Postmortal

Previously

That came from the generator level. They're inside the Hall.

The hospital looks incredible from the outside - white and glassy and curvy, like it was built ten years from now. Hell, there's no reason why it shouldn't have been. According to innumerable works of science fiction from previous years, decades and centuries, the year in which Mitch Calrus' appointment is due to take place is the incalculably distant future. Although the Cold War ended a few decades ago. And the Singularity still hasn't happened. And cyberpunk is bunk.

On the way in, Mitch keeps an eye out for anything that might break the illusion of a perfect Utopian white city. Reception is immaculate, as is the waiting room. Gorgeous, soft, firm seating. The magazines on the nearby table are all in French, but they're hardly thumbed and the cover dates are next month's. There are ill people in the waiting room, not looking their best, but Mitch decides to give the place a free pass on that one. Exquisite plant life - fake, probably to avoid allergic reactions, but extremely convincing and still quite beautiful. Squeaky clean floors, recently mopped, signposted as potentially slippery. A water cooler.

No plastic cups left in the dispenser for the cooler. Is that it? That really might be this place's only concession to human error.

The whole point of all of this is to build the patient's confidence in his doctor's competence. It works. Mitch relaxes, smiles, enjoys the air conditioning. It's a pleasant morning. In the afternoon, if there's time, he hopes to visit the beach he spotted from the coast road on the drive here.

Mitch. You are the last copy of you. Wake up now, please, or you're going to die.

The doctor sees him at nine on the dot.

"The process is almost completely passive," he explains. He's thin, bald, incredibly confident. He runs to work in the morning. "The danger of damage to the integrity of your corporeal mind is negligible. The equipment we'll use is an order of magnitude less powerful than would be necessary to actually damage your neurons. We expect your brain's internal temperature to rise by perhaps a few tenths of a degree Celsius. This is something we'll monitor. Obviously, in the event that this parameter passes outside of certain limits, the operation will be abandoned, you'll wake up unharmed, and we'll go back to the drawing board. We have seven other parameters which we will be monitoring in a similar way. Half of these are routinely monitored during all surgical procedures. There is very little to this procedure, you understand, that is new from a surgical point of view.

"If we do abandon the procedure, then obviously a complete and intact mind-state will not be stored. Naturally, there is a chance that even if everything does go according to plan, your mind-state will still not be stored. In either case we still have a chance to try again. We'll set up a fresh set of consultations and go from there.

"However. If your mind-state is successfully stored in the Hunt array, a slew of other dangers arise. The most obvious is the failure of the array. Improving storage technology will gradually reduce the amount of physical space required to store your mind-state, which in turn will permit greater redundancy, at multiple sites. But until that point, which isn't anticipated until five years from the present time, your mind-state will be in one place and one place only, other than inside your actual head.

"There could be a fire, a flood, a hurricane, an earthquake... a bombing, a raid. There could be a failure in the air conditioning, the electrical supply, the battery backup, or the drives themselves. There are redundant electrical and HVAC provisions and the drive arrays themselves have some... some sort of redundancy built into them... you would know better than I do..."

"RAID," suggests Mitch.

"Yes, that rings a bell. Obviously Dr. Hunt will be able to tell you more about that when he gets here. And, as he's explained to me, the fact that the drives don't need to be continuously active will drastically increase their lifespan. The most important fact remains, however, that the corruption of a very small percentage of your mind-state - as little as one thousandth of one percent - could render it inoperable.

"We are not lawyers.

"The capability to serialise and store a human mind-state is unprecedented. We believe that the only reason we can do this today, without legal obstruction, is that the law of man does not know that it is possible. If it was known to be possible, there is an excellent chance that it would be illegal. This is despite the facts that you are a consenting adult and neither of us have raised significant ethical objections.

"A mind-state is not a legal human being. It does not hold rights, including the legal right to exist. It is copyrighted binary data, and it would be protected by copyright law. You would be the copyright owner. Copyright law varies in severity depending on geographical location, but it extends little beyond fines and jail time, whereas the destruction of a mind-state could be seriously construed as murder. While you have a contract with Mr. Hunt to protect and ensure the integrity of the binary data you'll be storing at his data centre, once the serialisation procedure is published, he may find that he has no legal course of action but to destroy it.

"And finally, much like cryogenic storage, the technology to reactivate a stored mind-state, either in a computer simulation or in a real human body, does not yet exist. For all we know, it may never exist.

"These are not the risks. These are the knowns. We can put numbers to all of these possibilities. They are the safe outcomes; the eventualities in which your mind-state is lost forever, and you continue with your life as normal, and all we have wasted is time.

"The simplest way to put it is this: once digitised, your mind could be sent anywhere, anytime. As you've mentioned yourself, it's thought that within a few decades it will become possible to store an arbitrary amount of data in a single fundamental particle, itself stored in a device as small as a basketball... or a thumb... or a fingernail. You will be copied and copied and copied all over the world. Copies of your mind-state - the first digitised human mind-state in history, remember - could survive until the end of human civilisation. After you go to sleep this afternoon, one of you will wake up tomorrow morning. There is, let us say, a one in a million chance that you will wake up tomorrow morning. The rest of you are embarking on a subjectively instantaneous one-way journey into the uttermost unknown, where, beyond a few decades into the future, your single physical self will not be able to protect you. You will be completely without support or protection or preparation.

"We can't put a mind-state back into a body. But the hope is that one day it will become possible. Somebody could steal your mind and insert it into another body on the other side of the world. Under their terms. And do anything they liked to you. They could kill you. Then they could find another body, insert your mind-state again, and continue to kill you. For ever.

"You could wake up in a digital world. Any of countless possible digital worlds. They won't be real, but you'll feel them for real. Imagine a virtual heaven. But now imagine a virtual hell. In a simulated environment, a malfeasor would have absolute, eternal, unbreakable control over you.

"The concept of the human lifespan is about to become non-linear. Because binary data can be perfectly duplicated infinitely many times, you are not risking one life, but infinitely many. This is the most dangerous thing anybody has ever done."

Mitch, wake up!

"I need to live forever. As soon as possible," says Mitch Calrus. He looks at Anne Poole, seated to his right, and she returns his smile.

"And I'll be there when he wakes up," she replies. "No matter how long it takes."

And a fragment, a mere trace of scepticism crosses the smart, tall, handsome doctor's face. Of course, he knows who Anne Poole is. "That's a beautiful love story," he says.

And they nod. But neither of the two look like love has anything to do with this.

NOW!

And what jolts him awake the following morning is the dull crack of a gunshot.

The first sensation is body horror: "this-is-not-the-person-I-am-supposed-to-be". That was something which became familiar a long time ago when his consciousness was first earthed inside Mitchell Calrus' body, but the sensation has changed substantially in tone and inflection. This is somebody else's body. A rather taller man, different hair, heavier clothes, heavier muscles.

The second is space. This is not the hospital bed in the anaesthesia room - not that he expected it to be - and it's not a recovery ward, which was a more likely outcome. He's flat on his back inside a cream-coloured, fluorescent-lit cylinder a little larger than a coffin. Mitch has never had an MRI scan but this is what he imagines the inside of a magnetic resonance imager looks like. The platform he's lying on is in motion, carrying him feet-first out of the machine. Just a moment after he opens his eyes, they pass the rim of the circular hole in the machine, and suddenly he needs to figure out what he's looking at all over again.

A rumble echoes and fades.

It's a vertiginous sight. Dizzy, Mitch instinctively tries to sit up and get out from under the machine stack - he hits his head on the rim of the cylindrical hole.

Mitch thinks: Starship hangar. Missile silo. Vehicle Assembly Building. The building is a huge empty black shell, an upright octagonal prism, easily tall enough to have weather and even wider than it's tall. Smaller buildings rise up around the edges, clinging to the interior walls like ivy. There are two big, complex machines suspended in gantries elsewhere on the factory floor, far enough away that they might as well be in other countries. One of them is fifty percent of an experimental space rocket. The other is a monumental spherical chamber seemingly built out of patchwork metal plates, connected up to a dozen pipes of different colours, each fat enough to drive a bus through. It looks like it was designed to contain an atomic explosion.

Mitch looks up at the machine from which he just emerged. The third big experiment, a thirteen-storey stack of dirty silver, black and red machinery, tapering as it descends as if it were all focusing down on the MRI-like machine in which he was sitting, itself positioned to focus on a point in the middle of his brain, just behind his eyes.

This is a laboratory, he thinks. The biggest laboratory, for the Big Projects.

There are three people at the foot of his bed. One is an extremely tall, broad-shouldered man with a blond beard and long-barreled projectile weapon. He wears a bulky black jacket and trousers covered in some kind of lightweight armour made of heavy leathery scales a few inches across. Looking down at himself, Mitch realises that he is wearing the same. On top of a computer console nearby he sees an identical gun set down.

The second is a tall, skinny sixty-year-old female scientist with loose and unhealthy grey hair and a huge black pair of goggles strapped to her face. She wears red. Mitch guesses it is a medical uniform. She's sat at the console, facing away from him, tapping at what Mitch recognises as a keyboard. There's no screen, though; the woman is staring into space or at her hands, as if typing while asleep. On closer inspection, he realises there is a cable from the goggles into the computer. "I've lost contact with the transformer control room," she says. "We've got to shut the system down, it'll run itself into inoperability within minutes without active current shaping."

The third person, a relatively diminutive woman, ignores the scientist and instead says to Mitch, "What is my full name?"

What she's wearing... well, Mitch doesn't quite have the vocabulary. It's rather too elaborate, with too much embroidery, to be a 21st-century business suit, but that is the closest reference point he can think of. It's long and grey, unsuitable for a manual labourer, pretty inconvenient even for office work. Formal dress, then. She's a manager? A politician? Her hair and makeup, though, look like something out of another planet. There's a black diamond painted on her forehead, and she's wearing some sort of thin metal tiara or crown. And while she hasn't aged a single day, somehow her eyes say she's seen everything.

"Anne Nicola Poole," Mitch replies. "What happened to you?"

"Doctor Poole!" prompts the older - well, older-looking - woman.

"Yes, do it," Anne responds. "Do it and get out of here as fast as you can. Mitch, I don't have time to explain. You are going to find this world extremely difficult to come to terms with at first and I won't be there to help you. When you went to sleep it was the first of October, 2016, is that correct?"

"Yes. And you said as I went under the anaesthetic that you'd be there when I woke up. Or else it would mean something had gone wrong... and I had to run."

"Earth's orbit has been altered slightly which means the definition of the year has undergone a certain amount of revision but the best number I can give you for the current year, based on the analeptic Gregorian calendar, is Common Era two-two-nine-eight-five."

"...What?"

"And something's gone wrong. You have to run. Take this, and run. Guard it with your life because that's what it is." Anne puts a slab of red metal into his hand. It has a collection of electronic contact points at the end of it. It's dense.

"What's happened? I can't process that number!" Mitch tries to convince himself that he was genuinely ready for all of this. "What's going to happen to you?"

"They've found a way to kill me."

The sound of the second explosion is large enough that it bounces off every wall in the building, making its point of origin difficult to place, but on gut instinct Mitch looks upwards and sees a piece of metal the size of an articulated truck falling towards them.

"RUN!" bellows Anne.

Mitch launches off the bed towards the computer console and grabs the arm of the older woman. He tries to change direction and drag her out of her chair towards the man with the gun, but she hasn't reacted fast enough and he's not quick enough and the soldier is recoiling away from him out of instinct. Mitch's fingers are a centimetre short when the equipment hits, crushing the soldier to sludge but passing through them both like holograms.

Once a moment has passed and metal seems to have stopped raining on them he pulls the grey-haired woman out of the wreckage and allows them both to sink back to three-dimensionality. A 4D glance at the burning heap of metal reveals an unpleasant amount of crushed bone and organ where the soldier had been. Anne is buried in the pile too, but she's intact, though unable to move.

"What did you just do?" exclaims the rescued woman, pulling her now-disconnected goggles down around her neck.

"I... I don't have time to explain. Anne!"

"Leave me," she shouts back. "Go!"

There's a deafening crackle of gunfire above - and screams. Scientific staff on the upper levels are being mown down. It'll be a matter of seconds before the attackers decide to look down. Mitch grabs his new partner by the hand and runs for what he assumes is the main entrance, a colossal door at the far end of the hall, tall enough to accommodate a battleship. She's old; in decent shape for her age, but still slow-moving compared to him... or rather, his new body. He feels fit, energised.

Then the main entrance explodes inwards - the loudest noise Mitch has ever heard - and six more followers of the Trail Of The Indivisible Soul surge into the building. In any era, Mitch can recognise automatic weapons. Mitch's (latest host's) gun is buried thirty metres behind him. The nearest cover is ten seconds' sprint away, across bare cement floor.

"Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" screams the woman beside him.

That will stall their triggers for all of one second.

Next: Crisis on Earth

Discussion (43)

2009-07-28 22:03:55 by William:

So is this before or after the 1970- sequence? Considering that she still uses the name "Poole", I'm thinking before, and they effected the first Crash to get rid of the ability to kill Anne Poole.

2009-07-28 22:13:38 by qntm:

This story takes place more than eleven thousand years later than Crash Zero.

2009-07-28 23:47:43 by Amygdala:

I'm pretty sure they engineered the crashes to keep people from inventing (and therefore eradicating) new avenues of Science and/or Klick devices. I'm just wondering how the information that is Calrus mindstate survived the crashes. Or how these guys broke the cycle of crashes.

2009-07-28 23:49:01 by kabu:

Whoa. Nice to see Anne is better and back action by 2016. Interesting that they're waking up the first copy of Calrus, seeing as they've had a good long while to make more. Maybe he's the last copy left? Though maybe not - I highly doubt that they're speaking English right now, so maybe they've found a way to load new memories into a human mind. Or something. Though I don't really buy the copying of a human mind into binary data with 21st century tech, even with the Script to help. And I'm pretty sure that whatever is in that device is the result of the big computation from 1970-.

2009-07-29 03:21:26 by CitrusBolt:

Why was the minduploading needed? Can't Mitch naturally enter a new body like Oul and like he first did to become Mitch? Also, how does he have his phasing ability if all they did as restore his mindstate and not his multi-dimensional "spirit", or did they somehow "summon" his soul into the new body?

2009-07-29 03:31:47 by Thomas:

Presumably it is the last copy of him, as it says so at the end of the first paragraph. The object they hand him is probably the last backup of himself, from the conversation. With the whole business with the physical storage in 1970-, I guess we can assume part of that was the copy of Mitch. And since the copy they've handed him now is the last one, I guess that means Mitch and Anne's base has been captured or destroyed? I wonder what happened to the calculation, and Oul's egg.

2009-07-29 04:33:21 by Mick:

So, ways to kill Anne Poole: 1. The End of Time 2. Script Technology Personally, I'd still call her indestructable. Also, I'm very pleased to see her in a story again, even though I'm still hungry for a conclusion to the Power's.

2009-07-29 12:53:03 by Chris:

I'm so lost... I need to start over from the beginning...

2009-07-29 14:08:29 by Thrack:

Have they revived Mitch's mind-state before? I can't help but notice that he is in Too Much Information from 1970- which is set over ten thousand years before this. Maybe that Mitch died? Maybe Xio is connected to Mitch's information so that Xio is earthed or grounded into whatever body Mitch is in. But then I wonder what happens if Mitch is put into multiple bodies? Would Xio be connected to all of them or perhaps just the first one?

2009-07-29 14:08:57 by Aegeus:

The chronology just got even more confusing. The storyline with Mitch's original host takes place in roughly the present day. "1970-" takes place in the far future, after 8 crashes. That makes the "1970" part of the title rather confusing, because it clearly can't refer to C.E. "Endworld" takes place even farther along than that, because Anne Poole is now killable, but states that Mitch first stored himself in 2016. If the technology to revive someone has only just been discovered, why is there already a horde of fanatics ("Indivisible Soul" suggests they object to backups on religious grounds) out to kill them? Were they hunting down Mitch's other copies just in case someone found a way to revive him? And if the technology to revive someone has existed for a long time, why hasn't Mitch been revived until now, when almost all of his backups have been lost?

2009-07-29 14:35:05 by scotherns:

Who says he hasn't been revived before? This is just the story of the revival of the last copy. Excellent story, as usual :-)

2009-07-29 14:52:51 by William:

Actually, 1970 is the year Anne Poole was born. "1970-" referred to the fact that she's not dead--think of things like "Arthur C. Clarke(1917-2008)". And if this occurs after "Crash Zero", does that mean that the giant punchcards contained his data? Was he revived after every Crash?

2009-07-29 16:07:13 by Kwd:

If they really have been using the same copy of (2016) Mitch all along, then I feel a bit sorry for him. Even though he doesn't know it, he "wakes up the following morning" every 80 years or so, and Anne has to tell him what the heck has been going on. It's a pretty terrible immortality scheme, but it works if it's all you have. I can't really believe that that's what has happened, though. Anne was unavailable for hundreds of years at a time. I think that in the events of "1970-" Mitch really is immortal to some extent. My best guess is that he just copied his brain and restored it into a new body every time it got too old. (Though that would require both mind-state storing and reinstating equipment, though.) After a while, due to some accident or attack, all of the copies but this one really old (2016) mind-state was lost or destroyed, hence "You are the last copy of you." Perhaps it wasn't destroyed because Anne had almost forgotten about it, a little mind-state in the vault that really was too old to be of any use.

2009-07-29 18:48:10 by Andrew:

This is all very well and mystical and good, but it still doesn't explain how Mitch knew he needed to be immortal. Here's hoping we have an answer to that in the Endworld segment.

2009-07-29 23:56:45 by Ratherdashing:

So, I'm still not sure what method they found that could possibly kill Anne, but I just thought of a pretty good way to get rid of her-throw her into a star. It seems unlikely that that alone could kill her (I mean, she's been nuked for crying out loud), but how on earth could you possibly get her out?

2009-07-30 04:46:12 by Isaac:

Wait, if Anne can't be killed, could she see what was inside of a Black Hole?

2009-07-30 05:09:11 by Sgeo:

When does Crushed Underground take place? [Does this story occur before or after CU?]

2009-07-30 08:58:59 by Val:

I think Crushed Underground is about the first destruction of civilization, before the first real and clean Crash. It was hinted more times that it was caused by a nuclear war of some kind (or maybe a very powerful Power late in the line?) Maybe one of the purposes of the Crashes, besides stopping the development of information weaponry, is to prevent this from happening again. I still wonder how could the attack described in this story have happened? Anne and the previous incarnation of Mitch were unable to cause a Crash, or they were too late, and humanity developed some countermeasures or some kind of information weaponry, maybe discovered the Script, all in secret so they could surprise them and prevent them from causing it?

2009-07-30 09:09:40 by Val:

"more than eleven thousand years later than Crash Zero" That means the operation should be complete or nearing completion? At Crash Zero they were at approximately half of it. Hm, maybe they thought the operation will finish in a few months so they don't need another Crash?

2009-07-30 15:19:06 by Thrack:

Perhaps their calculation and the Crashes (or Script technology in general?) are directly connected in some way and the completion of the calculation caused their Crash technology to stop working. As for this invasion or attack on the laboratory I think the attacker's motivation is more complicated than just trying to stop Anne from initiating another Crash, because no one should have any idea what is even causing the Crashes let alone where it's being done. The fact that Earth's orbit has been altered is quite interesting to me. Do you suppose that happened relatively recently or closer to 20,000 years before?

2009-07-30 16:07:02 by Kochier:

Perhaps Anne didn't cause another crash because she needed resurrection tech built to bring Mitch back. And the orbit of the Earth being moved might have something to do with The Astronomer's Loss. The Indivisible Soul group could of been formed as resurrection technology was being developed, so Mitch could of been the first instance of this and they are more or less a terrorist group.

2009-07-30 19:03:50 by Val:

The resurrection process was rushed. They used one of the two last remaining soldier's body. It seems highly unlikely for me that the resurrection technology itself was the main target, however, the name of the organization points to this version. All respect to Sam, but I think that telling the name as a narrator while watching everything form Mitch's eyes (especially that he has no idea about what's going on) does not fit in very well.

2009-07-30 21:42:31 by qntm:

I'm pleased to see that you are all asking the right questions. :) Most of these will be answered in the next chapter, once I figure out a way to do it short of just plain info-dumping you all to death. Val: yeah, putting the name "Trail Of The Indivisible Soul" is a debatable move. I wanted there to be a good reason for terrorists to blow up the mind-state machine and try to kill Mitch, but I forgot that *you* guys don't necessarily need to know it ;)

2009-07-31 01:10:25 by Thrack:

To Sam: Ah, so "Trail Of The Indivisible Soul" *is* a sort of reference to the mind-state machinery? I had thought it was a reference to Anne, she can't be killed after all so you might call her soul indivisible. But if their target is the mind-state machine and Mitch then why did they find a way to kill Anne? Do they want to destroy immortality in general? Speaking of which, do none of the attackers wish to be immortal? I like the fact that they've got a half built space rocket in there, I don't know what they planned on doing with it though. Outer space should be empty, right? Unless they managed to bring it all back. We should be able to find out about that if Mitch ever ends up outside at night, because he's bound to notice if all the stars are missing.

2009-07-31 03:23:42 by Eklo:

As said by Kwd, the idea of always reusing the same backup to revive Mitch would be quite distressing if he did find out. Of course this reminds me of the Dune incident with Duncan being continuously revived. I do not like to ramble.

2009-08-01 11:59:10 by Lucas:

I can't stop thinking that this happens years and years before the events of Crushed Underground, as it seems to describe the events that could lead to a full-scale war (creating the deserted landscape outside the arcology). Furthermore, the operation Anne and Mitch are working on seem to be taking his electronic mindimage and placing it on huge metal punchcards so that when they activate a crash (with oul's egg) the information won't be wiped. As for why this story is before Crushed Underground, the latter makes no mention of Anne. Whoever figured out how to kill her seems to have done so. Maybe I'm wrong here, and concerning Anne's death, hopefully I am, but this is how I see the story so far.

2009-08-01 23:43:49 by NeoSonic:

I may be totally wrong about this for some obvious reason - I'm writing it immediately after an archive trawl, as a quick reaction. I can't help but think that Crushed Underground happens a fair while into the future based on a single telltale - the orange color of the sun. The sky was yellow in that story, most likely because of some sort of yellow-reflecting substance in the atmosphere. But would that make a yellow sun look orange? Given the huge time frame mentioned by the director, plus the mind-boggling date quoted by Anne in this story, it seems (to this layman) reasonable that Sol might have partially decayed into a red star during that time. On its own, that suggests to me that Crushed Underground happens after this story, probably as a result of some cataclysmic conflict going on during Postmortal.

2009-08-02 09:56:51 by Val:

The Sun significantly aging needs hundreds of millions of years, so I think it's only because of the atmosphere. However, we might never know what Script technology is capable of.. I hope Sam will provide a nice and detailed timeline as he does after finishing each bigger story :)

2009-08-03 09:40:22 by Jacko:

Wow.. It's taken the better part of a week (off and on) after finding this site and really starting to dig in to reach the end and looking back, I'd say it was the best part of the week for sure. Excellent, excellent writing. I am passing this along to everyone I know. Please keep up the awesome work!

2009-08-03 16:56:18 by Tony:

On the sun's color changing from yellow to orange / red, this could be related to the fact that earth's orbit has been slightly altered. Maybe the earth is now in a decaying orbit, meaning that after each large time jump in this story, the earth is getting much closer to the sun. This might be the reason that the sky appears different colors in different epochs.

2009-08-03 19:20:13 by Thrack:

When Oul shot himself in "this is not over and I am not dead" could that have disconnected his reserves of power from the Powers, thereby explaining why we no longer see any Powers in later events? Does anyone have any idea when "this is not over and I am not dead" and Zanjero take place? If Zanjero is before the other story then this theory may be workable. It doesn't explain why Oul shot himself though.

2009-08-03 19:28:54 by qntm:

Zanjero takes place on 2 April 2013. "This is not over and I am not dead" takes place roughly... now.

2009-08-04 18:48:58 by Thrack:

Ok, thanks. So my theory (hypothesis?) is broken. It doesn't really make sense for Oul's power to be disconnected like that anyway. At least I'm thinking about it, I suppose. I just need to change the way I'm thinking about Fine Structure.

2009-08-05 07:08:47 by Naleh:

We always knew when Zanjero was. Zanjero says, right at the top: "year sixteen". There Was No Leak, the most recent Power story, is year twelve.

2009-08-08 14:30:37 by Xaeragh:

Couldn't it be possible that in "this is not over" Oul was doing exactly what Mitch was, and had secretly copied himself?

2009-08-10 06:45:35 by Pelger:

another good chapter of this great big story!. I really hope that after it's completed, somebody makes a timeline, but meanwhile, reading this made me want to read the whole thing again since the beginning, just to understand it better and to remember details or stuff I might have forgotten. also, for some reason, in my opinion the astronomer's loss story doesn't fit... it feels as if it creates more complications than needed... but then again, I trust that when the whole thing is completed, it will probably fit and the complications will be resolved.

2009-08-10 07:51:39 by Pelger:

sorry for the double post and for the bad english, I think I meant "read the whole thing from the beginning" not "since the beginning" (I "think in spanish", I can't help it :) ). but there's another reason for this post: what if this takes place not before or after "crushed underground" but at the same time frame?, what if the attack on the lab is part of the "rebels" strike against the "big brotherish" government?. maybe I'm forgetting something that is obious and contradicts this idea, but I should really go to sleep now, haha, I'll do the whole "reading everything again" thing tomorrow :)

2009-08-10 16:59:16 by Andrew:

Yeah Pelger, you're forgetting the fact that Mitch is IN Crushed Underground as the lead administrator. And this story is already too silly for clones to start popping up.

2009-08-11 03:50:03 by Thrack:

Actually, the fact that Mitch is already in Crushed Underground doesn't mean that this isn't the same time period. I see no reason why Mitch's mind-state cannot be copied (downloaded? Uploaded?) into more than one body at a time so it could well be that there are two copies of Mitch in that story. Or Mitch from Crushed Underground could, you know, be some other guy who just happens to have the same name. Personally I think this is set in a different time period than Crushed Underground. Well, we know precisely what time period this is: the year is 22,985 according the the Gregorian calendar. What we don't know is the time period of Crushed Underground and how far away it lies from every other time period in Fine Structure.

2009-08-15 11:59:14 by Val:

I might be wrong, but I still think the Crushed Underground happens well before the first real Crash. The Crash does not leave radiation and other nasty ecological damage behind, the first destruction of civilization seems to be conventional nuclear war. One purpose of the Crashes, besides the prevention of discovering new Script technology is to prevent the nuclear war from happening again. A less likely solution could be that it happens long after the last Crash, after 22985.

2009-08-20 18:23:47 by Fjord:

I'm going from memory on this, so I may be wrong, but as I recall, part of the mystery of the Crashes (to those who experience them) is that there are these enormous domes carved of rock that look all stone-age-ish but have shafts perfect for, say, elevators. Then, in Crushed Underground, Mitch is administrator in this vast complex that seems to be underground, or the vast majority of it is. But wouldn't a rock dome of this type be perfect as fallout shelters for large populations? That is, as long as they're properly sealed. Another thing: I'll have to re-read Crushed Underground, but as I recall the general population was either manufacturing things or mining raw materials. What were they manufacturing/mining? Obviously food and other essentials, but Mitch had this enormous workhorse here for something like 10,000 years...

2009-11-12 14:47:32 by Cory:

Val, I really don't believe that. In CU, Mitch says "But it's going to take almost two thousand years longer," and the story implies that he's been doing it for at least a hundred years. Assuming your "precrash hypothesis", we can safely assume that the arcology is not opened before 4000CE, as the disaster could not have happened before 2016. (See, that, 2016 in the past tense...) This gives 6000 years for 8 crashes. I include all 8, because after re-terraforming earth, I doubt the disaster would leave remnants similar to the other crashes, so historians in Aks's time would not be counting that disaster. That's 750 years per crash (at absolute most!); even with people reverse-engineering things quickly, that's a very optimistic goal.

2019-12-20 03:06:14 by AGM:

@Isaac: Yeah, but unless she's got an FTL Spaceship that survives entry, she can't tell anyone.

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