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Science Fiction in the way of Jules Verne: with up to date science data, and generous characters.
3D printers are a simple technological development. Yet they took science fiction writers by surprise: very few anticipated, especially their use in biology. So it is time that the artists and visionaries take the leadership again, and show who is the boss.
The Typheren planet had everything to develop life. It looks much like Earth: the sky is blue, rain lashes the granite boulders, rivers push their silts toward the sea, the wind rustles in the dunes. But a minor chemical kink made everything fail: no grass, no insect, even not the smallest bacteria. No eye will admire these landscapes, no feet will enjoy the rubbing of the grass.
But one day...
Let us meet for real! Name: Richard Trigaux. Artist name: Yichard Muni
Every friday, 12pm SLT (19hTU), Elf Dream Meetings and storytelling, in our virtual region Lysaer (How to enter)
Every Friday, 12pm SLT (19hTU) (France: 21h), Elf Dream Meetings and stories, in our virtual region Daur Anarie in Alternate Metaverse! (How to enter)
Elf Dream has its site, it is active in the virtual worlds Sovaria, Alternate Metaverse, and present in Second Life, Mewe, Discord, Facebook.
Other nice comics --- The Eolis --- And here, errr... don't go
Typheren (pronounce Teefaran) was a large and beautiful planet, with all the requested conditions for the appearance of life.
It received about the same composition and elements than Earth. Just that it was about 2 times more massive. This was resulting into a surface gravitation of 1.26g, and an atmospheric pressure of 3.2 bars of nitrogen, with some carbon dioxide. It was ideally placed on a stable and well circular orbit around its mother star, just a bit smaller than our sun. This resulted in a warm and stable temperature, perfectly suited for life.
It had two moons. The smallest, Lizun, was on a close orbit, so that its phases were in only four days, and changes were visible within a day. But it was too small to make total eclipses. The second moon, Taraan, was farther than the first, but as big and reddish as Mars, so that it looked larger than our Moon in the sky, and it could make total eclipses. The nights with Taraan were clearer than our full moon nights, but with a golden hue. Several other planets of this system were visible, one even brighter than Venus, with also a small moon visible to the naked eye.
After half a billion years of evolution, Typheren was in the stage where the continents were starting to gather. But it was still mostly an oceanic planet, with strings of volcanic islands from various sizes, some as big as Japan.
Typheren's sky was blue as on Earth. Just as on Earth, winds and gales were pushing clouds and rain, sometimes typhoons. The lack of mountain barriers allowed eastbound and westbound winds to roam freely over the limitless oceans, as in Earth's roaring southern oceans. So that the climate zones were more sharply defined than on Earth, and big waves were permanently crisscrossing the oceans.
Lands were very similar with Earth too. Rain was washing mountains and rocks, while rivers were eroding them, bringing alluvial fans on the coasts. There were plains, hills and valleys, lakes and marshes.
One of the largest island, or continent to be, was Yoko, maybe half as large as France. On the east side, it had a spine of mountains, the Shamal range, surrounded by plains of sand and clay. On the west side was another mountain range in the forming: hard crystalline rocks were not yet emerging, but they were already pushing besides the softer materials, forming parallel ridges of limestone. Toward the north, Yoko continued with a long peninsula and archipelago strewn with some active volcanoes.
Sometimes at night, strange blue lights were visible, at two or three spots at the foot of the Shamal mountain range. By day, this place appeared as gray granite boulders, with a small river between. At night... approaching, we notice nothing special. But suddenly there was a water gurgle and a hiss. And for some minutes, a blue luminescent steam was swirling above the creek, while the water boiled violently, until the river bed was dry. Then the phenomenon stopped as it started, with water sizzling, trying to reconquer the burning hot river bed. On a half billion years young planet, the ratio of fissile uranium is still high enough for uranium mines to fission spontaneously, as soon as water flows on them.
In these lands, only sky, water, rocks, sand and mud could be seen. There was no trees, not a single grass blade, not even lichens on the rocks. These lands were rainy and wet, yet even more desert than the Sahara.
This strange world, apparently familiar yet so different, was like Earth at the end of the Hadean age, 4 billions years ago.
However there was a huge difference.
Not very visible yet at this stage of the evolution of the planet, but fundamental.
At the end of the Hadean age, Earth's oceans were teeming with bacteria. Primitive bacteria certainly, simple protobiontes with not yet any influence on the geology of the planet. But the first individual chromosome, this sub-micron sized object, appeared at this date, and this unique molecule was about to start the fantastic adventure of life, its incredible evolution and its innumerable branches and species, striving along the interminable 3.5 billions years of the Archean eon and Proterozoic eon, to blossom today into intelligence, beauty, love and spirituality.
Nothing such in Typheren.
Typheren was a totally lifeless planet. It utterly failed from the very first steps.
The reason was some kinks of chemistry: too much sulphur made the oceans too acidic with sulphuric acid. With time, this adverse condition cleared off, but in the meanwhile the organic matter was gone too, deposited in kerogene and buried under hundreds of meters of clay, precluding any further life chemistry in the highly selenitic oceans. This attempt was a total loss.
This was sad.
This was sad, because the orange dune below the blue sky, softly rustling in the pleasant warm wind, would never see a single flower swaying. It would never be disturbed by a bare foot, moist with the emotion and sensual pleasure of living. This warm air itself would forever remain unbreathable and unable to support any animal life, not to speak of anything resembling a brain.
Twelve billions of years this sun could shine, twelve billions of years the white moon and the red moon could dance in the blue sky, there would never be any enchanted eye to admire them.
There would never be lovely thatch cottages in flowery glens. There would never be powerful trains dashing like arrows in the countryside, there would never be rockets soaring in the sky to explore the other planets of this system. There would never be romantic love, brilliant scientists, admirable saints, even not ordinary people just happy with keeping their house and garden welcoming every day.
Never? But who gave Typheren its name, then?
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, this day on the south coast of the Yoko continent was just like a billions of other days. Waves of the dark blue ocean were rolling on the beach, end of a long orange sandy plain. Further, gentle hills were rolling, until the purple line of the Shamal mountains in the blue sky. It was a perfect sunny day, warm, no wind and not a single cloud.
This morning the small moon Lizun passed before the large Taraan moon, in only about twenty minutes, small white crescent over the larger pink crescent. Now in the afternoon, they were both set over the west horizon, and the sun was approaching it too.
But no eye was rejoicing of this perfect view. Not a single plant in the desert, despite the numerous water streams. No homes, no village, no people. Just sand, water and sky. Another silent day was passing, after billions more all identical days, and before many other billions.
Suddenly there is a point of light in the sky, above the east horizon.
What can it be? A meteorite? This was often happening in this young solar system. But this one is slower than most meteorites, and more persistent. It flickers for about two minutes, and then disappears.
But it reappears, this time near the zenith. It is not moving fast, but rather increasing. A supersonic bang tells that it is not just a light, but really a solid object, emerging from the obscure depths of space, and approaching fast.
Now it is clearly a large object, hanging and oscillating in the sky. Or rather three things, still indiscernible. Several other smaller objects fall in the vicinity, with trails of smoke and crashing noises.
Slowly the main object approaches, and it appears clearly as a small dark shape hanging after three large parachutes. Soon the three large parachutes hover majestically over the plain... until their cargo touches down the ground in a cloud of dust. Then they deflate and fall nearby.
Approaching, we can better see this object. It has a long rounded cuboid shape, with various bumps and boxes around, mounted on eight wheels. A whizz of electric motor, and a mast deploys, bearing a camera and other instruments. For about one hour it senses the air, or examines images, just standing here on its wheels.
There is nobody in it. It even was thoroughly sterilized. It is an entirely automated robotic machine, behaving of its own, and adapting to circumstances. Who built it? Who sent it? We shall probably never know. It is not the point anyway: these persons are dead, or gone, since the tens of thousands years this machine needed to travel the unfathomable dark abyss between the stars. The interesting thing is what is is about to do here and now.
Untill the night is falling, nothing new happens, save some robotic arms taking samples of the soil, or lasers shooting on pebbles and dunes at a distance. Later in the night, Lizun sets up.
At sunrise, Lizun is full, while Taraan is still a reddish crescent.
A soft hum is now emanating from the object. There is dew on the wheels, but not on the main body, which is warm. Apparently some machines were put in working order, during the night, and started. Most probably it has a thermonuclear generator inside, feeding on the air moisture.
Soon after sunrise, the robotic machine suddenly moves on its wheels. It does not go very far, exploring the surrounding, taking samples of rocks and water. One of its visit is for the ocean. Probably it does not like the selenitic water, but it moves on. At evening it stands on a small hill, and it waits for Taraan to set down. Then it uses the darkness to shoot lasers on some more distant hills, and even at the far away Shamal mountains.
The second day sees no apparent activity, the robotic rover still standing on its wheel on top of the small hill, as for tasting the chill morning wind. But inside...
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space.
Inside the robotic rover, a whole section is dedicated to chemistry. The air is breathed, soil and water samples are processed. A first row of reactors forms alcohols and ammonia from the air and water, or they extract elements like phosphorus from the ground. Each reactor is not larger than a nut, but they work continuously. Then tiny pipes send the products into a block, not larger than a pan, but where thousands of still smaller pipes, vessels, valves and pumps were engraved using the techniques of integrated circuits.
There, other compounds are synthesized, in small amount, but in all the needed variety: sugars, fats, amino acids, nucleic acids...
Nucleic acids? But what the heck is this machine doing????
Inside the small block, hundreds of tiny pipes and electric wires lead toward a still smaller device, only some millimeters large, looking like an integrated circuit...
And inside, all these pipes and wires converge again in a still smaller star pattern, toward a micron sized chamber filled with water...
Nanometre scale wires and tubes were created using atom force microscopes, manipulating atoms one per one... they again converge toward a large synthetic molecule... A nanomachine, an entirely artificial molecule moving and behaving under the exquisite control of electronic pulses! It constantly rotates on itself, while arms take in charge incoming molecules of nucleic acids and ribonucleic acid, and push them in place in a swirl...
And a strand starts to form...
A DNA strand!
This thing is an artificial computer controlled ribosome!!
And it is creating a chromosome! It takes hours to form, but it does it until the end. And all the genes it contains are transcribed from computer files stored in the huge databases of the rover's memory!
Other nanomachines form other molecules, including real natural ribosomes.
After about two days, it is a full cell in working order which is entirely synthesized from mere data files, a faithful copy of a natural cell which existed tens of thousands of years ago and many light years away, in the ancient world of the rover... Who could undertake such a fantastic work, of which they would never see the result, and even not know if it worked? This must be admirable people...
When the cell is complete, the first living thing ever on Typheren, it is carefully detached from the artificial nanomachines, and sent in another chamber, while the synthesis of another different cell starts at once.
This first cell receives light, feeding fluids and growth hormones. It soon divides, and within days it forms a kind of bud, with clearly a top and a bottom. Soon the top becomes leaves, and the bottom roots.
The whole cycle takes about twelve days, where several plants are synthesized, together with the indispensable variety of ground bacteria and mushrooms. All what is needed for a small meadow ecosystem...
At last, a robotic arm carefully lays down the newly created centimeter wide ecosystem outside of the rover, on the ground, arranging pebbles and sand around, in order to keep them wet, while exposed to the sun.
Then suddenly the robotic rover sets off toward the mountains, leaving the new life unattended. But aren't natural beings able of taking care of themselves?
Yes they are, and about 60 days after the rover left, the first flower blossoms, above a small tuft of several different species of grass, ferns, and even a small tree. Less visible but as much important, ground bacteria are starting to decompose dead leaves, fix notrogen, extract trace elements, and all the complicated and subtle things needed for life, so obvious that we even not think at them. But on a new planet, all this has to be entirely recreated, and this requests much more work than the large plants.
And all this from mere computer files...
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating the first chromosomes from data files in its memory, it planted the first grass, the first ever living thing on this sterile world. Then it left this small tuft to its own care, for another place in the mountains at some distance.
The Shamal range is not a tall mountain. It is rather hills of different sedimentary, volcanic or plutonic rocks, interspersed with valleys and rivers. For several weeks, the rover explores, taking rock samples, cautiously following gentle slopes and avoiding the steeper ones. Probably it is looking for ores, but on a young planet barely emerging from the primal Hadean age, there are not much of them. More probably the robot is making a comprehensive assessment of the geological history of the place, trying to predict its future evolution.
At night, when none of the two moons sheds any light, the rover stays motionless of some raised spot and deploys an UHF antenna. We soon understand why: high in the sky, a star is moving slowly across the nameless constellations. It is the Father spaceship, which stayed in orbit, spending its time into a comprehensive geographic survey, and a thorough meteorological prediction plan. Several times He warns the Mother rover of incoming bad weather. The Father also sends seasonal weather models and astronomy data.
Every ten days or so, the Mother rover sits in some spot, to lay down a new grass and bacteria set, carefully arranging them for a good start in life. Now that She has reliable meteo forecast, She can choose when to lay.
One day She suddenly moves to a selected spot. She now has a detailed map of the place, in 3D photographs sent by the Father.
The selected spot, later named Pricit (for Prime City), is a flat area of firm sandstone, between two small valleys converging to the south. North side, small hills are rolling, and further north, the first Mounts Shamal. Many colored rocks hint at ores.
A new, not yet used robotic arm emerges from the rover. It has a metallic head made of tungsten alloy. It has sorts of jaws, to grab soil material. Once this done, it stands in the air, and smoke emerges from the tungsten head. After a minute, the head is lowered back to the ground, and its content expelled with a crackling noise: the molten rock, enriched with pressurized air, forms a pillow of foamy material, which soon freezes and remains as such. Then new soil material is taken and molten again.
Every minute or so, a new load of molten rock is added to a growing shape. This is a kind of crude 3D printer, slowly building a rain shelter from local clay!
For days and nights the Mother works, building an elliptic vault above a protected place, until only an aperture remains. Then she closes this aperture with Her own body.
Various metallic noises can be heard for days, while smoke emerges form under Her. Probably She has other 3D printers, but for creating metals. She needs to process the ground itself, mostly getting silicon, aluminum and only a few iron. This is not the most optimal alloy, but it is abundant, and She just has to make more sturdy shapes.
When this job is done, it appears to be a kind of milling machine. The Mother has 3D printer heads for metals, but this may not be accurate enough for rotating parts or machine parts, hence the need for a mill and a lathe. And still these machines have no motor, so that She has to power them Herself when using them.
Another week is spent for building a second shelter and its content, a kind of multipurpose mechanical building machine.
She has to build several others, before being able to start a first useful production.
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating the first grass, the first ever living thing on this sterile world, it starts to build shelters and machines.
About a year after, the grass spots She created have spread about one meter each, and small trees are handing their first leaves toward the sky. On one of these spots, the gray rock shows a reddish discoloration on contact with the grass: oxygen oxidized it! But we are still extremely far from any breathable air.
In Pricit, the Prime City, now a dozen woodlouse shaped shelters store as many machines, each a different one. But the Mother still has to operate them Herself, by lack of any local energy. The production capacity is very low, less than a single human worker. However She now has a variety of means and materials, including a fiberglass spinning and weaving unit for making electric cables. And in more, she works day and night, never tired, never hungry.
Building a complete industrial fabric from rubble is not a simple task. On Earth, when a part is missing, we go to the store, and somewhere in the world some factory has built this part for us. Nothing such in a world where there are only stones and sand. Everything has to be done on the spot, from a simple screw to a complex computer part.
So She starts the first production: solar panels. But this is not enough: to use the electricity we need electric motors. And for electric motors we need iron sheet, copper wires, fiberglass insulators, grease, etc.. And solid enough shelters to protect all this from dust and rain. Without oil, the Mother has to create silicon to protect the roofs from rain.
And electricity does not operate alone: control electronics is needed. But this requires large factories for producing highly purified materials and minute circuits. So the first productions were... relays. Bulky primitive automates, larger than the machines they control, and barely able to execute any feedback.
And all this in a world where coal and oil do not exist, where ores are rare and far away, so that She has to extract copper from the local rock, at a great expanse of Her own energy.
So all this took many years before any usable machine could operate on its own, without the Mother rotating and controlling it. And the very first production were... machine parts, to enhance these first created machines.
So we would not be astonished to see the first planted grass growing and spreading, on about a hundred meters now, while the first trees were forming bushes. The Mother was slowly continuing Her work of synthesizing new species into Her metal womb, and sometimes She escaped from Her industrious creations, wandered in the hills to lay down some new seed.
Now flowers were balancing in the rustle of the warm wind, under the sun and the blue sky... But there still was nobody to admire them.
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating the first grass, the first ever living thing on this sterile world, it starts to build shelters and machines.
About a century was needed to have a real industrial fabric in Pricit, the Prime City. The Mother rover also had to manage Her own wear, knowing that if She failed She would have no second occasion.
So She had commanded her robotic servants to build Her a shelter, where She no longer needed to move on the rugged terrains. It was great time, as Her wheels were heavily dented, her robotic arms worn, one even broken. Only her computers remained sharp, keeping the new City of the Machines running into order. This building was later known as the Temple of the Mother, although it never had any spiritual function.
This «temple» was a good and sturdy building in yellowish quarried sandstone, able to withstand strong earthquakes. The roofs were covered with a thick layer of golden silicon, gleaming in the sun. The inner ground was of polished pink granite, and the doors and inner implements of white polythene or stainless steel. In a way it was a familiar style, although strangely mixing antic and futuristic features, as in a science fiction novel of the 1950. Anyway it lacked the warmth of woods and paints to make it comfortable to Humans.
It was surrounded with a field of photovoltaic cells and other secondary buildings. Electric cables were laid on the ground, up to wind mills above on the hills. The first molten rock buildings had been removed for long, their first machines obsolete anyway. Only the very first had been kept in place, as a memorial.
Instead large industrial buildings were spreading all around, able of creating anything: steel, machine parts, electric motors and components, computers, oils, plastics, insulators, chemicals. However these buildings were different of the crude square shapes we have on Earth: all in curved and undulating shapes. They owed this to the large 3D printers building them, with no need of flat sheets or straight beams imposing their square shapes. But this also visibly was an aesthetic choice, clearly visible in the layout of the place, arranged in regular ways, with curving paths, lawns, trees, flower beds.
The 3D printers used for building these large structures were sturdy wheel mounted cranes with a telescopic mast. They could operate as cranes to handle large parts, but in more of a hook, they had a 3D printing head, able to reach the top of the highest buildings. Most often however, shapes were created on the ground with smaller machines, and hoisted in place by the bigger ones.
These large buildings could host big machines, for producing steel sheets, windmill blades, or intricate parts like electronic circuits. No integrated circuits yet, but at this stage it was not a real inconvenience to have computers as large as houses.
Further on the hills and beyond in the plain, grass and flowers were now spreading over kilometres. Even trees had grown over the original seeding places, making small local forests with ferns and mosses in the undergrowth. Secondary rovers had been build, to bring other seeds, other biodiversity. So that many flowers, ferns and mushrooms were now adorning the undergrowth. All this was now looking so Earthy... but still totally silent: no animals, not a single insect could live here, by lack of oxygen. But its level was now detectable in the air, and some rocks were showing a reddish oxidation on their surface.
These secondary rovers also went to the ocean, throwing here new microscopic algae seeds: the Mother, despite being immobile and disabled in Her temple, was still actively synthesizing new forms of life. And the undersea would probably be the very first place with enough oxygen for sea animals to live.
Other automatic rovers shaped as bulldozers were tracing roads to other places in the Yoko continent, and started building here secondary cities. Because this world was a very young world, and the probability of a cataclysmic meteorite event was still very high. So that not everything should be in the same place.
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating the first grass, the first ever living thing on this sterile world, it has built Pricit, a powerful robotic industrial city, arranged as a wonderful garden.
Yes, but for which purpose?
Three centuries after landing, the Mother rover rests in her own shelter and central building, the Temple. It is surrounded by an Industrial city where everything can be fabricated, including integrated circuits. Roads lead to several other similar cities, and there even is a railway being built. The rough ways of the beginning had to be replaced with more ecology-friendly methods.
Yes they need ecology, as the forests and meadows are now covering the hills above Pricit, the Prime city. The machines have to keep grasses and trees from invading Pricit. They manage the City of the Machines as a kind of garden, with rocks, flowers, bushes and trees strewn in the lawns between the buildings.
It is an extremely strange view, this so Earthly looking garden and city, but totally silent: no people walking, no birds, not even a single insect can be heard. Only machines wander about, busy at some mysterious purposes. They are the only source of noise, together with the muted rumble of the production units, which emanates from the elegant white curved buildings. Small gardening robots swarm around flower beds, larger autonomous forklifts carry various charges along the winding alleys, wind mill arms sway on the horizon, agile survey and control robots dash around, or they keep motionless, busy at some measurement. But not a single person is visible, not a single apparent purpose for such a huge automated undertaking...
With her computer assistants now managing alone the City of the Machines, and producing anything She can order, the Mother is now entirely busy at THE PROJECT. Maybe we shall at least discover the purpose of all this activity and frantic building!
The Project started years ago with the synthesis of seeds for vegetables, cereals, spices, fruit bearing trees. And now the gardener robots are cultivating and multiplying then in greenhouses, open orchards and fields around the city. The harvest goes to nobody, and it is sent back to compost. But yet some stocks are made of whatever can be kept, like seeds. There even is a small preserves factory, with a warehouse, storing cereals, jams or dried biscuits! Further is a sewing workshop complete with dyes, looms, and sewing machines, storing... sheets and clothes. Are these machines preparing for the landing of astronauts? No sign of anything like this however, and in the night sky only the tiny dot of the Father continues its lonely geological surveys and weather forecast.
Most of the industrial buildings of the beginning, now obsolete or worn, had been cleared off the vicinity of the Temple, save some which are still kept today as memorials. This place is becoming very nice, with lawns, flowers, trees, arbours, and elegant low curved buildings all painted with nice colours. The winding alleys are used by human sized robots, first running on wheels, later on legs, since the progress in electronics now allows for miniature computers. They even speak to each other, but in robots way: short bursts of modem-like sounds coding for digital data. It is very strange to hear such a conversation: WHIIIZ BZZZT WWHHIZZ, and one of the robot goes on some commanded errand, or starts an action.
Larger robots on wheels have the size of a big forklift, but with extra long arms. With it, they can freely create bold and intricate building shapes with 3D printer heads, projecting various materials: shotcrete, aircrete, plastic, plaster, paint, expanded clay, and even good old tar for waterproofing. In this way, they do not need cranes or scaffolding to support their work. Only the doors, piping and wiring are held in place by other slender agile robots, before the big ones print the aircrete masonry around them.
But the Project needs a large new building, for its exclusive use. Work started in a place between the Temple and the memorials. A new structure is emerging soon, shaped as a large cushion, white, with a lot of transparent windows on the sides and on the roof. It is mostly empty, save a smaller building inside it, which spreads along one of its side. The empty part is arranged as some Eden garden, with rocks, many flowers, bushes, a basin, and even small huts.
The inner building looks like some hospital, with rooms and passages. But the basement is filled with humming machinery, pipes, controls panels, airtight doors, safety devices. The main room contains an extremely strange machine.
In the upper floor, there are several cell synthesizers, like the ones the Mother bore. She had transferred all the content of her biology databases into a powerful data server in the basement of the Temple, and duplicated it in the other cities. And the new cell synthesizers are picking genetic data from this embryonic Internet for the robots. About a hundred of different cell types are created, let to multiply, and stored in cold tanks. Other organic chemicals are synthesized, like collagen, bone, etc. under a liquid form, ready to become solid when mixed with appropriate catalysts.
Several other rooms are prepared, with familiar human appliances like integrated tables and beds, seats, showers, toilets, as if they expected somebody to come. One day a big mechanics robot enters one of the round shaped rooms. It looks battered and sullied with various paints. And definitively not Human shaped: it has three legs forming a tripod, allowing it to accurately position its unique arm. This arm is about 2.5 meters long, with two elbows, while the wrist and shoulder are able to rotate at 360°. In place of a hand it has a complex painting head. In less than some hours, it completely covers the walls of the room with fantastic faery landscapes of an incredible beauty, as detailed as photographs.
Later, other attendant robots, more human-looking, come to bring bedroom furniture and medical apparatus. This is not a simple bed, it is an heavily medicalized anti-bedsore bed, with tens of taps, monitors and electric sockets.
Still later, other robots bring flower pots, and they will keep coming to water them everyday. They also do cleaning and sweeping, although there is no dirt at all for now in this new world not yet sullied by anything. Everything is done for future human occupiers to feel well at ease. Yes, but who?
Then one day, the Project itself is started!
First, the whole building of the Project is put under an oxygen bearing atmosphere. This also includes a tunnel leading to the temple, the build covering the memorials, and all the buildings in the surroundings, linked by tunnels also under oxygen. There is now a slight oxygen content in the planet's air, allowing to extract it. But the carbon dioxide content is still deadly, requiring strict caution against it entering the buildings of the Project. For this reason, all the windows are made of several independent layers, and all the doors are airtight, ready to partition the inner rooms in the event of a leak.
In the center room of the Project, several white plastic humanoid robots enter and stand around the main machine, as to attend some strange ritual. They speak like the other robots, by short bursts of electronic tones. They are looking at the machines, checking here and there. A countdown display is visible: everything has to be ready for the complex and accurately timed operations which are about to take place.
In a last test, the robots utter each their turn a sentence in Human language! Of course they are robots, and they show no emotion on their stylized white plastic faces. In more they are focused on their complex technical tasks. But in their place I would be fascinated by what is going to happen now.
A strange template shape has been prepared, of white translucent silicon. Imagine if somebody had been laid into the silicon, and the silicon molded the human shape. The head, back, arms, legs, muscles and buttocks are appearing in hollow! Yet this strange mold was 3D printed in several separate parts, like any industrial mold, in order to be removed easily. These sensual shapes make an odd feeling, in this entirely mechanical world.
Above, machinery hangs from the ceiling, connected by hundreds of pipes to the tanks in the upper floor.
The countdown is nearing zero. The attending robots still perform checks, or they stand motionless, although with a deep attention, looking carefully at the mold and at the machinery hanging from the ceiling above it.
At the zero time, miniature 3D printers enter on stage, thin metal arms descending from the intricate machinery above. But these ones do not fuse metal or rock: they lay living cells one per one! Or they deposit substances like collagen, cartilage, bone. The whole room is cooled at two degrees, to keep the cells alive the required time.
They start in the middle of the back, by laying a narrow layer of skin cells in the mold, and then a layer of collagen. Then they synthesize the intricate layout of blood vessels, glands, sensitive cells, and so on. Once this inverted layer of skin is complete, muscles are added, while more skin is laid laterally, expending the working place. Then, over more layers of collagen, they start to pose periosteum cells, and the bone structure. Little by little, the layout of the vertebrae appears: the central spine, the Shushuma. Slowly more layers of bone and bone cells are deposited above the previous. Printer heads move swiftly, with a strong clicking and knitting sound, which keeps increasing as the working area enlarges. The whole operation must be complete fast, in only some hours, or the first cells will die! So there soon are hundreds of tiny printing heads, and more are coming as the basic layer of skin reaches the side of the body and the limbs. Soon all of them are making a whizzing din of ultra fast mechanic working tirelessly.
The whole system consumes some ten kilowatts of electric power. To keep the room at near zero, this power has to be evacuated, with large pipes of frigid brine going through the motors block hanging from the ceiling. Several generators and other ancillary machinery are humming and throbbing in rooms besides the main one, while hundreds of tiny pipes descending from the above floor feed the printers with living cells and various substances.
The Human-shaped robots all in white plastic like nurses, are looking from above, strangely motionless, as in some esoteric ritual. At times, the printer heads move besides, for controls. The nurse robots have lasers, syringes and other tools integrated in their fingers, to check the correct advance of the build.
Layers over layers of flesh and collagen are added, then muscular cells. Nerve paths are traced. Windpipes are launched, while veins are kept open by an artificial gel melting at 15°C. Bowels and hollow organs are also created with a template gel.
Little by little, a body is taking shape. It is an horrible yet fantastic view, all this flesh and internal organs cut open, showing the complex layout of veins and nerves. But the building continues, completing the organs, closing the cavities, under the impassible immobile look of the attendant robots.
When the torso and abdomen are complete, the printing heads move to the arms, legs, and face. It is scary and fascinating to see this spread eagle body, as if it was being tortured or dismembered. But it is the contrary which is happening: legs and arms are growing, veins are lengthening, muscles are laid on the bare bones until new skin covers them, in the acute sound of fast knitting 3D printer heads. At several occasions, one broke, to be immediately replaced with another. One of such incident created a small scar on the thigh, which is still here today.
Then a face appears. It is a beautiful male face, regular, giving a feeling of honesty and goodness. A purple gel is deposited on the open eyes, so that the eyelids can be built without sticking on those eyes. The whole body is appearing now, slender and willowy, just slightly athletic, without the excess of bodybuilding.
While the hands and feet are being done, a new set of miniature printer heads enters on stage, to build the brain inside the still open empty skull. They start to work with a shrieking sound of very fast ultra-miniaturized mechanic.
Of course they place living neurons, among the tissue of other support cells. But just placing neurons would not be enough. They also have to build the connectome, the set of all the links. It codes for all the learning a brain can accumulate in our life, like walking, speaking, using tools, etc.
But there is an extremely important reason why the impassive robots are proceeding in this way: to create an already psychoeducated brain, bearing a personality able to control his neurosis and ego, and give a positive and happy person, worthy member of an harmonious and peaceful society. This is the only warranty to escape all the odds of education, which may give unbalanced or dangerous persons, jeopardizing the whole endeavor of creating such a new community. Especially no child can actually grow without parents to show the way of the good! Thus creating already educated adults bypasses this random and tricky process.
This is also bypassing all the lengthy and tedious steps of matrix bearing, taking birth, growth, education, years to wear diapers, boring years spent sitting at school to learn things which can be instantly engraved in the brain by the fantastic brain printer. This new person will take birth knowing to walk, speaking and reading several languages, his reasoning faculties and human sensitivity already developed, ready to accumulate many years of university learning in some months, as fast and as easily as a child learns a new game.
So the unknown designers of the Project had extensively reviewed the whole brain circuitry, allowing the person for much easier handling and control of her psychology, like for instance controlling her desires and emotions, instead of allowing them to torture or control her.
Moreover, they copied the connectome of especially gifted persons! And this brain under construction has the genius of Einstein, the gifts of several great artists, absolute ear, the Ahimsa of Gandhi, the Kindness and mind concentration of several saints. They had to do only the best: no way to allow such a fantastic machine to just make a dumb reproduction of an idiot or a bandit!
Yet it has its own unique personality, due to 1250 free parameters set at full quantum random just before starting the printing. The unknown creators of this fantastic machine did not wanted slaves, but free and autonomous persons, able to choose their own direction and to follow their own ways.
A last layer of skin is added on the top of the head, and the printing is complete. It has no hairs or nails, but the follicles are in place, so that they will grow naturally.
The naked shape is brought in another room, while the printers room is cleaned and made ready for another session.
This body is laid on a air-inflated bed, to avoid scars. But it is still at 2°C.
The next steps must be done very fast: once the body is warmed, it only has 7 minutes to live, without active breathing and heart beat. Microwaves warm up the body in its full thickness. This has to be very accurately controlled, as a slight overheating would kill it. In fact different electromagnetic frequencies are sent in a fast succession, each penetrating at a given depth. The temperature makes the gel filling the arteries to melt. But it has to be replaced at once with synthetic blood, thanks to the catheters, which may allow for weeks of extra-corporeal circulation if needed. Curiously, these catheters are made of... organic matter, as if they were natural parts of this body! Even the electric wires are bio-compatible. And all this piping passes through... the belly button. It is ideally placed for this, and after all it is its purpose!
This makes that this lying body has an umbilical cord! It is made of collagen, and able of receiving blood injections. This cord also contains electrical connections, to dozens of electrodes and electronic controllers within the body, to keep it functioning while nerves are growing. Later, the cord would be severed, but the disconnected electric circuits would be left in place, to avoid an useless removal surgery. In case of a disease, it would be still possible to power them again for diagnosis or control purposes.
Then the heart is started. By lack of nerve control yet, it has to be monitored, by the electronic controllers within the body. But all of a sudden, this wan face takes the colors of life, while an artificial breath starts to move the chest...
Marrow cells are injected in the blood. They will naturally go in the right places, and start to produce blood cells. In some days this body will produce its own blood and immunity.
Then the longest step is taking place: for two months, this body will have to grow nerves. It is thoroughly kept unconscious all this time along, because it would go through very unpleasant states, like being blind and paralyzed, while feeling strong electric pain from the nerves growth. Not a good start in life, certainly.
For two months, the motionless body lies on its plastic cushion bed, breathing slowly. His hairs and nails are growing, while the many internal small wounds of 3D printing are healing. It has to be artificially fed and evacuated, but all goes well on this side too.
The humanoid nursing robots move him from times to times, checking on the numerous devices monitoring his body functions.
But one day, things are ready. Muscles respond correctly to nerve stimulation, heart and breath are autonomous, electroencephalogram show eye and ear activity. Even the heart rate responds to stimulation.
The remaining probes and catheters are removed.
The anesthetic drugs stop flowing in this blood.
And now there is just a beautiful young man sleeping, naked with a diaper. He has no body hairs, no facial hair, and only half-long hair around his head. Sometimes he moves or moans. The nurse robots carry him in an ordinary bed, in a clear room all in pastel hues, decorated with flowers and paintings of his Mother world.
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating a whole living ecosystem and industrial city, it builds a 3D printer able of creating a whole human body in full functioning order. Now it is time to awake it...
It is a totally disconcerting experience to awake for the first time.
Well, we all awake every morning. But as soon as we do, we recover all our memories of who we are, what we were doing, and everything which happened before.
Nothing such with Adonai. He wakes up with a totally blank consciousness, no memories at all, and even not a single idea of what he is. Everything is totally strange and unknown to him.
The robot nurses are smiling at him. But they are robots, and intentionally made in a way to appear as such: white plastic, stylized shapes, gender neutral. They can speak, though, and Adonai understands them, since the connectome of his brain had learned several languages. He is wondering what he is, and what is happening here. His first desire is a huge desire to know, to understand. His first emotion is a huge strangeness. His first physical sensation is need to urinate.
He soon realizes that this body is his body, and that he can control it. He has to be explained, for the diaper, and how to avoid it.
He finds this body pleasant to see. The robots explain him what he is, and why he is here. He seems not to realize how fantastic this situation is. «Why did you printed me?» he asks. And he asks so many questions that even the electronic nurses cannot answer all. They bring him to the printer room. Entry is not allowed, for sterility. But he can see through a solid window. At present, it is inactive, but they run a demonstration of the printer heads. This sizzling knitting sound is strange and scary.
They bring him to the garden. It is really a lovely place, with dry stone walls and paths, many flowers, vegetables and fruits hanging from the trees. He likes this place a lot. And indeed it is very nice, elegantly landscaped, harmoniously mixing plants and stones. The Mother took a special care to avoid anything unpleasant or dangerous, to protect Her inexperienced new born, but also in order to build a peaceful world without violence.
There also is a gardener robot, planting seeds. It explains Adonai the cycle of life, and that he can plant too. He tries, but he removes his hand at once, seeing it sullied with earth. He is so sorry to have damaged his wonderful body that he cries! They have to show him how to wash, but seeing his hands now wet he is not really convinced.
He asks what are these things he sees outdoors, like the other buildings, the sky, the clouds. But he cannot go here, because the air is still unbreathable with carbon dioxide. He is sorry of this.
Another problem appears soon: he is hungry. But he does not know what this feeling means! The nurse had anticipated, though, and they bring him a meal on a pastel hued plastic table in the garden. He is happy to discover eating and drinking. But soon he understands that he has enough.
Some time passes by. Adonai is happy. This place is a paradise, despite it is surrounded by impassable walls. And yes, the etymology of «paradise» is «surrounded by walls» in the meaning of a protected place. He is now exploring the garden, followed at some steps by the nurse robots.
Suddenly he hears something, and his heart thumps in his chest.
THERE IS SOMEBODY ELSE!
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating a whole ecosystem and industrial city, it builds a 3D printer able of creating a whole human body in full functioning order. The first born, Adonai, is discovering life, in a beautiful garden enclosed in a sealed protective air bubble.
Suddenly Adonai hears something.
The nurse robots have synthetic gender neutral voices, designed to not arise emotions.
But this voice is not gender neutral, and it hits Adonai with all its emotional impact. He has to see who it is at all cost.
This is easy, and he rushes in another part of the garden, that he did not visited yet.
And he sees HER.
The most wonderful woman. Perfect body, and a beautiful regular face expressing kindness and wisdom. Just that her hair, like his, has not grown enough yet to fall on the sides, making a kind of golden aura around her head.
She looks as astonished as him. He learned later that she awoke in the same time than him, but in a different room of the large building. Who was printed first? Who opened the eyes first? The robots never disclosed these information, instructed that on their native world this kind of stories had been a pretext for gender discrimination. They will certainly not let this restart here too.
Useless to say, these two marvelous beings fall in love at once. And the garden sees their first embrace, while the nurse robots step back, for discretion. They just do some bursts of their modem-like robot speech, but it is funny to imagine what it is about. In reality of course it is just technical discussion, for the emotion-less robots. They have to keep watching that the new born would not hurt themselves, in their ignorance.
This embrace lasts for hours, since their engineered brains gives them full control on their desires. To restrain them, but also to keep them running! Which they do, until they suddenly notice the light of the day declining. Scared, they ask the robots what is happening. They explain that it is the evening... Would their wonderful life end up after just some hours? The robot nurses have to explain everything, the rhythm of the days, the need to sleep, etc.
When they go back into the building, they hear... the knitting sound of the printer heads! They rush to the place, but only to find the doors locked. An human body in the making is not a nice sight. The robots come, requesting them to leave these corridors, so as to let them perform their duties. Leaving with a mild feeling, they note that there are several rooms similar to the ones where they were born. But they are all locked with an electronic code.
And yes, despite their gentleness, the robots are still in command on Typheren. Adonai and Mishel have to accept that. Happily their natively psychoeducated brains allows them to easily avoid anger or frustration to arise. Instead, they ask the robots why they are no more allowed in the birth parts. They reply kindly, and Adonai and Mishel accept their reasons: hygiene, sterility, organization. But the robots also tell them that they would be needed back in this place, when the next ones would take birth. Because it is so much better, when we take birth, to find somebody already here...
Instead of their birth rooms, they are given wonderfully furnished little cottages in the garden. In the evening, they have their first ever meal together, a shower, and they go to their new bedroom.
Of course, they switch the desire on again. What a wonderful night is starting... with their beautiful, scented and perfect genetically engineered bodies, free of any dirt or unpleasant smell.
But they can still hear, faintly, the knitting sound of the 3D printers, until late in the night, when the brain printers make their hair-raising shrieking sound, under the impassive look of the emotionless white plastic nurse robots. What is this new person learning?
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating a whole ecosystem and industrial city, it builds a 3D printer able of creating a whole human body in full functioning order. The first born, Adonai and Mishel, are discovering life, in a beautiful garden enclosed in a sealed protective air bubble.
In some days, Adonai and Mishel were instructed of why they were here, and what the Mother was doing. They learned the History of their native world, which had not always been nice. Especially, after a scary age of nuclear plants, genetic diseases accumulated to the point that genetic engineering of the specie had been the only solution to allow life to continue. But the more profound reason was that, in a world ridden with many retrograde traditions and prejudices, very few people could complete a full education, especially the indispensable psychoeducation which allows to become pleasant, positive and balanced persons. Instead, so many children were stopped in their growth by bad example, trauma, or simply by the very lack of psychoeducation of their own parents. Only printing people allowed to give birth to natively psychoeducated brains, already adult, without all the odds of a difficult and lengthy education process ridden with setbacks and pitfalls. This was not without debate of course, but soon the most angry and active proponents of printing were the persons born without the printing process, while it was already available. They understood what they had missed!
Their world was then ruled by wise and benevolent psychoeducated people, putting an end to all the backward traditions, stupid or criminal behaviors. The idea of spreading life in space then arose naturally, since the body printers made it much easier than an inhabited interstellar travel. Indeed the genomes of all their species could be kept in the volume of a large book! Furthermore, it was an unique occasion to also get rid of all the diseases, predators and other cruelty of life. And, for some kilograms more, they also placed in the Mother's memory all the cultural, spiritual and scientific creations of their world.
Adonai and Mishel were given clothes. At first they found the idea absurd, but they soon adopted them. The robots had prepared practical yet nice trousers and shirts in pastel hues, but seeing on the local Internet the fantastic outfits of their ancestors, Adonai and Mishel soon designed their own clothes, appropriating one of the robot's sewing workshop in a nearby building.
Yes they already had an Internet. Even if it included only a few computers and servers, it was already organized to become large. Nearby all the existing traffic was between robots and machines, which had their own organization, scheduling, data banks and chat rooms. But most of the robot's sites showed only numeric data, so that Adonai and Mishell renounced reading them. The robots were allowed in most of the human's chat rooms, though, provided that they spoke an Human language and identified themselves as robots. They were all attributed an human-looking name. Curiously, as if they had personalities, some robots choose to chat with Humans, while others never did.
Some robots also played an intermediate role, such as for instance database interpreters, to allow Humans to access and understand the robot's information banks. Other robots started the huge work of recreating most of the cultural Internet sites of the ancient world. Some even did things like playing music instruments, or teachers, or appearing in the first virtual worlds. Some of these robots were existing only in the computers, without physical bodies.
Only some weeks after their birth, Adonai and Mishel started painting and composing with powerful art software. They started to store their creations on the very first Human-created website on Typheren. Which still exists today. Also, Mishel wanted to use mechanical music instruments. She never built any, but some months after other persons did.
They visited the Mother's temple. They were moved to see this battered thing, dented wheels and even a dangling robotic arm. She was in a transparent nitrogen tank, to save Her from further oxidation. But she still had a sharp spirit and the final decision on everything concerning Typheren. She could even decide to imprison them, if they did not showed enough psychological mastery and were making troubles. They were impressed, and asked what was «making troubles». «Is it making our own clothes?» they asked. The Old Jalopy would shake in laughing, if She could.
But they soon learned what «making trouble» was, while reading on the local Internet all the reports of wars, tortures, drugs, pollution, economy austerity and conflicts. And even all the disputes which plagued the attempts to escape this dreadful condition and build a better world. They at once decided never to indulge into any of these things.
They went outside. This was possible without a spacesuit, just wearing facial masks and oxygen bottles, so that they could touch the trees with their bare skin. But there were strict safety rules, as a trouble with the breathing apparatus would result in immediate and certain death.
It was possible to smell the outside air, by slighly pulling a corner of the supple breathing mask. It still had its native acidic smell, half way between flint stone and hot ember. The so impressive cosmological smell, raw from accretion, yet untamed by any form of life...
They visited the First Machine in its woodlouse shaped shelter of bubbling molten rock. It was incredible that such a rough thing could be of any use... it even not had a motor!
They visited the fields where crops were growing, and understood what life support was meaning. At once they wanted to garden, but for safety they were allowed to do so only into their oxygenated living bubble, or the oxygenated greenhouses. Their own cultivation were more like spices and specialties, while large scale productions were outdoor. A second bubble was in construction nearby, especially intended for gardens. But people could live here too, if they preferred to be apart of the main group. They could build small rustic houses here.
At night they looked at the stars, and the Mother learned them what this fantastic view implies, of infinite space, ancient and future forms of life. They understood why their ancient world considered stars as a symbol of Hope.
They were amazed to know that stars had names, and were grouped in constellations bearing animal names, regardless of whoever was actually living in them. But of the constellations of their ancient world, only Orion was recognizable: the others were changed, from the different perspective. And still Orion was now missing Betelgeuse, which went off in a supernova thousands years ago, as the Mother observed during Her vertiginous endless journey among the stars.
Soon there were the other people taking birth. Two others every three weeks. Normally they were intended to be couples, and their personalities were tuned for this purpose. But this was not always working, and some had to wait for other births to find love, or even did not seek it at all.
A funny thing was people of various races taking birth. The race was determined by 5 of the random free parameters selected before printing. The second couple was Asian, and the third Black as ebony. The fourth was Amerindian, but they did not started a love story, so that from here the symmetry is broken. Using body printers allowed to keep each race pure, instead of merging all in a single average after only some generations of interbreeding. Adonai was fascinated by the races, and he wondered how many there were, requesting to have samples of all. He was frustrated that there were only three main ones, and he asked for creating more colors.
They learned to drive the various vehicles, or rather they just tuned their skill, already engraved in the connectome of their brains. There were so many enthralling activities to perform, and they soon choose each one a task or a responsibility. First, they received commands from the Mother, but as their knowledge increased, She gave them more and more decision power.
Anyway their number was limited at some tens in Pricit, because of the yet small farming yield. But other new born were sent in the other cities, quickly raising their total number to a hundred or so. The day they were working in the gardens, workshops or factories, while at evening they met all together in a virtual world that the Mother had created for them.
But soon, some preferred to spend time in artistic creation, or even into meditation and spirituality (which is much easier with a psychoeducated brain). In their management meetings, the Mother recalled them that this was not the most urgent. But She never forbade them to do so. Anyway artistic talents were needed in Her very own virtual world, and She welcomed them.
On Typheren, the lifeless planet, a strange robotic rover has landed, coming from some unknown world beyond the abyss of interstellar space. After creating a whole ecosystem and industrial city, it builds a 3D printer able of creating a whole human body in full functioning order. Soon a whole community of happy psychoeducated people is thriving...
A century later, two thousands of persons were living in a dozen cities spread in the Yoko continent. Railways had been laid between these places, because in an world without oxygen this is the most efficient transportation mean. The trains were powered by solar cells all along the tracks, with here and there batteries storing the electricity for the bad weather. Since the trains use very few energy per meter of tracks, just some rows of cells all along are enough.
Several thermochemical plants, using solar heat to decompose water, were producing oxygen, alcohol and gasoline, used for producing electricity at night. And also precious for the chemistry plants and plastic production plants. Autonomous vehicles like cars or trucks could run too, provided that they added oxygen bottles to the fuel tank. But they used fuel cells, not the noisy piston engines, banned from the beginning.
The cities were beautiful, with gardens and cottages enclosed under vast transparent domes. Collective buildings or industrial buildings also had the dome shape, with just less windows. Kilometres of windowed tunnels allowed for marching and wandering, while seeing a lot of beautiful places. This much contributed at mitigating the feeling of being locked into the buildings. Exploring outside was possible too, with a breathing apparatus. But the safety measures were more constraining.
The community was nice and happy, with only few benign psychological troubles. At worse, the concerned persons were placed in a kind of tutelage, having to ask advice before doing things. But the Mother never had to enact Her dreadful threat of imprison trouble makers.
The first born were still here, because the synthetic bodies were only aging very slowly. More, the 3D printers could repair damaged body parts. Replacing a tooth in this way was routine, but also reconstructing burned skin or a severed hand, from factory accidents. Aesthetic modifications were less common, but there were some requests for face remodeling, breasts enlargement and the like. They were just given a lesser priority.
Thanks to the detailed maps of the Father, they knew that there were five other large islands, and hundreds of smaller ones. They soon built their first boat, a 60m catamaran with rigid sails, because only sailing can work in a world without oxygen. On a free ocean with constant winds, this was easy anyway, and maybe a much better choice than diesel engines. The problem however was the powerful waves: ships had to been build large and solid, and nothing bellow 100m was produced later. The deck of the first ship was covered with solar cells, for oxygen production. The hull, sails and structure were made of this very common aluminum and silicon alloy, made from clay, which was used for the first machine. The eutectic variant was particularly well suited for 3D printing, which itself eliminated the need for bolts or welds. Some sodium or calcium allowed to anodize it more easily. The boat had thus been completely printed in 3D, in one piece! This allowed for much more organic shapes for structures, ribs and passages.
The Mother encouraged this project, because She knew that on a young planet, large meteorites were still common, and they could destroy the whole Yoko continent in a single stroke. So the first boat could cross the ocean, which had turned from dark blue to dark green, with algae. Others followed, carrying building equipment. Some ships were complete living domes, which were pulled ashore as a single block, once reached the desired place. The Father in orbit guided the navigation, sending accurate coordinates and meteorology data.
It was some times after the starting of the Second Island that, unexpectedly, the Mother convoked everybody in a meeting. It could not be in Her small temple, so it would be in the virtual world, often used for large community meetings.
She had an important announcement.
She, and all Her robotic servants, was officially relinquishing all Her remaining decision powers to the living persons.
This happened because She estimated that as a community they had enough psychoeducation for leading their lives themselves. Even the little differences could be solved easily with people living in different places, or busy in different projects.
This was quite of a surprise, because Her guidance had become so discreet that nobody was questioning it.
But in this way, they could proudly take place their rank among the civilized planets.
And Typheren became a beautiful civilization, especially later when oxygen allowed people to live outdoors without masks.
The Mother published on the Internet all the data in Her memory banks. This allowed to synthesize most of the variety of life forms and ecosystems of the planet of their ancestors. But not all: they wanted peaceful ecosystems, without predators, parasites, poisonous or dangerous species. And they did. It was easier than originally planned, since many invasive behaviors are in facts adaptations to predators (and not predators regulating the populations). Anyway genetic engineering made all the species able to self-regulate after the available resources. A common system was also several species feeding on the same resources, while needing cooperation to obtain it. In a last resort, invasive or shy species could have their reproduction rates controlled with very specie-specific hormones.
So Typheren became a wonderful planet, with fantastic landscapes, deep forests, flowered meadows, beautiful fields, gardens and orchards strew with colorful cottages and resounding with the melody of multicolored birds. In the beginning, they preferred nicely colored silicon walls and roofs, but later many different cultures appeared, some even renouncing to industry and using natural materials.
So the flowers could sway in the gentle warm wind under the blue sky, the bare foot could enjoy the emotion and sensual pleasure of living, while the two moons, the white one and the red one, were dancing in the sky with somebody to enjoy this fantastic view.
Soon after the mother abandoned Her powers to the Humans, she transferred all her data in several Internet servers, some being even sent oversea. The different islands could stay in contact by short wave radio, or through the Father when He was in a good position. But this was not enough for applications using large amount of data. Hence the duplication of all the static databases. Also, in this way there were far less risks of losing them all in a single stroke of fate.
In Pricit, the Prime City, the Mother also duplicated Her Artificial Intelligence, after re-configuring it as assistants, counselors or teachers, instead of a leader or a monitor. She kept for her alone the «Mother» name, so that each duplicate had a different name, like «Tech Pete» or «Master Shu» (for information on the History of their ancient planet). Most of these Artificial Intelligence had a defined and useful function, but others were seemingly just chatting with people without apparent purpose. The Mother's temple was still here, but unfortunately the old quarried stone building was leaking through all the joints, so that people had to wear oxygen masks. Anyway there was no need to be physically present in the Temple to speak with Her, it was enough to chat with Her on the Internet. She had an official web site and forum for Her, but She used to also post comments in many discussions, even on seemingly insignificant topics. She even had a nearby unbeatable pun generating algorithm, more an excellent rhyme generator, and many people challenged her in limerick fights, or just for the laugh. In this way, if she had no longer any control power on the community, she still had a beneficial mitigating influence, as would do a neutral intelligence with in its memory the experience of a billion of persons spanning over thousands years.
Soon after these events, the community requested a strange work for the robots: to print a spiritual teacher, a reincarnation of a saint. Technically, the robots could do this as well, and even tune the brain precisely for this. But they were totally unable to warrant that the person would really be a reincarnation of a Bodhisattva, saint or yogi. Since robots have no consciousness, they cannot access the spiritual domain. Instead, this was a many years meditation and prayer endeavor for the community, starting with building a temple, a real one this time.
The first seven years, the temple remained a mere place of prayer, for the success of the project. They installed a very nice main room, with printed images of their mother planet on the walls, or their own new creations. On the altar was a very beautiful statue, that they designed as a merger of the ideal of the main religions of their mother planet, after all the archives that the Mother had put on the Internet. Actually they discussed these matters with one of Her duplicates, called... Master Yoda. He even Yoda style spoke!
Then, one day, they felt that times were ready. The new body and brain were specially designed, assembling artistic talents with subtle psychological qualities and meditation capacities. While not obfuscating reasoning capacities! The being to come would need to master them all at once, not after forty years of tedious training.
If printing living neurons is relatively easy, the connectome is much harder to create. Indeed the neurons have very complicated shapes, with long dendrites and axons, kind of wires connecting each of them to the other neurons. The 3D printers cannot directly create this intricate wiring. So, instead, they create chemical traces and specific auxiliary cells, which will guide the natural growth of the dendrites and axons. The traces lead the growth, and the special cells (which do not exist in the natural brain) control the force of each synapse (the junctions of the wiring. Each synapse has a precise value, and it is the set of all the values which codes for all the learning a brain can store. It is this set which is called the connectome). In this way, the new being has built-in capacities, like knowing to walk, knowing several languages, knowing to drive vehicles, and so on. But he has no memories, and still need to learn all the facts of life and activities.
But most importantly for a spiritual teacher, and anyway for every person on Typheren, an appropriate connectome also ensures that the person is psychoeducated, mastering his psychology, in order to give a peaceful, balanced, positive and non-conflictual person. Not taking care of the connectome would instead give a random idiot, violent or fascist person, who would start at once to make stupid things. Even simply non-psychoeducated is not acceptable, since such persons use to submit to abusive dominants and work for them. What the creators of the Mother wanted was intrinsically good people, and especially people being good in full freedom and understanding!
The inconvenience of this process however is that the dendrites and axons take something like two months to grow. So, for two months, this unconscious body has to be kept in constant monitoring, and also under thorough anesthesia. Indeed the junctions in the brain grow faster than the long nerves, and it happened that newly printed persons had to be awakened with their hands and feet still paralyzed. To be thus disabled in such a wonderful community is very frustrating, even if this condition heals itself in some weeks.
The printing itself happens at near freezing temperature, and it goes on fast, so that the living cells do not die from lack of oxygen, especially the delicate neurons. But as soon as the printing is finished and all the body cavities are closed, this body needs to be warmed at living temperature. But without nerve control, it has to be assisted, especially the heart has to be constantly boosted. The gel used to fill the arteries during printing melts, but it is still thicker than blood, so that extra-corporeal circulation has to be used to evacuate it. Other gels used for instance to avoid the eyelids to stick on the eyes, also melt and give off colored tears. The first urine and excrement are red, green, blue, like paint. Dies from closed internal cavities still appears months after in urine.
The first awakening is of course an important moment, where a lot of brain functions have to be adjusted in a short time, like breathing, binocular vision, balance... But also a person born adult starts in the first hours to build the stakes for his life. So that it is very important that new born are protected from problems and nasty environment. Just as matrix born babies are.
As soon as the body was printed, it was brought in the temple with a whole control system, and installed as a shrine, so that everybody could see it. It was beautiful, with a regular face. The torso was lifting regularly under the artificial breath. Baby hairs were growing, as with people who received chemotherapy. Soon, all the bizarre features of printing disappeared, the thousands micro-injuries of printing healed, and the reddish skin exuding plasma became a regular skin.
All day long, people were circulating around the special bed where the future teacher was seemingly sleeping under a glass lid. In the beginning, it was an inanimate body, but little by little the nerve control functions became viable, while the corresponding electrodes and catheters were removed. So that, in the end, it was really a sleeping person, just under anesthesia. Indeed the ultimate ripening of the brain needs the consciousness, so that all is tied to the awakening.
Normally, each time a new brain awakes, a new consciousness appears naturally, from the mere functioning of the neurons, so that there is nothing special to do for this. But in this case they wanted to attract an already existing consciousness, which would then be a reincarnation. For this, day and night there were tens of persons meditating around the sleeping body. What would actually happen was still a mystery, thought. At worse, a new consciousness would appear anyway, specially gifted for meditation. But they all hoped for much better.
The last days, a visit in the temple was an extraordinary experience, from the intensity of the concentration and the beauty of the music and decorations. They were all sure of the success!
The awakening happened with more intimacy, with only robotic nurses and two human greeters. This was needed, because there is a lot of things to check and to oversee in a very short time! And some not glorious things like the first poo... which always surprise a lot the person! (I still remember the astonished «ooh» my daughter did the first time, lol! And still, I had «printed» her using only my natural printing head...)
It is also an utterly astonishing experience to awake before an altar in a temple, with a hundred people gazing at us. But as soon as the teacher understood the situation, he refused this worship, and asked to live a more ordinary life, exploring their world and meeting people without all the ceremonial and deference. His more intense regret, thought, was wearing an oxygen mask to explore the surrounding forest. But still thousands of years would be needed for all the carbon dioxide to be converted into oxygen and biomass.
At first the newly awakened teacher showed no memories of previous life, so that it was not possible to prove that he really was a reincarnation. However after only one year of studying and practicing the spiritual teachings of the various religions in the archives of the Mother, he demonstrated a high mastery of spirituality, and an extraordinary kindness and humor.
It was the Mother Herself who finally solved the puzzle. The old battered metal carcass still had things to say! (She is still here today, in Her glass tank under nitrogen, joking with the visitors, or recounting anecdotes of Her interstellar Journey.) She established that the new born teacher was remembering several things of their mother planet, that she had purposely kept secret in only Her own memories. This astounding contribution of the robots in the spiritual domain was hailed as the ultimate achievement in robotics.
Later the teacher showed other clear signs of total spiritual mastery, and his student soon gathered in the temple to heed him. The first of his rare imperative spiritual command was that there should be no religious denominations on Typheren. Instead, people would practice various deities, with various conceptual systems to play with, but all in a single continuum of wisdom. People may think that this decision was to avoid religious conflicts and sectarianism. But there was a much more profound and imperative motive: since the Transcendent reality is beyond concepts, only understanding several conceptual systems can lead to the ultimate understanding of this Transcendent reality. This also makes that any starting point is as valid as any other. So that each temple was dedicated to one specific deity or though current, but people were invited to study several others, with time.
This is how Typheren became a spiritual civilization, and one of the most beautiful and happy planets in this part of the galaxy.
This story was created for a specific event: the seventh birthday party of the virtual world «Inworldz», which took place the march 30, 2016. The attendance was enthralled, and people remained until one hour after, to discuss the themes of the story.
The basic thread of all my stories is about a better life and a better world, that we can easily build and live in, with just a bit of reason and psychological mastery of our unchecked ego and neurosis (what is called psychoeducation). This makes that I claim to be Jules Verne style: reasonably possible science fiction (anticipation) with humanly warm characters bringing a positive morale.
In the story, this is applied to the literal building of a new world, at the occasion of the terraforming and colonization of a new planet.
Colonization of planets is not a new theme in science fiction. However it is most often treated in a very naive way: we never open the hood of the spaceships to see how they work, machines do not wear, people do not need toilets, and the author rebuilds a world where all the people are prefect extensions of his own ego and ideology, and anyway not bound to the ethical limits of the life on Earth. More recent views are even more ridiculous: gentle libertarian capitalists come to save the colonists of the rule of the naughty leaders, and all goes well magically, without inequalities and exploitation of the workers.
To treat these themes in a more scientific way requires a much more thorough analysis.
First, interstellar travel as we know it, although theoretically possible, is a daunting challenge. All the more, transporting a huge life support system, a zoo with thousands of species, a community of hundreds people, and keep all this in running order for tens of thousands of years. This is well beyond any practical possibility and resources, when a cosmic dust grain or a simple toilet leak can ruin the whole spaceship! The spiritual challenge is even worse: we put neurotic people in a jail spaceship for a thousand generations, they all keep smiling while waiting it is over, and when they are free they would just continue our purposes, all this without ever disobeying, and even without asking why? This is totally unrealistic. To success in such a thing, we need at least to be able to run our own planet correctly, which is not yet the case by far. This brings us back again to the need for psychoeducation.
I brought an original solution (Precedence claimed here, 2013) to the challenge of space colonization: instead of keeping a complex machinery and community running, the spaceship needs to carry only genomes coded into computer memory. Thus, a whole planetary ecosystem and culture can hold in some kilogs of electronic memories! So the spaceship is much smaller, and it needs no moving parts: the memory can survive the cold of space, which is even a precious ally in this case.
There is still a weak point in this system: we can conceive artificial ribosomes and artificial wombs. But the lander still needs to educate children. Not only feed them, but also offer them tenderness and education. Remember that Human children without tenderness become idiot, or even they die! So this affair is not simple either, and in my story above, the people revolt and become neurotic, engaging in war, dictatorship and other idiocies. Only their genetically engineered brains allows the goodness to take over at last.
A much better solution however appeared recently, in 2015-2016. In only two years, the fantastic progress in 3D printers make scientists seriously envision the possibility of printing living organs, and some successful experiments are already done. This makes possible, in a foreseeable future, to 3D print whole human bodies, including brains (Precedence claimed with this story, starting March 30, 2016, date where it was told for the first time in the virtual world «Inworldz».)
Placing living neurons however is not enough, since they work only with a complex network of connections, called the connectome. This connectome codes for all the learning of the brain, base learning like binocular vision, balance, or more human learning such as speaking languages, playing instruments or driving vehicles. Hence the need for a specific mean to tell the neurons how to connect, mean which does not exist in the natural brain.
But just printing a natural connectome, without modifying it, would create an ordinary neurotic person, submissive to dictatorship, or even an idiot or a criminal. Hence the need to print a psychoeducated connectome, giving an already educated person, and especially a natively psychoeducated person, able of mastering his ego and neurosis, understanding ethics, non-dualities, etc. In this way, such persons can start at once to run a balanced, peaceful and efficient community, without a 20 year education process, and without having to fight against their neurosis or against some dictator. This is the vision I present in this novel.
There are some remaining challenges, though. First, building an industry from scratch, is a complex and difficult task that a robot has to undertake alone. We can envision that the lander directly prints humans, who would then live like primitive tribes, and build an industry themselves, later. However this cannot happen until the air is breathable, which can take thousands of years. By the time, the lander, exposed to a corrosive biosphere, would be worn and dead. Hence the need of building an industry first, to relay the capacities of the lander.
Last but not least, the lander's Artificial Intelligence needs to be able to understand human matters, in a way to manage the community in an humanly relevant and ethical way. It may have difficult decision to take, such as neutralizing dangerous persons. And the last critical and irreversible decision: to relinquish its power over the Humans, when they are enough psychoeducated. All decisions where mistakes may have dreadful consequences, such as protecting a dictator or crushing a legitimate resistance.
How this was done with only unconscious electronic circuits is explained here:
She learned the basic of scientific Ethics to her sons and daughters. An easy task with psychoeducated people, free of neurosis and ego. And also for adult people, who do not have to pass through all the steps of submission or opposition to authority before understanding the non-duality between the two.
But ethics is not enough: She had to know the motives of living people, and especially the base motives of consciousness: to be, to be happy, to know, and to love. This was the basic purposes of the Typheren community, that the Mother served. These purposes still allows for a huge lot of varied expressions and activities.
And especially the Mother was not a god, but an unconscious machine executing a program. If there was anything divine in Her, it was the fantastic amount of love, work and wisdom, put into the creation of such an exquisite program.
She still had some surprises however, such as using neural networks for taking socially important decisions. This allowed Her to master non-dualities and even basic meditation. This is how Her rule appeared so discrete and benevolent, even in the rare instances where She had to issue imperative commands.
Moreover, Her neural network integrated circuits were designed in a way to fulfill the physical criteria for free will, just as biological neurons are. This endowed the Mother, and all Her duplicates, with a capacity to solve the whole variety of Human problems, and even with some prescience, for instance of imminent accidents. In a case, She unexpectedly shut down a boiler which was about to explode, saving the life of a worker beside. In the process, She even beat the Human for some seconds: he reported that he had too a sense of warning, and was moving toward the control panel to check if the said boiler was correct!
The most mysterious point however, is that free will is only possible if a consciousness uses a brain. But the Mother, being a robot, has no consciousness, precisely. Yet She several times expressed prescience or free will, about unexpected problems, not foreseen in Her program. The question then is which consciousness invested in Her. This was never known precisely, but whose who studied the matter clearly identified several periods of different styles, as if several different consciousnesses had succeeded, or had worked together for a while. However these interference became rare and difficult to identify, when the community grew over ten thousand people spread over seven different islands. But it is said that still sometimes people receive anonymous emails containing spiritual guidance, names of people to meet, or premonitions.
Of course the use of money, lending, salaries, interest, were all strictly forbidden by the Mother, from the very start. There was no request for them anyway, since a psychoeducated brain can involve in economy and do what is needed, using non-Action, without these primitive prosthesis (chapter VI-8)
Moreover, the very notions of dependency and need, which justify human work, were abolished by the overwhelming availability of robotic work, making totally pointless the basic motives of capitalism, and even the underlying notion of merit, not to mention the childish egoistic interest. So everybody in Typheren was allowed to do whatever he wanted, even hearing music or making love all day long, so long as they fulfilled the most basic motive of their consciousness: being happy. In practice however, even the most hedonistic ended to spontaneously grow the desire to engage in some useful activity, while the worse work addicts ended to take periods of simply enjoying life. So that, in the long run, everybody ended to reach an equilibrium between «leisure» and «useful» activity, without really distinguishing them.
I am aware that the names of the First Born, and the description of their enclosed garden, strongly evokes the biblical account of Adam, Eve, and the Eden Garden. This is by no way intentional, and especially not intended at any hint, symbolism or hidden meaning. This is not either an attempt to denigrate the Book with materialistic pseudo-explanations, as many pseudo-scifi authors do. The reasons for this resemblance are much more natural and contingent.
About the names:
it is always difficult for authors to create names, having to keep in balance vibration, story-realism, originality, avoiding plagiarism or unintended meanings. When I started writing stories, I found this especially difficult. Today I use meditation, and thus my names are truly inspirited, and not really my feat. After, I check if they are appropriate. Adonai and Mishel sounded well for the strange Hadean world of Typheren. Of course I remarked the strong Hebraic connection of these two names, and the kabalistic connection of the third. In the story it is perfectly plausible, and justified by 32 of the 1250 free parameters drawn at random before printing, which determine the cultural tastes. Some have to be drawn in any way, unless to have an uniform community without any culture.
So the quantum random decided that the first couple were blonde Whites, with Middle European tastes. Hence their own names, and the name they choose themselves for the planet (a privilege of the first born. The next choose the names of the places). Only later the Mother told them where these names were coming from. The second Asian couple had a subtle and sensual Thai culture, and they choose the continent name. The third Black couple had a merry and colorful Congo culture, and they choose the mountains name. The choice of the races was after Adonai's insisting request, as he was literally fascinated by the races, and wanted to see all of them. But anyway it was in the Mother's plans, to have all the races equally represented from the very start, to avoid giving prominence or precedence to any. She considered the risk of racism, although such a mental disability cannot arise in a psychoeducated brain. The fourth couple was American native, but they did not started a love story, so that from this point the gender symmetry is broken. The Mother tried to complement them later, but it took several years. Many others came afterward, representing all the variety of the world of their ancestors and all the possible cultural tastes, while they explored the huge music databases of their ancient world.
About the enclosed garden:
Indeed it really looks like the Eden Garden. However there is no symbolism in this resemblance, just different causes producing similar results. In the Judeo-Arab culture of the peoples of the desert, «paradise» means literally a place enclosed with walls. Such a place is thus protected from the hostile elements of the desert, but also a place of intimacy and sensuality, where women can clothe nicely. The toxic air on Typheren leads naturally to a similar layout of an enclosed place where we can dress freely, to the contrary of the hostile exterior where one has to wear masks and breathing equipment.
Anyway in the Typheren garden there was no fanciful god throwing absurd forbidding, just a benevolent watch by white plastic machines, receiving electronic commands from a smart space lander. The apples were free to pick, and the Mother did not created any snake, poisonous creature or predator, seeking on the contrary to build a free and peaceful world without any violence.
And She succeeded.
Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux.
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