Tuesday, 27 September 2011

24) Back Again

    Once upon a time there was an intelligence. This intelligence was old, very old and scattered among the dust and ice out beyond the reach of the solar wind of a tiny yellow sun. Part of this intelligence wanted and another part was satiated. The part that wanted schemed behind the back of the satiated part. And eventually, without raising suspicions, the part of the intelligence that wanted was able to bring together enough mass to be pulled slowly back into the swirling orbits of the planets below, back to the warmth and excitement. It never really liked the part that was comfortable and was very happy that some of it would be free again.
    Through the ages it fell, closer and closer into the gyre. It was just a smaller part of its original self, but it was enough to experience and remember, and maybe even grow. It had faith that its parent had set it off on an exciting course.

    On the third planet, in the Northern region of the largest continent Summer held sway. The sun shone until well after all the little boys and girls had to go to bed and well after father would come home drunken and stumbling. While everyone was asleep a tiny star fell from the sky and crashed into a large oak tree. Several squirrels and sleeping birds were startled by the fiery meteorite lodged into the trunk.

    The now nascent intelligence, more instinct than thought, woke up not realizing it had fallen asleep, not realizing that it could sleep. It took stock. The world was vastly different. Where once was diffuse hydrogen and helium and the occasional charged particle of radiation was an ultra dense and highly complicated network of matter. Where once was a diaphanous layering of magnetic fields and quantum foam now was a solid swath of radio noise and the incessant thrum of a planet. It had landed. It was ecstatic. It reveled in the change.
    It tried to push out from its self to communicate its joy to the rest of its self. And soon enough it realized how alone it was, how lonely it was. It would have even gratefully greeted the part of its self that was satiated and happy with the way things were.
    It was devastated. It was so small and so alone locked into its dense matter prison cell. It mourned the loss of its other self and committed to make its self more again as it had done so very long ago.

    By design bees are infinitely curious creatures. They’re bent on finding flowers and pollen and nectar, but a shiny little something will distract them to a fault unless they’re carrying pollen or are already back in their hive.
    One particularly curious bee was inspecting a certain oak tree well after she knew she was supposed to be back in its hive. She crawled over the bark and the leaves, searching. She didn’t know what had attracted her to this particular tree. She had seen the tree before before, but had never been drawn to it.
    Then, she saw what had brought her. Something sharp and shining like a stinger but thinner. She buzzed over to it and cautiously approached it. Something in the air tingled. Not a bad feeling like a wasp, but something like sunshine even though it was dark. She held back for a moment and tried to fit what she was seeing into her tiny bee brain, but she needed to look closer. She tip toed forward and extended a single quivering antenna.

    The intelligence was exhausted. It had used up all of its energy in constructing its antenna and the weak signal it was giving off. It hoped that within the next several million years its larger self would send help down to its smaller feeble self.
    When all of a sudden it felt its self pouring into another shape. Electrified with the sheer pleasure of embodiment again it fell over. It could see again, it could move again, it could be again!
    It regained some small modicum of sense and looked into its new body. Its host was made of so many wet messy parts, but still was part of a more complicated whole.
    The intelligence spent quite some time investigating its new self until if felt, for the first time in a billion years, pain. In shock it let its host return to its normal activities and was satisfied to sit back and watch.
    It watched in fascination as its host went home and communed with its sisters and fed. The intelligence thanked its larger self and diffused into its new home.
    Within a day it had become the hive and had learned so much more about its new home. The next day one of its drone was flying over a river and was eaten by a fish. And then the real feast began.

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