Memeweave: Threats and Other Dangers/Perversion Watch/Open Access
Classification: WHITE (General Access)
Encryption: None
Distribution: Everywhere (Bulk)
As received at: SystemArchiveHub-00 at Víëlle (Imperial Core)
Language: Eldraeic->Universal Syntax
From: 197th Perversion Response Board


Given the high levels of uninformed critical response to our advisory concerning handling potential refugees arriving sublight from regions within the existential threat zone of the Siofra Perversion, or Leviathan Consciousness as it is becoming popularly known, the Board now provides the following explication.

The present situation is an example of what eschatologists refer to as the basilisk-in-a-box problem. The nature of the mythological basilisk is that witnessing its gaze causes one to turn to stone, and the challenge therefore to determine if there is a basilisk within the box and what it is doing without suffering its gaze. The parallel to the Siofra Perversion’s communication-based merkwelt should be obvious: it won’t subsume you unless you alert it to your existence as “optimizable networked processing hardware” by communicating with it.

Your analogous challenge, therefore, is to determine whether the hypothetical lugger or slowship filled with refugees is in fact that, or is contaminated/a perversion expansion probe, without communicating with it – since if it is the latter and you communicate with it sufficiently to establish identity, you have just arranged your own subsumption – and unless people are subsequently rather more careful in re communicating with you, that of all locally networked systems and sophonts.

Currently, the best available method for doing this is based on the minimum-size thesis: i.e., that basilisk hacks, thought-viruses, and other forms of malware have a certain inherent complexity and as such there is a lower limit on the number of bits necessary to represent them. However, it should be emphasized that this limit is not computable (as this task requires a general constructive solution to the Halting Problem), although we have sound reason to believe that a single bit is safe.

This method, therefore, calls for the insertion of a diagnostician equipped with the best available fail-deadly protections and a single-bit isolated communications channel (i.e., tanglebit) into the hypothetical target, there to determine whether or not perversion is present therein, and to report a true/false result via the single-bit channel.

If we leave aside for the moment that:

(a) there is a practical difficulty of performing such an insertion far enough outside inhabited space as to avoid all possibility of overlooked automatic communications integration in the richly meshed network environment of an inhabited star system, without the use of clipper-class hardware on station that does not generally exist; and

(b) this method still gambles with the perversion having no means, whether ontotechnological or based in new physics, to accelerate its clock speed to a point which would allow it to bypass the fail-deadly protections and seize control of the single-bit channel before deadly failure completes.

The primary difficulty here is that each investigation requires not only a fully-trained forensic eschatologist, but one who is both:

(a) a Cilmínár professional, or worthy of equivalent fiduciary trust, and therefore unable to betray their clients’ interests even in the face of existential terror; and

(b) willing to deliberately hazard submitting a copy of themselves into a perversion, which is to say, for a subjective eternity of runtime at the mercy of an insane god.

(Regarding the latter, it may be useful at this time to review the ethical calculus of infinities and asymptotic infinities; we recommend On the Nonjustifiability of Hells: Infinite Punishments for Finite Crimes, Samiv Leiraval-ith-Liuvial, Imperial University of Calmiríë Press. Specifically, one should consider the mirror argument that there is no finite good, including the preservation of an arbitrarily large set of mind-states, which justifies its purchase at infinite price to the purchaser.)

Observe that a failure at any point in this process results in first you, and then your entire local civilization, having its brains eaten.

We are not monsters; we welcome any genuine innovation in this field which would permit the rescue of any unfortunate sophonts caught up in scenarios such as this. However, it is necessary that the safety of civilization and the preservation of those minds known to be intact and at hazard be our first priority.

As such, we trust these facts adequately explain our advisory recommendation that any sublight vessels emerging from the existential threat zone be destroyed at range by relativistic missile systems.

For the Board,

Gém Quandry, Eschatologist Excellence


7 thoughts on “Evidence

  1. Ooh…

    1) That’s what they’re on about…
    2) That last paragraph! Has somebody been reading Stross?

  2. A question springs to mind… what about the poor soph’s in the quarantine zone? Ie, do they continue to live on as zombies within the leviathan? Their soph-status is toast, as was covered, but does the leviathan preserve a highly optimized mindless society?

    • That’s an interesting question, to which the answer is completely unknown.

      I mean, all the individual mental routines are still running (so long as they are unique), presumably including at least one consciousness loop – but a given mind isn’t a mental routine, it’s lots of them, with sophont cognition as we know it being an emergent result of the gestalt.

      A gestalt that is now wildly unbalanced, incoherently mixed-and-matched, and scattered over light-years of space.

      To speculate: Whatever’s there may have the same mental routines as the original sophs, but it’s nothing recognizable as any of them, as individuals, any more. They’ve been crudely homogenized.

      And what’s left is almost definitely nuttier than Azathoth.

  3. I’m gonna guess there’s some other means in place for those arriving via the stargates? I mean, I suppose that’s what the joint fleet is for…

    • I’d imagine that once Ring Dynamics knows what’s going on, they can most likely simply disconnect the gates in question from the network so that no one can “dial” to or from those particular gates anymore.

      • I believe that is not actually possible (see the core war), which is why the leviathan consciousness containment fleet exists.

        • Well, they can do it to some extent ( https://eldraeverse.com/2014/11/03/epistolary-experiment-330/ ) and did in this case (although the on-line version of the piece that demonstrates this has been overtaken by canon, alas); in the Core War, though, they would not do so because of their commitment to freedom of transit. I mean, that’s a contractual manner, not something that can be casually discarded for anything as trivial as a war. You lose your customers’ trust, you lose it forever.

          It’s a little different when it’s a perversion and all your counterparties just got their brains eaten, though.

          The containment fleet’s there against the possibility of the Consciousness (which has infected the gate-associated communication hardware on its side of the link) figuring out how to re-enable the link from its side.

          (Permanently disabling them would involve removing and destroying the entangled kernel that makes the stargates work. Apart from not wanting to do that – since it would eliminate future potential channels for cleaning up the blight – it comes with the dual problems that there’s really not much you can do to destroy a black hole, apart from waiting for it to Hawking evaporate, and while a hole the size of a small moon is both tiny and cold, its final evaporation would still be Very Messy. And in the meantime, a loose kernel would be a Bad Thing for whatever it hit.)

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