Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The Story of Xerxes

Another short day, with hours lost to convention-related nonsense. Oh, and someone appears to have hacked the root of my website, replacing the index.html with a blank page, and somehow managing to get the site description on Google to read like a spammer with logorrhea. Delightful.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
25,897 / 90,000

Today's bit is a brief aside, just as RJ is introduced to the Exode probe at the Anachronist dinner party on the planet of Cronos.


Before relating my meeting with Xerxes, I think it’s instructive to relate a story I was later told, about the first time anyone in the Entelechy met Xerxes.

In T8623, three hundred and fifty two years before Wayfarer One was found by a crew of dogmen, a communications satellite in orbit around the Entelechy world of Ouroboros received a laser transmission that fell within the Ka-Band frequencies, a little above 30 GHz. Data was found to be encoded in the transmission by pulse position modulation, on the order of ten to the twenty-first bytes of data—a zettabyte, in other words. The header file of the transmission defined a binary lexicon and a complete periodic table of elements. There followed a series of simple instructions for the creation of long chains of silicate ions in precise configurations. When completed, these proved to be self-assembling molecular machines that began immediately to assemble some sort of mechanism.

Within ten standard days, the assemblers had incorporated and reconfigured one hundred kilograms of raw materials, producing a genderless bipedal robot resembling a baseline anthropoid. A team of the most prestigious scientists of the Entelechy gathered behind protective fields, and waited for the first communication from the mechanism.

The probe rose to a sitting position, regarded the scientists with an eyeless gaze.

“Oh,” the probe said with a sigh. “It’s you.”

That, in a nutshell, is Xerxes.
Hopefully tomorrow, finally, I'll be able to get in a full days work.

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