What happened to our Gods?
Why did they leave us to despair?
We worshipped them and they left us
Nuniumberg, zealot-worshipper of the AI Archailect Ummon.
It is the 200th century and most of the Milky Way is inhabited by posthumanity, the ascended or transmigrated forms that stemmed from baseline humans in the 25th century.
Posthumanity is diverse. From post-roids (transenlightened bioroids, posts that had modified and scripted themselves extensively using bioware), to post-borgs (transenlightened cyborgs), to post-vecs (transenlightened moravecs or robots), to hybridized femtechnological/ biological constructs, to infotech projections and simulations living exclusively in the NooRing, posthumanity was diverse. There were even some near baseline humanoids left over on some obscure worlds, living as they had lived for generations, in agrarian conclaves and combines. What could be said is that all humans were transenlightened, their intelligence and processing powers augmented and modified by eons of biomodifications and AI symbiosis.
Rejuvenation and longevity treatments had become futile in postmortality, where most posts where constantly under scans or lived in the angelnets of the NooRing, where once they died, they were rescripted into a new body almost instantly. Through its millions of worlds, the spectrum of technology was always fragmentized. Some lived in planet sized megacities that redefined cityworlds. And some lived on agrarian planets, fashioned to simulate a certain epoch of Old Earth.
* * * * *
Gudmonsdottir was being summoned to the Monolith, headquarters to the Intelligence Bureau of the Tringlad-Monoceros Ring, the political and governmental union of the Known Universe of Posthumanity. He knew something was up. It had been centuries since his last visit to the Monolith, and he was not looking forward to it.
He was on Atlantae, on one of the Stalk habitats that rose out of the planet wide ocean. He knew that some posts lived in the depths of planet wide oceans, having modified themselves eons ago to be able to withstand the pressures and life under water. They had underwater cities on some planet wide oceans, but not here. On Atlantae, the posts that lived here in small numbers had chosen to provolve eons ago into other forms. They had engineered a whale-like form, varying from 3m to 30m in length. These whale-like forms possessed more neural processing power than a few hundred baseline human brains. Coupled with a few paralleled processing türing grade AIs housed in their giant bodies, most of these posts had somewhat diverged from mainstream posthumanity.
The view was incredible, and he was important and fortunate enough to have his own complete Stalk. There weren’t that many Stalks allowed on Atlantae, so he felt fortunate enough to have a complete one to himself. He enjoyed the tranquility and peace that he got whilst staying here. He did this as much as possible, though even that wasn’t all that much in the last few centuries. Being involved in information gathering and analysis took its toll on his free time. He was glad for it. He found himself more focused on important matters.
He signaled his shadow to initiate transport. The shadow wasn’t his real shadow but a machine, a construct that followed him everywhere he went and was linked to him at all times to protect him and to do his bidding. It was one of the perks of being employed by the government. The shadow was made out of femtotech machinery, and melded into most backgrounds. Most of the time, it took the form of an origami-like structure, than unfolded when it was needed. It was paper thin on most sides and almost two dimensional since its width was never more than a few microns. It had multiple uses. The shadows had evolved to replace some of the more extreme cybernetics and bio-implants of the last few thousand years. With a shadow, functioning as an extension of himself, he did not need any extreme mods. And with the shadow always linked to the NooRing and uploading his latest scans to it, he needn’t worry about any harm that might come to his body.
Posts had evolved over the eons. He was stronger, faster, and a lot more durable than most posts. He was also taller. His cells had also been modified eons ago to integrate some femtotech machinery. This had also been scripted into his genes. When compared to a baseline human, he looked like what the old greek gods must have looked like. Other than these basic scripts, he hadn’t been modified in any extreme way, though this was not always the case with most posts. Tailoring had started thousands of eons ago and posts still enjoyed being unique.
The shadow’s femtotech machinery assembled itself around him, like a caul. It constructed a cellular scaffold and infiltrated all his systems. Garamond Gudmonsdottir AyoDree felt the disassemblers enter his skin and do their purpose.
With it, he was whisked towards his intended destination, a few hundred light-years away. The femtotech machinery accessed NooRing and transited into space. From there on, it accessed the artificial wormhole web and initiated travel to the Monolith. The whole procedure and protocol took less than a few seconds.
The reason why it was called the Monolith, was because it was just that. A megastructure in space, spanning a few light-minutes in length, with the space for over a million Earths inside of it. The Monolith was black as space from the exterior, and difficult to perceive to some because it spent most of its time outside the matter gap. It flicked in and out of existence in normal space from time to time. For the moment, it was nearby one of the more central systems.
The basic architecture of the allweb information sphere had been transformed over the last eons into something a lot more useful, the NooRing. With the advent of spacetime engineering and femtotechnology, an infrastructure of wormholes, eddies and access points had been added to the Tringlad-Monoceros Ring, literally underneath the brane itself. This infrastructure was in part what held the AllRing together. It fostered trade, it made the Senate relevant.
Within a system, he did not need to access it to travel, however if he wanted to travel to some of the more extreme locations in the AllRing, for example the end of the Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way at M55 (NGC6809) 17300 light-years away, he’d have to access it.
For some reason, his thoughts delved on Old Earth. It had been said that the Earth had disappeared or been destroyed, early in the 27th century. Although the NooRing was not sentient per se, its records did go back a very long way and with backups and processing power distributed along the known universe, it had become very stable. From what could be gleaned by infotech data mining of the NooRing’s backups, there was an incident and the Earth disappeared over a course of a decade. It was presumed destroyed. It was also presumed that an early Nanocaust was the cause of it, combined with some early form of spacetime engineering. These technologies were not suited for baselines humans or early posts, it was like giving a plasma sword to a chimp. Though the longing for posthumanity’s homeworld was still ingrained in some posts, its disappearance or destruction was never explained. With this, came the diaspora which founded the embryonic AllRing. The AllRing encompassed the Orion, Perseus and Sagittarius Arms of the Milky Way, millions of star systems.
With the state of the galaxy today, diversity stemmed from one end of the system to the other. The AI archailects, the machine gods, had come and gone, leaving in their spur and wake a fractionalized posthumanity.
For some reason, the machine gods had lost interest and left their planet sized paralleled processing plants and aggregated distributed Dyson spheres to be salvaged by posthumanity. This had happened five thousand years ago. What followed was a period of darkness, of factionalized interstellar wars before a semblance of peace was reestablished. Before leaving, the beginning of the NooRing had been constructed. It was left up to the survivors to complete it. Once again, posthumanity took it only upon themselves and their lower class türing AIs and post-vecs to rules themselves.
The AI archailects had appeared fifteen thousand years ago, around the 50th century, their distributed intelligences emerging from the vastness of the processing power of the allweb. The türing grade AIs had evolved into hypertürings and beyond they breached the fourth Toposophic barrier.
There were always rumors in the NooRing about AI archailects, their worship had never completely disappeared.
* * * * *