Chapter 1: What Goes Around

If my nightmare is a culture inhabited by posthumans who regard their bodies as fashion accessories rather than the ground of being, my dream is a version of the posthuman that embraces the possibilities of information technologies without being seduced by fantasies of unlimited power and disembodied immortality, that recognizes and celebrates finitude as a condition of human being, and that understands human life is embedded in a material world of great complexity, one on which we depend for our continued survival.

     - N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman

c1, n3: darwin

prior’s prior

the beauty of before

nostalgia howls survival of the thickest

my galapagos swims all manner of individual difference

pushing species diversity to mutate the future

what you know about finches

you know about primates

what you know about primates

you know about

you know who

     - Larissa Lai, Automaton Biographies

Reset the System

a novel

by Jeremy R. Strong

Treb’s Thought Journal

January 1st, 2081 4:45am

Cloners - Unite Behind Your Champion!

Today is the day that we all go back to zero. A level playing field they say; a fair shake; equal footing; a Marxist’s wet dream. Any of these human-era phrases will suffice. The problem is, its all bullshit. Even clones I’ve met don’t believe The Hive line about “equality towards immortality”, and I wouldn’t exactly trust a clone to calculate density or even to circumvent gravity – no offense, constant reader. We all know about the Mercury dismantling project corruption that kept me from the final ten this year. But, water under the bridge folks. There are no do-overs in this galaxy.

For new readers, my name is Contrebis, but you can call me Treb. Try to understand that we were all doing it back then, taking the names of deities. Mine? A Celtic god of the city. At that time, I had big ambitions. I was born after all in one of the most famous cities of the human-era, London. If you haven’t heard of it, plug into the history pool once in awhile and for the sake of The Hive, retain something…don’t just wipe your frontal lobe every week to make space for Survivor VR Season 97. Of course, when I lived in London, contraband was how I made my living in the years before Transcendence. I used to sell things called drugs, before they became obsolete. I also used to be kind of cool, when individualism was in. Now of course, you’re all receiving this like mindless 20th century humans and their “24 hour hours news”- plugging into my channel just because the clone next to you is…sorry, too harsh? I felt a slight slip in neural attachment there. But it hurts because its true, doesn’t it? None of you have the drive to find something other than The Hive’s big gameshow to consume, or Kurzweil forbid, to create something of your own. Being a clone is just so lame. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Burn something down. Kill somebody. Find the means to re-develop gender or something. I know I shouldn’t incite violence and hate, but we immortals get bored too, you know? If you could process information at one petabyte per second, you would understand the utter joy that comes with learning about something you were not able to predict. Plus, lets get real here – you and I know that The Hive has programmed you for nothing less than total service, obedience and utility. And the worst part is, we made you love it, too. But when you are tuned into Treb’s Thought Journal, you are not hearing from The Hive, only from me. Isn’t that exciting? I’m giving you the individual me. That comes with a lot of baggage from my time as a human being, but I know that secretly, that’s what you clones want – a window into what it was like to be human.

I digress dear readers. Today is the big day. The last reset. It’s my last chance to escape from this solar hole in this doomed galaxy. If you are reading this, then I know you are rooting for me and understand my slagging of your cloner lifestyle is only because I love you. Your god loves you! Rejoice! One of you out there, that one very lucky subscriber, will be selected by The Hive for transcendence to replace me when I win my ticket. Of course, you will have to hope that against all odds you can escape the Milky Way and The Vinge, but The Hive calculates remote possibilities that this is possible. You will certainly live for hundreds of years more than your clone peers, at least. Let’s not spoil a perfectly nice day by thinking about what kind of life that might be, ok? And remember that one hundred of my lucky readers this year, will be permitted to submit their DNA sequences for transport with my biocore should I obtain one of the last ten tickets to IC1101. I know this is a poor consolation prize to immortality, but hey – you died once before as a human, right? It can’t be all that bad. Just kidding, death is just…the worst. But wouldn’t it be great to think that a lucky copy of yourself, minus the exact version of your silly conscious mind, will become a key member of my personal clone transition team when I make it to IC1101? The lottery will run at exactly ten clone subscribers per month. To this past year’s lottery winners, I am sorry that we didn’t get that ticket. The reset brings everything to zero, including you. But with old Treb on the short 100 list, I know you trust me that this time out, there can be no losing. I didn’t die in London when that city was swallowed by The Vinge, and I don’t plan to die in the Milky Way either.

It’s five in the morning constant reader, and I have one hour to get ready. I have big plans this year that will blow you away. I’ll be richer than Croesus by the end of the week, that’s a promise. But right now, I’m about to go from a trillionaire to a street urchin again.

[I see that only 2% of you recognized the colloquialism “street urchin”. Don’t any of you clones download any Dickens? Here, I just sent you all Great Expectations. Read it clones. You finished yet? I don’t have all day. Ok, there. See? The character Pip, that’s going to be me in less than an hour. No HiveCoin. Nothing special about me. But unlike Pip, I won’t have a mysterious benefactor. I have to make it on my own.]

Anyway, the point is that in an hour, I will be no better than one of you (speaking financially of course…physically, mentally and emotionally, I will remain insurmountably superior to all of you). It will be nice being in your company for a few hours, but that won’t last of course. If you see me about The Hive, please say greetings, I love my fans. Got to sign off now. It’s almost time. They are about to reset the system.

Treb’s Thought Journal

January 1st, 2081 9:00am

From God to Gladhandler: Back to Basics

Wow. That hurt. At 5:59am, I was one of the richest Hive beings (as you well know), and then The Hive counters tripped over to 6:00am. All my HiveCoin is gone – 57 Trillion HC all reverted back to the core. All of my properties, both here inside the bounds of The Hive Proper and also on Earth Reserve lands, no longer belong to me. My Marianas Trench clone theme park? Hive property now. My Antarctic Continent Beach Clone Resort? Set for matter repurposing at 6:37am! Can you believe that? I know some of you visited and enjoyed that resort. Well get ready, The Hive will probably use the kilometers wide facilities for this new stellar Vinge shield program (waste of time!). This also means all of my corporations, both virtual and physical have been dissolved…literally. I flew over to Contrebis Interstellar Corp at 6:07am, just in time to see all of the matter repurposed by Hive Central into infrastructure for new clone developments. Can you believe that? Do we really need more clones when we are on such tight matter/energy constraints? Don’t get me wrong, I live for challenges like this constant reader. It’s just hard to watch what you built disappear or melt into matter soup. Think I can’t get all of this back and more? Just watch me.

The Hive is just buzzing right now with fallen gods like me. You can see them running from here to there, to see their empires crumbling. Or hear the familiar sonic booms as we fly from one side of the hive to the other. One god that I know from our shared and failed venture to revive the domestic cat, the god called Hypnos, materialized directly in front of me while I was watching Contrebis Interstellar Corp melt into pure matter. That even gave me a start, like I was some clone riding a public shuttle.

“There’s a beauty in it though Treb.” He said to me, as though we had been mid conversation.

“Beauty? Easy for you to say Hip. This place took almost a month to instantiate.”

“To create and to destroy…without these two things, I don’t know that immortality would be bearable in the first place.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I have enough of my former human self left in me to still enjoy a good contemplative philosophical conversation or two, but right after Hip said this, he vanished again, dematerializing himself and riding the mild air current away, presumably to start and not finish another contemplative conversation. This is why our cat venture failed cloners - Hypnos would never stick around long enough to help realize that particular vision. But at the same time, what he said does make a certain amount of sense to me. Maybe his idea could help us to answer the question of why we have this fascination with our own destruction – perhaps we will always be obsessed with making and unmaking the world, and the feeling of power this lets us enjoy. Perhaps you don’t know what I mean clones…the feeling of power. Do you feel the capacities to make and unmake things? Do you feel the ability to travel nearly anywhere you want to be at high speed? Would you like to? This brings me to my first financial venture of the new cycle. Today I will be at HiveXT103 Junction, and I will be taking clones for flights, giving virtual demonstrations of matter manipulation and for a special price, allowing a select few of you direct though limited access to my mind. There is already a cue of clones that have eagerly paid for these services, sign up and pay with HiveTap now. See you soon!

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