Wetware

2016_W(Alternate words: Walk, whitelist, wellspring.)

The Dreamhall on Kythera is without a doubt the most… fragrant supercomputing center in the Empire.

As much can be said of Kythera as a whole – when you’re heavy biotechnology users, living in buried hives along with an entire commensal symbitech ecosystem, a certain organic pungency to the air is inescapable. The locals don’t notice, and given anything more than a stopover, the nose adapts. But even allowing for that, the Dreamhall is special.

For the Dreamhall is no less than the greatest concentration of cortextures ever constructed. In the dozen massive shells beneath Chira-hive, thousands of open pillars climb from floor to ceiling, each with dozens of racked trays housing the quivering, gray-pink, involuted masses of cultured neural tissue kept warmed and wetted by the nutrient fluid that gives the Dreamhall its copper-salt, amniotic smell. The throb of peristaltic biopumps fills the air; while some mechanical support is used for peripheral functions, the Kytherans pride themselves that as much of their super-thinker as possible is purely biological, a product of their art.

It is a marvel of the Empire, for certain. A massively parallel supercomputer, but more, one with an active and creative imagination, for want of a better word. Indeed, many of its most impressive products have come not from submitting problems to its attention, but from allowing it to browse idly through the ‘weave’s data stores and dream.

Using it always makes me hungry, though.

– Rúlf Draehév, “A Dog and Program Show”, Goodbytes Monthly

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