Eclipse Phase - Apocalypse

The Cerulean Signal

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Personal Log, Cerulean Wave Soft Sunlight, Entry 0044G

That went more smoothly than anticipated. My ongoing investigation and observation of Marja De Winter and Ricky Thompson, in light of their previous and current connections to The Black Signal, warranted a careful, hands-off approach. The casual offer I laid at Marja’s feet some weeks ago had enough time to percolate and finally she and Ricky approached me about coming to Nirvana. Before they could do so, however, I needed to placate Aeryn Taft-Crowley.

Her suspicion was understandable, of course, but the impression she gave at our coffee-shop meeting was of someone whose mind had already been made up, but who felt the need to engage in the theater of question-and-answer knowing full well that nothing I could say could possibly placate her. I recognize that my offer required a certain leap of trust, of faith. I was asking two of her associates to come with me through a gate to an uncertain destination based entirely on the promise of some sort of “spiritual enlightenment.” Suspicion, even a certain degree of paranoia, is warranted, but Firewall wouldn’t have recruited them if they were so averse to risk that they would cut off a potentially extremely valuable contact, or extremely valuable information about a covert Ozma facility. After our talk, I left them to make their decision. I know that Firewall has infiltrated Nirvana at least once, and I had every confidence they could dig up enough information to pique their interest.

Whatever occurred among them in private, they did ultimately accept my offer, but the three non-asyncs among them insisted on accompanying their compatriots. This was not unexpected. I made the necessary financial and technical arrangements for a party of six to traverse the Martian gate while they made their own travel and resleeving arrangements for carefully-pruned beta forks to travel to Mars. What did surprise me was the fact that, upon arriving and greeting the abbot of the Kurohoshi Monastery, all of them except for Tari opted to engage in the necessary meditations. I chalked that up to basic caution and support. I assumed that Tari was staying behind to attempt to hack the facility or otherwise garner intel for Firewall. I imagined she couldn’t get into too much trouble without a local mesh, and I had faith that the Abbot would keep tabs on her for me.

Argo’s stated reason for taking part was that he has apparently been experiencing some unusual moments of mental union with his own forks and suspected some manner of infection. Based on what he was saying, I had my own suspicions, but I knew that the light of the dark star would reveal all in a moment or two and so simply acquiesced. As we entered the meditation module, and the full glory of PSR B1976 +10 A revealed itself through the transparent wall, I watched Marja and Ricky carefully. This was the test of their will and mental constitution. Could they survive the star’s song with their stability intact? It appears they could.

We settled in for meditation and I could feel the moment they accepted the star’s song within themselves. As Watts-MacLeod was washed from them, as those channels and conduits to the exsurgent signal were overwritten, replaced, I felt them grow harmonious and could touch their minds as easily as they could, now, touch mine. I could even feel Argo, filtered distantly through one of his forks who, indeed, was already a receiver for the cerulean signal. In a way, only Aeryn was excluded from our new union.

In that moment did they understand, and I shared what I could of the signal’s nature and origin, what little I know of it. We spoke of the exsurgent signal, its artificial, weaponized nature, its theoretical origins, and my own theories as to why the cerulean signal is anathema to it. I explained that the reason I bring asyncs here is that their minds have already been opened to influence from beyond the usual four dimensions of reality as we experience it, and so the signal follows existing pathways. I alluded to my intentions with this facility to develop the means by which the signal can be given to someone who has not first been infected with Watts-MacLeod as a means to inoculate transhumans against the exsurgent virus, ultimately to reclaim the Martian TQZ, or even Earth. I took care to speak much of this aloud, for Aeryn’s sake, for I knew that she would be the primary hurdle to permitting Marja’s and Ricky’s beta forks to reintegrate upon their return to Venus.

I could feel the motion of Marja’s and Ricky’s surface thoughts as they became accustomed to the song of the dead star. As anticipated, Karl’s influence was washed clean from Ricky, and Marja responded as positively as I’d hoped. This represented a means for her to make some form of amends for Hanshan, or perhaps even to remove Karl from existence. I’ve done what I can. It’s up to them to convince Aeryn and their peers on Venus to permit them to preserve their connection.

We departed the meditation chamber to discover Tari had been quizzing the pulsar researchers. She does not appear to have penetrated the prison or interfered with the more sensitive experiments therein. I will be most curious to see what they decide to do next.

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ardhanari

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