Nov. 29th, 2005 01:46 pm
md_donighal: (the One Race)
[personal profile] md_donighal
Well, I've been putting this off for long enough, and now I've officially committed to do something about it. As of last night, it's been four weeks since the paraversary, to coin a phrase, of what [ profile] aberranteyes pointed out as perhaps the most spectacular mistake of my life.

(Paraversary. An awkward neologism, perhaps, but it gets the point across, I hope. In case it doesn't, it means "the date on which an event happens in an alternate timeline".)

I don't know if it was my grandest mistake (some might award that dubious honor to N-Day itself), but I'll give him "the most glorious". The world learned of my existence, and Æon learned that I wasn't going away, and neither were my people.

It was a dark time for the One Race. Despite a steady rate of 30-40 eruptions a month, overall nova population, at the end of 2004, was up only 200 from the previous year-end count. Where were those novas going? Into hastily-dug graves in Bahrain Kashmir or Africa, or (since September of '04) to Bahrain. (And doubtless there were those cases where Proteus was recruiting novas and making their CVs disappear.) It was increasingly clear that Æon's agenda hadn't changed since [ profile] max_a_mercer left them from what it became when [ profile] max_a_mercer and I left them: to co-opt as many neomorphs as they could and destroy the rest. And since I'd arranged for the majority of neomorphs to receive superhuman Inspiration, that meant their efforts were concentrated on eximorphs.

I knew the worth of the One Race; I sensed its frustration; and I believed I had seen its destiny. All in all, I have no regrets about the Null Manifesto qua Manifesto. But if I could talk to my younger self, there are things I'd try and persuade him to do differently, believe me. I'll illustrate with a few quotes from the Manifesto that seemed like good ideas at the time, and how a year or more of living as a human has shown me the extent of my prior recto-fossal ambiguity.

"Only those novas who are too lazy or too comfortable to think for themselves, to judge and regulate their own behavior accordingly, obey baseline laws. True members of the One Race sense their own laws within them..." I still believe that Homo sapiens novus is not inherently bound to the same social mores as H. sap. sapiens, but I've learned respect for those who choose to live within baseline law.

"Perhaps there are some novas who prefer to stay with the baseline herd for the warmth it provides. I say obtain your warmth from equals. Humans do not require the companionship of monkeys, and likewise, novas don't require the companionship of baselines." Novas, and other superhumans, are not baseline humans, and it's folly to try and live full-time as a human. At the same time, living among baseline humanity keeps a superhuman grounded, reminds him that he used to be just another human. (I'd done my best to forget that by 1998, let alone 2005; the Teragen at large followed my bad example, with consequences well-known to those who know my world.) The great thing about [profile] is that it gives me a place I can go to be my self, without jeopardizing my quiet life on this otherwise nova-less Earth. (A sort of multiversal bunburying, to be sure, but I find it works for me.)

I still believe nova-kind has its own evolutionary destiny, or rather destinies, but I no longer consider that this requires us to re-enact what H. sap. sapiens did to neandertalensis. Our niche is not theirs; there's no competition. Perhaps there can be cooperation... if both sides choose to cooperate.

Date: 2005-11-29 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was increasingly clear that Æon's agenda hadn't changed since Mercer left them: to co-opt as many neomorphs as they could and destroy the rest.

Now, to be fair, Michael, that was never the agenda. We wanted to explore the world and use our discoveries to bring about a better future for humanity; something which I'm sure you agree is at least somehat noble.

There were simply some Inspired who took their newfound powers as a God-given sign that they could exploit humanity at their whim. I didn't agree with this then, and I don't agree with it now. As those individuals stood in the way of the progression of the human race, something had to be done to stop them.

There were thousands of Inspired who never joined our banner, and I certainly never set out to destroy them. Many of them did good works, and just as many stayed out of the public eye altogether. If they wanted to follow their own path, I was happy to let them.

Now that Proteus bunch... I never was very happy with them. Very distasteful business. It was all about controlling the nova population rather than helping them acheive their greatest potential.

Date: 2005-11-29 11:10 am (UTC)
maxwell_a_mercer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maxwell_a_mercer
That, of course, was myself, using [ profile] etherlad's account. Sorry for the confusion Michael, Ian.

Date: 2005-12-06 04:55 pm (UTC)
maxwell_a_mercer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maxwell_a_mercer
Apologies for taking so long to post. Like an Old Man of my acquaintance, I've become increasingly distracted by potential futures.

(sigh) I'm not going to mince words here, Max. When I saw what Æon had turned into, with you absent and me having become their enemy, I did blame you, for abandoning them just when (as I saw it) they needed you most.

That is, I suppose, fair criticism. I would say that an organization that cannot survive the absence of its leader, but that (as well as demonstrating my own misgivings about what the organization has become) is something of a cop-out. Truth be told, Michael, I left because of you.

When we last saw each other, I was facing my oldest and best friend, to the death. After it was over, I couldn't help but think what I done wrong, what I might have been able to do differently so that we wouldn't have come to blows like that. I'm thankful that the battle came to a stalemate. The next several years were spent in quiet introspection, and eventually I decided the Society would be better with a leader in absentia rather than with an ineffectual one.

When your words from the Inspiration Age finally clicked in my mind, just before I departed our Earth, my resentment of you crumbled. I realized how many of your actions in my past must have been shaped by what you'd seen in your initial journey(s) to the relative future. I saw that you had to let certain things happen, even though they galled you, lest the whole sequence collapse.

As much as I hate to use Proteus' excuse, certain sacrifices had to be made in the name of disaster control. Proteus was not my idea and happened in my absence, and I had little influence over it by the time I returned. I minimized their damage as much as I could.

It occurs to me, of a sudden, that perhaps they were trying to prevent the Aberrant War.

Just so. You have captured the essence of my dilemma. Proteus was at least somewhat necessary as a damage-control variable. You see, I had reason to believe that following the Aberrant War, there would be no more Earth. Certain measures would be necessary to mitigate the worst possibilities, and Proteus was largely the method by which those measures would be executed. Although they weren't aware of it at the time, of course, and Thetis grew a little too prideful and out of control. But the alternative was too horrible to contemplate, or so I thought.

Roger Zelazny once said that the reason mythic prophecies tend to be self-fulfilling is that they tell the recipient just enough to let him steer himself into the mess he's trying to avoid.

You don't know how right you are, my friend. The Aberrant War would, I'm convinced, have happened without Proteus (due to the Taint problem, although your solution seems elegant), but they certainly didn't help matters. In any event, the Earth survived, for which I can count my blessings. When several thousand people with the ability to reshape the universe want to fight, it's a wonder there was any habitable land left at all.

Bahrain in the membrane?

Date: 2005-11-29 05:30 pm (UTC)
aberrantangels: (Aberrant Era)
From: [personal profile] aberrantangels
Into hastily-dug graves in Bahrain or Africa, or (since September of '04) to Bahrain.

Hate to say it, O Beacon, but I think you've got Bahrain on the brain (not that I can entirely blame you, given). Shouldn't that be "hastily-dug graves in Kashmir or Africa"?

Date: 2005-11-30 07:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Must be nice to have a race to relate to, rather than being almost completely solitary. (Forethought excepted.) Good luck to your novas.

Date: 2005-11-30 10:41 am (UTC)
aberrantangels: (your legacy is our future)
From: [personal profile] aberrantangels
I may get in trouble with [ profile] max_a_mercer for telling you this, not to mention that it marks a reversal of my decision never to speak of what happened after you left Earth, but I've decided you deserve to know this much:

Diana Kadmon, and Apollo Milliken and the other novas who followed her, and the baselines who followed them... they all found a new home, and last I knew, they were all in fact doing quite all right indeed. Does that knowledge help?


Date: 2005-12-06 05:01 pm (UTC)
maxwell_a_mercer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maxwell_a_mercer
I'm somewhat unsure as to why [ profile] aberranteyes thought I'd be upset. I think you deserve to know how the world ended up.

Yes, Apollo and his ilk are doing rather well with a colony of like-minded baselines. They have called their new world "Eden." No relation to the Operation of the same name, I'm sure.

In fact, they'd recently opened up a dialogue with the United Nations, offering their assistance to combat the Colony's Taint-maddened followers.

Date: 2005-12-07 03:57 pm (UTC)
aberrantangels: (Trinity Universe)
From: [personal profile] aberrantangels
"He claims he was worried about what those other chronomorphs you mentioned would think, but truth be told, he's been withholding post-2061 information about our Earth from me since long before you got here, let alone mentioned their time-policing duties."

I'll be honest with you (and about time, I know). In avoiding the subject of what happened on your Earth after you left, I was trying to prevent either of us from going off half-cocked. I was afraid I might tell you some piece of the bad news about the situation there, which would lead to you being so desperate to get home that you punched a hole in the space-time manifold and I fell through it like a stone through a wet paper bag.

But with [ profile] max_a_mercer telling you the up-side of the situation as well as the down, there's somebody here whose judgment I trust. So I can leave it to him, for the most part, providing the occasional corroborating detail myself.


md_donighal: (Default)

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