The Coming Storm (2025)
History is the froth on the ocean, a series of small events telling of the movements in the depths below and skies above. This is the story of one such historical moment, in which a presentation is made, and a new technology unveiled to the world. These tactical computers will become the birth of true AI, as well as a world radically different from the one that preceded it, and it begins at this m More
Each story in this sequence is set five years apart in order to allow the tale to be determined by the content, not a frame, and so the voice and style of each is distinct.
As such, it is simpler to let it speak for itself than describe it:
In the first halcyon days, images of this day would be a sign of everything good and true in the world. When the atrocities came, they settled into the psyche mundi as Promethean, evidence of fools stealing fire from the gods and expecting it not to burn.
Later, as the first generation of non-human minds rose, it would be reconstructed as the inopportune actions of a newborn; regrettable, but forgivable. Over time the story would oscillate and mutate, the perspective a reflection of the observer’s moment and self as much as the event itself.
However perceived, it was a lie. The men had met in sun and fire, half a decade ago, and grown strong together, becoming something less than friends, and more than rivals. This revelation would be for the world, but for Feng, Zhukov, and their masters, it was just another move in the great game.
Bythos laid his hand on the wall, tattoos glowing and shifting as access protocols configured. He looked at his hand, and the patterns brightened to an unbearable brilliance, fading to reveal an infinite and empty space.
Amenti was a state of mind in which the Aeons became divine, with vast and inscrutable dominion over the world. The simple virtual surfaces surrounding him were unsettling, tainted with the qualia of cold marble and unlit caves. A single blinding light in the doorway provided the only illumination. Despite its brilliance, it did not reach into the corners of the lobby. He paused for a moment as the others settled into place.
There would always be an Amenti, and it would always be new, a different thing for each generation, evolving as the world did. A millennium ago, the Archons had used ceremonial drugs and hypnosis in gleaming temples. Fifteen centuries earlier, they had gathered at Delphi, letting the toxic fumes bring mindstates alien and puissant. Before then, there were practices recorded but barely intelligible, strange rituals and forms that hinted at lost aspects of the world and of man.
Today, it was a true utopia, a no-place in which select Archons became more than human.
As he stepped forwards, he saw the waiting Aeons, lords of the Archons and rulers of Abraxas. He took his place at the fifth seat, above the globe traced in light and smoke, facing the four Aeons already in place beneath him. The sixth place, opposite him and barely visible through the globe, was reserved for Sigê, who remained in eternal silence, watchful and careful.
His shadow cast strangely across the twitching grind that encompassed the jittering sphere that floated between them, traced not in soil and air but networks, flashing lines of light and shifting colour showing the signal network that composed the true world.
As he completed the octahedron, lines of dark smoke unfurled between the Aeons, sealing their deliberations.