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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
All was silent in the beginning.
Life was born to a world without miracles.
As organic matter formed in thunderstorms caused by volcanic eruptions, the earliest life appeared near the hot springs of deep oceans and spread with the eruption of submarine volcanoes.
With time that flowed like a river, countless bizarre yet simple carbon-based lifeforms naturally appeared and died: unicellular, multicellular, algae, shelled critters, echinoderms, and vertebrates debuted, and then evolved or went extinct.
Neither extraordinary powers nor miracles were involved in that process, and that journey continued for an indeterminate period. That was until one day, when a primitive marine creature with jointed appendages evolved, arriving upon the surface alongside mosses and ferns.
Resembling giant isopods and having a flat appearance, the creature appeared ordinary enough, though that was not the case. Many huge carnivorous creatures dwelled in the seas, feeding on the isopods and other smaller arthropods. To avoid being eaten, the isopods developed a wondrous physical formation: each of their sides had a single sturdy but sensitive feeler that could detect shifts in water currents, and at critical moments, could tangle with other isopods’ to bind both tightly together.
Moreover, the feelers also possessed developed nervous systems which connects both isopods briefly as one when bound together, moving synchronously like a larger creature. In turn, the more the isopods grouped together, the larger the formation would have been, with cases of isopods swarming and engulfing their hunters in the formation, crushing them to death.
Then, upon reaching land, not only did the isopods’ binding feelers devolve, but they evolved instead—becoming agile and firmer like two bony whips able to lift and move objects. When several joined together, they were able to form bridges or ladders used to move further and higher.
There were even isopod groups that had been born conjoined. Some developed specialized nervous systems while their shell and joint appendages deteriorated, and others did away with excess nerves, specializing in strength instead. Some combined to be larger and stronger ‘fused isopods’, leaving other isopods that did not evolve being eliminated by their superior brethren despite sharing the same ecological niche.
It was very much a profound case of cellular division that transpired on land—in the nest of isopod larvae, a scenario similar to a human embryo undergoing cellular division into brain isopods, limb isopods or even digestive-system isopods was occurring. As they grew, worker isopods assembled them, molding the frame of the young giant isopod.
Each individual isopod was not an intelligent creature—not even for the brain isopods, since a minimum of three was necessary for developing wisdom. In turn, the three brain isopods required more of other components—dozens, in fact to form a giant isopod that could survive independently and possess basic intelligence.
Being creatures that lived on two-dimensional planes, the isopods only moved forwards and backwards. However, upon the giant isopods’ development of advanced nervous systems and taller statures, they quickly understood the dimension called height, in turn gaining broader perspectives and an edge for oppression.
What ensued did not require elaboration. The giant isopods that obtained wisdom in primordial ages, learning to use tools, fire, and three-dimensional thoughts, were essentially cheating gamers. They easily developed language, creating words and applying tools to defeat the other invertebrates.
[Foreword: The Creators quickly spread over the globe. It really has been smooth sailing for them, no?]
The voices of the Beacon of Perpetuity emanated, prompting Joshua to nod as he studied those memories.
The giant isopods, or ‘Clusters’, could only be described as an intelligent species when gathered. Their civilization developed rapidly through millennia, moving from seaside mudholes to jungle pits, and then from mountain caverns to grasslands where they piled fences with wood and mud, eventually advancing from the stone age to the copper age, and from primitive tribes to greater civilization.
The Clusters had also practiced a mental communication without connecting nerves, using simple words and norms instead to connect everyone. Even if not born in the same nests, they could gather through adaptive preferences, even naming that novel, non-physical but spiritual bonding aspect ‘culture’, and by increased gathering with said culture, they eventually established a massive cluster of Clusters—or a nation.
Therefore, conflict between nations were conflict between cultures, with failed cultures banished or destroyed with violence, with some Clusters detaching from their own nations and defecting to another. Nonetheless, as cultural wars progressed, knowledge and information of different nations were exchanged, ushering waves of major technological developments—realizing that, the Clusters no longer waged cultural wars for the sake of destroying nations, but to deliberately absorb and exchange knowledge within a controllable range.
Thus, ten million years since they first appeared, the Clusters no longer cared for conflict over land, but instead turned their eyes above to the stars beyond.
As his field of vision extended, Joshua saw that it was a medium-sized world with multiple suns that formed a small gravitational balance. The Clusters’ planet was the second of their system, and surprisingly, their moon was habitable. The third planet was habitable as well, albeit colder.
Nevertheless, as the Clusters looked up upon the starry skies and observed the moon in curiosity, they discovered in shock that it was a world virtually identical to their own, with mountains, water… and other Clusters.
The discovery stunned the Cluster civilization at the time, for the Clusters had a definitive concept of natural history and were not lacking in terms of astronomy. They were clearly aware of the distance between planets, just as it was impossible for identical creatures to appear in different ecosystems—the ancient Clusters could never have reached habitable world by chance.
[Description: unlike many present civilizations, the Creators had no Extraordinary powers then. They do not have excess thinking since their ‘imagination’ was restrained by various conditions.]
Therefore, there was no doubt that every Cluster nation was stunned and so assembled into a united nation, collaborating towards a journey to the moon by whatever means necessary.
One of the better hereditary traits of Clusters was their formidable mobility. Aside from developing space navigation technology through great momentum, they also examined the reason that planet came to be—or miracles with which the other Clusters headed for other planets.
“They must have found it.” Joshua muttered softly, thoughtfully watching the curious Cluster society and chuckled, “The first miracles existed even in the world without miracles… the world born in the Initial Flame is in itself a grand miracle.”
“The question is, what have they actually found?.”
[Commendation: Yes, you are right. It is exactly the same as the Creators’ description of history.]
*[Awe: They discovered god, Radcliffe. The Creators discovered dead gods.] *
It was the greatest peak on the Clusters’ planet—a dead volcano almost 24,000 meters tall. The plains in which that old volcano shaped was where the Clusters’ spacefaring facility was built, but the peak was too massive and too dangerous to climb that no Cluster had tried to reach above 10,000 meters.
Then, as they explored the heart of the mountains later named the Dyeus, the Cluster explorers discovered a mysterious phenomenon: their nervous systems could stay connected without linking, while certain zones appeared to lack gravity, with small mounds actually floating alongside unusual flashing lights. According to their report, the mountains contained an extreme irregular phenomenon where physics seemed to lose purpose, replaced by another principle.
Moreover, there were explorers who revealed having seemingly seen the colossal corpse of a creature buried within the volcano’s body.
It was a stone giant of immeasurable size, or indeed a stone insect. Its very back was the bulk of the Dyeus mountain, and its sixteen limbs the cornerstones of the highlands. It was born in the time of Creation, the maker of the planetary body, the volcano, and its various phenomenon. Primordial lifeforms were born in the storms and thunder it breathed, and it was the one that raised the ground.
But it was dead—withered from exhaustion. Being a divine creature that breathed with the world and was born in the Initial Flame, the volcano insect was born through seismic activity and died as it stabilized. Even so, though it was the first and most powerful god when the world was born, neither immortal nor invincible, and had naturally perished when its duty was fulfilled.
Its corpse was rapidly assimilating into the planet, and within dozens of millions of years, geological surveys would not have been able to detect its presence, considering its archeological stone layers. If not for the Clusters’ stunning progress in intelligence and civilization, no ordinary creature would have found the divine corpse in time.
But the Clusters discovered it, just as they discovered that it was the god’s remaining power that had moved the other Clusters to other planets: its divine power connected every living world in their system. It was in the heart of the Dyeus mountains that they found a natural divine doorway directed to the moon and another inhabitable world, where other Cluster tribes lived despite lacking technology.
Hence, the age of the Extraordinary began.
[Commendation: The Creators did not dwell excessively on ‘why’ at the time, for it had been as natural as rain cycles and oceanic flows in their perspective. But in just 137 years, someone finally researched primal divine power, and successful obtained certain divine attributes.]
Attempting to study why by analyzing and dissecting divine power as well as the colossal deity corpse, the Clusters hence researched the divine forces left by the initial Flame. By severing parts of the corpse, many Clusters obtained divine power and ascended as Extraordinary individuals, with nations researching it as well to bless and accelerate their evolution.
It had been a prosperous age. Everything appeared simply perfect—with the research of Dyeus, the Clusters’ civilization advanced rapidly while they colonized the other two habitable realms.
Then, the calamity known as the Retribution descended.
It first struck some of the individuals possessing divine power, who suddenly died or were reduced to permanent vegetative states. Then, it struck the organizations and nations that studied divine power, with every individual and group who valued divine powers losing themselves and lucidity, left as dead meat without any reflexes—more than half of the intelligent creatures living on the Clusters’ homeworld died overnight, leaving the surviving Cluster nations overwhelmed and fearful at once in regards to divine power.
It hence came to be known as the Retribution for stealing divine power. Countless Clusters therefore commenced rituals, hoping that the divine would overlook their blasphemy.
An aimless age of terror followed. In the ensuing centuries, the Clusters abandoned divine power research and the Dyeus portal with which they colonized other planets, and invented spaceships instead… But there was a considerable difference and difference in time, with the foreign colonies seeing uprising and igniting chaotic wars that lasted centuries, until one side used divine powers once again to win.
[Confoundment: The Creators did not tell us about this part of history. their words were vague and it appeared to out of shame, but the Triple Curtain deduced it. The Triple Curtain did not inform them.]
Joshua grinned, not paying it any heed. The warrior’s human silhouette stood in the simulated universe, watching the planetary system and aware that it was probably the prelude to the Creators’ molding of psionic powers and soul.
Centuries passed, enough for a race to forget their fears. Divine power was once again used and correlating research prioritized, and similarly, individuals were reduced to vegetables. Therefore, the Central Lab conducted human experiments and synthesized bodies with which they observed the entire process where divine-powered bodies lost self, thereby finally mapping the truth of Retribution.
Being a primeval deity resembling a celestial consciousness, the divine powers that the insect of the volcano possessed embodied every intricacy of planetary changes in its own time. Every bit of divine power was a profound vault of information that would be alright if simply used, but should an individual’s talent have excelled or embodied the divine power for too long, the information in that energy would have spilled out, capable of drowning the self of individuals, even nations of clusters, rendering them dead meat and unaware.
As they continued pondering, the Clusters discovered the limits of carbon-based brain and synapses—to surpass that, they had to be inhuman!
[Delight: That is the reason the Triple Curtain was developed, thanks be to the Creators’ profound wisdom.]
The creation of computers and artificial intelligence was not unusual, since it was no more than applying machine components to simulate human thought. Soon, massive storage robots with advanced processors were developed—even if the decompression of divine power failed the first time, there was no doubt that the robots’ performance were more superior than the Clusters, and it incurred minimal loss since it merely meant burnt processors.
By decompressing divine power with intelligent machines, the Clusters became advanced in machinery, their experiments reaching success—finally, when the ninth generation of high-duty processors debuted, the first robot that withstood decompressed divine power information became the first individual to command blank divine power.
Surpassing and able to fully replace brains, the processors that actually withstood divine power unquestionably became a pursuit of the Clusters—they desired to modify themselves and plug their consciousness into steel bodies and processors, although a philosophical problem troubled them.
Were Clusters that transferred their self into machines still the Clusters of before? Was it an identical set of processes but not the individual themselves, or was it actually the individuals themselves?
Was it a form of suicide glorified as the death of the new, or a painful rebirth?
Even so, the Clusters had a simple solution to that philosophical conundrum.
If there was no way to be sure if Self was a collection of impulse feedback developed in nerves and synapses, or the living individual itself, or whether gradual modification of one’s own body could retain ‘yourself’… they could create an object independent from the body but could embody consciousness!
Joshua’s human form sighed, and smiled. “The first soul.”
[Agreement: Yes. For assurance so that the Creators could at once place themselves into machine forms and command divine power while ensuring that they were themselves, they began to forge the first souls.]
If natural flesh was mortal and innately mundane, artificial souls and machine bodies would be the first step of life towards nurtured divine evolution.
Perhaps one could not rely on mechanical bodies, but on specialized carbon bodies instead. With that said, cells were nothing more than an intricate carbon-based machine. The Clusters were thus not quite unreasonable in believing that carbon was superior to steel, and that flesh was greater than machine, that natural physique would be more meticulous than manmade—they trusted their own wisdom and skill, and persevered.
Therefore, how could they have humans surpass nature and become a cultivated sage?
Imagination and thinking were needed.
[Miracle confirmed: After 3,400 years and the united research of an entire civilization, with several chief scientists abandoning flesh to place themselves into mechanical bodies in suicidal fashion, mastering divine power and personally experiencing or collecting data, and after an unparalleled genius inherited all preceding technologies and wisdom, breaking through the hurdle of soul and existence—a miracle was thus born.]
As silver-blue light flashed, a near-solid projection of the same hue appeared behind the Cluster. It was not divine power, but another unique and different artificial substance or energy with ability to assume form and exist independently. It undoubtedly carried the Cluster’s entire self, and would not diminish with mechanical transference!
He could maintain it with both flesh and mechanical currents, but those energy sources was not important—the soul was not so delicate, for it was maintained by imagination and thought!
[Cheer: Rejoice, existence which inherited all hope. The machine intelligence that commands divine power and possesses soul is aware of all knowledge and surpasses the mortal kind known as the Creators, ’tis the time of birth!]
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