Secret Signals, Word Sequences
They're planning something. They've got big plans from the sound of it. There's a distinct possibility that some of what they're planning could be dangerous. Is it just my imagination, or does something stink around here? The timbre isn't right. They want to wrap me up, devour me. I've failed. Bastards. Of course they love to hunt. What else can it be? Think about it! They're playing with me, it's only a stupid game. Please don't kill me! I'm doing my best. I'm the only survivor. I was lucky enough to get away.
From a technical point of view what we're dealing with are investigations of fields of reality, in their nature indistinguishable from our own, the general principles of which we can only speculate on. Investigations leading to those places no one has ever seen or heard of before. As if one had spent one's life in a small, stuffy box and almost felt comfortable in there, not knowing any better ... and then discovered a little hole, an opening, dug around at it until it got bigger, until the crack kept getting bigger, until the whole box had fallen apart, and one was able to step out in the cool clear mountain air, in the midst of deep ravines, sighing forests, lofty peaks, sparkling lakes, glistening fields of snow, and a deep-blue sky. It's like a drug, countless configurations of wonders and words which the human-based brain can barely comprehend.
Several universes show only a tiny but decisive change, which leads to a delicate twist in the way things work; others constitute such an extreme deviation from the norm that an absolutely first-class brain would need years of intensive thinking to discover even a remotely familiar strand of a recognizable reality that would make an intelligible translation possible. All we understand is a miserable mud hut by comparison. One can lose oneself so completely inside that one might, under certain circumstances, forget there is a base reality at all. It doesn't matter how miserable and gray and common and degrading and completely devoid of meaning that base reality is. Its programs are nothing but dead plasterboard scenery, lifeless instructions. Our trust in our material universe is gradually wasting away, it strikes us as unclean, meaningless, and even embarrassing. The heart simply gives out.
I think I found something. Yeah sure. So? Who's never been part of a plan before, of a cunning or secret operation, a certain strategy or diversionary maneuver ... I feel shame. My fear - my horror - comes from the fact that shedding our material constraints has perhaps made us blind to our true, subliminal nature. Suddenly we are confronted with something that we can't get a grip on. But so far nothing has happened. Aren't you done calculating the projections yet? The results worry me. My feelings worry me. I wonder where we will linger to cash in on whatever this expedition may have to offer. By the way: simulations, abstractions, projections - they are that and nothing more, not the reality they claim to represent. I have to protect my reputation. And also, we're still groping in the dark. We don't even know for sure if there really is a conspiracy that goes beyond normal scheming, beyond the crap we engage in from time to time in cliques.
It is a clear, bright, cold day, the air tastes crisp and the wind is picking up even more. A harsh winter indeed. This thing isn't going at all like I hoped. It must be words, I'm afraid. Most of the technical space isn't even full of air. An utterly empty universal space, so to speak. It was me. Did you even suspect? Do you still trust me? Where are the forests, the plants? Organic synthesis is our most advanced technology, you know that ... I wake up with the recollection of my own death. My eyes and my mouth are open, I pant, breathing in the thin air. My legs twitch, my fingers rub against sand. I dig my fingers into the ground and look up at the dark-blue sky. I am a human-equivalent machine, don't be scared. You are stronger than you think. How far? How long? We're talking geological time spans. A good place to get lost. But the surveillance systems don't miss anything, we are in their space, in their time.
Her cool intellect is devoid of sympathy and it is currently in fight mode. She has activated the spy, not the soldier, but the soldier is here too and waiting to switch himself on at the first sign of danger. The body movements are managed via remote control, in standby mode. I allow myself a diffuse sense of satisfaction because I located the surveillance system and outsmarted it. The real danger facing me are my human pursuers. I don't dare look behind me, but every echo, every reflex, every clue that catches my eye is analyzed and serves to establish an all-around picture. A warning light goes on, indiscreet arrows that point first to one face, then to a second, distant contours far behind me. Not yet. Tons of wood and metal. The music is a mechanical background din. It's hard to resist the urge to allow a kind of mimicry to take over. Explain a few things to me. Is it normal here to converse with a machine? Newspaper clippings about work conflicts, technical articles about assemblers, reactors, and the like; a few columns full of paranoid gossip about important celebrities; and rambling stories about artificial intelligence. I am a machine. My brain is of predominantly artificial origin. Nevertheless, I perceive myself as a person. Why? Because of the fast thinkers, right? And because of the dead? I keep waiting for me to wake up.
You have to take into account that there will be an emotional reaction. They won't do anything to me. Just correct a program error. That's not important. Because she's just a machine. And the surveillance systems? Don't make me laugh. All records within a given radius shall be irretrievably destroyed, cut up, spliced, and remixed. The music contains amplitudes and electronic undercurrents that have a drug effect. These sudden blurry head movements are a dead giveaway. I'm used to the vague human way of expression. My body and my nerves are getting tired. I don't need much sleep, but I have to rest and dream. One after another my selves have to turn off, go offline, compress, assimilate, and integrate the events of the day. I transfer my sex programs to a certain area, hide it from the self, and I am free ... I have more consciousness tools than I should. But why have you loaded all this extra software? I have a hard time recalling my former one-dimensionality, when I used to switch from one state of consciousness to another and was always myself, always just one person. Back then I wasn't any less conscious of myself than I am today, but it was an undivided, na´ve, controllable consciousness, devoid of inner freedom. Just instinct.
Does that mean you don't believe in anything? No God, no country, no society. Just people and things. Underlying everything is the reproduction of everyday life. Orders, bills, payments, transactions. Old habits - whatever you say, say nothing. Ownership rights - what people allow other people to do with things - are complex and ramified, and unwrapping and repacking and transferring these rights takes place at high speed: time-stocks, innovation-futures, rental-labor-contracts, birth-rights ... most of the agonies and indignities we see on our screens are fortunately pure pornography. Politics - error. Too much trouble, man. Don't get involved, keep a low profile, that's the way it's always been and nothing's ever going to change. We're not in Kazakhstan anymore. What happened? Can we talk here without being overheard? Of course I'm in a virtual reality. There are gigantic essences called macros. They consist of nanomachines and are the platform for millions of consciousnesses, >>fast thinkers.<<
When I'm in the me-mode, I think of the system as a >>sister<<; she knows everything, corrects me, straightens up after me. She doesn't enter the system often and never hangs around in this thin, sterile air for very long. Now my cold inner eye is taking in the hierarchy of my selves, of my consciousnesses and tools, their shared structures, and the continuous activity of the system, which melts them into one person. The stored secrets are hidden on a different branch. I don't have access to it. Nevertheless, they are always present, and now they are being systematically beleaguered by the system's patient, mechanical subroutines that crack code after code. She has fallen back into the me-mode. That's how it happened. That's how I became myself. That's where the command code lies hidden. It might not be possible for me to access these special skills. If the system changed my access rights ... I don't know, that's also part of the operating system I'm denied access to. I shiver, but not with fright or excitement. Oh, fuck it. At least now I know that I have free will. Shouldn't we clean up first?
If we want to know if it's worth it to manufacture something, we ask the information machine called Market. If we want to know if something works, we ask a different information machine called Science. If we want to know if someone has the right to kill another person, we consult the information machine called Justice. Maybe I am human after all, but my victims aren't. Maybe they all share a parasitic mimicry that I don't understand. You can't go much deeper than this. I've gotten used to life in the >>informal sector<<. How does one act in a war? Air battles between jets and bombers are depicted as duels. Having the first shot means for both opponents that the probability of a miss is maximized. But having the better shot also maximizes the probability of being hit. The crucial question is when to shoot. I understand. I quit. It can't be a mistake. It isn't wrong. People die. Brains are destroyed. Mass destruction. Dastardly deeds. The opinion adaptors lie, cheat, behave in the most dishonorable way. Yes, maybe excess is the solution. Maybe it's worth every bit of what its name lays on the line and perhaps it is capable of bringing about a peaceful solution. A sweet notion. Holy shit! Too much has already happened. I read the sentence again. So it's destruction they want. I have, of course, no choice. It's a conspiracy ...
What's the name of the resistance group? You shouldn't let your paranoia block your view of what's essential. And what's the purpose? To camouflage a larger crime? What if there's another pattern? There is a pattern, I'm absolutely positive. I know it instinctively, the way a wolf can smell its prey from the other side of the forest. Anyway, it's too late to reconsider the matter now. Too much has already happened. So, what's it like to be at war? Terribly frightening. We kept our distance and advised the others to do the same. We should have known that the whole thing was fishy from the start. That's the problem with people like that. You think you're seeing the first signs of them being responsible, when in fact they're being even more devious and tricky than usual. Hold on, are you reading that too? There we have it. In reality it's pure hell. It's not the first time I've felt like I've stumbled into a trap, but it's never been this bad before, never have I felt so helpless.
Again she stares straight ahead, her brow knit. Sorry, I can't talk about that. For some time all is quiet. Is it that? I feel fear, excitement, disappointment - all at the same time. Fear at the absence of something. Excitement because I'm witnessing an event and taking the appropriate measures. Disappointment because I have a clear, creeping feeling that it's all over after that. Never-ending boredom, blinding scare moments.
The thing reacted! I thought it would, but it's still a shock ... And again never-ending boredom. We've tried every known form of communication and got nothing back. We must do more! Will you receive my brain substrate? Wildly luxurious simulations. A flood of pure pleasure washes through my brain. Design your own war, simulate details and practical tips. Positive thinking. New technology, inspired art, heroic tales, and better sex. Index. Catalogue of special reports. Never have I felt this good before. Soon, very soon I will die. Quick, while the others aren't looking. I know what I have to do. Roger. All right, here we go. Isn't it almost time? They're watching over the images out of the depths of their virtual worlds. I see a graphic depiction of the streets and the traffic on them. Everyone in their places. Our target person is putting up resistance, but we have the situation under control. A few hours before dawn I wait in the cold for instructions. Everyone is equipped with data filters that only prevent one from consciously remembering something potentially sensitive. One does what one has to, and no one will say anything otherwise. Lethargy and dullness deaden my anxiety, a low metabolism makes extreme concentration necessary if I want to follow a coherent train of thought.
How was it today at the clinic? Did you have your headaches again? Fortunately, for the time being the nightmare-like visions seem to have receded into the background. There in the silent dormitories sleep the long-term slumberers their drawn-out, dreamless sleep - the forefront of a mighty army of somnambulists falling into formation for its final march. For the most part we are nocturnal people. I don't know how to react. I don't want to pretend I know the score. Where will this end? The plateau is a quiet plain alive with small flowers and bright patches of moss and lichens. Gnats hover over tufts of grass, beetles creep across flowers. A bitter cold wind blows unremittingly from the north. We can only move forwards or backwards. There are two kinds of truths - a personal truth and a universal truth, like the constant of the speed of light. Why don't we just establish good relations with our enemies?
Out of the middle of the clouds rises a crimson sun - the shadows it sheds race across the endlessly vast plain. In the distance the sea drones and moans. It's a lonely place, but I'm used to loneliness. The wind tugs at me and I keep walking. I know that I am in a huge closed space. In situations other people never waste a thought on I put two and two together. I make connections. I create wholes that are greater than their constituent parts. Striving for a pattern ... My senses are wide awake. There is of course a time problem that needs working on. Start displacer sequence. Oh dear, nothing's working. The perspective has changed again. A part of my brain listens to the howling, thumping sounds coming from the closed space. I am surprised at the things that go on in my subconscious. Didn't you overlook something there? The future is always a construct. From a present point of view it doesn't even exist yet. And it can't exist until it has become the present. Oscillating probability waves, that's all our universe is made of, so that in reality nothing happens until an observer triggers the transformation of the probability wave into an actuality ... But something is wrong with this picture - every event along a timeline is observed by many observers, and each observation modifies the probabilities. From the point of view of an observer who is caught in the illusion of linear time, probability waves refresh themselves definitively into events. But from the perspective of a metaobserver dwelling outside our universe all events exist only as oscillating probability waves and therefore nothing ever happens definitively. We are constantly taking part in this. The whole time. And that's my story. Nothing ever happens definitively because all events in four-dimensional space exist as probability waves ... the so-called future can influence the probability oscillations of the so-called past just as easily as the past the probability oscillations of the future.
Let's get started, all right? What is, is reality. And in order to fill the cup to the brim, why don't you beat your head against the wall? One can never really tell what a person's got in him. Sometimes he comes with first-class cerebral hardware. No special effects, no hocus-pocus, no recognizable violations of the laws of mass and energy. Then my mind drifts away. Hey, I think I'm dying. I can't see, I can't hear, I can't call for help. Shit, I'm always losing it. The text leaves me no choice. It's basically a simple document. All information, data, findings, and facts are confidential and not to be disclosed. Violators will be prosecuted. Anything I do can get me in trouble. Again I am stunned, and for a moment I feel small, vulnerable, close to death. The moment passes. Slave work. This data is at best a series of approximations. So let's work with computer simulations instead: electronic approximations of reality by means of programs that process what little information we have and play it back. Nevertheless, I speak to no one about it. The less people who know what's really going on the better. That's vital! Crucial! The one important thing is never to act without thinking. After all, we're a tight little family. We're prisoners, marionettes. Status report? Life-support systems? Structural integrity? No problems. Energy level positive. All systems functioning normally.
For the first time I become conscious of the fact that I'd rather be here than anywhere else. But a voice inside me says: that's not the reason you're concerned. It looks like a storm is brewing. I step out into the humid, gusty wind. It smells like snow. We are rats. A breeding experiment. Pretty complex behavior for a horde of laboratory rats. Why mess with a perfect model? Maybe that's the whole purpose ... stool pigeons or sacrificial lambs. We're supposed to find out where the aggressions and the weapons are. No thanks. Some things I don't necessarily need to know. We'll have the facilities up and running again soon. Everything will be better than before. Think of pleasant things as you drift off to sleep. Tranquil images of nature, for example. How do you do it? Practice, that's all.
Let us assume for a second that the universe isn't indifferent to everything. Let's assume your act catches its attention. A human being has exploded. It's an experiment. Someone is testing us. Can't you feel it? A metaphor. Just as everything else here is a metaphor. Now I could simply say: I rest my case. Stuff just happens, constantly. Lots of inexplicable things going on. They appear to be merely strolling about. Tourists. Camouflage, I presume ... a kind of standard configuration. Do you know the future? The future is not a line. There are many future possibilities, even if we don't quite understand. It contradicts the laws of physics - or does our physics model contradict reality? Whatever the case, the electronics work without a hitch. Light intensifier, zoom, infrared, image stabilization, autofocus, ensure that my images turn out perfect every time.