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Old 16 November 2017, 01:25 AM
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ASL ASL is offline
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,909

It's finished. Synopsis is below.

Peter Cabell leads a mission to force miners off asteroid 7 Iris and rescue possible hostages. He dies and Walashy, his First Sergeant, leaves his body behind. The miners’ settlement is destroyed from above, hostages and all. Walashy is torn apart by feelings of guilt and betrayal. The columns of debris rising up from 7 Iris form a haze that mimics the haze in his mind.

There is a haze over Mnemosyne as Peter Tombes, grandson to Peter Cabell, leads the first landing outside the solar system. The crew is tight and things go well as they setup a colony around Proxima Centauri, but Earth seems of little significance in their daily struggles. It’s disorienting, really.

Pat Hayes is disoriented as she awakes from 500 years in stasis. On a new colony 116 lightyears from Earth, she meets Tombes--his consciousness transferred into a computer--and he becomes her mentor. He explains how he grew disillusioned with Earth, where transfers treat biological humans as an underclass, and the two become close. They go for a walk together and as they talk, Pat is captivated by the view of her new sun, Pi One Orionis.

TRAPPIST-1 isn’t much to look at and most humans are now transfers who don’t care much for stars. On a server world around TRAPPIST-1, a team of biological humans work for Alex Tran, the Network Control Officer. Her Director is rather toxic, like many transfers in their dealings with biological humans, but Alex protects her team from the worst of it as they troubleshoot a loss of comms with Earth. Though it’s hard to believe, it becomes clear the problem is on Earth’s end. Alex fears the silence speaks to something ominous.

After a long silence aboard the starship Devastator, one of a handful of survivors from an ill-fated punitive expedition, its crew of three begins to talk about what happened. All they know for sure is that most of their friends are dead and Earth is in trouble. They manage to keep it together until they are clear of the target system--Pi One Orionis--and enter stasis. Before entering his own stasis unit, the Operations Officer is relived to be alone at last. He finally has a chance to scream.

A scream fades to silence in the distance and Engo is surrounded by corpses after cutting open the mythological Gaia. Don’t worry, it’s just a nightmare. But as a member of the council presiding over the destruction of most of mankind, he is deeply troubled. Though the decision to destroy Earth was made before his time, probes still scavenge the galaxy to hunt down survivors. As they evacuate the Pi One Orionis system, Engo and other biological humans execute a plan to put an end to the killing. They force a compromise and Pat Hayes--one of the council’s transfers--warns him the nightmares may never stop. The council chamber is dark as Engo departs for his ship.

Ronan awakes in darkness from yet another nightmare. He is troubled by the killing he has done on behalf of the elders and fears he is bound for the Abyss. The bronze-age tribes on Colis have no memory of Earth and only the vaguest notions of what the Ancestors want from them as they vie for control of the planet. On his way to another battle, Ronan is near the breaking point and becomes convinced that what they are doing is wrong, but there’s little he can do. His tribe arrives at the appointed place and the battle begins. His tribe is routed and Ronan is about to be slaughtered when there is a voice from above.

A powerful emissary, the Mediator, arrives and promises all the tribes of Colis peace and prosperity if they will put an end to their wars. Each tribe sends a representative to join him on a hill where they may learn his ways and Ronan is among them. Over the course of a year, the representatives learn to speak the same language and Ronan continues to be haunted by past traumas.

In time, the Mediator explains that he has come from “the Colony,” formerly of Pi One Orionis. He explains why they destroyed Earth and insists his people want to treat with Colis and its people as equals, if they will have peace. Ronan is troubled at the thought of so much killing, entire worlds destroyed, but he is ready to put an end to all of it and supports the Mediator. At the end of the second year, a handful of dissenters kill the Mediator and Ronan is ready to exact revenge on them when he stays his own hand in the interests of justice. He runs to warn the others of what has happened.

Florian is running to make the last launch out to his ship and makes it just in the nick of time. The first night out, he is invited to dinner with Consul Darchiev, en route to establish contact with a planet full of savages. If they can convince the savages to accept their terms, most of all to agree not to leave their own star system, then the Colony will spare them. At first things go well for the Consul, but he is eventually murdered and Florian’s best friend, Ade, is tasked with destroying the planet. As he prepares to direct an asteroid towards Colis, Ade appears reluctant and Florian goads him into carrying out his orders. On their way out of the system, Florian checks up on Ade and finds him dead in his quarters: suicide. Was it the guilt? Ade must have lied when he assured Florian he was fine.

Donte explains to his fellow mission planners that they shouldn’t resort to dishonesty over trivial matters: if it’s worth lying for, it had better be worth dying for. Donte is one of several Colisians working to resolve the small matter of the asteroid that has been on a collision course with Colis for several hundred years. In another hundred years or so, it will hit, but fortunately their space program is well underway and the first launch is due tomorrow. Donte struggles with traumatic memories of his own and ultimately decides to resign from the space program when they become too much to bear. All the same, he’s optimistic for the future.

Ash is cautiously optimistic as they--gender-specific pronouns being considered old-fashioned--stand ready to cross the event horizon and into a black hole. The Colony has given up on forcing other worlds to accept terms and left the rest of humanity to determine its own fate. Ash is one of the last three biological humans of the Colony and together they guide a ship containing the consciousness of every transfer through intense electromagnetic fields where computers can’t function for long. Ash succeeds in writing the Colony’s collective consciousness into the singularity and then transfers to join them as the ship breaks apart. Rather than take their own life, their biological self chooses to disconnect and jump from the ship to look out on the light of the galaxy flooding in. Ash, as a transfer within the singularity, sometimes dreams of what their old self must have seen in their final moments.

Peter Tombes still has the occasional dream about Grandma Cabell, who died when he was young and did not transfer. She loved a ghost too much. Tombes and the others inside the singularity are troubled by what the Colony did--the needless killing--along the way to achieving functional immortality for themselves. After tens of thousands of years of living memory, Tombes still struggles to figure out where it all went wrong. He thinks it may have started with the Tanegashima Accords, which put an end to mining within the solar system and forced humanity to look for resources in other stars systems. His grandfather had died trying to enforce the provisions of the accords on that fateful mission to 7 Iris...