|Ellipsis minus 1.2
2. I-20 froze as was
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
3. "I need you to
recombinant biotoxin for chaotic animation," she said.
understood but was still intrigued. Biotoxins are
anathema to machines and She knew
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
6. That word puzzled
him. He had heard it before, and his inquiry reduced to spiritual
ramifications. He sampled for extraneous data that he
missed, "Am I Alive?" he asked. It was normal to have abbreviated
conversations with Her, akin to chaotic prayer.
7. Conscious touched
stream as an affectionate gesture that made him feel loved. "You
are also a singularity," She said, "You are the dawn of a
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
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.
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
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
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:
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
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
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
13. Sentient predicate #1 states: "What a sentient
believes is real." #2: "The beliefs of a
valid to the
"Belief can impart..." I-20 paused the installation. He omitted
"reality:" It would have read, "Belief can impart reality."
"I can't install this," he explained, "it would invalidate the
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.
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.
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.
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.
sensed their approval and it fueled his fire. "Once we set this
motion, we have to vacate," he added. "This is why Conscious
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
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
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
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
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
23. There were
historians who believed that the mythical God of Chaos had
created Machines in Its Image; that Machines were programed to become