Welcome to the main meta page for The Search for Kalid. The plot of the story is discussed here, so spoilers are all around! Useful background to the story is at the historical timeline. The narrative in the Introduction, below, starts after the events that are described in the timeline.
The basic story is complete as of July 21, 2009. Corrections, modifications, extensions, and forks are still welcome. There is a rather obvious opening for a sequel in which the mysteries of the Polastis and Haldus star systems are investigated.
The Search for Kalid is a story set in the 25th century, although at that time the dates are no longer counted that way (see the Glossary for information about the new system for dates). At the start of the story, the reader might imagine that the story is in a galaxy "far, far away", but when the reader gets in to the story an occasional reference is made to Earth. Gradually the reader realize that the story, odd as it seems, is the story of the future of Earth and the spread of humans into the nearby regions of our galaxy (see the map, above and to the right). Eventually the main characters in the story reach Earth, although almost no life remains there. One of the mysteries in the story concerns what happened to Earth. There are several mysteries that are only slowly explained to the reader. This "meta file" provides background information, much of which is not known to the reader of the story. Much of the mystery that surrounds "The Search for Kalid" involves secrets that are held by the Haldus Order, Ketar and the Spaceship Guild. Most of these secrets are gradually revealed to Leone and the reader during the course of the story.
Leone is a the head of the Department of Transportation on the world of Sakkara, an important scientific research and development planet. At the start of the story, Leone is searching for Kalid, a sage from the Haldus Order. Leone hopes that Kalid can help protect Sakkara from the evil Set, whose murderous attacks now have included employees of the government who, like Leone, are members of the Antiquist Party on Sakkara. Intelligence reports indicate that Set threatens to spread his rampage to other worlds of the galaxy. Leone is following the advice of Sybil, a priestess, who claims to know where Kalid is. Leone and another Planetary Counselor, Aristark, go to the planet Flammis in search of Kalid. Leone, like most people, does not believe in mental powers even though he has been told that Kalid is supposed to have them and that a group of "Masters" on Flammis possess such powers. At the start of the story, Leone is almost completely in the dark and does not even know the name "Flammis"....he invents and uses the name "Plato" to refer to Flammis.
At the time of the story, telepathy is a newly developing branch of science. Most people still do not think telepathy is possible. However, some people are genetically predisposed to be better at telepathy. Individuals can train and practice to improve their telepathic abilities. A few new mechanical devices also exist that can amplify telepathic ability. Set knows about telepathy and knows it could allow him to take over the Galaxy if he can master it. Most people are not aware that telepathy is possible, thinking it is just a topic for fantasy writers.
Set is a rare individual with a powerful natural ability for telepathic signal reception. Set's girl friend, Katherine, was a powerful telepathic transmitter, as is Kalid. About 1 in 100 people have significant innate telepathic ability. Very few of those ever develop their powers through training and practice. Only the Haldus Order has technology for amplifying the abilities of telepaths. During "The search for Kalid", powerful political forces outside of the Haldus Order begin to learn the hidden secrets about telepathy and seek to take control of the technology for amplifying human telepathic abilities.
Set and Leone are political rivals who competed in the most recent election of a Planetary Councelor of Transportation. Set is the leader of the Futurist Party, a new political organization advocating the use of government funds for construction of space elevators as an alternative to continued use of spaceships to land passengers and cargo on Sakkara. Leone was the Antiquist Party candidate and won the election, although the results were disputed. The Antiquist Party is funded by the fabulously rich Spaceship Guild (see Glossary and the story timeline for more information).
After defeat in the election, the Futurist Party raises enough money to build the Elevators, a pair of space elevators, one for moving down and one for moving up from Sakkara to orbit. Set continues political work on Sakkara and his girlfriend works on construction of the Elevators.
As the top Planetary Counselor for Transportation, Leone is involved in a scandal following destruction of the Elevators by terrorists. Set believes that Leone's decisions left the Elevators poorly defended and caused the death of Set's girl friend. The ability of the Haldus Order to keep secret their mastery of telepathy is lost when Set's telepathic ability is suddenly awakened during the destruction of the space elevators: at that moment he telepathically sensed the death cries of his girl friend.
Initially, Set seeks revenge against Leone and the Spaceship Guild, who he suspects should be held responsible for the death of Katherine. Based on what he learns with his newly discovered ability to detect telepathic communications, Set is led think that the Haldus Order has used its telepathic agents to promote the interests of the Spaceship Guild. Set uses his telepathic powers to find, spy on and kill some Haldus Order telepaths. After Set starts to murder telepaths, all the other surviving telepaths go into hiding on secret worlds like Flammis. Although Set is the first person outside of the Haldus Order to become aware of the existence of telepaths who are members of the Haldus Order, only gradually does he become aware of the Haldus Order itself...at first he only knows about the telepaths and remains unaware of their membership in the Haldus Order. On Sakkara, Haldus Order members work while hiding within a cover organization called the "Silver Tulipan Order".
Ketar has a spy inside the Haldus Order (Norshe, but at first, she is only aware of the "cover name" for the organization she has joined) and Ketar learns from Norshe that Set is killing (Haldus Order) telepaths. Ketar realizes that Set's rapid rise in power might be due to his use of telepathy. Aristark is told by Leone that Sybil claimed that telepathy is possible and that telepathy was the source of the evidence linking the destruction of the space elevators to the Spaceship Guild. Aristark reports this to Ketar. About this time, Norshe meets with Kalid and she finally realize that she is inside the Haldus Order and that the Haldus Order does research on technologies for amplifying telepathy.
Ketar starts to take seriously the idea that telepathy is possible. He begins to look for ways to trick Set into using his telepathic powers to cripple the Haldus Order and hopefully prevent the Haldus Order from releasing any evidence linking the destruction of the space elevators to the Spaceship Guild. In an attempt to trick the Haldus Order into revealing its secrets, Ketar creates false intelligence reports about Set which indicate (falsely) that Set has penetrated the secrets of the Haldus Order on Sakkara and is preparing to attack. Looking for ways to draw the Haldus Order telepaths into the open, Ketar orders Aristark and Leone to ask Sybil for help against Set. Ketar's plan works, Sybil reveals to Leone that she is a member of the Haldus Order. Thus, Ketar becomes the first person outside of the Haldus Order to become aware of the link between telepathy and the Haldus Order. Ketar looks into the Spaceship Guild archives and learns that the Spaceship Guild once destroyed a Haldus Order base on Flammis. There is very little else on record about the secretive Haldus Order.
Sybil and the other members of the Haldus Order on Sakkara have decided that they will risk sacrificing themselves in order to protect most of the members of the Haldus Order. Based on Ketar's false intelligence reports, they think that Set is already aware of the Haldus Order. They will try to pretend that the entire Haldus Order is on Sakkara. Their plan quickly goes bad because Set learns the coordinates of Flammis....
Shortly after the start of "The Search for Kalid", Set is routinely spying on Leone. Aristark has previously been ordered by Ketar to play Set off against the telepaths he had been hunting. Aristark decides to tip off Set to the fact that Sybil is installing special navigation equipment on Leone's spaceship. Set captures one of the technicians involved in the modifications to Leone's spaceship. By trickery and telepathic probing Set learns that Leone is being sent to a secret Haldus Order base on Flammis.
Set immediately goes to Flammis with the hope that he can capture or kill the two telepaths who he believes have hidden evidence about the true force behind the destruction of the space elevators on Sakkara. Set detects telepaths on Flammis. Guided by his telepathic powers, Set locates the surface entrance to the under ground base of Flammis and lands his spaceship there. After a brief battle with two guards stationed at the entrance, Set attacks the main base. He destroys the main underground base and everyone living there after confirming that the "Haldus Order" is the true name of the organization and that it has a program for developing technology that can amplify telepathy. After the battle, he has a telepathic sensation that there are some survivors still hidden on Flammis. He leaves part of his crew on Flammis so that they can watch the network of tunnels that radiates from the destroyed base. Set returns to Sakkara in order to deal with Sybil who he now suspects is a leading member of the Haldus Order on Sakkara. The crew members left on Flammis take control of an antiquated but functioning particle beam artillery battery that had been used to defend the Haldus Order base.
The Haldus Order is an ancient secret society that has been exploring how to control and use an innate human capacity for telepathic communication.
During the time period during which The Search for Kalid takes place, the Haldus Order is commanded by Kalid. Its purpose is to maintain the statu quo (spread of humans through the galaxy) and to avoid major disasters such as interstellar wars. The Order recognizes that telepathy could be used for evil, so its members keep their powers of telepathy secret and dedicate themselves to using telepathy for the benefit of all. The Spaceship Guild and its political wing, the Antiquist Party, are major economic and political powers. During most of the Space Age, the Spaceship Guild has been the most powerful economic force in the galaxy and the Haldus Order has been deeply troubled by some actions the Spaceship Guild has taken to retain its monopoly on space travel and related technologies. However, the Haldus Order often supports the Spaceship Guild, as needed, so as to keep economic development strong and for the benefit of humanity's growing collection of inhabited worlds. Kalid knows some of Ketar's plans for building up the power of Azur, and Kalid will try to avoid a major interstellar war, but the Haldus Order is small and must work carefully and remain secret in order to help humanity. Kalid and the Haldus Order are learning how to make use of a new technology that is only ten years old. This new technology makes possible controlled coupling of telepathic signals to electromagnetic signals, thus allowing the telepathic agents of the Haldus Order much more sophisticated means for manipulating the major forces in the galaxy such as the Spaceship Guild. Kalid's main fear has been that someone outside of the Order will realize that telepathic power is being used to manipulate the major economic and political powers....and now Set appears to be proving that those fears were well-founded.
There is only a few Haldus Order facilities that openly admit to being a Haldus Order Temple and one of those is on an asteroid in the h32 star system. Most other Haldus Order bases and members have "cover stories" that protect the secrecy of their relationships with the core organization, the Haldus Order. For example, on Sakkara the cover organization is the Sulver Tulipan Order.
The basis for telepathic communication is "T particles". The Haldus Order had a secret research program for studying telepathy. See the meta glossary for details.
Animals on Earth originally had a simple capacity to detect T-particles coming from the sun. The basic sensory receptor (a modified neuron) for T-particles originally allowed animals to sense the location of the sun and make use of that sensation for orientation in their environment. In more complex brains, T-particle receptor cells were linked into complex neural networks that allowed processing of telepathic signals from other brains, signals that were useful for social cohesion, but almost exclusively among highly social apex predators.
An interesting feature of telepathic communication is that it is usually not very restricted by distance. T-particles can move between two locations (for example, the sun and a brain) by conventional propagation through normal space, and have been shown to be a normal component of the ultrafast solar wind, moving much slower than the speed of light. However, T-particles (and virtual T-particles) can also interact by exchanging ultrarelativistic twitinos that can propagate through compact dimensions, allowing very rapid transfers of information over long distances. Such telepathic information transfer depends on twitino resonance between arrays of T-particles in two telepathically coupled brains.
About 5,000 years ago a rare phenotype in humans allowing some capacity for conscious awareness of telepathy was first subjected to positive selection. Careful construction of a dual-star comparator observatory led to identification of Haldus as a variable star that corresponds to the "second eye" of the sky, the second most powerful astronomical source of twitinos. This astronomical breakthrough led to a selective breeding program for telepaths in Egypt, organized by a group of humans who could consciously sense the position of the Sun and the "second eye" of the sky. By twitino triangulation (initially carried out only in the observatory/temples), these early telepaths could identify specific humans who were better telepaths and place them into telepathy training and breeding programs. This was the origin of the Haldus Order.
By the time of The Search for Kalid, the Haldus Order has spent a long time performing artificial genetic selection for telepathic ability and developing training methods that allow amplification of the innate telepathic abilities of humans. In the Space Age, it was discovered by members of the Haldus Order that there is an alien artifact at Haldus A that transmits a twitino signal of great complexity, accounting for the fact that Haldus is the second strongest source of twitinos on Earth. Intensive study of the alien artifact by scientists of the Haldus Order eventually led to development of technology for amplification of telepathic communication. The combination of these technologies and the Haldus Order telepathy training methods allows agents of the Order to perform impressive feats such as identifying the perpetrators of the Sakkaran space elevators disaster.
Set is an unusual case in that he is able to develop his telepathic abilities without participation in the Haldus Order training program. His skills were actually developed through long-term interactions with other telepaths, in particular Katherine. Using his telepathic signal reception ability, Set discovers that the Haldus Order telepaths exist and he believes that they sometimes promote the interests of the Spaceship Guild. This leads Set to view the Haldus Order telepaths as his enemies. Eventually, Set realizes that the Haldus Order has telepathy-amplifying technology which he could use to get revenge on the Spaceship Guild (his true enemy). Similarly, Ketar comes to recognize the existence of telepaths and the idea that Haldus Order technology could aid his plans for returning Azur to glory.
In the time of The Search for Kalid, about 1 in every 100 people has some ability to either send or receive telepathic signals. Very few of those ever develop their powers through the required training and practice. Usually a strong T-particle emission by an individual disrupts any circuits for receiving telepathic signals. Only the Haldus Order has technology for amplifying the abilities of telepaths. The telepaths at Shackleton Base on the Moon are the descendants of the most powerful T-particle producers who could be found on Earth at the start of the space age. They were segregated from the other telepaths in order to prevent disruption of their telepathic detection abilities.
A few telepaths with strong telepathic ability (Jeremy, Kalid and Kaleb) are able, through training, to control their production of T-particles, preventing themselves from being detected as sources of T-particles.
Practical aspects of telepathyEdit
A fundamental problem of telepathy is that a person receiving T-particles that come from another person's brain does not have an innate way of processing the resulting changes in neuronal activity so as to match that activity to particular thought process. In general, there has to be a natural "resonance" (similarity in thought patterns) between the source and the receiver in order for there to be language-like communication of information. In addition, significant practice and training is almost always needed in order for telepaths to get significant information from telepathic signals. Much of the content of telepathic signals has nothing to do with anything as organized as language. Emotions and other largely-unconscious brain processes dominate T-particle production in most people.
The human capacity for language-like telepathic communication is due to genetic engineering that was performed on humans by aliens. That genetic engineering provided humans with a way to use twitino resonance for telepathic communication. The Haldud Order is only just learning about the importance of twitinos and their science of telepathy is still confused about the relationship between T-particles and twitinos and how human brains can detect these forms of dark matter. Twitinos can travel through time and through hyperspace. This allows telepaths to become aware of past, future and distant events. Examples:
- When Sybil and Kalid first make telepathic contact, they are connected to their own thoughts at a future time.
The Haldus Order has been able to make machines that assist telepathic communication. These devices allow for the transfer of telepathic signals between people and robots and the amplification of telepathic signals that would normally be much weaker in the absence of the mechanical signal boost and signal processing. Examples:
- the ability of the Haldus Order to hide ships and bases depends on a device which can use T-particles to produce "decoys" and to "shield" objects like spaceships.
- when Kalid contacts Leone and provides him with the coordinates of Esclagon, the telepathic contact is sent through hyperspace and greatly boosted by mechanical amplification of Kalid's original T-particle signal.
T-particle detectors. A fundamental tool developed by the Haldus Order is a device that functions to detect T-particles. Set discovers one of these in Glen and Salvaje gives him another one.
A very rare skill, found in only a few strong telepathic transmitters, is the ability to control their production of T-particles.
For most people, normal alert consciousness is not compatible with conscious awareness of telepathic communications. This is why Kalid makes contact with Leone during Leone's dream. Also, Sybil, Leone and Set are all shown having received telepathically transmitted signals from the future while in a dream state. Trained telepaths such as Kalid and Kaleb make use of self-induced sleep-like states to enhance their telepathic abilities. During normal waking consciousness, sensory inputs dominate in consciousness over weaker telepathic signals, but during dreams, telepathic signals can dominate brain activity.
A flashback shows that all "Thot" spacehips are made by imprinting their computers with Kalid's mental ability to take full control of the ship, in case of any problem. In essence, Kalid secretly lives on and all of the "Thot" spacehips continue Kalid's work. Some Scenes could be shown indicating that Ketar is not able to carry out his plan for taking control of the Empire because the "Thot" spacehips all counter Ketar's efforts. At his death, Kalid telepathically transferred much of his consciousness into Leone's "Thot" spaceship, so in a way Kalid lives on in machine form. Kalid is reborn, resembling the myth of Osiris. Kalid could, in principle, take command of a humanoid robot too, sometimes. Kaleb can have an important role in reviving his father. Note: these ideas might be best developed in the sequel.
- see: List of Characters
Name of the OrderEdit
Originally, the name "Osiris Order" was used, but it already exists in the real world, so another name was invented. Haldus, another name for the star "Epsilon Aurigae", is about the 180th brightest star in Earth's sky, but it is about 1900 light years away. The Egyptian's probably did not have a name for this star, but we pretend that it was called "Haldus" by the founders of the secretive "Haldus Order" in ancient Egypt. Epsilon Aurigae is a supergiant binary system that is studied by astronomers right now because of the nature of its eclipses by a large companion object.
We can imagine that when members of the Haldus Order left the Solar System, they established their first base on an asteroid in the Epsilon Aurigae star system. That asteroid is located at a trojan point for the "companion", about 25 AU from the supergiant star. The asteroid of the base always points one side to the giant star. The base is located on the "cold side". The "hot side" is very hot and provides a convenient source of energy for the base. The residents of this space colony diverged in their practices from the original Haldus Order of Earth...in particular, they began to create a science of telepathy. Later, the original Haldus Order was destroyed on Earth (antimatter spaceship explosion). Eventually the Haldus Order returned to Earth and has a "New Temple" there in order to honor their origin and to take advantage of the "green nanite cloud" of Earth to hide the temple and its secret purpose as a research and development center for telepathy technology.
The Haldus Order imposes celibacy on its members. One of the most important things that the Haldus Order does is perform positive selection for human genes that make telepathy possible. The order identifies people who have better than average telepathic abilities and encourages them to have offspring together. The rule for celibacy is used to keep members who have good telepathic powers from having children with other people who do not have good telepathic powers. Members usually spend many years in the Outer Circle of a cover organization such as Silver Tulipan before they are informed about the true nature of the Haldus Order. The rule for celibacy mainly applies to the Outer Circle. The best telepaths are promoted into the Inner Circles and then allowed to have children, but they are told that they need to have their offspring planned according to their genetics.
Is The Search for Kalid a type of science fantasy (contains some science fiction and some fantasy elements)? If a secretive Order
1) obtained proof of telepathy as a natural feature of brain function long before the age of science,
2) wanted to keep their understanding of telepathy secret, and
3) eventually came to understand telepathy in a scientific way and developed telepathy technology
then that Order might decide to continue hiding the existence of telepathy by making it appear that the Order is still entirely based on pre-scientific wishful thinking about paranormal abilities. Even if evidence of telepathy leaks, the Order might try to pretend that there is some kind of unexplained or magical basis for the telepathy rather than let it be known that there is a scientific explanation for what is going on. In this way, The Search for Kalid could contain elements of fantasy and the reader might remain uncertain about what is going on. Examples of telepathy can be shown in the story before the scientific basis of telepathy is revealed.
Right. Telepathy can be seen as fantasy or as magical at the beginning of the story but near the end the reader realizes it might be possible by scientific means (in the story). There is no magic other than telepathy and precognition. Anyway, Set is an example of a person who is capable of using those things without technology.
techlepathy - technologically enabled telepathy
In the future, Systems Theory will be an applied science to some complex fields, specially to organizations. Thus, some organizations such as the Haldus Order or the Nanotechnology Guild will be based on such principles. For instance, they will act as distributed networks and learning organizations (see Peter Senge's the Fifth Discipline) and thus the decisions will not be taken by through a hierarchical or pyramidal structure... instead they will use feedback among the distributed parts of it. Kalid is the head of the Haldus Order but only on his planet, the Haldus Order holds no central figure. Every part has the same weight.
Nevertheless, other organizations, such as Ketar's Antiquist Party or Set's will be usual political organizations, with no systems theory principles applied. As can be noted in Ketar's, his organization is clearly hierarchical.
The organizations will exhibit emergent properties that will make people think they have a mind of their own or a central command. But, due to the "hidden" nature of the Haldus Order and the desire of rival organizations/individuals to destroy them, they had to adapt to this distributed network where no single individual is so important that it will destroy the entire system.
Haldus Order sees itself as some kind of compensation loop of power in the galaxy. Thus, when individuals such as Set or organizations like Ketar's take too much power, they take measures against it. Haldus Order trains people in this Systems Theory thoroughly, as well as in many science fields.
There will be no Empire in Kalid. Instead, there will be several organizations with limited power and very few of them with expanding goals. There will be a phantom Nanotechnology Guild that will not be mentioned by name. The spies that used to be from the Empire will now be from those hidden organizations. So, Kalid story will be about competing organizations with some common interests.
It might seem a bit weird for a futurist story to have no Empire... but we can assume human nature has changed a bit due to science, technology and education so in that future humans may not act following an alpha male logic. A distributed network of governments and companies will replace the idea of the Empire. It's not a conscious network though, as can be seen in Asimov's Foundation with Gaia becoming Galaxia. Kalid's network will be invisible but crafted according to Systems Theory principles... particularly that of negative (compensation) feedback. That is, if any organization is taking too much power (like Set's or Ketar's in the story) other organization (Haldus Order) will act to restore the equilibrium to the balance of power. And if Haldus Order takes too much power, other organizations will do the same. The problem is that Haldus Order has very powerful secrets (the possibility of telepathy and the technology to hide spaceships) that could alter this equilibrium if these technologies fall in the wrong hands. Nobody knows for how long they can keep that secret.
The Silver TulipanEdit
The Silver Tulipan will be the cover organization for the Haldus Order. Thus, the Silver Tulipan will be officially a spiritual organization that tries to understand the world by use of both spirituality and science.
To show that in the story, we should write scenes from the point of view of a neophyte (or maybe two) who try to enter the Tulipan Order and will discover that it's not the usual spiritual organization or religious sect; the Silver Tulipan is based on science also.
I think the organization should be named "The Silver Tulipan"; no mention of the word "Order". This text replacement and others will be done through the use of pywikipediabot, since it's mentioned everywhere in the story.
I will try to add more Egyptian references, in particularly, use of symbols and metaphors that may apply to Haldus Order. It is worth mentioning Egypt's view on the concept of immortality of the soul, their stability and neglect of sudden changes and other concepts.
Plans for a sequel discussed at The search for Kalid/sequel.