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The End of All Things

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 7 months ago

This page is at Set in Stone status. Ratings Guide

History of the World in Brief

Now, on to how this all came about. In the current state of things, the entirety of the universe has been reduced to a single celestial body, which holds no more size than that of a small solar system. This spherical enclosure was created by the most technologically advanced beings of the time just prior to the collapse of the universe in a shallow hope that someday it would either repair itself (a second big bang) or a similar event might be possible to initialize from within the confines of the protective sphere. However, the sphere was also created partially in guilt for the part “humanity” had to play in the ultimate downfall of universal civilization.

 

Pundits and demagogues have always cried that eventually technology will be the death of all that breathes. We play with the toys of an insubstantial God, and when he sees what he has done, the payment for our crimes will be severe. Oddly enough, they were actually right to some degree. God never really made an appearance, but technology did manage to spell the end of all that was held dear. Using a powerful combination of machines, which acted upon the six fundamental forces of the universe, it was found that total energy subtraction and displacement was a possibility. In the blink of an eye, the total energy of a single point in space could be completely reduced to nothing and the sum total of this energy could be shifted to another local and converted to an alternate form. For a number of decades, this concept was simply a fanciful dream of theoreticians who conceived of a nearly limitless source of power for society. Literal dead zones of space which could have their energy displaced and used to power the cogs of industry. However, as will happen with any advanced (and properly motivated) society, this idea could only stay a dream for so long. A prototype of the device was constructed, which would be used to remove the energy from a protected section of space, far from the regions inhabited by sentient beings. Naturally, there were concerns among the scientific community: would it be safe? What might the effects of an entirely dead section of space be on the surrounding universe? Would they be able to control and properly channel the resulting energy surge? The backers and heads of the research project assured their doubters that all of these concerns were natural, but also unwarranted, as their best theoreticians assured them that the technology would be no more dangerous than the time honored techniques of fusion and zero point energy. Unfortunately, they were proven wrong on not just one, but all three counts.

 

In a sense, you could almost say the project was a success. A massive success. The energy yield from the first instant of operation of the machine was enormous, far beyond the projected potentials, and it just seemed to keep growing. In fact, the energy yield was found to grow exponentially, and in a short time the reason was uncovered. Not only had the energy from the test region of space been absorbed completely, but as this energy was removed, further energy and matter from the surrounding space fell into the disturbance in an attempt to right the balance, and at an alarming rate. In the span of a day, the region of absorbed space was the size of a planet. By the end of a week, it was the size of a solar system. In under a month the inhabitants of the universe found themselves looking into the face of a phenomenon which could spell the end of the entire cosmos.

 

As the disturbance continued to grow, it was reasoned by the leaders of a now frantic public, that the only way to stop their demise was to reintroduce the liberated energy from the disturbance back into it using the original machine. The machine itself could not simply be switched off at this point, as it had literally become wedged open, like a floodgate with the expanse of an ocean behind it. However, this column could be shifted and repositioned, so that its destination would be the center of the ever growing disturbance, thereby replacing the lost energy, and setting the universe once again to equilibrium. Immediately, this plan was put into action, and the column was directed into the aperture, with what seemed to be good initial results. The expansion of the distortion slowed dramatically, and the output of the column diminished to an imperceptible quantity. Rejoicing went up from all corners of creation, as the problem seemed to be solved. The machine was switched off, the concept of total energy relocation was abandoned as a possible research avenue, and in general, the events of that time were forgotten but for a small group of researchers who continued to investigate the warped region of space caused by the machine.

 

Nearly 100 years later though, the phenomena once again came to the forefront of the universal consciousness. In a startling breakthrough, a team of independent researchers found that, what had been assumed to be a universal truth of endless universal expansion was apparently no longer valid. Imperceptibly at first, but with increasing velocity, the boundaries of the universe were beginning to contract, and the space between particles to shrink.

 

All This Has Been Said Before, And All Will Be Said Again

To recap, the universe is gone except for a tiny point of life. This pocket of life was created by a vastly evolved and advanced version of humanity with the power to shape the very building blocks of the universe. Nothing else exists. Nothing.

 

Within this pocket of life survives a small collection of that which used to exist in the prior universe. Remnants of civilizations, smatterings of populations, and all that which could be saved before the end. Over time, this collection of life has come to think of the sphere as home, and in fact, to even forget that there was anything before. Due to the separated nature of the civilizations within the sphere based upon technological development, communication within the sphere has been limited. In addition, due to the violent and somewhat sudden nature of the displacement of many of the races, much of their sense of history and technology has been lost.

 

Legend of the Fall

This section is going to cover the various gods of the setting, how they came about, and what their interests, powers, domains, ect are. To explain the various personalities and their organization/interplay fully, it would probably be best to tell a continuation of the story detailed The End of All Things after it was realized that the universe was coming to an end and that little could be done to reverse the process.

 

For a number of years after the discovery was made, much of humanity's focus was on attempting to ascertain the origins of, and eventually right, the problem. This was a natural response and debatably the correct one, as it was felt that if they had the power to destabalize the universe, why shouldn't it be possible for it to be restabalized? However, as time went on and correction theory after correction theory was proven wrong or not feasible, a small sect of scientists and politicians began to attract followers within the government. Led by a Dr. Peresis, they postulated that while efforts to restablize space should continue, a second group should be preparing for the worst and begin investigating alternatives to salvage what little they could of civilization. Although their concerns were never given the light of public display or debate, for fear of the public response it would cause, a number of influential leaders offered them resources under the table in exchange for their safety should the group find a way to carry on.

 

Using these resources, and what able minds they could bring to their cause, they set about searching for a way to save as much as they could. What they found, through a bit of luck and the work of those before them, was that while technologies for stabalizing the universe as a whole were far from realizable, it should be possible to create a small pocket of stable space. This space would feed off of the vast energies around it using the energy displacement theories and maintain a habitat suitable for humanity's salvation.

 

Upon this discovery, work was begun almost immediately on the creation of such a space, and the matter of several unusable star systems was converted solely for this cause. Labor teams of botonists, power systems engineers, information and network specialists, terraformists, and structural engineers were all formed and put to work crafting a habitat to hold quintillions(10^18th) if not sextillions(10^21st) of people. However, even at such an immense size, this still measured but a minute fraction of the total population of the universe. In addition, due to the political climate at the time, and the doomday implications of what they were working on, much of this work had to be done in complete secrecy, and vast supply networks were created whereby whole planets worth of people and supplies were made to simply disappear from public records for use on the project.

 

In time though, the plan began to come together, and as a final culmination of their work, in a grand ceremony spanning several days, billions of workers watched with awe as an entire solar system of discrete satelites slowly formed together and solidified into a spherical body greater than any seen before. Their timing was auspicious as well, as the effects of the collapse had begun to accelerate alarmingly during construction. The habitat had naturally been constructed in as central a location as possible to aid in the evacuation of planets should it be necessary, and this proved fortuitous from a physical standpoint as well, since their location would be one of the last to feel the effects of the collapse in full force.

 

Fearing rightly that the end was upon them, the evacuation process was initiated and vast hibernation ships began to systematically travel the universe, gathering up those individuals, races, or societies which were deemed worthy of saving or beneficial for long term survival. Plant and animal extraction, led by the guidance of the botanical team, was also undertaken, with greenhouse ships turning whole sections of planets into desolate rock as they gathered what they needed. However, at long last this direct collection and selection could not go unnoticed, and numerous groups began to take an interest in what was transpiring at this haven. At first the inquiries were fairly benign, politicians demanding accountability and naysayers decrying their lack of faith, but as time wore on, and the situation became more dire, this attention took a drastic shift to the worse. What had been damnations of their doomsday words became desperate or forceful pleas to take them onboard.

 

This process reached a head with the influence of one Shenya Akil. Wherein all prior attacks upon the Sphere Group had been logic and empathy based, criticizing their worth as selectors of value in society, Akil's thrust was much more forceful, and demanded full access to the sphere for all who desired it. Naturally, this demand was refused, as the confines of the sphere were finite, and to make access equal for all would simply doom them all equally. However, Akil was not to be put off so easily, and in the final days of the fall, as the seething energy of a trillion suns rolled ever inward, a vast fleet of all those left behind bore down upon the sphere. Led by one of humanity's most famous military leaders, Franz Clovis, it had the stated goal of opening access to the sphere for all those who desired it. Fortunately, such a response had been forseen by Dr. Peresis and his team, and the sphere was not without defenses. In addition to a wide array of the most powerful weapons for its time, it also possessed the single most powerful energy displacement reactor ever known. It was still feared to use it as a weapon, for the danger of creating null space and impeading the hibernation ships that had yet to arrive, but as a shield it was without peer, negating all weapons which fell within its range. During the climax of this mighty conflict, the last of the hibernation ships were slated to arrive, speeding only hours before the last wave of destruction. Unfortunately, due to the blockade in place outside their sanctuary, many of them never arrived, appearing only to be vaporized before they could fall within the protection of the sphere. However, several did manage to make it through the fleet, due to their own personal craftiness or other factors, and it was upon several of these which the real threat to the sphere resided.

 

In a sense, the vast fleet was simply a ruse for Akil and her coalition. It had been known for some time that a direct assault upon the sphere would be futile. However, those who took part in it were not privy to this information, and they were told they were the last hope of survival for all those left behind. In truth, they were a decoy. During the time of the exodus, while the hibernation ships sailed ahead of the collapse, one of the captains of such a ship, Rene Hume, had become a traitor to the sphere. Of a like homeworld to Akil, one which had been largely ignored for transport, he had agreed to allow Akil's contingent access to several of the ships, who would be taken within the sphere in secret. This agreement came at the cost of billions who's places would have to be abandoned, but Hume felt it was worthwhile for the preservation of his people. And while their fellows faced their end between the waves of all existence and the rock of the sphere, they sailed into safety aboard the last vessel to gain passage.

 

Lords of all Creation

Now, once all of the drama outside of the sphere had played itself out, a number of events began to unfold within as well. For a long time, the plan had been to maintain the hibernation of the races within the sphere for a number of years until all effects of the collapse had stabalized and their safety could be guarenteed. A large core of laborers and scientists were left awake with the knowledge that the full effects of the collapse could not be predicted and its results on them as well. However, these warnings could barely begin to describe the events which were to befall them. In the first days after the collapse, the roilling energies outside of the sphere were only just kept at bay. In numerous locations, breaches in the sphere were created and the energies held back only through desperate manipulations of the reactor. Whole sections of the sphere lost power and were rendered uninhabitable, and millions of hibernating souls lost their lives as their bodies merged with the stuff of creation.

 

As suddenly as the widespread chaos had started though, so to did it end. At first no one could even tell why the stability had occured. For some reason the reactor suddenly seemed to be correcting for problems and instabilities with no interaction. Technicians actually found themselves cut off from its controls and transported away. It was like it had gained a life of its own that simply wanted to save the sphere. And in effect it had. With the assistance of Joan Panetar, the information networks lead for the sphere, Dr. Peresis and Dr. Macht, the energy systems designer, had tranfered their consciousnesses to a machine form, in the hopes that they might be able to respond faster to unpredictable phenomena. It had worked, and with only a section of their thoughts, they now performed the work of hosts of mortal engineers.

 

However, this practice was against all of the creeds of their civilization. In prior millenia, work had been explored and abandoned in the vien of machine conciousness. The criteria for man/machine interfaces were also well known. Yet, moral and historical factors had led to the belief that such things were both wrong and highly dangerous. The backlash was immediate, the technical workers across the field revolted in horror, claiming that in only days their leaders had chosen to abandon their humanity. Naturally, attempts to reason with them were made, claiming that all humanity would have died had they not made the shift, but by and large, their attempts were for naught. A pervasive fear began to take hold among the people and in their fear they turned on those remaining figureheads who they felt had betrayed them. Particularly Dr. Panetar, who had aided in the transformation. Trapped in a workshop with little or no recourse by her own workers, her response to the situation was quick and decisive. She left them as well.

 

Among those of the primary design team who were left, a few sided with the workers, honoring the belief that network conciousness was a line which should not be crossed, but by and large the group was one which had been hand picked by Peresis himself, and they were with him to the last. They listened to the three machine personality's descriptions of life within a network, and in time, were convinced that perhaps it was both not immoral and in fact the right choice for a set of people with much work to do, and a limited time to do it in. Even with life extension and various other medical techniques, their time was still finite, and many of them were already quite old, having been recruited in their early years to work on the project. The chance for immortality, and the ability to carry on their work was tempting, and one by one they stepped forward to take their place with the rest, as motes of information. The last of these was the wife of Peresis himself, Eva Merellin, who had been on the verge of siding with the workers for a time. A brilliant terraformer and respected politician, she had responded to their needs for stability and comfort in such a trying time, but in the end, her affection for Peresis won over, a constant that had been with her for nearly 80 years.

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