15,000 years or so before the September Incident, it went something like this:
Somehow, they'd survived. They'd peeled across the galaxy itself, launched by the combined force of a half dozen stellar combusters. Shielded by Rigor's endless mass, they'd subsisted on machine-assembled proteins and nutrients, suffering in the lonely dark at high speeds.
They weren't quite candidates, but they were the closest thing Rigor had. So it stung, in so far as Rigor can be stung, when they slipped from its grip in the light of the Golden Branch. As the bulk of its body bore deep into the ice of Ionias (and deeper still into slumber), they wrenched free from it and found land elsewhere, taking bits of the machine god with them.
There was a debate among the survivors, though. What to do with the remnants? With living technology that protected and provided for them in the dark just as it had once exploited and used them?
Some survivors joined under the banner of a young, charismatic leader--Chess Kesh--whose optimistic belief that the human spirit (and a lot of careful oversight) could control the power of Rigor's technology without being subsumed into a mechanical rhythm of dehumanization.
Others, the Apostles, preached that if people learned to shape a world such that Rigor felt itself unnecessary--a world where every individual strived to be their own best self without the gaze of a brutal supervisor--it would remain in slumber indefinitely. And so they built themselves a new leader, using what they knew from Rigor but never using its flesh--algorithmic and driven, they knew, towards singular end.
And though there was conflict, there wasn't war--after all, they'd all survived Rigor's whip and the brightest violence that the Diaspora could light. So they disengaged from each other, and found new, internal troubles to focus on. Until one day, new ships with old marks appeared on the horizon.
This week on COUNTER/Weight: A Splintered Branch, A Ringing Bell Pt. 3
The sky was blue beyond compare...
Hosted by Austin Walker (@austin_walker)
Produced by Ali Acampora
Music by Jack de Quidt