CHAPTER 37 (The Future) – I

The Many were at a decided disadvantage. In this they were not unlike the myriad masses of history. Their technological asymmetry was seemingly insurmountable. The most brilliant scientific minds were generally absorbed into The Few. Some fell through the cracks, however, left to spread and sprout and bloom to the benefit of their community. These peasant scientists worked diligently and brilliantly in their attempt to keep technological pace with The Few. Lifespans were extended, diseases cured, communications expanded, superstitions sidelined. But it was not enough. Unrest spread as common diseases and hard labors were still a plague upon them while The Few had eradicated such displeasures. The two civilizations continued to evolve in parallel, and the speed disparity was too much for larger, lagging group to bear.

So when The Many were eventually approached about an offer, they were more eager than they perhaps would have been otherwise. In exchange for some basic medical and technological products, The Many would trade some of their resource materials, which they held in abundance. It seems, for all of their advancements, The Few required more from the world outside their compounds and venturing out had proven far too dangerous for any of them to do willingly. Lacking a lower class of their own, they broke the centuries-long communication silence between the two groups in order to broker a deal. The Many accepted.

Another couple of generations passed before the resentments became too much. Their life expectancy and quality had improved, sure, but they were being locked into a subservient status versus their benefactors. A more offensive posture was taken. Espionage was undertaken. They would steal what they would not trade for. Lacking the satellites possessed by their enemy, The Many were able to build antennae that they would use to intercept information being passed around by The Few. Usually indecipherable, these communications were occasionally transformed into usable knowledge that could be put to use for their own purposes. Sometimes offensive, defensive, or constructive, these insights allowed for a modicum of advancement.

Despite these modest gains, however, the wisest among them knew they would never be able to catch up with The Few without something radical. They held out hope for the day when they would catch lightning in a bottle that could level the playing field. That day appeared to come when they received a transmission unlike any other. Their computers took on new life as they began assimilating the stupendous amounts of information they were gathering. At first The Many believed that The Few were intentionally flooding their systems in an attempt to overwhelm and corrupt their capabilities. That theory was soon superseded by one that was at once more thrilling and also more frightening: perhaps they had stumbled upon an alien intelligence? What to do?

They soon realized the decision had been made for them. Whether they wanted it or not, the Champion of Dark had returned to earth.

Dark Matter-Dark Energy
From nucleotides and nucleosides to nuclear genocide
From where we have come to general AI
Death by contraction or expansion? So assured are we, the house-proud
With ninety-five percent behind a shroud