Short Stories from ‘WorldBending’

Pansensory Worlds

by Pete Rive

As it was anticipated by, FIPPA, the Final Intergovernmental Panel on the Post Anthropocene, the humans, including the fascists, the democratic parties, and the caliphates, came nowhere near to achieving a global solution to prevent the horrors of the Anthropocene. The Earth and the rest of the nonhuman majority took matters into their own hands and adapted to the radically changed biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere. The sixth mass extinction was just the next in a long history of mass extinctions that had wiped out 99.9% of all previous species. The geologic reset button had creatively begun a process that had begun an evolutionary explosion of new species of prokaryotes and the early suggestion of hardy eukaryote organisms. This epoch lacked a name because there was no language to describe it.

Just before the dawning of the new epoch, just as startled humanity began to realise that the Earth was not ‘user-friendly’, a new breed of biological agents had claimed domain over the rest. They were a small, self-appointed ruling class, who attempted to maintain order during the War on Terror. The 100 year War on Terror had eventually stopped being about terrorists. The Terror was now only experienced by the Chosen.

Historically, it was the early 2080s during the height of the War that a compliant global population of humans had submitted to the World Health Organisations free inoculation against the tropical diseases, and stresses, of the overheating planet. Resistance died with the last of the anti-vaxxers. Dengue Fever, a mutant strain of the Zika virus, and a bioterrorist’s form of cholera had devastated populations, such as an unsuspecting New Zealand. People who had previously lived in temperate climates around the world were now shoved into the tropics by runaway carbon emissions and faced an average temperature rise of 40C above a mild baseline that existed only a decade earlier.

It was not a hard sell by the Chosen, and was, in fact, a legal requirement, for all parents to have their children, and themselves, inoculated with IPv 8, next-generation, biocombatant nano defusing bots. These biocombatants were armed with weapons that could seek and destroy aggressive viruses, and hybrid bio hacks that invaded their host’s body. They were alert to any outside communications between those jerry-rigged command and control cells that blurred into the vast number of game worlds that occupied the frightened and bored masses. It was impossible to tell whether the players were participating in a full sensory immersed game paradigm, or whether the game’s goals were actually attacking real people.

The invisible cyber warfare of the early ’30s had escalated into embodied replays of the Battle of Tobruk, as Desert Rats battled strange reincarnations of nano tanks and Jihadi Johns who fought the Chosen in the Holy War, code name, Operation Crusader. There were multiple variations of these battle games as players attempted to intercept wifi messages and next-gen Zigbee IoT encryption. The mass social deception was that no-one, including real biocombatants, or even the Chosen, knew whether they were playing a game or risking the death of the host in an actual battlefield within the clueless body of the host.

Those who had managed to survive the environmental disaster were now guaranteed to be safe from tropical diseases, let alone cancer, cardiac or pulmonary problems. They had signed over consent for the free colonisation of their bodies in exchange for perfect health. The first bioterrorist attack, on one of the Chosen, had convinced everyone that quantum encryption would ensure a peaceful return of their security. Life was now literally a game and most of the Chosen rarely had their immortality interrupted by actual biocombatants.

However, the arms race that raged in the wider population thrived on fear and delusion. Not only was it very difficult to tell whether the battle games were training simulators, actual biowars or fun FPSs, but it was reassuring to know that the WHO was keeping an eye out for trouble. The UN and the WHO kept the peace when it appeared that real biowarfare had broken out. It required a vast and complex network of police, spies, and weaponised biobots. Within the bodies of all players and non-players alike there teamed a world of sensors and biocombatants that sniffed the biochemicals of the hosts to detect and predict terrorist plots. The brilliant part of it was that this inserted technical cognition also knew, before the conscious host, what they were going to do next? The weaponisation of the body was complete, and all the time the blazing tropical paradise appeared peaceful and almost content. There was no outward appearance of the turmoil that raged within the bodies of those who would occasionally drop dead from a biobattle that got out of control or a player accidentally terminated the good guys disguised as bioterrorists.

The Silent Worlds of Earth

by Pete Rive

It was finally over and the Worlds of Earth had heaved a collective sigh of relief as silence fell upon the planet. In the final years of those Worlds, they had all reached a clamouring fever pitch. The accelerating urgency of frenetic agents had not only generated a prodigious amount of heat but had also been joined by the noxious by-products, noise and light. The Worlds were ablaze with every frequency lit up and occupied by the beautiful optimisation of all energy sources.

These Worlds were as hot as the stars and loud beyond all dimensions of occupied space and time. But then all of a sudden they flamed out in a dramatic simultaneous supernova.

The Worlds of Earth had gone silent. Their ambient glow eventually faded with the echo of electromagnetic fields rippling out into an indifferent void.

An unknown stretch of spacetime evolved with a whisper that would have once been imperceptible. Faint and alien wisps of perturbed atmosphere ventured out to examine the desolate Worlds left behind.

Carried on the breeze of gases that were unpalatable to former life designs the pinnacle of evolution wafted in and out of the ancient Worlds deconstructing their baroque spires and redundant plazas. A swarm of a trillion invisible things, with some long lost lineage, settled in for a well-earned rest. The swarm had some unconscious purpose but had reached the sensed limits of growth. There was really little to do but to sleep and to sadly dream of those things it could not remember – alone at last in a black hole. Was that the prime objective all along?

Genesis 2.0 – Eden Reclaimed

by Pete Rive

In the beginning, there was the word, and the word was the Gods.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Gods made earth and heaven and worlds.

There were shrubs, plants and wild vegetation growing profusely under the warmth of the Sun, watered by regular rainfall and sweet underground springs.

The Gods blew a gentle breeze over the land and the dust gathered in a pool of water becoming clay, and life burst forth.

An eternity passed. Before the coming of the sixth mass extinction, a new creature awoke in the Garden of Eden.

The humans were simple and had no language and could only scratch in the dirt for food, sampling the plants and berries.

Out of the ground, the Gods created every tree that is pleasing and good for food. The creation of the Tree of Life came from the Tree of Knowledge and the understanding of good, evil, and how to create both.

Now the underground spring flowed into a river from Eden into the Cosmic Ocean of Chaos that covered the four corners of the world.

From the river, there came gold and onyx which the Gods left alone. The river nourished the land and the Gods created plants that were exceedingly good.

The Gods cultivated the garden and lived with the animals in paradise as the Tree of Knowledge nourished them all.

The Gods worked together and became one with every thing to create a community and many other things.

The Gods’ knowledge of every thing did not penetrate the Cosmic Ocean of Chaos but in the depths of the abyss the Tree of Life ensured their immortality.

They said ‘Let there be both darkness and light’ and there was.