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Ark - The Shadow Chronica

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Jano View Drop Down
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alias author Jan Hawke

Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Location: Dunheved Kernow
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  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ark - The Shadow Chronica
    Posted: 13 Jan 2015 at 5:31pm
This is a short story from the Haven Lands series, but right at the beginning before there's any humanoid settlement on the planet. I needed to get the back history (or pre-history in fact) settled in, so this is a more or less straight sci-fi piece but with overtones in the names of the AI simulacra (androids without the skin yet) and the Latinised naming protocols.
Anyway it needs some beta-reading and feedback, but it will be going on the Haven Lands blog as this first book'll have a WiP in progress as part of the DWP marketing strategy that's being pioneered with more enthusiasm this year Embarrassed

ARK

The Haven world lay below, shrouded in its frigid clouds. For many ages now the Ark, and the simulacra that dwelt there, had maintained a high anchored orbit over Skamal in the polar latitude, always watching. Always analysing the changes wrought since the Ark had made planet-fall so long ago.

No living creature scrutinised the data recorded here at the forgotten edges of the ruined galaxy, though there would be a time soon when high-functioning sentient life returned to the Shadow system after the Ark had released the incubator capsules. For now though, the sun and many moons of Haven rose and set in their circling arcs, witnessed only in the reflected glints of the  pearl-burnished plasteel and gleaming crystal lenses of optics that measured and compared the readouts with ancient records that had begun millennia before. No heed was paid to the iridescent beauty of the auroras glimpsed through random gaps in the cloud canopy; or the fiery glittering of cosmic debris as it burned out in the outer atmosphere; or the pleasing symmetry of impact craters formed on the placid earth, or even the azure ravishings of concentric wave patterns, undulating their way across the vast oceans towards the continental shelves, that briefly marked the inevitable fractured death of astral material that had survived the gravitational plucking from the oblivious heavens.

The Ark's main information cortices had no concept of aesthetics. Their function was concerned with atoms, molecules and minutiae. Temperatures, calculations, extrapolations and scans. For the simulacra however, the analysis of the physical data did include some measure of artistic appreciation, banked as they were with the knowledge gleanings of civilisations that had long perished, even before the Ark had begun its voyage to the end of the explored cosmos. Their interpretive functions, combined with their increasing mobility around the vessel, had already established basic social conventions that would eventually assist the incubated life forms in their ultimate programmed purpose in populating the planetary surface. Not yet. Not for another thousand years, or more, perhaps. But that was all relative, because a thousand years was no time at all in the schemata that the simulacra served.

This planet cycle however was slightly different. There were only a dozen meteorological simulacra aboard the Ark, four of which were concerned with the whole of Haven and its tundra and polar regions, and the other four paired teams that specialised in readings from the Ark's subsidiary geo-synchronous satellites that circled the boreal to equatorial regions. For half of the time since the Ark had entered the Shadow system, as well as monitoring the planetary weather patterns that was their primary concern, the simulacra had undertaken overall supervision of data collection on plant and animal life-forms on Haven's surface. Both subjects were fascinating of course, even if the terraforming manifest was already well-documented, because the simulacra were charged with the adaptive evolution of the naturally endemic species on Haven. This was not necessarily a manipulative process and in fact the simpler plant and animal populations needed little or no interference whatsoever. For the higher vertebrates some tweaking was inevitable, but for the most part the simulacra were judicious, even conservative in their genetic marker shapings, especially amongst the mammalian consonants. The singular exception to the simulacra's remit as regards the genetic aspects and classification protocols had arisen somewhat unexpectedly, and to some degree with a quirky amusement, amongst the equivalent of the reptilian and bird evolutionary paths, that had resulted in a highly intelligent species of what the lead simulacra had rather cavalierly dubbed Pyrvyrns, or more exactly dragon flammae.

The indigenous Pyrvyrns had quickly adopted co-operative proto-communities, formed around life pairings and their progeny and, although slow to develop tools, had made spectacular progress with linguistics and in the mastery of flight. So great was the creatures social and sentient advancement, the simulacra had over the last ten cycles debated the efficacy of first contact, since the Pyrvyrns evolutionary tangent would not conflict too greatly with the projected model for Homo Sapientissimus that would eventually be introduced into the eco-systems on the larger land masses of Haven. Indeed the Pyrvyrns were tending to migratory behaviour and favouring colonisation of the eastern archipelagos that better suited their preference for volcanic island habitats, which were not as favourable for humanoid settlement.

The simulacrum designated as Veritas was especially persuasive in advocating a physical intervention during their recent debates on how to address this novel situation, not least because of the need to ensure the safe integration of all the incubated species under their care when they eventually dispersed on the world below. Before, any samples needing to be taken from the planetary interior, surface and atmosphere had been undertaken by sensor drones of various designs and relayed digitally or intact to the Ark, or one of the satellites, but the simulacra had capacity to perform exploratory passes on Haven themselves, which was now happening more frequently.

We are agreed then. Our specifications must be upgraded earlier than anticipated so our forms will equate to eventual biological parameters of the Allfolk. Veritas' transmission lacked interrogatory inflection, but then there was no sound carrier. Nevertheless the statement invited comment from the counterpart simulacra.

This would seem the best course. The dragon flammae have no conception of artificial intelligence so we must appear in as natural a state as their own in order to interact effectively. Sagax had made the most detailed study of the Pyrvyrn's embryonic social hierarchies.

This unit concurs.

This unit also. Although. The simulacrum designated as Erudictio excelled in the cut and thrust of debate and could occasionally deliberate unnecessarily by means such as this unnaturally drawn out pause. They are curious and clever creatures. Will they not question our sudden appearance in their territories.

All the more reason not to appear too different to other higher life forms they have encountered. Our transport will intrigue them, but our own form must have affinity with theirs. Sagax was adamant that bio-incarnation was a foregone conclusion.

How soon can the flesh be grown. Conperio was eager to embark on this new phase. The other three expressed acceptance silently.

It will take two more cycles. We will need the extra time to adapt to the new exterior cladding. Veritas closed the data interface with a swift pass of it's plasteel palm as discussion was at an end for the time being.

Veritas vincit. Erudictio observed to Sagax as they returned to their work stations. Sagax did not feel the need to concur, since this was a given.

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one
will do ~ Thomas Jefferson
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Saranna View Drop Down
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  Quote Saranna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jan 2015 at 11:54am
Oooh, tasty!

I will study it more fully as soon as I can, but for now I have a family crisis to share in, so please forgive me.
Death comes to all
But great achievements raise a monument
Which shall endure until the sun grows cold.
- George Fabricius, 'In Praise of Georgius Agricola'
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Jano View Drop Down
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alias author Jan Hawke

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  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jan 2015 at 4:47pm
No hurry m'deario Smile  Am putting this on Linked In as well and launch submissions for Dreamless 2 Wink
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one
will do ~ Thomas Jefferson
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