by Robert Lewis

As humanity hurls past the singularity point, one metahuman transcends space and time in a race for his life, only to discover the phenomenal impact of his actions.

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Morzwiq shifted himself into another point in space and time. His consciousness hung in the depths of black space, suspended like an ethereal angel over a vast nebula glowing red and green. Waves of x-ray and gamma radiation washed over him. If he had a body, it would be panting and shivering in fear and exhaustion at this point. Instead, minute electrical currents jolted through the infinitesimal amount of matter and energy of which he consisted. Quickly he scanned the nearby stars for even the slightest unusual energy signature.


No, wait. That gas giant there by that red dwarf. Something had pulsed faintly before slipping behind it. Unwilling to double check, without thinking he reflexively pulled on the faint energies of the cosmos and tunneled through the space-time continuum to run, to escape, to hide. Again and again he shifted across the universe.

Finally, finally he stopped. As he examined his surroundings, his attention finally came to the blue world beneath him. Had he a mouth it would have been agape, or gasping in shock. Instead he simply hung there, silent and invisible but alive and looked.

* * *

So long ago in humanity's past that the shared knowledge pool of all human consciousnesses had nearly forgotten it, humans had taken corporeal form. No, that wasn't the right word for it. They'd had no choice then. They simply had a corporeal form. That could get sick, injured, or even die, and the intelligence within the organic neural network connected to the body would cease to exist.

Humans had left their home world for the stars, curious and exploratory by nature. They settled distant planets, terraforming them and even genetically altering themselves to adapt to new worlds. They constantly sought other sentient life, but were repeatedly disappointed to find nothing but microorganisms, and even those were rare.

Alone, they evolved themselves to last longer and travel between the stars more easily. First came a transition from organic substrate to electronic. After being born they were uploaded and lived as long as the hardware could support them, extending their lives by an order of magnitude. This also eased transportation between the stars as they could simply be transmitted across first space, then subspace. Even this level of post-humanity did not settle the human spirit to strive further and further. At some point humans took on a pure form of energy and did away with organic bodies, creating new intelligent entities, other humans, at whim by combining elements and traits of the intelligences of as many other humans as wished to participate.

Soon after, with their consciousnesses able to link and resolve problems communally, the very fabric of space and time, the fundamental principles of the universe became theirs to play with and manipulate. Quickly they shot to the farthest reaches of space, still searching for life. As for time itself though, even these advanced metahumans feared tinkering with such a slippery subject as that. They deemed traveling to the space and time when humans lived organic lives as completely off limits and followed this code to the letter, each and every one. No one knew what paradox might come to be by altering humanity's history. The deep past was frequently visited, and in the opposite direction only the near future. Further out, the future varied too much between voyages, an unknown, constantly moving illusion.

Watching cellular life evolve on worlds, patiently the human entities waited from above the nursery worlds. Thousands of what pre-ascendant humans would refer to as years would pass. In all the stars, of all the galaxies, in all the many cycles, they spun about the universe and fewer than two dozen fertile worlds were found. Of these, only three begat life above molds, bacteria, and virus. Or the nearest such alien constructs could be compared to organisms familiar to humanity's past. For as much as life on each world resembled life on others, even the basic constructs of organic life such as DNA varied tremendously. A few worlds were even based on non-organic chemicals and principles of reproduction completely at odds with DNA-based organic life.

Of those three worlds, each slowly developed a sentient species. On one of these worlds the humans attempted to play god and make minor adjustments to help the species survive, resolve conflicts and stop plagues and famine. For every tweak, however, the situation seemed to veer further off course in unintended directions. Halting a famine caused a population boom. Intervening in a war caused religious sects to crop up left and right and commit further atrocities. Finally they backed off, leaving the world a jumbled, violent, crowded mess, and resolved to never interfere again, only to communicate. And even then only when the species had at least one off world colony.

This did finally happen on the other worlds, and the humans eagerly tried to make contact, to learn the communication mechanisms of these creatures. Some humans even took a corporeal form of the alien lifeforms. More or less it worked. However, ascended human entities found it impossible to drop to the level of pre-singularity consciousnesses, to grasp the concepts relevant to them, and similarly to communicate the few remaining concerns that were relevant to such an advanced species.

They backed off, and they waited for more. And waited. No other life forms were coming. So the humans set about creating life on barren worlds. Nudging it in the right direction till it took off on its own, then leaving it be. Various sentient species cropped up, developing languages, then weapons and transportation.

Finally, space travel and colonization. Some even spread across entire galaxies and began experimenting with transferring their minds to machines. Excitedly, the once bored immortal humans watched and hoped. For companionship. To no longer be alone amongst the stars, but to have equals with which to share the universe. Equals, but different minds. For the same set of human minds had existed now for hundreds of millennia with no changes, no innovations, no pursuit of new ideas.

* * *

It was around this time that Celik came to visit one of her nascent worlds she monitored. The species had colonized several moons in their system and even terraformed a barren outer planet. The large mandibled, furry creatures had sent numerous probes and generation ships to other systems. Still dependent on slower than light technology, they had not yet learned that out of ten colonization efforts only two had survived to the destination world, and now only one of those had truly thrived. News from the successful colony would not reach home for another fifty of their years. But there was something momentous happening for the primitive species. Celik took personal pride in this project as she had been tending this world and species for many millennia, staving off comet strikes, shielding primitive life from intense cosmic radiation, and subtly tweaking the primitive proto-sentient minds of one species to aid its evolution.

She knew she had arrived at a point in the creatures' timeline when they were to launch their first faster than light drive ship. The technology even mildly surprised Celik. Certainly it was understandable and feasible (though irrelevant to a species such as hers, which could travel the universe instantaneously), but it was truly a huge leap forward for the species. Reluctant to let them meet failure with such a grand leap in innovation, she had monitored their greatest minds carefully as the ship had been designed and built, but thankfully no significant errors had arisen for her to tweak.

So she arrived and hovered above the planet, seeking out the exuberant minds below on the planet as well as onboard the ship. A countdown began and Celik decided to enjoy the anticipation as an organic would, not skipping ahead. Thankfully she did not, or she might have missed it. Just before the launch, less than a moment in time, something happened. Something changed, shifted ever so slightly. Briefly, she detected a presence, akin to her own, nearby. Assuming it human, she reached out for it, only to recoil in shock as a young organic might when touching something hot for the first time. The presence roiled in fear and hate, full of rage. Such shock she felt, she barely perceived what happened next. In the blink of an eye, the presence was gone and the ship had launched.

Odd, she thought to herself. She tried to shake the experience from her mind for the moment and reconnect with the sentients below. She could share this with the others later. But again she was to be surprised. For there was nothing on the planet below. Confounded, she carefully scanned the planet, the moons, the orbiting stations where just moments before billions of sentient consciousnesses had existed. There were none. In more detail she examined the planet for flora and fauna. Nothing. Exasperated at this impossibility, she took corporeal form and wandered the planet's cities. Everything seemed left in haste, even the garments the creatures wore. Down to the lowliest microorganism, organic life had been wiped from the system. She reached out hurriedly to the stars and found the starship, only to find it as barren of life as the vacuum of space around it.

For the first time in a very long time, a human felt fear. Celik rushed towards the familiar presence of other humans and virtually yanked them all together to tell her tale. Which was met with disbelief until the others could deny the facts she communicated directly to them no longer.

Several returned with her and they traveled back in time, against another of their taboos: to be in the same place as themselves at another point in time. She hid her presence as best as possible along with the others, thinning their awarenesses out to the point of near nothingness to avoid her previous self detecting them. They watched again as she watched the planet, the ship, and again detected the other twisted, evil presence. This time they felt the instantaneous surge of energy that completely destroyed all organic life in the system, not even vaporizing it but breaking it down to its essential components of matter and energy.

The humans contemplated long and hard, but came to no conclusions. They searched, but did not find the rogue entity. They sat and waited, and watched, for many more millennia and nearly forgot. Until it happened again. Then, more frequently. And finally, the unthinkable happened. One of the metahumans did not communicate with a regular associate at a predetermined point in time and space. Traveling to the world she had been known to be monitoring, they found the world dead, and no trace of her consciousness.

Quickly humans began scouring space and time. They posted sentries at every planet which hosted life. But one by one they fell. Desperately they tried to recall their roots of curiosity and invention to create methods of defense and offense. Gradually they built mechanisms to retrieve vast amounts of the universe's energy and channel it into shields and weapons. They began to win the war, destroying their enemies. Never able to communicate with them beyond sensing their rage and fear, never able to capture them, they carried on in this senseless battle against an unknown enemy.

But the tide did not change quickly enough. Soon it became apparent: humanity and all life within the universe had a limited lifespan. The humans broke apart, fleeing to far distant regions of space and time, even to the beginning and end of time. Those that went too far though found the limitations of their still slightly corporeal forms: as the universe exploded in its birth and finally collapsed again in its death throes, the huge gravitational forces pulled and tugged at the few sparse bits of matter and energy which made up the human's consciousness. Slowly, painfully, they were shredded into non-existence.

* * *

Morzwiq fled. And fled again. Randomly. The enemies always seemed to find him, but he constantly escaped, hurtling everything he could at them even as he felt the deathly, uncannily fast onslaught of assaults against himself before he left.

Finally, finally he stopped. As he examined his surroundings, his attention finally came to the blue world beneath him. Again, had he a mouth it would have been agape, or gasping in shock. Instead he simply hung there, silent and invisible but alive and looked.

What had he done? Why had he come here? Morzwiq looked down on the birthplace of humanity, Earth. He gauged the age of the planet, its moon, and sun. At the dawn of life on the planet. He had not come here by chance. Something in the back of his mind had brought him here. He had decided somehow that before he died, he was coming home.

For a long while he sat and rested. Even as great and all powerful as humans were, their abilities put a strain on them. He had virtually worn himself out of existence. Nothing appeared. No enemy.

Time passed, and hesitantly he quit monitoring his surroundings and began examining the blue sphere which housed uncountable pools of organic structures, just waiting to form life. He tried to access the vast amounts of information his consciousness contained on their species history, which they had so meticulously carried with them for millions of years. Yes, life should be forming roughly around now, give or take a few hundred thousand rotations of the planet about its sun.

So, he settled down and waited. And waited. But nothing ever quite formed. Despite his hesitation in meddling with life on a planet, especially given the planet, Morzwiq tweaked a few things here and there to get life started in what he hoped was the right direction. If it wasn't, what would happen? Would he cease to exist or somehow change? Had he a body he would have shrugged, even if just to himself.

Again he waited, but life seemed to be reluctant to form here. On more than one occasion great waves of intense radiation from distant star births and deaths rolled through the system and he used his abilities to shield the planet. Finally, exasperated, he made more changes, always careful to keep things in line as best he knew with how life had evolved on Earth. Finally, humanity's ancestors emerged, throwing stones at each other, killing beasts and wearing their hides, and starting fires.

As Morzwiq waited, he found he could hone his abilities and his presence. He began to stretch himself about the world, able to watch it from any point in time and space simultaneously. The two competing species of proto-sentients were at a standstill in evolution, equally balanced. Annoyed and unwilling to wait for the species to finally get to a point where one would evolve over the other, he pitted them against each other and let them slaughter themselves until one won out.

The humans fought, though. Incessantly. And had no direction for their innovations. Morzwiq reluctantly admitted something he had been delaying for some time now. He was humanity's god, gods, and goddesses. So he took many forms and spoke to the many peoples, each in a way they would understand. Giving them direction, hope, and fear. It worked better with some, and worse with others. He took the form of animals, burning bushes, and great wrathful human-shaped gods and goddesses. Finally human society, rough and tumble, began to progress.

Relatively, things began to take a quicker pace, especially as humans invented language, writing, clothing, transportation. Electricity and computational systems came about, then space travel. Finally they began their first tentative steps to the stars.

As they did, Morzwiq further tested his consciousness's abilities, and reached out to the stars with the organic humans' journeys. He could feel and experience humans in multiple star systems, at multiple points in time, and merge these experiences seamlessly. He was in awe of his abilities!

Still, when would the humans reach the singularity? He longed to speak to an ascended being that could understand him. Finally the first human transcended. He remembered this from his historical memories. She would only live in the field for several days. He almost reached out to her, but realized she would be frightened to death by something which now spanned an entire galaxy and thousands of years. He would crumple her mind just by a whisper.

Finally, humanity ascended into the forms of entities. They spread amongst the galaxies, and Morzwiq did with them. He attempted communication a few times but found even the tiniest bit of conversation, of thought, crumpled their minds and warped them into something horrible. He realized he had become to metahumans what metahumans were to organics. He had reached a second singularity point of evolution.

Sad for the humans he warped, and embarrassed, he collected their consciousnesses and held them back, away from the universe. They whispered insane thoughts to each other and over time became his only companions. He became more and more lax with them, and increasingly frustrated with humans. Why wouldn't they try to evolve as he did? Instead they ran about playing god and creating worlds.

Once, one of his pets escaped. Angry, confused, it lashed out and destroyed a world. Morzwiq shook his head in disgust and sadness and destroyed it with a thought. Something, deep in his memory, awoke at the event. Something he should recall. But he pushed it out of his mind, irrelevant, when he saw the humans' reaction. For once in a long time they became motivated. They moved, and acted to this shocking experience.

But that time came, and passed, and they returned to their stagnant ways. He decided they needed more motivation, and grabbed more minds, snapping them and shaping them into what he needed. Then he unleashed his hounds across the universe to wreak havoc.

There! Yes! Finally the humans evolved, changed, enhanced their abilities. Soon he might even be able to communicate with them.

But the beasts got out of hand. And it was then he realized. It all came crashing down upon him. What he had caused. Who he was. Both the creator and destroyer of all mankind. As his last effort, his last thought, he sought out his old, primitive self and guided him to Earth, forbidding his minions from following him.

And with that, he let go. His consciousness, which spanned galaxies and millennia, simply ceased to exist.




Copyright © 2008 Robert Lewis

A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R:

Robert Lewis lives near Dallas, Texas with his partner, cats and dogs. Long a science fiction and fantasy enthusiast, he has explored writing fiction by night while programming by day. When he gets away from the computer, rock climbing, gardening, and playing board games consumes his time.

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