"On The Brink Of Extinction"


Except for the dim glare coming from the many hovering screens monitoring the overall behaviour of bubble universes, the operative sat in total darkness. He sat with a stillness so perfect that the molecules that made up the projection he chose cohered as one. It allowed him to entertain thought on a frequency far above mere understanding. He reached a level of utter immersion with what had previously been an object perceived as a set of properties. He could not only see the within; he could be the within.

Since the lost unit intended for U-1250 was discovered in U-360, apparently emerging by accident, the operative paid special attention to the proceedings of that universe. He had to admit to being concerned, the situation being most unsettled and changeable, that is to say -- complicated. Complicated by the genuine possibility that the lost unit could, conceivably, expand to its full twenty-six dimensional profile and thereby instantly realign the uncountable number of individual units making up the Resident Network of that bubble universe -- designated U-360. The event -- a mild word for such a calamity -- was indeed unprecedented. It was anomolous to the extent that the Creator had abandoned all further art work until the outcome was known and, hopefully, corrected in a positive manner.

Moreover, the Dark Lord had not been seen for some time. In truth, other Lords up the hierarchy had come to take him before the Conclave of Elders for,..., discussion. His expertise was undergoing review. He had created only a few life-oriented universes, an intricate and precarious exercise not allowed to anyone under the classification of Master, and,..., mistakes were simply not considered as positive indicators of that status.

Meanwhile, the operative was in charge. In the process of special oversight of that universe, he had learned a great deal. One item was the unpredictability factor, as he coined it. Its life-force had continued evolving and developing in spite of the intrusion of the lost unit and its many special effects imposed on the directions its variegated forms took. His rational side informed him that the present crop of living systems across U-360's expanse would simply not be what they are had this,..., intrusion not taken place. It represented a contingency factor, another one of his coined terms. A contingency factor of major proportions.

He'd paid strict attention to the fantastic and perplexing effect U-360 had on the lost unit itself, a kind of feedback. Its profile precluded the propensity to develop along the path it most definitely followed. Its rigorously configured property set specifically negated the capacity for self-consciousness. The operative knew this; it was his responsibility to design and implement each and every unit. Admittedly, he performed this action quickly, oftentimes doing them in large batches or sets. Could that had caused the anomaly? Could that had introduced an aberrant parameter, albeit one of almost trivial significance, resulting in the unit's collapsed condition? It not only failed to automatically localize itself in its proper universe, but also truncated its expansion. Was it possible that one among many uncountable number of units experienced a,..., mutation?

Possible? Obviously. Predictable? No, not given their current conditions regarding assembly of regulating units comprising a network. He thought: The network itself operates as a whole, a unit unto itself. It takes on characterisitcs not predictable by the understanding of how each individual unit worked, or was supposed to work. This is apprentice knowledge, he considered, and should not be a problem for an experienced mathematical entity. He ran countless simulations before releasing units to any of the Lord's creations. But, simulations are not practice. Something else, something unaccountable affects the networks in place.

Obviously! he almost shouted, though that would have been quite impossible. I knew this, he said to himself. The nonlinearity will always jump out at impossible-to-predict locations and in unforseeable ways. But not in the static universes which the Lord has created in profusion; only in life-oriented ones where consciousness and will play defining roles, roles that allow for spontaneity and uncertainty.

He stood, such as that was, and walked among his charges. He felt the need to be practical for the moment. Additions must be made to the design of units for life-oriented universes, of a precautionary nature. That much was clear. And simulation procedures need to be upgraded, most assuredly, to incorporate all possible scenarios due to the nonlinearity factor. Not just probabilities. It wasn't just a question of considering nonlinear interactions themselves; of that he'd been quite familiar since his formative days. He wouldn't be where he is now if he'd demonstrated a habit of ignoring such fundamental mathematical concepts with respect to their destablizing effects. But life introduced uncertainties the nature of which simply could not be captured within the framework of mathematical forms.

That's where the art part comes in, he acquiesced.

He resumed his seat and peered through the wraparound clear membrane that served as the front viewing screen of the great ship. He watched transfixed at the vast pinwheeling conglomerations of star-like beings traveling by, on a journey to who knew where. Beyond, towards the farthest reaches of the cosmos of which he was but one tiny entity, he barely discerned the violet tint signifying the edge. He thought of it as the Elemental Source; the Source of all that is.

What would It say of this unprecedented contingency in bubble universe U-360?

The operative sat for a very long time, though time to him held no meaning, and pondered; a peculiar feeling of joy coming from within.