A right can of worms…………


Morgan Industries,
MY2346

“Report”, barked CEO Nwabudike Morgan to Gavin McClure, his Intelligence Chief. “And it had better be important to interrupt an executive meeting.”

Gavin replied: “Sir, we think it is.

“Our agent in UN Headquarters Base reports that the Peacekeepers have started on a major special project that dwarfs anything either we or they had undertaken before. It’s being codenamed ‘The Ascent to Transcendence’ and we think that it involves an attempt to integrate their personas with Planet’s sentience to create some sort of ethereal lifeforce that would supersede humanity.”

Morgan raised one eyebrow quizzically. “Will it?,” he asked.

“We’re not sure. But one of their key scientists has defected and has brought the compiled sourcecode of their research programs and I am sure that we……………………”

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Sparta Command
MY2346


“………………can duplicate their efforts. Perhaps even beat them to the punch,” replied Major Rodriguez, the key intelligence officer of Colonel Santiago’s command. “It will involve a tremendous allocation of our scarce resources, and retooling our production at Sparta Command, but our scientists think that it could be done.”

Corazon Santiago pondered for just a moment, then spoke: “Do it. There may be military applications here. The first faction to meld – is that the right word? – with Planet will have an enormous head start on the evolution to this enhanced lifeform, with all the advantages that can bring.

“How did they get started on this line of research?”

“Well, Colonel,” Rodriguez replied, “it all started when they completed their ‘Voice of Planet’ project and progressed from there to………………….”

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University Base
MY2346

“………..another Special Project they commissioned, codenamed ‘Threshold to Transcendence’, we think.” said Chekhov, the top scientific officer at the University faction’s headquarter base.

“The Peacekeeper defector told us that the massive diversion of energy a few months back was of their doing.”

“Yes, I remember that” Zakharov said, “that was quite disruptive. What was it?”

“Well, if I understand correctly,” Chekhov started, “they had assembled together the entire datalinks……………..”

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New Jerusalem,
MY2346

“……………contents into a single data stream that could be transmitted in a massive energy burst into Planet’s neural net,” offered Brother Joaquim, the leader of Sister Miriam’s small science team of clergy. “The Peacekeeper technician whom we converted was quite adamant that the experiment had succeeded, and that the entire history of the human race as contained in the Planetary Datalinks was forced into Planet’s consciousness.”

“Amazing,” Sister Miriam said. “And you are convinced that he has brought with him enough of the research to allow us to commence our own project, and perhaps beat the other factions to Transcendence?”

“Yes, Sister,” Brother Joaquim replied.

“Let’s do it then, and Lord willing, we shall succeed,” was Miriam’s retort.

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The Hive
MY2346

Chairman Yang was rattled. Pacing up and down the fungalbraid carpet, he was visibly agitated. He turned to Manshan Chow, his top scientific officer and said:

“Did we not know of this research?”

“No, Chairman,” Manshan replied. “We were kept in the dark. Had it not been for the defection to our cause by one of the Peacekeeping research staff we might never have known.”

“How typically Lal”, snarled Yang. “You would think that we were mortal enemies, not Pact Brothers. Did I not sign a surrender agreement with him, pledging unfettered loyalty? Do not our bases feed the units he has garrisoned here? Don’t I support his every vote in Council, waiting to see how he votes before casting mine?. And he treats me like this!”

“We have the technology now to compete, and perhaps even be successful,” said Manshan.

“Then do it”, said Yang, his face assuming his old, almost forgotten, supercilious sneer. “Of all the factions, although vassal to Lal, we are the strongest and most numerous. If anyone has the resources to compete on an even footing, it is The Hive.”

Manshan Chow nodded his assent, and left to get the Special Project underway.

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Gaia’s Landing
MY2346

Lady Deirdre stood serenely at the head of the hardwood table, one hand resting elegantly on the back of the chair. She swept her small team of senior advisors with her gaze, letting her soft hazel eyes rest for a moment on each as she searched for the right words to say.

She held up a single sheet of flimspad and began;

“I have here – and I shall pass it around for your viewing – an offer that was brought to me this afternoon by one of Commissioner Lal's envoys. He deemed it too important to trust to a comm-link for fear of interception, but wanted a written record in our hands to emphasize the earnest of his commitment as well as the extent of his trust in us.”

Her audience waited on her every word.

“The Peacekeepers have invited us to become their Pact Sisters and to pool our resources in joining them in their Ascent to Transcendence.”

The air was electric, and the silence was palpable, as her audience absorbed this statement.

The Finance Minister spoke up; “What’s the trick?” she said. “They don’t need our ‘pooled resources’. They can complete this on their own in a few Planetturns. In fact my agents there tell me that their treasury is so overflowing that if they threw energy credits at it they could complete it in one turn. In fact my exchequer reports that in five years time the Peacekeepers will have cornered the energy market. Why would he make this offer”.

Her General added “And my sources report that if he truly wanted to, he could enslave us all, as he has done to Yang. He is the most powerful faction conventionally, and then there is his Red Army.” He gave an involuntary shudder as he voiced the name.

The Gaian Ambassador to the Planetary Council chipped in; “He also has enough votes right now that he could elect himself Supreme Leader if he so wished.”

Lady Deirdre smiled fondly at her trusted advisors.

“I am sure that the offer is genuine. Commissioner Lal, for all his bumbling ways, is a friend of Planet. His economy is Green, and his entire economy is built around forestry and solar energy. Every mine that he has is now forested over, even his once odious boreholes. And I know Voice has talked to him, even as to me. I trust him.”

“What about Yang?” asked one of her advisors. “Do we have to pact with The Hive as well?”

Lady Deirdre’s eyes misted slightly as she produced another small sheet of flimspad.

“This message was personal to me, but I will read it to you”, she said. “It might help you in your decision.”

She read:

“And if the Gaians sign a Pact of Brotherhood/Sisterhood with the Peacekeepers, I will immediately dissolve my pact with The Hive. I have no desire to spend a Transcendental eternity with Yang at my side. It may mean war, but so be it.”

The Gaian High Council voted Pact with Lal.

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I sent out to my Red Army commanders:

**Phase one successful. Proceed with Phase two.**




[This message has been edited by Googlie (edited June 10, 1999).]