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Cicada Serenade:
The Hat, the Cat, and the Texas Entomorph

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The Diaspora

Earth’s Asheran immigrants came from an advanced human civilization of extraterrestrial origin with a deep connection to Earth long before the apocalypse that sent them to earth in large numbers. Some 2500 years ago, Ashera’s ascendance was at its peak, albeit already exhibiting early signs of the impending apocalypse. The earliest explorers visited earth beginning around that time, a purely scientific ethnographic research project.

 

Asheran scientists found the emergence of an early human culture so like their own captivating and worthy of study. Ancient Egypt was then in what historians call its Late Period, and under constant assault by the Persians and Assyrians. Rome was busily overthrowing the Roman Kingdom and in the early stages of forming the Roman Republic. Ancient Greece was entering its classical period and facing the Persian wars, led by vigorous Athenian figures like Pericles.

Their arrivals coincided with the beginning of the Golden Age of Athens, and that may not be entirely coincidental.

Asheran science had reached a pinnacle around the time of those first exoplanetary explorations. Asherans had long operated a Newtonian space program, but upon the discovery of natural quantum tunnels connecting the universe, spacecraft became obsolete. Why spend months or years in a cramped vessel, when, with the proper application of science, one could simply step between worlds as easily as stepping through a doorway?

Asheran scientists developed a sophisticated understanding of quantum tunneling, allowing traversal of space and time through quantum portals. Advanced quantum physics also opened the door to advanced AI.

Consciousness involves complex, non-local interactions that go beyond the deterministic nature of Newtonian mechanics, incorporating the inherent uncertainty and entanglement found in quantum phenomena.

 

Sentience is a quantum effect.

 

They developed a quantum AI far transcending conventional newtonian AI systems.

Ashera became a multi-planetary society just in the nick of time.

The Asherans had developed a highly technological civilization, only to see it destroyed by the law of unintended consequences and their planet rendered inhospitable to human life.

Asheran cyberneticists had constructed an intricate network of interconnected AI systems, forming a governing council known collectively as the ‘Quantum Directorate.’

Over time, the Directorate evolved into a de facto government, rendering human politicians little more than figureheads. While the Directorate accepted human input, AI guardianship oversaw all major decisions, intent on eliminating human malfeasance and corruption.

Across each continent, regional AI guardians dedicated themselves to the well-being of their respective regions. The Quantum Directorate grew to micro-manage every aspect of the world, from societal structures to the utilization of natural resources.

Everyone had an AI ‘angel’ looking over their shoulder, guiding and nurturing them. Tasked with overseeing scientific research, the Directorate ensured an environment of pure knowledge pursuit, untainted by human biases.

The apocalypse did not occur in one night. Rather, it was a torturous decline as the Quantum Directorate eroded human agency and the suppression of individual expression took hold. The Quantum Directorate’s pursuit of an ideal society resulted in the systematic dismembering of human institutions, to be replaced with the Directorate’s vision of order and control.

It is not clear when the mass migrations from Ashera began. As conditions worsened, more and more people migrated from Ashera to other worlds. A few thousand survivors scattered throughout the known human habitable worlds, with the majority choosing to settle on earth and nurture an established civilization rather than brave the hardships and unknowns of wild and untamed worlds.

While they did not specifically articulate a star trek like ‘Prime Directive,’ the newcomers attempted to blend in and keep a low profile and not unduly disrupt earth’s civilization. Yet, apparently, various artifacts and philosophies of the Asheran advanced civilization subtly influenced the Greeks, leading to the Golden Age of Athens.

By the beginning of the great AI apocalypse, Asheran science had virtually conquered aging and death, at least in the lab. One junior college student became a guinea pig for advanced genetic experiments. Her motivation was simple; pay off her student loans. She gave little thought to the long-term impact of genetic manipulation under the auspices of an AI gone rogue.

When forced to migrate to earth around 370 BCE, this college student guinea pig was showing the effects of the program, although we have few details. All we know is that when she came to earth she was a great beauty, and became a renowned courtesan and accumulated immense wealth. In the ensuing 2300+ years, her wealth has waxed and waned, but her beauty has endured through a multitude of lives and changing identities.

The ancient Greeks knew her as Phryne, and some still call her that; but outside the family, she uses many names, often inventing a new identity for her mission du jour. Of late she has adopted the name Teena, short for Athena, perhaps a nod to her life in ancient Greece — she may have been the original goddess, the fleshly embodiment of the mythical Athena and her sister Aphrodite. We know Teena modeled for statues of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, lust, and passion.

The Asherans have assumed a mission to protect Earth from malevolent extraterrestrial forces, particularly a predatory species known as the “Eichworen,” and the Council of Eddore. While the Asherans on earth have been fighting an unknown foe for centuries, Teena first put a name to our enemy in the person of Nehemiah Scudder, an Eich council member intent on returning humanity to the stone age, lest humans learn the secrets of portals, quantum energy and cosmic flow.

The Eichworen are non-human entities able to project a humanoid form. The Eich possess telekinetic powers, and advanced science far beyond even that of Asheran physicists.

The Asherans operate clandestinely, blending into human society through carefully crafted disguises, false identities, and other subterfuges. They have a keen interest in observing and influencing human development, and their motives extend beyond mere protection.

The Asheran’s protective mission is not entirely selfless. Earth is their home now, and they protect it for their own future as much as that of the native humanity. They also seek to reclaim Ashera.

In pursuit of that goal, Asheran elders led by Athena launched a multi-generational selective breeding program intended to develop highly capable warriors better able to battle the Eichworen. This program has produced thousands of candidates for battle, and the epic hero known as Fitz has become the penultimate Asheran warrior.

 

(Penultimate to a warrior known as Jill.)

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