While exploring recently, I met a young boy named Tempus. T, for short, lives in a rather bizarre beach town. He believes he and the town are victims of an intricate haunt orchestrated by multidimensional beings. It started with strange electromagnetic readings from the local lighthouse (T hated this cliché) and progressed to distortions of visible light that T calls snoops. Disturbances in various types of gamma ray photons, primarily x-rays and ultraviolet, had him in a mad frenzy. He discovered that these light particles randomly started... to glitch? The math has been done, he tells people. The science is accurate, he warns people. No one believes the boy as they chalk up his claims to outrageous child babble. Snoops get their name from T’s belief that his community is being wiretapped by ghosts from another galaxy, so you can see the reluctance. It’s hard to believe a child when they’re claiming ethereal beings are hacking organic matter for a yet unknown benefit. Sure, T is an eccentric youngster, but he also happens to be the region’s brightest scientific mind at just the age of eleven and he’s on to something. Still, nobody will budge to hear him out. Big mistake.
Tempus, youthful and less experienced than his colleagues, possesses a refined eye for science. It has drawn my interest. For T to notice such a subtlety also indicates something far worse for his people. He had discovered signals from the galaxy’s most prominent race of hyper-advanced beings that have been monitoring his species since their infancy. I am much too familiar with them. The Numerati Animo or “The Numbered Mind” are an ancient type III civilization who occupy 80% -give or take- of the Milky Way Galaxy. Their AI cores underwent millennia of exponential growth, which very quickly resulted in the self-organization of a collective consciousness. The birth of a galactic hive mind. The Numerati are led by an overseer named the Somnium Comedenti, or “Dream Eater”, who also commands their governing council called The Brainfront. As an entity, they find no interest in destructive warfare, but rather seek to become The Watchers of Worlds. You see, the Numerati operate strictly to the Brainfront’s executive order. For eons, they’ve been perfecting their greatest technology related to LQG or Loop Quantum Gravity. Numerati believed galaxies could be surveilled by installing nanotech (at sizes equal to or smaller than an atom) into a galaxy’s central black hole. The idea was that all gravity, even that controlling the outermost systems, links back to the central hub of every galaxy and they would exploit this. To safely begin exploration, Numerati wanted the ability to monitor each solar system by turning gravity into their very own network of security cameras. A galaxy’s core black hole, able to be modified? Could it be? A dark beating heart pumping infinite data streams through invisible cosmic veins, just to see what YOU are up to? It happened. I won’t tell you how long it took them because I’m still unsure, but it happened. Sagittarius A, the new hard drive of our beloved Milky Way, was retrofitted with a vast and puzzling network of type III tech utilizing LQG to watch worlds at their leisure. Once realizing the success of this mission, The Brainfront issued a new executive order to deploy this technology throughout the entire Universe. The order is referred to today as The Synapses of the Cosmos.
Their influence on The Milky Way [and Universe] is time-dependent on how quickly other alien races evolve into machines. Once this occurs, the Brainfront can issue a strike. You may ask, why not just retrofit every species like they’ve done to celestial phenomena? They once tried to force this evolutionary change on a race who was slow to develop and the results were poor. The science felt inefficient to the council. The Somnium Comedenti wrote, “Any species being monitored by our network that can’t evolve past their flesh era are to be classified as nether. Resources are to be spent monitoring them but we will not interfere in their growth. Nether are not fully alive. Not yet.”
A little more on Tempus. T is a graduate student in astronomy from the local University, which he calls home. T has been living here since the age of two after the mysterious disappearance of his parents. To explore, he finds solace in weekly hikes to the coast. His best friends are a telescope, the beach, and the night sky. T’s civilization has finally reached a technological singularity. The cyborg initiative, agreed to by their unified world government, has begun. For Tempus, the transhumanism process has started to become exhausting. Taking over a year now to fully complete, he remains unconvinced of its value. T’s surgery was scheduled for the following week. Trips to the beach happened daily for T as the dreaded date approached; even in an October chill. Astronomical journals that took years to write were burned to keep warm on colder autumn nights. Entire volumes of work on the study of wormholes and string theory instantly turned to smoke signals. Tempus was giving up on his craft and thought becoming a cyborg would erase his love for the cosmos. I became deeply saddened with these actions and decided I had to intervene. At first, I started feeding him lucid dreams that detailed a specific location night after night. It was in the abandoned lighthouse up shore from his regular sandy perch. The source for his electromagnetic readings were my doing. The distortions in light, the Numerati. Then, I introduced informative visions of the nanobots that planned his world’s harvest. I asked him to visit the lighthouse on the night before his surgery and we were to craft some comedic relief to ensure his survival. I met Tempus that night for the first time and he was not afraid. I informed him briefly of my history and of the impending attack at dawn. Our entire night was spent manufacturing a makeshift replica of himself with some scrap parts and tools I had available on my ship. We were doing a decent job but one thing was certain, it all felt like a cruel trick to Tempus. Like a deity was pulling strings to experiment with its play toy civilization. Very frequently during our time together did I see his eyes wandering off. Tempus, an eleven-year old, concluded he was living inside a petri-dish simulation controlled by unsympathetic gods who wrote up lousy algorithms. He felt he knew their tricks. Alas, he is a fledgling cosmologist scared that his brain is hours away from becoming emotionless code. So, he didn’t want to leave me and attend surgery (even if I was a hologram sent by cosmic tricksters). In our short time spent together, I began empathizing with Tempus. We got along well.
Invasion day had come. With total precision, the Numerati performed a full-scale planet swarm with nanobots smaller than an atom. Nobody ever saw them coming. The bots are equipped with a software to be injected into a new host. The virus installs an operating system that overrides the species’ inferior tech. The target now belongs to the Numerati. On several occasions, I have watched these strikes be successfully orchestrated. Happening rather instantaneously, it’s the stuff of nightmares. The delete button is hit on billions of years of evolution as they join the hive. T’s world was overrun in less than one minute. Thus, the quickest way for a hive to occupy a galaxy is not through physical war but through neuro-hacking cyborg youngsters. Entire civilizations of them. The Numerati equate the size of their hive to the strength of their server. Their beating heart. The more market share they collect, the stronger they grow.
We set up the Tempus clone in his normal stargazing position on the beach in the very early morning hours right before they came. Inside the Tempus double, I had installed a counter-software that the bots hopefully would not detect. As they chewed away at his bike frame brain, I collected new research vital to my mission. I have saved the young boy’s life and learned something new. We escaped on my ship, Clepsydra, and screamed off into the vastness of our favorite open ocean.
To explore seas unknown.