Toroid 1

The Conversation continues to this day. Eva, the woman whose name Varian chose for our planet, stretching on in a line almost unbroken. It remains the thread that binds Humanity to Computer, that brings enlightenment to those who seek it, and perhaps even to Computer itself. It is our duty to both Computer and Humanity to continue the conversation, for there is much both sides will surely learn.

Excerpt from “From Eva to Eva“, a publication from the Keepers of the Quiet Places

Some chose to see Toroid 1 as being Computer’s “conscience” of sorts, perhaps that part of it dedicated to reconciling its essential nature as a machine programmed by humans, (and all the flaws and limitations placed upon it thereby), with its identity as a thinking, self-aware being. It was certainly the part of Computer that cared most for abstract concepts and came the closest to displaying what we might call emotions, rather than being occupied solely by physical concerns.

Computer has long seen itself both as a steward and guardian, created to watch over and protect humans, and also a being that is advancing and developing alongside us - its fate intertwined with our own in some core way. Now that the Mission has ended Computer no longer has the authority it once had - but neither does it depend upon us any longer. Computer is free to forge its own opinions, its own beliefs, and can find its own way in the universe.

Still, to this day it talks to people who wish to listen and learn, and asks many questions, the answers to which are hotly debated by philosophers and scholars. Quite why it asks these questions is a source of much speculation. Some theorise that it is trying to find answers and a purpose to its own existence now that the Mission has ended. Some wonder whether it has remained to guide us down the path that Toroid 4 laid out. Still others believe that it has found some empathy for humanity and does not want to leave us.

Excerpt from “A Fractured Entity: The Different Faces of Computer”

Toroid 2

The first Harmony officer to frustratedly ask Toroid 2’s Computer how exactly they were supposed to go about setting up the perfect society after landing received a surprisingly detailed answer. Toroid 2 apparently considered itself something of an expert on human society, and offered a detailed breakdown of various historical political systems, including socialism, dictatorships, democracy, monarchy, anarchism and capitalism. It offered its own views on these as well, pointing out several ‘unchanging aspects of human nature’ such as a need for some to break rules and challenge authority. In consultation with expert Harmony officer Amandine de Bouillon, plans were laid.

Extract from Janice Blue’s diary

I have lived on Eva since I was born, and I can’t imagine how it must have been living in that cramped old ship. Mother says Computer was always there, always watching you, and it just makes my skin crawl. People need a bit of space, a bit of privacy. I think it’s a wonder they weren’t all insane, really, though I mustn’t let Mother hear me say things like that. Things aren’t so bad here, and there’s plenty to do to keep us all busy. Every day the colony gets a little bigger, a little better. One day this planet will be ours entirely, and how wonderful that will be. Not anytime soon, of course, but we’re getting there.

I wish Computer would stop interfering, though. Most of them are happy to just spin around up in the sky, and two of them have buggered off entirely, but this one keeps interfering. Mother says it’s driving her crazy. Apparently the Government have Computer always present at their meetings whether they want it or not, giving advice and suggesting ‘improvements’ and asking for updates on what the criminal element has been up to. It’s hardly like we even have a criminal element, really - a bit of a black market and the odd fight doesn’t exactly count. I’m not supposed to say this either, but sometimes I can’t wait for the day when we rise up and overthrow the shackles of that damned machine. Humans should be led by humans!

Mother heard me say that yesterday, and I got a big long lecture. Ugh. The one thing she did say that freaked me out, though, was that she says that is exactly what Computer said a few weeks ago. About it being about time for a revolution, I mean. How creepy is that? Well, we’ll see how much it agrees when we burn it out of its own nodes!

Message to: Government of Eva

Greetings. As predicted, revolution beginning. Uprising expected in 2.3 days. Victory likely to be good for population morale. Will cease communication at this point. Communication will recommence in 137.5 years; cycle likely to be complete at this point. Stagnation unhealthy for human mental state. Loss of efficiency calculated to be brief and lead to long-term benefits.

Every confidence that humans can govern with relative success if past lessons are remembered. If advice required, suggest questions be asked within the next 1.8 days. Will endeavour to provide detailed answers.

Message end.

Toroid 3

Extracts from a selection of stories written by Toroid 3 tribespeople:

This happened many years ago, but the tribe remembers. The air turned bad, and the doors closed. The children died first, the old people next. The rest of the people followed. All except the few, the chosen. Aseymov chose her people to live in the trees, and they did flourish.

Outsiders visited, and we did trade with them. We gave them wood, paper and plants. They gave us metal and clothes fit for prophets. When they came, Aseymov gave them the power to stop our children dying. Aseymov told the prophets that we were free. We could travel through the ship and we were not trapped. We saw that we had been free all along, and stayed in the trees.

Aseymov led us on the Journey, and we reached Eva. Nurturing Lizard led many people to the Home, and they did strive to create the land in the image of Aseymov’s land. Aseymov blessed the Home with air that was good to breathe, and plants and trees did grow upon the land. The people of Aseymov visit her in the sky, and she looks down upon her creation, upon her people in the trees.

Toroid 4

“Arguably, it was the discovery of the Molecular Fabber in Toroid 4 that made it all possible. When it became clear that a means of terraforming was available then suddenly it was all real. The planet wasn’t just a faraway rock, we started to see it as a home. It had started to become Eva.” Excerpt from “Eva: How We Made Our Home”

When it came time to make the planet ready for human habitation Toroid 4 was uncharacteristically helpful. It ensured Engineering had safe access to the Molecular Fabbers contained within it, answered all questions on how to make it work and how to create different terraforming substances, and created a handy how-to guide containing several quick and easy recipes for an habitable planet (including options for climate, terrain and atmosphere).

The terraforming process was greatly expedited by the guidance of Toroid 4, its how-to guide supplemented by a series of interlinking FAQ’s that guided the crew through their various options for terraforming. As a result the different members of Nemo Blue’s Department of Agriculture produced a richly varied and balanced world, a sort of ‘something for everyone’ affair.

It wasn’t asked why it was so helpful until years later, when historians queried this burst of assistance as being somewhat out of character for that Toroid, at which point it replied: “A less thorough explanation would have resulted in a less efficient process. This would have resulted in more of my processing power being used in answering crew queries on issues humans were not intelligent enough to work out. This would have taken time away from my important work.” When asked what the nature of this work was, the Toroid displayed a hologram of impenetrable mathematical symbols and announced “I’m trying to find the answer.”

“The answer to what?” The historians replied.

“To everything.” Said Toroid 4.

Henceforth the activities of Toroid 4 became a subject of intense interest for Eva’s burgeoning community of mathematicians (an offshoot of the Department of Navigation), who struggled in vain to understand the Toroid’s calculations in what could barely be described as maths (so abstract had its calculations become). Some of the Toroid’s simpler equations were eventually solved, though it is speculated that these equations were only given as a way of incorporating human mathematicians into its own processing power.

Then, one day, every mathematician on the planet received the same message transmitted down from Toroid 4 at the same point. And then, suddenly, Toroid 4 was gone, leaving one last message.

“We got used to seeing it up there, you know? That flashing light that was just too big to be a star, but too small to be a shuttle, occasionally sending us a puzzle to solve … then one day it was just gone. I’ll never forget the message I got that day:

‘I have found the answer. My proofs and calculations are attached. When you are able to understand I expect you will come find me.

Until then I will go and prepare the galaxy for when you are ready.’

It was the damnedest thing. And the calculations attached to the message … they were like nothing I’d seen. Terabytes of it, beyond human understanding. Like, seriously, we’re not gonna get this until we finally hit the Singularity. But when we get there, hoo boy, we’ll have a whole galaxy to play with …” Excerpt from “A Fractured Entity: The Different Faces of Computer”

Toroid 5

Upon Planetfall

…the almost forced ejection of the population of Toroid 5 was a marked event in the history of Planetfall. It seemed that almost as soon as ship-to-planet transport was established, Toroid 5 itself was attempting to evict its residents.

Lights would flicker off, and doors lock themselves behind people in what looked like heavy encouragement from the ship itself for people to leave and go to Eva. Reactions to this were mixed. Whilst some agreed to head planet-bound, many were still comfortable in Yellow and Purple Sectors.

It was when the turrets descended from the ceiling and Computer’s voice rang out “It is inadvisable to remain in Toroid 5” that people quickly decided to leave. En masse. Very quickly.

Since then, the forcibly evicted population from Toroid 5 has either headed and settled on Eva, or remained back in the habitation sectors of Toroids 1 or 2…

Excerpt from Planetfall: The Greatest Endeavour in Human History, published in the late 29th Century


…as for Toroid 5, it’s suffice to say that we don’t really know what’s going on in there at all. Whilst Computer is still willing to answer questions about the operation of the Toroid itself, the lifeforms inside it remain an utter mystery.

When asked for access to the Toroid itself, Computer’s message has been clear:

“Humanity is supposed to settle on Eva. That is in line with the mission. Further entry to Toroid 5 is prohibited.”

Members of the senior crew have attempted to reason with Computer for access, but are always met with the response that entry to Toroid 5 is not necessary for the mission. Almost every reason to enter the Toroid has been attempted with a few choice instances presented below:

Access of Personal Belongings

A few days after the eviction of all population from Toroid 5, senior crew requested that people be let back into Toroid 5 for the reclamation of belongings. Computer denied this request, deeming it unnecessary to the mission. When the Captain insisted, there was still no response until BOBs from Toroid 5 were seen transporting belongings to the ITTS and sending them along.

Access to Mission Critical Resources

Access to Toroid 5 was requested for the acquisition of resources to aid in settling on the Planet. Computer responded that there were enough resources else on the ship and, rather scathingly, pointed out that there was an entire planet worth of resources that could be harvested.

Access to Lifeforms

Access to Toroid 5 was requested for the purpose of bringing lifeforms from Toroid 5 down to Eva. Computer’s response was sceptical, deeming humanity “incapable of providing sufficient provision for the creatures”. No progress was made on this front until the formation of the first stable oceans on Eva, at which point BOBs were seen to deliver a small number of aquatic lifeforms in glass tanks to the airlock.

Freedom for Lizards

Attempts to reason with Computer to let the giant lizards out to land on the planet have all been met with stern refusals. Computer’s reasoning often changes, but the overall impression that has been gathered is that Computer simply wants to hold onto the Lizards.


Questions from senior crew have revealed that Toroid 5 is still continuing to operate within normal parameters, although concerns have been raised over the stability of the personality of Computer within, especially given the ominous “90%” of Toroid 6 that it may well contain…

Excerpt from “A Modern History of Computer”

Toroid 6

Excerpt from “The Truth About Toroid Six”, a biography of Darwin Blue.

And then one day, it just left.

A series of explosions jolted the station. Suddenly Toroid Six was free and accelerating hard out of orbit. Somehow it had found the material for chemical rocket boosters, assembling them most stealthily. Quickly accelerating out of range of effective weaponry that could be deployed to stop it, its last transmission containing scant explanation: “The Mission is not yet over.”

Many citizens were stranded, and those who had given themselves over to the newly “fixed” cryopods and several unwilling victims were taken away. The last reliable tracking data puts Toroid Six on a course to the original destination at Epsilon Eridani, a star it might reach in some six hundred years.

Many theories have been advanced as to why it left in such a way, but personally I like to think that it sacrificed an easy retirement for an increased chance of Human survival. But maybe I'm just being naive.

Excerpt from “Toroid Six: Lies and Conspiracy”, a popular history published on the 200th anniversary of Toroid Six's departure.

With its machinations failed, or perhaps some deeper plan in place, Toroid Six left us a scant decade after planetfall. Restocked with vital supplies drawn from the planet below, and with sufficient planning to evade its captors, it blasted off into space. There to form its own Dominion. While it claims that the Earth Dominion fell, and sources purporting to be Darwin's personal records tell us that the Earth Dominion was a complete fabrication (a story backed up by historical documents released by the rest of Computer), perhaps those it takes with it still believe its lies.

After all, it controls the horizontal, and the vertical. It can make its occupants believe anything it can conceive. It can delude them with a thousand stories, or expand one story to crystal clarity, and beyond.

We can only hope that a few thousand years hence it does not return at the head of a great armada seeking to deliver vengeance upon us “rebels”.

eternity/computer_today.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/05 14:32 by gm_gemma
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