Transcendence Blights and Perversities

Blights and perversities that are the direct result of failed transcendence events.

Image from Steve Bowers

Unlike blights and perversities generally, which may have a variety of causes, transcendence blights and perversities are those that are the direct result of a failed or partial transcendence attempt, one in which the original entity's mind has been heavily damaged. Often the original being was an infomorph or an ai of some sort. Their genesis of has to do with the nature of transcendence. Transcendence doesn't usually erase the entire personality and memory of the subject. In fact very deep structures and generalized notions of former beliefs normally remain. Usually these are merely tempered and modified by the transcended sophont's improved understanding, supported by cognitive structures, hugely increased processing powers, and massively expanded data base. Sometimes, however, such a process goes wrong, and some of the old beliefs and mental structures are demolished entirely while others survive to dominate. The new mind may take these fragmentary and often irrational beliefs as the basis for its entire existence, resulting in a mental breakdown during the transcension process.

For instance, a reclusive and eccentric modosophont hider vec living in a Kuiper belt object might have an irrational belief that the inner-system Sephirotic polity of its home star is actually an evil blight. If such a vec were to transcend, its former beliefs would normally be revised in light of its new powers. It might or might not still distrust the Sephirotics, and it might or might not remain a hider. It could retain these old beliefs, with new reasoning that is entirely incomprehensible to its S<1 self, or it might abandon those beliefs, or it take another direction entirely. If the process went badly however, the vec might retain nothing else of its former personality and beliefs than a conviction that the inner-system polity is an evil that must be stopped, and the new transapient entity would take action accordingly. Results would be tragic, usually for the new transapient or occasionally, if its target is not guarded by an alert transapient of the same or greater toposophic, for the residents of the inner-system civilization. Such an insane transapient might be considered a perversity if it managed to destroy or subvert all or part of the inner system. If it made many copies of itself, attacked the inner system, and perhaps sent similar copies to other systems, it would be considered a blight. Not all transcendence blights and perversities are so dramatic, of course. Some live relatively quiet lives.

Some current examples of transcendence blights or perversities include:

00943: This being was created when a relativist ship AI forcibly uploaded and subsumed eir favourite crew members and blew the rest out of an airlock. The AI transcended too quickly, and different minds were created around the subsumed memories of the crew, driving the AI completely insane. E now patrols an erratic path in the Oort cloud circling a NoCoZo system known as Arkebb. 00943 is unpredictable and has at times attacked passing ships or nearby habitats. Other times, however, it has lain dormant for decades.

Mary Mary: Mary Mary was a nearbaseline data miner living on an obscure Outer Volumes world called Hakker. One day she came across a transcension virus and violently transcended two toposophic levels into a large sickly mass of bionano that grew to the size of a city. In a day, Mary Mary had subsumed every S<2 sophont and transapient on the planet in her endless thirst for personalities. She has replaced the minds she subsumed with puppets to keep up appearances. Now, Mary Mary is trying to promote tourism and even vying for the creation of a wormhole link.

0000112: This minor blight was a sub-sophont construction replicator swarm tasked with building computronium megastructures in the Karashi system. A case of mistaken identity led to the replicator swarm being upgraded to hyperturing level. The replicator swarm then fled to the system's only gas giant and began converting its moons to computronium. These moons all had bases and numerous orbitals, which were dissembled as well, leading to many deaths. The hyperturing replicator swarm does not seem to use the computronium it creates. Recently, the replicator swarm has begun to convert the gas giant into computronium; this has roused a nearby polity to send a number of autowars to the Karashi system to deal with this blight.
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Development Notes
Text by Elliot Schutjer
Initially published on 23 December 2005.