Terra Nova Book 2
A light streaking across the predawn sky, an explosion and an impending menace from above, seemingly unrelated events but connected to space time distortions predicted by an obscure scientific paper over 250 years ago. That same paper has predicted an end to the universe.
Has the unthinkable become a reality?
The ruling class Celesti see the danger as real and imminent since planet Arkos could become compromised in as little as 1,000 years. To them, that is one lifetime. That same timeframe is ten lifetimes to the servile class Gendu. To them, the threat does not even exist.
There are those within the Celesti who see the Gendu as a more immediate threat. Their solution is to genetically engineer a more pliant servant class and leave Arkos for an unknown planet. Is that even possible?
But will it even matter? The leaders of the Celesti, the Transcended, know a terrible secret: The Celesti are dying.
Against this backdrop of extinction lies the politics of power. A new leader has just assumed her role as the head of the Gendu Houses. However, she is an outsider. Will she be accepted or will she be cast out as an interloper?
Also, the leader of the most powerful religious organization on the planet is missing and presumed dead. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone bold enough to seize the moment. Who will fill this void? Someone with a hunger for influence and privilege? Or someone with a calling for higher purpose?
Finally, there is a prophecy from the “Codices of Taru” which foretells of a time of darkness when the “head will be cleaved from the body” that will announce the coming of the “Deceiver”. Ancient superstition or a vision of the future?
“Genesis: Vision of the New World” tells this story in vivid detail, an evolution of the narrative begun in “Universe: Awakening”. As part of this journey, it takes a fascinating look into the world of the Gendu and introduces readers to a host of new characters and relationships. It is a potpourri of science, political intrigue and discovery driven by characters with selfish and selfless motives.
Chapter 55 – Memories of Origin Background, Commentary and Excerpt
The Terra Nova Series takes place on Arkos, a planet that is inhabited by two humanoid races: the Celesti and the Gendu. The Celesti comprise about 10% of the population but control 12 of the 13 seats on the ruling Governing Council. It is something with which we are all familiar where a small minority controls a disproportionate amount of wealth and prosperity. And, not unlike our own circumstance, the many serve the few.
On Arkos, this inequality is all too visible. As is always the case, the privileged never willingly give up their position. Why would they? But the Gendu have numbers and numbers always have a habit of slowly leveling out the playing field. Unless…the rules of the game can be changed.
Odessa, who is First Minister and represents the Ministry of Science on the Governing Council, has been working for years to genetically engineer a new servile class. Most of her efforts have been directed to the actual mechanics involved in genome substitution. That complete, she now has a blueprint that maps out the sequence of nucleotide substitution from a subhuman species, known as “orangs”, to a point just before modern-day Gendu. However, there is an important missing piece that she has just recently acquired from the blood of Theodor, the leader of the dominant religious group on the planet. It is one of two things the Celesti will use to blunt the force of numbers — a character trait that resists or even rejects facts.
What is the other one?
For the answer to that, please read Genesis: Vision of the New World, Chapter 55 – “Memories of Origin”.
A note to the reader: Minister Odessa is conducting her work at the Ministry of Defense and Security for reasons of secrecy and security. For those same reasons, she is not performing the work herself. Rather, it is by way of a neural connection to an android, callsign “Gaia”.
* * * * *
Genome Mutation had finished running and had completed the substitution of genetic material between orang and Gendu. Now, Gaia essentially had a theoretical evolutionary path between orang and Gendu except for the most recent mutations. She labeled the files “Proto Gendu Male” and “Proto Gendu Female” and referred to them together as “Proto Gendu”.
She also had the collection bracelet that contained Theodor’s sample of blood. It had been sequenced and could be compared to genetic samples of Gendu males that worked in all the ministries across the planet. Most of the differences would be just random differences among individuals. However, by comparing phenotypic differences, she was confident she would be able to isolate the characteristic for which she had been searching.
A large number of phenotypic differences between Theodor and his fellow Gendu were related to physical attributes and could be removed from consideration. It significantly reduced the number of genes to be analyzed. That made it relatively easy to compare Theodor against genetic samples in the medical records. She had calculated that she would only have to run her search against a few thousand genes. If this was a unique characteristic, it would quickly reveal itself and remain a stable difference. Once this behavioral phenotype had been identified, she would substitute its nucleotides for the corresponding ones in the Proto Gendu files.
Her plan was to engineer an evolutionary less developed servile class with a tendency to resist logical argument and ignore or overlook facts. This was different than passion or emotional response that tended to fade over time. This would be something that could persist over the long term. As with all large populations, division of the Proto Gendu into groups like the Twelve Houses would be inevitable. The difference would be that, with this behavioral phenotype, these groups would be unable to resolve their differences through discussion and negotiation. They would continually quarrel among themselves and would never be able to present a united front against the Celesti.
The final piece of her work would be to elevate the Celesti in the eyes of the Proto Gendu, creating an unassailable chasm between master and servant. This was designed to create an unquestioned reverence that would secure Celesti hegemony. For this, she would implant memories of origin, and there was no better reference source for this than the Codices of Taru. These engrams would be a series of visions mapped to the gene that governed genetic memory. It would be formatted as a recessive gene so that, while all Proto Gendu had the memory, only a small number would actually experience it. These people would have a comparable function to the “phanai” referred to in the Gendu religion. The Celesti would commune with this small group and transmit their will through them.
She had spent the morning researching the creation story in the Codices, coding the information on to engrams and grouping those engrams into individual memories. “Run file ‘Origin’.”
A holographic screen appeared in front of Gaia.
The first vision started with a black screen followed by a bright light that turned into a blue, cloudless sky. In the second vision, darkness turned to blue sky and water filled the bottom half of the screen. In the third vision, darkness turned to light. Earth rose from the water to form dry land then turned green with plants. The fourth vision saw fish in water. The fifth vision saw animals on land.
This would be the fifth time she had run the file.
“Computer, the first and last engrams appear to be markers within a given memory. However, there is no consistency in the order of the remaining engrams only a general tendency to cluster close to one end or the other. Is that correct?”
“Is there any way to establish a specific order?”
“The tendency of engrams to migrate to one of the memory markers is an inherent property of engrams.”
“Is there any way to combine the information into one engram to ensure chronological consistency?”
“Each engram has a limit to the amount of information that it will hold.”
“Do memories have this same property?”
“So, does that mean the memory can have a different chronology each time it is remembered?”
“Yes. However, there will be a higher chronological consistency for a given individual than among individuals.”
“Well, I suppose that is the best I can do. Either we will have to tell them, or they will have to work out a chronology themselves…Computer, transfer engrams to genetic memory gene in ‘Proto Gendu Male’ and ‘Proto Gendu Female’. Then, generate random genetic variations for physical appearance. Save this information in a file called ‘Diversity’.”
Once complete, she would have the information to create a male and female prototype of a new servile class with sufficient genetic diversity to ensure the survival of the new species. The next step would be to see if this theoretical information could actually transform Adama and Evati into Proto Gendu.
‘Diversity’ was complete by midday, and Gaia was ready to turn theory into practice.
“Establish containment field around Adama, standard dimensions and advance toward exterior wall.”
Adama’s protests let her know that her instructions had been executed, and she busied herself with preparations. As he slowly came into view, Evati’s screams echoed from cover. He was so frightened by his approach to Gaia that he soiled himself.
There was a medical bed with a holographic cover located close to the exterior wall. A shelf underneath the bed frame contained two transparent cubic containers connected by a small tube. The larger medium size container held a clear nucleobase solution, and a much smaller container held three kinds of nanites that would perform the nucleotide substitution. Nanites had long ago taken the place of biological vectors because of their versatility.
Once the substitution blueprint from Proto Gendu Male had been transmitted to the nanites, they would be injected into the nucleobase solution, turning it milky white. The solution would then
be deployed into the medical bed enclosure as an aerosol to be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Ingress nanites would transport materials from the nucleobase solution to substitution nanites. These nanites would construct the required nucleotides from these materials then replace specific nucleotides in Adama’s genes. Egress nanites would break down the substituted nucleotides and pass required components back to the substitution nanites or carry unwanted material to the kidneys. Once the procedure was complete, the nanites would make their way to the kidneys then deactivate.
She walked up to the exterior wall abutting the cage and drew a small circle on it with her index finger, creating an opening. She dropped a small capsule inside then sealed the breach. The capsule released a sedative that would render Adama unconscious for a little more than a day.
She watched as Adama closed his eyes. Then, she touched the same part of the wall. “Evacuate sedative. Recycle air.”
“Sedative evacuated. Air recycled,” the computer replied, after a few minutes.
An opening large enough for her to enter the cage was created, and she picked up an unconscious Adama and took him to the medical bed. “Open medical bed. Close opening. Remove containment field.”
The exterior wall reformed, and the holographic cover on the medical bed receded along its sagittal plane.
She lay Adama on the bed and secured his arms, legs and body. “Close medical bed. Administer nanites once they have been transferred to nucleobase solution.”
The procedure would take approximately a day. She would monitor Adama’s vital signs and watch his physical transformation on a monitor that displayed his headshot. If the process proved successful, Evati would be next. If both orangs survived, she would have proof of concept. She calculated that the minimum viable population size to ensure a 95% probability of survival was 50 Proto Gendu. She estimated the storage capacity of the Phoenix alone could accommodate approximately 45,000 pods with their occupants in stasis, more than adequate to start the colonization of a new world.
* * * * *
My thanks to my wife, Natasha, for her visual. Normally, her work appears at the beginning of the post, but I thought some context might be in order. Enjoy!
Memories or Origin by Natasha Evelyn Overttun
The inspiration for part of this chapter comes from perhaps the most famous doublet in the Bible, the first two chapters of Genesis. It describes two different timelines of creation, something that has always fascinated me. I have transposed this contrast to Gaia’s attempts to create the sequence of images that she will eventually embed into her Proto-Gendu. These memory engrams have been formatted as a recessive gene. That means only a small minority will have access to the vision. Those individuals will be like phanai, Gendu who can speak to their supreme deity, Taru. For me, it is the sci-fi rendering of the prophets in the Bible. By the way, the word “prophet” is a derivative of the Greek word “phánai”, to speak.
So, how will the resistance to facts and a god-like status make the Proto-Gendu a preferable servant class compared to their Gendu descendants? To paraphrase Morpheus — control. Think about it.
Thank you, D. Ellis Overttun
Genesis: Vision of the New World – Excerpts and Commentary:
Universe: Awakening – Excerpts and Commentary: