For serious science fiction readers. A little out there...
|Published in August 2010 Issue of Spectacular Speculations
This is an idea piece which I hope to develop into a more complete short story or, dare I say, novel. This will include less exposition and more character development and dialogue. Your comments and reviews are very appreciated, and will help me to make this a quality piece of writing. Thank you for reading "Children of Forever."
“We have identified a suitable host species,” the Aki science specialist projected to the Aki flight commander, as both hovered within respective containment fields. There was no sound and no voice inflection; in fact, there was no voice at all.
The Aki had evolved as far as a species could. Bodies had long been given up in favor of electromagnetic radiation, energy fields, and the intimacy of intermingling ions and quantum wave-particles. Communication was virtually instantaneous; thoughts were efficiently experienced in unison by every member of the expedition.
Manipulation of magnetic fields and charged particles from a billion solar winds allowed the Aki to ride the universe for millennia, in search of a second chance. A second chance to experience life, complete with feelings and emotion, and with the mystery and uncertainty that comes with individuality. The Aki were becoming one. Distinct boundaries were becoming blurred, as thoughts, emotions and experiences were shared by all. The emergence of a single great consciousness would mark the extinction of an entire race. A race that evolved itself into oblivion.
“Project the parameters,” willed the Commander.
“The planet has an envelope of Nitrogen and Oxygen.” The others sensed his knowledge of a few trace gasses as well. “There are five advancing primate species, all living in caves or huts. Three of them use stone tools. One - the most advanced - has learned to herd lower life forms for food and clothing, so has become less nomadic than the others. Their brains are a typical cell, stroma, and fluid organ, with a peculiar but useful feature: the cells function by salt and ion flow and micro-currents which set up localized field effects. The consciousness is a result of the quantum state of flux of the electrical fields in the brain, and their thought is the product of stimuli acting on these fields.” He could feel the awe and anticipation radiating from the others. “It is ideally suited to us.”
The others already knew how it would work. Upon arrival, each would merge with an individual host by interpolating into the host brain and consciousness. There would be great advantages for both the hosts and themselves. The hosts would have increased awareness, increased intelligence, increased adaptability, and a competitive advantage over adversaries. And the Aki would live again. Private thoughts, challenges, and relationships would again give meaning to their existence. This monumental step, this ultimate evolutionary accomplishment would be realized as they recanted their own development, and resumed life from where their ancestors of eons past began.
“We will no longer be able to speak directly to each other,” the commander reminded. “We will be bound by the physical constraints of our hosts. We can talk to them, but they will not know we are there. We will be felt as suggestions, or whispers, or dreams. As they grow, we shall grow. As they multiply and take charge of their world, so shall we. And we will prosper and thrive and live.” A wave of satisfaction spread through the Aki as they started the merge.
A surge of new sensations enveloped the Aki one-by-one as they joined with the most advanced primates. Fingers and arms came into tactile focus, air expanded in newly realized lungs, and serenity saturated the Aki. Sights, sounds, vibrations and new emotions induced long-forgotten feelings of ecstasy.
The primate men and women were not aware of their new essence. But as the generations passed, they dreamed, they felt, and they sensed a new understanding of each other. Insight and intuition blossomed. Cognition flowered into a new level of sentience, nourished by a sense of connection previously unknown on the planet. And just as the humans’ accelerated emergence went unrecognized, so did the Aki’s de-evolution, which was the necessary key to their continued existence. The other primate species, cousins to the humans and otherwise not that dissimilar, could not compete, and within a few short centuries were gone.
Civilization flourished and the planet was tamed. The Aki had long lost their own history and knowledge of their great evolutionary accomplishment. Humans could never interact with the Aki on a conscious plane. Their connection had always been felt as feelings and dreams. The subconscious influence of the Aki painted the backdrop of the lives of every individual. And even though no one knew of its origins, the value and the influence of the subconscious mind became well-recognized, and even studied. Many learned ones and intellectuals in great teaching institutions made careers out of studying, or trying to interact with the subconscious mind. Instinctively sensing that there was more to learn, people continued to seek knowledge and explore. They craved stimulation and enlightenment, and eventually reached for the stars. The civilization, born from the coalescence of mentalities and seasoned on the third planet from the sun, extended its reach to the fourth, fifth, and further planets. Within a short cosmic time, neighboring galaxies were reached, and the solar winds and electromagnetic fluxes of the universe began to tame. As their evolution progressed, corporeal features became more and more of a barrier to their development. Over even more millennia, physical bodies were shed, and individual boundaries became blurred.
The cold, smog-cloaked home world was left behind by the human expedition. Even with the knowledge that the quest could encompass generations, the travelers knew that it was their only chance to survive. Suitable hosts had to be found, and individuality had to be restored. Millennia may pass, but the merge must eventually be achieved. And when it is, it will be their ultimate evolutionary accomplishment.
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