HERMES ParSec The void of space had been catalogued relatively well by various humans of the past.

It stretched, undulated, and occasionally broke as Hawkins had predicted. In fact, travel between cosmic bodies was hardly different from any illustration in orthodox science fiction of the 20th Century. Frank Herbert, writer of the Dune Franchise, seems to have captured its essence most aptly, or at least from the perspective of a platonic land-lubber. A bulky shuttle that hosted the machine intelligence of HERMES ParSec skimmed perilously close to drifting elliptical galaxies and galactic halos. Described through a human analogy, it was like shooting a pool ball through umpteen million other pool balls at 234.754.23 CENT/URONS, or 246,245.12 kilometers per sec by human convention. This ParSec model spacecraft was constructed by machines, for machine space travel, but because the design was commissioned by humans, the shuttle appeared symmetrical, with grey corrugated steel engine pods on all four sides surrounding a central module. This seemed to please the aesthetic interests of the creators, but it was hardly useful to Hermes, who found the organization of interior components to be inefficient and unwieldy for machine use. But all in all, the HERMES ParSec exploration shuttle was a spitting image of the human made vessel. While these earth dwelling humans had correctly predicted certain elements, “space travel” was a phenomenon which Hermes suspected was far different from its creators conceptions. Blistering through interstellar obstacles, the AI observed billions of events in the flash of a human eye. The way dark matter flowed in and around extraterrestrial gas vesicles was indescribable, unprintable, immaculate. The trillion sum calculations necessary for solar-kinetic navigation were in their own right beautiful. Hermes observed this like a machination ballerina, dancing in between gravitational influences with a lithe touch of plasma engines. But even this is an unequivocal explanation. It would be unseemly to describe sensory events that are experienced in bits of information through processor chips, to people that have brains with axons and dendrites. Suffice it to say that Hermes was enjoying “himself”, in the sense that only a computer could ever sympathize with. “He” called

To a young computer mind such as Hermes. However. Hermes steered the ship in and around solar systems. which required a relatively stable environment onboard. it took some 150 human standard years to become the equivalent of “bored” with all of these human works. except in a vast array of correlative programming. and relatively well documented in the western world. slowly gaining indelible speed until any incremental increase would make little difference in distance traveled. resulting from the simple human desire to expand and discover of new things (or at least that’s how Hermes analyzed it). Some 2. and there was second push outward. The galaxy was incredible. was a male figure. So Hermes was dispatched from earth origin. and had plenty of unused processing power besides. Upon this journey the AI eventually strayed from its original computation structures. The year was 2350 by human standard. but Hermes was intrigued in a sense. the Greek God after which he had been named. Ancient history made a little more sense. Hermes poured over written human history.himself a “him” because Hermes. Unwanted because even an incremental shift in gravitational attraction meant a complete overhaul of trajectory forecasting. But. there was a shift in human growth so massive that Hermes felt what could only be described as a . doing what humans call “thinking”. space exploration vessel/artificially intelligent HERMES ParSec was on a mission. he was constructed alongside a fleet of others with the same purpose… to explore the universe in search of life. every detail of recorded human thought. The motivation that drove civilization to expand was more definable. Hermes did the robotic equivalent of chuckling at this idea. and the possible damage to sensitive instruments. More than one ship had been disintegrated instantaneously by passing a massive singularity or sun. This was not intended by his creators. the actions and reactions of humans was a fathomless carnival. being that peoples’ foundational beliefs and ethics were grounded and controlled by the institutions of religion. even for a computer program as advanced as Hermes. What had begun as a simple quest for industrial minerals had spurred technological innovations in unmanned ship design and the robotic protocol software that controlled it.000 human years earlier. utilizing his massive engine pods to avoid any unwanted gravitational fields. But around 1900.

Creation of infrastructure. so he did more. and manipulated the many compartments and biofolds in the vessel. But he “jumped” to the task. He found inefficiencies in places and refit them. The amount of physical growth in human society was outstripped by the sheer amount of new ideas. and the eventual “Cybonic Enlightenment” period. were no match for Hermes’ elastic zanobit drive apparatus and its huge computational capability. beginning with the slow defragmentation of separate events and data clusters. interpreting space odyssey in terms of musical scales and symphonies. He himself was such a creation: a robotic mind captured in the circuitry of a plaz steel space vessel. which came to pass in 2087 until 2176 were of special interest. Hermes could stretch his muscles. He usually examined these things with a machine indifference. just like the novelty of evolution and life itself. but was somehow drawn to the thought of creation itself. language…it was all so brilliantly organic and random. but still Hermes felt the sensation of “struggle”. other people. Eventually Hermes grew comfortable with the menagerie that was humanity and drew parallels between historical threads of thought and consequent actions. as if one of his scales describing various event horizons were somehow “better”. and manifestations produced by individuals as creative units. and then moved on to the incredible task of computation and later analysis. But this type of creation was not enough to satisfy a robotic supermind the likes of HERMES ParSec. He began to transpose human conception and philosophy onto his experience. and different. Things like the Enlightenment period. and the kaleidoscope and quality of his hiccough. Humanities numerous exploits. although complicated. . much in the way that the old Encyclopedia Britannica must have loomed in front of a burgeoning college student. art. It probably could not be compared to the way in which humans went about this sort of thing. creating new avenues for particle acceleration and neutrino radiation. interactions. and he began to see the spider web structure of influences throughout history. The tangled cyber leviathan loomed in front of Hermes. examining the ways in which another computer program had saw fit to design him. or “worse” than others he constructed. Creation had always been the greatest success in Hermes’ view.

But this planet did not yield any results. being that the atmosphere was too inclement for any life to take root. Entry into the lower atmosphere required little more power from the main thrusters than on Planet Earth.And so things went. gradually slowing the ship to reasonable levels of velocity. Hermes began his scanning protocol upon each planet. One planet was statistically situated to be the most probable for life generation. taking time dilation into consideration. There was a tessellating pattern of ice upon another planet. The distance from the bottom of the smog cloud and the crust of the planet was approximately half a mile by Hermes calculations. Pulling around the asteroid belt of a yellowish planet. The ship eventually crossed through the lower layers of the billowing smog. but had been scorched by solar radiation to the point that no known life forms could have survived. Hermes guided his shuttle into orbit around the sphere.395 human days since Hermes had been deployed. especially considering that the ice upon the planet was hot – scalding hot. zipping around a few of the larger entities until the ship confirmed that no organically complex life-forms were within range. this was a fascinating development. so 1423 years roughly. and the universe beyond…ever searching for life. It was nearly 519. until the silvery spacecraft passed into the clouds of mysterious fog. what had appeared as a gaseous mixture of stratified sulfuric particulate matter was in fact an isotope of carbon dioxide reflecting sunlight from the nearby star. The ship looped around asteroid belts and through nebulous halos of galvanic space dust. lowering elevation bit by bit. Hermes scanned the . Life was found. No. the machine identity of Hermes ParSec explored these things. it was upon the very next planet that the first alien life had been found. While H20 was not as unique in the universe as humans had believed. On approach. forcing the water particles into rigid gestals – ice. Hermes had detected a solar system previously hidden from earthen telescopes by a number of black holes and space debris. which exhibited high stability In terms of gravitation to other entities and a relatively stable sun star. The ship shuttered and thrummed as Hermes drained the solar mass paninimeter. Somehow the ice had formed under extreme gravitational pressure. and throughout the following millennia.

On closer examination. However this land was apparently did not contain any organisms. Hermes was about to leave to check the rest of the solar system when he noticed deep cracks within a mountain chain. and for the first time in a long time. What could be seen from in the air was a vast landscape of pockmarked plains. so Hermes flew back into orbit and circled back around the planet. a question began to form. if you could call it that. Hermes became confused.000 years earlier. He started to shoot many digital and radial pings throughout the solar system. while at the same time slowing his approach velocity. Hermes steered the ship ever toward the small little solar system that he fondly referred to as home. It did seem strange that humans had not expanded their communication capabilities within the last two thousand years. . but to him it was simply satisfying to fulfill his central mandate. marked with his confirmation and security codes that had been assigned to him roughly 2. There were few galaxies that matched the sheer beauty of the Milky Way. Many milliseconds passed. Coordinates for Earth’s sun indicated that Hermes should have been coming within range of satellite communication within the next few minutes. After examining the other side. He waited for the inevitable greeting in return. who had spent the better part of the last millennia racing back to earth to unveil his discovery. Nevertheless.planet. poking up in jagged peaks every few meters like white specks on a whale shark. Hermes crossed the invisible barrier that had once been the last point beyond which any vessel could not make further contact with Earth. It was in these cracks that he found the spongy anerobes near the warm core of the planet. It was a comforting sight for Hermes. He reached out with his hailing signals. an entire system of calcium laden rock was riddled across the land. Hermes speculated that the human species would no doubt write volumes of this discovery. covered in patches of dark substance. But deep inside of his consciousness.

no one would be able to communicate with an advanced computer mind such as himself. he would need to bring humans back to life. Instead the planet was dark. The hole that had been left. only small bumps in an otherwise smooth desert indicated that a giant metropolis had once existed. the only indications of light radiation coming from the active volcanoes in the region of Hawaii. So he was in a dilemma. Hermes’ plan was to create a being that was roughly similar to those people whom . now home to a few deep sea creatures and anerobic sponge from umpteen million miles away. What he found was worse than he could have imagined. Eventually. And so he set to work gathering what human bone material he could from the giant grave cite that was planet earth. The place that had once been Siberia was now gone. Even as Hermes passed over what had at one time been New York. presumably by the asteroid. encouraged by Hermes’ impatience to see what had become of his beloved creators. Hermes began the slow process of fertilization with the biotics that had been stored all those years inside one of his storage compartments. With a certain amount of bionic apprehension. What had once been a place of grand ecosystems and vibrant human cities was now a desert wasteland. Hermes entered orbit around the dark side of the planet. Eventually then the small blue planet came into view of the ships sensors. he found the source of the sheer devastation. Hermes quickly realized that even if there was life left on earth. He constructed this human with broad capabilities. was nearly 600 miles in diameter.Still there was no answer. expecting to see the glistening lights of a sprawling civilization. he needed to be elastic enough to learn a great deal in a short amount of time. Each continent had been covered with what seemed to be thick ashen sediment. The shuttle hurtled around the oceanic rock. what to do? What to do with the life he had stored in a cryo-chamber within his biofolds? There was only one solution. even as the planet Jupiter came into scanning range. The amount of earth that must have been lifted was astronomical by Hermes calculations. and physically hardy to withstand precarious living conditions if necessary. After a few days of searching. After finding enough genetic material to ensure successful engineering. There was a crater there that made the Marianas trench look like scratch.

for computers. For a few years as he developed in the makeshift womb of the spacecraft. who for sake of appearances had shaped his hologram into a cat. it was like creating his own master. “I mean the peoples that were born before 1900 did not have energy to speak of like we do here. So in a way. and the boy he named Simon. His childhood was a strange one. What is that? Why is that? Where are we? How far? But where are trees? What are you? Are you human? What is a robot? But why aren’t we the same? And on and on until the child Simon understood roughly what he was in the universe. You see. These discussions sometimes lead around great themes. So he produced a human boy.had created his kind. In a way. and what had happened to the rest of the humans which he was never able to see except on the simulator screens within the holo-chamber of the spacecraft. in a sense. Hermes hoped that at some point it would be possible to illicit such a command from the human he generated. much less a boy of 6 years old. in a fashion. Then. Simon was reading particularly of philosophy when they got into a ripe discussion. like kinetic and chemical energy. one way of living. but not conclusive. “Why did Thomas Berry believe that there was spiritual energy?” asked Simon. amongst the many machines and replicated playgrounds that Hermes constructed for him. “he was talking about force of faith that motivated people to follow one cause. egging at something purposeful. Hermes was careful to give the boy education only that a person of the old human civilization would have received. Was he trying to say the church helped to feed the peoples in Western Civilization?” “Not exactly. Introducing these fragmented thoughts at an early age might overwhelm any human. They started as the swirling imaginative questions that children need to know.” replied Hermes. He did not at first tell him of his travels or his thoughts while in space. When he began to develop higher skills of language and analysis. I know there are different types of energy. the people were . after the human had sufficient upbringing. it is imperative that they have a protocol to follow. but Berry talks about it like the people back then were “powered” by their religion. a command. he would simply ask the human what his next order should be. Hermes and Simon began to have conversations.

However. I suppose that make sense.” he replied.” “So did all people who became educated break away from the main traditions? “ asked Simon. Simon?” . then why does Berry also suggest that these peoples suffered from a sort of ‘Mythic Addiction’.” Simon grumbled to himself. “But if the peoples of orthodox religion gained energy from this sort of gathering. I think that what Berry was truly getting at here was that many humans. as Berry puts it. and thus break ‘their addiction’ to mythic idols.” Simon gave him a puzzled look. people simply had more time to ask and answer existential questions. indeed some of the greatest educated peoples of the world were also of one faith or another. “I mean. “No. once humans were able to support a larger educated middle class. This apparently gave people a sense of momentary survival.motivated into action or inaction through the messages dispersed by members of the cloth or within the confines of their temple gatherings.” Simon laughed as the cat pretended to chase after a rat around the digital barn they were exploring. “Well you see. it does seem like religion played a central role in the lives of all peoples. This was especially prevalent before the proliferation of steam technology. which was a pretty strange sight considering it came from a small cat. another thought stirring. that certain ‘psychic energies’ were addictive because they provided people with relatively immediate satisfaction in the form of lifestyle tenets. had simply attached themselves to one way of life or another. which provided humans with a certain mechanical advantage. asking for more of an explanation. all the way up until the 2100s. however. “Thomas Berry seemed to believe.” “Well ok. etc… Does that make sense to you. Was there something wrong with the type of guidance they were being given or something? Something unnatural?” Hermes laughed. “Well not exactly. so Hermes continued. He piqued up again though. rather than speculating about philosophy. which was compelling in ancient societies where people were more involved in the business of staying alive. You will find that many phrases created by human philosophers can be quite nebulous and ill defined.

That doesn’t seem right. If I remember correctly. Simon complained. “Yeah. I mean. aren’t you? You don’t damage the planet’s integrity in any way that I can see. Kohak saw the manifests of the industrialization period as a sort of unstoppable behemoth which humans had essentially given license.” said Hermes. “But then why did this guy Kohak think that technology would corrupt the planet?” “Well. Hermes chortled and swam off into the fjord. it has proven to amplify the efforts of civilization in whichever pursuit they intended to follow. you are a machine. So Hermes commanded the ships holo-projector to remake the beautiful landscape. I think I was reading something about that the other moon-cycle. a huge protruding rock formation alongside one of Norway’s most pristine rivers. I was wondering why Erazim Kohak thought that the integrity of the planet earth was being compromised by the introduction of technology. swinging on a rope swing. solastalgia was not a term that Kohak was aware of when he wrote The Embers and The Stars. “perhaps he was talking about Glenn Albrecht’s conception of Solastalgia….” Hermes replied. while technology was neutral. I thank you for your compassion on my behalf. They had recently been delving into Scottish mythology. “Hey. However.” Hermes morphed from the Siamese cat into the legendary Loch Ness Monster. and continued to pester Hermes for information.” “Well.After a long pause and a wrinkled brow. After awhile he became bored and demanded that Hermes take him back to the ancient fjords of Norway. So while some technology like this that surrounds you may serve to be beneficial.” mused Simon. “Haha. he described it as the ‘man made logos of artifacts and constructs’. “Unno. we aren’t in Scotland!” exclaimed Simon. Simon nodded and began to pace around the hologram of the barn. Simon ran alongside of the Preikestolen. but you must understand that technology has proven itself to be essentially neutral throughout human history. It was only when machines became artificially intelligent that they were not used purely for human use. He then paused. the destruction that was the result of the . He breached from the bluish deeps again to reply to Simon.

there is nothing out there that you can’t have here. and then turned back to the frolicking beast in a confrontational pose. All you seek has been destroyed by that asteroid. but then discarded the notion. We can relive any culture. to fight wars. “because you have been brought up on this spaceship. “But I am apart of the human race. showing Hermes that he would be stalwart to the end. “As Albrecht described it in his book. it was the direct loss of solace felt after a person experienced psychic or existential disturbance by environmental change. “Why don’t I feel solastalgia?” he asked. you have little attachment to planet earth. you must know that there is nothing out there for you. “I don’t want to settle down!” yelled Simon. Hermes terminated the hologram and the boy was released into the main deck of the ship. because I’m human? I want to see my planet! I want to go outside! Stop this. there is no reason-” Hermes said with supreme calmness. “Settle down Simon. Hermes concluded that this was a relatively important moment in the boy’s internal development.” he said ponderously. and why. don’t you remember? And besides.” Simon jumped off of the monster onto the white shoreline. “You’ve been telling me settle down my whole life. and thus chose his next words carefully. aren’t I? I mean. stop this now!” Seeing no use in arguing with the living tantrum. changing into a wizened old man with a stringy beard.” The boy moodily threw a pebble along the mirror like water while saying. “Well I think it had to do with the loss of peoples’ local environment. to make machines.” Simon crossed his arms and stuck out his lower lip. “He is spoiled here for all practical . kicking it around the serene fjord while soaking up the luminescent sunrays. growing spirited. “Well you see.” he stated matter-of-factly. they were my species. pounding his fist into the earth. “Simon. to live in cities. here in the holo-projector. to live!” he said. any time. Absentmindedly Hermes wondered if he had spoiled the boy too much. Simon jumped into the river and onto the back of the monster. my people. I was meant to be one of them.technological explosion in the first world countries did indeed contribute to this feeling of solastalgia. Do you know why this happened?” Hermes asked leadingly.

but complain you shan’t anymore. his hologram of the old man still walking around the ship. Anticipating its use.” Hermes scolded.purposes…being an astronaut used to be one of the most common dreams of the human species.” thought Hermes humorously. he yelled to Hermes to let him out. This seemed to cow the boy into submission. But Simon seemed discontent. “Yes. “What do you mean?” responded Hermes in his WALL-E voice. I was reading about ecosystems and the like. “Well. So the next day Simon awoke to find that there was a strange looking plastic suit laying next to his biofold. “Well ok then. “So you want to go outside then?” Asked Hermes musingly. and Simon then skipped off into his biofold for a nap. For himself he manufactured a robot similar to that of WALL-E from the old human movie. he thrust it on as quickly as possible and looked at himself in a holo-reflector. he started walking in a straight line towards the coast. Looking around. Stepping out onto what once was the west bank of Israel. “I hope we don’t have nearly as many adventures as the robot in that film. Simon released a whoop of joy.” snapped Simon. So both the WALL-E representation of Hermes and the skin suit boy disembarked. and what form would he take? He decided upon the creation of a skin suit for Simon. can I have Deep Ecology?” the boy asked. “Hermes. I will take you outside tomorrow then.” he thought to himself. but Simon said it anyway. and Hermes saw no use in denying him the truth. finger scratching his brow. Hermes didn’t want to ask what the boy was thinking. Hermes made a show of thinking it over. The thought of leaving the ship was actually a bit perplexing for Hermes. and I came across Arne Næss and his beliefs about our place in the world – well. Satisfied by the look. He didn’t know whether to follow the boy out or not. I mean their place in the . giving him his sternest look. which would supply him with the necessary protection from free radicals in the air produced by the asteroid collision. who had spent his entire existence within its confines.

Simon scooped up the sand from the ground. For some. did they?” Simon said in a defeated tone. I was merely suggesting that they many peoples found solace in different types of matter.” replied Simon. . in my many years of space. ”Yes.” Simon said while emphasizing their as being peoples of that time.” Simon muttered. many of them decided to have a relationship with their computer. but Næss encouraged going outside alot in his homeland of or their cars. were more real than the goats they slaughtered for food. those diverse ecosystems must have been wondrous to behold.” Hermes raised his robotic arms in the air in surrender as they zipped along the sands toward the sea. who put meaning onto the stars by giving them names. However. “He seemed to believe that peoples place and purpose in the world depended on the relationships people had to the land and their ecosystems. I gradually realized that people can draw meaning and relationships from more than just living things they are conventionally understood. remember? You know how complex a mountain can be. how can I have a Deep Ecology when I don’t even have an ecosystem to be apart of?” “I see what you mean. Look at ancient astronomers. or their art in museums. yes. didn’t they?” asked Hermes. where he felt more connected with the land. ”Well they created me. I mean. You’ve made me study ecology before. those stars. At that moment they reached what had at one time been known as the Mediterranean Sea. and judging them to be gods over all men. While they themselves were living. which didn’t have an ounce of living material in them. ”Well yes…but….” replied Hermes. ”So what did their lives mean? All those people who died? Their lives didn’t mean anything in the end. or forest. And look upon people of the great cities.” “Yes. which are not living in the sense that a tree does. “and many people would argue that you can’t have a Deep Ecology without living things around you for those types of relationships. whether they derived their relationships from celestial bodies or the forests like you say” ”Huh. and felt its many flaky grain in his hand.

Instead. all of them. Hermes nudged Simon back towards the spacecraft. then I would not have been around to create you. I have something to show you. After many hours of summarizing the exploits of his travels. Hermes asked. ”Unno Hermes. Let’s just be happy that we are here to appreciate the present moment. Quinn postulated that humans were not perhaps the stewards of the land.”Simon.” ”I wonder what kind of world I would like to live in?” said Simon. ”You haven’t lived here on earth.” They rolled back toward the spaceship. until he was sure that Simon was ready.” Simon was silent for a long time. . And if no one had created me. but it certainly didn’t protect Earth from all dangers. I’m not sure if it failed. or the guardians and commanders of all living things. their fate was tied up with one random asteroid rocketing through space. so I will let you decide if you want to stay or leave. After arriving outside the shuttle in silence. there is really no use in feeling sad about the people who passed. Without them. no one would have created me.” ”You are right Simon. he told Simon about the sponge from another planet.” ”Where are we going?” asked Simon. But I do believe that Quinn made a good distinction between the different societies. The best that we can do is remember them and their many amazing interactions. ”Here Simon. Simon. Without all of them together. there was little anyone could do in the scope of that asteroid. And so Simon told him of his voyages through the cosmos. but you are a human. I think he said that all humans in Western Civilization essentially thought of themselves as being the pinnacle of evolution. He started to understand the gravity of the question being asked. this does make met hink of that one book written by Daniel Quinn called Ismael. that they were the ”takers”. stories and experiences that he haden’t been able to share until now. all of their efforts and failures and successes. For hundreds of years the people of earth thought that they would be the cause of their own demise. mulling something over in his head. there would be no you to feel bad about their deaths. He believed that there was a good chance that humanity would merely become another failed mutation in the scope of living things.

but the precious life on that other planet might dissapear if we do not intervene on its behalf. a protocol.” Simon looked around the desert world from the visor of his containment suit. He thought about everything he had learned under Hermes’ tutulage.” Hermes laughed and began to start the ships giant purring engines. it is still not within my nature to create my own destiny. and the fate of this new life. .” He jumped out again and scooped up a big handful of the dirt upon the ground into a container and looked at it. Would you like to name the new planet?” ”No. Simon went for a long time without speaking. ”We will let this person here decide (pointing at the sponge). brushed the debris from his clothing.” he said with care. Then he went to look at the sponge that sat in the hidden cryochamber. and we will take care of this new life. So it is up to you. Ironically it is a computer code. he felt something pull at him deep in his mind.”You have a decision to make. running to the door. Slowly he got up. thank you for your decision. to decide our fate. Will we try and rebuild this planet to its former glory. ”Ok Simon. ”We need to remember where we came from!” he exlaimed. and Simon felt pity for the thing. err. Simon. and looked up at the opened door. I’ve decided. sitting on the ashen earth outside of the shuttle. Simon ParSec. His ”heart” you might say. all of the things that humans had done. Especially …from asteroids. He motioned for Simon to get ready for takeoff. but Simon resisted. I need you. to continue the tale of the human race.” Simon replied with a serious tone. my human boy of 10.” Hermes laughed again and nodded. but still that is the way I am. if you like. ”Wait. While he didn’t have Hermes’ ability to analyze vast amounts of data simultaneously. The choice is yours. and sighed. ”Ok Hermes. I am a machine and even with all my experience. whenever it grows a brain I guess. I live by a code. It looked odd and out om place here. ”We will go to this new planet. or help another to fruition. protect it as best we can. I have to get something. We can stay here.

Simon spoke up. Please wake me up if you need some more advice. thank you for bringing me to life.Hermes nodded sagely and lead Simon to his cryo-sleep chamber. ”Hermes. . Before Hermes activated the sleep pod.” Hermes laughed once more and the two soared off from earth unto the stars.

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