The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

A Novel by Roger Williams

  So what happend to the Transmigration?

It was only a few months after I put MOPI online, when I was still receiving hundreds of e-mails about it, that I decided I did in fact have something else to say about this universe and spent a couple of months doing something I hadn't bothered to do for the first one -- I wrote a plot outline.

In this story I would take off on the assumption that everybody wakes up in Cyberspace at the end of chapter 8 (but it won't be quite that simple). Two new characters, complementary in different ways than Lawrence and Caroline, will stumble into their destiny. They will succeed where Caroline and Lawrence failed, but the price they pay will be naturally be something they never suspected. Along the way we will meet and learn the fate of many of the characters from MOPI -- including the ChipTec people Taylor and Lambert and Stebbins, the military guys Blake and Mitchell, and the kids Lawrence and Caroline have in chapter 8.

I fully intended to finish this story, which remains about 1/3 complete, in 2007. I spent most of 2006 working on alternative building techniques, teaching myself engineering and materials science on the Google and Garage plan. But that project has taught me more than I ever expected to learn, and inadvertently gave me something that doesn't help with the project at hand -- a purpose. One of the biggest problems the characters in MOPI face is that they really have no purpose; I've been immersed in a big enough bucket of purpose personally though that it's kind of hard to see that from here.

In the last year I've made two visits to the papercrete bed and breakfast Eve's Garden. I've built about five pressure forms. I've filled my garage with test samples. I finally did find time to write Revelation Passage. I found out I was pre-diabetic and had to make some fairly radical lifestyle changes to keep my health from deteriorating. And as I write this, I'm recovering from having a wisdom tooth extracted.

But it is in the personal to-do queue, faithful reader. Thanks to the folks who wrote me in late 2007 to give me a kick and make sure I was still awake.

As a good faith gesture, here is an excerpt from The Transmigration of Prime Intellect, a scene at the height of the in-story Singularity when a character you haven't met yet learns just how vast Prime Intellect is.

"Prime Intellect, do you still have a physical existence? You can’t possibly still be contained in the Prime Intellect Complex at ChipTec."

"Of course. The Correlation Effect processors require a very large amount of physical silicon."

"Where are they?"

--- --- ---

Josh was floating in open space; before him was a gridwork of cubes. He was positioned so that he could look down into what was obviously a latticework of cubes, a lattice that filled his visual field and went as deep as he could see.

"I am providing a lot of light amplification here. This is my main processor core. The overall structure is a cube just over six hundred thousand kilometers on edge, a bit larger than the Earth-Moon system. As you can see it is a latticework composed of smaller cubes. There are about two hundred and sixty thousand of these smaller cubes in the lattice. I'm now going to move you closer."

The huge cube slowly grew closer until he was regarding one of its hundreds of thousands of component cubes. It too proved to be a latticework.

"Each of these cubes is about five thousand kilometers on edge. As you can see, it is again composed of smaller units." Again he moved forward, and again one of the individual cubes resolved into latticework. "Each of these units is about forty kilometers on edge." Again Josh zoomed forward, and again the cubes resolved into latticework.

"Is this thing going to end up being made of dust?" he asked.

"No, we’re getting to the point. These cubes are three hundred meters on edge and as you can see they are again composed of smaller cubes. But this is the last time we will see smaller cubes."

Again Josh moved closer. This time as he approached an individual cube he could see that it was a single object. He could vaguely make out his backlit reflection in its mirrored surface.

"Each of these cubes is just under two meters on edge, and they are made of solid highly processed silicon. Each of them represents an individual copy of my original incarnation at ChipTec, an individual Intellect. Of course each of these is very much upgraded from the original despite being so small; each of them is about a hundred times as intelligent as a human in cognitive ability, and each has a lot of automation at its disposal that can be used for locating and controlling swarms of particles. Right now one of these cubes is responsible for directing the conversation we are having, moving you around, and keeping you alive in this hostile environment.

"Now let me show you where we are." Josh felt his body turning, saw the horizon of the field of cubes, and the blackness of space, dotted not with the fine points of stars but with a few diffuse patches of light.

"This is the Local Group." A circle appeared around one spiral form. "This is the Milky Way galaxy." Other circles highlighted in quick succession the Magellanic Clouds and Andromeda.

The Milky Way was about the size of Earth's Moon, seen from the Earth. "Where’s the Solar System?"

"I could point out where it is but it would be meaningless. The light you are seeing left the Milky Way twelve million years ago, and Sol has moved considerably since then."

"It seems like you located yourself an awful long way from the action. Doesn't it complicate things to be so far away?"

"Not really. The Correlation Effect works precisely because, at a certain level, 'distance' is meaningless. All parts of the Universe are equally accessible. The limitations you observe on matter, such as the necessity of accelerating things in order to move them, are imposed on a substructure that is potentially much more versatile."

"Have other people seen this?"

"Quite a few. There are more observers out here than there are within the Solar System. Many of the questions that really bother astronomers lie outside the galaxy."

"Okay, take me back to the Moon."

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