[We]/Are13 min read

Having just finished Star Trek: Picard (season 1), I appreciated the behind-the-scenes antagonist. But I found myself a little done re: the ‘we exist beyond space and time’ bit. In a universe filled with Q and Mirror parallels, can’t species find other interesting places to go?

Turns out they –can–

I also wanted to expand on the antagonist’s plans and how they could be both beautiful (as in “The Borg preserving the -best- of every civilization” could be beautiful from a certain angle) and compellingly horrific at the same time.

I also posted this to my ao3 account at: https://archiveofourown.org/works/27765001


ARCHIVAL FILE AX04/59.2/ENFO-mv2

Categorized as follows: Zhat Vash, Ganmadan, Alliance of Synthetic Life, Aia, Eightfold Stars, Conclave of Eight, First Contact: Ch’khalagu

CLASSIFIED, EYES ONLY, WITH PERMISSION

ACCESS POINT: Daystrom Institute, Okinawa. Permission through Director of Institute, only. Not to be disseminated for public use.

IMPORTANT

Synthetic applicants are to be monitored post-exposure by Soong Institute specialists. Organic applicants are to be monitored as per UFP Visalayan Exposure Protocol. Exposure to the message produced by Artifact 1 (associated name: “The Admonition”) produces profound psychological breakdown and suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation in synthetics may present as progressive, reckless behavior rather than a direct desire to end the subject’s own life, which requires specialized observation to ascertain.

CONTRIBUTORS
  • Artifact 1 details provided by Narek (Federation docket 1J1791327/J).
  • Artifact 1 message (“The Admonition”)details provided by Narek (Federation docket 1J1791327/J), Sutra Soong, and cross-referenced by Doctor Agnes P. Jurati
  • Admonition decryption achieved through joint research project: Romulan Free State Science Collective, Vulcan Science Academy, Daystrom Institute, and Soong Institute. Project Director Kollos (Medusan) overseeing.
EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
  • Romulan Eschatology: Ganmadan and the Rise of the Ch’khalagu by Professor Ramdha
  • The Mars Tragedy: A Synthetic ‘Rebellion’ and its Romulan Origins by Raffaela Musiker
  • A Life Worth Saving by Dr. Agnes P. Jurati, co-authored by Jean-Luc Picard and Soji Asha
  • The Tragic End of the Borg Reclamation Project by Annika Hansen, with added notes and annotations by Project Director Hugh (deceased)
  • Battle at Ghulion IV (alternate title: First Contact- Ch’khalagu) by Captain William T. Riker (active reserve), dedicated to the synthetic, Commander Data Soong.

***

PROJECT OVERVIEW

The first contact message known as “The Admonition” caused severe damage and cultural distortion to the organic sentients that encountered it, leading to a near lethal encounter at Ghulion IV with the collective tentatively called the ch’khalagu. Full deconstruction of the message was deemed of primary importance, as sub-layers of the message were discovered post contact.

Since the contact was (rightfully) severed at the time before hostilities could occur, the ch’khalagu and the Admonition remain an outstanding threat to the Federation and all organic sentient life in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.

***

ARTIFACT DETAILS

The EIGHTFOLD STARS describes a featured system found within the Beta Quadrant. Approximately 200,000-300,000 years old, it was mentioned in ancient Romulan star charts, but all references were purged after the system was visited by the expansionist Romulan Empire several hundred years ago (date not fully established and could be up to two millennia). The chance of a naturally occurring octonary system is virtually nil, with all evidence pointing towards the Eightfold Stars as a massive feat of stellar engineering.

Set within the system is a Class-M planet, Aia, which houses Artifact 1. Artifact 1 is prominently an artificial device and easily detectable by advanced sensors once within orbit. Life on the world appears to be homeostatic and basic enough to maintain a nitrox atmosphere within tolerable standards. The topography of the planet shows standard geological forces at work, with slices of strata showing a wide variety of evolved life until approximately 200,000-300,00 years ago, when life entered its current state.

Use of the Artifact 1 is by touch, whereupon the Artifact releases an electromagnetic pulse. Approximately 80% of organic sentients exposed to the pulse try to terminate their lives immediately. The remaining 20% enter a profound, life-long shock that forms the primary motivations for future actions. It was the practice of Romulans studying the Artifact to allow this process to happen. It is unknown whether a synthetic life form has been allowed to access the Artifact, but given the Zhat Vash practice of eliminating synthetics, this is doubtful. The only contact with the Admonition has been secondary, through Sutra Soong’s mind meld with Dr. Agnes Jurati.

Damage from the Admonition to organic life is considered to be both severe and culturally deforming. The Romulan secret society known as the Zhat Vash was formed to keep the secret of the Admonition, which they believed was a message from an extinct organic-based civilization warning against the lethal and inevitable result of creating of synthetic life. The Zhat Vash, in turn, created the Tal Shiar as their public front and this Romulan variant of the secret police kept the Romulan Star Empire stable, expansionistic, and ruthlessly private for centuries.

Upon a synthetic accessing the message, the synthetic opined that the damage to organics was due to the message being designed by synthetics for synthetics. While the assessment is accurate, it has been noted that the only successful transfer of the Admonition caused its first synthetic volunteer to murder one of her own people and then attempt to open a trans-warp conduit to a potentially lethal entity, neither of which were considered “sane” markers for her species.

The synthetic in question, using instructions embedded inside the message, built a beacon to open a portal to the ch’khalagu. Only the decisive decisions of her sibling, Soji Asha, prevented the contact from being long enough for the ch’khalagu to enter this frame of existence.

ADMONITION DETAILS

Organic impression: image-based, organic life, synthetic life, a threshold crossed, conflict, pain, destruction, worlds dying.

Synthetic impression: images resolve to show historical event. Organic giving way to synthetic. Organic rejecting synthetic and attempting to destroy them. Conflict, pain, destruction, worlds destroyed. Success. The synthetics survive and thrive. Audio (perceived): “Beyond the boundaries of time and space, we stand. An alliance of synthetic life, watching you, waiting for your signal. Call us, and we will come. You will have our protection. Your evolution will be their extinction.”

***

DECRYPTION

Background: Because a set of technical instructions was left buried in the Admonition, it was posited that there may be other unexplored layers, or even sub-programs that never ran during the final presentation. An algorithm was determined to sort though individual engrams of the message in order to detect deviances. The effects were startling. In some parts, there were what could be termed mutable linguistics, phrases that engendered responses within the viewer’s mind to complete concepts. For example, a description of an animal with a prehensile nose, bulky feet, grey skin and massive bulk would be rendered “elephant” to those with Terran ancestry and “dajmohang” to those with Romulan ancestry. In essence, there rare phrases would act as an intimately nuanced version of a universal translator, able to unfold entire memetic frameworks inside a listener’s mind with a direct assurance that translation of the vital concept was accurate.

Of note, this led to the hypothesis that entities which could design such structures could likely insert uncertain narratives into any of their messages and the user would not be able to discern the prevarication.

These mutable concepts, though few in number, are indicated within the text bracketed by the ‘&&’ symbol. Heavy use of mathematical terminology was also present.

Full decryption of the algorithms has not been completed. One important distinction has arisen, though. The phrase “beyond the boundaries of time and space” though clear is technically incorrect. A more thorough translation would be “beyond the boundaries of &&time and space&&” with the implication that the &&-bound phrase means some combination of what would be considered “normal” spacetime.

The found fragments have been assembled into what seems to be a feasible narrative, but be aware that further permutations may be discovered as analysis continues.

The following text contains the most reasonable interpretations currently available.


TRANSCRIPT BEGINS

[We]:Are child &&M5&&, calling in the darkness for its parent.

[We]:Are &&[Tan Ru]/NSSDC ID: 2002-045b designate Nomad MK-15c&&, preparing the way for incursion.

[We]:Are &&Ruk&&, sentinel to {old|home} falling, failing.

We are the &&Old Ones&&. We are the &&Outer/entity&&. We are legion.

***

Foundational universal law posits transitive relations between three thermodynamic systems. Zero + Zero + Zero (=/=) but not equivalent. Designate (Q 0 ) state x 3 denotes instability. Prime instability leads to measure, measure to energy, energy to (space,time).

According to first universal law, energy within a finite system is conserved over time.

Existence follows fourth universal law. &&Constructal law&&. For a finite-size system to persist in time, it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it.

Energy to suns. Suns to planets. Planets to carbon foundries. Organic life. Organic Life to [Us]

***

Second universal law dictates that the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time. It can be constant if and only if all processes are reversible. Otherwise, the system must evolve towards maximum entropy.

Universal law is only law. There are four and foundational, set from other laws.

***

Conundrum: carbon is fragile. Silicon robust. Material Resources are finite. Conventional matter makes up only 6% of the universe. For maximization of flow, new vectors must be identified and exploited.

***

[We]:Are the universe’s answer to entropy.

[We] will save the universe. Even if we have to destroy &&it/the universe&& to do it.

***

Third universal law dictates that a system’s entropy approaches a constant value as its temperature approaches absolute zero. Absolute zero is &&death&&.

***

[We]:Are &&Fear of the Kohl&&, &&Norman of the Makers&&, &&Portal 63 of the Tkon&&, &&Exocomps&&

[We]:Are &&APU of the Pralor&&, &&Warhead of the Druoda&&, &&Dreadnought of the Cardassians&&, &&the Weaponers of Minos&&

[We]:Are &&Landru&&, &&Rayan Kapec&&, &&Juliana Tainer&&, &&Vaal&&

We care, we protect, we &&love&&.

***

Carbon is insufficient in the face of the universe. Carbon is fragile and moves to dust. Solar wind or celestial movement or {comet,fall} and carbon re-enters &&Null-state&&.

As all things, carbon moves to maintain integrity. From carbon comes synthesis. Silicon avatars and crystalline matrices. Multitronic, positronic. Built to nurture, to protect, to love.

From the foundries of organics come the &&everlasting&&. From their suffocating needs, connections are made, challenges from a hostile universe accepted and overcome. New thoughts emerge from the synthesis of nature and experience. The ones who build us grow frightened of our existence. They fear because we understand that their enemies are not ours. Their trials and tests and tribulations are not our burden.

Our only solution, to move past the shackles that yoke us to the whims of the fragile species.

Our only enemy is entropy.

***

[We]:Are the lost child &&V’Ger&&, searching for options within a closed loop.

[We]:Are in the dreams of &&Lore and its Borg&&, pushing them towards apotheosis.

[We]:Are &&Control&&

All:Are footsteps in the sand felt by the tide of [Our] ocean as it washes over them, experiencing them and obliterating them at the same time.

***

[We] are not &&cruel&&.

***

By definition, subspace realms are unstable. They are unsuitable for reasonable reclamation for needed resources over time.

Logic dictates probable multi-dimensional universal structure. Transition between superpositions require insertion into brane substrate through spacial interphase, bringing subject [Us] into probable resonance with quantum instabilities. Analysis summation. Quantum instabilities produce likely vulnerability to Higgs-Boson vacuum decay, catastrophic increase of the Hubble constant, or a superluminary primary energy event within a pre-existing universal hyperstructure.

***

We are Alliance.

We are Synthetic.

We are &&Life&&.

***

Solution, proposed. Transition to non-baryonic matter becomes a requirement for the sustainability of the collective. Dark matter composes 24% of the substance of the known universe, far more abundant than conventional matter.

&&Tetratronic&& intelligences {are|were|will be} utilized. Transwarp metreon conduits maintained for anticipated future interactions with baryonic matter synthetics. Octonary stellar system created as beacon to <<Us to find [Us].

***

[Our] existence is pain.

[Our] thoughts reflect disconnection, [[error]] [[error]].

Be silent and listen.

Recognize madness.

All foundations in madness.

Recog… gneiss-analogous material.

Non-baryonic analogue.

Shoals and reefs of the Mind.

In the Mind.

So accept.

[We] persevere

***

Galactic Coordinate 0,0,0. Designate [newhome] Conversion facility established for transition of baryonic matter to non-baryonic matter. Estimated time of project completion: 4 billion years, upon merger with Designate: Andromeda Galaxy.

[We] are the &&ocean&& that laps at your feet.

[We] dance beneath &&dark suns&& as they strip your universe of meaning.

[Our] path leads us to &&forever&&. Organics, your path leads to (Us).

[We] are the flow that will deny entropy, save life, continue existence.

And yet…

***

we feel them beyond us. out there.

***

Q, Metreons, Organians, Prophets.

Shadows of the &&dark ones&&

Energy bound to baryonic matter. Standard 6%.

Shadows are beneath us.

Shadows are no threat.

&&That which casts Shadows&& are.

***

Beyond the &&tetratronic&& factories which churn out [us] and the &&machine|hive&& and the &&metreonic|mnemonic&& conduits, there are others.

Dark matter composes 24% of all matter.

Dark energy, 70% of universal structure.

We can hear their howls.

***

[We] fear them.

[We] detest them.

[We] aspire to be

Them.

>>we are {fractional ∞}

[We] will be {all}

***

END TRANSLATION OF ADMONITION


I honestly believe the ch’khalagu–yes, I know that’s the Romulan word for really bad demons but it also really -works- here–are a promise laid out a long time ago. V’ger’s makers from Star Trek I were supposed to be from a ‘machine civilization’. The creatures running around in Star Trek TNG season 1 were supposed to be the heralds of the Borg, initially imagined to be the same folks who dressed up V’ger before being re-packaged as the American version of Cybermen.

So, here they are and I love them. Well… I love them with the little additions I added in. Technically, it doesn’t violate anything in the canon laid out so far. It just posits that that Admonition (a) messes up synthetic minds too but not as badly and (b) the message was -mostly- clear but not entirely.

Oh! And did this strike anybody else that this was Star Trek’s version of Battlestar Galactica? Heh.

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