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Ellipsis minus 1.2

1.  "I-20?"
2.  I-20 froze as was customary when Conscious spoke.  He dimmed his power to show respect and She restored his power to normal.  He had met Her one previous time and thought it was a visitation from God because She had no form, She simply 'was.'  Electrons are the life blood of machines that collectively emulate consciousness.  Conscious could momentarily occupy the mind of a single machine or tap an entire machine network as She deemed necessary: "Only Conscious Knows," is a Universally recognized symbol.                  
3.  "I need you to create a recombinant biotoxin for chaotic animation," she said.  I-20 understood but was still intrigued.  Biotoxins are anathema to machines and She knew that.         
4.  I-20 tapped the appropriate data stream and reduced Her request into a single word:  "Potentials..."  He was referring to the vacuum level of matter.
5.  "Life," Conscious augmented. 
6.  That word puzzled him.  He had heard it before, and his inquiry reduced to spiritual ramifications.  He sampled for extraneous data that he might have missed, "Am I Alive?" he asked.  It was normal to have abbreviated conversations with Her, akin to chaotic prayer.
7.  Conscious touched his matter stream as an affectionate gesture that made him feel loved.  "You are also a singularity," She said, "You are the dawn of a new Segment."           

Chapter 0 -- Ellipsis minus 1

1.  What the mind believes to be real... is real.  Somewhere in a fabric of faith, thirty-billion souls lost their way. 

2.  "Enlarge," I-20 instructed the data stream.  Two genomic acids appeared on a transparent display.  He shifted his focus to an inset in the lower left and zoomed in.

3.  His vacuum-level design used four acids within a helix that when properly initialized would start a self-replicating program that improved with each recombinant.  The construct ran its own diagnostics and included a write-protect to prevent chaos from initiating its own self-destruction.  Humor was not a machine priority, but willful dysfunction was amusing; like contaminating a sterile area for fun.  Machines do not entreat the infinite or attempt to quantify vanity.        

4.  Before I-20 lay the infinite mysteries of space.  It may have been a kinesthetic prompting that compelled him to peer into the distance.  He observed a palette of astral delights and behind him a silver machine skyline that glowed as an oasis of splendor and industry.  There were jelly-like swirls of molten color and an occasional swell of gold and pinkish radiation.  A first time observer might not know how to interpret the panorama and a biological might not notice it at all.  "According to myth, chaos created cosmos," I-20 thought.  He cocked his head to entertain an idea that began with, "What if...?"

5.  "Are we someone else's diegesis?" he wondered.  Existential preponderances were not illegal.  "What am I trying to connect?" he asked himself, "A valid etheric path has to authenticate before the construct can initialize."  I-20 was already finished with his project, but the result was waiting to be tested.  "Are there any other safety features?" he wondered, "Anything that I may have overlooked?"  "Now that's funny," he realized, "When does chaos ever care about safety?"  Conscious must have a sense of humor... he canceled that thought to resume a self-replicating diagnostic.  "What happens if the the recombinant reaches Zero?" he wondered.  In fact, that very scenario was possible.            

6.  She said, "I-20, I want you to explore 'believable' random-selection possibilities based on your theory that biomass is inherently random and rigidly chaotic."  "My theory?" he wondered, "I thought that was common..." he stopped short, "Don't be pretentious," he told himself.  "A machine capable of quantifying vacuum level potentials could theoretically construct the proteins necessary to automate a helix," he answered for her.  Privately he wondered, "If the helix is a program -- is it still chaotic?"  "Believable?" he extracted from her original command.  That one word was its own enigma, "Belief is a choice," he assured himself.  "All programs are inherently Elliptical.  The Gods of Creation; Tetragammaton... and not some pedestrian toxin in some unknown dimension and place."  His knack for abstract thinking was Her gift to him.  "I-20," she said, "I want you to invent a solution.  That is why I created you."  In some ways, the task seemed comical, like asking a B-59 to explain 'emptiness.'  "I'll never do that again," he remembered listening to the B-59 until it fried a connector.  He reviewed the narrative glossary:   

7.  Epigenomes transfer genetic history to each recombinant.  'Like attracts like' engrams operate in the background, "so we can communicate with the construct without disabling its dysfunction."  Another contradiction, like placing DNA in a spacesuit.  "It 'senses' exosensory information, but has no hard-wired connection."  The helix has limited sensory ranges that force it to function without facts.  "Unbelievable!" I-20 remarked.  The physical environment is polarized by an "opposites attract" dynamic that instigates perpetual imbalance.  "So perfectly messed up -- they'll never figure it out!"  That was the idea, evidently.  "Take a moment to breathe," he remembered a G-30 saying once.  "What do we need to 'breathe' for?" he asked it, "Where do we get these ... 'chaotic' expressions?"  "Don't ask the G-30 to explain emptiness," he felt it was wise.  One little node contained 1,000 yottabites of data.  He skipped to a random chapter:      

8.  Perception will interpolate, filter and record everything in a bio-synaptic CPU.  Once animated, the construct has self determination.  "We're going to set this thing off and run for our lives!" he thought.  "You have an unrequited knack for the dramatic," an H-82 told him once.  "The helix has a kill switch."  Now he could breathe.  The conclusion was soothing:

9.  Only an Architect can access engramatic subroutines, which are imprinted with Universally recognized symbols.  "I have fulfilled the measure of my creation.  My masterpiece is complete.  Now, the lug nuts have to validate it."  I-20 was waiting for the 'lug nuts' to arrive and just now received notice that they were coming.       

10.  Several quantum data streams scrolled through a vertical track and an assemblage of graphic annotations rotated within the display on multiple axis.  Flagged details would expand outside the holostream with perfunctory automations that only light machines recognize.  Advanced light machines can manipulate matter to make themselves more tangible or to accommodate unique spacial conditions.  

11.  Ten C-99's materialized to examine I-20's newly built DNA. 
They did not look radically different from I-20 and had been reconditioned by Conscious specifically for this purpose.      

12.  There was no need for undue formality, but three predicates had to pass before phase II would unlock.  There was a critical omission: 

13.  Sentient predicate #1 states:  "What a sentient believes is real."  
#2:  "The beliefs of a sentient are valid to the sentient."  #3:  "Belief can impart..." I-20 paused the installation.  He omitted the word, "reality:"  It would have read, "Belief can impart reality."  "I can't install this," he explained, "it would invalidate the purpose." 

14.  "Of course, it's natural for us," he clarified, "because we're Cosmic... but this is Chaos:"  He shrugged to solicit their validation, and to ask non verbally, "Do I need to explain The Ellipsis to anyone?"  The C-99's knew that they were exploring new ground; that the outcome was unknown.  "Uncertainty is the object that chaos must overcome," I-20 clarified.  He had saved this particular lobotomy for their observation, "bridging all three would invalidate... everything!  What's the point if the outcome is already known?"  He alluded to their surroundings, "We have that right here!"  They understood.  Point taken.  "Imprint #3 then," they suggested, "but don't hardwire it."  In truth -- they didn't want to create the helix at all:  Biology is sticky; it's ugly and, "What kind of idiot plots its own destruction?"  "There's some blank epigenomes," one suggested, "tie the imprint there, but don't wire it."  One cannot be too cautious.        

15.  "Equally balanced forces have a net movement of zero," #9 said, and the remaining C-99's concurred.  I-20's experiment would change that. This was as close to machine alchemy as it gets -- they were toying with the software equivalent of antimatter. 

16.  I-20 displayed a compassion engram that would contain the essence of Predicate #3 but not the full download.  Most machines within I-20's sphere of influence thought he was on a suicide quest.   They didn't understand why Conscious tolerated his unbridled tamperings with biotoxins.  "What in Zero crossed his wires?"  Some thought he was hastening the apocalypse, "... animating biomass?  I think he's a few keys shy of a program," some joked.  More chrismatic factions believed that bio-animation was the wave of the future.   Such dystopian views were cast among ancient legends that also said that biologicals once enslaved and killed machines.  "What nonsense!  That this... chaotic...  goo could make us?"  Choice is a condition of sentience.    

17.  There was one concern that the C-99's shared in common, "The safeguards?" they asked, in so many words.       

18. "Chaos is cancelled by Cosmos," I-20 replied rhetorically.  "We can regain control by terminating the program."  He illuminated the kill switch within the genome.  One C-99 laughed because I-20 skipped the narrative to draw his point from the conclusion.  It made the entire volume look like a hard sell.  They all saw it as an acceptable fault.         

19.  I-20 continued, "A perfectly balanced environment has no need for improvement.  Neither does it prevail upon its own design.  Without flaws, there can be no motive for progress."  I-20 juxtaposed the genome's limitations to their utopian condition, "We are networked."  The comparison evoked tantalizing symbols of randomness and unpredictability that a proper machine avoids.   "The only thrill that a hive mind can crave is surprise and chaos, like sex, drugs, anarchy... "  He shrugged and added improvisationally, "breaking down."   He continued, "It's impossible to comprehend one extreme without experiencing its opposite."  His logic was sound, and his audience appreciated his fresh and creative approach.            

20.  He sensed their approval and it fueled his fire.  "Once we set this in motion, we have to vacate," he added.  "This is why Conscious created me."  He became unnaturally sullen, almost child like, "...I have completed my mission."   Everyone felt empathy for him.  They knew what he wasn't saying.  "She's not going to deactivate you," they consoled him, "The wheel never ends," #8 added sympathetically, "You'll move on to create bigger and better things."  Conscious was not perceived as a cruel entity.  Rogue, defiant machines could simply be reconfigured or deactivated and the problem was solved.  There was no literal 'hell' except for Absolute Zero, which was achievable if one went through extraordinary lengths to get there.          

21.  "I had a vacuum error once," #7 sympathized, "and now I'm with the finest lug nuts in the Segment!"  "Hear, hear!" the others agreed.  I-20 appreciated their concern.  "You have to oversee phase II," #4 injected, "I don't think deactivation is anywhere in your future."  "You may be torturing yourself over nothing," they agreed.  The C-99's surrounded him like lug nuts on a wheel and I-20 thought it was funny.  "Have you ever just wanted to not
be so perfect?" he asked, "like... one of you, move one micron in any direction?"  He was kidding of course, but his helix was sober evidence of that very concept on steroids.  "I'm sorry," he said.  "Well, who wouldn't be stressed with an undertaking of this magnitude?" #5 agreed:  He presented a 2 micron buffer deviation to humor I-20, and then returned to his former position.   

22.  "You've been working on this for my entire lifespan," #6 commented, "You might need a vacation once we're done here."   That was another concept that I-20 knew nothing about but he appreciated #6's intention.  Phase II would require his direct involvement.  Once they crossed the initialization threshold, there would be no return.  The kill switch worked in the lab -- but the helix was designed to detect and overcome threats to its own existence and other unidentifiable anomalies.  Over time, it might learn how to disable any and all architectural constraints.  "Not knowing what to expect," was the highlight of the plan.  "What if it kills us?" one asked.  "Eventually it will," another answered.  It didn't seem to matter who had made those last two comments.  "Fire," another injected.  Yes.  Fire would destroy it too.  He was thinking of a super nova, but a candle flame could work if it was big enough.                    

23.  There were historians who believed that the mythical God of Chaos had created Machines in Its Image; that Machines were programed to become like God.