History of alien intervention on Earth?

Trysta-Grean Pact
And now, a new question. If Gohrlay is in some sense a "Trojan horse" that allowed R. Gohrlay to "live on" here in this Reality on Earth, then might there be other such "infiltrators" currently on Earth?

What if, as part of the Trysta-Grean Pact, both sides in the Time War were granted the right to have an agent stationed on Earth? Gohrlay might be serving as R. Gohrlay's agent. As a human being, Gohrlay can "blend in" with the human population of Earth and as long as she never speaks out, nobody need ever know anything about her amazing past lives.

The Final Reality
Who might have been selected to be such an Observer for the Huaoshy? It is easy for me to imagine that Grean inserted herself into the Final Reality and, disguised within a human body, the mind of Grean the Kac'hin might be alive and well here on Earth, watching and monitoring events on Earth.

But why stop there? Observation is no problem for the pek. I have to believe that Earth is still infused with zeptites that constantly monitor the entire planet. If Grean is here among us, it would only be because she wanted to be here. And might not others have that same desire?

The Last Time Travel Mission
Reading over my shoulder, Gohrlay just commented that the idea of Grean wanting to live on Earth is about a likely as a human deciding that it would be fun to transfer one's consciousness into the body of a fish and live out a brief existence in the sea.

However, I'm not convinced that such "insertions" of Observers into the bodies of Earthlings need take place on the limited scale that we imagine when we think of one consciousness taking up residence within a single human body. What if Grean is now somehow resident within the entire population of Earth?

Next: future science of the hyper-relay
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Mental Science

original Astounding cover art by Hubert Rogers
In the 1940s when Asimov wrote his original Foundation stories, he described the imaginary discipline of Psychohistory as the culmination of a mathematical breakthrough that allowed for scientific understanding of the human brain, human psychology and even sociology.

1. According to Asimov's account of future science, the electrochemistry of the brain could only be understood by tracing its details all the way down to the "nuclear forces".

2. As the story was told by Asimov, not only did the Second Foundation have the mathematical tools needed to predict the future direction of Galactic Civilization, but the Second Foundationers were able to use their telepathic ("mentalic") abilities to control the emotions and motivations of other people.

3. Thirdly, the Second Foundationers were able to abandon spoken language and communicate with one-another using a new type of gestural and telepathic language.

Later, in the late 1980s, when Asimov finally returned to the task of telling the story of Hari Seldon and how he established the Second Foundation, he depicted some humans as having the genetic elements that were required to establish a small colony of telepathic Second Foundationers.

Asimov had originally described The Mule as a genetic mutant who had been born with the natural ability to control the minds of other people. In contrast to the Mule, the Second Foundationers had to practice and train in order to fully develop their mentalic abilities.

Psycho History
Extending back into the dark days of the previous millennium, there is a twisted history of some philosophers, physicists and chemists who have proposed that an understanding of quantum physics must be utilized within neuroscience in order for us to fully understand minds and consciousness. This idea leaves most neurobiologists cold: they see no role for quantum uncertainty in the mechanisms of consciousness that exist in the warm and wet environment of a brain.

The physics world was recently abuzz with the possibility of a new short-range nuclear force. In the Exode Trilogy, I imagine that there are additional forms of matter (hierions and sedrons) that are, as yet, unknown to Earthly science.

When creating science fiction stories, it is fun to imagine that some mysterious unseen particles are what might account for human telepathic communication. Maybe new and wonderful branches of physics remain to be discovered.

In the Exode Trilogy, I imagine that the events described by Asimov in his Foundation Saga and in his Robot Stories reflect actual events that took place in Deep Time, in what I call the Foundation Reality. At that point in Deep Time, time travel technology existed and Daneel was being used as a tool by the Queen of Time Travel, R. Gohrlay. R. Gohrlay was the first telepathic robot.

Mentalics Time
What if the predictions of future events that were believed to be "calculated" by Seldon's "little algebra of humanity" were instead actually made possible by accessing information about the future that existed in the Sedronic Domain? Possibly R. Gohrlay collected some information about the future and made it accessible to the Second Foundationers. The best way to do this might have been to link the Prime Radiant to a sort of "data base" within the Hierion Domain. Using their mentalic powers, Second Foundationers might have used the Prime Radiant as a tool for accessing the Bimanoid Interface.

If all this was done correctly, the Second Foundationers could have believed that they were simply using mathematics to calculate the probabilities of future events, while in actuality they were obtaining information about the future, information that had been carefully provided to them by R. Gohrlay.

The Doctor who created our universe (in the Ekcolir Reality).
Original Ace Double cover art by Edward Valigursky.
Additional cover art by Virgil Finlay.
For the Exode Trilogy, I imagine that Asimov was able to tell his Foundation Saga in our Reality because he had access to information from the Foundation Reality. In the Foundation Reality, Asimov was an investigative science reporter. There was much to report because a secret agent from the far future (see The End of Eternity) was pushing primitive humans towards the development of positronic robots and hyper-spatial interstellar travel technology.

In the next Reality, the Asimov Reality, it was Asimov himself (the Asimov from the Foundation Reality) who traveled through time and passed on stories of the Foundation to his analogue in that new Reality. In the next two Realities, the momentum of Time ensured that the Asimov analogue in each Reality was also informed about events in Deep Time and able to write versions of the Foundation saga.

Next: Searching for Observers on Earth
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May 22, 2016

The Gaia Intervention

original cover art by Margaret Brundage
Gohrlay has been unwilling to share details of her first life. Apparently she was traumatized by experiences at Observer Base and she has never fully recovered. I've been able to learn part of the story about how she and her Escapist friends tried to form their own Clan, but it has been clear that Gohrlay does not want to talk about her experience of being invited into Cliph's Clan.

However, it appears that the story of Gohrlay's first encounter with organized religion was told in the Ekcolir Reality. Thus, I have been searching back through the infites that I received from Ivory for clues relating to the mystery of how Gohrlay was traumatized in her first life.

Ivory had a very logical mind. Her knowledge of past Realities (mostly won for her by her clone sisters) was stored and catalogued in a format that reminds me of a library. For convenience, I often imagine that Ivory or her sisters published science fiction stories (for example: see 'Genetically Engineered God', below) that tell the story of Deep Time.

The Heaven Domain
The fundamental religious concept that guided Clan life at Observer Base was simple yet audacious: within their religious ceremonies, the Observers (who were residents of Observer Base) played the roles of "angelic" beings who served the deities (Overseers) who controlled the fate of all people who lived on Earth.

One aspect of Observer religious practice that I don't fully understand is their strange type of ancestor worship. The Overseers were a type of genetically modified gracile Australopith with access to nanite technology. They could use their nanites to morph their physical features and it is not clear that they ever showed their true nature to the Observers. More importantly, the Overseers used their nanites to perform "miracles" and make themselves appear like gods to the Observers.

Original cover art by L. Raymond Jones.
Australopithecus reconstruction (source).
Since the data bases of Observer Base indicated that the Ovserseers were genetically related to the evolutionary precursors of the Observers, it was believed that each species of primate was
1) first created and then
2) it passed through a golden age on Earth, then
3) became extinct on Earth and then
4) finally went through a god-like Overseer phase and then
5) ultimately transcended to an immortal existence in the "hierion domain", a concept which had a similar meaning for Observers as "heaven" does in some Earthly religions.

50 covers
The Observers took seriously their role as intermediaries between the god-like Overseers and the people of Earth. During the time of Gohrlay, the Preland population of Earth was relentlessly replacing the humans of Earth. The dual nature of the Observers, seemingly half-Preland and half-human, was constantly at the core of discussions of religious philosophy and the doctrinal disputes between the Clans of Observer Base.

"Seedism" dominated the religious philosophy of the Observers. A popular belief was that the Observers were genetically omnipotent, containing the seeds of all possible humanoids within themselves. Popular doctrine held that both the Prelands and the humans of Earth had been birthed from the Observers. It "made sense" that Observers had a phenotype that was intermediate between those of the Prelands and the humans. The fact that on rare occasions an Observer was born with the Preland or the human phenotype did not seem surprising.

The Observers knew very little about biology, particularly genetics, so they were free to create imaginary Laws of Biology that had a good fit with their religious doctrines. One common belief was the Law of Twos. Observers imagined that the Prelands and the humans of Earth had been placed on Earth at the same time in order to test which species was stronger. By the time when Gohrlay lived at Observer Base, it seemed clear that the humans of Earth would soon become extinct.

Some Observers were impatient for the struggle between Prelands and humans to end. Thus, some Observers had been caught working to speed the demise of the humans during their missions on Earth. However, the Overseers enforced a strict "hands off" policy and punished any Observer who interfered with the "natural" course of events on Earth.

Using the primitive technologies that had been discovered by the small cadre of scientists at Observer Base, Gohrlay obtained evidence that someone had been working to transfer Preland genes into the human population of Earth. It was Gohrlay's attempt to investigate that evidence that led to her illegal mission to Earth, capture by the Overseers and her punishment.

An important part of the story of how Gohrlay became entangled with Interventionism on Earth began when she met the Escapist author, Rol. Rol specialized in mining the knowledge base of the scientists and building his stories around little-known scientific facts. For example, it had long ago been discovered that Observer Base received a vast and steady stream of information from Earth. Most Observers were only concerned with the "Top Level" analysis of those data, which amounted to a map of Earth showing where Prelands and humans lived and what their total populations were.

However, vast amounts of additional information was available. According to Gohrlay, it was only after she was taken away from Observer Base and was living in the Galactic Core that she understood exactly what was in the data stream that poured into Observer Base from Earth. Within that flood of data was the complete genetic makeup of every creature on Earth. This information was automatically collected by the zeptite endosymbionts that resided inside every creature on  Earth.

Cliph's Clan
In addition to the automated data stream from Earth, there were also the direct observations made by Observers who visited Earth. Most of these direct observations concerned the small human population of Earth which had long been expected to decline to zero. Amazingly, the small remaining human population seemed to have stabilized, creating a puzzle for the Observers and a source of frustration. Why didn't the last few humans just die off?

Most residents of Observer Base had long ago lost interest in going to Earth and making observations of the humans. Only one Clan at Observer Base still followed the training and work protocols that defined the life of an Observer. Most residents of Observer Base never went through that training and did not qualify to participate in Observation missions to Earth.

The one remaining true Observer Clan was led by Cliph who held the title of Chief Planetary Observer. Cliph allowed Gohrlay to go on a brief training mission to Earth, but he was not interested in her theories about why the humans did not become extinct.

When Gohrlay met Rol, she learned about an old theory concerning the data stream from Earth. Many centuries previously, a biologist at Observer base had proposed that each feature of a person such as eye color corresponded to one of the coded entries in the Observer Data stream. Those mysterious coded entries were known as Datoids. Legend said that after this hypothesis was confirmed, the scientist who made the discovery disappeared and her name was erased from all Observer Base records. In legend, the punished scientist was known as "Gaia".

One of Rol's favorite types of story concerned Observers who were punished by the Overseers and "cast out of heaven". In Rol's stories, those who were thrown out of Observe Base went to a different part of "heaven" where another world besides Earth was under observation. However, Rol showed Gohrlay an old story ("The Gaia Intervention") in which Gaia was condemned to live out her old age on Earth.

Gohrlay was startled by that story in that it told how Gaia was able to transfer her Observer 'datoids' into the human population of Earth, thus strengthening the humans and allowing them to resist extinction in the face of the relentlessly spreading Preland population.

For Gohrlay, the most amazing part of the story was the means by which the elderly Gaia was able to insert her datoids into humans. This part of the story had never been distributed through the electronic fiction database of the Observers. Rol showed Gohrlay a hand-written book that expanded on the electronically-recorded legend. The Gaia Intervention explained that scientists at Observer Base had long ago discovered and isolated the cellular constituents of Observers.

Not only did they discover the rare and elusive germ cells of the Observers (who, like Prelands, lack sperm and produced few gametes), but they also learned how to convert other cell types into embryonic stem cells. Thus, in The Gaia Intervention, Gaia was able to produce embryonic stem cells containing her datoids and pass her datoids on into the children of many humans on Earth.

Gohrlay is skeptical that The Gaia Intervention described real events. However, it seems likely that the practice of sending Observers to Earth did allow for at least the temptation of transferring genes from Observers to Earthlings.

Next: Psychohistory in Deep Time
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May 21, 2016

Lerand Wible

I previously blogged about the Aquarius Trilogy, stories written by an analogue of Jack Vance who lived in the Ekcolir Reality. In the first book of that trilogy, The Clones of Sogdian, Kirth Gersen became caught up in a dangerous investigation of a secretive organization called Zodiac Control.

I've never read The Clones of Sogdian, but apparently Gohrlay did. Previously, I've referred to Gersen's partner during the events of the Aquarius Trilogy as "Drusilla I", but according to Gohrlay her name was Karalin Umdys.

Previously, I was aware that that Retz, who worked with Viole Falushe, was secretly an agent for Zodiac Control and Karalin played a role in revealing his secret identity.

Wible Resort on Sogdian
The opportunity to unmask Retz arose after Gersen became aware of some of the more heinous biological experiments that were carried out on Sogdian.

After visiting Retz and collecting all of the records of those experiments and the commentaries on them that had been written by Viole Falushe, Gersen turned the documents over to Rundle Detteras at Sea Province University on Alphanor in the Rigel system.

rehabilitation center, Sogdian
The Sogdian Experiments
Detteras quickly reviewed the materials and recommended that a rehabilitation facility be established immediately for the treatment of the most severely damaged victims of the Sogdian experiments. Gersen contacted Lerand Wible and asked if he had made progress on the design for a floating lagoon that had been commissioned by Viole Falushe. Wible had indeed worked out the details for construction of a floating city on Sogdian. With funding from Gersen, the treatment facility was quickly built from modular components that were shipped to the Sirneste Cluster and assembled according to Wible's plan.

After the first phase of construction was complete, Gersen left Retz and a team of doctors from Alphanor in charge of the rehabilitation center. Wible continued to build the Central Core of what was to eventually become known as Wible Resort and additional housing pods in the Outer Ring.

Returning to Alphanor, Gersen next made his fateful discovery of Karalin Umdys on the Esplanade at Avante. When the "guardians" of Karalin suddenly disappeared, Gersen commissioned the IPCC to investigate. Known to Karalin as Jose and Viquie Umdys, IPCC investigators were only able to find a few weak linkages from them to the Institute.

No Nanites For Me
On the morning when Gersen received his report from the IPCC, Karalin asked him, "Why would the Institute be connected with Viole Falushe?"

Gersen took Karalin's hand and they went to the garden restaurant of their hotel. Gersen ate quietly and struggled internally with doubts about the wisdom of exposing Karalin to the grim details of his life. Puzzled by Gersen's silence, Karalin gently revived the topic of conversation. "Aren't you a member of the Institute?"

original cover art by John Berkey
Gersen shrugged. "I have not been active in the Institute since I was a lad, but I've never canceled my rank or abandoned my status as a member."

"If you asked the Institute for help, would they tell you anything about Jose and Viquie?"

Gersen slowly shook his head. "The IPCC investigated that possibility. They got nothing useful from the Institute and I'm certain that I would have no better luck."

Gersen again thought about his long-standing goal of publishing a series of articles about the Institute in Cosmopolis. A half dozen articles were ready for the press, but he feared going toe-to-toe with the Institute.

Karalin reached across the table and took hold of his hand. "You're not telling me everything."

Gersen nodded. "I have no right to involve you in my troubles." Still, Gersen reflected, Karalin was intelligent and well educated. Quite possibly she had heard useful information from Jose and Viquie during the years that she had lived with them. Gersen's hope that she might have useful knowledge was balanced against the possibility that upon further investigation of her upbringing and life, Gersen might learn that she had also been the subject of biological or psychological experimentation.

She squeezed his hand, "If it helps, I've decided to involve myself with you and the mysteries of my origins. I don't want to live my life in ignorance."

Gersen was torn between two paths forward. He was eager to forget about Viole Falushe and move on to fresh investigation of the two remaining Demon Princes. However, he was puzzled and disturbed by the evidence suggesting that both Kokor Hekkus and Viole Falushe had connections to the Institute. Gersen himself and his personal war against the Demon Princes had been revealed to Duschane Audmar, a high ranking member of the Institute. It might be unwise to ignore the Institute.

"Kirth, you are stubborn." Karalin asked firmly, "Why won't you tell me your thoughts?"

"I will, but not here." He rose and guided her towards the exit. Karalin needed only a few minutes to pack her travel bag and then they were on their way to the space port. An hour later with Alphanor shrinking below them, Gersen activated the star drive of the Distis Pharaon and he turned to Karalin. "Now we can speak freely. It is almost certain that the Institute has suppressed powerful technologies. The question becomes: are those technologies secretly available and still made use of by some?"

"What technologies? Made use of for what?"

"It is hard to imagine what we cannot see, but here is an example: the cloning technology that gave you your life."

Karalin shrugged. "Why does it matter if I am a clone or if Viole Falushe obtained cloning technology from the Institute?"

"I don't know." Gersen projected an image of an Earth-like planet on the main display of the flight deck. "My thoughts went in another direction. Do you recall the planet Thamber?"

"Of course. Its location was made public just last year. News reports described it as the playground of Demon Prince Kokor Hekkus."

"I believe that that the long life of Kokor Hekkus was made possible by cloning. If so, it means that he was able to pass his memories along from clone to clone."

"But the report was that Kokor Hekkus used biochemical techniques to extend his life."

"That appears to have been a half-truth. I had tests performed on the body of one of his aides who claimed to be hundreds of years old. However, analysis revealed that his body was only about fifty years old."

Karalin felt a shiver up her back. "Are you suggesting that Viole Falushe not only made me but also provided me with false memories?"

Gersen put an arm around Karalin and tried to put her mind at ease. "No, I don't think so. However, I worry that he and Retz were using some other technology on Sogdian to experiment with the control of emotions."

Karalin was startled by the possibility. "Are you saying that he could have made me fall in love with him?"

Gersen activated a viewer and showed Karalin pages from one of the notebooks that had been kept by Retz. "Read this."

Karalin scanned the documents and then turned back to Gersen. "Exactly who is this 'Retz'? He clearly has scientific training."

"At first I assumed that he worked for Viole Falushe, but I might have had that backwards."

"He seems to have believed that he could control the thoughts of those poor test subjects."

Gersen nodded. "That is my fear. If so, then he probably also controlled the thoughts of both Viole Falushe and myself. When I reflect on the situation, I don't understand why I trusted Retz to care for the victims of the evil human experimentation that took place at the Palace of Love."

Karalin asked, "But how could Retz take control of your mind?"

Gersen shrugged. "To understand that, I must return to Sogdian, but it will be dangerous. If Retz learns that I suspect him of being the mastermind behind Viole Falushe, he might simply eliminate me. I don't want to expose you to such a dangerous situation."

Karalin shook her head decisively. "You have it backwards again. I am the solution to your problem. I can get close to Retz and learn the truth."

"Very well, if you are willing to risk your life, then I'll make use of you. But we must take precautions; I don't want to lose you."

Karalin took gold of Gersen's arm and rested her head against his shoulder. "Do you have a plan?"

"We'll take an indirect approach. We will be on hand for the opening of Wible's Resort. We'll make no effort to visit Retz. We must entice Retz into our trap. And I want you to be in disguise. Have you ever wanted red hair?"

Karalin laughed. "Disguise?  I'll play that game. Just don't expect me to have my breasts enlarged."

Gersen put his arms around her, "A good spy has no inhibitions. For now, our only concern is our trap and how to attract the attention of Retz."
This blog post is part of a  series that celebrates the fiction of Jack Vance. Other posts in the series:
March 6 - Mirky Porod
April 9 - Vance +100
May 7 - Scutinary Vitalists
May 15, 2016 - Director of Forestlands
May 26, 2017 - Perfection of Joy
Next Blog Post: The Gaia Intervention 
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