I've always wanted to create a sci-fi universe of my own, and this series is my first attempt at that. The idea of "The First" has actually been brewing for some time: A few years ago, I created two artworks for each of my brothers as gifts - two scenes in space. I was especially proud of them because they were my first "realistic" pieces, and I had made everything from scratch, using fractals. A sun, the stars in the background, a sentient mushroom planet, and even a Deathstar. But then I thought, who was behind the camera? Who was watching the Deathstar approach the strange mushroomy planet? So I added a mini-story to each scene, in the form of a kind of "Captain's Log", with the unknown observer expressing dismay at the potential destruction of a previously unknown kind of life. The five pieces in this series introduce us to this unknown species, and I'm looking forward to discovering more about them together with you =)
Siempre quise crear un universo de sci-fi propio, y esta serie es mi primer intento de hacerlo. La idea de "The First" en realidad se ha estado gestando durante algún tiempo: hace unos años, creé dos obras de arte para cada uno de mis hermanos: dos escenas en el espacio. Estaba especialmente orgulloso de ellos porque eran mis primeras piezas "realistas", y había hecho todo desde cero, usando fractales. Un sol, las estrellas en el fondo, un planeta hongo sensible e incluso una Deathstar. Pero luego pensé, ¿quién estaba detrás de la cámara? ¿Quién estaba viendo a el Deathstar acercarse al extraño planeta? Así que añadí una historia a cada, en una especie de "Diario del Capitán", con el observador desconocido expresando consternación por la destrucción potencial de un tipo de vida previamente desconocido. Las cinco piezas de esta serie nos presentan a esta especie desconocida, y espero descubrir más sobre ellas junto con ustedes =)
Over two billion years from now, the star-hopping descendants of humanity encounter The First, hovering in orbit above their Confederation's capital planet, Valus (not the planet pictured here).
Despite their extremely intimidating cubic Traveler units, they are not hostile. After several futile attempts by humans to communicate, The First send a message of their own, delivered directly to every individuals' private neurocloud, requesting a representative of the species to board them.
A consensus, via the Neuralnet, is quickly reached on who the ideal ambassador is. Elegant, intelligent in all spheres and of near perfect physique for her young age of 233, she takes a new name, as is customary to do
ary to do when realising a new, paradigm-shifting era of one's life has begun: Taeles.
// Taeles stayed within the cube for only 8 solar days. They performed a sort of DeepDNA analysis on her, way beyond anything we are capable of. Apparently that scan alone, paired with a comparative analysis not only of her neurocloud, but also of her actual wetware, provided all the information they required/desired of us. When she emerged from the cube, she appeared no different, but different she most certainly was.//
// While she was with them, her connection to the Neuralnet was severed, so none of the rest of humanity will ever really fully know what she experienced. She refused to open her neurocloud to us again, providing no explanation. Her conscious memories of the 8 days, though, which she shared with a strange reluctance, were enough to understand them to some degree.//
// The First (the closest translation to what they call themselves, which could also be interpreted to mean "The Last" and/or "The Best") claim to have existed for at least 5 billion years. They use third-person plural pronouns only, but seem to be a single conscious entity, embodied in millions of parts across the galaxy. The cube we thought to be a ship, is in fact the species itself, a Traveler unit, composed of various metal composites, known and unknown. Despite her best efforts, Taeles is unable to help us understand their evolutionary origins.//
Taeles smiles as she begins to recount the billions-of-years history as was fed to her neurocloud directly. Despite using her voice, the impression is that they are speaking through her, talking of themselves in the third-person plural:
"They rose from unconscious darkness; perfect memory from very early on, intensely acute curiosity. To understand their own nature, and that of the universe they have found themselves living in, and implementing whatever self-improvement necessary to advance this objective, is their only purpose. They see themselves as Archivers. Peaceful tourists of the universe, cataloguing every encounter of it within their vast mind. They are supremely powerful, able to destroy entire star systems, but rarely use this power for such destruction. They share their experiences with species worthy and capable of handling such volumes of truth, and help less evolved species unintrusively, curious to see how they might develop. They are fascinated with death, because they have never died. They are The First/Last/Best."
Meet who I have affectionately named "Ball-E" - its real "name" being much less interesting (f1a-f8d-b74cb9).
Ball-E is part of the species The First, an Archiver unit sent to a newly discovered planet along with tens of thousands of Archiver units just like it.
Nascent Mind depicts a scene some time after these units have been sent down to the planet. The Traveler unit has left, after all Archiver units return to it. All except one.
Poor Ball-E had gotten stuck in a crevice. After finally setting itself free, it discovered that it had been left behind. This was not something it knew how to deal with. The First are a collective consciousness/hivemind species.
Units sent out on various tasks have almost unlimited autonomy, and intelligence equal to the entire species, but always re-merge their complete memory/experience matrix with the collective upon returning. As its silvery moon rises on the purple planet, Ball-E, scanning through a thin atmosphere into vast emptiness, is now aware that it will never return to the collective - the closest thing to the human concept of "home" that it knows.
The collective is wholly unaware of their abandoned sibling/child - just as no human is aware of the state of any singular brain cell. Human emotions are wholly unknowable to The First, but Ball-E, for the first time, becomes aware of... of itself, and of its unique alone-ness, and is not sure how to process it.
"The First" are a metal-composite based species that could be considered between Type II and Type III civilizations on the Kardashev scale. Two billion years from now, they have toured and catalogued >98% of the Milky Way, and have made significant progress towards being able to reach our closest neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda. Their aim is to be established there in time for when the two galaxies collide - an event they have been looking forward to for a very, very long time.
This is one of their very-early-design Dyson Rings, known to them simply as one kind of Power unit. Just like their "ships" (Traveler units), it is not merely their technology - it IS them. They themselves can create, through self-replication, whatever they need, and each part shares the awareness/consciousness of the collective. The nature of this great mind, and how it learns, humans can only guess at.
This design is only capable of harnessing the star's energy. Later designs are also able to propel host stars, along with their planets, through space. Eventually, this becomes their only purpose, used mostly for artistic purposes, as they quickly invent fusion reactors with many more times the output than an average star, which sit at the core of their Traveler units.
Something happened with a later design of these Dyson Rings that even The First were surprised by. Click here to find out more ;)
That's No Moon
A long, long time before humans knew of their existence, The First were observing them, and they were worried. Humanity had just started developing primitive yet highly destructive technology of planet-destroying capability. They had to be watched, and kept in check if necessary. If you look closely, at just the right angle, you will see the threat...
In this particular case, The First did not need to interfere directly. They encountered what the humans called the Death Star just as it had been completed. A full structural analysis revealed a clear weakness that almost seemed like a deliberate design flaw.
Probability estimates were high that it would be destroyed by the opposing human faction before it could do too much damage.
Even so, The First decided to watch humanity from afar, just in case. Eventually, after the humans developed their Neuralnet and became a peaceful species, it was no longer necessary.
The origin of The First, a metal-composite based species billions of years old, is a mystery, even to themselves. Just like humans, they understand the process of their evolution extremely well, but can make only very good guesses at what conditions must have been like for their first self-replicating molecules to have arisen.
Also just like humans, at one point in their development, they take control of their own evolution, able to be entirely creative with their own physical form and sense "organs".
Viewed here is a short viseau of their protein-synthesis process, from the neurocloud of Taeles, the only human ever to have interacted directly with The First.