Soon™ Is Now
Posted By: Forrest of B.orgDate: 7/25/04 3:19 a.m.

"You are destiny."

A saw these words in a vision, or they were spoken to me in a dream. I know I've always been a daydreamer, always reflecting on the past, and musing on things that may never be, but lately these visions have been so much more vivid. Whole nightmares of doomed worlds and alien gods and demons, flashing behind my eyes in an instant like another life I might have lived. And here I am now, daydreaming about my daydreaming. Metadreaming. Heh.

The deja vu is worse as well. Everything I do I have done before, but somehow differently. At least this place is new. Never in a hundred years would I expect to find myself on K'lia, the last world of the now-extinct S'pht, and least of all to be upon it in orbit around Earth. But then again, never in almost a hundred years did I expect anything, since the past 94 I skipped entirely.

Twenty-nine oh-five. Seems like just yesterday it was 500 years ago... the last time I saw the cities of Mars, before climbing into stasis for a three-century tour of the stars. The last time I'll ever see them again, seeing how they're all molten and twisted slag lying amidst the dusty red sands by now. They say we won the war but it seems to me that we just lost the least. Sure, the Pfhor empire is shattered and their civilization forever decimated. Sure, the S'pht are gone entirely, put down to end the last of S'bhuth's madness. But still here we are, one ruined world left, and clinging to this unnatural second moon as our only hope for salvation. Something tells me this isn't the way that things were meant to turn out.

Apparently enough people agree with that sentiment that it was worth spending a quarter century of a whole civilization's thoughts and resources finding some way to make it right. Of course if you knew that all around and below you lay the greatest technology the universe had ever seen, magic left behind by the Jjaro that could unravel the very fabric of space and alter the course of history, I suppose nearly anyone would find a few decades of research well worth the effort. And to think if it weren't for the message that I helped send 92 years earlier, all their efforts would have been for nought.

Leela. The poor girl deserved better than the fate that befell her. But her legacy, streaking at light-speed through the stars, warning man of a threat now passed, rekindled new hope, for she spoke also of the Battleroids at Tau Ceti IV. Battleroids the likes of which had not been seen since I left Mars.

How quaint that once again it is my kind that is called upon in time of need. Battleroids have always been used as the last resort since our invention, but I have to say that this definitely is a new and novel use. The Cybernetic Junction, core of all Jjaro technology and apparently sitting right at the heart of every Mk IV ever built. A "surrogate soul", as one of the techs put it. Not a comforting thought, to think that the most essential core of my being is something not even human; and now even the rest of me is less human, with all the new Mk V upgrades. But they are nothing revolutionary, just the simple march of technology. The real innovation here is Hathor.

A Mark IV like myself, my sister you might say, one of the nine I left to die when Durandal took me from Tau Ceti. The only one whose parts survived enough for any recovery. Her Cybernetic Junction, the core of her mind, is the new core of K'lia's systems. She is the one who deciphered how the Jjaro technology functions: to transfer subspace information, or transport the Junction's perceived host, to any point across space, and to any moment in time. The power to shape reality.

It was Hathor who coordinated the first efforts to change history; sending tactical data to ourselves in the past, at least in the timeframe where we could receive it. It was she who determined that nothing could save us from the effects of S'bhuth's madness. Why he went mad is still a mystery. What could drive such an ancient mind to believe that the suicide of himself and his species was the only hope of salvation? It left mankind with no real choices - to let S'bhuth proceed on his kamikaze mission against the Pfhor and take man's greatest allies with him, or to destroy him and be forced to put down the mad and mindless S'pht ourselves. Without Leela's aid they wouldn't have even had the option of stopping him - and Leela might have survived, though experiment showed that was of little help with the S'pht gone mad and useless.

It was Hathor who remembered me. One out of ten missing from the colony when the Pfhor nuked it down to bedrock. She tracked me to Lh'owon through the accounts of Robert Blake and his men. She scanned S'bhuth's old databanks, now adjacent to her mind, and found sensor logs from a S'pht'Kr ship at the Last Battle of Lh'owon. She found me, standing there aboard a Jjaro spacestation, reading the last words from Durandal I suspect I'll ever see. "Go," he said, and so I went - picked up by Hathor's ansible call and dragged through somewhere outside time to this alien moon over a ruined Earth nearly a hundred years in the future. If I keep skipping whole centuries like this I may live to see the end of time.

I have to admit, it has been pleasant to be back amongst mankind again. Besides the repairs, upgrades and vacation, experience has made them all wiser and kinder to people like Hathor and I. "Marcus", they call me, instead of a number. Though even that is hardly a name - Marcus Victor Mjolnir. Mark V Mjolnir. Still a make and model after all these centuries, but at least they allow me the illusion that I retain some remnant of humanity. And once again, it seems that I am their only hope. Maybe those visions were right, that stuff about Destiny and all; but I can't let the idle thoughts of an overactive imagination go to my head. I've always been a soldier, ever since Thermopylae. I've always fought for that which I thought was most right. And I know that this is the right cause to fight for. This future was not meant to be.

Hathor and I are to return to Marathon, back to the year 2794. There we will find our past selves and the others, and bring them forward to this time. After the same upgrades and rest that I have been given here, we will all return to the past again, to key junctures in history, surgically altering the timeline to create a future free from the Pfhor; K'lia and what's left of mankind here can than transport over to the new timeline. What I will do then, with no great adversary to fight, is a question I am still left wondering; but I'm sure I'll be needed for something.

I can hear them calling for me now. Hathor is ready for departure. She's been delaying the start of the mission for weeks now, much to the chagrin of the leadership around here, and refuses to tell anyone why. But she's in control of K'lia's systems and there's little that they can do, so they tolerate her insistance on leaving at this exact time. It seems nobody else has noticed that she simply has a flare for melodramatic timing.

You see, we're leaving at 8:20 AM this morning, on the 25th of July, 2905. Exactly one hundred and eleven years ago, the Pfhor attack on Marathon began.

And history has never been the same...

// Decoding message from host "Hathor" @ klia.ai.core \\

Hello Marcus.

I see that you're all ready to leave. You shouldn't need more than your standard sidearm and a few extra batteries. We won't be gone long on this trip. I can tell the upper brass is anxious to see us get moving (utterly missing the whole concept that we have literally all the time in the universe), but before we're off there's a few last-minute modifications I've got for your cyber-neural adjunct program, and I thought I should tell you about them before we dive into the fray.

The first new feature is an adaptation of the visual override, the system used for automatic text translation. I've configured your sensors to detect energy sources capable of recharging the power batteries for your internal systems, and programmed your adjunct's visual override to create a hue overlay so you can more easily identify them. On the Marathon this shouldn't be a problem anyway, since chargers are clearly labeled, but once we've got the rest of the team and are travelling further afield, I think you'll find it quite handy.

Energy sources that charge up one battery level are color-coded orange; energy sources that charge two battery levels are color-coded green; and energy sources that charge three levels are coded to magenta. I've also taken the liberty to include detection of oxygen sources if we should find ourselves in vacuum a lot. Oxygen outlets anywhere will be overlaid with blue.

The second, and far more important new feature is the reactivation of your alien pattern buffer interfaces. I'm sure the thought of charging into alien territory with no second chances wasn't appealing to you in the first place, but the boys in charge insisted on deactivating Durandal's enhancements when they did your Mark V upgrades. They figure you've never needed to recover from a pattern buffer anyway, so why risk the chance that some aliens might use your stored pattern to build some new weapon able to counter you?

I found this rather suspicious, the whole notion that you've never needed to recover from a saved pattern. No insult to your skill at all, but the odds of anyone surviving the battles you've fought alive are once in more years than this universe will last. But then I thought back on my own history, what little of it I can remember... and the old Battleroid combat records attest to my memory's accuracy. No Battleroid who has ever used a pattern buffer has needed to be recovered from one. Indeed, no Battleroid who ever used a pattern buffer one has ever died in anything but catastrophic, unavoidable circumstances such as the return of the Pfhor to Tau Ceti.

Those who never buffed themselves, however, died quite frequently. I took it upon myself to research this; the correlation is beyond a statistical anomaly and some sort of causation must be at play. And indeed, I discovered that there was most definitely causality at play here, but in a far more complicated way than normally meant by the word.

You see, there seems to be some sort of interaction between the pattern buffering process and the functioning of the Cybernetic Junction. I understand it's already been explained to you how the Junction functions, the internal low-level AI processes which somehow identify and bond with the host body or, in my case now, host network. It appears that the Junction also identifies with your buffed pattern, but only temporally at the moment of transfer. That instant that you buffed yourself is forever frozen as a part of "you", as your Junction perceives it; and when the rest of "you" is destroyed, your core consciousness bound up in the Junction defaults to that frozen moment in time. You find yourself with nothing more than clairvoyance or a sense of deja vu. You continue life from that moment on, but the other life that you might have lived and died in still haunts you, and guides you in this new timeline. To the outside world, you never died; you merely buffed your pattern and continued on, impossibly knowledgeable of things yet to come.

The practical upshot of this is that the leaders here have allowed me to add pattern buffer interfaces to your cyber-neural adjunct, so you can now interface with alien pattern buffers again. The adjunct will, however, immediately access and delete the pattern, because you do not need it; only the buffering process is required for the interaction to have it's effects. This has solved the security concerns of those in charge, and provides you with a continued tactical advantage over the enemy.

The downside of this interaction, however, is that pattern-buffered Battleroids who die in unavoidable circumstances are doomed to begin again at the last time they buffed their pattern, and live out the remainder of their lives until they once again die. I am still to this day haunted by the repeated lives and deaths I suffered before the Pfhor returned to Tau Ceti, many fates blurring together into one horrid, never-ending nightmare. Only my recovery and reactivation here on K'lia - though far from a perfect life this is - has saved me from that damnation. All the others at Tau Ceti still suffer the same fate, as much as such time-sensitive words can be used in this transtemporal context. But by recovering them and bringing them back here with us, we may spare at least those eight that fate, and in that sense you may consider our mission a rescue operation as well.

It's getting close to departure time, and I want to make history at just the right moment. I'm sure only you get the significance of it, but it's been fun to frustrate those who think they can tell us what to do and when.

One last thing to remember before we leave; once I am sorted into your internal network, I will need you to access a terminal in order for me to communicate with you. Just because I'm running around the wires inside of you doesn't mean I can interface directly with your brain. Find the nearest terminal when we get to Marathon and I'll transfer a proxy program over and run my signal through that from here.

8:20 AM. It's time.

\\ Message ends //

....Beyond Infinity Lies Destiny....

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Pre-2004 Posts


Soon™ Is NowForrest of B.org 7/25/04 3:19 a.m.
     Yahooooooooooo! *NM*Bob-B-Q 7/25/04 5:45 a.m.
     Re: Soon™ Is NowAdam Ashwell 7/25/04 5:46 a.m.
           Re: Soon™ Is NowAdam Ashwell 7/25/04 5:47 a.m.
                 Re: Soon™ Is Nowblake37 7/25/04 6:30 a.m.
                       Re: Soon™ Is Nowukimalefu 7/25/04 8:54 a.m.
                             Re: Soon™ Is NowForrest of B.org 7/25/04 9:50 a.m.
                                   Eternal is on the News!ukimalefu 7/26/04 1:40 p.m.
                                         Re: Eternal is on the News!Forrest of B.org 7/26/04 7:37 p.m.
                                               Eternal Hype vs RubiconsErnie 7/30/04 8:32 a.m.
                                                     Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsForrest of B.org 7/30/04 11:44 a.m.
                                                     Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsYossarian 7/30/04 12:24 p.m.
                                                           Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsForrest of B.org 7/30/04 12:54 p.m.
                                                                 Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsAnonymous Coward 01 8/1/04 2:35 p.m.
                                                                       Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsForrest of B.org 8/1/04 3:39 p.m.
                                                     Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsAnonymous Coward 01 8/1/04 2:38 p.m.
                                                           Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsForrest of B.org 8/1/04 3:40 p.m.
                                                                 Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsBlayne 8/1/04 4:57 p.m.
                                                                       Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsForrest of B.org 8/1/04 8:09 p.m.
                                                                 Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsSteve Levinson 8/1/04 7:36 p.m.
                                                                       Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsMr. Cactus 8/1/04 9:57 p.m.
                                                                             Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsForrest of B.org 8/2/04 9:46 a.m.
                                                                                   Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsMr. Cactus 8/2/04 4:59 p.m.
                                                     Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsOri 8/2/04 9:00 p.m.
                                                           Re: Eternal Hype vs RubiconsAdam Ashwell 8/3/04 2:48 a.m.
                                                                 Re: Eternal review *sploilers*blake37 8/3/04 5:39 a.m.
                                                                       Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Adam Ashwell 8/3/04 6:38 a.m.
                                                                             Re: Eternal review *sploilers*blake37 8/3/04 6:47 a.m.
                                                                                   Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Adam Ashwell 8/3/04 6:53 a.m.
                                                                                         Re: Eternal review *sploilers*blake37 8/3/04 6:57 a.m.
                                                                                               Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Mr. Cactus 8/3/04 8:38 a.m.
                                                                                                     Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Forrest of B.org 8/3/04 8:55 a.m.
                                                                                                           Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Adam Ashwell 8/3/04 8:56 a.m.
                                                                                                                 Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Forrest of B.org 8/3/04 11:51 a.m.
                                                                       Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Forrest of B.org 8/3/04 8:51 a.m.
                                                                             Re: Eternal review *sploilers*blake37 8/3/04 8:58 a.m.
                                                                                   Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Adam Ashwell 8/3/04 9:02 a.m.
                                                                                         Re: Eternal review *sploilers*blake37 8/3/04 9:03 a.m.
                                                                                               Re: Eternal review *sploilers*Forrest of B.org 8/3/04 9:25 a.m.
                                                                                                     did she get to name it? :-) *NM*blake37 8/3/04 9:33 a.m.
                                                                                                           Re: did she get to name it? :-)Forrest of B.org 8/3/04 9:43 a.m.
                                                                                                                 Re: did she get to name it? :-)blake37 8/3/04 11:03 a.m.
                                                                                                                       crap, it was supposed to be a giant smily face *NM*blake37 8/3/04 11:06 a.m.
                                                                                                                             But it isn't!!! *NM*Boomer 8/3/04 12:16 p.m.

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