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the ascent
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Assorted data fragments related to the events surrounding the start of the Second Age of Earthkind. Exact dating unknown. Mild corruption errors corrected. No direct profitable value; historical value considerable.


Kas two point three, personal log. Yew has recommended I start keeping a personal log. I don't personally see the point, but I am making an effort at reaching beyond my personal boundaries. I should also use the word 'personal' less often. I'm not very good at writing yet.

Celebrating the salvation of my people was, admittedly, premature. On some level I knew that.

True, I'd managed to find a way using Fae magic to recharge an empty Mass Capacitor. Solar panels on the moon, the lunar arcology, the Anu-Esrever Conduit to travel from #A076 to Luna #01 in a few strides... all of it fell into place nicely. This was the breakthrough which let my people finally take their place on the world stage, plying our technology to help better the Earth we'd wounded so long ago.

Yew suggested I "deserved a breather," and I did honestly try to go on what the locals call a "vacation," but the next problem kept gnawing at me...

We're now able to recycle spent Mass Capacitors, true. Shamanic magic turns electrical power into aleph radiation, and the massively compressed matter in each capacitor soaks it up like a sponge. But there's a finite amount of Mass Capacitors to work with -- essentially, the ones we'd brought with us when the criminal Lar manipulated us into landing on this Earth, and the ones salvaged from Arcology #BE12 in the Canadian wastes. No more than that, and some had even been destroyed in the years gone by, people foolishly assuming that an empty Capacitor was now useless scrap.

That should be enough to begin revitalizing Eastusa and Westusa with our technology, if we limit it to infrastructure improvements. But our goal isn't to boost one nation, it's to boost the entire world to our standard of living. For that, we need to make new Mass Capacitors. Ones that can, of course, be recycled and reused again and again... but we still need more of them in total in order to expand the power base.

The only way to make a Mass Capacitor capable of absorbing sufficient aleph radiation is to mine a planet. Mine a LOT of a planet's mass. Proposals were put forward to 'scrape' the surface of "unused" continents, but that would be devastating to the local life forms living there, and still wouldn't provide enough mass for more than a tenth of our current capacitor yield. We needed at least one full Earth worth of mass in order to raise our power capacity properly.

Obviously, mining the Earth we are standing on is out of the question. Mining alternative Earths would be fatal to the populations living there. Impasse.

Our ancestors forged a conspiracy to allow our society to commit genocide guilt-free, by claiming every Earth we visited was doomed to ignorance, poverty, wanton destruction, and suicide. The conditions for war were imposed on those Earths, while the oblivious scientists hovering above them watched the planets kill themselves. Then, we swooped in and mined the rubble.

Disgusting. Utterly disgusting.

So, we can't mine this Earth, and we can't mine other Earths. And yet, we need to mine a complete Earth to make any headway.

The solution is to create a new type of Mass Capacitor, one which can absorb high-yield aleph radiation WITHOUT relying on intense amounts of compressed mass.

Except I have no idea how we can do that.




Supplemental analysis. Extensive notes on Emily Moonthistle, Scott Reinhold, Una point zero one, and Nelliwyn Myfanwy are already available in the central core.

The following files detail persons-of-interest who have emerged since the collapse of the initial program. Years have passed since the initial reports. Emily has become queen in strong standing. Una and Nelliwyn have progressed in their relationship. And most importantly, as they explored and expanded their social networks to other nations and continents, so too has their circle of allies expanded.

ALLY: Elisa Morales. An average human being, of average build, and average height. Despite extensive training in marksmanship and combat tactics during her time with the Eastusa Federal Bureau of Investigations, there are superior marksmen and superior tacticians. She excels in no particular aspect compared to many of her peers.

There is nothing quantitatively special about her whatsoever -- being an ordinary localized human and not a shift import, she has no magical abilities, no advanced scientific knowledge, no innate supernatural powers, no particularly improved resilience to physical harm or resistance to the aging processes. She is in every respect a normal person.

Do not underestimate her.

She has consistently survived situations which any reasonable statistical projection would say she should not have. She has made contact and established lasting relationships with persons of interest such as Emily Moonthistle, Una point zero one, and William Petersen. Despite incredible risk factors, she has even taken a former member of the hive infection known as "Los Muertos" into her family, and treated it like a daughter.

Troubling above all, despite having a high public profile as a confidante of the Faerie Court and the former presidency, she has consistently been "off the grid" for long periods of time in which she could not be tracked at all using conventional methods. Projections point to the probability that she is working for the so-called Gatherers, whether she realizes it or not.

(Side note: Los Muertos, the so-called "zombie" plague that has turned the population of the South American continent into undying corpses, requires further study for either extermination or utilization.)



Aleph radiation is the power source all Orbital technology is founded upon. Every Earth visited is rich in this power, soaked right to the very core. The living creatures that exist on the surface of an Earth also contain measurable amounts of aleph radiation.

And yet, we know very little about it. That's always confused me.

(I'll warn that tonight I have had far too many "margaritas," again at the behest of Yew. I am finding the dehydration effects quite stimulating to my thought patterns. I may need to explore further, perhaps even using the "pipeweed" that Tillman favors so.)

We can measure, manipulate, transfer, and utilize aleph radiation. We have complete mastery over it. Although we refer to our power core as "Mass Capacitors" (always capitalized, why is that, to give it importance, maybe) the soul of a Mass Capacitor is the aleph radiation that has soaked its mass, through and through. When the capacitor is "dead," its aleph is drained, it's nothing more than sludge.

But what is aleph? Why doesn't it behave like any other form of radiation? It's not harmful to humans; every human has some aleph in them, and yet, they don't burst from radioactive cancers and tumors. (Note to self: offer to investigate radiation scrubbing treatments for the African tribes.) So many aspects of it defy the laws of nature and physics, to the point where Orbitalkind has made 'addendum' laws, which explain its behavior. But those don't explain WHY. They just explain HOW.

Understanding the reason aleph radiation exists may be the key to making a "mass-lite" capacitor, one which stores the same amount of energy in a smaller amount of mass. If I can't crack this then they'll be leveling the Andes mountains just to make a powered Cold Fun scooper.

I want to go back in time and smack whoever thought that Mass Capacitors were a feasible long-term power solution. We didn't deserve to leave our Origin Earth, not if this was the only way forward we had. We should've waited until we could do it the right way.



ALLY: Kas two point three. ALLY: Yew one point four. ALLY: Shaman Tillman.

Kas is a brilliant scientist. She is the reason why Arcology #A076 was able to find the means to recycle their capacitors. We're only now beginning to understand how she accomplished this feat, using a method that mixes technology with magic. An unsettlingly familiar method.

She could not have achieved this goal without the help of Yew one point four, a botanist of no particular value or worth. Unexceptional in every sense, but her driving ambitions and philosophies gave Kas the impetus she needed to solve the power problem. Yew's romantic partner, a Fae Shaman named Tillman, provided the other half of the equation.

Numerous attempts were made on Kas's life. Our assumption was that without her, without her brilliance, the driving force behind #A076's resurrection would be destroyed.

All attempts failed. #A076 was put into a position of power, in which it could finally work towards improving the human condition, and become one of the pillars on which the reestablished global community stood.

Simply killing her now would be useless to us. We will need to completely destroy her and everything she has created.



I actually have three problems in front of me right now. One's been solved -- recharge Mass Capacitors using Shamanic magic. Done, buried, finished.

The second I've already written about, including regrettable drunken ramblings: mass-lite capacitors. I'm no closer to a solution there. I suspect it may be two generations before my people find the answers. Science stands upon science until it is tall enough to see the stars, but it is a slow process.

What I hadn't realized was that I was actually facing three problems. The third is a matter of FINDING the mass I'll need for mass-lite capacitors. Even if I had the technology today, right in my hands, I'd need mass to load it with. My most optimistic projections still say we'd need to scour a continent or two, stripmining deeply, just to make the most efficient capacitor possible.

My boyfriend suggested that we should get away for the weekend. Being a dreamer of the most obnoxious sort (which is why he endears himself to me greatly) he proposed we spend our time away from #A076. Far away. As in, on another Earth.

Since he was a Sociologist, of course, he didn't know anything about dimensional shift theory. Not even the basics, apparently. I explained to him, patiently, why we couldn't find some lovely empty Earth to visit.

In order to shift to an alternative Earth, we must first identify, isolate, and lock onto the shift frequency of its innate aleph radiation. Every Earth has its own signature, which Orbitals use to catalogue and track them. (Well. We used to. #A076 is firmly grounded and shift engines don't exist that can move smaller structures. As far as I know.)

The problem lies in the lock-on process. Assuming #A076's engines were capable of moving it around anymore, we could only visit worlds already in its shift database. We could add a new world... but we'd need to find a new signature to lock onto. A world strong with aleph radiation.

Some half-formed Earth, a place where life never developed in the cosmic soup of the Big Bang, or even a place where human civilization never arose... we can't lock onto those worlds. Only worlds populated with sapient life similar enough to what we know as 'humans' can be found using our current technology.

Sure, we can cast ourselves randomly into the winds of the shift spectrum, and MAYBE find an empty Earth. But 99% of the time, we'd just end up in the middle of the void, in a realm where the possibility of Earth never arose. Earth as we know it is a rare and precious gem.


But what if we COULD find an "empty" yet viable Earth? A Pangea, as it were. What if we could find a place where at best, we'd be unsettling the habitats of some lemurs by mining it?

We could use that Earth, without fear of genocide. Using mass-lite technology, a single Pangeal Earth could power an ENTIRE GENERATION of the ENTIRE ORBITAL FLEET. Just imagine it! I had to use all capital letters because imagining it was so AMAZING!

Some would say killing any animal wildlife is unacceptable. I leave that moral decision to my betters. The point is, right now, we have no efficient power means, and no even slightly moralistic way to gather that power.

Two more problems. I'll solve them. Or those who come after me will. Humanity, no matter what flavor it takes be it human or Fae or Atlantean or such, is tenacious and enduring.



ALLY: Carrie Lane, a.k.a. Astro Gal.

In Proctor Hel's original shift patterns to create this Earth, the smallest shift he made was three individuals from a single world. These individuals were codenamed Starwoman, Astro Gal, and Doctor Mindmelter. They hailed from a world pre-echoed in this Earth's culture as "comic book superheroes," which is an absurdist way of describing metahumans of considerable power.

For the entire two-century span in which this Earth managed not to kill itself off, the lone survivor of the trio lived on her own in the ruins of an island chain named Hawaii. Carrie Lane, under her working name Astro Gal, went quite insane from a combination of loneliness and alleged immortality. That is, until Una point zero one, Nelliwyn Myfanwy, and Elisa Morales (note earlier file, do not underestimate) rescued her and reintroduced her to society.

Since then, thanks to the efforts of #A076, she has made a full recovery. And is more of a threat than ever.

Even aside from intense strength and durability, she has made connections to the Faerie Court and we suspect even to the Gatherer network. In a single week, she managed to stumble across the Gatherers when they foolishly let several of their finds out in public. (Minor note: Eastusa citizen Ivan Buren, a.k.a. "Van Buren," was exposed to an artifact for considerable time. He continues to have a relationship with Carrie Lane and may become a person of interest.)

While even a child could devise a trap for Carrie Lane using the most basic laws of physics, she holds true to the same trait her contemporary Elisa Morales does -- tenacity. She is clever, capable of adapting and overcoming any threat in front of her, using a combination of her extraordinary abilities and basic strategic thinking. While she's only one girl, and apparently her brain chemistry has locked her in a state of clumsy adolescence, caution must be used in dealing with her.

She has two weaknesses which can be leveraged. One, love of her friends and family. Two, love of country. Loyalty can be twisted to new purposes.



Four years in from my "triumph" and I've made no headway whatsoever on my other two projects (Project Lite and Project Pangea). Frustration is mounting.

Boyfriend left me. I am finding incredible philosophic content in "sappy" popular music that I never recognized prior to this.

I've had a rich and rewarding life, since my awakening four years ago. I have to look back on the experiences I opened myself to, I have to acknowledge that there is no wasted time. Work is not the only aspect of my existence. But when problems loom this large and no solution is in sight, it's difficult to have an appropriate perspective.

That's not to say the puzzle is unsolvable. I do have a few strong leads. There may be a way towards my goal, using technology beyond me... perhaps the fascinating "steam" from overseas. (It carries aleph! How is that possible?)

The best lead I have, however, is magic. It occurred to me the other day that in the accounting of Emily Moonthistle as to the fate of the Faerie Queens, the Queen of Summer used a combination of Orbital technology and her innate goddess magic to open a gateway back to the World of Fae. That should have been impossible, as the World of Fae was ground to fine rubble by a mining fleet. Its shift signature would've been wildly different from its original pattern. There would've been nothing to lock on to. did the mining fleet arrive on an empty world in the first place, after its population had been shifted here? Simple enough; once you HAVE the lock on a populated world, you have the lock, even if the population goes away afterwards. Only after mining the Earth and enacting major physical changes does the lock completely fail. Hence, you can't find an empty Earth, but you can find an Earth, and then empty it of life.

But such a trick couldn't be done too often without looking suspicious; it violates known physical laws. In fact, you might have to show up just prior to the population vanishing, then claim "Oh look, they somehow destroyed themselves, what a shame." Which is why there are so few records of stumbling across "empty" Earths in our history. But again... this is all speculation. Without access to the conspiracy itself, I can't confirm any of it. Lar is still in a brain-dead coma in a white room at #A076, and likely will be for his entire life, so no point in craving his knowledge.

Anyway, I asked for an audience with the Faerie Queen to confirm my theory about magic and technology. She gave me the next bit of data which leads me to suspect magic is a good avenue to explore.

Apparently, to save their skins from juxtaterrestrial abominations, her anachronauts team used a spell in Anchorage called "Pandora."

Magic had already found an equivalent technology to our engines! A true dimensional shift spell!

This was top secret, of course, due to the amazingly dangerous nature of the spell. Emily personally guarded the only copy remaining. It was originally cast as a final desperate measure, and the caster barely understood why it worked. They were lucky not to siphon away half the Earth in the effort, which was a genuine danger when the original Faerie Queens opened their magical portal.

While the Pandora spell is not something you can play around with to study and analyze... it proves that this is a viable road towards Project Pangea. It may take many years of work to safely harness magic and technology together, however... assuming my assumptions are assuming things correctly.

Which is the problem. All of this is conjecture. Even following promising leads, it's going to take years of investigation, hundreds of dead ends, far more work than I alone am capable of. I said before that science stands on its own shoulders... I'm finding that embracing this fatalism, that I may not be able to finish this myself, is harder than I wanted it to be.

This is my last week at #A076. The lunar arcology is going to expand soon, and I'll be heading across the Anu-Esrever Conduit with Yew and Tillman on their next tour of duty. Down below, others will take these notes and continue my work. My new assignment will be to make the current Shamanic process more efficient, to refine what we have, in hopes that it might increase total power by about 4%. Bitter work compared to the fruit that was just within my grasp... but important work, nonetheless.

We have made great progress in this world. Orbital technology reinforced Eastusa's backbone of civil engineering. We're at the heart of the newly forged United Nations -- the anachronauts and the Welcome Wagon programs opened the door, but we built the door they opened.

We've lived up to our promise to heal this world's wounds, to make amends for the sins of our ancestors. Our work is good. My work is good.

But we've so much farther to go. I fear I may not live to see the breaking dawn of a true second age.

I will enjoy the time I have remaining, and hold no regrets. Everything continues onward, with or without me.



All threats have been assessed. Counter technologies have been developed.

The neutered and tamed #A076 poses no real threat. Still, we should proceed with the Thanatos Plan, if only to teach them that their path was a false one. I will see to this personally.

The Faerie Court would pose a problem, but we can rely on the planned triggers and events to take their most promising pieces out of play. There is no reason to fear their "goddess." The offspring may be an issue, but we can contain it.

The Gatherers feel they still have a decade or more before they need to take up arms. Relying far too much on Proctor Hel's predictions, on his ancient math which we have leapfrogged completely. They've grown complacent, poking around the madness of that Earth, hoarding treasures and baubles; too focused on the process, and not on the purpose.

Eastusa is worthless and weak. We've divided them by empowering their enemies, the Federalists and Braid of Dawn. Their Frontliner kinetic projectile weapons are laughable. Their 'superheroine' can be turned, thanks to our ally within.

The British Empire is strong, but they are greedy and vain. Their masters know which way the wind blows, and their people can be placated. We will safely contain the risk factor of the messenger.

Authorization to send a contingent of the fleet has been approved.

We are the forever people. We are the Ascendancy.

The stars will rise.




to be continued

copyright 2011 stefan gagne
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