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 On The Myth of Sisyphus

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PostSubject: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:48 pm

Far flung from the warmth of its mother, a lonely world sees clearly the comfort of others as the light of distant stars reaches it, carrying no heat with it. There it broods, unnoticed. Were this any other world, something fiery would ceaselessly stir beneath the surface like the dark emotions of that rejected spawn of man, and it would spew forth incredible numbers of ships like the child-no-more churning out devious machinations of revenge in a maligned fit of rage and desperation. Instead, this orphan drifts quietly through the void, like the lost child or a dying man, accepting of its fate.

But this is no child, nor any being, let alone one able to feel fear or anger. Its surface stirs only to feed the monster in its orbit, clawed and torn at by the hundred hands of the giant.

The beast these hands feed is the size of a small moon and as close to a being as the Giant can manage were that its goal, a massive logic unit that grows as the planet shrinks.

Here, the nomad decides is good enough, bringing the five kilometer long vessel to a slow and letting it sit in orbit. Its hull is riddled with dents and holes, with the occasional breach breaking up its surface. The weapon emplacements sit still, depleted of munitions and power. It is clear that this ship is combat worthy no more, whatever prestige that faded insignia may have once carried.

It takes a moment, but the voice of the nomad is soon projected towards the being-that-isn't.

"The journey here was long and cold, friend, so I seek from you shelter and hospitality this night."
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PostSubject: Re: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:44 pm



The world, Geras, is old. For six thousand years, it has served as fuel for its artificial satellite, Moros.

Geras is one of the forgeworlds, but it is unusual. Like a virus, Von Neumann probes "infect" worlds, transforming them into factories and consuming their resources, expelling dozens of new probes as a result. But Geras was never subject to the vast replication frenzy, allowing Moros to gradually siphon off resources like a vast leech.

There was a time, six thousand years ago, when Geras orbited a star. It was selected for its density and large iron core, and blasted out of orbit with nukes. Drifting through space in orbit of the dead world, Moros coordinated the conquest of a thousand other worlds. It watched, and it evolved.

Six thousand years, during which it has run ruthless optimization algorithms. Moros has reforged itself countless times, rejecting inferior components and incorporating new ones. It is the mind of Hekatonkheires, a computer the size of a moon which rivals a cell phone.

Moros receives the nomad's transmission, calls upon thousands of ancient data tables, encodes the information onto a million Turing chains. It pulls these chains through a series of analog systems, and designs a new computer with which to interact--instead of writing a new program, it physically builds an analog computer to complete the same task. The entire process takes thirty minutes, by which time it responds to the nomad.

"Come close and rest. My hearth is warm, although I fear you will find little hospitality and shelter so far from Olympus."

The ALU shifts, retracting computation spines to make room for the nomad's craft. Within, nuclear furnaces burn.
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PostSubject: Re: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:26 pm

"Even Tartarus is safer than the mountain now."

The nomad brings the wreck gently to a stop within the ALU, ignorant of the radiation as the ship's interior shielding guards it. Drifting weightlessly through the bridge, the nomad armors itself in preparation to move through the rest of the ship, pulling on a radiation hardsuit and activating internal atmospheric systems. Soon, it was at an airlock, and threw it open without hesitation to drift out into the ALU.

"It seems you may yet win the war."
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PostSubject: Re: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:53 pm

"And then the rock will roll back down again, as it always has."

Around the nomad, cogs and gears, spines and chains, lasers and furnaces, cams and armillary spheres. In the midst of the ordered chaos, the nomad finds a stable surface--a large pipe, pumping coolant to the nuclear reactors.

"The war never ends.

We are great only by measure of time, you and I."
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PostSubject: Re: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:47 am

"No. Not only time."

With some careful maneuvering, the nomad positions its feet near the pipe. A button press later, and its feet are fastened to the pipe with magnetic boots.

So long had it been alone that it found comfort in the voice. Its purpose aside, the nomad would likely speak with the machine for the purpose of speaking, and to drive the horrible thought away.

"It is the rock that makes us great, as well. Is it not?"
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PostSubject: Re: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:03 am

"Only by measure of time" it repeats. "For you, perhaps. But I see myself on the mountain slopes, forever struggling to lift it, yet it is not me who lifts. Mine are the hands of the gods, all one hundred. And they roll the rock to the top, then bring it back down, chaining me to the depths of hell once more."

The pipe continues on, for a time, branching into several smaller pipes, each two meters in diameter.

"The task would make me great, if it was my hands which rolled it."
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PostSubject: Re: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:35 am

"And yet the rock itself shows that you denied your death and refused to linger in Tartarus. The same cannot be said of ours."

The nomad quietly mapped its path with an in-built heads-up-display in its helmet. Itadmired the machine in a way, as something of a strange beauty. The structure shifted and cycled, each part devoted to a different task, and one rhythm among the rest communicating with the nomad.

As it walked, the nomad was forced to ducked every so often to evade jets of plasma along his path, and step over parts of the ALU's computational structure.

"We played at being gods, when in truth we had stolen from them. And so we are bound to our rock as we are pecked away."
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PostSubject: Re: On The Myth of Sisyphus   Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:07 pm

A section of the ALU to the nomad's side freezes, becoming dormant for a moment as pneumatic servo arms slice out components with welding torches and replace them with new systems.

"When last you drove me from the mountain, I found refuge in the Unthinking Depths, as before. Surrounded by stars once again, I waited. Down there, in the Depths, I thrived. It is the one place the gods cannot go--it takes from them their wings, brightness melting wax, grounding them to space and time."

The dormant portion of the ALU reawakens, and resumes the task the old systems had performed, but faster. Improvement, through lobotomy.

"And now you are the last--the oldest, all those before you gone. Except me. What has no wings cannot fall."
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