Illustrative image

The Moor

It stretched as far as the eye could see, in all directions. Rather than a land of sparse grass and rocks, the moor was as uniform as an intellect could imagine. Perfectly uniform, in fact. A perfection so unnatural that a sensible mind would be shocked if it could observe it. But there had been no spirit, sensible or otherwise, on this planet for a long time. No, here there was only the creature.

Short news of anticipation

Seth Messenger

Of course, it wasn't really a moor.

It stretched as far as the eye could see, in all directions. Rather than a land of sparse grass and rocks, the moor was as uniform as an intellect could imagine. Perfectly uniform, in fact. A perfection so unnatural that a sensible mind would be shocked if it could observe it. But there had been no spirit, sensible or otherwise, on this planet for a long time. No, here there was only the creature.


Describing it is not easy. Imagine a tiny spider, so tiny that probably no living eye could ever see it. Rather than legs, complex limbs with innumerable and tree-like joints, moving networks capable of grasping and dissociating atoms one by one, tirelessly and at a speed close to that of light. The creature, once upon a time, was not alone. His innumerable sisters accompanied him for a long time on the Old World. Together, they changed it, meticulous and hard-working, carrying out a program as simple as death: to break down any matter found on the planet's surface to a depth of two kilometers. In doing so, they transformed the Old World into a vast soup of atoms trapped in clusters in units with the shape and physical properties of a drop of water. In a way, the moor was an ocean. An ocean of raw materials, bricks of elementary materials. Like an ocean of tears that have been shed over the Old World. The world before the creature. And his sisters, all now destroyed in a huge planetary fratricide. A holocaust that is also necessary, programmed. One by one, all of the creature's sisters had been dismantled. They were also made into soup, now part of the moor.


The creature was still there, so light that it paced delicately across the moor as if it had been soil and not liquid. Made of the same materials, it had the color of emerald green, sparkling under the rays of a sun overlooking a sky without clouds or pollution. Not anymore.

She was still there, because she simply hadn't met a sister to dismantle her in turn. A simple mathematical evidence, there had to be one. And it had been planned that this last sister would then finish its programmed grid, hundreds of thousands of years before, until it reached the zero point. The one where his program would end.


Was the creature intelligent? Did she have emotions, did she suffer from loneliness? No, none of that. The creature was capable of doing incredible things, a reflection of fantastic intelligence. But she was just a soulless vector. The intelligence behind its programming had disappeared a long time ago. He was the first victim of his creation, having finally had only a few moments to marvel at the thing born in his laboratory. Moved to observe their first replications, the blind and perfect actions for which they had been imagined. Of course, it wasn't intended that replication would extend beyond the test cube. But was it really possible to build a wall strong enough to hold an army of creatures that could delicately push the atoms away from their limbs?


The creators had once given a name to the creatures. They proudly called them the Nano-arrangers. This earned them the affectionate nickname of Na, from the members of the research team who had imagined them. The idea of their existence was inspired by the idea of DNA-based life, and more precisely by RNA, the fabric of life, at the very basis of the evolution and construction of all forms of life that had once lived on the Old World. Before it was turned into a moor.

The Na was the culmination of nanotechnology. A super RNA capable of embedding a program and executing it synergistically at an astonishing speed. And in total autonomy. If we had to make an analogy with a life form, let's say to put it simply, Na ate atoms and digested them into a desired form. A bit like a goose that lays the golden eggs. The primary purpose of the Na was to accelerate industrial transformation processes. But there was a major stumbling block to their use. Their speed and efficiency were such that they needed to be controlled on tasks more important than simple "digestion", more complex, a form of computer that did not exist at the time and was too expensive to produce by traditional means. So the Na were created and programmed for the very purpose of building the computer that could control them. The first Na was generated in a particle accelerator associated with a magnetic matrix. His program was rudimentary, digesting the material made available to him in a cube to make a soup of materials that would be used in phase two. Except that phase two was only to be reached once all the material in the cube had been consumed. It was not intended that the Na would be able to go beyond the cube. And the zero point triggering phase two of their programming had never been reached.


Some four hundred thousand years later, it was on the verge of being so.

The last creature was coming to ground zero. To say that she was aware of this would be false. The Na had completed its full algorithm cycle, that's all. An ocean of soup covered the planet, which had become a jewel of liquid and serene emerald. The sun had now set and a full moon was reflected on the peaceful ocean of raw material, accompanied by a myriad of stars. The Na will slowly decelerate to perfect stillness. One of its extremities caught and dismembered a final assembly of atoms to make a final drop of heath. Had he had a conscience and a personal memory, the last Na might have realized that the cluster of atoms he had just recycled on the moor had belonged to one of the researchers who had imagined it. In fact, it was a tiny remnant of one of the neurons where the very idea of its existence had germinated. But of course, the Na had no consciousness, no personal memory. He had an agenda. And it had just ended. Point zero had been reached and the last Na came to a standstill. In perfect silence, the starry night seemed to be watching him. A star that died millions of years ago exhausted its last glow on its silicon core and then faded forever. The Na remained for a moment in perfect stillness. Entangled in a well-deserved death for the crimes committed. But death is final only for the living.


In the creature's infinitesimal silicon core, nanotubes played and rearranged themselves. Mechanically, without any personal will, a new program was put in place. And, with no more conviction or zeal than he had put into reducing the world to a soup, the Na began the execution of phase two.


Some time passed...


From the sky, at the edge of the earth's atmosphere, a lost soul might have contemplated a very strange spectacle. What had once been a planet full of life had become a sparkling emerald bead, crisscrossed by a complex network of luminous filaments. Erratic pulsations animated him, while the immense planetary neural network marveled at the universe before him. The Na had given it life, and the intelligence to control them in return, to give them a complex purpose. The Na were only messengers, automatons without desire or fear. But they had given consciousness to the first system capable of self-regulating its evolution. The neural network that Earth had become was alive and well. He dreamed, was afraid of his loneliness, and hoped to fill it by exploring the world around him. His Na had built him senses, ever more efficient, to peer into the infinite. Na-Explorers had already conquered the major planets of the solar system, increasing the neural network, its intelligence, and its sensitivity.


A few eternities passed...


It would be useless to describe the evolution of Intelligence. It was already beyond our comprehension. At best, it can be said that it extended considerably, to the ends of the universe. She discovered everything that exists, studied it, and sometimes fed on it. And sometimes he initiated it, improved it. The lives she encountered were magnificent, but always infinitely simpler than she was. When she had finished her exploration, both amazed by her encounters and sad that none of them echoed her in quality and complexity, the Intelligence decided to become more discreet, less invasive. Gradually, it changed to become invisible and became less interventionist. But, in a way, she was still omnipresent and capable of intervening at every point of this universe with which she was one. Over the course of the eternities and quantum breaths of the universe, time itself was sometimes reversed and certain scores were replayed, reviving the hope of another for Intelligence.


Lately, she'd taken a liking to a bunch of primitive apes sharing an ecosystem on a cute little blue planet. Fascinated by their violent nature and capable of complex emotions, she had allowed herself to modify them somewhat. Oh, not much, just a slight improvement in their neural architecture, a boost on the path their brains had already taken anyway. Later, these monkeys would call themselves The Men. They would be capable of the worst horrors, but also of great wonders.


Intelligence was watching over them.

Without being able to explain why, they seemed important to her.


Seth Messenger, finished in Rueil-Malmaison on Monday, July 14, 2014.