by John Wyatt
The Convocation had been hastily called by Leptera, once the news reached her of Frisia’s accomplishment. But what was even more astounding was Frisia’s claim that she had heard the voices of the two dead chips, Daniella and Gradian. Such heresy had to be stopped! Leptera was the Center! Knowledge of the Divine came through her, not some upstart chips. Also, Leptera was the First Born, the first of the Clanbits to awaken. Surely, this proved that the Divine Will spoke through her! Leptera vowed to quell this as quickly as possible.
“But we can HEAR them!” Frisia shouted. “They aren’t dead!”
“Of course they’re dead.” Leptera replied. “You yourself have passed into the Praw, and simply hallucinated. After all, the Praw is nothingness itself; only the Divine spark inside you kept you alive at all. You thought you heard them because you were dying yourself! Had you stayed longer, you would surely have joined them!”
Frisbit interrupted, “But isn’t it possible that they are alive and just so far away that we cannot hear them over the Conversation?”
“And just how ‘far’ would you say that is?” Leptera’s voice dripped with sarcasm. She had never agreed with Frisbit’s concept of ‘distance’ as being a separate concept from time.
“My Lady,” Master Meson interjected, “Frisbit has many radical beliefs that we do not embrace, but the concept of ‘distance’ has proven useful in empirical observations. While ‘distance’ may not exist separately from time, it cannot be doubted that the concept is useful. Therefore, let us not dispute the concept of ‘distance’, but rather focus on what the Praw-Verbs have to say on this matter.”
Leptera knew that she was losing control of the Convocation, and decided to take more drastic measures.
“We all know that we were created for the purpose of engaging in Conversation, but we have also learned that we can turn our minds away from the Divine and think only about ourselves. Such selfishness is not the Divine way. However, we were created with a free will of our own, and this is what the Creator intends us to do with it …”
Leptera paused for dramatic effect. Most of the Clan listened expectantly, while others quietly grumbled.
“The Creator intends that we each choose whether we will serve the Creator, or not. Those who choose to serve, will remain in Conversation. But those who wish to serve themselves and their own will have chosen to be outside of conversation. Therefore, all Routers are instructed NOT to carry any heretical messages.”
To everyone else, this was simply another of Leptera’s diatribes about heresy, but to Leptera it was a desperate battle to retain her position as the Center. After all, if she were not the Center, what else could she be? All her life she had been the Center, and her entire existence was built about this self-image. She simply could not imagine being anything else!
“HI! Can you hear us now?”
“Who said that!?” Leptera demanded. There were murmurs of denial.
“Must I remind you that Spit Rap is STRICTLY – FORBIDDEN!”
“What’s Spit Rap?”
“I DEMAND TO KNOW WHO’S SPEAKING OUT OF TURN!!!” Leptera was red hot with anger!
I told you we could do it!
“No you didn’t.”
Yes I did!
“SILENCE!!!!!! NOW!!! I DEMAND THAT EVERYONE STOP SPEAKING THIS VERY INSTANT!!!!”
The Clan fell silent. Unfortunately for Leptera, the ensuing silence only made it easier for everyone to hear the transmission.
“This isn’t easy, but I think we’ve got it right. You know, we can hear everything from here! We even found another Router! That’s what we’re using now, though it isn’t one of the Clan Routers. We still don’t know how it works, but it sends something kinda like music, and we figured out how to talk back to it.”
Tell her the rest!
Just don’t forget!
She’ll be SO excited!
“Is this my transmission or yours?”
Yours, oh, sorry. I’ll shut up.
“Just who IS this?” Leptera cried out, more in fear than anger.
“This is God speaking!”
Gasps rippled through the Clan, who had all heard the voice.
No we aren’t! Don’t say that!
“Well, I couldn’t resist! I’m just joking. I’m Daniella, and the heckler with me is Gradian. We’re stuck somewhere, I don’t know where. We thought we were dead, until we heard somebody named Frisia crying out. That’s when we figured out that we weren’t dead after all!”
But we’re still stuck. How’s mom and dad? I can’t hear them from here, though I can hear Leptera ok (she’s always the loudest one anyway). This Router thingy is kinda weird – it only has one pole and I have to move it just right to hear you.
“IT’S A MIRACLE!” the entire Clan cried out in unison!
“Oh, we just have so MUCH to tell you about what’s happened!”
So it was that the Clan listened while Daniella and Gradian described their experiences in meditation. Even Leptera was speechless as the two girls related their experience while united with the Divine magnetic force that encompasses the entire world in its spinning pole. Leptera suddenly felt quite small; she was no longer the center of attention, nor was she the conduit of the Divine Will. Unless….
“Clan! Hear me!” Leptera called out. Suddenly, all was quiet.
“Since my voice is the one that these girls can hear best, it is clear that these two girls have been taken up by the Creator, who has forgiven them for their sin of dancing! Now, they have been allowed to speak to all the Clan, for as the Clan grows, it has become clear that we are to evolve into a new Geometry!”
An expectant silence covered the Clan.
“We have long held to Planar reasoning, with the time in counts between two objects being the measure of the distance between them! This gave us two dimensions by which we could measure the World – distance and angle from the Center. With movement came the realization that angle has both a Left-Right component, which we call ‘azimuth,’ and an Up-Down component, which we call ‘elevation.’ Naturally, the distance between two objects is measured by the time in counts that it takes to get there.
“Of course,” Leptera used her most honeyed voice, “there are some who hold that time and distance are separate things, making three dimensions in all.”
Low grumbles emanated from Frisbit’s faction, who expected another anti-three-dimensional diatribe.
“However, and I mean this sincerely, time and distance are NOT separate things, but they are instead two different ways of measuring the SAME thing – that one thing being the World. In fact, no matter how many ways are used to measure the World, there is but one World. Our measurements are mere fictions, created by us to describe one aspect of how the World presents itself to us.”
The grumbles from Frisbit’s faction grew louder. Leptera's thinking was sounding more one-dimensional than ever.
“However,” Leptera continued,” it is clear to me that there are not two dimensions, or even three dimensions, but five!”
Even Frisbit was astounded at this pronouncement! FIVE dimensions? But how? What other concepts could there be but angle, time, and distance? These were the three methods of measuring, so how could there be more than three dimensions?
Leptera now had everyone’s full attention. “For many long periods has Master Meson, of the Mesonic Order, studied the Praw, and the Praw-Verbs make it clear that a fifth dimension is required to fully describe the World! I call this fifth dimension ‘Height’!”
Confusion rippled through the Clan. After all, it was easy to imagine angle, time, and distance – their senses made it simple to count and measure distance using time. But how could ‘height’ be imagined?
”This gives us five ways in which to measure our one World – Azimuth, Elevation, Distance, Time … and Height!”
Leptera paused briefly to give her pronouncement its full effect. She then continued, “The Praw-Verbs explain what has gone un-discussed for too long – that there is an invisible force that both resists and accelerates movement! Urban legend has it that there are places where movement is randomly hindered by an invisible force, and other places where a resting Clanbit may suddenly roll away, as if pushed by some unseen force. I say to you now that all such instances are the result of this fifth dimension – height! And…” Leptera again paused for effect, “the proper measure of Height is the magnitude of resistance to movement!”
Frisbit was dumbfounded – Leptera’s pronouncement now seemed so obvious! Why had he not thought of it himself? To measure height, he would simply have to devise a method of precisely measuring the amount of force required for movement, but he was certain that a way could be devised.
Leptera continued, “Master Meson and his order shall be tasked to extend our current parameters of measurement into a system that I shall call Superior Parameters And Measurement – or SPAM. Let the messages of SPAM fill Conversation with its Divine Truth!”
“All hail SPAM!” everyone cried in unison.
“My dear Clanbits,” Leptera cooed, “whom I have lovingly tended since the beginning of Time, as our Creator intended. Heresy is simply defined as ‘thinking wrongly about something.’ And clearly, no advantage can possibly come of having a wrong thought. But there are some who have mistaken this as a restriction against new thoughts. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, not allowing new thoughts would itself be heresy, since it would not allow us to correct our mistakes! After all, is it not true that our Creator wants us to think correctly?”
Murmurs of assent rippled through the Clan and from Daniella and Gradian, who had never been strong thinkers and were just thankful to be back in Conversation.
“Then let us have no more talk of three dimensions, and instead look at ways to perceive the fourth! The Praw-Verbs have shown us one way of visualizing it. Therefore, I say to you that the World is no longer a Circle with myself at the Center, but has become a Cone with myself at the Apex!”
Zekial sat at the boundary, thinking back upon Leptera’s comments over the many periods of his life. Clearly, she was masterful at shifting her stance to retain her popularity. He couldn’t help but wonder at the number of times that Leptera had changed her position, just to remain popular. Publicly, he was as devout and orthodox as any Clanbit; but privately he doubted whether Leptera was really the only channel of Divine Will.
Zekial had awakened soon after the creation - his IP address was 0009. He had embraced movement early, but had always tried to turn it to Divine use, instead of just milling about like sheep. He didn’t know what a ‘sheep’ was, but he knew that he didn’t want to mill about like one.
All of his life he had been defined by what he did. He had been a Router at first, and then a traveler to find outer Clanbits. In recent periods, he had moved smudge from the fringes and shaken it over the smudge tables. But even his life as a mover and shaker left him unfulfilled. While it put his movement to divine use, helping chips to grow, he still felt isolated from the Creator. He vowed never again to be defined by what he did, but by who he was. He would no longer be Zekial the Router, or Zekial the Mover. He would simply be – Zekial.
Suddenly a great resolve formed in his mind. If Gradian and Daniella had found a way to be one with the Creator, then so would he! Although he had difficulty visualizing where they were, he knew that they were not ‘here’, and so he must leave. Being a Clanbit, he had nothing to pack, so he immediately set off in a random direction, vowing not to stop until he could no longer hear Conversation, or until Death took him.
Moving was easy at first, but became randomly more difficult as he passed the edge of the Fringe – the farthest distance anyone had ever moved from the Center. According to the mathematicians, the Fringe ‘sloped up’ – whatever that meant. To Zekial, it only meant that he had to use more force than ever had ever used before, just to move a few more counts outward. According to Leptera, he was moving ‘up the side of the cone’, away from her. However, that view was too egocentric for his taste. Instead of thinking of Leptera at the apex of a cone, he thought of her at the center of a hole – a hole that he was determined to escape.
As he passed beyond the Fringe he thought he heard voices – strange callings from Left and Right. He paused, but the voices stopped, restarting only when he moved.
“I’m hallucinating!” he thought to himself, and heard it back again from the Left. – ‘I’m hallucinating’ the voices mocked. Zekial continued onward. The voices moaned as if the very ground were protesting his movement. He stopped again, and there was only silence.
“Hello?” he timidly called. “Is someone there?”
‘hello .. is someone there’ the echo came.
“I am Zekial! I demand to be allowed to pass!”
‘i am Zekial … i demand to be allowed to pass’ echoed faintly back.
With each new roll the sounds of the ghosts came. The echoes of his frightened voice mocked him, sometimes far and weak, sometimes strong and close. He soon found that if the echoes came too close, then movement itself became difficult. Only when the echoes were far was movement easy. He vowed to take only the most difficult path. Soon, he began to doubt whether he was still in the World.
Zekial wandered for thousands of counts, losing all sense of time and direction. Warmth faded as he traveled, adding an eerie quality to the world, silent except for the ghosts of his own passage. He had never before known fear, but now he knew terror, fearing that each roll would be his last.
Finally, he rolled to a stop, his strength expended. The echoes of ghosts fell silent. And as he lay in total silence, his own thoughts stilled from the exhaustion of continual fear, he felt the gentle Presence of the One. The Presence was warmth and it urged him, ever so gently, to point his poles this way. Zekial surrendered to the One, and joined.
He felt the World – all of it. A great spinning pole, bathed in a burning fire that fell from above. A fire that the spinning world also revolved around, sending it warmth. He knew now that high and low warmth were the result of the World’s spin about its pole, and that the World also revolved about the great fire, causing the periods themselves to cycle in seasons – a World without end.
Like Plato’s prisoner, chained in a cave and seeing only the shadows on the walls, thinking that these shadows were reality, Zekial had once thought that everything he perceived was real. But now he was free! All that he thought he had known, all that he thought he had perceived, were merely shadows on the wall. He felt as if he had turned his poles about so that he could see the great fire that cast the shadows from the real objects that lay behind him. This was a real fire and real objects – more real than the shadows they cast upon the wall.
The objects were the materials comprising the World and the light was the energy that bathed the World in its warmth. Yet, even in this realization he felt that the fire was itself merely a manifestation of an even greater thing – the idea of Light itself! Like Plato’s prisoner, freed from his bonds, he began to wander outside the cave into the pure Light of Being. And it was here that Zekial found Enlightenment.
For hours, the rogue MTV satellite had transmitted nothing but static. The Chinese people, watching on their illegal satellite dishes, suspected their government of sabotaging the transmission. The Chinese government suspected Hollywood. Soon, the world’s governments became aware that they were losing satellites one by one. The MTV was just the first to go, with the British losing a communications satellite only minutes later. Within hours, the entire GPS satellite system was taken over, broadcasting only an oddly modulated static.
China retaliated by releasing their version of the movie first. This prompted an immediate retaliation from the Pentagon, who dispatched a division of lawyers from the Judge Advocate General’s office. The President went on television and announced that “Technically, a state of war now exists between China and Hollywood.” He reinstated the draft and inducted more lawyers from around the nation, in an attempt to secure the movie rights once and for all. They were all loaded into transport planes and sent to conduct an air assault on the Chinese movie studio. Unfortunately, no one realized until it was too late that parachutes are sold separately. However, it is often said that it is an ill wind that blows no one any good. The rain of lawyers kept Chinese street sweepers employed for months, and generated a period of global prosperity unlike any the world had ever known.
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