People of Light 1 is a first glimpse into a world called Elektra, settled by humans in the past two hundred years, a past, of course, far in our future. This begins a series of interconnected stories that will appear here in draft form and will ultimately be published as a single book.
K’Lin picked out channels in the plasma cloud with lightning strokes to shape the patterns of human form. Her knife-like mind drew luminous taut strings sketching the strange body shapes. Layering these strings over each other with quick precision, she filled out the model of the human she would soon infuse and ultimately become.
Mingled with the excitement she flashed about her as she worked was the growing dread of the transformation that she had to undergo. As she completed her model in quick strokes, she dove excitedly through the weave of the Intelligences, instantly communicating all she knew of the humans to the conjoint mind of the Sphere that turned slowly around the planet far below.
MroGlith, her maddening other, dove beside her and as they joined, flashing briefly then separating again, she grasped his rough-hewn perceptions of the future symbionts on the surface of the planet humans called Elektra. No matter. All they had learned was now woven into the innermost layer of the Sphere, there for the Intelligences to take in. They would decide. She and MroGlith, their deft agents, would carry out their will.
She immersed herself in the skein of living thought that brightened the Sphere. Dispersing subminds across that fabric, she plunged into its many layers. There was the usual clash of still-forming signs and coalescing utterances, but also the slowly smoothing force of the great minds as they sought to harmonize all the visible strains and knots among them about how to proceed with the human species.
She had lived through this before. Each time the symbiont worlds came together through their foremost minds, there was always struggle until they achieved the musical perfection of their union. The skeins that gave them temporary form loosened and spread the lines of sentience across the arcs of light that bound them together. From the background humming of thousands of possible states and futures, a few major voices emerged. The Intelligences of the Great Sphere were hard at work.
Their final unity came together at the heart of the sphere. A single vast symbol or word sculpted at the Minds’ direction. In this cycle, K’Lin and her mirror MroGlith would execute the great word in all its complex dimensions. Their swift gestures had to be harmonized perfectly, reflecting precisely all the nuance of the unanimous judgment. Its intricate structure would be imprinted in the Minds forever, one more record in the chronicle of their kind, but the dazzling design would vanish in moments after its completion, after all had absorbed its reverberating silence of light.
K’Lin kept turning her attention to those humans scuttling around the planet. What could they see of our work? Almost nothing. They could not see or feel wave upon wave of energy pulsating around their Elektra. For them, this great gathering was only a minor disturbance on their instruments, perhaps an occasional flash like a meteor shower crossing their field of vision.
She knew she would miss the vastness of who she was when narrowed into a human form. What did the touch of a human hand feel like? What senses did that covering of skin transmit, what movements could those digits achieve? She was not wrapped in tissues of so many types, so bound by heavy structure. How could mind emerge from all that matter so rooted to the ground of each planet these humans occupied.
Her own being was endowed with mind in each of its cells. She could condense to the size and shape of a human, or an insect for that matter, or expand to a dazzling streak of light around the planet. The scale of awareness changed but not its nature.
K’Lin’s whole being shook with the possibilities of change, and her own words suddenly sounded across the swarming surface. She and her other, MroGlith, were the chiral twins of action, the instruments of the Great Sphere’s purposes. And now came the call to expand the range of their lives once more. From her mind came the waves of meaning the Intelligences required.
For the first time in their reach across new worlds, their symbiotic habitation in thousands of species of living things, they had encountered a life form too complex to be readily subsumed, a race of beings now reaching out from its home worlds and capable of reshaping other planets to its liking. They could be a rival or ally, but they must be understood. For that to happen they must be entrained in a new symbiont weave such as had not existed before. A new mind with its own voice was about to be born.
Copyright 2023 by John A. Folk-Williams