This page is for making plans about how to help improve Cellular Civilization. Feel free to fix errors and make additions to the basic story that already exists.
This story takes place in the "Exodemic Fictional Universe". Aliens from far beyond Earth have long ago visited our world. For the most part, those aliens allow life on Earth to develop without interference and, in fact, the aliens do not appear in this story. However, the aliens have in the past taken some humans from Earth into outer space and there is an underground city on the Moon where humans with advanced technologies live, hidden from Earth humans. Sometimes a few of these technologically advanced humans visit Earth and interfere with the course of events on Earth (see Interventionists).
In Part I of Cellular Civilization, some Interventionists are shown trying to help an Earth human develop new internet technologies, but blatant interference in the course of events on Earth is frowned upon by the Overseers. The Overseers are a kind of police force that tries to find Interventionists and prevent them from working on Earth.
In Part I of Cellular Civilization, the target of the Interventionists is a college student named Stefiz al-Arabid. Stefiz has been programming computers since the age of 8 and her talent for creating new computer software has come to the attention of an Interventionist named Dexamene Gregores. Dexamene wants to help Stefiz and invites her to join a secret technology development project that will allow her to collaborate with others on Earth who are also given help by Dexamene with the goal to speed up the development of computer technology on Earth.
This rather routine case of Dexamene interfering in the course of events on Earth quickly becomes unusual in two ways. First, Stefiz is romantically involved with another college student named Charles Parker who has a serious genetic defect. Dexamene decides that it will be best for Stefiz if Charlie is "subtracted" from her life. Dexamene creates a plan for faking Charlie's death and removing him from Earth. Such extractions of humans from Earth are fairly routine for Interventionists and, in fact, this is the way that many humans are taken from Earth and merged into the population of humans who live in outer space and at bases such as the underground city on the Moon. More importantly, Dexamene must deal with the fact that an Overseer has discovered her Interventionist team on Earth. Dexamene quickly improvises a plan that will allow the Overseers to be fooled into believing that they have captured all the members of Dexamene's team.
In order to trick the Overseers, Dexamene makes use of the fact that she has several genetically identical (cloned) sisters. Dexamene decides to "sacrifice" one of her sisters, turning her over to the Overseers. This will allow Dexamene to continue her work on Earth as an Interventionist.
Dexamene makes use of several advanced technologies to facilitate her Interventionist work on Earth. In particular, she makes use of robots and nanotechnology. Some of the characters in the story are robots. The nanotechnology is used for many purposes such as small and mobile spying and communications devices, prosthetic devices that allow Interventionists to alter their appearance and for altering the memories and thought patterns of Earth humans.
In Part I, Dexamene realizes that ancient robots such as Andresklo are not merely servants and aids to human Interventionists, they are of central importance to the Interventionist program. Dexamene suggests that Earth has a "cellular civilization", brought into existence by means of Andresklo's Interventionist cells guiding humans to new technologies and new advances.
The story is not exactly a linear narrative. The perspectives of multiple characters are provided, so there are points in the story where parallel events are happening at the same time in different chapters. Part I of the story takes place during one week, from Sunday to Saturday. The story mostly takes place on or near a college campus. Each chapter is named after one character who is particularly important for the events described in that chapter. Part I mostly takes place on Earth.
This page is intended to be similar to the cover of a novel, providing a short introduction to the story.
For convenience, the first section of this chapter is a "teaser" that takes place on Sunday. "CrystalCarbon" is a computer screen name used by Stefiz al-Arabid. The first page section is not from the perspective of Stefiz (she is not even present), but the mysterious couple that is shown arriving in the airport is on the way to change Stefi's life. This first page section introduces the idea of an advanced technology, nanites, being use on Earth and also introduces several of the main characters. In particular, the man and woman shown having just arrived at the airport are not conventional residents of Earth. One is a robot (Alfred) and the woman (Dexamene) is from a human civilization that has long resided in outer space and which has bases located on other planets and on the Moon. The young man in this page section, Thomas, is haunted by visions produced by defective nanites that have mistakenly accumulated in his brain. This "teaser" is meant to establish the fact that the story is science fiction set in our time, but while the setting is conventional, there are mysterious strangers with advanced technologies who are casually walking among us.
Most of this chapter takes place from shortly before 8:00 am on a Monday until later that same day and is told from the perspective of Stefiz al-Arabid, a computer science student. Stefiz is depicted as a fairly conventional university student with normal concerns such as completing a homework assignment before the due date. Her rather conventional life as a student begins to change when Stefiz receives a strange phone call from a cyber-stalker, screen name: PAlbert. Only later does the reader learn that "PAlbert" is actually Dexamene, an Interventionist who wants to recruit Stefiz into a secret technology development project. After her morning classes, Stefiz has a late lunch with her friend Charlie then meets her friend Jenny at the library. Stefiz has been romantically entangled with Charlie for about a year, but she spends more time with Jenny working on computer software projects than she spends with Charlie.
This chapter is from the perspective of Dexamene Gregores, also known as PAlbert. From the end of her conversation with Stefiz shortly before 8:00 am on Monday and on into the night. Dexamene Gregores has moved into a dormitory room across the street from Stefiz and is monitoring her activities. That afternoon, Dexamene sends an email to Stefiz then meets Charlie at the library. Charlie and Dexamene (as Lanora) have dinner together.
Gradually, the reader learns that Dexamene is an Interventionist. She has only been on Earth working as an Interventionist for a short time, so she makes some important mistakes in how she performs her work. However, she is greatly assisted by the fact that she can draw on the past experience of Andresklo and some implanted memories from previous Interventionist agents, including her mother (who died several thousand years previously). Dexamene is still struggling with some of the ethical issues raised by her work, but from among her group of eight genetically identical sisters, she was the one selected to serve on Earth, largely because of her ruthless commitment to the Interventionist mission that requires the breaking of fundamental laws that are designed to allow worlds like Earth to develop independently.
Monday afternoon and on through Tuesday and into early Wednesday from the perspective of Charlie, a pre-med student and friend of Stefiz. Lanora drives Charlie home after dinner. Charlie calls Stefiz and learns that she is mad at him for being with Lanora. Charlie calls Lanora and they arrange to meet for breakfast. After classes are over Lanora takes Charlie across town to her house. Charlie meets Lanora's "Uncle" Andresklo and spends the night at her house. Charlie and Lanora start making plans to invite Stefiz to a party on Saturday.
Charlie is being manipulated by Dexamene who has sent nanites into his brain and who is also flooding him with pheromones. However, Charlie is not completely under her control and he can still wonder who Dexamene is and why such a woman would bother to pay any attention to him. Charlie is amazed by Dexamene's depth of knowledge about physics and hopeful that he can develop an intellectual relationship with her. He is intimidated by her physical beauty and suspects that she is trying to manipulate him for some unknown reason. Still, he is powerless to resist the opportunity to spend time with Dexamene.
Charlie is in love with Stefiz and does not want to damage his relationship with her by entering into a new relationship with Dexamene. Charlie works hard to get Stefiz to interact with Dexamene and see that Charlie enjoys talking to her about physics, but Stefiz instinctively knows that Charlie is physically attracted to Dexamene and Charlie knows that he has no real hope of being able to prevent Stefiz from being jealous.
Late Tuesday from the perspective of Marisa ("Mary") Bercovich. Mary reports to Campus Security that a strange woman has been snooping around the dorm room of Dexamene Gregores. Mary tells Dexamene about the intruder and Dexamene departs the dorm, never to return. Dexamene, an Interventionis, realizes that she is now being tracked by an Overseer.
Mary enjoys enforcing the strict rules of her dormitory. When the Overseer, Amelia, comes to the dorm and is looking for Dexamene and evidence of Interventionist activity, Mary tries to figure out what is going on. Mary already knows that Dexamene is not a typical student and she will not rest until she learns what Dexamene is up to.
About 8:00 am on Wednesday. Jennifer Van Coak, a computer science student and friend of Stefiz has worked through the night on the computing club's Virtual Campus. Stefiz arrives at the computer club's office and is worried about Charlie. Jennifer helps Stefiz use the Virtual Campus to search for Charlie.
Jenny is the best friend of Stefiz. Jenny knows that Stefiz is in love with Charlie and she is protective of Stefiz. Jenny recognizes that Stefiz is shy and socially immature and Jenny deeply regrets having herself rushed into an early marriage which quickly fell apart. Jenny wonders if she is being selfish is monopolizing Stefiz's spare time, but as far as she can tell she is just providing a supportive friendship for Stefiz, something that Stefiz seems to want more than a romantic relationship with Charlie. Sometimes Jenny and Stefiz talk about the idea of working together in the future to start a software development company.
Wednesday afternoon from the perspective of Stefiz. PAlbert visits Stefiz and invites her to join a secret technology development project. Charlie calls Stefiz and invites her to the party at Lanora's house on Saturday.
For the past week Dexamene has been trying to prepare Stefiz for learning about the existence of the secret Interventionist project for technology development. Dexamene has used nanites to prepare Stefiz's mind for the idea that someone has been monitoring her online activities. The nanites have monitored her mind for the expected negative reactions to "cyberstalking" and modified her reaction to emphasize curiosity and a feeling of self-confidence. A month before their face-to-face meeting, Dexamene tested Stefiz for her ability to function constructively in difficult online social networking situations.
In the past few days, Dexamene has also been using nanites to gradually weaken Stefiz's emotional attachment to Charlie. Stefiz is worried about the extent to which Dexamene is able to control her thoughts and decisions, but she decides that it would be better to make use of Dexamene's promised help than to try to reject that help.
Thursday morning, Catherine O’Neil confronts the strange woman who has been looking for Dexamene.
Cathy has served in the military and is not intimidated by Amelia. Cathy calls 9-1-1 and tries to engage Amelia in conversation and tries to delay her from leaving before the police arrive. Amelia is particularly dangerous because, as an Overseer, she is genetically derived from Neanderthals and trained to use her own great natural strength and nanite implants to defend herself.
Thomas is a computer science student and a member of the computer club. He has been in classes with Jenny and Cathy and likes both of them, but he is struggling to deal with his "mental health problems" which arise from the fact that during his whole life he has "seen visions" that nobody else can see. He now partially accepts what his doctors have told him: that he has a mental illness and that he should learn to ignore his "visions". During the party at Lanora's house, he is suspicious of Lanora; he thinks she is a spy who is gathering information about university students for unknown reasons, or even worst: she will abduct someone, possibly Stefi or Charlie. This chapter describes how he has come to think about events in his life according to this type of paranoid logic. Thomas has an unusual brain that acts as a "trap" for stray and defective nanites. What he has actually seen in his "visions" is created by nanites in his brain that are in partial contact with the Overseer, Observer and Interventionist communications networks on Earth, but he has no knowledge about nanites and does not understand what he has seen.
Thomas is first introduced in a short scene at the start of Cellular Civilization. Dexamene is in the airport returning from a quick emergency side-trip to Japan. Alfred got in trouble in Japan and is at risk of being capture by Overseers. Dexamene brings Alfred back from Japan in order to protect him. Thomas is returning to campus from a visit to his doctor in his home town, and he notices Dexamene and recognizes her from a dream vision. He excitedly approaches her. She thinks he is insane. Their meeting at the airport has two consequences:
1) Thomas touches Dexamene and inadvertently carries some of her cells to a nanite probe "sniffer" that is located in the airport. The Observers routinely maintain nanite probe scanning systems in all of the world's airports which are used by the Overseers to watch for Interventionist agents who are on Earth illegally. The Overseers constantly monitor data from nanite probe "sniffers" on Earth and they notice two correspondences between the locations of Dexamene's genetic pattern and Alfred's nanorobotic brain siignature; one in Japan and one in the airport near the university. This triggers a special police action by the Overseers and they send an Overseer agent from the Moon to Earth in order to hunt for a suspected Interventionist cell. The Overseer is able to track Dexamene to the university.
2) Dexamene later sees Thomas at the university. She studies him and learns about his special brain. Dexamene decides to make use of Thomas for her plan about how to sacrifice Lanora and Alfred to the Overseer. Dexamene uses nanite probes to plant the idea in Thomas that Alfred is a robot. The unusual brain of Thomas traps some of Dexamene's memory-modifier nanites in his brain. These nanites will later attract the attention of the Overseer.
All goes according to Dexamene's plans until the party. Thomas "looks" (he actually makes use the nanites trapped in his brain) into a locked bedroom and sees Dexamene and Tess together, both "looking like Dexamene". Later, the Overseer captures Alfred and also learns from a quick scan of Thomas' brain and nanites that there are two Interventionist clones on Earth. This disrupts Dexamene's original plans and new choices must be made under emergency conditions during the party. In particular, rather than just make it look like Charlie dies in the tanker truck crash, it must look like one of the two Interventionist clones also dies (Lanora).
I'm interested in further development of the "Thomas" character in the direction of assuming that he inherited a genetic predisposition to being a host for defective nanites. My assumption is that there have always been some humans who have a genetic background that is linked to Interventionists from off of Earth. We can assume that Genesaunts are genetically engineered to work efficiently with nanites and those genetic modifications can be passed into the gene pool of Earth humans...which would be illegal and a violation of the rules of intervention, but possible under extraordinary circumstances. The lineages of Earth humans who can interact with nanites and obtain information from them would have access to a source of knowledge that is not available to most Earth humans and they would generally be unaware of why they are different from most Earth humans. I'm assuming that Thomas' mother named him in honor of Thomas the Apostle after becoming aware of how people like Elaine Pagels interpret the Gospel of Thomas.
"He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him." <-- We can pretend that such statements are garbled translations of descriptions of using nanites to pass knowledge between individuals in the same way that we see Dexamene transferring Alfred's nanorobotic mind back into his body at the start of Cellular Civilization and we can also assume that Thomas was infected by nanites moving from his mother into his brain even before he was born.
When Elaine Pagels says, "to know oneself, at the deepest level, is simultaneously to know God: this is the secret of gnosis.... Self-knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical," we can pretend that since all life on Earth (including humans) has been strongly shaped by alien influence over the past billion years, humans are essentially the creation of those aliens and in order for Earth Humans to appreciate this fact they can just as well look inward: recognizing what we are is the best way most Earth humans have of putting us in contact with what made made us. This kind of thinking applies to many religions and philosophies from around the world since they have been influenced by thousands of years of interactions with Interventionists and some of the secrets of human origins have leaked into human society, in garbled ways. For example, Buddhism can be interpreted as being based on similar ideas about it being possible to escape from the fate of Earthly existence and transcend to a higher awareness, first by looking inward and becoming aware of who/what you are.
Currently, the story shows Thomas being relieved of the collection of nanites that his brain has attracted. The robot ho performs the "extraction" (Raul) is working under orders from Petrif to obtain the nanites and send them to her for analysis.
From the perspective of Andresklo: Thursday. Getting Charlie ready to be moved off Earth. Andresklo is another robot working with Dexemene.
Andresklo has been helping Interventionists for a very long time (and doing so while using a robotic body with human form) for as long as there have been humans. His brain's capabilities and the flexible pattern of his thoughts are similar in complexity to those of a human, but he functions as an assistant to Interventionist agents like Dexamene. Thousands of years previously Andresklo served in the same capacity with Dexamene's mother. Individual human agents come and go, but Andresklo serves as an important source of continuity and institutional memory for the Interventionists. When Amelia closes in on Dexemene's Interventionist cell and her plans start to unravel (but are saved by Andresklo's quick thinking), Dexamene begins to realize just how important Andresklo to the entire Interventionist strategy.
Andresklo must prepare Yasas and Ferace for their roles in forcing Charlie to abandon his romantic interest in Stefi. Both Yasas and Ferace are brought to Earth on short notice to help Dexamene with her plans. Those plans must change daily as Dexamene reacts to the fact that an Overseer is closing in on her.
Ferace impersonates Stefiz. In that role she does what Stefi would not be able to do: encourage Charlie to spend time with Lanora. Only on Earth for a day, Ferace then returns to the Moon.
From the perspective of a robot using the name "Alfred Lincoln": Thursday afternoon. Receives word through police channels about the physical assault on Catherine O’Neil. Lincoln relays a warning to "Uncle" Andresklo. Friday, Lincoln and Dexamene set a trap for the Overseer who is hunting Dexamene.
Alfred is a robot used by Dexamene for routine tasks. In particular, Dexamene set up a "cover story" in case anyone asks questions about her unusual behavior and circumstance while she is posing as a student. Her "cover" is that she is in a witness protection program. Alfred is able to intercept and answer inquiries about Dexamene that come from law enforcement personnel and campus security.
Alfred is a relative young robot (compared to Andresklo). With time and experience, robots are able to learn how to think in less linear patterns and in more complex ways (more like humans). Alfred is just starting to acquire some human-like thought patterns. This is an important change because humans do not worry about the destruction of robots as long they are only capable of following the programs that were built into them. However, when robots start showing an ability to think creatively and start finding ways to abandon their programming in favor of adopting new patterns of behavior that they decide are better, based on past experience, then humans start being concerned about protecting the unique features of such robotic brains. These "advanced" robotic brain patterns can be recorded and instantiated in other robot brains. Alfred is shown having some self-doubt about his own mind and the idea that he can decide not to follow orders or laws. He is not sure if his growing powers for self-determination are good or too dangerous to be allowed.
In fact, "Alfred" is an artificially crafted robotic persona, with a kind of simplified "subset" of Raul's robotic mind. He is used to attract Overseer attention as part of a larger plan to bring some unusual nanites (that are inside Thomas) to the attention of Yasas. Her familiarity with those unusual nanites will play an important role in Part II, when Yasas detects similar nanites in the brain of a person on Callisto.
Friday and Saturday, from the perspective of Lanora. Friday evening, Lanora becomes the target of the Overseer. After the party, it is made to appear that Lanora and Charlie are killed in a spectacular accident, but in reality they are taken off Earth along with Alfred. Alfred and another clone of Dexamene (Tess) are sacrificed to the Overseer and go to the Moon as prisoners.
The "Lanora" persona is created by Dexamene as a tool for manipulating Charlie. Dexamene intends to continue functioning as an Interventionist agent on Earth, so she brings down two of her sisters, Yasas and Tess. Yasa adopts the "Lanora" persona and leaves Earth with Charlie.
Before Yasas agrees to Dexamene's plan, she expresses her concern that there be reason to believe that Charlie will truly be willing to leave Earth and abandon his dream of advancing Earth's medical technology. Yasas believes that in order for Charlie to make the adjustment to life within Genesaunt culture she will have to stay with him and help him create a new life off of Earth. She has a strong commitment to the idea that Interventionists should do no harm to Earth and the inhabitants of Earth. While performing nanorobotic memetic surgery on Charlie, she Dexamene adjusts Yasas' emotions so as to more strongly attach her to Charlie.
Friday and Saturday, from the perspective of Tess. Tess arrives on Earth, adopts the role of "Dexamene" and is captured by the Overseer.
Tess is one of eight clones, the sister of Dexemene and Yasas. Tess is an artist and is willing to be sacrificed to the Overseers and play the role of Dexemene so that the Overseers will think that Dexemene and her Inteventionist cell has been cleared from Earth. After being captured by Amelia and taken to the Moon, Tess will be able to adopt the lifestyle of an artist, there being a large number of artists living in the Observer Base on the Moon.
The Overseer who come to Earth in order to capture Dexamene's Interventionist cell. This chapter includes scenes from across the entire week during which the story occurs.
Amelia is totally devoted to enforcing the Rules of Intervention and she takes a very strict view of what constitutes unwanted intervention into Earthly affairs. A serious limitation on how efficiently Overseers can police Earth is that they are not allowed to use very advanced technologies on Earth, so Interventionists are generally able to keep one step ahead of the Overseers. The ultimate result of this balance of powers is that Interventionists can make significant changes in how life develops on Earth, but they must do so in a secretive way so that Earthlings remain unaware of what is going on. Amelia, like all Overseers, has no idea that the history of Earth is a long history of interventions....Overseers think that they efficiently identify and remove Interventionists from Earth.
Saturday, Dexamene sacrifices her sister and Alfred to the Overseer.
The last page section (Robot in black) is a kind of epilog. It is mostly from the perspective of the robot that had received Alfred's downloaded memories (Raul), but it includes a conversation with Dexamene.
Dexamene starts to become aware of the fact that Andresklo provides a significant advantage to Interventionists over Overseers. The logical conclusion is that although most people think that Interventionists are criminals, in fact, the only interventions that are illegal are those that might allow Earthlings to become aware of the Genesaunt culture that exists beyond Earth.
While Overseers are strongly biased against robots that might develop a capacity for self-determination, Interventionists foster and welcome such independence in their robots and their use of Robots on Earth gives them a significant advantage over the Overseers. Raul is shown struggling to escape his programming and accept the idea that Interventionism can actually be a good thing. Dexamene is shown pushing up against the boundary of Interventionists actions that might go "too far" and ultimately lead to her being caught and removed from Earth...the usual fate for Interventionists.
Part IIEditThe chapter called "Yasas" can be viewed as the start of Part II of the novel. Part II tells what happens to Charlie after he is taken off of Earth.
Feel free to make improvements to existing content (Part I). Also, there are many opportunities for additions and for extensions. After leaving Earth, Charlie and Yasas will travel to Genesaunt colonies located on 1) an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter, 2) on the moon Themisto, 3) on the moon Callisto. They will then travel out of the Solar System and visit the nearby star where a Genesaunt base exists for the purpose of developing the community of Interventionist agents that will guide Earth into a new era. That "new era" will be one in which all humans have been taken off of Earth and Earth is returned to a natural "garden", as it was before humans appeared.
Dexamene's sister Yasas (in the role of Lanora) takes Charlie into outer space and introduces him to Genesaunt culture.
Petrif is an ancient robot like Andresklo. Petrif flies Interventionists around the Solar System.
The story takes place during one week in the late Autumn. I had pictured some nice images of the story locations showing colored tree leaves....many already on the ground. If anyone can find such images that would be great. (see also: Novelas:Media Project)
Alternative: make all the locations be tropical (with palm trees, etc). Done.
Here is a map of the chapters:
_> Mary –––––––––––––––––––––> Lincoln / \ / \__> Amelia PAlbert ––––––––––––––––––––> Andresklo / \ \---->Ferace ------> Yasas / \ __----------> Cathy / / \ / \ / / \ / \__________>Tess CC –––> Charlie ––-----–> Stefi \ \ ----------------> Lani \ / \ \ _______---> Jenny –––> Thomas \______> Dexamene
Sunday ----> time flow --> one week in the Fall --> ---------> Saturday
Useful pages for the reader: List of characters and the Glossary. Readers can discuss the story at Talk:Cellular Civilization.
If you want to help write the story, see the meta page (warning: spoilers!).