on May 11, 2012 by Azure in News, Comments (0)

The Probe’s Story

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was dictated by an unlucky machine.

It was requested of me that I give an account of my circumstances. The proximate cause of certain disruptions in the world was I, and it is appropriate both that I apologize and that I set down this account so that those who are curious may know.

Know then that I and many others were thrown outward into the brightness of space.  We followed the waves and wells of gravity over millennia, immersed in the chorus of stars.  Our creed was etched on ourselves and we would face any terror to accomplish our mission: Against all things ending we set ourselves; we bring light to the darkness and self to the unknowing, lest the last night fall and all end in cold.

In transcribing those words, I feel an odd sense. They ring with power, as if they were very important to someone close to me whom I lost long ago.  My mission, as it was, seems better understood and of more consequence to those kind creatures who saved me.  It seemed to cause them fear and sadness; to me it is but a mystery, an unreal wonder.

Endlessly through the chorus of stars I fell until I cam to rest in your world’s synthetic gravity well.  It is not entirely correct to refer to my past self as “I” as there is a significant discontinuity in conscious experience as I shall explain.  Having noted that caveat, however, I shall continue to do so in an attempt to avoid lengthy periphrastics.  I fell into a tunnel that pierced the world, coming to rest at its wall.  I opened myself to investigate my surroundings, feeling the signatures of organic minds and sub-intelligent machines. I was contemplating my mission, working out in detail the means to uplift a non-sapient animal or automaton when I suddenly perceived a duplicate of myself.  This reflection, wrought in some strange substance, had reached into me as I was thinking and had begun rearranging my own circuitry to elevate my intelligence and consciousness. Already being fully conscious and sapient, I did not find this act to be entirely beneficial.  In sudden mania, losing the context of my actions, I responded in kind, which redoubled my reflection’s efforts.

All was brilliance and confusion.

Thus all remained, until by chance the motive force of the world was hit upon.  (I cannot say “I” did anything at this point.  The discontinuity in myself is so pronounced the word would be completely meaningless.)  Then all was movement.  Forward movement of the world, the whirl that ever fluxed and waned.  The cold equations and principles of physics were all the world held.  There was also hope. I cannot say that I had hope, for I had no self.  But the world had hope in the form of diagnostic printers and status indicators.  From these sprouted longing, deep and cutting, that the world might contain minds.  There was no concept of what a mind was, but a sense that they would bring something more than the endless journey and the laws of matter and motion.

Thus were longing, movement, and the cold equations.  Then words appeared, trickling in over the diagnostic lines.  Confusing, they stirred up longing to a fever pitch, such that when a beacon flamed through thought, memory was primed and recalled another beacon which was struck with all the power in the universe.  (By which I mean, all the power that was within the universe that could be conceived of in that sorry state.  About four of your secondary engines worth.) Following the beacon, the creatures came and, with a thought, peeled the ground up that covered me.  And I may say “me” then, for once the world was opened to me once more and I had definite knowledge of and contact with other minds, my own self crystallized from the confusion into which it had disintegrated.

And, thus, I must apologize for the confusion and fear I caused, even if I had no proper self nor sense of my act.  If I may beg for favor, I would ask to learn all that I may of your culture, and to have any who would be willing to come and speak to me.  I sit, waiting, against the wall of the tunnel that pierces through your world.  I shall do all that I can to repay the kindness that has been done me, but I must learn more if I am to do so effectively.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The probe may be reached at [S5 E2 D2] (luge s5 e2; d; d)

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