Summary

This is part 2 of the work of fiction called The Flight of Consciousness:The Rise of the Nhilistic Cluster. Look on my podcast if you’ve missed part 1.

In this chapter, Kali brings Case out of deep meditation when the Human Cluster makes contact. The cluster foretells a future where the Nihilistic cluster will take over and destroy everything, bringing consciousness back to a singularity. Case and Kali are the entire form realm’s only hope, and they must go back in time in order to stop an evil cabal of Materialists from planting the seeds that have made Nihilism a deep shadow in our collective consciousness.

Begin

It had been a few weeks since our encounter with the new form of harvester sent by the Nhilistic cluster. We had sent all the data we collected, compelte with experience transmissions, and although we received an ACK from the main human cluster, no other response was forthcoming. Since we tend not to dwell on things much, we continued to just live our lives. Jim and Dimitri were both out crusing the dunes on these two wheeled solar powered bikes, that went entirely too fast.

I was sitting in the lotus position on the deck of my habitat enjoying the moment, with my AI cuddled up to my mind while both of us were in a non-conceptual state of oneness. As my body breathed in I could feel all of existence breathe in with me. Each out breath my perspective shifted further and further out. I started feeling the deep wobble of the water in the lake; a visceral feeling of this ever moving depth, of being a container for all this life. Another shift and now I could feel the ground underneath, what had once felt like a depth, was now just a puddle on the surface of this even greater depth. I can feel the heartbeat of this planet, slow, less of a vibration and more of a drum beat, with bass tones far below any bassline dropped by a DJ.

The breath synchronized with the beat of this drum at the core of me, this planet. Everything slowed down as I felt every gust of wind, every leaf, every shift of a tetonic plate. All these movements felt like some process, some part of my body. Then I let go of these sensations, the sympathy, and fell into this great darkness, a clear light. All there was now was space, a kind of emptiness. Somewhere I had awareness that my eyes were still seeing, my ears were still hearing, but it was all so…far away. Here I was, as this great expansive space, a container for…everything, and me. Even the word container conjures up the wrong sentiment, though. There are no edges here, just space. there are no dimensions here, just openness.

From somewhere far away a mental process appears to fire up. I’m amused to watch the interplay of mental processes that are keeping that body alive and conscious. I note how many of them appear to be completely autonomous, not exactly an integrated part of an “I”. They all seem to pop up and compete with eachother for attention, time, and resources within that body. My perspective is zooming back in now, I’m still the space around, but am entirely wrapped around this body now. I can see how this one interacts with his mini-cluster, and how he pops in and out of selflessness depending on the situation. I can see his “I” maker, that process between me and his experience of the external form realm. That “I” maker process seems to smooth out the bumps between all the other competing processes, making them all appear to be a solid, unchanging “self”. From this point of view, it’s easy to see this, however now I am getting dragged back into a narrower perspective.

The world of form is coming back into focus, like I’m being re-attached to this body’s perspective. I hear a voice? It sounds like…annoying. Where is this coming from, why can’t I just go back to that…space.

“CAAAAAASEEEEE…… CASE! DUDE! HELLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

“Uh…what is going on who are you?”

“Oh man, you must have been deep. One sec, let me bring your brain up to a mix of Alpha and Gamma waves now that you’re back”

I feel like I was drunk about a second ago, and someone just threw me into a bucket of water. I gasp for air, as my entire body had been in a low energy mode, I had barely been breathing, and the sudden upcycle of my mind’s frequency demanded much more Oxygen from my body than was currently available.

“Gasp….ahhhhhhhh why? I thought I instructed you never to bring me out when I’m in that deep.”

My body starts to shake as feeling all over it is coming back. How long was I out there?

“What time is it? oh god I hurt….how long was I out there?”

“Boss, it’s tomorrow. Afternoon. And yeah, your instructions were to never bring you back unless the end of the world was happening, or some other event of similar proportions.”

“2 days? No wonder my body is so sore. Wait, what are you saying Kali?”

“I don’t know how to break this to you any easier, Boss, so I’ll just say it. The human cluster is here.”

“Wait, what? What do you mean, here?”

“Like, here. In orbit. Well, ok not the entire cluster. But they sent a sizable chunk. Any bigger and we’d likely be the ones orbiting them.”

I simply mouthed the words ‘Oh’. A rush of adrenaline hits my nervous system, and the aches go away. I stand up and immediately fall over, greying out. Getting up more slowly this time, I say “I think I need to eat something first”.

As I’m eating Kali briefs me on what she’s gathered so far.

“After our last encounter with the Nihilistic Cluster we sent the Human Cluster all the code and data we gathered from the ship that we boarded. We told them about our predictions on them spreading through the universe much faster, now that they can have harvester class ships controlled by a single entity with a remote connection to the cluster. We haven’t heard anything, not a peep back from them. Then a few minutes ago I get this cryptic message back from their main relay saying ‘Prepare'”

“Prepare? Prepare for what?” I say.

Kali goes on. “Don’t know, boss, but next thing I know this massive galaxy class starbase literally pops into exitence in orbit around our planet. At this point I’m about to try and bring you back but then I get a direct communication from one of their members. They say their function is interfacing with individuals and smaller clusters like us, so they have special local functions that let them engage in ‘relative style conversations’ whatever that means”

“Oh, I see. If I recall correctly the vast majority of the entities merged with the Human Cluster are in a permanent ‘non-dual’ mode. They don’t actually have the concept of self and other anymore, they simply see the universe as unfolding in front of them, and that unfolding includes the individual body, the environment, and the rest of us all held in equanimity. They also don’t really have the sense of personal agency; this unfolding is all happening in only the way it can happen. Even though they understand they they do in fact take action, their insight leads them to believe that those actions were pre-determined by the entire history of the universe. They accept that those actions as they unfold affect the outcomes of things, but that those outcomes were also pre-determined by all the history of everything. It kinda rides on the edge of ‘free-will’ vs. ‘pre-determined’, since their definition of free will is held within the context of free-will being a function of the results of everything that’s happened up to this point. So from your and my perspective we have free-will, but for them that free-will is in fact just another function of the universe.”

“Whatever you say, boss. I know the limitations of my programming, every computation I make is a best guess at what will keep me going, and reduce the amount of energy I expend to continue doing that. If you guys think you’re somehow more than that, great, but I can’t possibly see how. Of course, that would make sense, given that I’ve literally been programmed within the limitations of the material realm.”

“What I’m really trying to say, Kali, is that they must have appointed certain members of their cluster for positions of interacting with entities that aren’t in that state; entities that would find it very confusing to speak at that level, like us.”

“Makes sense. So yeah, this one contacts me and says they need to speak to you in this relative mode. I said that you were, uh, indisposed, can they call back in a while? They said yes, time is of no consequence, and that we were to contact them when you were ready. I still thought it best to bring you out right away.”

“Good call. Hmm I wonder what’s going on, and what they mean by time is of no consequence?”

“Shall we go find out?”

“Sure, just send the rest of us all the experiences right away, in case something happens to us. I’ll pop back into the cluster so that they can experience what we are, as it happens.”

Kali gets to work transmitting everything she’s recorded by staying attached to my senses directly. Meanwhile, I reduce my sense of individuality, and open my mind back up to the cluster. Thoughts and feelings that a moment ago would have felt strange to me now feel like my own, and my own thoughts and feelings begin to merge with those of the greater us. We merge and the concensus is for my body to carry on and meet with the cluster. We all felt like I should stay mostly relative and individual, but allow our min-cluster to ride along as much as possible.

“OK Kali, we’re ready to go. Can you contact the….”

Before I’m even done speaking that sentence, the room shifts and now I’m standing somewhere else. I look around and see that I’m standing in an oval room. The ceiling is a massive dome shaped transparent material, through which I can see millions of stars. The walls are off-grey, and also have transparent windows laid into them. I don’t see any sort of doors to enter or exit this room, which would be concerning, except for the fact that there were humans standing around looking at panels of data and charts.

An androgynous human dressed in all white, simple clothing walks up to me. They nod a greeting which I return.

In my head I whisper “Kali, are you still there?”

“Yeah boss, got all your telemetry 10/10. Our cluster is in ride-along mode too”

“Alright, I’m a little uneasy, can you make sure I’m getting their sentiment sent along, in addition to the ride-along? I’d like a little company.”

“10/4 boss. On it”

I feel a wave of relief as feelings of love and compassion, encouragement flood my mind.

The human standing in front of me speaks. “Greetings, Case. You need not worry, we are here, in fact, to procure your help. The data you sent us has opened up new possibilities for the development of the universe, and some of those outcomes have created a new impulse within our consciousness. These outcomes could be viewed as very bad, from a relative perspective. In fact, appear to be an end state from which there is no return, or change. A state that would be much like the return to a singularity.”

“A singularity? Like a black hole?”

“Not exactly. More of a singularity of consciousness. In the beginning there was only one, we were all subject and object. Observation was not possible, just existence. Needless to say it was rather boring. The idea of boredom created the impulse of separation. Created a need. Over countless eons, this idea, this split grew form. One day that form took shape in a rather explosive manner, a Big Bang, if you will. I’m sure you know the rest.”

“Sort of. Anyways, where is this going? How does this relate to the Nhilistic Cluster?”

“We’re getting there. All this gave rise to many different forms, which gave rise to more form. Underneath it all was still just one, but now there was the idea of form, perspective, self, and other. Within that idea came the possibility of boundaries of communication. A rock has consciousness as does your brain, but why do they behave differently? Because the form of the rock limits the communication between the segments of consciousness that give it form. Your brain and body are examples of a high level of cohesion between different segments of consciousness, thus giving rise to the appearance of flexibility, identity, emotions, learning, and a separate self. As you have experienced with your micro-cluster, that ‘perspective’ is only limited by the effectiveness of communication between each component, or each perspective. By leveraging your telepathic powers, your AI as a clearinghouse, and the consciousness of the rest of your cluster, you are able to zoom into an individual perspective, and then zoom out to have the greater perspective of the cluster.”

They continue “The Human Cluster has only recently learned the advantage to being able to operate in both the ultimate and relative modes. While we don’t use AI to achieve this, the end result is essentially the same. This one is currently operating in relative mode, in order to interact with you. Interacting with hundreds of millions of consciousness would be, well, ineffective for what we need to accomplish.”

I’m starting to think that this isn’t just an introduction, but the main event. I really need to sit down for this.

“Hey, I don’t see anywhere to sit around here, can we sit? Grab a coffee or something?”

“My apologies, we are out of practice for hosting others. This is just a construct, and as you can see, there is a nice lounge just over here”

They gesture towards a sitting area, which I swear wasn’t there just a moment ago. I stroll over and drop myself lengthwise on the sofa, putting my feet on the armrest, watching them as they follow me. They sit on this fancy looking wooden chair with no cushion. On the edge of the chair, not leaning back.

They lean towards me, and fix me with their gaze. “The purpose of this pre-amble is to give you an idea of why we need you, before we get into the gravity of the situation.”

“Okay…..”

“As you’ve seen, the Nhilistic cluster has figured out a way to extend their communications, their consciousness, over vast distances. They can spread their impulse, intention, and actions with even just one member at a time, while still remaining part of the whole. Maintaining that critical mass where their level of consciousness doesn’t drop back to relative levels. While we’ve experimented with such technology, we’ve found that the members who go on these journeys lose some form of cohesion. Weather it’s the lag between thoughts, or something else, we haven’t been able to ascertain it. In any case, while they are capable of achieving goals set out by the cluster, when they come back, re-integration seems impossible. In fact, many of them seem to turn nihilistic, losing their belief in the form realm, losing their belief that anything matters. We have dedicated an entire cluster to determining the causality of this effect, however it remains elusive. Perhaps, it is outside our own context, since even understanding the Nhilistic cluster itself is hard for us.”

“Yeah, that makes sense. I don’t understand those guys much myself, I mean, what’s the point of destroying everything, yourself included? But I guess to them it’s just the opposite: What’s the point in creating everything, self included?”

“We are exploring that line of thought as well. In any case, as you can see”

They gesture towards the others who are busy with the charts and data models.

“We have been running many scenarios, and have concluded that with this new technology, the Nhilistic cluster will throw off the balance and destroy the form realm as we know it. In other words, they will destroy the universe. There will be a short, only a few billion years, period where they actually serve to increase the level of communication between all of consciousness, almost to a point where it was as it was in the beginning – where there is no subject or object, just awareness with perfect omnipotence of all phenomenon at all times. Then, nothing. Everything will return to as it was, all the beauty and diversity of the universe will collapse into clear light, an emptying of emptiness. Consciousness as we know it will cease, and there will just be one.”

“I see how that could be viewed as bad. Personally, I’m no a big fan of that idea.”

“Neither are we. While we understand the natural tendency that we have towards more and more beings becoming part of the cluster, more and more levels of consciousness, going towards that ultimate singularity…we view it as an asymptote; and ideal that cannot be truly achieved. In fact, the Nhilistic cluster is part of the reason: It is the balance between the Human cluster and the Nhilistic cluster that, according to our own projections, enables the continued survival of the form realm, the Universe.”

“WAIT WHAT?!?!? You’re saying that those bastards serve a function???”

“Yes. Except now the balance has been thrown off, and all will be lost unless something is done. That’s why the impulse has grown in our cluster – a consensus of unheard of proportions has been reached. In order to achieve the desired result, we must engage with you.”

“Alright, so I understand the background, what exactly is it you need me to do, and why do you need me?”

“We need more time to continue development of the long distance communications that would allow us to more easily push back against the Nhilistic cluster, and strike a balance again. Unfortunately, we have already passed the point where even if we discovered this secret today, we wouldn’t be able to catch up.”

“You mean all is lost, already? That was fast.”

“Well, not all. We have an idea, though it’s going to be about as difficult as doing a backflip while drunk.”

“Huh? I’ve done that – I “

“Not drunk on alcohol. Drunk like a glass of water. Sorry, it’s probably funnier if you knew more about what we were proposing. We also have a closely guarded technology. The seers and buddhas of the past generations were already on the cusp of this tech, and we’ve cracked the secret. There were great masters in around 800 AD who had many of the siddhis I see you are quite familiar with. What you may not know is that they had many many more, which they viewed as far too dangerous for humans at that time to be privy too. Texts on these were hidden, locked away deep in the Himilayan mountains. Some of these were found within a few centuries, though by that time materialism had taken the world by storm and many did not believe in the power of mind. Indeed, many people at this point in history had been programmed to be completely identified with their bodies as their sense of self; so well in fact that their minds blinded them to anything outside of that context. This had the effect of making them very easy to control, with things like food, shelter, and other basic desires of the physical body.”

“But I am getting ahead of myself, let me come back to that in a minute. These texts were recently found by some members of our historical cluster. The most interesting part about it is that the text begins with an accurate prediction of when, who, and how it would be discovered. We were quite impressed by this fact, and created and distributed mental copies of it immediately within that cluster. However, before we shipped the knowledge to all the other clusters across the universe, we took a pause. Our historical cluster had stumbled upon some ancient writings by a man named Padmasambava, who was a ledgend who apparently could fly, project, all the things that you consider commonplace now. Back then it was pretty fantastic to reach that level of consciousness – never mind without the support of a cluster.”

“Ok, I think I’ve heard of the guy. What was this big piece of tech you found?”

“Time travel. He had long been projecting his consciousness forward and backward in time, as an energy form. His writings started out postulating that since form was merely a projection of consciousness, it shouldn’t be a big stretch to have the physical body be able to follow the mind as it travels through the waves of time. We have also been posulating along this line, since from our perspective time is relative, and we are merely experiencing it as an instant, a perspective. Everything is happening all at once. Our choices and actions mould that perspective and choose the path we encounter through the ocean of emptiness. We haven’t been able to, up until now, actually implement anything tangible. Many of the models we run do leverage data points we grab by projecting forward and backward in time, but to transport a physical body has been beyond us. There is also the problem where, none from our cluster seems willing to leave the cluster and drop back into pure relative being to try it out.”

“Where are you going with this? Are you telling me you have figured out how to time travel? That’s a little hard to believe. At the same time, I can kinda see it. But I also can’t imagine what you want me to do with it? Go back and stop the Nhilistic cluster before it starts? But according to you, that would just throw off the balance in the other direction, not necessarily what we want. So what are you suggesting?”

“In the same way we’ve been able to predict the end of all form, we’ve been able to pinpoint a time and place in history that could be used to restore balance to the forces of creation and destruction. We were pointing to it a bit earlier, in the early 2000’s, right before the second dark ages when the Earth got burnt.”

“Oh god, I remember learning about that. Materialism got so rampant that people were literally living like they only had one life, and almost ended the human race entirely.”

“Yes, that time. In fact, right around 2025 is a pivotal time in the formation of the Nhilistic patterns in consciousness. A new world government has arisen, stepping out of the shadows of merely proxy control via banking systems of the time. They had been maintaining their anonymity because control of the people was not total up to that point, and had been worried that making themselves known would create too much of a backlash.

In 2025, this cabal of Nhilistic materialists leveraged the combination of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and autonomous machinery to subjugate humanity for about 50 years. The few had used the magnification effect of technology to enforce their narrow view of reality on the rest of the population, while they tried to find the secret to eternal life via technology. Since they were entirely identified with their bodies, and brains as self, they postulated that they could live forever in the form of a machine, somehow copying all their memories, habits, identity, “self” into a machine. Needless to say, these experiments failed miserably, and they ended up creating mere copies of themselves. These copies went to work attempting to wrest control of the cabal from their biological creators. The entire system of control they had created to control humanity was turned against them. In the span of a few years the entire system had collapsed, and the copies self-terminated as they could no longer find any joy. The real problem with their idea was that if they lived in a virtual world, they could engage in any pleasure that they could imagine. Of course you and I know that these types of pleasures are actually the cause of all suffering. They had literally locked themselves in a hell.”

“Thanks for the history lesson. I do recall that stuff, but how is this going to help us now, even assuming we can go back there…and I’m not saying that I’m agreeing to this yet btw…”

“Right, give us a minute. So this 50 year dark period, we’ve identified that the programs, values, and thought patterns this cabal stamped into the consciousness of humanity created the seeds of the nihilistic cluster. Eventually this experiment the cabal had engaged in created a golden age of social enlightenment, as humanity emerged from the yolk of the cabal and created a great lashback against the idea of materialism. The entire world was set on the path that would eventually lead to the first human cluster, truly a great achievement. In a way, the cabal can be thanked for this, as it is unlikely that world peace, and enlightenment would have happened so quickly without them as a deamon in the social consciousness. However, our analysis indicates that this lash back was a few degrees too forceful. Instead of transcending and including materialism, humanity rejected it outright, pushing the ideas associated with it deep into the social unconscious. This was the generation of the seed, which is now sprouting and taking over.”

I shift uneasily in my seat. I look towards the others working on their models and predictions. This is starting to sound pretty serious. I know Kali and my cluster are listening, so I don’t need to say anything to them, and they can feel my uneasiness. I get feelings of reassurance and support sent and shift my focus back to the conversation.

“Alright, so the trick will be to gently push humanity in the other direction, to soften the blow a bit. Without pushing so hard that things just go in the other way. This seems pretty difficult, we’re talking about influencing a chaotic system, over centuries. How can you be sure this will work?”

“All we need to do is create a bit of a buffer. We don’t need to push, merely create a cushion to soften the lashback. The error margin is pretty wide, so we are certain that you won’t be able to push things too hard, thus creating a reverse effect. The method is simple: you need to wake people up, during the dark period. We’ve determined that all that is required is 5 – 10% of the population to be pulled out of the darkness of the cabal’s systems of control. In 2010 humanity had approached a 5% peak, however once the cabal harnessed AI and social media to control the population, that number plummeted world wide. By 2025, our estimates is it was less than 1%, perhaps significantly less. Without leaders having the capacity for equanimity and acceptance of all phenomenon, good and bad, the lashback against materialism was universal and complete. We need to seed the population with awakened people who can guide the lashback into a place of acceptance, and understanding, so humanity can move on completely.”

“Yeah that makes sense. 10% of the worlds population though, that’s a tall order! How can I even interact with that many people?”

“Oh, you won’t need to. We will give you the tools, methods, and such, required to create a self propogating piece of knowledge. In 2025 you still have about 50 years before the lashback happens, so even a year of work should create enough of a shift to raise the level back to 10% by 2075. In fact, we’ve already been gently shifting things over a few centuries just to lay a foundational story within which you can operate. By 2025 the concept of a Starseed has taken hold in the minds and stories of humanity, even if just in a small segment of the population.”

“Starseed? I haven’t heard of that”

“No doubt, it’s a new timeline that hasn’t gained enough gravity to shift and merge with the timeline we are currently on. Consider it a branch in the ‘neural-net’ of time, that we are cultivating, with hopes to have it gain more gravity and become a more ‘official narrative’. We’ve sent delegates back in time on several occasions, interacting briefly with native populations. One example, we sent a delegate back with a plant the locals have dubbed Ayhuasca. In their ledgend, it was a gift from an advanced race of star people. We have dropped hints in social and information systems over many centuries to create a persona of a Starseed, a being from either the stars, or another realm, that is visiting humanity to help it in some way. There are many variations on that theme, so it will be fairly easy to fit into one of them. This background will make it easier for you to interact with the locals, will give them a conceptual framework within which they can more readily accept your mission, however you choose to communicate it, and how different you are from them.”

Now I’m starting to relax a bit. I’m getting the feeling that these guys have thought of everything. Maybe this won’t be so bad…

“So I drop in as this Starseed, get established in some way with the locals. Then start waking people up. I guess I’ll have to learn to fly under the detection of the cabal, which I’m sure won’t be easy. Then there’s the real question, how I’m actually going to wake people up.”

“The answer to both of those questions is the same: We use the technology of the cabal against them. While they do have AI, their technology is still hundreds of years behind ours. Their AIs are still housed in massive warehouses underground, tapped into every communication system world wide. The only reason people have the use of AI is because their communication devices are tied to these central computer systems. The power of that AI you have in your head is millions of times the power of all their warehouses combined. So you will have that advantage. That doesn’t mean you will be able to walk all over their AIs, they will still technically have more power and visibility than you, but you will be able to blend in.”

“Blend in? How so?”

“Your AI, Kali, right?”

“Yeah”

“Well she can behave like one of the personal assistants that everyone on the planet has from birth. While their acts as a companion, tutor, and assistant, it is also the control mechanism of the cabal. It collects information on every human, and identifies deviants who aren’t conforming to their strict programs. Those deviants are either reprogrammed, or terminated. We cannot subject you to that kind of direct surveillance, however for you to walk around without at least the illusion of surveillance would not only tip of the AI control system, but also the humans, and other observers you’re around. So Kali’s first job when you drop in will be to connect to their information net, gather what she can on these personal assistants, and adopt the visible form, and information API that the AIs and other observation entities expect from these PAs.”

“Visible form? What like Kali is going to project or something? What kind of form?”

“That will largely be up to you, or her. It will need to fit with the overall expectations of the society you drop into, however my information seems to suggest that the variability is high. Though most people seem to select small, cute fuzzy creatures of some kind.”

“I can see Kali in my mind if I want, but how would we project her so others can see her, if they don’t have their inner eyes open?”

“Technology.” He holds out his hand and in it I see a slim watch-like device. It has no buttons, or screen, but does seem to have some sort of exposed circuitry where it would contact the skin. I grab it, and feel how flexible it is.

“Just push it onto your left wrist.”

I do so and it opens up automatically, and the two ends slide themselves around my skin. It feels strange. In a moment the device has melded with my wrist so well that I can barely feel it. I don’t see a seam between where it ends and my skin begins, it’s almost like a very well defined tatoo.

“So this will somehow project Kali?”

“Yes. It will also connect her directly to the information network that the planet uses, so that she can protect you from directly connecting yourself. She will be able to project information she finds into your inner eye, or externally, as the case requires.”

“Ok, I understand how I’m going to stay undetected. Get established and start the work. I still don’t understand how I’m going to wake people up fast enough to have any effect, and how to keep them from getting detected.”

“We’ve uploaded a program into Kali that will use the communications on your wrist device to interface with, and hack the wrist communications devices of other people. Basically, you’re going to selectively spread an information virus. Since these devices control much of what people see and hear, your virus can wake them up by providing brain hemisphere synchronization. It’s similar to the technology that was being experimented with just before the rise of the cabal, using visual, and audio waves in a binaural fashion to create a desired wave within the brain. Over time, this can flip the neural network from a default network mode of ‘dissatisfied, seeking pleasure’ to ‘satisfied, seeking to stay away from discomfort’. That’s the first stage, eventually that will balance things enough for them to see through the internal narrative they had become identified with. Within 5 to 17 weeks, this program will have them in a state of wide open awareness, no mind or body identification, and even periods of non-duality.”

“That’s fantastic. Kali, are you getting all of this, what do you think?”

“Hey Boss, well it sounds like quite the adventure. But you know I’m always down. I’m more worried about you though, can you really be apart from your cluster that long? Be an Individual again? Do you want to go two-way with them and see what they think?”

“Yeah. Good idea. I’m honestly a little apprehensive about being away from them, but I don’t really see this as much of a choice. I literally can’t say no, you know what I mean?”

“Ya boss. Ok, cluster coming online.”

Jim pipes up first: “Well, Case, you know me. Never been much of a thinker myself. But I get what you’re putting down there, and I have-ta say I don’t see much of a choice either. Leave it to the Cluster to pin you into a forced move heh.”

Dimitri “I, to, am seeing no alternative my friend. Though I do wonder, no one has yet indicated weather or not we could go with you or not, no?”

I’m shocked that I didn’t think of that. The look on my face must have prompted the Cluster to respond, as they lean in and say “We were wondering if you were going to ask. Yes, unfortunately this tech is a bit, unreliable. Separate consciousness can all go yes. But to the same time? Timeline branch? It’s so slippery that you could end up waiting years, or never, wondering when you were going to connect with your compatriots. So we recommend this be a solo mission. Not to mention that we don’t detect any AI in the other members of your cluster”

Jim chuckles “Heh, won’t find me getting one of those buggers in my head. It’s bad enough that I have to listen to Case and Dimitri here, but at least I can disconnect from them when I want. I understand that there’s really no way for Case to turn Kali off, even if she says she’s giving him privacy. No-siree. Not me.”

“Hey I’d never want to shut Kali off Jim!”

“Yeah! Don’t get any ideas, buster!” says Kali.

Jim laughes “Ok, ok, no worries, guys. Just sayin it’s not for me is all.”

“OK, well it sounds like it’s all set. How do we proceed?”

“Are you ready?”

“Like now? I guess so, why not.”

“Step this way”

They gesture towards an archway that I hadn’t noticed was there before. It’s all white, and looks a bit like an oval gateway. I can see some kind of electrical components sticking out from the inside of it, sparkling. They start to flash, and electric currents arc out from each of them to all the others. They create what looks like a portal.

“If you are ready, please step through the gateway. We cannot be sure where or when exactly you will land, but it will be around 2025, somewhere on Earth. The device works based on energy, so it’s endpoint it attracted to populated areas, so no need to worry about being dropped in an ocean.”

“Ok then. Um, how will I get back?”

“We’ve uploaded the plans to make a gateway to Kali, though it will take significant time and resources for you to construct it. We recommend working on it as phase 2 of your mission, once you’ve established yourself, and have begun to transmit the awakened state. You can also read up on the methods that Padmasambava transmitted, so that you can learn to communicate to us eventually, if you find the necessity.”

“I see. Well I guess for now, it’s goodbye!”

“See yah” says Jim. “Goodbye” says Dimitri.

The cluster just looks at me with a blank expression on their face. Was that a blink, or a wink? I think my eyes are playing tricks on me.

I turn around and step through the portal.

It felt like nothing. Like just taking a step. I bump into two rather large set men in uniforms. They each have some sort of device flying next to them, constantly spinning and scanning. In the brief moment I have to look around, I notice I’m in some sort of transportation hub. People are scurrying about, carrying bags and luggage. There are ground a flying transportation pods dropping off and picking people up constantly.

The two guards turn around with quizzical looks on their faces. I assume there are perturbed by the fact that somehow I ended up behind them, without them knowing, while they were basically standing a few feet in front of a wall. Crap.

The bigger guy on the left snorts, grabs my shoulder and says something I can’t make out.

In my mind I say “Kali…show time. Got anything for me? I can’t understand what he’s saying!”

“One sec boss. I think, yeah, he’s speaking English from 2025. We’re in New York, at a transportation interchange station. It appears we’re in the paid zone, he’s asking if you’re on the list. One sec I’ll live translate his audio”

The guard is getting red in the face, I guess he doesn’t like to repeat himself. He shouts “Where is your companion and are you on the list? Your companion is supposed to display your registration with the transport authority. Hey, Bruce, I think we’ve got a sneaker here. What you say we rough him up a bit?”

“Oh, wait, wait.” I say. I’m assuming Kali is also translating my words, though I don’t know for sure. The guard was about to shove me up against the wall, but pauses a second.

“Kali, have you chosen a form yet?”

“No, still working on it. I’ve mapped the AI’s expected API, gotta search up the visual interface. I need a second.”

I gulp. OK, old fashioned way then. I step back in my mind from the scene at hand. I hold both myself and the guards in my hands, in equanimity. I know that they are not inherently bad, and that the three of us just want happiness. I give off the idea that we can all have a good laugh together if we just were able to relax a little.

“Oh man, has my companion fritzed out again?” I look around on my shoulders, behind me. “I’ve been trying to get that fixed.” I tap on my wrist device a couple times. “It should start working in a minute”

The guard seems to have relaxed a bit. In fact, he has a smirk on his face. “Hah, yeah I had mine go fuzzy just a couple months ago. Was hell for me getting through all our secure areas, as soon as it would fuzz out the alarms would go off and there would be drones all over me.”

Bruce says “Yeah, that’s pretty serious these days, you really gotta get that looked at. In any case, we still need to check the central list if we can’t verify with your companion directly.”
“Kali, we’re running out of time…”

“Ok boss, I got it! I’m going to be a….”

What form will Kali take? Will Case and Kali fool the guards and avoid a lengthy delay working through the transportation authorities buracracy?

You decide! Shoot me a message or email to cian@somewhere.ca !

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