3076 Milestone: A disasterous end to the ER11 mission serves up numerous implications for centuries and millennia to come
Though corporate secrecy prevents the public from getting the news for a while, at this time the ER dynasty learns via instant communications that their ER11 project is meeting a spectacular end in the depths of space.
It turns out that at the extreme relativistic speeds at which these craft are traveling, collision with dark matter filaments is devastating-- and the lead craft do exactly this this year, resulting in cosmic fireworks which greatly resemble the effects of natural phenomenon like the neutron star-based gamma ray bursters observed as early as the 20th century.
2-25-98 Newz&Viewz: Supercomputer predicts discoveries to come in space over coming decades/centuries.
Enormous, dense, and virtually invisible regions of space (shaped like "walls" and "filaments") which may shatter high speed spacecraft that unexpectedly encounter them? Blood-chillingly large voids of absolutely nothing for perhaps hundreds of thousands (or millions) of lightyears, too?
Of the ten mightiest supercomputers on Earth today, the "Garching T3E" is the one making these predictions of discoveries to come.
Folks, if these speculations turn out to be true, there could be even vaster wastelands in space than we can imagine today-- wastelands into which only the most suicidal of explorers might venture. And besides those immense "deserts" of emptiness (which coincidentally the original Star Trek talked about in the episode concerning the Q-like "Squire of Gothos", around 30 years ago), there's also the possibility of gargantuan dark 'barriers' so huge that even faster-than-light starships might find it impractical to try going around them(!), and giant fiber-like structures of the same material which might also damage or destroy unwary ships which encounter them.
Hmmm. I believe the fictional starships of Star Trek have entertained us with stories about things somewhat similar to these dangerous barriers and filaments for decades now, have they not?
There may be a lot depending on just how common these structures are, and their scale-- and especially their local configuration-- in our own galaxy. Like what? Like the future of the human race. What if we discover we're boxed in by an effective trap of dark matter, which prevents the practical use of starships beyond so many lightyears in every direction? Folks, Vernor Vinge in his novel "A Fire Upon the Deep" dreamed up a reality where all technology and higher life forms were dependent on varying 'zones' of potential speed of movement and thought-- so that starships and advanced computers would work only in certain regions, and elsewhere only rudimentary tools and biologicals could function. Now it seems 'Dark Matter' may make something like this a reality. For a ship physically traveling through space at significant speed might hit dark matter like a train hitting a mountain. A craft traveling much slower during the encounter might be able to make progress with little or no damage-- but the speed could be intolerably slow and impractical to maintain for any substantial distance. And yet, what if the dark matter region was something like 25,000 light years thick? And too wide to go around, too? In that case, star ships would simply be unable to do anything useful in such an afflicted region-- much less get to the other side of it.
So Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep could turn out to be eerily prophetic-- if not for us, then for some other star faring races somewhere. Niven and Pournelle also have written sci fi about sentient beings stuck in a 'trap' of sorts in space, in 'The Gripping Hand' and its predecessor ('The Mote in God's Eye' I believe is the title).
Of course, FTL (faster-than-light) ships which folded space itself, or otherwise avoided actual physical movement through the medium, might be exempt from such barriers dark matter might pose. Unfortunately, such 'warp' drives aren't yet something we can count on (and may never be).
So here again we find yet another possible reason why humanity's true star trek may be forced to proceed painfully slowly at its leading edges for centuries or millennia to come-- while paradoxically behind those leading edges we might become capable of enjoying instantaneous transport across whatever distances we care to.
-- EurekAlert!, on or about 2-25-98
Extremely lightweight but near galaxy-sized particles may fill the Universe, thereby reducing the opportunity for dwarf galaxies to have formed in the past.
These awesomely huge particles would be affected only by gravity, nothing else, and pretty much invisible until you collided with one. Yikes! Can anyone imagine a worse obstacle to practical lightspeed or slower propulsion over great distances? Could such particles also affect faster-than-light vehicles and communications?
Are such huge single particles composed of 'fuzzy dark matter'? And each particle's entire mass only about 10 to the 24th power the mass of an electron?
What exactly would happen if a spacecraft impacted such a cloud of probability? This essentially humongous single electron?
-- New Scientist: Globs in space by Roland Pease, From New Scientist magazine, 26 August 2000, citing Physical Review Letters (vol 85, p 1158)
As of 2000 many scientists are becoming concerned at the seemingly glaring lack of results from ongoing searches for extraterrestrial intelligence. Something seems amiss. Or else there's something fairly large missing from our current knowledge and speculations about the Universe and/or intelligence itself.
-- Scientific American: NO ALIEN RESPONSE: July 2000
Fortunately, instant communications allow civilization ample warning to take precautions for biologicals and equipment which might be vulnerable to a bath of gamma rays-- the potentially killing shower of radiation will not reach most humn space for roughly 100 years.
The realization of similarities to earlier gamma bursts detected however makes for a collective gasp from the scientific community-- as everyone now realizes some such bursts of the past may have been the near lightspeed efforts of other far off civilizations in Realtime(!) On the other hand, all but a handful of those gamma ray bursters recorded in the past have been verified to have sources located in the very oldest -- and most distant-- galaxies of the local Universe.
Of course, this knowledge now makes those burster exceptions stand out in sharp relief to the others, in terms of new scrutiny by the defense and alien contact agencies of government and business alike.
Another implication is that high relativistic speed spacecraft are not only risking themselves, but possibly the safety and health of far off populated worlds and colonies too-- as the gamma ray burst from the collisions can be harmful for hundreds or even thousands of lightyears from their source. The danger may even apply to advanced non-biologicals where they get insufficient warning of the event and are not already suitably hardened against it.
Fortunately, the star fish beings on most of the ER11 vessels are able to escape their fate with the TME transporters onboard where needed. But there's a greivous loss for the Dynasty in almost all other matters here. The surviving procession vessels themselves must be skewed off course and radically slowed in velocity where possible to prevent their total loss-- and those for which this is not possible must be abandoned before they reach the region of devastation, adding to the magnitude of the original gamma ray bursts....
The calamitous financial fallout from the event soon splits the monolithic ER dynasty into several smaller factions: variously known by appellations such as Narygil, M'crop, Posten, and Padmun (going from wealthiest to poorest).
The Padmun faction is forced to absorb the greatest proportion of costs from the failed ER11 mission, while Narygil and M'crop manage to end up with the lion's share of the still formidable returns on investment to be realized from the enormous industrial seeding operations ER11 is still managing to put into place at various locations along the 100-odd lightyears course and the funnel of evasive courses spurred by the disaster. The mid-sized Posten group is affected least of all by the mission gone awry, having had little to do with it from the beginning, and being more widely invested in non ER dynasty projects than the others. The official investment business scorecard of the time rates Narygil and M'crop as the 'winners', Padmun the 'loser', and Posten unaffected.
The Posten group does manage to maintain majority ownership of the nearest elements of the considerably older and never completed 100/2600 project (the 'Far 40' as popularly known in the media), but these items are plagued with many problems which limit their value and delay compensation to investors. Unfortunately, the most valuable portions of 100/2600 are seized by Narygil and M'crop (the Uniques which have made the most progress towards the galactic core) and scheduled stops changed so that those in the front continue towards the core while only rearmost vessels adhere to something like the deployment pattern previously slated by the Posten group.
So what of the race to the galactic core?
With the heavily favored ER11 procession now effectively knocked out of the running, this leaves the frontmost elements of the Far 40, the Pearsalls, and the Albatross as the highest profile contenders still standing. But the Far 40 vessels are traveling at speeds which may make them vulnerable to mishaps similar to ER11-- scientists disagree on exactly what relativistic speed is the breakpoint between safe and non-safe collisions with dark matter clumps. By contrast, the Pearsalls and Albatross suffer less vulnerability to dark matter collisions, but pose bigger liabilities in other areas. For instance, the Albatross is severely limited in what surveys and financial claims it might make regarding its course-- and the probe seemed to be suffering heavy damage and an iffy power supply at last contact. The Pearsalls have well proven their survey and claims capacities, and seem adept at exploiting circumstances they encounter along the way. However, they are somewhat fragile high percentage biologicals, now apparently cut off from signals or help from civilization (though civilization can still read them), and facing immense isolation in the void, as well as an inevitable loss in supplies and breakdowns in equipment which will certainly be impossible to compensate for in many instances. The Pearsalls, for all their fame and past achievements, look doomed to eventual death far from home, and without ever enjoying any of the staggering wealth represented by their survey claims along the way.
Atop all this, the Albatross and Pearsalls expedition are both going to face the ER11 disaster gamma ray shower without any prior warning-- as they possess only obsolete lightspeed communications, and they are out of range to pick up such transmissions anyway, given their limited equipment.
Thus, the Pearsalls appear doomed.
But the above are only the sober assessments of various experts on the matter. So far as the public is concerned, the failure of ER11 now puts the race for the core neck and neck between the biological 'home system heroes' of the Pearsalls, and the last remnants of the rich and powerful ER dynasty's star fish piloted Far 40 Uniques.
The Far 40 vessels may be traveling as much as three times faster than the Pearsalls' makeshift, fix-and-refuel-as-you-go Rovers-- and already boast a tremendous spacetime lead on the biological couple, with regards to the frontmost vessels-- but so far the Pearsalls have continued to make steady progress while much grander and better equipped missions have failed or been forced to turn back.
The race is turning into an immense slow motion multi-generational drama, with much of civilization itself hoping the Pearsalls will somehow luck out when the gamma rays hit-- and the Far 40 effort will falter to allow the Pearsalls to regain some ground.
Suddenly any and all investments/contracts/agreements even remotely related to the Pearsalls expedition go up tremendously in value, for historic collectibles worth if nothing else. Of course, the Pearsalls themselves have little idea of how important they have become to the economy and spirit of known Humn space.
Make a name for yourself online
Roster of investors/contractors/allies-- or enemies/opponents/competitors-- or others related in one way or another to the Pearsall expedition, in the centuries before and after 3076 AD
The Pearsalls now appear to be the best hope the rest of humanity has for escaping total domination by the ER dynasty in millennia to come-- as well as sharing more in the future wealth of the galaxy than would likely occur if the dynasty wins its bid.
The Pearsall expedition in centuries past first proved that small independent space explorers could match or beat the best corporate and government projects. They also proved that 'little guys' could indeed make a fortune in space survey-claims, and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles with wit and grace. Thus, the Pearsalls inspired many others to try their own hands at such matters, helping to expand the overall colonization and exploration of humn space.
Then the Peer Proof War erupted, and the Pearsall expedition became a beacon of hope that the organics might prevail against the inorganics, even in their darkest hours. It's a foregone conclusion that during wartime the inorganics likely attempted to sabotage the expedition via communications, but the Pearsalls seemed to have survived the challenge. Eventually the war faded away, and organics and inorganics managed to come together again. But who is to say that the Pearsall expedition did not greatly aid the process?
Now the threat to civilization appears to be from powerful corporate interests capable of reshaping life as they see fit regardless of what any individual or other organization might have to say about it.
But yet again, the Pearsall expedition is serving as a critical element in holding back the darkness. Of all the sprawling advanced technological civilization that has emerged from Sol system in centuries past, two fragile biological humans and their decrepit collection of woefully obsolete technologies is the only thing standing between the humn and eventual domination by the ER dynasty.
Indeed, for all its immeasurable wealth and power, the ER dynasty itself seems to be cracking apart in its attempt to outdo the two courageous biologicals. Despite the ER dynasty's overwhelming advantages over the Pearsalls in practically every category that can be defined, it appears to be the Pearsalls who hold the edge at the moment.
And all of civilization is cheering them on, convinced that somehow the Pearsalls will survive the deadly gamma ray shower headed their way, due to strike the brave biologicals with absolutely no warning.
What's worse, it's estimated the Pearsalls will be hit with the gamma burst much sooner than everyone else. And due to the Pearsalls' obsolete comm tech, the rest of civilization will have to wait at least 180 years beyond that to learn their fate.
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents
An Elder God from a dying universe is accidentally pulled into our reality by the ER11 impacts
The ER11 disaster does more than anyone of human descent or creation can know, at this time.
Among other things, it unleashes something of staggering power and potential intelligence, from an infinitely older and faraway universe.
Though few Realtime citizens care enough to know, Humn science has long been aware that one of the many forms of Universe formation can consist of an onion bulb-like mix of realities, where universes are layered one over the other like the 'skins' of an onion. The youngest universes would be towards the interior, and the oldest towards the outside. The thickness of one layer relative to others can be miniscule, or enormous-- but this difference may not be noticable at all to the different layer inhabitants (if any).
Often a new universe will live and expand inside the core of this conceptual shape for many trillions of years, finally becoming so dilute and large that its own core phase changes to cause a whole new universe to spring forth from its center. This begins a long compression phase of the older universe, as now its compression strength is no longer the greatest within the onion reality. Now it competes for resources among those universes which came before it, as well as the new one which is succeeding it. Sometimes slowly, sometimes swiftly, physical laws inside the now compressing old universe begin to change, or else accelerate in some fashion. Any sentient inhabitants of the old universe may or may not notice the changes in their reality, depending upon many variables.
In some cases, the older universe has lived long enough for life, then intelligence, then hyper-intelligence to take hold of its reins. One or more literal Gods walk such universes. But even they are often hard-pressed to resist the birth of new universes squeezing their own. But that doesn't stop them from trying.
In a place and time utterly incomprehensible to human beings, one or more such Gods dwelt in such an old, steadily compressing reality. This entity (or entities) had long given up on escaping its/their dying universe, and now concentrated only upon making its/their remaining ages more comfortable. Unfortunately, it was now requiring ever greater amounts of power to shape things to its/their liking. Things had become so bad it was apparent it would take the greatest effort it/they could muster to accomplish the desired reform of what was. And even then it might not work. So it/they searched their entire universe for the most accomodating and malleable portion still remaining, to try their Hand there (this old universe was becoming quite tough in its old age). It/they found the weakest spot remaining in their Reality, and wrought their Will upon it.
Necessarily blind to the other realities within and outside their own, the entity/entities did not realize they had found a flaw which passed through many layers of this particular superverse. One which ended, coincidentally enough, in an unusually large quark-star in our own universe. In another coincidence, this quark star shared a close relationship with the dark matter filament which happened to be struck by multiple ER11 craft at speeds very close to that of light, in the Humn year 3076 AD (Old Earth reckoning). Did the ER11 impacts and the action by the other worldly entities occur at precisely the same moment in different universes? Highly unlikely. But in any case, there'd be no way to compare timeframes between the two events, and even if there was, it probably wouldn't matter anyway. The Humn notion of time was not relevant to this event in any way-- until 3076 and after. For in 3076 the combination of other worldly experimentation at the far cosmological end of one of our own quark stars, and native universe near-lightspeed impacts on a dark matter filament strongly linked to that Q-star, caused a sudden outpouring of the alien universe into our own, pulling at least certain elements of their own alien entities in with it.
The portions of the entity/entities sucked into our own universe by the cataclysm sported impressive credentials before the accident. By an absolute measure (prior to the disaster) it/they boasted raw power on the order of 2500 billion of our Universe's stars. And their intelligence was off the scale. These being(s) had evolved and progressed for at minimum billions of years in their own realm. The only thing greater than they was the inexorable generation of new universes to follow their own, spurred by laws of reality beyond that of any single universe.
But this Power which fell into our universe also fell into a place with physical laws utterly alien to their native reality. Thus, the fraction of the Power, and that portion of their world which fell in with them, began to dissolve immediately once trapped inside our own environment. Our realm was horrifically corrosive to their existence.
But power of a magnitude such as theirs can resist even the physical laws of an alien universe for a brief time. And such a breather allowed an opportunity for adaptation, however abbreviated.
A certain amount of inertia at our own Planck scale also helped give the entity/entities some chance to react to their new environment.
This chance for survival was so short as to be immeasurable to biological human perceptions. But it was sufficient for a stricken and amnesiac Power from another universe to survive its arrival.
The elder entity was gravely wounded, almost wholly incapacitated by the ordeal. It had lost roughly 75% of the strength these elements of its being possessed prior to falling into the anomaly. But worse, it had lost some 99+% of its intellectual power. Its information processing speed and memory capacities were both negligible now, compared to before.
And the process of adapting to its new environment had only just begun. Though it was now out of immediate danger, it was horrifically injured, suffering terribly, incapable of moving or feeding, and utterly blind, deaf, and mute in the new environment. What remained of its memory and intelligence were, for the moment, near useless here. Even instinct could not be trusted in this bizarre place.
It was severely diminished in strength, possessing only the rough equivalent of some 600 billion stars. Its potential intelligence was down to only approximately that of a Karadashev II civilization-- but the word potential was key here-- because until much more could be done in regards to healing and adapting, the entity possessed no real intelligence to speak of, in this awful place. An Old Earth insect would have known more about this universe than the alien entity did at this moment.
Almost immediately, the entity begins to feel the pangs of starvation. In all its immortal life, it has never experienced such desperation, ignorance, and pain.
-- Universe in 'endless cycle'; 25 April, 2002; BBC News Online
-- ScienceDaily Magazine -- New Theory Provides Alternative To Big Bang; 4/30/2002; sciencedaily.com, citing http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/02/0506/0506-cyclicuniverse.htm
-- Q&A2 The 'cyclic' Universe by Dr David Whitehouse; BBC News Online; 29 April, 2002
-- Universe Reborn Endlessly in New Model of the Cosmos; by Ben Harder; National Geographic News;
April 25, 2002; nationalgeographic.com
-- Some Q-ball references from New Scientist (date stamp 8-30-97)
As of early 2002, humanity may have found natural variants of Q-balls or quark stars in space.
-- Quark stars point to new matter By Richard Black, 10 April, 2002; BBC News Online
-- Two Stars Defy Current TheoriesBy PAUL RECER, Associated Press; April 10 2002, Los Angeles Times
-- APOD: 2002 April 14 - RX J185635-375: Candidate Quark Star by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell, NASA
-- Not a Quirk But a Quark ... a Quark Star! Super-luminous stellar explosion observed via Caltech's Palomar Observatory, possibly resulting in a quark star June 26, 2008
-- Collapsed Stars May Aid Understanding of Matter; April 15 2002; Los Angeles Times
-- Strange Stars Odd features hint at novel matter Science News Online, April 20, 2002; www.sciencenews.org
"Unbalanced superfluid could be akin to exotic matter found in quark star"
"...it's sufficient to quell virtually all thermodynamic interaction in the atoms, leaving them subject to superfluid quantum pairing..."
"...a new, exotic form of superfluidity that may be akin to the electron pairings in unconventional superconductors or to the quark soup that's predicted to exist at the heart of the densest neutron stars..."
"...In the largest neutron stars - known as "quark stars" - a mass about five times greater than the sun is pressed into a space smaller than the island of Manhattan. Some physics theorists believe gravity is so strong at the heart of these stars that it creates something called a "strange matter," a dense superfluid of up quarks, down quarks and strange quarks."
-- Ultracold test produces long-sought quantum mix; 22-Dec-2005;
Contact: B.J. Almond
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents
Approximately 3080 Milestone:
The other world entity has managed to gain a stable foothold in our reality
The entity from another universe has somehow managed to sufficiently adapt to our reality to reach a more or less stable existence, and obtain crude sustenance. It has some basic sensory capacities and understanding of its environment now. Its living processes are becoming more compatible with this new world every day. But getting to this point was a trial of endurance the entity almost didn't survive. Never before had it been tested in this way.
The entity was forced to consume and waste a great deal of its original strength held immediately after arrival, to make the adaptations it now possesses. It is terribly weak, still in enormous pain, and barely surviving on the meager rations it's able to eke out from this place.
It doesn't fully understand what happened to it, or where it is. But it knows this isn't home. Everything about this place is wrong.
It will take more years for the entity to put together a reasonable conceptual model of this new reality and set of physical laws.
The entity has more or less stabilized at around 60 billon stars in raw power-- or the power of a small galaxy. Its volume in our space-time is difficult to measure, as it possesses a highly graduated existence that can be hard to discern from empty space in some instances. But it may have a diameter of several Astronomical Units. Its body would be virtually undetectable at long range, as it exists only partially inside tangible space-time. The bulk of its energy would likely be classified as 'dark energy' or virtual energy by late 20 century scientists. Its top speed is around 95% that of light. Which means it can barely reach new star systems before it possibly dies from hunger (a fact it is in process of learning now). It eats stars. It doesn't like them, but it can live off them. So far its preferred food has turned out to be quark-stars, but those are rare here. The very first star it digested here was a quark-star. In fact, the very one instrumental in bringing it here, and likely the only Q-star in our universe which might have given it a way back home. But the entity knew none of that, and was starving anyway.
With the destruction of this particular Q-star, the portal to the dying universe from which the entity came is definitely closed, likely forever.
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents
Approximately 3125 Milestone:
The other world entity is turning towards the galactic core
The entity wandered somewhat aimlessly about its original location in the galaxy, consuming stars, for a while. But it eventually realized star density was greater in galactic arms than between, above, or below them, and that towards the galactic core was the greatest density of all. Thus, it plots a future course towards and through these rich regions.
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents
The gamma rays from the ER11 disaster sweep through humn space
The gamma rays are actually dangerous to mainly biological forms, though certain inorganic technologies could also suffer damage if left unprotected. The actual events are experienced as 'flashes' by various populations: gamma showers which last only for a few minutes at any particular place. Entire hemispheres worth of planetary biologicals need not even take shelter, as the mass of their world shadows them from the effects, while those on the gamma 'lit' side must take shelter of some sort.
It takes a bit more than 100 years for the gamma rays to completely pass through all of humn space. And there's the annoyance of more than merely one shower to prepare for. But overall only a tiny fraction of humn civilization suffers fatalities or serious damage from the event-- stats which rise only slightly higher than the noise of random accidents in the scheme of things.
Now that the humn has successfully weathered its own gamma ray burster, the phenomena would appear grossly over-rated as a civilization killer. However, scientists point out the present burster was artificial, limited in power compared to most others detected in the universe, and the humn enjoyed a sufficiently advanced platform of technology to easily shield itself from the effects given adequate warning. The humn also benefited from having humn observers practically onsite at the burster itself, and equipped with instantaneous communications capable of transmitting the news far faster than the radiation itself could travel.
Perhaps the biggest fallout from the burster is the realization that excessively high relativistic speeds are a riskier business than previously believed. Though the ER11 collision with dark matter was the only such ER-related accident in centuries of cannon use, just a single such collision could spell death for a considerable chunk of the galaxy, and thus cannot be taken lightly. Though the humn toll was negligible, the gamma rays will eventually wash through sections of the galaxy far removed from humn space, likely killing entire hemispheres of vulnerable biological life for hundreds or thousands of lightyears beyond humn space. It's even possible an as yet unknown civilization within that region could suffer tremendous damage as well.
But who will decide the fate of future ER firings? The newly fractured ER dynasty is loathe to give up use of their most valuable asset and lever of power and influence. There's few forces in humn space capable of forcing even the weakest of the baby ERs to do anything it doesn't wish to do. And the demand for ever more new worlds and resources and space among the humn populace continues undiminished-- at least for a few decades.
In the latter half of this period however, ER cannon use does indeed begin to decline-- thereby subtlely slowing the humn's expansion into the galaxy. The reasons are numerous and complex, but some small part of it all is a growing awareness of the environmental risk to fledgling biospheres throughout the galaxy, which serves to eat away at demand for ER services for decades and centuries to follow.
Two by-products of the slackening demand for ER cannon missions include (1), a trend towards focusing more effort on exploiting the vast territories already in humn control (including the virtual realms), and (2), a trend towards re-invigorating research and development both in sublight travel options and related fields, and re-opening and expanding research into the areas of interdimensional/TME transport once again-- as those avenues could completely bypass the delays and spacetime collision risks of ER cannon use while still offering instantaneous transport and communications possibilities too...if only the technologies could be perfected.
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents
The News of the Battle for Pearsalls' Grit is Resounding Across Humn Space
Among other things, it sparks a fad among physicals for reverting to higher percentage biological for years, while slowing the wholesale migration to purely inorganic platforms.
Most cannot believe the reports at first-- not only did the Pearsalls barely notice the gamma burst, but with their primitive (and non-military!) 22nd century technology they'd fought a pitched battle with a rogue AI from the Peer Proof wars of the 27th century-- and won! Only the details of the affair finally managed to silence skeptics.
The stock in Pearsall Enterprises and related holdings shoots through the roof as at this point the entertainment media spin offs alone become worth many times the staggering collectibles value of Pearsalls' related artifacts, which in turn is several times larger than the astonishing and growing value of the Pearsalls' survey claims to date.
The Pearsalls' net worth for the first time now matches that of the wealthiest of the individual ER dynasty spin offs-- the Narygil or M'crop factions.
The Pearsalls are a genuine media and social phenomenon. Ancient imagery of the couple is being used to sell everything from cleansers to spacecraft.
Make a name for yourself online
Roster of investors/contractors/allies-- or enemies/opponents/competitors-- or others related in one way or another to the Pearsall expedition, in the centuries before and after 3076 AD
Facing their first real competition in wealth and influence for half a millennium does not sit well with the top executives of the Narygil group. It's bad enough that the whole of the ER dynasty chose to split apart rather than cede control to the Narygil group. And now Narygil seems more diminished than ever, forced to share the limelight with M'crop, and now also with what must be the two luckiest primitives in existence. It's unbelievable, the sorts of miraculous exploits and dream promotional material which seems to just fall into the laps of those two. Narygil itself has spent away vast fortunes for promotional purposes and never gotten a fraction of the return on investment the Pearsalls did with their two broken down Rovers. And just when it starts to look like consumers are beginning to forget about the Pearsalls, POW! They grab the spotlight again with tales even wilder than before! Narygil execs had actually had the Pearsalls expedition investigated several times to determine if it wasn't really just a slick marketing scam put on by a savvy corporate competitor. But no, it checked out by every measure.
Feric Ganrussan was the third highest ranking executive in the entire Narygil group. He'd worked hard to get where he was today. He'd be damned if he'd let a pair of lucky tourists upstage his career.
Someday he'd find some way to ruin the reputation of the Pearsalls-- maybe even 'prove' somehow that the whole thing was a scam-- regardless of the truth.
After all, it'd be pretty difficult for the Pearsalls to refute his evidence from 200 lightyears away, with only lightspeed comm, and unable to even receive messages from Sol anymore anyway.
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents
Post-Reconvergence: 3000- 3450 subtrends and detours; differing paths for physicals and virtuals; the physicals differentiate into a still greater variety of forms and environments; there are also some small advances in time travel made
A major reason for the merging of organics and inorganics was the fact that the humn had actually developed an underlying software foundation and architecture far superior to that of the Inorganics-- mainly due to the need for their OS to cope with much more chaos and random dynamics than anything the inorganics might construct. As the physical universe itself runs in a similar fashion, such an OS offers many advantages to its users-- and so would ultimately have enabled the organics to dominate the inorganics in prolonged conflict (provided the organics could endure against the sometimes superior advantages inorganics enjoyed in the shorter term). Also, the two sides had discovered they were complementary in core strengths, and badly in need of the other to be complete. The organics excelled in areas of uncertainty, probability, subjectivity, and discontinuity, while the inorganic did better in facts, objectivity, statistical sciences, and linearity. Neither is significantly the superior to the other overall within any definite time span (which seemed proven in the Peer Proof War), yet together are much greater in power and capacities.
In addition to all the above, the long ago discovery of alien ruins, loss of TME shifter expeditions, and more recent find of the Deja Vu disk, as well as lesser puzzles, seem to be indicators that both humn derived organics and inorganics are better served via union than divergence, considering the enormous unknowns still surrounding them in this and neighboring Universes.
Many Constitutionals regularly express anxiety and puzzlement that no more information about other civilizations has yet come to light at this late stage in local civilization, than the meager items listed above.
A whole new sexual dynamic exists now, based mostly on resolution power and novel ways of doing things. Male and female genders only exist as temporary role-playing elements, and then are only used by those with a greater-than-average liking for ancient history and arcane nuances.
Much of the previous male Sol have faded into history-- the largest single faction of previous populations lost in the transition to the newest virtual state (the majority of male Sol do not die, but instead are absorbed into other entities, or transformed into beings differing considerably from the original). Most neuter and female Sol and colonists (colonists are typically male and female, of human, dolphin, chimp, and other original biological descendants) successfully make the transition to the new state, or else continue in the realtime trends active during the time others were transitioning. In other words, humn-derived civilizations exist outside the Directorate citi-complexes, but those other civilizations are now peripheral in almost every way to the Directorate itself. Perhaps the primary purpose an outside observer might see for the non-Directorate peoples that dot space around the immense Directorates themselves, is as a buffer zone between the Wilds of Realtime and the sprawling virtual civilization the Directorate constitutes.
As many centuries pass with less and less contact between the virtuals and physicals, the two factions diverge still further.
Yes, the physicals still evolve, but they tend to purposely skew their evolution away from directions already taken by the virtuals-- after all, that route and its results are known, and if chosen is far more conveniently accomplished by simply permanently joining the virtuals themselves in their vast habitats.
No, the evolution of the physicals now takes a number of somewhat sideways (and quirky) courses....
The physicals separate into many differing factions:
Though most physicals tend to stay in or near the island habitats created for them by their predecessors and the virtuals, some do not. Below is a list and description of some of the more noteworthy roaming groups of the time and what courses they pursue.
The Roddenberry Fleets: One group becomes bent on doing a much more accurate and complete survey of the Home galaxy and even more remote regions than has been performed to date, mostly because the Directorate and other communities became self-absorbed and satisfied in earlier centuries with what had already been learned.
This physical group, though themselves remaining within the island habitats, now create a vast number of something akin to hybrids of Unique class and long ago banned TME shift expeditionary starships, crewed with effectively immortal proxy intelligence-based androids of themselves, capable of manipulating their own subjective sense of time on-the-fly so that immense periods of thousands of years of nothing happening will not injure their psyches-- but when useful they may think at realtime or even virtual speeds again.
The ships and android crews are somewhat uniform for the sake of economy and speed in replication-- but also purposely reflect much of the current diversity which exists among the physical humn races (however, only the ship minds themselves are something akin to the virtual humn). The vessels are made plausibly self-sufficient for an indefinite timespan, but also allowed to call upon their fellows or unknown others for assistance too as need be.
Note that the ships and crews of the Roddenberry Fleets in many ways superficially resemble craft and peoples of the remote past. The android crews are specially designed to be difficult to distinguish from largely biological forms-- even if dissected. The androids themselves are usually unaware that they are proxies, or that they possess greater capacities than available to the biological forms they emulate, when the need arises.
The greatest subtlety in the design is the Unique-like intelligence of the vessels themselves. Each vessel functions as the corporeal form of one or more virtual mind proxies donated by the Directorate to accompany each craft, and oversee the android crew in the physicals' plan. Under normal circumstances the virtual proxies do nothing more than observe and act as a subservient craft intelligence for the crew. Only under extraordinary conditions will the virtual mind make itself known, or take command of the vessel. And even after such extraordinary events the virtual mind is guided by high priorities instilled before launch to erase its existence and intervention from the memories of the lesser proxies onboard.
All this subterfuge serves several purposes. One, the historical appearance and apparent moderate specifications of crew and ship should be less likely to frighten or intimidate alien star farers they might encounter, thereby perhaps making peaceful two-way contact more likely. After such relationships have proven the non-threatening character of the aliens, the humn may gradually reveal their true nature to their new friends. Two, the seemingly limited capacities of ship and crew may lure would-be rogues into showing their true natures earlier and more easily than they otherwise would, thereby accelerating the process of categorizing them by motivation and level of threat. The facade of the fleets would also serve well to hide from such rogues the true capabilities of the civilization which constructed them--
thereby allowing any entities determined to be a threat to be either swiftly dispatched, or their region of space marked off-limits to further humn ventures, and the defenses of the shared boundary space built-up for reasons of security.
Three, it's possible the fleets might encounter a civilization peer or superior even to the humn itself in their journeys. In such a case, a relatively crude, low profile crew and ship would be expendable if need be by self-destruct, perhaps hiding the humn's true location and nature from the other race, and minimizing the probability that the other might feel threatened enough to retaliate or begin searching for the source of such primitive ships and peoples. If that fails, the other may still delay its response, or underestimate the humn sufficiently, so that in either case the humn may be able to mount a sufficiently robust response as to make the other reconsider their malevolent actions. Four, under extraordinary circumstances, the seemingly primitive and limited vessels and crew may shed their disguises, to reveal the powers that lie beneath, possibly destroying the foe which forced such disclosure, then undergoing self-destruction themselves, to hopefully leave merely a puzzle behind for the other side as to what happened to the enemy entity-- a puzzle which may be written off as merely a malfunction or some unknown space hazard.
There's a myriad of other reasons, but the above offers the gist of the idea. The fleets are to by default be friendly to strange peoples and craft, but respond to hostile acts similarly as to how the humn's biological forebears might have done. They will usually maintain their deception of only a moderately capable technology platform to the end-- even to the point of self-destruction. But if self-destruction is too late, or denied them entirely, or appears will not prevent the aggressor from learning too much about the ship and crew, and/or attempting to track down the ship's source civilization, the craft and its complement will reveal their true natures and display something much closer to the full technological might of the humn to hopefully end the episode quickly and in a manner which will prevent or delay a direct confrontation between the humn and the aggressor race.
The fleet's general orders are to simply explore and possibly make peaceful contact with new intelligent star-faring races if any are found, and periodically send back (via instant ERP or TME-shift communications as appropriate) detailed reports about their progress to their creators.
The fleet is ordered not to unduly interfere with the systems they survey, nor contact any civilization which appears still too early in development to satisfactorily absorb contact with another civilization, and to make a reasonable effort to leave behind no trace of themselves on worlds not yet host to 'mature' star farers. Too, the fleets are to withhold sensitive humn technological information from any alien star farers they meet, as well as the location of their creators, for security reasons.
Wherever a fleet vessel is in apparent danger of being captured by a belligerent force, or the location of the Directorate revealed, the vessel is authorized to use all means to repel attackers and escape, call for aid from other fleet vessels, or self-destruct (In most contingencies however, the Directorate itself is NOT expected to help them directly, as that could increase the risk of the Directorate's own location being revealed.).
One major fleet exploratory field is the primary disk of the Milky Way galaxy, excepting that sector towards the core already under close examination/colonization by the Directorate, and the more sparsely populated ring of space existing further from the galaxy's core than the Directorate's own earliest technosphere.
Other, smaller, and somewhat differently equipped starfleets of the Roddenberry group are also one-way TME shifted into faraway galaxies as well, to perform still more exotic explorations (including faint hopes by some of relocating one of the Far Colonies lost during the Peer Proof War). Equipped with a limited Realtime ERP instant communications to the Directorate, the fleets can relay back to the Directorate physicals any information deemed sufficiently interesting the moment it is discovered.
Like the home galaxy explorers, the far galaxy explorers possess two-way instant ERP communications with the Directorate, but only one way ERP and EM transport (from the Directorate to the ship), in order to prevent a sudden physical invasion of the Directorate by belligerents, but also to allow for substantial support from home for ship operations. Note that in many cases a limited onboard supply of essential ERP entangled particles (which cannot be renewed) will eventually silence the vessels in terms of ERP transmissions. The finite supply of ERP particles also means the ERP mechanism may be permanently disabled onboard by simply transmitting a huge load of information (or gibberish) all at once.
All the fleets described above are christened "Roddenberry" fleets, as they are so similar in form, function, and purpose to the vessels originally envisioned in Gene Roddenberry's classic 20th-21st century science fiction epic.
The Mudd Group: A second physical group (which either left or were chased out by other island inhabitants) secretly tailors its missions to be scavengers/parasites of the Roddenberry Fleets, utilizing reports from the fleets to guide various entrepreneurial and colonization efforts of their own in new regions-- despite the desire by others to uphold the original ideals of the Roddenberry fleets, and minimize their use for commercial gain, avoid undue interference with backward cultures, and to reduce the risk of backtracking such missions to the Directorate itself.
Fortunately the Mudd Group is unable to follow those Roddenberry fleets which visit far galaxies; unfortunately, they infest relatively large areas of the Home galaxy in the wake of Roddenberry explorations here-- until in subsequent decades the Roddenberry fleet creators realize what's happening and put into place severe restrictions on the Mudd Group's activities in this area. I.e., the ships of the Roddenberry fleets began actively seeking out and arresting vessels which are a part of the Mudd Group.
(The Mudd Group gets its name from an annoying and shady merchant of the original Star Trek classic sci fi; in reality the Group consists of many smaller organizations and associations, all duly and uniquely named something else entirely than "Mudd"-- but they find themselves popularly labeled "Mudd" by many Directorate citizens and their media, due to their behavior in relation to the Roddenberry Fleets).
The Edenists and Project New Earth: A third group of physicals (who mostly leave the island habitats) decide to resurrect Project Eden from pre-catastrophe days-- i.e., create a New Earth.
It's difficult to locate a suitable solar system nearby that hasn't already been developed and/or digested, but finally an isolated one is found in the galaxy's halo (the sparsely stellar populated regions outside the galaxy's main disk and central bulge), and New Earth is constructed there.
New Earth is almost nothing like the original-- except that the biosphere(s) might be vaguely familiar to a 20th century Earth native.
New Earth is actually a relatively small, modified design Dyson sphere, in a binary star system. A small white dwarf serves as the heart of New Earth, and the exterior of the Dyson sphere is warmed by a combination of a comparatively young red giant and a closely orbiting brown dwarf (a previously planetary gas giant set dimly alit by Directorate technologies).
Between New Earth and the brown dwarf a masking disk is placed to make the brown dwarf resemble the full Moon of the original Earth (to observers on the exterior of the Dyson shell), while a similar mask is installed to make the red giant resemble old Sol.
The builders chose this somewhat odd arrangement in order to end up with a New Earth offering complete and servicable biospheres both inside and outside the small Dyson sphere.
New Earth thus boasts a livable surface area perhaps hundreds of times larger than the original, with roughly half of that inside the artificial planet. The combination of the orbiting brown dwarf and red giant (plus other devices on-world) make for a narrow tropical band about New Earth's exterior equator, and large sub-tropical to temperate regions everywhere else (these are 'default' climates; complete weather control allows New Earthers to experience precisely as much Old Earth weather as the population might ever desire).
New Earth's interior however is much more homogeneous (as all regions receive an equal amount of star light from the white dwarf at the core), with a very mild climate ranging from subtropical in the summer to temperate in the winter (this variation is largely artificially induced).
Certain nagging gravity tides from the arrangement are artificially balanced by various buffer fields-- though even with total buffer loss the structure would not be in serious distress for many centuries, and only relatively small areas would suffer major problems (though the idyllic weather patterns for all would surely deteriorate).
There are few excesses of height or depth among New Earth's terrain-- what few exist are provided merely to accommodate biologicals which prefer them. For the most part however, there are no Himilayas or ocean abysses to be found, as these exact strains on the kinds of purely higher biological forms New Earth seeks to attract.
New Earth is so much more vast than the original that to simply copy the old geographic map precisely would be wasteful of resources. I.e., a 'north america' hundreds of thousands of miles across would be obviously redundant.
Therefore, only one portion of the exterior geophysical map of New Earth is based upon that of Earth circa 1700 AD, with the continents a copy in size and shape of the originals, and the biospheres genetically modified to offer the experiences expected, although under usually more moderate climates than existed on Old Earth of the original times and places (more extreme local weather conditions may of course be artificially generated as desired).
Other regions of New Earth's exterior are given over to other designs entirely...including recreations of fictional landscapes like Sarum 128 and other fantasy realms. Appropriate lower biological forms too are generated for the various locales, with suitable buffer fields and more passive obstacles installed to prevent undesirable mixing of life forms between different habitats.
The makers also position a contingency star system and suitable engines nearby to aid in moving New Earth when the red giant becomes a less reliable energy source in the future (carefully manuevering the contingency star past the red giant's system while also performing other planetary acrobatics can be used to safely move New Earth to a better neighborhood if necessary).
The builders of New Earth then populate their small Dyson sphere with reconstituted biologicals from original Earth-- only with the modifications originally envisioned for Project Eden (in those regions appropriated for New Eden designs). Namely, all flora and fawna is expressly designed to serve and protect any biological sentient of Earth descent which ventures into New Eden preserves. All are edible and nutricious, and automatically repair or upgrade any biological sentient injesting it to the best known specifications for that species (without materially affecting consciousness or personality already categorized as being within normal ranges).
In other words, certain parts of New Earth's exterior become the ultimate paradise for any terran-based biological sentient who happens to visit there.
Nothing obviously non-biological in origin (and of modern technology) is allowed to exist for long on outer New Earth (recall however that the Sarum 128 preserves utilize fairly old technology, even if that technology is far in advance of 20th century Earth means).
Inner New Earth is another matter entirely, encompassing the latest technologies and luxuries available to Directorate physicals of this period. Massive spacecraft hatches are placed at the north and south poles of New Earth, for entry and exit, in addition to the typical massive EM transporters/replicators for ship-sized objects.
However, despite a broad invitation to all biological sentients to visit Outer New Earth and even settle there to live, and the more modern resort conveniences of Inner New Earth, the complex is so far from mainstream Directorate civilization visitors are few and far between for centuries...leading to the New Earth builders themselves doing quite a bit of experimentation with their new world...
The Biomes and Onlynux: This group of physicals (islanders until their technology advances sufficiently) go further than most anyone else of the time in developing biotechnologies to compete with (and sometimes surpass) the less organic technologies which have become the mainstay of Directorate civilization. This group is actually considerably older than the rest, but it's taken them a long time to refine their work.
The Biomes make heavy use of typical inorganic technologies to help them in their projects, replacing that non-natural technology piece by piece as new developments allow.
Though they've been around a very long time, they don't really make much of a contribution to history until the latter stages of their progress.
One thing the Biomes did early on was set up an awe-inspiring VR model of the entire biosphere of Old Earth, circa 100,000 BC (before humanity had wiped out some large competing species or had other significant effects on the planet), and then run many parallel paths separated by arbitrary changes to see what happened to various species evolution-wise.
In one collection of these simulations the Biomes made a major breakthrough in biotechnology based upon a branch of humn technology apparently not pursued on old Earth around 15,000 BC, which offered a whole new world of possibilities never before imagined by Directorate Constitutionals....this information is so colossal in its implications that for centuries it remains the greatest secret of the Biomes, hidden from all others at a stupendous cost. As the Biomes had already been largely isolated from other elements of civilization for a thousand years or more, were physicals, and largely perceived by Directorate Constitutionals in a way similar to how many 20th century USAmericans saw the Amish in North America (i.e., eccentric, obsolete, boring, and harmless), it was easier for the Biomes to maintain this secret than it would have been for most other contemporary factions to keep such a momentous truth to themselves for so long a span of time.
Many other surprises not nearly as important, but still intriguing and useful, were also discovered by the Biomes in their many parallel models of alternate evolutionary paths for Earth biologicals, and incorporated into works accessible to almost anyone to examine if they wished.
The Biomes specially configure many models in express efforts to create replacements for particular pieces of inorganic technology, and then fast forward the simulation by thousands or even millions of years to see the result. Though they get many failures, they also are graced with many successes as well. And once a success is found, the genetic engineering required to make it real is right there in the model itself, ready to read and implement.
After a while the Biomes' technology becomes an approximate match for the largely inorganic technologies of the Directorate. Although it took the Biomes considerably longer to achieve parity in many particulars with inorganic technologies (and they needed inorganic technologies to help with their work), their imminent peer status with Constitutionals' technologies largely goes unnoticed until all at once the Directorate as a whole finds its attention focused upon it with some alarm. You see, the Biomes succeed in establishing a whole new layer of system redundancy for themselves, with the addition of biotech on par with inorganic tech. And redundancy is a major strategic asset in technological platforms of the fourth millennium.
In a somewhat perverse turnabout, the largely inorganic Directorate, ascended itself from biological life, suddenly is overly concerned that a small section of their population has matched inorganic technologies with biological ones.
Imagine being a late 20th century USAmerican who tunes in to the TV news one night to discover the Amish have built a working nuclear power plant entirely from wood and straw (with implications for weapons tech too). The Constitutionals of the Directorate are similarly stunned with the Biomes' new technology.
Though no overt efforts are made to force the Biomes out of the island habitats, the Biomes themselves feel compelled to leave after enduring the anxiety of other citizens over several decades following this realization of the fruits of their efforts.
As usual, the fabulously wealthy and powerful virtuals offer immense resettlement aid to the Biomes, and the Biomes take them up on it.
The Biomes wish to bring large elements of their advanced VR models to life, and to that end seek out suitable housings.
Eventually they settle upon a rogue (isolated and starless) planet somewhat larger than Earth (1.2 gravities), and of similar composition.
The Biomes shape and install into carefully synchronized orbits several hundred tiny moons, which tend to create an effective gravity on the primary world of around 0.87 G.
A number of these moons present immense, open faced nuclear piles towards the primary world; i.e., they act as small stars, providing daylight to counter the permanent night the sunless world would otherwise endure. Other purposes for these moons include an extension of the Biome's biosphere, and defense of same from potentially belligerent outsiders.
The Biomes adjust the primary's climate and create a biosphere to desired specifications.
Thus the Biomes have a world with several times the surface area of Old Earth, and a similar climate-- but populated with a far richer and more advanced biosphere than even the most radical of environmentalists of 20th century Earth could ever have imagined.
The end result of the Biome's efforts is a biological-based world raised to greater evolutionary heights than might ever be possible naturally-- and capable of sustaining/protecting itself from most of the threats which might come its way, natural or artificial.
The Biomes name their world "Onlynux".
Eventually the Biomes themselves are forced to flee Onlynux, as it progresses in ways which will no longer abide their presence.
Fortunately, the location of the Biome world is sufficiently isolated from the majority of the galaxy to act as a formidable quarantine on the world's suspect biosphere-- so the Directorate virtuals make no attempt to destroy it, but merely maintain a cautious long term surveillance on the strange world...
The Biomes (with the aid of the Directorate virtuals) try again, this time shaping a world less biologically advanced than Onlynux, but more hospitable long term to the Biomes themselves. This time the Biomes turn their attentions towards pursuit and development of their secret technology breakthrough from many decades past of which no outsider is yet aware...
The Omegans, the Dead Returned to Life, and Those That Never Were, Are. Perhaps to the astonishment of many sober 20th century minds, the seemingly outlandish concepts of the 20th century tome 'the Omega Point' are actually brought to fruition after a fashion, by one group of physicals of this time.
Specifically, the vast archives of historic DNA data and other information from millennia past are used to generate yet another variation on Old Earth, whereby every possible human being that could ever have lived is brought back to life again.
Actually, this project results in not only the effective simulated reincarnation of almost every physical human being who ever lived, but also many billions who didn't. ALL possible permutations of all the known human DNA matrices with nominal or better chances for sustained survival are generated in this project.
The matrix encompasses virtually all possible 100% biological human beings from 10,000 BC through 2050 AD. 2050 isn't an arbitrary cut off point, but simply the most practical one. Firstly, corporeal 100% biological humans declined drastically in numbers soon after 2050 AD, and human DNA diversity also began a sharp decline. Second, the 'overlap' between simulated beings and originals still alive in reality couldn't be permitted to be too large, due to potential legal and other issues.
So essentially the grand simulation reanimates almost all the dead of humanity, as well as the even larger group of human beings who had never been born at all, but existed only as potential beings within humanity's DNA pool.
The potential entities include a much greater proportion of mutations and mishapen beings than the dead group. The complexities and difficulties in creating and maintaining the potential group becomes the most painful, expensive, and controversial component of the entire simulation.
Perhaps ironically, the physical Omegans achieve all this within a sophistocated virtual reality simulation, with significant aid from the Directorate virtuals themselves.
Yes, all of us who happen to have been dead for centuries or even longer when this occurs now find ourselves 'alive' once more, in a manner of speaking. Some even enjoy some continuity of existence, as they are allowed access to humn records of the past, where their own original lives and deaths were noted-- and other 'memories' may be generated from indepth contextual analysis of all available information by the processing powers of the Directorate virtuals.
Certain contradictions, like the scarcity of resources Old Earth would have suffered in hosting this many biological human beings, are easily addressed in VR.
The Omegans go further with their VR, attempting to make of it the 'heaven' for its dead inhabitants envisioned by the original author. However, the goals of this project are too difficult and complex even for the Omegans of the fourth millennium, even aided by the Directorate virtuals themselves.
The Omegan VR actually succeeds only too well in its recreation of the biological human beings of past history. The result is a diverse and often antagonistic population, which more often than not defies all logic in its desires and behavior.
The VR quickly becomes utterly unmanagable, even given the near-infinite processing power of the Directorate virtuals themselves.
The Potentials are by far the worst part of the problem, and are soon isolated from the Dead to live within their own realm. But the Dead too prove more difficult to handle than anyone expected.
Despite far better intentions, the Omegan VR ultimately becomes just a much larger (by magnitudes) and nastier version of the Sarum 128 debacle of a previous century. Fortunately, the Omegan VR inhabitants cannot directly assault their creators; unfortunately, they can wreak havoc internally upon themselves.
Though some portions manage to maintain and even improve many of their intended 'heavenly' aspects, most tilt more towards 'hell' instead.
The Omegans and Directorate virtuals involved consider an indefinite cessation of both the Potential and Dead VRs, but such a cessation is problematic for the times and contemporary issues involved. After all, the inhabitants of the VRs are for the most part sentients, albeit only low level sentients, compared to modern Constitutionals.
In the end, the Omegan VRs are allowed to evolve on their own, with little more interference from outsiders. It is generally expected that the two VRs will depopulate themselves down to a negligible level eventually, making it much easier for the authorities to shut them down entirely.
The Omegan Realm of the Dead does eventually burn itself out, as hoped by the authorities. But the far worse Potentials Realm does not.
No, the Potentials do undergo great convulsions, but then rapidly right themselves and move on. One reason this isn't anticipated is that the Potentials are a race largely of genetic extremes and bizarre trait combinations, which often didn't appear in reality due to greater physical or mental frailty or handicaps than other embryos, or did appear but failed to multiply simply because of less robust reproduction capacities than competitors.
But the Omegan VR allowed most all those previously insurmountable obstacles to be defeated by the entities, thereby giving them extraordinary chances to survive and prosper.
Obviously many of the Potentials still fall victim to subsequent trials, but a surprisingly large number don't. The Potentials do splinter into many factions, of which most eventually wither and die-- but some eventually recombine to create a mainstream Potentials civilization, with surprisingly innovative forms of governance and economy.
Being unencumbered in VR by most of the physical laws and limitations their more 'normal' corporeal cousins had endured throughout evolution and the building of civilization and technology, as well as more free to embrace 'tangential' developments too, that likely would never had been pursued by more moderate beings, the Potentials develop many practices and technologies wholly alien to anything created previously by humn-related entities.
Eventually the Potentials achieve both the power and the comprehension necessary to fully exploit their virtual platform and hosts, and build a most improbable, but still impressive, fantasy human civilization and technology base. The nearest 20th or 21st century humanity could come to perceiving the Potentials Realm is as a wildy unpredictable universe which began as something like a mix of savants and disabled people (some severely so), all primed with the potential to work real magicks of one kind or another, plus all the ancient legends and myths of humanity come to life.
That was the beginning state of the civilization-- practically all modern observers would agree that it would be almost impossible to extrapolate from those beginnings the state of the Realm as it exists now.
The Potentials also succeed in getting the Directorate Virtuals to allow them to expand their Realm to include the now nearly uninhabited Realm of the Dead, in order to provide them with more resources to continue their development.
Individualism and libertarianism loom large in Potentials civilization, without the normal restrictions of history and realtime physics to hold them back. The Potentials over time cultivate and expand upon their individual differences, so that gradually individual families almost become their own species. Eventually this speciation process also takes place at the level of every individual being. A great portion of the Potentials population soon become unrecognizable as being once related to humanity.
Over time the Potentials Realm becomes a popular retreat for some Directorate virtuals-- but only the most daring, curious, or foolhardy. For the Realm will not allow the normal safety precautions of proxies by sentient beings entering the Realm, but rather insist that the primary Constitutional themselves become a part of the Scenario. This puts such Constitutionals at grave risk of damage, unwelcomed modification, or even cessation within the Realm-- a level of risk almost unheard of now in normal Directorate life. Indeed, the Directorate enforces tough regulations against casual entry by Constitutionals into the Potentials Realm, for this reason and others. To put such high risk tourism into 20th/21st century terms, entry into the Potentials Realm for Constitutionals at this time is much the same as late 20th/early 21st century USAmericans trying to travel into war zones or disaster areas in foreign lands, for purposes basically of tourism.
3000-3450: Some small progress in time warping/travel technology is made
Purposeful time travel now appears to be possible. The successful time trek that resolved the Peer Proof war is followed by other scientific projects which push the technology forward-- but only in vanishingly small ways.
For a long time experiments in this field are mostly good for only ridding yourself of test objects in a very complex and expensive manner. And that is if you are lucky-- in the vast majority of cases nothing at all happens.
TME shift technology seems the most likely avenue to successful and practical time travel for centuries...but ultimately proves too unreliable, limited, and dangerous to utilize for many purposes.
Some tiny successes bouncing time-defying signals off known ERP stations in the past seem to offer tantalyzing possibilities for practical time defiance there too-- albeit limited only to existing ERP stations of 2,200 AD or later, subject to utterly random destinations among those ERP stations and their Realtime timelines, and also far too dangerous for more than messages alone.
Despite all these disappointments, indications are that time travel and messaging are at least somewhat possible, and therefore must be considered by the Directorate for strategic and other reasons.
The 'grandfather paradox' that scientists once considered to be an insurmountable obstacle to useful or theoretical time travel has been resolved by quantum physics. The paradox relates to time travelerers possibly changing their own past history-- such as a time traveler killing their grandfather before the traveler's own biological parent (their grandfather's child) has been conceived-- thereby preventing the traveler himself from ever being born.
The resolution comes from quantum mechanics always directing time travelers back to the past of alternative timelines, rather than their own. To slightly different universes, or dimensions of reality, from their universe of departure.
So time travel looks to be equivalent to interdimensional travel, or journeys between alternate realities. At least where travel to the past is concerned.
Somehow arranging safe travel or communications through a wormhole in the quantum foam of spacetime is the method used by writer Michael Crichton in his novel "Timeline". Such a method-- if possible at all-- would require staggering amounts of power to achieve.
Theories speculate that natural wormholes may exist in the vicinity of blackholes and other massive objects. There may also be ways to create them artificially.
Exotic ring-shaped black holes-- or rotating black holes-- are expected by some to offer one possible avenue to real time travel. The center of the phenomenon may be a wormhole leading to other universes or faraway spots in spacetime from the anomaly's native location and moment in time.
If time travelers were already present amongst us, it might be impossible for us to detect such technologically advanced beings, or interact in any other way with them.
-- 'Timeline's' travel may not be far-fetched By MATT CRENSON, Nando Media/Associated Press, December 5, 1999, http://www.nandotimes.com
The Oroelle Loop
Eventually, most everyone in authority becomes reluctant to allow such time defiance, and instead decide to set up an intercept band for such potential messages and transports-- popularly known as the Oroelle Loop later on. The Loop acts as a wide net, capturing all detectable time defying signals directed towards any documented Heplinger-related (ERP) hardware in the past of the Loop's own equipment's present; any signals caught may be examined, and then allowed to pass on, or simply be deleted by Loop equipment; the default choice is deletion. The construction of the Loop essentially means all incursions into the past from 3450 AD onward (utilizing known ERP technology) are stopped here.
Of course, since the Fourth Directorate itself is far from an expert on such time defiance, it is debatable how effective the Oroelle Loop might be. However, a permanent research institute is set up to support the Loop, and continuously improve it as new knowledge is obtained.
Keep in mind the Loop cannot affect TME shift time defiance efforts. Also, the Loop is definitely limited to interceptions of only humn-based ERP enabled time-shift crimes; events making use of alien ERP stations would be undetectable and unaffected by the Loop.
The Staute AI is unique among modern Constitutionals by several measures, among them its age, and some deeply embedded programmed priorities of which very few outside the AI itself are aware to this day. Among these core priorities is the goal to make contact with the original human Staute programmer in his own time, prior to his death, and either bring him forward somehow into the future for benefits like effective immortality, or, failing that, submit critical information to him which might help him extend his life or better enjoy it during the span he is allotted in the past.
According to its own judgment, up to this time the Staute AI has only failed once to meet the goals originally set forth by its human programmer. The AI does not intend to fail again. And in this matter the ban on time travel instituted by the Directorate does not outweigh the mission of rescue-- at least not in the internal decision hierarchy of the Staute AI.
The Staute AI has made much history since its creation near the dawn of the 21st history. Now it may become the first known sentient to purposely change the past.
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents
Approximately 4,000 AD milestone: Computer science has become obsolete for much of humn-derived civilization by now...
...due to its full potential having been realized. Now only other fields may offer the types of opportunities, challenges, and relative potential rewards once found in the computer sciences. Computer hardware and software now are largely perfected in mainstream society and technologies. New applications are automatically and transparently performed on a realtime basis.
-- Statements by David Tennenhouse, scientist with Darpa, as documented in DOD Scientist: Lose the Humans by Niall McKay, 24.Aug.99, Wired Digital Inc
Signposts Perspectives 3001 AD-6000 AD Contents