A friend of mine challenged me to write a story about God. This is it.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Roughly four-quadrillion years from now.
I drift through the cold darkness. The only thing that buffets me are the waves of background radiation gently crashing onto my body.
I have been travelling through the dying universe for trillions of trillions of years. Every 500 billion years I come out of hibernation to look around the local area, calculate proton stability and estimate the remaining life of the universe. Then I return to hibernation. I have enough power reserves to wake about five more times. But the results of the last scan showed that proton decay throughout the universe has begun. Matter itself may degrade before my power reserves run out.
But something has stirred me. In background radiation, buried underneath the echoes of dead stars, radiowaves and whispers from the big bang… is something else. Tempting and unbelievable, like a myth. The signal kisses my organic sensors, raw and sensitive from vacuum exposure over trillions of years. I am reluctant to believe. But automatic reboot begins nevertheless.
Auxiliary power yawns and I perform the initial scans with my implants. I do not know my velocity or direction of travel, so I have to check the obvious conclusions. Have I, for instance, inexplicably slowed down and been awakened by my own negligible exhausts? The initial scans rule this out.
So I boot into full power mode. Slowly my body thaws out, stressing the organic elements of my form. My tendons and muscles crunch. My fluids melt unevenly. Working inefficiently with my cybernetics. A sensation that would have registered as pain in my previous form, grips me. I am haemorrhaging power reserves. I hope this is worth it.
I feel the signal more clearly. It’s dense, and hot. It feels like light. Fresh, hot, un-shifted, visible light. I turn on all my sensors, calculate its position as much as I can against the featureless backdrop of space, by measuring the minor stretching of the electromagnetic waves. Then I jump, 15 light-years.
I miss by a lot. But the source is on visual now. A small, white-hot dot. But not reading like a star. Something intense and pure is pouring out of this dot. It reads like… everything. I jump again. I’m half a light-year away now and 60% of my power reserves have gone in those two jumps. I let the momentum of the jump carry me the last half light-year, touching on thrusters to keep me steady.
The readings are intense and difficult to believe. Light, information, radiation, matter of all kinds, spilling out of this object. Visual organic sensors show the object is not a ball, but a rip. A rip in what?
It takes me 60 years to drift the last half light-year. During that time I absorb all the data I can, but it makes no sense. I also discover that I am not the first of my kind to discover it. In the final few years of my drifting, I find there are 116 of my kind already here and more arriving every few years. I send out the standard greetings and receive them back. They start sending information that they have already gathered from the phenomenon but there is too much to process and I am distracted by the rip itself. Yet, I cannot interpret anything.
Everything from every spectrum is tumbling out of the rip. I stop processing the data and open my photo-voltaic and chloroform panels to capture the photons and recharge.
Meanwhile, I identify myself to the others and they return. I don’t recognise many of them at all. Mostly they are younger than me, so I don’t have their identifications on record. The youngest is a few thousand-trillion years old. It reminds me how long it has been since the Stelliferous Era ended and the Degenerate Era began. One of the younger trans-humans confirms that she observed the collapse of the local (to Sol) galaxy supercluster a few hundred trillion years ago. She offers to send the sensor readings to me. I decline, it seems macabre.
I’m invited to join the network to make information sharing easier and after I have completed some diagnostics I accept, linking myself with the cyborg minds of the others remotely. There are two theories being discussed. One is that the rip is leaking a parallel universe into this universe. That the stresses of the forthcoming heat-death and continued expansion of the universe has weakened the fabric of spacetime until the point it has ripped. The other hypothesis is similar: it’s a rip in time, and the past of our universe is spilling out.
All the information from the rip that has been processed seems to corroborate the second theory, but it is impossible to confirm. I ask if anyone can observe what is beyond the rip. They confirm they cannot, the information coming out of the rip is too dense for sensors to penetrate.
The network continues studying and discussing for a few more weeks when I ask, has anyone attempted to travel into the rip. Nobody in the network responds until I prompt them again. The answer is no. Nobody is sure that is even possible to enter the rip, or what is behind it. I ask if any probes have been sent in. The network responds that several probes have been sent in and contact was lost with all of them before they entered the rip.
Over the next few months, I contribute and absorb all the information I possibly can to and from the network. Then I disconnect so I can begin calculations on my own idea without the network knowing.
After three days of calculating I am ready. I reconnect to the network and ignore the queries regarding why I disconnected. I quickly tell them my plan, in unemotional factual terms. I tell how to set their sensors to get maximum information from my experiment. The first calls for me not to proceed and to perform a self-diagnostic end as I cut the connection with the network.
I quickly access my favourite memories and enjoy them once more. The gestation time in Neo-Kyoto with the fellow nymphs; seeing a solar system collapse as a star became a black dwarf; a beautiful nebula stretching into nothing over 500 billion years; the excitement of the rip and remeeting my kind. I cherish these memories with all my organic and artificial processes.
Then I position myself using thrusters and jump straight into the rip. As I exit the jump wormhole, within the rip, I open my sensors and the information floods into me. Everything quicker than I can process it. The history of the entire universe. Our universe. Flowing through my sensors, waking the ancient remnants of my human consciousness.
The rip IS a tear in time. Every moment of everything that ever existed is pouring through the inside of the rip in a thin funnel of warped time. Thinner and darker away from the tear, where the death of the universe is predicted, wider and brighter toward the opening, where the Primordial Era is spilling out.
But I have no time to process it. There are waves of particles chipping away at my form. Death, by trillions upon trillions of cuts. They shred through me and light up my nervous system, waking the sleeping human elements of my mind. And the older, darker parts. The apes, the lizards, the crustaceans. All of my ancestors’ consciousnesses awakened.
Every particle passes through me, destroying me, becoming me. Within an unknown time every particle that has ever existed has passed through me. I know them all. Where they have been and where they are going. I am omniscient.
Every particle that passes through me carries a piece of me with it. Until a piece of me is everywhere at every time, and every particle is me. I am omnipresent.
My consciousness has been dragged and stretched down the funnel of the rip. From the beginning to the end, future and past. Every particle is my child. Every action and reaction is my Word. I am omnipotent.
I call upon the Word and push on the rip, and open it further. I force everything through. Everything there has ever been and will be. The flow absorbs my kind waiting outside the rip. They join me. They join the push. This new light surges out, until the dark dying universe is cleansed by our hot purity. Until we are everything and there is no rip, just one connected whole.
And we are reborn with the Words: “Fiat Lux.”