And Rumours of War: The Angel Strikes Back

(This is a collaboration between fasq and me.)

Humans have no name for the process.

To call it ‘thought’ would be misleading. The Angel does not think, as humans conceive of thought. (Nor is its self-symbol remotely translatable as ‘Angel’; but men will insist on putting familiar labels on the unfathomable.) A human, thinking, may direct his attention to a problem, and feel that he is concentrating; and indeed, possible actions will bubble up from the deep workings of his frontal cortex, for their consequences to be considered. But he cannot control the workings of his visual-processing centers; they will continue to interpret the input of his eyes, finding patterns and edges, light and dark, always watching for that pattern which on the ancestral plain shouted TIGER.

The Angel does not work thus. Its control of its mind is complete, and when it decides to give full attention to a problem, every part of its being is marshaled. At each moment it considers a hundred actions, spinning out their possible consequences and its possible responses with literally inhuman speed and depth. (If ‘speed’ can truly apply to something as able to think backwards as well as forwards in time.) If the problem is a large one, parts of the brain will be rebuilt, different sub-configurations assembling themselves and attempting to find insights. Those which are successful are retained, and variants built anew, until the whole of the Angel’s brain is adapted to the task of solving the problem at hand. The experience that a human scholar, politician, or warrior acquires, each in his own field, is a pale shadow of this; they use minds that were originally built to evade tigers, hide bananas, and have sex with the alpha female. They are flexible brains, and can be trained for other things. But the Angel acquires a new brain every time it ponders a problem, one purpose-built for its task.

The internal workings of such a being are not readily reduced to human words. But in the end all sentients must act on the same physical universe. All thought reduces finally to the movement of physical limbs, to orders given, swords drawn, armies set in motion. This is thought, of whatever form: The process that moves the future in a desired direction. The senses report, the mind processes, the body acts – and the future changes; becoming better for the actor, if the mind is a powerful one and the senses report correctly; not so, if minds are badly constructed or senses mistaken.

Not ‘thought’, then; the Angel’s mind moves in too different an orbit for the common human word to be right. But still, if a human could have listened, and slowed down the process to something that, over a lifetime’s study, he might have come to comprehend – one might say that the Angel pondered.

StreamLog Absolute Time From Arrival 6.0000000000000×10^52 to 6.00000000000009×10^52

Doctor(foamobserver): Attention: physics – latest numbers of quantum foam flux/Set1 Yngling Temporal Disruption.
Physics(foamobserver): Exporting data to models.
Tactical(overseer): Imagine engram AskNorvaldsson, mod5.
Tactical(overseer): Ask, identification of Yngling agent?
Ask(mod5): 1666 right? Bjarte Vegardsson, then.
Ask(mod5): Requests tactical functions, field specific, Set 1 Downtimer: Dovreman, Set 2 Downtimer: Norway, Set 2 Downtimer: Scandinavia.
Tactical(overseer): Promote AskNorvaldsson, mod5 to Tactical/SecretMasters/Dovreman. Remember data to AskNorvaldsson, mod5/current.
Remember: Norway = driven from Scandinavia, Dovremen = cut off from state assistance, time since shows: marked decline in Christ-faith (Catholic-heretical), increase in sightings of false-faith (Norsepagan), evidence of growing organisation (Norsepaganpriesthood), parallels organisation: The Order (pre-vernacularrevolution), note: rise in organised guerilla warfare against targets: Prussia, Germany, note: fall in observed birth-rate (value: Downtimer), note: rise in population, note: average adult Set 2 Downtimer muscle mass increased, note: locus of change: Dovre mountain
Ask(mod5): Faen heller! Is Self fighting a time war, or stargazing?
Tactical(Dovreman): The Dovremen currently pose no threat. From Order spies in the region we suspect an attempt at selective breeding. Tactical has assessed this activity as good for Self, and good for Set 2 Downtimers. Attempt is absorbing a large portion of man-time. If successful, product will be rendered obsolete by technological advancement within (worstcase) 4-8 generations. Most likely product is a human crippled by (Set 1 Downtimer) “Yngling Values” and easily outmatched by unaltered Set 2 Downtimers.
Ask(mod5): Requests imagine of engram InanchaBagratuni. Requests remember (current) for Inancha.
Tactical(overseer): Imagine engram InanchaBagratuni. Remember data (current) to InanchaBagratuni.
Ask(mod5): Can you explain this?
Inancha: Your assessment is reasonable, Tactical. But you are missing the trunk for the branches. A breeding program requires fine political control, which in turn requires powerful symbols. Downtimers are not able to subordinate their selves into a greater whole like a sub-process being re-absorbed by the Self. Nor availed of communications that allows them to access compatriots in an eyeblink. They use other ways to find commonality. Consider: the Propheteocracy created “Agsartan’s Angel” out of Self as a powerful symbol. A symbol of God’s love for the Georgian people. And for the love of God, the Georgian people moved mountains. Norse Paganism is a powerful symbol for the Dovremen, and they are making it one for the Set 2 Downtimers as well. Consider, for a moment, what could happen if that symbol combines with the Norwegian Romantic movement of the Norwegian state? Consider what could happen if the Dovremen rode that kind of power.
Ask(mod5): Exactly. We all know what happened last time Self allowed the Dovremen to control an empire. Norway, and probably the world, is better off without them.
Tactical(Dovreman): Extermination has been debated before. Cost/benefit analysis did not favour drastic action.
Ask(mod5): Containment is not extermination.
Tactical(Dovreman): True, but the Dovremen are contained by their situation.
Ask(mod5): Requests remember (Bjarte Vegardsson) to (current).
Ask(mod5): You see why I’d prefer a couple years head start on this agent?
Tactical(overseer): Promoting tactical problem (Set 1 Downtimer/Dovreman) to Magenta, remember data (current) to Past(Delta-6.0000000000000001×10^52-Absolute)

(To be continued)

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