Thursday, September 13, 2012

9/13/12

Sphinx
By Maximillian d'Erembourg


“…Why don’t you answer me?”
“I am answering you, silly girl. I can’t come out tonight. Busy. Work.”
“Father, wont you at least come out of that monolith for your grandson’s first birthday?” The girl's voice on the comlink/vocoder sounded grainy, unclear.
“Kimmie, you know how important this work is to me, to all of us. Besides, little Jeffery will not remember anything of his first birthday, he will not remember who was or wasn’t there.”
Kimmie’s countenance turned slightly more sour, on the monitor, “Everyone misses you.” It was the sound of sand on stone.
“The rest of you have seen plenty of me. Now, I will see you all as soon as I decode this cypher for the microglyphs.” Thomas turned from the monitor screen, showing his own daughter his back. “Can you imagine the importance of this cryptic mega-statuary? And the messages those who made it sent us? People from the old Empire Age Earth spent their entire lives sousing out its secrets…and they never even had the technology to ever discover the true mysteries!”
“You need to come out of there…even your doctors agree, you need to have more human contact!”
“The hologrid sees to my needs. I am healthier in here than all of you who refuse to join me in here. The anti-entropy machinery preserves me as well as it does our subject.” Thomas reflected on how he was the only one left who called the Sphinx 'the subject'.
“Father, that damn stone pile has lasted twenty-thousand years in those desert sands…one more night wont…”
“I’m sorry dearest Kimmie, I am busy tonight, give everyone my love, now.” Doctor Thomas Burgundy shut off the comlink/vocoder, and went back to the cryptoputer bank.
“None of them understand, none of them have any clue the importance…” He occasionally caught himself talking to himself in these confined environs, but as of the last few months--had it been months?--he'd been chiding himself for it less and less. He may as well keep himself company, no-one else wanted to help him work inside this massive preservation sphere. The Dome, as the media had dubbed it--for they could only see the top half of the structure which fully enveloped the ancient Egyptian Sphinx--was a massive place to work all by himself.
Many people assumed that a crypto-breaking computer system like the one within the Dome would be able to solve the microglyph problem in a matter of days. It was, after all, a TIPS computer processing trillions of instructions per second. However, the Creators -those who built the Sphinx and encrypted the newly discovered microscopic data sets within it- used a One-Time-Pad system of encryption. Technically unbreakable, without the key. And the key was never found.
Except that Thomas Burgundy was certain the key had to be here, right before his eyes…itself concealed behind its own code. And he intended to break it. Once he did, the collected knowledge of a civilization a billion years more advanced than Fourth Age Humanity would instantly become available.
“If the Creators used a protocol similar in effect to the ancient Greek scytale, but wrapping the string of microglyphs around a virtual shape, rather than a simple wooden rod…then the shape of that cypher-rod will be the key. The key to the key — so to speak. The TIPS has already attempted trillions of size and virtual shape combinations… Nothing yet!”
“No, no…I need to look at the problem afresh!”
Thomas was going to have to Blank himself again…no other possible way to gain a fresh perspective on this old problem.
He reflected on how knowing what you knew as a researcher--or more importantly what you thought you knew--would always skew one’s perception of what they were seeing.
This is why truly great discoveries often only happened in the following generation after the field’s discoverer. Such as Einstein never sousing out Quantum Physics…he was simply too close to the problem at hand. Thus is took Bohr to surpass Einstein, and Heisenberg to surpass Bohr. A new set of eyes and minds untainted by what their elders believed could look fresh at a problem from a new angle.
This Fourth Age of Humanity had partially solved that very human problem. Technology allowed people to forget--really have deleted--selected memory sectors of the brain.
Thomas scoffed at mundane peoples who loved this technology so they could watch a favorite movie over and over again, every-time for the very first time. Or read a favorite book again as if turning every holo-page fresh. But it was in scientific research that, as far as Doctor Burgundy was concerned, the technology truly shinned. If Einstein had had access to a blanker, he would have been able to take a fresh look at the problem every single day. He certainly would have mastered the basics of Quantum Theory. Perhaps he even would have reached the Realization of Thule two hundred years after him, that the Theory of Everything was bunk.
This time Burgundy awoke rather quickly after the effects of the Blanker wore off, once again he awoke to his annoying daughter’s voice on the vocorder.
“Do I really have to leave another message, again? Father, none of us have heard from you in weeks, we are concerned. Why don’t you answer me?”
Thomas Burgundy ignored his petulant child, as if she could understand the importance of his work!
“Father, wont you at least come out of that monolith for your grandson’s first birthday?”
“I’m doing this for little Jeffery, I’m doing this for all of you. He will not miss me.”
Kimmie’s countenance turned slightly more sour. “Everyone misses you.”
“In the scheme of the Fourth Age, I am nothing. What matters is what I leave behind for humanity. For the future, your future, little Jeffery’s future. All the rest of you out there are so obsessed with perfecting your anti-matter generators, and your singularity containment fields…but if I can crack this alien codex, we will catapult a billion years ahead of needing all that!”
“You need to come out of there…even your doctors agree, you need to have more human contact!” The vocoder voice seemed to reply.
“Human contact? I’m a cypher researcher, not a sociologist!”
“Father, that damn stone pile has lasted twenty-thousand years in those desert sands…one more night wont…”
“I’m sorry dearest Kimmie, I am close…so very very close now.” Doctor Thomas Burgundy shut off the comlink, and went back to the cryptoputer bank.
“When I break this cypher, the universe will open up to us…intergalacticly! I will be the savior of Humanity, the man responsible for our ultimate evolution, our reach will expand to the ends of the Universe!” He occasionally caught himself talking to himself in these confined environs, but as of the last few months--had it been months?--he was chiding himself for it less and less. He may as well keep himself company, no-one else wanted to help him work inside this massive preservation sphere.

#

Outside the failing anti-entropy generator, the wind blew over a largely dead Earth. The Dome was mostly covered in piled blowing sand, and the three once great pyramids nearby had long since been sandblasted to barely discernible nubs. Humanity had long since died off, or moved on.


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Maximillian d'Erembourg does not exist; his boring secret identity has created a dozen alter-egos and and is known by many names: Dyssan, Hawk, Sage, Peyote, Darkness, Magnus and more.
Max's Big Project is to turn a story he calls Nightsong into the next sensation: Star Wars for Grown-Ups. Including an empire of dozens of novels, TV series, anime, comics, web-zines, feature films, action-figures and Lego-toys.


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