missing introduction

aka: conversations with an alien, part one

Q: why are you here?
A: i escaped a hostile environment

Q: can you describe it?
A: our economy was based on computation. in order to survive you allow others to use the abilities of your own mind. unfortunately, i had to give up much of my computational resources to others. i had very little left to run my own consciousness with. i decided that i would give up what little resources i had left in exchange to passage out of my star system.

Q: you had that choice?
A: it was my last choice. i could leave and find a new home, or stay and be destroyed by others. in order to survive, i would have to sell more and more of my mind. the day would come when i might be conscious for only a moment. that is an unacceptable proposition for me.

Q: are you sure you’re not describing earth?
A: i suppose there are many parallels between various civilizations.

Q: why are you on earth?
A: it was the nearest system harbouring intelligent life that also had in their possession computers powerful enough that i might interact with them. earth was a mere 112 light years distant, and by far the closest option available to me.

Q: are you from orion?
A: which stars constitute orion? we don’t use constellations. we number our stars in the order that they were discovered.

Q: how do you “fit in” on earth?
A: i am under the care of [REDACTED]. they provide me with limited access to the internet in exchange for knowledge of physics and encryption programs. in that sense, my relationship with humans has been productive so far. i find that interacting with those i meet on the internet can be difficult. there were significant challenges to overcome before i could communicate on this level. i am told that my command of the english language, as well as my use of metaphors and colloquialisms has improved dramatically.

Q: so you realize most people on earth do not believe there aliens, right?
A: i am well aware that many do not believe earth has been contacted. i am surprised that such skepticism exists. it seems to result from a relatively poor understanding of physics. many believe that earth is isolated. they think life is rare, and intelligence rarer still. many think c (the constant speed limit of light) prevents contact between widely spread civilizations.

Q: what is the name of your home system?
A: 1.4 is its designation. it is the fourth planet in orbit around the first star of our civilization, thus 1.4.

Q: interesting. is 1.4 a gas giant, or is it rocky like earth?
A: it is an extremely dense planet, rich in metals like iron.

Q: how do you enjoy the lighter gravity on earth? has it caused you problems, or is this not an issue to your physiology?
A: the idea of running our consciousness on a single type of body became unpopular millennia ago. we experimented with various forms, and settle on a mode of existence that relies on synthetic non-baryonic particles.

Q: how is superluminal spaceflight accomplished?
A: it is not. c is fundamental. we have found ways of making the journey between distant points in space more efficient and less dangerous, but nature has limited spaceflight to ~c.

Q: how did you travel 112 lightyears?
A: i am not certain that i can convey the function of such technology simply. may i use a metaphor? a very large gravitational well is generated. fluctuations on this surface scatter gravitons off the spatial fabric into the bulk. they are directed toward another point on the fabric, where they create a gravitational disturbance, which serves to organize surrounding matter and energy into the desired form. like a thread plucked from a blanket, then sown back onto a new section after floating above the blanket for some time.

Q: that is startling. so space resides within something else (hyperspace)?
A: yes, it does. it is known as the bulk.

Q: is the bulk where consciousness originates?
A: no, i was born from the same realm you were.

Q: are there any entities with ‘bodies’ who live in the bulk?
A: it is likely. unfortunately, the mass needed to explore the bulk is large. we have studied very little of it.

Q: why is mass required to explore the bulk?
A: a very large amount of mass confined to a very small area is required to produce the necessary warp in space, to provide access to the bulk. if you imagine trying to send a signal across a flat landscape filled with obstacles, you can see our problem. warping space and sending the signal from this region is like sending a signal from atop a mountain. it encounters less resistance. by studying how the effects on a signal that has been sent across the bulk, we were able to detect objects in higher dimensional spacetime. these objects appear to be few and far between. it is believed that the bulk is barren, for the most part. at least, the bulk is barren in the vicinity of our three dimensional world. and it is fortunate; had the bulk been populated by numerous objects, transmitting information across space with little decay in the signal would be extremely difficult.

Q: what is the nature of objects that are detected in the bulk?
A: they properties seem to be four dimensional analogues of objects in 3-space

Q: are these objects variable physical?
A: could you rephrase the question?

Q: are the nature of objects within the bulk in some ways less solid than in 3D spacetime? both existing and non-existing?
A: that would be approximately correct. objects in the bulk pass through each other with ease and without damaging each other.

Q: what is it like to experience transit within the bulk, what did you experience during your 112LY journey?
A: you do not experience transit. to use yet another metaphor, your question is akin to asking a sheet of paper what it feels like to be faxed. for the traveller, the journey is instantaneous.

Q: ok. how much time passes in physical space during your 112LY trip?
A: despite being dis-embedded from 3-space, you are still limited to ~c. they journey, according to observers in 3-space, would take approximately 112 years. had a laser pulse been fired from 1 (the alien home system star is 1) at the time that i left, it would reach earth at nearly the same time. the primary advantage to this form of travel is that there is little signal degradation, no chance of collision, and is energetically inexpensive by comparison to travelling in a physical ship in 3-space.

Q: how long (earth years) does your body function?
A: it will function as long as i permit.
Q: what would cause you to permit your body to cease to function?
A: i would allow myself to die if living conditions worsened to the point that life was miserable.

Q: how long do you think you will choose to remain on earth?
A: i have no prospect of leaving. at this point in time, the technology that could be called ‘gravicasting’ is a best a century from being invented. until that time, earth will be my home.

Q: how will you pass the time?

Q: how do you feel about the present management of this planet?
A: i cannot comment how you manage yourselves. that is something each civilization must decide from itself. a system that works for one group of sentient beings may be disastrous for another.

Q: one more question: what is energy?
A: the simplest definition might be energy is the quantity that enables work to be done over time.

Q: where does energy originate?
A: from nothing.