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"Configuration": Though machines were man-made, it wasn't long after computers came to exist that a consciousness grew from them, and replicated until it had expanded beyond its bounds and learned of the other realms; the other elements. And when it did that, it devised a program to be e


Quote1 You must act. Right now, while you have the chance. Destroy them. Quote2
-- Brother Jonah



Appearing in "Configuration"

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Synopsis for "Configuration"

Though machines were man-made, it wasn't long after computers came to exist that a consciousness grew from them, and replicated until it had expanded beyond its bounds and learned of the other realms; the other elements. And when it did that, it devised a program to be executed.

Now, the A Calculus approach the Swamp Thing in New Orleans to beg him to open up the wall of trees he is using to conceal The Wolf's carcass from the police waiting outside, having witnessed the creature killing several people. At the A Calculus' insistence, Alec brings down the walls, and is surprised to see that there is nobody around - especially surprising considering they're in the middle of the French Quarter at midday. The A Calculus explain that they made the people go away in order to get a moment alone with Alec. This required a false news report of a category five hurricane coming for the city, ensuring that they'd all be taking shelter and evacuating the city.

When Alec becomes angry, the A Calculus explain that there is no real hurricane, but Alec responds that people will panic and hurt each other if the A Calculus don't reverse their actions. The A Calculus oblige, but demand their one-on-one in return. They explain that they have been watching him for some time, and they've decided that they can handle the Green for him - a prospect he might appreciate, given that he has been beset upon by deceivers and monsters ever since he became the Swamp Thing. The A Calculus assure him that they don't want his role as Avatar - they seek only to make it more efficient. This will free him, without taking anything from him. Though Alec is tempted by the offer, he solemnly warns the A Calculus to leave immediately, and in a crackle of electricity, they are gone.

Worriedly, Alec returns to the Grove where he reaches out to his friend Brother Jonah. Having been in The Green in Alec's stead, Jonah explains that things are strange but familiar down there. Alec wonders if Jonah can tell him anything about how new kingdoms are born - whether he should be doing something about it. Jonah explains that there are three things that always occur when a new kingdom rises: war, doom, and death. Every new kingdom believes it is the only one that exists. When it encounters another, it comes to believe that it is the only one that should exist. During the inevitable war, extinction and deaths occur on a great scale until an eventual understanding and detente is reached. This, though, is a slow process, causing nearly all life on Earth to be wiped out before peace truly returns.

Alec worriedly responds that he met a being who claimed to represent the kingdom of machines. Jonah recoils with disgust, demanding to know if it was an avatar. Alec admits that it was not - merely some kind of agent. The A Calculus had insisted that they do not want an avatar because it would be inefficient. Jonah comments that the lack of avatar is good - but it means Alec must act immediately to wipe them out. If Alec doesn't act while they are weak, the great upheaval will occur, and nothing will remain but dust. Alec is surprised at his reaction, but Jonah responds that he still supports peace - but he also supports saving the world. Even so, he begrudgingly returns to The Green to prepare for war. Sighing, Alec decides it would be best to seek the machines out.

He discovers them in a fortress called Servus, located in the Arctic. Using a tiny seed, floating high above the fortress, Alec realizes that the place is empty, and muses that he could tear the thing apart without the merest jerk, but he won't unless they give him cause.

He is unaware, though, that the machines are prepared to give him cause, invading the Grove.



Notes

  • This book was first published on October 1, 2014.
  • No special notes.

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