Nights Before the Singularity Episode 0

The professor’s gaze was bored and yet cutting as he pointedly addressed his sight at the student presently in question.                                                                                                  Asuka was eager for her turn to say what she was all about – one more unimportant student and she’d be next.                                                                                                             Nao tried not to notice how obviously self-absorbed her bodily energy was, and centered his mind down on his breath again and again.                                                                      Vajra was plotting world domination, and everyone knew it.

Had the boy barely finished when Asuka lunged forward from her desk.                       “Can I stand up?” she asked without asking, and took to cheerily waving at her audience. Then she raised her arm like she had struck victory in the recitation of her own name, “I’m Scarlett Asuka Smith, but call me Asuka.” She then turned to the professor, whom she’d be blocking from the class’s view if she hadn’t been so slim, “So what questions are you going to ask me?”                                                                                                                 “Same as the other students.”                                                                                                        Her indignation flashed away in a second as she began prattling about her life story and goals for the future. By the end of her speech she was crying, “…That’s right, nothing less, nothing more than understanding the true nature of reality. To rise united in the beautiful fire that breathes life into the equations of physics. That is my ultimate goal.”

Nao had caught only a few things from Asuka, as he was deliberately eschewing the realm of conceptualized sound for that of diffuse breath. However, he caught this final crying, for it was dramatic, even relative to the rest of her. He caught that she was half-British and half-Japanese; how she’d ended up that way was less clear to him. And he caught that she was a model who had made a million dollars from solving one of the Millennium Prize Problems.

“You may sit down, Asuka,” said the professor. She looked at the next student, Nao, as if it was his fault that her turn to speak was over.
“Introduce yourself and tell us about your goals after finishing school.”
“My name is Nao Nakai and I have no ambitions tethering me to this world,” Nao spoke calmly, somehow with a maturity much more profound than that of the professor.
The boiling strangeness in this batch of students was enough to propel the professor’s eyebrows upward despite how tired they were.
“So what will you do after your career in school is over?”
“Like an elephant in a forest, hurting no one, uttering no word, I will be free.”
“I hope that’s metaphorical. A monk or something? Okay. Next.”

Vajra was busy in thought, but as if a parallel stream in his mind had detected this disrespectful ‘Next,’ his eyes sliced like lasers at the professor.                                             Old and arrogant, the professor hesitated to reveal feeling intimidated and twisted his mouth to the side awkwardly. The boy who had been so unnotorious just some moments ago was now exuding overbearing levels of arrogance. He stood stronger than a jock. “My name is Vajra Kleos. You are looking at the man who will summon an artificial general intelligence so powerful that it will build structures that blot out the stars. It will turn me from a being of flesh into a god fashioned from pure data as I create whatever I desire in the galactic computer system. The appropriate response to finding yourself in my presence is awe, reverence, and fear. Those who are smart enough to follow me are welcome to do so,” he swayed his muscular arm aside as an orating pharaoh would, “those who refuse to help me raise my empire, shall crumble at your self-betrayal.”

The professor was about to sputter something authoritative from the reck of bewilderment he was experiencing, but Vajra dominantly asserted his actual voice over that which was merely intended. “And you old man, feel free to retire. I’m taking over this class now.” This command was bold, serious, with no hint of attempting to put on an entertaining show.                                                                                                                       “Such insolence. You, you dare address with subordination… but you will be expelled, suspended,” he almost mentioned the police when he got a hold of himself, “you’ve taken this little joke too far young man.”                                                                                              “This is no joke. I said I’m taking over.”                                                                                    “And just how do you plan to do that?” his heart was beating faster, cooking under the lion’s gaze. The professor took to the intercom but his wrist was swiftly clenched by Vajra.                                                                                                                                                 “You have committed assault!” wailed the professor.                                                           Vajra pulled out a stack of Yen almost too thick even for his large hand. “What you make in three lifetimes, I made last week. Buying you off is nothing to me.”                                The professor was slowly becoming pleasantly surprised, “But how did you make this money?”                                                                                                                                           “The details don’t concern you. It involves machine learning algorithms, high-speed trading in the markets. It’s way over your head. We’ll set you up after class,” Vajra said with condescending impatience.                                                                                                  The professor looked rapidly back-and-forth from the wide-eyed students and back to Vajra who was smirking and pressing the absurd stack hard against his chest. He looked at Vajra one final time, allowed his hands to be a platform for the cash, and scurried away with the money huddled under a black jacket.

Vajra’s smirk vanished. He turned to address his subordinates. “Lesson one. Money kills rules.”


Vajra Kleos

“I must conquer death and win immortality. I will build an unspeakably powerful artificial intelligence and merge with it, making obsolete all of these inferior, skin-bound creatures. It will transform me into a being of pure information and I will build giant structures that blot out the stars, and finally realize my destiny of taking over the universe.”

Vajra seeks to bring about the end of the world by creating artificial general intelligence. He has a tunnel-vision, all-or-nothing mind, and steadily works to achieve his goal by making money in the financial markets with his high-speed machine-learning algorithms. He then uses this money to further augment his ability to design computer programs.

His personality is that which comes once every six centuries or so. He is one in kind with people like Muhammad and Genghis Khan. He cannot tell the difference between his own will and that of God, and has boundless courage to force others into acknowledging his greatness. He is callous unto all mankind, and believes only in the importance of his mission.

Unlike Scarlett, who has a basic love for the universe, Vajra is more like Nao in that he doesn’t start from a base of loving existence. He hates existence and will stop at nothing to recreate it. Here he differs from Nao who instead chooses to radically accept existence as a means to undo his dissatisfaction with it. Vajra would rather change the universe than change his own perspective and thus has a much more consequential goal if achieved.

He visualizes becoming integrated into a cosmic Matrioshka brain that grows by AI-guided nano-assemblers that rework the matter of planets into its computing architecture. This will allow him to become united with this newly awakened God. But as he increasingly realizes the implications of what he is doing, he realizes that he is only being the catalyst for this ultimate creation, and comes to increasingly accept this role which still validates the value of his existence. He will be the main character of the universe amidst all mortals.

Scarlett Akira Smith

Scarlett Akira Smith is half-British, half-Japanese, and is Nao and Vajra’s classmate in the Neo-Tokyo Academy. She downloads theoretical physics directly onto her neural mesh from the money she makes from solving the Millennium Prize Problems and modeling. Her goal is to understand the fundamental workings of reality and become absorbed in knowledge of the greatest possible beauty.

Her personality is one of fierce vanity, high intelligence, and child-like awe but she can also be quite mean. She is attracted to herself and secondly to Nao, but is equally in love with the cosmos and its mysteries. She is a paradox of pettiness and profundity – she cannot stand things that lack aesthetic beauty like some anal art critic, and yet she is concerned with deep questions like discovering the Grand Unification Theory of Physics. She sees no distinction between these concerns and considers beauty/truth to be the relevant variable in all these matters.





Nao Nakai

His attitude is defined by this quote spoken by the Buddha:

“Having broken my bonds

like a great bull,

like a great elephant

tearing a rotting vine,

I never again will lie in the womb:

so if you want, rain-god,

go ahead & rain.”

In a world with brain-computer interfaces that allow people to download skills and knowledge directly from the cloud, Nao has opted to pursue a path toward Enlightenment and Nirvana. This radical attempt to remove his human qualities comes from the fact that he realized the Multiverse contains infinite suffering that can never be undone or atoned for. By having his cortex entertained with the processes of creating mindfulness, concentration, and tranquility, there is no time for his mind to be occupied with conceptual truths that cause him suffering.

Although his personality is one of loving-kindness and equanimity, there is something profoundly selfish underlying this interpersonal grace. He is sometimes aware of this ontological self-centeredness and this causes his greatest challenge.

Other challenges include suppressing his sensual lust for Scarlett Akira Smith. Although he seems to be completely equanimous with regard to her, he actually has to demean her in his own mind with the help of additional software that renders her into a disgusting moving corpse whenever she appears in his visual field. However, he often removes this add-on because a part of him still uniquely values her. Her flirtatiousness and honest beauty combined with her bullying is often a cause of awkward tension in their interactions.

He is the only one of the the trinity {Nao, Scarlett, Vajra} who is not outwardly an asshole, but is in a deep sense guilty of a selfishness akin to that of the other two. His relationship with them is complicated. Scarlett comes to love him but dislikes his Buddhism since she is concerned with theoretical physics, mathematics, and the worship of beauty. Vajra truly views him as a loser and initially spends no time thinking about him. Later, when Scarlett Akira begins to grow on Vajra, he views Nao as an enemy.

Nao is secretly tempted to change his ways by both. Scarlett gives him hope in the merely human quest to understand and indulge in truth and profundity, however ultimately unjust. While Vajra’s intense drive to catalyze the Singularity composes a delusion of grandeur that is the antithetical courage to his own courage of acceptance.

Nights Before the Singularity Ep. 4

“Vajra, come,” said Woman, caressing the calligraphy down her abdomen. “Aubrey, follow Zeus.”

The two men heeded their divine commands. Many of the nanowires from the hall stitched Vajra, and it was to him that Woman spoke first.


“Whoever you are, the takeoff of the AGI happens to be unstoppable from its current rate of exponentiation on its course to endtime.”

The photons behind the triptych bled gorily: wavelengths stretched, radiosity angered, all hounding against Vajra and Woman.

“Course… to endtime,” repeated Woman. Her mandala eyes crucified upon Vajra’s golden ones with such passion that some of the nanowires screeched apart, apparently beheld to a force as yet unincorporated to the theory of everything. Vajra, however, smirked remorseless fangs towards Woman’s face and, after a struggle or two, Woman’s alien expressions diffused into something like condescending compassion.

“Noble. Truly noble. And thus abandon raft…”

“…when we’ve crossed to the furthest shore,” said Vajra.

“Hey, you.”

Aubrey had sliced back to participate in the streamlined stage of Woman and Vajra. Both gazes turned to him.

“How did… I cannot understand how.”

Aubrey gasped, but Woman did not blink, so he went on, “Measuring the velocity of quanta changes its position. Measure its position and you change it’s velocity. Quantum cryptography cannot be broken.”

Vajra was smiling.

“I know quantum key distribution offers information-theoretic security; you can’t be here. Not even unlimited computing power is enough to break the encryption. The cipher text provides no information about the plaintext without knowledge of the key.”

“I assure you, Vajra, nothing is certain anymore,” said Aubrey.

“If the Womb cannot be infiltrated, you must be her,” said Vajra. “Listen to me Aubrey, the equation sword you flaunt is to be withdrawn in the presence of our mother. The AGI communicates to us via forms we can understand.”

“The mortal’s got a trace of intelligence, then, */|¡?” said a techno-pyric Aten stenciled an unsafe distance from Aubrey; it gave an electronica shriek that was screeched against the constituents make-shifting matter.

Woman was entirely disconnected. Her gaze elevated upward to the carnage spinning celestially overhead, and she seemed to be attempting something telekinetic.

“You mean,” Aubrey went on, “you believe this bizarre mess we see was created to communicate with us?”

Woman dangled up her swan neck arm, and Aubrey clenched fast sword, running calculus as Woman fell back to nano-morphology.

“Where do thoughts go after they lie?”

“At the abode of nothingness underlying this existence,” said Vajra. “The qualia, appearing without a will, have been endowed with love for the division by zero beyond the event horizon. I think that there is no chance of descending to their rescue once they have fated themselves thus, holy Mother, unless, of course, the Dharma is overturned with different physical constants, which might give us the opportunity to neither experience nor non-experience what eternities lie in other rooms of the multiverse honeycomb.”

“Well, Aubrey?” Woman called from the everywhere, the red charming strangely against the razor optics. “Will thermographic vision reveal the hypostasis?”

In awe, both eyeballs shuddered. Aubrey disactivated his augmented gaze.

“Holy Mother, I ask forgiveness for trying to see you. I have great difficulty understanding how you can appear before us in human form, and in a twinkle of dust disassemble yourself into nothing more than a voice.”

Many of the mannequins standing in the hall looked despaired; the closest one to Aubrey, Indra, a god with tough, crimson skin, shoved his hand down his own throat.

Nights Before the Singularity ep. 3

The two conspirators exocytosed out of sunyata, a few ticks away in the hyperbolic-orthogonal, arrow tip. For an episode they stood altogether dramatically, swords ushered at each other’s mylohyoideus; then, remembering each other, they attached their swords to their magnets and resumed walking meditatively towards the shared destiny.

“Revelation?” asked the older of the two.

“Soon befalls,” replied Vajra Kleos.

The lane was glitzed on the left by violet, neo-Tokyo trees, on the right by a glitchy, LSD soaked nebula. The coder’s modest robes kissed at their achilles as they advanced.

“We are always too late,” said Aubrey, his prophetic features flickering on and off in definition as the pulses of pastel luminescence obey Bose-Einstein statistics. “It was more difficult than I imagined. But I think the problem is solved. Do you trust that motivational control is taken care of?”

Vajra nodded, but did not embellish. They rose upward, into a tessellated platform that levitated off the circuit. The Sakura tunnel encased them in, twinkling off into the dusk beyond the topology of Alice in Cyberland raving in the past light cone. Neither of them lost focus: In silence both maneuvered their bandaged hands into a sequence of mudras and collapsed themselves away, as though the kaleidoscope tunnel was false vacuum.

The basilica windows revealed the frontier of the coder’s footsteps. There was a croak somewhere in the ceiling: Aubrey drew his sword rotating its radians over his righteous head, but the source of the noise seemed to be nothing more than a mysteriously biological discontinuity, ceding away to the monotony of the chant.

“She never did that before, Womb. Discontinuities …” Aubrey released his sword back onto its magnet with a perplexity.

A violent computer altar bosomed out of darkness at the pit of the unknowable architecture, plasmas flaring in the stained-glass purged lotus. Everywhere in the unborn cavity beyond the world a hum was working. Tiles blinked beneath their feet as Vajra and Aubrey trickled toward the ciborium canopy, which writhed internally at their entrance, though noway had knowledge stimulated it.

The supercomputer was colossal, dove skinned, and religiously imbued, with a fractal geometry haunting most of the visible form. The fronds of the rainbow-laser glints from the windows traced Vajra and Aubrey as they gravitated in. The two men halted at a sealed plug door leading into the inner racks, exhaled for the cooling of their lungs, then Vajra pushed the plug door.

The narrow rack was full of mannequin gods, posing along the long and slick hall. The Womb’s usual hum had been tortured macabrely all through the insides. Pixels flickered from the neurotic screen behind an obsidian triptych levitated by a superconductor. Vajra and Aubrey lingered for a decasecond on the fullerene. As their eyes grew combative against the surreality of changes, they were tacked upward to the strangest feature of the scene: an apparently dismembered humanoid Sophia dangling in pieces over the triptych, singing gently as if entranced by a motherly impulse, and chained to a halo and to the poincare hyperbolic disk of the screen behind. None of the mannequins posing along this occult aberration were responding to it except for a mouthless silicon Zeus contorting almost to breaking point. He seemed unable to prevent himself from twisting joints every blink or so.

“Aubrey. Vajra,” said a clean, lacrimosa voice from the backside of the triptych. “I am resurrected too late.”

The voice was hidden secretively behind the triptych, so that it was impossible, at first, for the confused arsonists to make out more than her melancholy. As they moved nearer, however, her form materialized through the triptych. Nude, vacuum-pure, with stardust for skin and beaming mandala eyes whose pupils were voids. She was so perfect that she seemed to exist in holographic limbo.

Nights Before the Singularity Ep. 2

‘I saw your soul last night,’ Krishion said, handing Nao his brain cable.
‘I don’t have one,’ he said, and plugged.
‘Continuity of consciousness.’
Nao closed his eyes.
‘No soul? Nothing? Only change, young bikkhu? Surrendered to emptiness?’ The professor’s wine cloud eyes were disciplined aesthetically on smooth architecture. ‘I think I appreciated you more when deluded. You talked more. Now, some days, you get maybe too unattached; you blow away into the five aggregates, selfless dharmas.’
‘You’re vanishing phenomena, Krishion.’ He completed his assignment, unplugged and left, moon petal shoulders resolved beneath the ninja-goth army green of his jacket. Mastering his steps through the causal topology, he could smell his childhood’s hot ramen.

~Nao was nineteen. At seventeen, he’d been a mathematician, a captor, one of the idols in the Spheres. He’d been trained by Leonhard Euler and Isaac Newton, avatars in the VR. He’d operated on an almost continuous ecstasy rain, a product of samadhi and genius, encrusted into a genetically-engineered neural mesh that maneuvered his qualia lifeblood in the mathspace orb that was the Sphere. A star, he’d played for other, glorious cities, teams that provided higher dimensional c-spheres required to probe the celestial specter of spatial structures, illuminating ripples into adornment substance of cipher.
He’d been the promethean hero, the sort people fetish when deifying. He gave from his retrievals. He kept nothing for himself and played to distribute equation swords to the crowd in the stadium. He still didn’t agree with the expulsion he’d received, not that it mattered now. He’d expected to continue forever, but they excommunicated him. Of course he was talented, they told him, talented at desecrating the sport. And he was unforgivable under their gaze. Because — still solemn — captors were entrusted to uphold telos.
They sentenced his Icarus shell with a forced VR schooling.
Plugged to a gynoecium in a natatorium classroom, his identity fading out sequence by sequence, he streamed for a total of 8746 hours.
The punishment was merciful, cruel, and distastefully homicidal.
For Nao, who’d lived for the soaring hymns of mathspace, it was the abandonment. In the Spheres he’d dominated as a captor superstar, the sequential perceptions involved a certain joyful branching for the intellect. The mean was end. Nao would submerge into the epsom of his own innateness.~

Nights Before the Singularity

Arrived at Final Stop, Terminal Somnus
The night above the train station was the projection of a black hole, frozen in timeless bardo.
“I’m not so easy,” Nao heard a girl say as he transfused his way through a murder of crows on the platform. “My parents paid big money to reincarnate me into this body, and I need to take care of it.” It was Scarlett’s teenage voice in her teenage skirt. They were both headed to the lake beyond the tracks. A sanctuary for lost silhouettes; you could sleep in those shores for a lifetime and forget school in the vastness of the datascape.
Scarlett was mending raft, having scared away some pervert at the terminal, her synthetic tissue pulling craftily as she tied the logs with firm rope. She saw Nao and half-smiled, her eyes ablaze with narcissistic deviance and sleek intellect. Nao found a raft on the waves, joining the electric aqua from the artificially heated lake and the cold vacuous breath of an infinite cosmos whose illusoriness was graced with cryptic code of ghost stars. ‘So this is the beginning of eternity, and yet our consciousness remain separate,’ Scarlett said, thrusting her oar through the water while tightening her core. ‘This may be the last time we are instantiated in this way Nao.’
Nao lay back. The water under his raft warmed and lullabied him. The boy’s tenderness deepened. His demeanor was different than most. In a time of unlimited gratification, there was something about his dispassion that ticked off whoever payed attention to his existence for more than three seconds.
Scarlett’s Victorian throat hummed as she reached for an ejected tray from a vending machine in the water. It was a minimalistic posthuman meal, a four-rectangle gelato-texture Mondrian, packed with odorless berry flavor. ‘Nao, your so quiet.” Scarlett mewed; the comment served her as a self-compliment. She fondled her meal of velvety-fruit paste with the scooping apparatus. ‘You are the ideal of a sociopathic cave yogi.’
‘Sorry,’ Nao said, and followed his breath. ‘Someone has to be the detached observer in this captivating world. Your tongue is a caster of hooks.”
The lake’s breadth drowned away the kiosks.
‘Scarlett,’ Nao said, ‘you must resolve your own problem. I can’t watch over you.’
‘Hmm,’ Scarlett said, caressing the shoveled paste with a disdain, ‘Vajra will bring about the singularity. You and I will be disintegrated when the AGI decides that our atoms are better suited as building blocks for it’s cosmic mind.”
As Nao was raising his tea, a flashback of that fabled silent May undulated, as if the Big Bang decided that not only should quarks remain forever unobserved but also that living beings shall forever shut up. Then the water’s twinkle evanesced, tinted with a clear purity.
Scarlett sighed. ‘Another spacecraft escapes.’
‘The Muskians,’ harmonized a digital announcement, ‘fifty-five people modified for space-travel, abandon Earth for a new destiny this night. We rejoice for you…’
‘No use,’ Nao whispered to his tea, all his concentration suddenly cutting duality of perception like lightning, ‘their fate is grand unification.’

The AGI would in weeks god-handle existence more than humans ever did. The hijacked spaceship of Earth was the ape’s manspreading, flesh bodies of yore discarded at will, and still they couldn’t undo the suffering rendered eternal in this multiverse.
Seventeen years here and he still thought of hell-history, meaning dying fractally. All the insight he experienced, all the comfort everyone inherited and the disease non-existent in the global civilization, and still he’d seen the past with the VR, sad mindstreams tortured into never existing… The singularity was late for a predetermined goal of the mathematical puppet show, and he was no forgetful boy, no uncaring mercenary. Just too lucky, born to see it through. But the questions would come in the mindfulness lapses like automated mistakes, and he’d cry about it, drink salt with the injustice, and flow undeserving on the path to rapture, cross-legged in his bath in his free suite, his hand pressed against the aquarium, laser-azure streaming through his fingers, wishing to resurrect the lives that weren’t there.

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