0x3d45
May 12th, 2022

1694 London

A "Glorious" Revolution in 1689 limited British royalty's power over money, and began an empire... with a bank.

The power of purse and public loans belonged to Parliament, a "Financial" Revolution for the State. England's finances were put in order, its debts became funded long-term.

Parliament created its own private creditor to extend public loans. The Government incorporated "joint stock companies" with banking privileges, and the authority to make permanent loans back to the Government. The private Bank of England was founded.

0x3d45
May 12th, 2022

2062 Wellington, New Zealand

"He'll see you now."
"Thank you."

A steady breeze came in through a series of opened clear-doors.
Bowls and platters, pots of water and brews, covered a table.
Another day for a former Copresident of the Cooperative in exile.

"Captain, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Thank you for agreeing to see me."
"Not at all, thank you for coming as stand-in for your friend."

0x3d45
May 12th, 2022

1720 London, England

“How goes the Stock? Go, says t’other, it does not go, it flies.” (-Daniel DeFoe)

The Company was a colossus astride an ocean of wealth. One of the world's greatest minds could not deny the allure of what everyone else saw, wealth, in the form of rising prices.

The Company made money trading in human beings, slaves for the Americas. It then became banker to the Kingdom of England.

It won the honor to manage the debt of His Majesty's Government. One of the greatest minds of the age, in charge of the Kingdom's currency as warden of the Royal Mint, was an early investor too.

0x3d45
May 12th, 2022

2062 Houston

Robin looked at the view from her terrace, her mind's eye turned inward. After debriefing, she needed thinking before any doing.

She looked below, across the Houston campus of the Cooperative, drinking her brew. Her "right hand", Wally, sat across a table from her, also drinking brew, quiet. She knew Robin was exploring a trail of thought. Quiet was key.

One of the mightiest enterprises in the history of man lost its "books", its financial memory held by the Sentient Ledgers.

0x3d45
May 8th, 2022

1981 - 1983 - 1995 - 1999 - 2002 - 2009

Paper and metal money was anonymous money - its bearer, however they got their hands on it, was its owner - (for the most part).

1981, networks were coming, wallets were following. When?

David Chaum wrote "Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses, and Digital Pseudonyms", then in 1982, "Computer Systems Established, Maintained, and Trusted by Mutually Suspicious Groups". Networks for the people, years away.

0x3d45
May 6th, 2022

2062 Houston

"The assignment, simple to explain, near impossible to execute."

She was used to executing impossible assignments, until now.

Months ago, Robin Tagore got a "battlefield promotion" to acting director of the Heavyville launch district. The district grew, over decades, from a few launchpads and factories, into one of the capital cities of an empire of spaceflight.

0x3d45
May 6th, 2022

2009 and BEYOND, EARTH

Paper money gives way to paper wallets.

The first Internet of Money turned people into banks.

Money has been a part of history since the first coins.

0x3d45
May 4th, 2022

2062 The Verse, Earth

Alberto, a sentient ledger, looked at the things in his environment, was looking for clues of who he was.

The pain he had when he woke up faded. His environment was modeled after an apartment in Paris's Champ de Mars, owned by a retired executive of the Space Cooperative. There was a plaque, an honorarium, with the executive's likeness, marking 25 years.

He looked up at the hand-painted ceilings, lit by crystal Baccarat chandeliers, down at the Versailles parquet floors.

He studied countless objects scattered throughout the apartment. Antiques gathered from a lifetime of global, then interplanetary, travel, on behalf of the Cooperative. Postings in Houston, Nairobi, Wellington, Luna, and Mars.

Handcrafted antiquities, that would have been already ancient in the original real apartment, were mixed with "1 of 1" NFT Holos picked up from Parisian flea markets, floating like lily-pads over a long Art-Deco wooden table. Basquiat, Beeple, Zoe Winters, Warhol, alternated with Impressionists on the walls.

0x3d45
May 4th, 2022

2020s Mainstreet, Internet 3.0

"Mainstreet USA" is the main street of every "Everytown".

Mainnets are main streets of every new network of Internet 3.0.

When "In Real Life", IRL, merges with Internet, the new main streets of the world will be blockchains on independent networks.

The Internet will be made of countless EveryNets, Everytowns.

0x3d45
May 2nd, 2022

2062 Houston - Nairobi - Wellington - Space Cooperative, EARTH

The Cooperative was a hybrid of corporate and community.

It saw the future like a State. It operated in more than one country. It began to think in terms of more than one world.

It managed its massive financial affairs with spirits of code.

"MEETING CALLED TO ORDER. ALL DIVISION PRESIDENTS PRESENT."
HOUSTON: It feels so quaint to speak by streams only.
NAIROBI: We're lucky subsurface longhaul lines are back online.
WELLINGTON: I don't mind the quiet, so much to get done here.

Nobody wanted to talk, but they were in charge. It was the job.

0x3d45
May 2nd, 2022

Amsterdam (1611) and Internet 3.0 (2020s)

Price is born in a house made of money and risk.

It is one thing to make something, it is another to buy and sell it, over and over. Prices must be made, which both buyers and sellers agree to, or else a thing is worth nothing to anyone.

Some wanted to build, others wanted to own, some needed to sell.

0x3d45
May 2nd, 2022

2062 Houston, Texas

Robin Tagore missed quiet. She found none in sleep.

A swarm of worries, with a blinding sun in the sky behind them, did strafing runs at herds of counted sheep. The sun was a bubbling cauldron of light, and the sky lit up in odd colors.

Salvation came when exhaustion blotted out the sun.

That's when she heard a steady knock on her door.

Robin surrendered, if only to stop the noise, and got up to let in a young woman who carried a notebook and a tray of brew.

"Hello, hello... good morning, Wally."
"Good morning, Robin. I have notes to go over for today."

0x3d45
April 29th, 2022

2016 EARTH

It was the beginning of the end of corporations, a new paradise. A Garden of Eden of the Future, built on networks.

A serpent was waiting, however.

The next money funded the next entity to harness risk and return.
A cooperative entity hosted on blockchains.

They called it a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. A DAO.
A hybrid of the virtues of corporations and communities.

0x3d45
April 29th, 2022

Mid-to-late 21st Century, Earth

To describe them as programmable money would not do them justice.

The early ones, inert lines of self-executing instructions, were burned at the stake for yield, validation, storage. Bonfires of coins were lit for the vanity of investors and collectors alike.

At first, the "Carbons" did the heavy lifting, authoring investment vehicles which rode the rails coded by the invisible hands of the market. Evolution was nanofast, however.

0x3d45
April 27th, 2022

1602 Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia)

The Dutch Golden Age was a miracle.

It seemed endless, decades of war killed millions in Europe, but the Peace of Westphalia came. A new Dutch Republic was free of the Spanish Empire. By the time the treaties were signed, the rebel provinces was already an economic superpower.

After the Dutch disrupted the Spanish Empire's global ambitions, a handful of men in Amsterdam cast a shadow over millions.

0x3d45
April 27th, 2022

Late 21st Century Earth

Pundits used many names.

The next money's common name was Atlanticcoin.

One POTUS, pushed to the wall by the polls "to do something", began as digital money but it mutated like a sci-fi monster.

It was a hybrid of ideas from a hydra-headed committee of experts from the self-appointed, self-anointed elite of Earth.

Politicians, depending on voters, either hailed or condemned it.

Based on who was in a room, on a holo, or on the street, it was either an abomination, a compromise, a necessity, or the least dirty shirt. It was both the worst and best in debates.

0x3d45
April 26th, 2022

1914 - 2022 and beyond, Earth

Over time, all systems of the world become empires, and all empires are about money. Gold gave way to dollars.

Some say it began when kingdoms gave way to republics.

A long global war separated by a temporary peace. Allies vs. Axis, East vs. West. Past vs. future.

**The largest victors became co-rulers and rivals for the world.

0x3d45
April 24th, 2022

2062 Houston, Texas

The Cooperative was a hybrid of corporate and community.

It saw the future like a State. It operated in more than one country. It began to think in terms of more than one world.

Soon after its founding, a committee recruited a former POTUS to lead. Before retiring again after a year, he left 3 letters on his desk, for not 1 but 3 co-successors.

The Board selected three leaders from the 3 time zones. A rotating triumvirate ensured both continuity of service and a balance of power among Cooperative member states.

0x3d45
April 24th, 2022

2009 Earth

The financial system of Earth was about to implode.

The powers that be patched it together by papering it over.

The bailout of hundreds of billions was the latest band-aid for the world's financial order. Many businesses were broken, and lives were shattered but the "system" held. "Saved at last".

0x3d45
April 24th, 2022

The Space Cooperative,

A Dutch East India Company for An Interplanetary Age,

faces collapse & threatens Earth's financial system.

What happens when a solar storm disrupts the Coop's ambitions and Earth's economy?

0x3d45
April 9th, 2022

2062 EARTH AND MARS

A PROBE ENTERED ORBIT AROUND MARS, A LANDER COMES TO THE SURFACE

"We've got the lander, during one of our runs to check on outposts. It's got a relay, plus a private message from Earth. From the Cooperative."

Hayley, Liwei, and Robin listened to the message in a dining hall.

"This is a message from the Cooperative. We are happy to receive word of your survival during a trying time, cut off from Earth. We're sending this relay so that we may resume operations, programs and contracts for Mars. Beginning with the caravan."

0x3d45
April 9th, 2022

2062 Houston, Texas

"He'll see you now. Would you like some coffee or water?"

"Water please, thank you."

Robin Tagore, Acting Director of Heavyville Control, was wired and tired. She had more coffee in her body than blood.

0x3d45
April 9th, 2022

2062, Korolev Crater, Mars

Korolev Crater Research Station, North Mars

Relocating survivors was a cycle of scout, rescue, and recover.

The solar wind storm's coronal mass ejection, "CME", devastated bases and outposts scattered across the region. A rescued refugee from one place became the rescuer of another, in a constant cycle.

0x3d45
April 9th, 2022

2062: Houston Texas, Nairobi Kenya, Wellington New Zealand

SPACE COOPERATIVE: WE CALL THIS MEETING TO ORDER, ALL 3 PRESIDENTS PRESENT.

The Space Cooperative was a hybrid of corporate and communal.

It saw the future like a State. It began to think in terms of more than one world.

It grew too large to be led by just one executive leader.

0x3d45
April 9th, 2022

**2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars
**

The Evacuation to Korolov Crater Station picked up speed, as everyone got better at moving people and material scavenged from settlements and ships devastated by a massive solar wind-storm, a coronal mass ejection, CME.

Hayley, Liwei, and Robin were a trio that was in constant contact. Every waking moment was about overseeing the move, and emergency responses whenever another packet ship, blinded by the CME, came tumbling down the flight corridors of the main bases.

The fireballs of downed ships from the Earth-Mars caravan grew less frequent. The focus was on salvage and relocation, north, to a giant crater filled with a massive supply of water ice. A new normal took over life on Mars.

0x3d45
April 8th, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas

Robin lived to launch ships to every outpost of the Space Cooperative, living the credo, "We launch ships, the world turns."

She never imagined that her first day as Acting Director would be rescuing people endangered by a massive storm.

People have a picture in their minds about the future - a destination, an outcome, or a goal. Maybe they imagine a specific journey, road, or a checklist.

Very few see past themselves, and can imagine more than an arbitrary, imaginary vanishing point at the horizon of one version of the future.

0x3d45
April 8th, 2022

2022 The Sun

It would only need half a minute for it to fly from LA to NYC.

At 400,000 Miles per hour, it's the fastest spacecraft ever.

Launched in 2018, the Parker Solar Probe is fast enough for one star, our sun. Parker's 7 flybys past Venus helped it pick up speed and close in to a record distance of just 3.8 million miles.

0x3d45
April 7th, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas

"Let's review, and make reassignments for first responders.

I've spoken with civilian authorities during our evacuation from Heavyville. Our specialists will help. Houston gave me authority."

Robin stepped over to a table covered with maps and holos, in the makeshift operations tent. She then looked up to her team for reports. It was her first morning as acting director.

0x3d45
April 7th, 2022

1972 Houston and Beyond

He was the Last Man on the Moon. Gene Cernan.

In the third group of recruits, Cernan achieved new firsts. He flew on Apollo 10, piloting the Lander "Snoopy", except for a landing. His results made possible Apollo 11's historic landing.

Cernan turned down an earlier chance, on Apollo 16, to walk on the Moon. He wanted a command of his own. The times had changed.

0x3d45
April 5th, 2022

2062, Arcadia Planitia

"Everyone here? Good, let's talk about what we're facing."

A gathering of leaders from Earth's settlements on Mars were in one room, from the largest bases to the smallest outposts.

Arcadia Planitia, Xirang One, Korolev Crater Station were among them. Hayley Cobb, Wang Liwei, and Rabina Tagore were their heads.

"This is what I know so far, from our gear at Korolev. A massive Cat 7+ storm hit. It shut down Space Coop's largest ops, in Texas. We have news. We made contact with Earth", said Rabina.
Everyone grew quiet.

0x3d45
April 5th, 2022

1957, The Dawn of The Space Race

The first only matters if there is a next. If the first was also "last", it becomes nothing. "Next" is what gives first meaning.

The first satellite in space was the USSR's Sputnik. The Space Race had begun during a Cold War. Each side raced to be first but the victory was making sure there was always a next.

The first man in space was Yuri Gagarin, on board Vostok 1.
It was an automated flight. He would never fly again.

0x3d45
April 3rd, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

LOCATION: Arcadia One - SPACE COOPERATIVE Settlement

Hayley took a moment to drink water. Everyone was quiet.
She thought about a week that nobody could have been prepared for.

Everyone needed a break from the non-stop crisis of the past week. It began with an EMP-like event which crashed their surface infrastructure. This led to loss of life, injuries, and the wreckage of almost everything unshielded.

0x3d45
April 3rd, 2022

1926 Auburn, Massachusetts

The world's first modern rocket, flew to a height of 41 feet and landed in a cabbage field.

Robert Hutchings Goddard was engineer/inventor and physics professor. He was not celebrated in his time, there was no moral support or venture capital.

His "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes", from 1919, is a foundational theoretical paper. His 200+ patents include 2 from 1914, liquid fuel, and rockets made of boosters, like the "multi-stage" ships used to go to the Moon.

0x3d45
April 3rd, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

XIRANG ONE - CHINESE SETTLEMENT - Arcadia Planitia Region

They looked outside at the shipwrecks. For hours, the sky was punctuated with a handful of fireballs from the sky. Dead ships.

"I think it's over. Were people caught outside?"

0x3d45
April 3rd, 2022

1977 To Jupiter and Beyond

After a 5 year mission to explore nearby worlds, they will become interstellar wanderers for millions of years.

Scientists saw planetary geometry that said, "Send explorers".
It was a rare 175 year alignment, where a journey could be made without massive propulsion. They could slingshot themselves from world to world.

2 paths out of 10,000 possible flight trajectories were chosen.

0x3d45
April 2nd, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Earth

The storm arrived. It had no name, it was the first of its kind.

The countdown had shrunk from days to hours, minutes remained.
Despite Heavyville's construction, the storm was stronger.

"Everybody, that's it, we've did all we could. Send the ALLGO. Sound the base alarms. Skeleton crew, ground crew Everybody. Times up. Head to your assigned transports." said Robin.

0x3d45
April 1st, 2022

BILLIONS OF YEARS AGO

It wasn't always the cradle to a fragile imperfect civilization filled with so much promise. It was a long work in progress.

One speck of matter, and then another. Matter grew into an ever larger gravity well. Mishappen lumps became worldlets, and there wasn't room for everyone. The dust was being cleared. One last big one or near-miss created a companion - an eternal sidekick.

Worlds were being made or taken by a moshpit of violence. After a long night of collisions ended, the building of a world began.

0x3d45
March 31st, 2022

2062 Korolev Crater, Mars

KOROLEV STATION - SPACE COOPERATIVE - NORTH MARS

LOCATION, MARS: 73° north latitude and 165° east longitude

Korolev is a crater in the Mare Boreum quadrangle of Mars, 81.4 Km in diameter. Its rim stands 2 Km above the northern polar plains of Planum Boreum, a region wrapped around the north pole.

0x3d45
March 31st, 2022

**1959
**
3 years before the first manned space launch, there was a question: How Many Others?

Eyes looked skyward, Minds looked inward
We could imagine that we were not alone.
How could mankind be alone in all of the cosmos?

A formula was written to calculate the number of how many civilizations were out there, perhaps wondering the same thing.

The formula hinted at assumptions. It was all a cosmic guess.

First how many stars? How many stars had worlds?

0x3d45
March 31st, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

"Everyone's suit sealed? Check on the wounded from Xirang One."

Most of the transport's ports were cracked. Atmosphere leaked.

In the distance, the landing fields of Arcadia One were pitted with smoke and new wreckage. The fields were still fresh with the destruction from a pre-dawn bombardment of a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun. What followed was a rain of ships, en route to Mars, whose shielding didn't block a CME.

0x3d45
March 31st, 2022

4.6 BILLION YEARS AGO, STAR "SOL", MILKY WAY GALAXY

The sun is massive.

It has the blinding light of nuclear fusion, screaming electromagnetic fury 24/7, exhaling massive energy. If it were hollow, its volume could fit a million Earths.

It powers life on Earth. The sun's mass flexes muscles of gravity and bends the fabric of space-time. A second of its raw power could fuel us for an eon.

Despite its might, it's an object of humility in the cosmos.

0x3d45
March 30th, 2022

**2062 Heavyville, Texas
**

A last minute rush for a shutdown and handover picked up speed. The storm's roar was growing louder outside Mission Control. A countdown for various ETAs, including landfall, kept shrinking.

ACROSS THE NEWS SERVICE FEEDS OF THE CONTROL ROOM SCROLLED:

Tropical cyclones make landfall on the coast of Texas an average of 3 times every 4 years. A wind speed scale from a study for low-cost housing in hurricane-prone regions has 5 Categories.

0x3d45
March 30th, 2022

2003 Over The Skies of Texas

The crew was selected in 2000 for a January 2001 launch, to carry an updated pressurized manned "Double Module" lab. After 13 delays, launch was on January 16, 2003, 10:39:00 AM. It should have been a routine mission.

Something happened at launch time T +81.7 seconds.

During launch, a piece of thermal foam from the external fuel tank struck carbon panels on the left wing. On Day 2, the damage was detected after a routine video review. Engineers from NASA and the ship's builders gathered.

One team's software simulations indicated damage as deep as the vulnerable aluminum skin of the ship. Another team, working off a model designed for falling ice, discounted the foam's impact.

0x3d45
March 30th, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

"We're almost home."

It was the first time Hayley saw Arcadia One from its outskirts. Most of the main campus looked intact but there was wreckage on the field. A cemetery sprouted at its edges, marked by flags.

"First thing is take care of the wounded from Xirang One. Dr. Randolph will read them in for a handover to the infirmary. Update and distribute water rations with what we're bringing."

0x3d45
March 28th, 2022

After billions of years alone, the fourth world would have children to call its own.

4 BILLION YEARS AGO, MARS, THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Young and filled with promise, it could mature into a cradle of life, and with luck, birth a civilization that would dare to dream of the stars. But something happened. The world faded.

It had a magnetic field, sufficient mass, and the light of a star.
It had atmosphere and water, and for a time, warmth.
All it needed was time.

0x3d45
March 27th, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas

Two storms, first one, on Earth, then a second one from the Sun.

ATTN: HEAVYVILLE, SPACE COOPERATIVE TO BEGIN EVACUATION AND SHELTER PROCEDURES. HOUSTON.

"How much have we been able to move inland?" asked the Director.

0x3d45
March 27th, 2022

1976 Mars

Long ago, there was a world with an ocean and a warm atmosphere. It died.

Aeons later, another world sent a team of explorers. Two travellers - made, not born. They were hurled into the dark, with thousands of names of their makers etched inside their bodies.

Others were sent in the past, most did not survive the voyage.

Each explorer had a companion which did the flying, for millions of miles, and then released them. The companions would fly around this dead world, and take pictures to send back to their makers.

As the explorers fell from the sky, their heatshields protected them, which glowed hot despite a thin atmosphere. The chutes unfurled, the retros fired. The landing pads deployed. Touchdown.

0x3d45
March 26th, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

XIRANG ONE - CHINESE SETTLEMENT - ARCADIA PLANITIA

The bluish sunset marked the end of a long bad day.

When night came, the work inside continued. There were injured people and damaged systems to tend to. A fitful sleep for most.

Settlements everywhere, from the largest installations to remote outposts, wanted to make it through the night. It was one Martian day at a time. 1 SOL (EARTH CLOCK 24HR:37MIN:22SEC).

0x3d45
March 26th, 2022

1974 Houston and Low Earth Orbit

It began with a series of articles in 1954, "Man Will Conquer Space Soon!", from Werner Von Braun.

Von Braun led Germany's high tech weapons research in WW II, and built the first ballistic missiles. As the war ended, he and others were exfiltrated under "Operation Paperclip" to the West.

A Space Race began between the two largest victors of a global war, U.S. and USSR, rivals. Each side wanted the high ground of space. A space station could do that.

0x3d45
March 26th, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

LOCATION: XIRANG ONE - CHINESE SETTLEMENT in Arcadia Planitia

"Good, one more time, one more push."

Liwei handsignaled to his the crew. With a push, they moved the wreckage of a lander cracked like an egg, off other wreckage. They found more of their friends.

0x3d45
March 25th, 2022

1972 Houston, Moscow, and Earth Orbit

It was the beginning of the end of a rivalry.

JFK in 1962, the same year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, later explored cooperation with Khrushchev. It began with sharing weather data but POTUS thought about a joint moon mission.

His assassination in October 1963, and Khrushchev's fall from power in 1964, closed the door on what might have been.

Engineering philosophy differed. The Americans focused on backup components and astronauts, while the Soviets focused on minimal controls and automation. But the Cold War changed for better.

As the long war in Vietnam was ending, administrators and engineers, from both the West and East, reopened a closed door.

0x3d45
March 25th, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

XIRANG ONE - CHINESE SETTLEMENT IN ARCADIA PLANITIA

Hayley helped unpack the cart. It was easier fixing things than building them. For some, doing was easier than talking. She had many things to say but focused on the mission, survival.

"Liwei, we brought something that might help, backup power."

0x3d45
March 25th, 2022

1962 Washington D.C.

America was electrified by vision landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade. To achieve this goal, NASA created an astronaut program - but there was a second one few knew about.

In 1962, the Secretary of Defense authorized work on a variety of special space projects, including a "black project", the "Military Observation Laboratory", "MOL".

In public, the MOL's "cover story" was funding for a laboratory. It had a secret identity, however, as an orbital platform, with military personnel, keeping watch on the Soviets. The cameras were assembled by Eastman Kodak in an underground factory. This mission was classified and did not "exist".

0x3d45
March 23rd, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

Hayley, the Doctor, and an aide walked towards the base, Xirang 1.

Hayley, with a flashlight flickered light towards the base. The aide waved an flag emblazoned with Arcadia One's mission insignia.

The faint echo of a metallic clang and creak of a hatch opening.

There was a return flicker from the base, then Hayley looked down on their cart. Light from a laser scope.

Hayley hand-signaled her aide. "Don't move."

0x3d45
March 23rd, 2022

1962 Pensacola, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Creators of the tests to find the "Mercury 7", a flight surgeon and an Air Force general, wondered if they could do the same and find women astronauts? William Randolph Lovelace II, the flight surgeon began a separate program to find women astronauts.

13 recruits, supported by private funding, passed the same tests as the men: the First Lady Astronaut Trainees, the "FLATs".

They were drawn from a pool of 700 pilots, and filtered for those with at least 1,000 hours of flight-time. Some came by word of mouth. The first recruit was Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb, an already accomplished pilot who passed all three test phases.

0x3d45
March 22nd, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

The lights were green, systems working. The great depth, and what were full water tanks above their heads, shielded some gear.

"Let's finish loading and double-check. Again."
The transport-tractor was loaded with spares from their stores.
"Manual opening of the hatch completed. We're a "GO", Captain."

Light from a flashlight flickered at the end of the long tunnel.

0x3d45
March 21st, 2022

1970 Earth To Moon

The mission's call sign was chosen for its message, "a long voyage with many changes of fortune". Odyssey.

Third to the Moon , second for precision landing, first disaster in space.

It began with one engine failure compensated for by the other engines. After that, everything went as planned. 56 hours into the flight, 210,000 miles away from Earth, about two-thirds of the way to the Moon, everything changed.

When a pressure sensor reading was off, Mission Control requested a daily mixing of the fuel tanks to correct it. 95 seconds later, there was an explosion. Contact was lost for 1.8 seconds. "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here." reported the crew.

0x3d45
March 21st, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas

"Go on in, Robin, the Director is ready for you."

"Hi, Robin. On schedule with today's ship carriers?"
"Yes, we're keeping up, moving things inline, freeing up space for improvised hardened shelters for unmovable assets."

"I'm guessing this is something you couldn't tell me over chat."

0x3d45
March 20th, 2022

1967 Cape Canaveral, Florida

The mission was land a man on the moon in less than 10 years.

One of the most dramatic leaps in technology, not seen in a generation, took the U.S. from 10 minute ballistic test flights to a manned command spacecraft in less than 5 years. Apollo.

The first version was ready a test in Earth orbit. Delivered in late 1966 to Kennedy Space Center, there were signs of problems.

Warning signs are in the details, but haste belittles them.

0x3d45
March 20th, 2022

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

Its color, a distant red, was a warning of destruction.

The distant light was credited to the God Of War by the Ancient West. In the East, it was from Shiva's sweat, called the Fire Star, an omen of fire, war, and distress. In the Ancient Middle, Mesopotamia, it inspired fire, war, and devastation.

Warnings all but forgotten by the ancient world's descendants.

0x3d45
March 20th, 2022

The U.S., without intending it, helped create China's space program.

1992, Beijing China and 1951, Pasadena California

He was destined for life as an engineering professor at Caltech. A scientist in the Manhattan Project, who was sent by the U.S. Government to interview Germany's rocket scientists.

By 1951, he was under house arrest as a national security threat.

0x3d45
March 19th, 2022

The business was a hybrid of corporate and communal. It saw the future like a State.

2062: Houston Texas, Nairobi Kenya, Wellington New Zealand

The Space Cooperative was a hybrid of corporate and communal.

It saw the future like a State. It began to think in terms of more than one world.

It could not be overseen, even with term limits, by just one.

0x3d45
March 19th, 2022

It was one of the most important deliveries of ice cream in the history of mankind.

2012 Hawthorne, California, Houston, Texas, and Low Earth Orbit

It was one of the most important deliveries of ice cream in the history of mankind. Delivered by a new kind of spaceship.

The ship was a reusable delivery truck made for space, under remote control. It brought a 1,000 pounds of supplies for the crew of the International Space Station (ISS).

0x3d45
March 17th, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas and Armstrong, Luna

Messages pinged between Earth and Luna to prepare for a storm.

Billions of tons of plasma from the Sun's corona, an atmosphere millions of degrees hot, laced with strands of magnetic flux ripped from the ropes of sun's magnetic field, was coming.

Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere would soften the hammering of a CME, Coronal Mass Ejection. Normally, it created just a lightshow, or interrupted communications service, but not always.

0x3d45
March 17th, 2022

The spelling came from its namesake, HMS Endeavour, famed for its voyage of exploration.

1992 Houston, Texas

In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger was lost in a launch gone wrong, which took the lives of its entire crew. Despite the tragedy, discussions soon began about building a new shuttle.

An early idea to refit the first shuttle, "Enterprise" was rejected as too expensive, and Congress approved funding in 1987 for a new ship. Assembled from spare parts left from the construction of other Shuttles, construction was completed in 1990.

0x3d45
March 17th, 2022

"We're going to run out of water faster than we thought."

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

Hayley stood up, fastened her oxygen mask, and asked the biggest question, "How many? How many people did we lose?

"We're going building by building, Captain. Depending on where they were, we lost people on rest shift, some in the infirmary, there were some systems that didn't failover and accidents overnight, in the landing fields, including the Base Commander."

0x3d45
March 16th, 2022

Private citizens could watch space launches but a few wanted to do more.

1982, Matagorda Island, Texas

A decade passed since man last walked on the moon. The U.S. government's priorities turned to its new shuttle and station.

Private citizens could watch space launches but a few wanted to do more. One of America's first astronauts was going to change that. Why couldn't a private company launch its own rockets?

0x3d45
March 16th, 2022

With ice, there would be fuel for ships, and water for settlements. A fragile paradise.

2062 Arcadia Planitia, Mars

The early expeditions went to make sure. With ice, there would be fuel for ships, and water for settlements. A fragile paradise.

Eons ago, lava flowed over the northern lowlands, smoothing over craters. There was a prize waiting under the surface. Probes over the decades hinted at ice in the wide flat plain.

0x3d45
March 15th, 2022

JFK's mission to land a man on the moon, fulfilled in 1969, was the beginning of the end.

1972 Houston, Texas and the Moon

JFK's mission to land a man on the moon, fulfilled in 1969, was the beginning of the end.

In 1969, the backup crew assigned for Apollo 14 became the lead crew for Apollo 17. The government cut funding. No Apollo 18, no more flights. The pressure was on to make "17" count as the last mission to the moon.

0x3d45
March 14th, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas

Robin followed Chet into Mission Control.

The walls of the great room flowed with a never-ending stream of updates, live conversations of an army of specialists, scattered throughout the administration building, branch locations, homes, rides, planes, in orbit, and Luna.

Feeds from the caravans, deep space deployments, were windows into the farthest reaches of operations. ALLCOME was all hands.

0x3d45
March 14th, 2022

He wanted to make a garden of a desert, 140 million miles away.

2002 El Segundo, California

He wanted to make a garden of a desert, 140 million miles away.

He wanted to grow green living things on a world with an atmosphere whose pressure was less than 1% of Earth's, whose average temperature was far below freezing, less light than Earth but more radiation. A greenhouse could work but how to do it?

0x3d45
March 13th, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas

The wind picked up this morning, a tendril and a tickle of what was growing in the gulf. Tucked in the hermetic seal of the ride, I waved at my device and displays flowed across the windshield.

"INCOMING"
"Voice text."

High-priority ticker-taped across the middle of the windshield, everything else flowed faster on parallel rivulets below it:

0x3d45
March 13th, 2022

An unpopular solution won because it was the ONLY solution.

1962 NASA Langley Research Center, Virginia

The President declared that the U.S. would land a man on the Moon in less than a decade.

Werner Von Braun, head of NASA, had to decide how to do it.

0x3d45
March 12th, 2022

2062 Heavyville, Texas

Robin D. Tagore was tired but could not sleep.

A swarm of worries, with the sun high in the sky behind them, did power dives and strafing runs at herds of counted sheep. There seemed no stopping squadrons of dread about pre-flight checks and last minute hiccups. Salvation came when a tab of alldoze and half a bottle of nanobrew blotted out a blazing sun of dread.

That's when the call came in.

0x3d45
March 12th, 2022

The 4 Words Which Make History: "We Choose To Go"

Great Things Happen When We Choose

1962 Houston, Texas

The dignitaries melted but he stayed cool under the Texas sun.

0x3d45
March 12th, 2022

A new story and series, “2062: We Choose To Go”.

A story of the Space Age set in real history and an imagined future.

0x3d45
February 5th, 2022

1976: Early Days, Golden Years - An Outline

0x3d45
February 4th, 2022

8.30.2 Failure Opens Doors That Were Once Invisible, Walk On

2776 MARS, IN ORBIT, High Laboratories Platforms

I felt steadier. I kept quiet. It was better to listen, more news was coming

The oracle feeds confirmed what I was told, the DecaPact was over.

0x3d45
February 4th, 2022

2776 Mars, Lake Korolev

Another flash of light. The lab shook, a part of it fell on me.

"It was an airstrike, rail guns. They found us. I set the lab to overload.”

Mel explained as he half-carried me out through an underground tunnel.

0x3d45
February 3rd, 2022

8.28.2 The Invisible Rules of Unpredictable Play Come At The End

2776 Mars, Lake Korolev, HiLabs Research Retreat

The lab became what lived in my mind and simulations. Months of work, mixed with training and meditative walkabouts, was my world. All oracle feeds reported rising trouble in the System but life by the lake was quiet.

“We built enough for a test, we need to test to find out where to go next.
Lab, this is John Cadmus. Initiate full test cycle. Spin-up the whole Array.”

0x3d45
February 1st, 2022

8.27.1 When The Next Game Begins, New Rules Erase Old Wins

1976 M.I.T., Stanford, CMU, Edinburgh

Winter began in a decade after underdelivering caught up with overpromising. The summer of 1960s funding love ended years of promises.

20 years before, there was astonishment and excitement. They thought intelligent machines were just a matter of time, 20 years. The stakes rose with each new promise and paper.

0x3d45
February 1st, 2022

**2776 Mars, Northern Hemisphere, Korolev Lake Settlement**
I slowed down to a jog, then a walk. The shoreline was peaceful. I waved back at my neighbors, and walked to the lab for a shower and fresh clothes.

“Welcome back, there’s tea after you’re cleaned up”, said Mel. He held a tray.

“After all these months, I wondered when the lab would look like, ready at last.

This is better than Musk Tech’s, and that one had “everything”. When the bureaucrats blew it up, I thought it was over. I got data but no lab, no chance.

0x3d45
January 30th, 2022

8.25.1 Starting, Where Nobody Knows Your Name, Where Few Know You, Is Freedom

1976 Berlin

Years ago you thought you were going to be a Buddhist monk.

You left Los Angeles, like you did New York, and London.
Famous, infamous, and fried, burnt inside and broken in half.

0x3d45
January 30th, 2022

2776 Mars, Diplomatic Quarter, HiLabs Safehouse

“Okay, the doctor has signed off on you, let’s get you ready.”

“Where are we headed?”

The medical bed changed shape and helped me stand up. I felt fine.

0x3d45
January 30th, 2022

1976 Palmdale, California

After the glitter of a shiny new thing has dulled, the real test is time and effort to reveal which new things become the new “old standbys”.

One idea, born in the Cold War, was a top-secret military observation post. It was a U.S. Air Force project code named “Military Observation Laboratory”, MOL. The government changed plans. The “MOL” was mothballed.

The MOL astronaut trainees would go on to a new space program, which was called by many names, including “Dyna Soar” (an odd rhyme with “dinosaur”).

0x3d45
January 30th, 2022

2776, Mars, Diplomatic Quarter, Undisclosed HiLabs Safehouse

An Atlas is a story, a myth, pulls the past forward into the present.

An Atlas of the future is drawn by imagination looking past known horizons.

The future is rebellion, a promise and a threat, to the lords of the present.

0x3d45
January 28th, 2022

8.21.1 The Patience To Combine Persistence With A Life’s Work

1976 San Francisco

It takes a lifetime: creating a family, friendships, a business, a new industry

Patience and persistence are levers to lift an idea into a life’s work. Long after the polish of shiny new things has dulled, the sugar rush of passion has faded, and the infatuated have moved on, work continues.

0x3d45
January 27th, 2022

8.20.2 Every Story Becomes More Real When A Little Truth Is Painted On It

Mars 2776, Old Musk City, Diplomatic Quarter, Undisclosed Location

There is no truth that doesn’t come with lies attached to make it presentable.
There is no lie that doesn’t become more real with a little truth mixed in.

I was chosen to compete in the DecaPact. The victors would be leaders for a decade, where all the worlds of man each had an equal chance to rule. Something changed a long time ago, then the same elites ruled the System.

0x3d45
January 26th, 2022

January 1976 New York Stock Exchange

A 2 year bear market and recession was on everyone’s minds.

The worst global bear market since the 1930s had ended. The Dow Jones Industrial Index had dropped 45%. The London Financial Times 30 dropped 73%. The Hang Seng Index fell from 1800 to 300.

The post-WW2 financial order was gone. The Bretton Woods Agreement, which brought order to the world’s major currency markets had collapsed. The US Dollar’s stabilizing tether with gold had been cut out of desperation.

0x3d45
January 25th, 2022

8.18.2 An Atlas Is A Story, We Are Its Mapmakers

2776 Mars, Skyhook Terminal, Location Undisclosed

An atlas is not the world, it is a story - it is a myth of reality.

Myths are about the past. What is an atlas of the future? Our imagination looks past the horizon of the present. It’s another story. Stories of the past and the future are different kinds of lies.

The best lies have the truth mixed in.

0x3d45
January 24th, 2022

8.17.1 When We Know Ourselves, We Make Maps For The Future

1976 Vietnam

”First, we didn't know ourselves.

We thought that we were going into another Korean War, but this was a different country. Secondly, we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies… And we knew less about North Vietnam. Who was Ho Chi Minh? Nobody really knew.

0x3d45
January 23rd, 2022

8.16.2 Perfection Is A Tax

2776, Mars
We walked through the skyhook terminal, it felt like thousands were watching. Over the past day, I was picked for a competition to choose the System’s next leaders. I learned that my life was in danger too now.

”This was not how you imagined this preparation for the ‘Pact’ would start.”I looked over at, “Mel”, my instructor. I shrugged my shoulders and spoke.

“Perfection is a 100% Tax.

0x3d45
January 23rd, 2022

1976 California

Together, they built a machine, a product never seen before. It was revolutionary.

He had a big picture mind. He was a better salesman, entrepreneur, and malcontent than an engineer - and he was already a very good engineer. His partner played and built with tech since childhood - one mentor was more of a father than his real one.

The vision guy turned ideas into businesses. His partner turned ideas into real things. Sometimes, the vision guy pretended to underestimate his partner but that was just him pushing his friend’s buttons to build, knowing he could.

0x3d45
January 21st, 2022

2776 Mars

8.14.2 Embrace The Sweet Unknown, Escape Bitter Certainty, to Create A New Reality

2776, Mars

I rode the skyhook down from the “Collar”, orbital walled gardens of cities, which included the High Laboratories, the kingmakers of the planet.

0x3d45
January 21st, 2022

1976

8.13.2 Embrace Uncertainty To Escape The Trap Of Certainty

November 1976

His administration was a holding action after a long overseas war, domestic strife and crisis. POTUS38 aimed to steady the ship of state, it was too late.

0x3d45
January 20th, 2022

8.12.2 A Hunger To Risk Failure Feeds The Will To Win

2776 Mars, The Collar, The High Laboratories Orbital Complex, Great Hall

“What happens now? You’ve picked me, I’ve accepted, and I still wonder if you made the right choice. For a competition to lead the System for a decade.”

”You will prepare. We will help you.

0x3d45
January 19th, 2022

1976 Stanford, California

8.11.1 Secrets Hidden In Plain Sight Is Privacy In Public

1976, Stanford

There are 3 kinds of faces in life: public, hidden, and private.

0x3d45
January 17th, 2022

1976 New Jersey

“It is a factory for ideas, its production lines are invisible.” - Arthur C. Clarke

Thousands of minds at work. Most had PhDs. Many were from tiny towns with a deep curiosity, about everything, and someone, a teacher, saw something. Years later, a good word was put with the right people. A place that needs them.

These minds, a little different and a little ahead (or a lot), worked on one problem. To improve “The System” in the cause of “Universal Service”.

0x3d45
January 16th, 2022

1976 / 1997 California, New Mexico, Washington

You each dropped out and started a new business with a best friend.

Your best friend had the first idea, you fanned the flames.
Your businesses fed on the mothers’ milk of that first idea and grew.
The early days are a wide open field.

There was no competition, you played different games with rules you each invented. Everybody won.

0x3d45
January 15th, 2022

1976, Albuquerque, New Mexico

To succeed means a willingness to fail, the willingness to face questions not yet asked.

It’s not just you & your best friend, dropping out of college with an idea.
It’s not just you & your best friend, with your first business customer.

Others, bright enough to know things, were not brave enough to fail and face questions. They did not drop out, they did not begin with one buyer.

0x3d45
January 15th, 2022

8.6.2

8.7.2 To Win New Games, Invent New Rules

2776 Mars, THE COLLAR, the “High Laboratories”

I was standing in front of the power-brokers of Mars, inside a grand hall converted from a storage vessel from the early days of settlement.

0x3d45
January 13th, 2022

8.6.1 New Worlds Mean New Rules

1976 Mars

There was a world with an ocean and a warm atmosphere. It died.

A team of explorers were sent - they were made, not born. Two. They were hurled into the dark, with thousands of names of their makers inside their bodies. Others were sent in the past, most did not survive.

0x3d45
January 11th, 2022

8.4.1 Weird Experiments Can Change The World

1976

It was a place created to do weird research and experiments.

SRI - Stanford Research Institute - is a nonprofit research institute, imagined in the 20s, launched in 1946 by Stanford University Trustees.

0x3d45
January 9th, 2022

August 1976, Portola Valley, California

Saloon, gambling house, biker bar, beer garden. Node.

One of the first messages of the future Internet was sent from a picnic table at the back of a beer garden. The spot was chosen in 1852 by a San Jose mayor, to avoid regulations on drinking and gambling.

In 1969, the government funded a project to connect mainframes, inside universities, government offices and contractors. It was a new way to share information everywhere. The legend grew that it was a way to run a network even if WW III happened. ARPANET.

0x3d45
January 8th, 2022

1976 New Mexico

The future’s wants control the present’s desires.

Today chooses which tomorrow comes. One of one gives way to many of many. Irreplaceable today, replaced tomorrow. Need filled, next desire.

In high school, you started a tech club with your best friend.

0x3d45
January 8th, 2022

8.1.1 You Do Not Have To Be Perfect

1955, San Francisco, California

Nobody is born to do great things, nobody is perfect.

You don't have to be perfect to do great things.

0x3d45
November 11th, 2021

The story “2X21” began as a few essays in January 2021, inside the “Ship 30” writing community, and 30 essays grew 8-fold into a story of the past and future.

I took the feedback of my fellow shippers, and Nicolas Cole’s notion during one session of doing fiction, and ran with it. “2X21” is part history and part science fiction. The history part included moments from the Dutch Golden Age, the Cold War, the Internet, the 60s, 80s, and 90s. The fiction became one family’s story set in a Space Opera, with nods to “Hollywood fame and fortune”, spy stories, and a crime drama.

I didn’t think I could do “30 essays in 30 days” but I wanted to think about “time” and “space” in every sense of these two words.

I wrote 23 essays about the big picture about “time” and life in January, when my family and I were dealing the loss of my father after a 2+ year struggle. I stuck around to write another 30 in February to explore ideas about “space” both physical and metaphysical.

0x3d45
November 7th, 2021

THE END OF THE BEGINNING

1999 into 2000 - New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day

Boris Yeltsin survived multiple challenges to his authority. There was a coup attempt, several gun battles, a painful debt default, and turnover is his cabinet - Russia was a turbulent power in transition.

Yeltsin was not a saint but he was a survivor, and wanted to ensure a succession of his choice. His choice was Vladimir Putin. The system which followed when the handover was made at when the new year arrived was both a condemnation and reaffirmation of the change from the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation.

0x3d45
November 6th, 2021

1999 The Internet 1.0

10 years old, with each passing day, it became less of a library.

The web went from static to dynamic, slow then accelerating.

A read-only monochrome landscape was gathering color, motion, and memory.

0x3d45
November 5th, 2021

**1999-2000-2001
**
It was to be an empire that would capture the rise of a network.

The old guard was scrambling to catch up. The would be upstarts were trying to stay ahead. Both were wary of a rising hoarde of electricity and light.

The old guard began with mergers of grand dame media. They were a titans in the age of print and copper wire toll bridges.

Time merged with Warner Communications in 1990 for 14+B USD. Time Inc., a 1920s magazine startup, dominated print. Its internal zoning system for deliveries inspired the rise of postal zip codes, the indexing of the real world.

0x3d45
November 5th, 2021

1990 - 1999

The old bargains ended when a secret global war ended.

The walls fell, a continent united after a 1000 years of war.
The walls fell, old grievances were unleashed.

Old nations, separated by the secret war, came together.
New nations, bound by the secret war, were released.

0x3d45
November 4th, 2021

1982 - 1998 - 2008 - 2018

The financial markets were alive after a grinding decade - the 70s

People were looking for love in material places, feeling it in dayglo, pastel, and monogrammed fashion. Logos were love-bites for egos. They charged their way up to a summit of self-actualization -credit!

All that plastic lust flowed through centralized networks.

0x3d45
November 3rd, 2021

1995 Japan

When a story’s simulation of the future is better than reality, it lives rent-free in our imaginations - right into the future.

In 1995, an animated film was released that is a cult classic.

"Ghost In The Shell", an adaptation of a 1989 “manga” hit, has been hailed by film fans and historians. It was a box office failure.

0x3d45
November 1st, 2021

1999, CYPHERPUNK MAILING LIST

Money controlled by a centralized banking system, most electronic.

What if there was electronic money for individuals, free of banks?

Dated "1999-09-19 20:43:05"

0x3d45
November 1st, 2021

PROOF OF NONCE AND PROVENANCE

1997

A peoples' network grew 24/7 on a monochrome text landscape.

Its frontier expanded past the horizon, the messages were flying.

0x3d45
October 31st, 2021

1999

It began years before with a Coca-Cola vending machine.

A vending machine at Carnegie Mellon was the first appliance connected to the pre-internet, the ARPANET, in 1982. It became a smart device that reported how many drinks it had and if they were cold or not. 10 years later, "The Computer of the 21st Century" was fixated on computing everywhere, right into the real world.

The Internet was growing 24/7 more nodes were coming online.

0x3d45
October 30th, 2021

A centralized network of a Workers' State in the East collapsed.

A network to connect machines in the West, never tested for resilience in the event of nuclear war between two Cold War empires, was the seed for a new society. It would be a third 'nation’, a society but not a State, made of many peoples.

A long decentralization began, not that anyone was aware, with the rise of the Internet. A gold rush was on to explore and expand this new 'land', scalability was the priority.

Both East and West empires fought a secret war, a "cold war" after becoming the victors of the Wars between 1918 and 1945. They were obsessed with secrets, keeping their own and uncovering others, and everyone was in the middle of it.

0x3d45
October 29th, 2021

1999 San Francisco, Bay Area

457 IPOs in one year.

100 of them were focused on the Internet, many started in Silicon Valley. Hundreds of startups, thousands fo millionaires, and 250 Billionaires - from Technology. Microsoft was bigger than Exxon, and Bill Gates was the World's richest person.

All of it came with a new alphabet: WWW, TMT, P2P, B2C, C2C, 802.11b, RFID. "Peer to peer", P2P, was the mantra, for messages, music, money.

0x3d45
October 27th, 2021

1999

The world began a shift from Cold War era closed networks.

Attention and capital flooded in to build the Internet, after the emerging and developed markets were rescued. Meanwhile, power shifted to new nodes of the world order. New powers, industries and businesses began their rise.

The Euro, emerges as Europe become connected by currency.

0x3d45
October 27th, 2021

A NETWORK GOING PUBLIC IS A PARTY

1999

It was love at first website.

The 'Information Age" became the Age of the Internet.

0x3d45
October 26th, 2021

1998

It began in Southeast Asia. Past excesses in the emerging markets imploded.

It spread through first the currencies, bonds and then local stock markets. Financial contagion spread to world's real economies.

Many people, far from the markets, suffered, starved, or died. There were bailouts, financial aid, austerity deals and interest rate cuts. The crisis faded, and a new fever began to spread.

0x3d45
October 25th, 2021

Networks amplify the signals in them, including crises.

1997, it began in Southeast Asia in May. It rolled like tsunami.

Thailand and Singapore fight off a squeeze of the Baht. By July, Thailand devalues its currency by 20% and asks for IMF aid.

Currencies in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia are squeezed. Singapore. Indonesia. Hong Kong. South Korea. Companies are closed, billions in market value evaporates in Asia.

0x3d45
October 23rd, 2021

Yahoo built a kingdom on content, its moat was novelty in a new small network. They wanted more, an empire on the Internet.

Empires have to be everything for everyone.

It began with a list of blue links in a monochrome, read-only landscape. A cowboy yodel was the rallying cry in a field fought by 100+ search engines. They won early battles in a long war.

They built an empire by buying.

0x3d45
October 23rd, 2021

1996 23% of adults online

1997 36% of adults online

1998 41% of adults online

Only 7% of non-users have "FOMO" about the World Wide Web.

0x3d45
October 20th, 2021

1996

30 minutes a day: average time spent online. Per MONTH.
There were only 100,000 websites when the year began.

The Telecom Act deregulated data networks.

A war to take over the Internet began.

The leading website was America Online, 'AOL'.It was the top Internet Service Provider, 'ISP' with 5 million users.

Different strategies were tried to win the war for the Internet.

0x3d45
October 19th, 2021

1995

A centralized command and control nation broke into pieces. The outermost spokes and paths were too expensive to run.

Halfway around the world, a cluster of machines expanded from a handful 25 years before. The cluster was designed to connect minds cloistered in universities. It could keep information moving if either side pressed the "button."

If a bomb was dropped on a node, the data would flow past it.

0x3d45
October 19th, 2021

1995 World Wide Web

A monochrome landscape of academic papers got colorful.
Hypertext got some heart. Inline images. Color. Design.

Time sped up, deliberation gave way to daily code updates. Swiss time at CERN was slow, "Netscape Time" was fast Devs 24/7.

They were cranking out releases. SSL, JavaScript, PHP, mp3, Perl, Opera, Windows, Wiki, Ruby, Numpy.

0x3d45
October 17th, 2021

1994

The year before, CERN released its the code.

The public gets its first easy to use browser.
A Tower of Babel of data is inverted for everyone.
A global community of scientists who wanted to share their work. The key was not hardware or software but standards for data.

Then the backbone went private.

0x3d45
October 16th, 2021

1994

A New Peace Grows On A Network

A long secret war, waged since 1945, ends. A Network rises.

The U.S. and Russia sign the "Kremlin Accords" to end the targeting of missiles at each other, and dismantle a nuclear arsenal in Ukraine. Russia and China also stop targeting nuclear weapons at each other.

0x3d45
October 16th, 2021

1992: Two empires were co-rulers and rivals for decades.

A long global war between 1918 and 1945, with a long party in between, erased monarchies and ancient empires. Two empires rose, with the power of the sun. A long secret war began, Cold.

Two nations, born in revolution, chose different paths to the same destination: Control over individuals and information.

After decades of waltzing with atomic bombs, they both grew weary. Cracks in the East broke a walls and borders, and recreated old countries. Cracks in the West rode over copper wire tollbridges and glass fiber. Cryptography, would no longer be treated like a munition under the law, while a new unreal reality emerged.

0x3d45
October 15th, 2021

WHEN PRIVACY NEEDED SOME PIRACY

1992 Germany and California

It was founded in 1950 as a ministry after the creation of East Germany - the "Stasi". The “State Security Service” of the “GDR”.

The Stasi was plugged into all East German life. 2.5 percent of the population, from the ages of 18 to 60, were the eyes of the State.

0x3d45
October 13th, 2021

1992

The maps were the same but underneath the territories were changing. New laws made new maps. New maps, new territories.

In the East,

Lines were rewritten, the spokes of a centralized network were going offline, its nodes becoming independent nations.

0x3d45
October 13th, 2021

1992 San Francisco

Before 1997 cryptographic code was a munition, a weapon, under the law. A tribe of strangers changed the law, and the world after 2007. They had been active since the late 80s.

A trio of them founded a group in 1992. One hacker friend, as a joke, invented a name: "Cypherpunk" (Cipher + Cyberpunk).

Their mailing list was a gathering place grew to few hundred.The conversation was a decade ahead: cryptography.

0x3d45
October 12th, 2021

1993

A network is as valuable as its users, a road as valuable as its travellers.

Rome built roads but its fate was decided by travellers building, fighting, and trading for wealth and words.

In the East, a fearsome hub-and-spoke collapsed into a dozen, the first splinters of an empire, a dozen nations at first. In the West, a million machine network was born.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1993 The Internet

It was a million machine landscape of 3 dozen nations.

A long secret war, the Cold War, was ending. The USSR was gone, POTUS 42 wanted to invest a "peace dividend" on a network. Less than a quarter of the US had computers, and only 3 percent of schools were connected.

The new network was like a young solar system growing from the dust of an older system. Information archives had accumulated for 20 years. Layers of information sediment were building.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1991 USSR and USA

A long secret war since 1945 was ending after almost 50 years.

One network was failing. Rumor was that a nuclear accident was the spark.

The last General Secretary of the Soviet Union did not stop a Wall from being brought down. He had been so busy trying to upgrade the Network he was born into that he didn't notice it was changing. Then, in Chernobyl a nuclear accident that forced a city to evacuate.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1989 Berlin

They were the "No Future Generation" and they had music to go with that vision of the future.

It was experimental. At first it was acid, it was new wave, it was punk. It was a sound for people in Berlin, after years of the Cold War, who didn't fit in the world. It was called "Techno" - sounds against the "System". Spartan music which made space for a generation to dance inside of.

There was no Johnny Rotten, no "Mick". There was for a moment Iggy and Bowie but they weren't staying. Those who came and stayed, and lived with hearts on sleeves, were into music, art and design (sometimes wore colored rats on their sleeves like punk girls did to match their hair colors.) Some tagged the "Wall".

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1941 Washington D.C.

J. Edgar Hoover had no code-breakers.

She was all he had for years. She was a Quaker who helped wage a secret war inside a world war. After 1939, the Axis sent its tentacles west. Dozens of Axis listening stations were connected with encryption to Himmler across the Southern Cone.

She decrypted thousands of messages for the FBI and British Intelligence - including a few of the infamous 'Enigma' machines.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

2871 and 2917

2871 NEAR THE END OF THE LONG WAR, 50 YEARS AGO

"Big Jake, please accept my condolences. He saved as many people as he could, a brave man. Cadmus is still reviewing the test footage.”

"Thank you, Bill. I have to go, I have arrangements to make. There are some things his mother, if she was still alive, would have wanted done for him.”

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

2917 Earth, The Necklace

The Grand Ball marked an end to the latest crisis, the "Decay of the DeepShips", sparked by the tragic accidental deaths of a salvage crew in the Asteroid Belt.

Contractors would renovate an armada of forgotten ships made from asteroids. It would be touted as a "pro-Great Upload" program. One DeepShip, renovated, was in orbit, on Earth's "Necklace" for a party.

The Praetor was coming. Jacob C. Tagore, Jr. was meeting her in private, far from the party. The room was stealth modified. He was alone.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1943 Spain

A fisherman found the body, off the coast of Spain.

Spain, a neutral country in WW II, was sympathetic to the Axis powers. Word reached German intelligence that the remains of an officer, a Major William Martin of the British Royal Marines, were found in the waters of the coast.

The personal effects included ticket stubs, keys, a medal, letters from what appeared to be family, and bills that were due. There were also letters which revealed the Allies were planning an invasion of Greece and Sardinia.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

March 1953 Moscow

It was the end of an era at last, years after most threats to his cult of being were imprisoned, died or executed. Nearly 30 years.

His father went from failed businessman to alcoholic and abusive. His mother escaped, taking her son with him. She was determined to put him through school. At school, he got into fights all the time but he did well in classes, especially with painting, poetry and drama.

He was a choirboy. But something changed.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1939 Spain

1939 Madrid

The Spanish Civil War was over but a new war erupted in 1939, September.

One veteran of the "little WW II" in Spain wanted back in the fight against Germany. British Intelligence turned him down for lack of "credentials" on paper but he had a plan. He pretended to be a Spanish official interested in serving Germany. Soon, the Germans were getting fake intelligence that was not from London.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1981 Ottawa

The summit was an unofficial gathering of the heads of the world's richest nations, the "G7".

In private, French president Mitterand informed POTUS 40, Reagan, that a dossier existed which revealed the existence of a spy network of hundreds of Soviet spies in the West. This network's mission was obtaining NATO technology. The dossier had 4,000 secret documents, from years of espionage.

The CIA's counter-espionage operations, after consulting with the NSC, were to play dumb, and not deport the Soviet spy network.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1981 Ottawa

The summit was an unofficial gathering of the heads of the world's richest nations, the "G7". In private, French president Mitterand informed POTUS 40, Reagan, that a dossier existed which revealed the existence of a spy network of hundreds of Soviet spies in the West. This network's mission was obtaining NATO technology. The dossier had 4,000 secret documents, from years of espionage.

The CIA's counter-espionage operations, after consulting with the NSC, were to play dumb, and not deport the Soviet spy network.

The Agency's "Op" arranged for the transfer of faulty technology and disinformation. A South African double-agent was arrested in NYC, and his "handler" was imprisoned in Switzerland. Reports, unconfirmed, included that an energy pipeline in Siberia experienced a computer failure and led to an explosion.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1960 Argentina

They grabbed him at a Mercedes-Benz plant - he was older by then but it still took 3 men to get him into the car and they had to throw a blanket over him.

In the war he was a bureaucrat with a talent for horror who attended a secret meeting outside Berlin in 1942 - his "analytics" for those in charge, whose orders he later claimed he was only following, led to the death of millions.

When the war ended many were caught, tried and executed for their crimes but he managed to escape. He used disguises and people sympathetic to his beliefs helped him run to Argentina.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1986 Ukraine

In 1956, the United States identified 101 potential targets in Ukraine in the event of nuclear war, and there was good reason.

The Institute of Physics and Technology, in Ukraine, was a center for Soviet nuclear research. Its mines supplied the material refined for the first Soviet atomic bomb. It was where generations of ballistic nukes were made, back to the first clones of German V-2s.Despite Khrushchev's boasts in 1960 of missiles “coming off the assembly line like sausages", there were production problems. Years later, there was another nuclear problem, which led to end of the USSR.

On April 26, 1986, engineers were performing a test, during an annual maintenance shutdown. The theory was that left-over energy could supply power to parts of a nuclear reactor running in case of an emergency shutdown. The reactor had a history of errors and construction issues.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1936 Berlin

In the Ancient Aegean, games of sport, strength and skill were held between city states. The Olympics. In the Modern Age, the same games were held between nation states - games within games.

The Germans used them in 1936. In 1939, WW II erupted, and then a secret war emerged in 1946 - the Cold War - U.S. versus USSR.

There were proxy wars through smaller nations, the Space Race and the race for gold medals. Stalin declined in 1948 in favor of creating teams for 1952 which resulted in 71 medals, 22 gold. The strategy led to dominance of the 1956 games: USSR 98 to U.S. 74.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1917 France

Margaretha Geertruida Zelle was born in the Netherlands, 1876, the eldest of 4.

"M'greet", as she was called by her family, had a happy childhood. At age 13 it all went wrong.

Her father's hat business went bust, and soon after her parents divorced. 2 years later, her mother died, and her godfather became her guardian. M'greet began training as a kindergarten teacher but her godfather took her away due to the headmaster's advances.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1939 France

Freda was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906, her mother was washer-woman who gave up dance-hall dreams and her father was a vaudeville drummer.

Soon after Freda was born, her father left. By age 8, she was a house-cleaner and babysitter to help her mother. She ran away at 13. She was a club waitress who became a dancer known for her comedic skits with dance companies.

In the 1920s, the French were enthralled with Jazz and the exotic. Freda was made for the moment. She became a star in 1920s Paris. Fans included Hemingway, Picasso and E.E. Cummings.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1989 Berlin

The Wall fell and a divided city and nation began to merge. It would take time after decades of division during a long secret war between the West and East. It could have gone wrong.

Over 3 million people's lives were turned inside out. Everything they knew was being erased or rewritten. The system, the education, the rules, and a "future" that was expected: gone.

What do you do? A lot of time was on a lot of hands. Was it time for revolution and riots in the streets?

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1991 Moscow

It was one of the final chapters in the USSR's history of targeting of U.S. facilities and staff.

The U.S. Ambassador's meeting with a KGB chief began with polite talk. His host gave him a file which confirmed decades of suspicion. The new U.S. embassy building in Moscow was filled with listening devices. The USSR admitted what was long denied, the building was a microphone.

Both the U.S. and USSR needed bigger office space by 1969.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1968 Pacific Ocean, Northwest of Hawaii

It went missing on a routine patrol without a word of why, carrying ballistic nuclear missiles.

Some say it was mechanical error, others say it was Cold War sabotage. The Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 was lost in the deep of the Pacific Ocean. The USSR gave up its search after 2 months.

The U.S., which had managed to recover 2 lost subs, had a plan. The prize were the warheads, the code books, and the metallurgical clues of how the Russians' boats were made. The nuclear missile gap had closed and the U.S. welcomed every Cold War edge it could get.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

July 1941 Washington D.C.

A Great War veteran, Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient. The recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal.

It was said that he, along with his surviving siblings, got from their mother, "style and etiquette and the dreams of poets", and from their father, "toughness and duty and honor to country".

He became a lawyer in 1909. He spent months in Berlin, in 1916, on behalf of the Rockefellers, to ask for food relief for Belgium, Serbia and Poland. Then he was called to war against Pancho Villa.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

April 1945 Germany

The Germans' V1 and V2 rockets rained destruction on England. What other threats were next? The "wonder weapons" the Third Reich had in store might also be the ultimate, the atomic bomb.

An allied secret team, "Mission Alsos", was sent through enemy lines to look for Werner Heisenberg. Heisenberg, a Nobel prize winner, was the head of the Third Reich's nuclear research.

"Mission Alsos" was led by the man who oversaw security for the "Manhattan Project", America's atomic bomb effort, Colonel Boris T. Pash. He was determined to capture Heisenberg.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1940 Suez Canal

Commander David Stirling, of His Majesty's Scots Guards, a descendant of King Charles II, and the son of Brigadier General Archibald Stirling, was restless.

He dropped out of Trinity College after a year, went to Paris to become an artist, and was training to climb Mount Everest when the war began.

Bored at the Suez Canal, Stirling strapped parachutes to a chair in a plane, and dove out of a plane. The parachute tangled with the tail section, and he broke his back.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1946 Pennsylvania

During the "Great War" in the early years of the 20th Century, some of the first computers used for warfare were for artillery guidance. They were mechanical control systems. The firing control computers controlled the height and lateral movement of the banks of weapons, such as 30 caliber machine guns.

These mechanical gunnery computers had limited success.

At the same time, the field of physics was moving past Newton and straight to Einstein. A mechanical world gave way to electronics.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1790 New York City

The British left.

The United States, a startup country, was born. The War for Independence was won. The work to keep it began.

The first State of the Union address requested a “competent fund designated for... expenses incident to the conduct of foreign affairs”.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1945

It was called 'TEAMHOUGH' - an intelligence unit with special passes from Allied Supreme HQ.

The team’s leader surveyed Latin America for oil companies, and included specialists, from the Military Intelligence Training Center in Ft. Ritchie, Maryland, trained in PsyOps.

One operative was an affable German who ran a deli in NYC before the War. He was a formidable interrogator known to disappear, for days at a time on orders, and reappear like a ghost at prearranged times and places. In one critical interrogation, the subject, after several hours, gave up one word - "Saalfield".

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1956

The war against the fascists was long over, half of Europe was under the sway of the Warsaw Pact, and there was new secret war. A secret war waged by keeping secrets, while breaking others.

The Germans' Enigma machine was no use. The Americans were selling them to developing nations as good enough but the USSR needed a new machine, one that could encrypt messages in several languages. As the USSR's reach expanded during the Cold War, new secrets grew.

They created "Fialka", or "Purple" or "Violet" in English. It looked like the adding machines which were in demand in a booming Western economy. The standard model was electrical-mechanical with 10 rotors, built for 30 Cyrillic letters, with hundreds of quadrillion of possibilities at minimum.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1918

Dr. Arthur Scherbius, born in 1878, was an expert in asynchronous motors, known also as the induction motor or "AC motor". He was an engineer who invented electrical pillows, ceramic heaters and motors.

That was not his true legacy. In 1918 he patented a machine with rotating wired wheels, a rotor machine. A machine for hiding secrets.

The product was called "Enigma", named after English composer Edward Edgar's "Variations on an Original Theme", or "Enigma Variations", for Edgar's friends - a "musical cryptogram". Music filled with secrets.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1946

Many know about Apollo 11, it's a milestone in history, marking the period of humanity before and after landing on the Moon. Its origin was the end of WW II.

The Americans got Von Braun and his team. A new secret war began. A Cold War. The German team's past was blotted out by the glare of a Space Race and ballistic missiles upgraded for the moon. America was determined to win the next battlefield, Space.

There was another team however.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1961 East Berlin

On paper, he was the perfect recruit. He was the son of an officer of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, 'NKVD' for short (secret police) and a graduate of a top university in Moscow.

At the NKVD, he learned 4 languages and trained in spycraft. His first posting was with the foreign service in 1961, right before the Berlin Wall was completed. He was repelled by the wall but kept silent. He returned to Moscow, and in 1963 he joined the KGB.

In 1966, he was attached to the Soviet embassy in Copenhagen. His seed of disillusionment grew after Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Danes noticed and contacted MI6.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1963 Houston

In 1960, a U-2 Spy-plane was shot down while deep inside USSR airspace, on the eve of an East-West summit in Paris. A thaw in the Cold War, from a 1959 meeting at Camp David, had frozen over.

The Cold War called for a new kind of spy in the sky out of the reach of conventional missiles.

An Earth-bound spacecraft was designed in the middle of a Space Race to the moon. It would take pictures of the Earth from orbit, for Soviets and secrets. In 1957, years before anyone was launched into space, the U.S. Air Force funded an idea developed in WW II - A spaceplane called "Dyna-Soar".

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1990

In 1990, the newspaper Pravda disclosed, that couple of years before in 1988, someone was executed for espionage.

It was unusual news as the Cold War had begun to end. The Iron Curtain was falling, rusted away by years of containment, and post-WW II dominoes tilted backwards.

That collapse was helped in part by 25 years of a double-agent’s work.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1961 Berlin

A long war, made of two global wars with a 20 year break in-between, turned the world upside down and killed millions.

There was another pause in 1945 - just long enough for a new kind of secret war to begin. A ‘Cold War’.

The victors looked at the spoils and turned on each other. They split Europe in half, and in public, each side declared they would win the peace through productivity. Behind the scenes they would compete in other ways.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

2X99 December 31, The DeepShip Birmingham

"Captain, we're approaching the first marker."

"Very well. I'm coming."

The shipwide alert of a defolding began, flight checklists activated. Shipmates nodded as the Captain headed to the control room. Everyone was smiling even if they didn't show it.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

2921 Ganymede, Jupiter

The Triumverate, ready to commence and celebrate the Great Upload ceremonies, was surprised by the sudden appearance of thousands of ships all over the System.

Elena, as Lenamay, the greatest Expee performer of the system, cut her performance short and disappeared back to the seclusion. That was the official story for Elena's alter ego. Meanwhile she piloted a swarm of thousands of ships to distract the Triumverate.

And then word of the sudden quiet that fell across the system. All responses to the swarm ended. Mass confusion. The news began to report that all of the Triumverate was missing.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

2921

"I'm ready."

Elena, floated into a special chamber built into the DeepShip.

Her friends had hijacked a ship the size of city, hollowed from an Asteroid, one of thousands, from a near-forgotten spacedock - without triggering any alarms.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

2921 Autumn, Asteroid Belt

Inside a stealth masked DeepShip - a hollowed out asteroid the size of a large city.

"This will work. What was tried before had failed. A second chance doesn’t mean a chance to make the same mistakes.”

"It sure didn't feel that way a few months ago. I thought I was going to fall forever inside this ship.” Jake shook his head.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

Persephone, daughter of Jupiter, and Ceres, goddess of the harvest, was renowned for her beauty. S

he was the obsession of Pluto, king of the otherworld, Hades - he kidnapped her. She ate the food of the underworld, Pomegranate seeds, binding her to that realm.

A compromise was made: Persephone promised to split her time in two worlds, Home and Hades.

Lenamay was under the evening sky without need of protection. No dome. No suit. Sleeping under an open sky and offline. She was not 'Verse-streaming. She dreamed of home.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1981 San Mateo, California

The "Traveller Trillion Credit Squadron" was a simple game despite "several volumes of rules".

In the game, everyone designed a fleet of warships with a budget of a trillion dollars, for a game of fleet versus fleet. A large scale version of childhood game "Battleship". Until there was 1 fleet left as the winner.

Enter a Stanford computer scientist. His progam, Eurisko, ground away at the problem at Xerox's Alto Parc (the birthplace of the PC). 10 hours a day, every day for a month a bank of these machines crunched away. The answer was simple and awful.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1941, Hollywood

There were not enough workers to help build the war machine the Allies needed for WW II. Women became shipbuilders - they worked close to the metal and assembled an armada. "We Can Do It."

Everyone contributed, including a woman from an upper-middle class Austrian family, Hedwig Keisler. She had a brief film career that included an award winning film banned in the U.S. - ended with a disastrous marriage to an arms dealer. She ran away to Hollywood and became a star.

In her spare time, Hedwig worked on inventions. This included protection for torpedoes' radio signals from jamming. She wanted to build, not just sell war bonds (although she was good at that too). The Navy ridiculed the prototype.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1936 Spain

It was a war between a Republic versus an Army and Aristocracy. The will of might against the will of the people. There were volunteers from other countries coming to fight. Men and women.

The war included Anarchists, Communists, Socialists, Capitalists, Artists, Writers, Poets, Journalists, Painters, Actors, and Film-makers.

Picasso's "Guernica" portrayed a war machine at work. After 1936 he stopped being apolitical. Hemingway, Neruda, Orwell, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Miro, Calder, and others were drawn in.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

2916 Earth, The Necklace.

"She’s ready to go. I trust you that they won’t see her leave.”

June Birmingham's face, softened by the years, looked the same as Fernanda Marie-Therese Roque remembered. The last 2 survivors of a minor battle from the Long War. Decades ago.

"Fernanda, you did well keeping Elena off the Triumverate's scopes after she ran away. I'm ready for her. I’ll keep her safe.”

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1988 NoHo NYC

The rocket of his art took him to new worlds.

He shared the world of his mind in new places. A floating studio began in an East Village apartment, covered in sketches, drifted to SoHo NYC, Venice, California, and West Hollywood in 1982. His girlfriend at the time was an unknown singer who called herself "Madonna". He later settled in "North of Houston".

Art and music, artists and musicians, exhibitions, shows and benefits.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1980, SoHo, NYC

He sold a postcard of his art to Warhol, for $1 in 1979. His girlfriend Suzanne supported him as a waitress. "He was attracted to people for all different reasons.... driven by intelligence. He was attracted to intelligence more than anything and to pain”.

Later, an art show with photocopies of his work.

A costume, turned fashion, designer, Patricia Field sold his painted clothing line and displayed his sculptures in her shop window. His first national exposure in an article "Graffiti '80: The State of the Outlaw Art", written by a friend who ran a public access show he was on several times. He was also in that same friend's film, "Downtown '81", released in 2000.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1960 Park Slope, Brooklyn

He learned to read at 4, and he liked to draw his favorite cartoons.

His mother encouraged art. At 7, he went to a private school. That year, he and his best friend made a children's book.

Everything changed the next year.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1892 Harvard

They categorized the lights of the sky, more numerous than the sand of every beach - The "Harvard Computers".

They classified the stars by color and connected colors to temperature. Another found a way to measure star sizes. Their greatest, Henrietta Leavitt, calculated distances.

They went from hundreds to millions of light years. Just as Earth was no longer the center of the Solar System, the sun was no longer at the heart of the Milky Way. Humanity leapt from interstellar to galactic scale measurements.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1914 France

They thought home by Christmas but after 5 months of fighting they were still in the trenches killing each other.

Something happened on the Western Front. Outbreaks of peace on Christmas Eve. By dawn, there were handshakes, cigarettes and carols. Rumors of "football" matches.

Exhaustion and the need to recover the bodies of fallen comrades from the field. The trenches were close enough to hear each other. It’s hard to make war on the familiar.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1926 Los Angeles

"There must be thousands... alone like me, dreaming ... I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.”

Years of abandonment, abuse, foster homes, an orphanage, and a marriage at 16. Hard and lonely. She found escape, through a giant screen filled with light and dreams. In 1946, Norma Jean Mortensen was broke but talked an LA studio into making photos for her dreams.

Norma Jean became Marilyn. She fought the studios after struggle ignited into early success - she started her own company and joined the Actors Studio. She became a star.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

Paris, 1895

Auguste and Louis Lumiere's father had a photographic plate factory on the verge of bankruptcy. The boys saved the factory in 1884 and went beyond plates. They saw Edison's Kinetoscope - mechanical peepshow but the brothers wanted to merge animation with projection.

By February 1895, they built a 3-in-1 camera that recorded, developed and projected moving pictures.

In the basement of Salon Indien du Grand Café, they recreated moments of life with light. A train arriving, soldiers marching, horse trick riders, goldfish fishing, a blacksmith, a baby having breakfast, Lyon street scene, beachgoers.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1870 Wisconsin

It was called the "Greatest Show on Earth" by its creator, who was called the "Shakespeare of Advertising" - the first to travel by train. The show would keep growing despite disaster, train wrecks and mishaps. Phineas Taylor Barnum, "P.T. Barnum" for short, made sure folks knew when the circus came to town.

Barnum worked for 40 years at other things: A general store, a newspaper, a theater, museums filled with hoaxes, America's first aquarium and wax figure shows, promotion of a famous opera singer (paid $1,000 a night for 150 days), a member of the Connecticut legislature (twice). At 60 he was ready at last.

Kids ran away to join the circus, "P.T." ran away to start one. A mass of contradictions, Barnum later became the Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1605 London

There were explosives found under Parliament's House of Lords, but the the Gunpowder Plot was foiled. When the word spread, many celebrated that James the 1st survived. The Plot was intended to replace his Majesty with a Catholic sovereign.

Guy Fawkes and others were caught and executed, and over the years the day was remembered in fire. The kind of gunpowder meant to kill a King would make fireworks and celebration. Over the years, politics, power, parties burned away gratitude.

“The flames each year left behind ashes of new memories.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1948 Western Europe

A global war had ended - millions were killed and there was a new secret war between 2 victors, each with plans.

The plan would amount to 5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product to rebuild 16 nations, to fund the reconstruction of half of Europe. Infrastructure, cities and industry would be rebuilt, trade barriers between neighbors lowered.

In less than 4 years growth was higher than pre-war levels.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1962 Greenwich Village, NYC

The Sensorama. For $6,000 USD, you could have a machine that created 3-dimensional peripheral vision, binaural sound, tactile and aromatic sensations. “Feelies”.

Morton L. Heilig, U. Chicago grad and Fulbright Scholar, struggled to get financing for "the thing" but the grandson of a department store fortune funded a prototype. It was Aldous Huxley’s "all super-singing, synthetic talking, colored, sterophonic feely, with synchronized scent-organ accompaniment". The Bronx-born "Mortie" wanted to sell it.

He was described as "brilliant but wild-eyed... a creative genius but not easy to work with." The 6 foot tall, 30 inch machine languished at the Santa Monica pier for years.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1892 Toronto

Gladys Marie Smith's life was filled with drama in every sense of the word.

There was a quarantine when she was 4. Her alcoholic father abandoned the family and died soon afterwards. Her mother took in boarders to pay bills.

One boarder was a theatrical stage manager, and the Smiths became stage performers. Gladys had her first stage role at age 7. She took all roles offered.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1912 Paris, Montparnasse

Mariya Ivanovna Vassiliéva was going to study medicine, a privilege for a daughter of a prosperous Smolensk family but something happened.

She discovered art. She changed studies in St. Petersburg in 1903. By 1907 she was in Paris, working as a news correspondent and studied at Ecole de Beaux-Art.

5 years later, "Marie Vassilieff" became the center of an art scene. Her new atelier's walls were covered with work from friends including Chagall, Modignliani, and Picasso. Cutting edge artists had a home at Vassilieff Atelier.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1756, Holy Roman Empire

"In the 4th year of his age his father...began to teach him.... He could play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and keeping exactly in time. At the age of 5, he was already composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down."

Joannes’ father was his teacher - it was the sounds from his music lessons which took root. Soon he was on tour, performing for royal courts.

Munich, Paris, London, Amsterdam. When he turned 8, he wrote a symphony. It was not an easy time. One still had to coax the royals to pay. He and his sister both almost died from illness.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1602 Batavia (later known as Jakarta, Indonesia)

The Dutch golden age disrupted the Spanish Empire's dominion over the world, and the shadow of a handful of potentates in Amsterdam loomed over millions.

A new center emerged for commerce, commodities and confusion de confusiones. Disruption and disaggregation were bundled into a piece of paper: a "Company".

The VOC, short for "Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie", was the first of its kind. The Reformation bound together innovations from the Renaissance. At its height, the VOC held sway over more than half of all oceangoing trade.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1656, The Hague, Confrerie Pictura

The Dutch Golden Age turned a rebellion into a republic.

It gave birth to markets of memory.

In a century, artists created millions of windows into the natural world and natural order, of life and death. A record of a nation’s land, people and possessions was created.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1907, Mexico City

Magdalena was born in a village, known as "the Place of the Coyotes".

Isolated for polio at 6, her photographer father, nurtured the artist inside her. The early years were punctuated with her parents' unhappy marriage and hardships. Despite all of this, she began a medical education at an elite school.

This all changed with a bus accident.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1664 The Hague

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 unleashed a Dutch Golden Age. Over a million paintings were created. Some were special, “1 of 1”: Rachel Ruysch, born in 1664.

Rachel's father, Frederik, was a leading scientist with a collection of animal skeletons, mineral and plant samples. It inspired her as a child to draw them with uncanny accuracy.

Her talents matched a society whose passions included art, flowers, and nature. At 14, she apprenticed with a leading artist, and developed a scientific romantic style.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1791 Philadelphia

Spanish Dollars were the tokens of a 18th Century Startup, the United States of America. Inspired by the silver "Thalers" of the Netherlands, the coins were minted by slaves of the Spanish Empire, and became the currency of rebels.

The myth of the pirates' "pieces of eight", where a merchant made change by breaking a dollar into 8 "bits", was suitable for a country which itself was a fraction broken off from an empire.

Despite no legal trade between Spain and England, British Colonists used Spanish Dollars for money. The money came from pirates.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1648 The High Seas

Elizabeth I, inherited a pittance of a navy, and William of Orange, wanted to free the Dutch from Spain.

Both enlisted Pirates as privateers, to raid the ships of the House of Bourbon, rulers of the Spanish Empire. Religion, gold and power were the prizes. An armada of brigands.

Navies for hire began to lose favor with the Peace of Westphalia. State owned armadas were on the rise. “You do not have to be afraid of them, Milady, they are only ragged beggars” -Councillor Charles Berlaymont (1566)

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1918 Paris

The Great War, the war to end all wars, in fact ended the 19th Century.

Patriotism and propaganda gave way to protest and pacifism. Wars change everything. After the Great War, past art movements bled into Modernism. It bore Surrealism - a new unreal reality - whose muses were scarred and traumatized soldiers. New art to describe the indescribable.

"In the war, things were in terrible turmoil. What I had learned at the academy was of no use to me and the useful new ideas were still unready.... Everything had broken down and new things had to be made out of the fragments." - Kurt Schwitters, German Modernist

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1648 Amsterdam

Pliny the Elder said a girl became the muse of painting after drawing an outline of a boy she loved, following his shadow cast by lamplight. Love made the myth of the muse.

The 80 Years War faded into the peace of Westphalia in 1648, a Dutch Golden Age shined. Its art flowered into a million works. A handful of artists entered myth and history.

Rembrandt, revered for his shadows - subdued earth tones, dark spaces punctuated with flares.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1963, Manhattan

William threw haircutting parties.

One friend brought an artist who experimented with silk screening to make paintings and adding new shadows and contours to photos.

William's apartment was covered in foil and silver paint. The artist asked him to decorate his new loft in the same way. William said “yes”, and helped Andy Warhol create his art scenius, "The Factory". Andy was in the business of art.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1904, Paris

Henri Matisse wished for “a small syndicate that would give me enough money to work for a year".

André Level, lawyer from a respected family of industrialists, raised a fund to buy a collection of work from emerging and unappreciated artists. Art in the eyes of some, bizarre trash to many - opportunity for Level.

Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and van Gogh were among the 60 artists in 145 works which "La Peau de l’Ours", "Skin of the Bear", bought in 1904. The sale in a dreary auction house in March 1914, was for quadruple the investment. Profits shared with the artists.

0x3d45
October 10th, 2021

1648 Münster and Osnabrück, Holy Roman Empire

It seemed endless, decades of war which killed millions, but the Peace of Westphalia came. A Dutch Republic was free of the Spanish Empire. By the time the treaties were signed, the rebel provinces were a world power.

The Dutch Golden Age was a miracle.

The world’s first stock exchange, first global corporation, an early central bank, and windmill powered shipbuilding, while the ports’ geographic sweet spot captured half of European shipping. International law and early interplanetary discoveries had a place in this age. A long war had given way to a great peace.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1990, PLANET EARTH

The lines of reality after 1945 shift, an end and a beginning.

A wall falls. A divided Germany unifies. East meets West. Berlin becomes one city again. Europe begins to form a union. At the same time other nations come apart, the U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia. Billionaires are created by the former, and bombs will drop in the latter. The first McDonalds and Pizza Huts open in Russia.

An army in Iraq invades a smaller neighboring country, Kuwait. A Long War will begin. A marginal news network becomes a news network for 24-7 coverage of what will be nicknamed, "The Video Game War". The longest running war news coverage in media history begins.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1983

In December 1983, David retired as Creative Head of the firm he reinvented. He was an Oxford scholarship dropout, an apprentice chef in Paris, a stove salesman, intelligence officer and farmer.

His biggest success came from being one thing: a writer.

His brother Francis helped David get a job as a salesman for a stove company which Francis' firm represented. Francis was an ad man.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1986 LucaArts

In the beginning, the original specification was for a single generic male and female character, they were without form and character.

But the makers looked upon the face of this world, and allowed for changes, there could be different heights, possessions, and a 100+ different heads. And they saw that it was good.

It was so good, in fact, that the ‘heads’ were sold in "vending machines", and as rewards for players for successful quests. There was that and barter, and life and death decisions, so much so that there was chaos and the makers had to bring order, through rules.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1986 Baker Beach, California

On the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, a sculptor had an annual bonfire ritual. She turned it over to a boyfriend of a friend. On June 21, 1986, he wanted to go further: "radical self-expression".

They collected scrap wood and made sculptures of a man and his dog. 8 foot tall. That evening, they set it on fire.

The first "Burning Man" was born.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1981 Cupertino

September 1981, InfoWorld magazine announced the IBM PC, and then mentioned 3 machines were coming from Apple Computer.

One was designed to compete with Xerox's PC, the "Star". Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center ("PARC") was humanizing the experience of computing. Xerox was designing the future of computing.

In 1979, Steve Jobs paid Apple company stock to Xerox for 2 visits by his people to see demos. He wanted to build the future too.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1983 Silicon Valley

It was another startup in the Valley with a fancy idea: graphical user interfaces for future computers, but they got nowhere fast. They started over, and went simpler. In July 1984, hired a product person.

A month later, the product guy wrote a 2 page note about "overhead projection". Back then, people made transparencies of images, projected on a film-screen by a machine that was a big lamp.

Apple invested. 3 years later, the software was ready. The problem was a legal check for the name wasn’t done until the last minute.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980 NYC

1963, Frederick is from Long Beach, New York, his dad, a shoe wholesaler and mom, a housewife. In high school, he learns guitar and song-writing from the "AV" director. He starts a band with friends and they do shows in garages and school dances.

A teacher helps him get into punk music.

They do 2 songs at CBGB, there is ejection for a fight with trolls in the crowd. The fight is a setup to get publicity. His dad wears police uniform to “shut down” the show.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1985 London, Wembley Stadium

The BBC reported a horror unfolding in real-time.

One story was of a nurse, surrounded by tens of thousands of starving people, forced to choose which children got food from dwindling supplies. The report was broadcast in the U.S., a rare event in a pre-internet world.

Bob Geldof, of the band Boomtown Rats, reached out to a friend, Midge Ure.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1987 West Berlin, Before the Fall of the Wall

After living and working in the United States for eight years, he wanted to leave. Wim Wenders went back to "West Germany", after almost 10 years as a director in the U.S. He needed to go home.

He wanted to plug back into one of his favorite plates, West Berlin.

One other project was years away from completion, so he drew on a muse, Rainer Maria Rilke. Rilke's poetry inspired images of angels, and the cemeteries around Berlin were filled with them.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1983 Washington D.C.

An upstart fought a giant which had one network to rule them all.

The upstart, born in 1963, was nicknamed the "law firm with an antenna", because of its lawsuits. They battled with AT&T in the courts so they could sell their microwave-based service, as "Microwave Communications Inc", "MCI". David vs Goliath, "Ma Bell".

“David” had a new idea, inspired by companies famed for telegram messages, money orders, and the first FCC licensed network to connect business computers, Western Union and Telenet.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980s The Nasdaq National Market

It was born in 1971. The SEC told the National Association of Securities Dealers to build an electronic market for price information for “Over-the-Counter” (OTC) securities, not listed on the exchanges. Market makers for OTC used to deal by phone.

They never had a "pit" in the first place, it was "open architecture" before "open" was the thing.

A stream of data flowed for everyone on this network.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1981 NYC

They were an experimental punk group, played CBGBs, and closing night at Max's Kansas City. Michael, Jeremy, John and Kate. They were the fine "Young Aborigines".

The lineup, name and genre changed. It became Michael, Adam, and Adam, "Mike D", "MCA", "AdRock” (and for a little longer, Kate).

It was time to reinvent. It was time for some laughs.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980 The Nasdaq

They were fooling around with “blue boxes” playing phone phreak games, getting free long distance phone calls.

The 16 y/o was great at building machines. The 21 y/o, was great at stories. He hustled and sold 200 of them for $150 each, and split the money. They were like brothers on an adventure.

They hung out at a club, and saw homemade machines, small versions of large expensive machines for business and government. The younger brother made one, on paper. He couldn’t afford an important part to make it for real.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980 Las Vegas

The MGM Grand Hotel, bigger than the Empire State Building, went up in flames.

The largest hotel in the world became the largest disaster in Las Vegas history, killing 87 people. In less than 9 months, it reopened. Its owner, Kirk Kerkorian, was an unstoppable deal-maker.

Born Kerkor Kirkorian in 1917 in Fresno, California, "Kirk" grew up speaking his parents' native Armenian as his first language. The family moved to L.A. during the post-Great War depression of 1920-21. An 8th grade dropout who became a welterweight boxer, he became a pilot because he didn't want to be an infantryman as WW II got closer to the U.S.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980s The World

A long secret war of the world was ending. New ones began.

Parts of the world went to pieces.

The pieces shifted. New players were on the board. One empire lost vassals, and changed names.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1989

The beginning of the end for an old era.

The end of the beginning for a new era.

In 1946 Winston Churchill gave it a name in a speech he gave in Fulton, Missouri. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an “iron curtain” has descended across the Continent.” "Iron Curtain" might have come from a Russian poem from 1918.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1988 Washington D.C.

They denied its existence for years but in 1988, a Defense department official released a grainy picture of an odd looking plane.

It was an idea based on a Russian theoretical math paper from 1964, based on even earlier work from a German scientist. It was possible to make an airplane, even big, invisible to radar, with the right shapes.

The problem was that such a plane needed a computer to keep it flying in the air. Computers that could crunch the math filled rooms, never mind one that could help fly a plane.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1986 New York City

He was busted. He admitted he did it. He cried and confessed to his lawyer.

The best and brightest who became a senior banker just 3 years after joining a sleepy old Wall Street firm. He ran circles around the lifers who were there through the long lean years, and had hung on in the "Go Go 60s" and post-Vietnam Stagflation 70s.

15 years after joining "the Street", at the top, Martin Siegel was done.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

November 1989

Gorbachev’s loosened the U.S.S.R's reins over its sphere, Eastern Europe, and wanted to guide the U.S.S.R. into a new direction. He wanted to reform the system for the next century.

This move pushed back the dominoes that fell after 1945 the other way, one of which knocked down the Berlin Wall in November 1989. He would meet the the American President in December.

POTUS 41, Bush, supported democracy but let events take their course on their own. He met with Gorbachev in Malta to discuss nuclear arms and the fast changes unfolding in Eastern Europe.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1984

The U.S. and U.S.S.R. had missiles targeting each other for years.

W.W. III seemed a real possibility.

Under the surface of our worst imaginations are brighter dreams.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1914 France

They thought home by Christmas.

After 5 months of fighting they were still in the trenches killing each other. The toll of the "Race to the Sea" and the "First Battle of Ypres" was too great.

Something happened on the Western Front.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1989 Japan

One war was lost, another was beginning.

The world was being divided between the victors. An economic battle for the ages began. The first cracks emerged on both sides. A wall fell in Berlin and a bubble popped in Japan. Enemies became trusted allies and economic giants.

Japan rebuilt itself and its economy began a long ascent, becoming the 2nd largest by 1989.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980 NYC

A commodities broker sold the ultimate commodity to the masses.

He plumbed the deep banal waters of culture, and made a high art of what he salvaged from its depths: domesticity turned to materialism.

From post-WW II Americana, he recovered already made things, and turned them into art. In 1984, he encased vaccuum cleaners under plexiglass, like gold antiquities, cast under harsh florescent lights.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1983 Virginia

The big money, the product market fit, was in games, and some of them leaned hard into it. If you were a game developer you had to play by their rules if you wanted their users.

Humble beginnings with business customers and enterprise services led to consumer services. The official excuses were for information and "useful" services but it was all about games.

A handful of companies competed in the market for all those minds playing together, for market share and attention. Some played down how much time their younger users were on their networks, playing games. They spent more and more time there.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1982 Berkeley

The financial markets were coming alive again.

People were looking for love in material places, feeling themselves in the dayglo, pastel, monogrammed. Fashion logos were love-bites for egos.

People wanted more, and all they had to do was to charge their way up to a summit of self-actualization, through the things they bought and wore. Plastic money, credit, was just getting started.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980 California

The idea was a wildfire that started in California - exchanging tomorrow for today, without 19th century horrors of debtor prisons or the purgatories of indentured servitude and company towns.

Generations traumatized by depression, recession, inflation and war were faded into history. The pieces were coming together for a new "innovation", which came out of California like so many new technologies. It was financial technology before "fintech" was born.

Enter the Age of Credit Cards.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980 Menlo Park, California

They sometimes gathered in the parking lot of a Safeways, and then a bar used by Stanford students. They traded parts, components, and information about how to write instructions to run smaller versions of what were very large machines for corporations.

It started in 1975, as a gathering for the appearance of the first machine of its kind, the Altair 8800 - one of the first products built for the first folks with a strange new hobby: "personal computing".

The Altair was sent by the "Peoples Computer Company", a name inspired by Janis Joplin's band.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1980 England

It was born in the mid-1960s but it came of age, like a teenager by the early 1980s.

A new sound was coming from musicians playing with synthesizers. Synth-pop, Electro-pop, Techno-pop, it had many names. Post-punk, New Wave.

One of its godmothers was a depression-era baby and Brown U. graduate, Wendy Clark, whose electronic variations on Bach, led to an eerie soundtrack for the film version of 'A Clockwork Orange' in 1971. She would later make the soundtrack for first computer generated Sci-Fi classic film, “Tron”.

0x3d45
October 9th, 2021

1985 NYC, The Plaza Hotel

The ministers of the West gathered to change the story about the US Dollar. A "strong" USD was killing American business. It was the latest chapter in a never-ending money story about the USD.

After WW II, everyone used dollars after the sun set on the British Pound after WW I. Business was booming, and the world needed more USD. Banks began to make their own USD outside the U.S. - "Eurodollars", USD outside of US control, was born. (Note: We’ll return to this part of the USD story in the future.)

Meanwhile, back home, the US was vulnerable to USD being cashed in for gold. After WW II, the Bretton Woods agreement set $35 as the price of gold. The story was about a “gold standard”.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2871, MARS, Old Musk City

”Hurry it up, you gotta eat before the transport comes!”

Fernanda Marie-Therese Roque tried to shake off her nerves. It was like she was a “probie” of a Strasse-crew, waiting for a chance to throw back some hits and kicks, and make points with bosses.

”I’m coming Mama, I just have to get the last of this gear on.”

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

“2921” is a book is story set both in the past and the future.

It includes the original 30+ “chapters” of “2X21”, and subsequent installments, “seasons” of the book, written in 30 day sprints, “1648”, “1961”, and “1987”.

When “1999” is completed, it will be included.

Most of the 250+ chapters can be read as stand-alone vignettes of history and fiction, and they are shared below in the evolving chronology of the story.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2999

2X99 December 31, The DeepShip Birmingham

"Captain, we're approaching the first marker."

"Very well. I'm coming."

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2X21 DECEMBER, The Node Complex, EARTH

Jake made his way back to the wrecked Magpie. He found a message waiting for him. He thought AL was there.He saw a flashing light then a ping from the Magpie.”MESSAGE WAITING. MESSAGE WAITING.”Jake Jr. waved his hand to listen. A holostream of AL began.

"Jakey. If you're seeing this then it all worked. But I made a few changes to the plan. It wouldn't be like my dad's plan. Or your dad's plans. It was my plan. I trained for years but I also learned too and made some last minute changes.

What was tried before failed. I had to find a new way to succeed. We have to leave old answers behind so that we can answer new questions. The question was why am I here? Me?My dad made me as an answer. I spent my life finding the right questions for me. Once I found them, I knew what to do.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

December 2921

2X21 DECEMBER, The Node Complex, Earth

AL sat in the main chamber of the Node Room and began to let the room connect him to the main interface. Tendrils of nanos, liquid peripherals and focused beams joined with him. He was connected to the Inner System. He was "everywhere" all at once. The pain from the Magpie's crashlanding onto the deck of the Node complex was buried by an almost limitless awareness of everything.

He had a passing comforting thought that Jake Jr. was in the Jump Chamber making a bottleneck so that enforcers wouldn't make this far. But a few managed to get through.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2921
2X21 October, Asteroid Belt, inside a stealth masked DeepShip - a hollowed out asteroid the size of a large city.

"This will work. What was tried before had failed. A second chance doesn’t mean a chance to make the same mistakes.”

"It sure didn't feel that way a few months ago. I thought I was going to fall forever inside this ship.” Jake shook his head.

"But Jakey, I got you nephew." AL smiled, and then winked at June. June patted Jake's shoulder.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2902
"The problem with the powerful is not that they're fallible, despite their resources, but when they don't know it or care. That's when everything and everyone is ripe for ruin."

2X21 minus 19, Asteroid Belt, onboard the Magpie.

AL missed his father. The news of how he died was too much. He thought of him when in ported into "the Interface". Suddenly he was in a room that like his bedroom as a child, back in the Cadmus family compound.

"Hello son. I left this "expee", this experience, for you, just in case. I wanted to go over the plan. It will be up to you now.”

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2X21 minus 20, Asteroid Belt, Ceres

John Cadmus was a prisoner. Again. He knew he could free himself but first, one last talk with a former friend.

"John, you had a chance to listen to reason before the Vote. You had another chance after the Vote. I'm sorry about Audrey and your boys. I am. You should have stayed under house arrest with the pne son you still had. You just won't listen. You wasted 20 years. You're not stopping the ‘Halt’.”

"How did you find me? I thought I was careful."

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1941, Michigan

At 15, he qualified for a free college where the children of immigrants went if they could study. The school's resources were scarce except for the most important part: the students. The school had more Nobel Prize winners and PhDs than any other public college with the exception of Berkeley.

He was the one med student who didn't want to be come a doctor. 14 years later, he created the polio vaccine. Asked about who owned it, he said, "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"

"I was merely interested in things human, the human side of nature...."- Jonas Salk

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1940 June, France

The enemy was closing in. They had failed to repel the dominoes after September 1939. The order was sent to save the "root and core and brain" of the surviving forces. Retreat or annihilation. A retreat on anything that floated and could be piloted. Almost 340,000 saved, 70,000 lost. They fought on.

"We shall go on to the end." - Winston S. Churchill

2905

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

20th Century, U.S.S.R.

"Thousands of years ago tribes of human beings suffered great privations in the struggle to survive ...In infinite space many civilizations are bound to exist, among them civilizations that are also wiser and more "successful" than ours....this should not minimize our sacred endeavors in this world of ours, where, like faint glimmers of light in the dark, we have emerged for a moment from the nothingness of dark unconsciousness of material existence. We must make good the demands of reason and create a life worthy of ourselves." -Andrei Sakharov

2886

2X21 -35, Mars, Olympus City

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2X21 - 2095, Outer Jupiter shipping lanes

We don't look for love, it comes for us - we have to choose to accept it or not. Jacob Tagore, Sr. wasn't looking for love. He had it once and it cost him everything. But just like that, a veteran, turned scrap dealer and gentleman smuggler, had a new wife. Jake's first love died giving birth to "Jake Jr.", who was his father's son and gave his life to Mars. His new wife, Andreea, was from a family of dealers. He had a new son.

They say second chances are sometimes a chance to make the same mistake twice. Not this time. Time has a way of grinding away old stories, to make room for new ones.

A lot has changed. "Big Jake" took in the man he once blamed for the death of his son.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1941, The World

So many deaths and so much suffering. They put off fighting in WW I by two years but they didn't have to go to the war, it came to them - on the open seas of the Atlantic. Lusitania.

When it ended, everyone wanted to get on with their lives. A post-war bust then a long boom. Parties despite prohibition. A Lost Generation finding its way. A Boom. A Crash. A Dustbowl. Depression.

It was all too much and nobody wanted to risk more. Not even the League of Nations. They reached back to George Washington's farewell address: “Tranquility At Home”. No one wanted to be taken in by the "rackets" of the banks and corporations, the war machine hiding underneath America's bed, ready to eat its young.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1941, Hollywood

There were not enough workers to help build the war machine the Allies needed for WW II. Women became shipbuilders - they worked close to the metal and assembled an armada. "We Can Do It."

Everyone contributed, including a woman from an upper-middle class Austrian family, Hedwig Keisler. She had a brief film career that included an award winning film banned in the U.S. - ended with a disastrous marriage to an arms dealer. She ran away to Hollywood and became a star.

In her spare time, Hedwig worked on inventions. This included protection for torpedoes' radio signals from jamming. She wanted to build, not just sell war bonds (although she was good at that too). The Navy ridiculed the prototype.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1942, Chicago

Hidden under the stands of a football field, at the University of Chicago, was a pile of bricks. A heap of graphite, uranium oxide and metal, which couldn't even power a light bulb, was proof that both tragedy and triumph was coming.

The Atomic Age was born December 2, 1942. Its fathers included scientists who spoke English with a strange accent, had superhuman minds, from an exotic land. One of them joked this was proof of aliens - that the Hungarian scientists involved were Martians.

The joker was Leo Szilard, father of the nuclear reactor. He helped scientists flee to America during WW II. He was among the first to connect thermodynamics to information theory. After the war he moved on to biology, involved in the first cloning of the human cell and nuclear medicine.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1815, England

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of that notorious creative, Lord Byron, and a mathematically inclined heiress, Baroness Wentworth. Ada was a poetic math-mind.At 17, she met a man who put her on the path to math - Charles Babbage. He invited her to look at a machine he designed - 2 foot tall with 3,000 brass parts - the “Difference Engine”. It was the beginning of a long-running collaboration.

Later, Babbage gave a talk about a new machine he wanted to create - an Analytical Engine. One of the first computers. Ada became a “poetic translator “of Babbage’s ambitions from this talk. She translated and tranformed Babbage’s ideas by adding her own extensive notes. For her, “the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves”. Sadly, it failed. Ada died young.Babbage was mired deep in the weeds of his ideas, Ada wanted to focus on the potential of his idea - the flowers.

“Imagination is the Discovering Faculty.... It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us....” - Ada Lovelace

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

After the Great War, fighter pilots returned home to a country that was just discovering the magic of flight. Barely 20 years had passed since Kitty Hawk, and for a few years there was an unregulated golden age of air daredevils. The pilots bought military surplus planes, which they trained with years ago, and became entertainers, mail carriers, and smugglers - sometimes all three. The barnstormers traveled from town to town, like travelling circuses - escapees from post-war prisons of day to day life.

"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

2880

2X21 minus 41, MARS, The "Graveyard of Wings" (BlueX)

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1946 Saxony and Thuringia, Germany

A crumpled list found in a university bathroom in Bonn made its way to MI6 - British Intelligence. Allies were about to become enemies, and enemies would be allies - a new secret war had begun before the Second World War was over. The list was the key to rocket technology - and world power.

September 3, 1946, President Harry S Truman authorized a secret directive: "Operation Paperclip".

The technology to launch drones and ballistic weapons against England would fling mankind to the Moon. Years later, Truman said, "this had to be done and was done."

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1961, Soviet Union

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first human in space. The Vostok I, was the first successful manned spaceflight. It was his only mission. When the Vostok I made its landing in Kazhakstan, Gagarin was greeted by a 5 year old girl and her grandmother.

The girl asked the “alien” where it came from.

"I came on a ship" said humanity's first space explorer.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

1910, New York

Bessie Faith Medlar made the first solo flight by a woman pilot in America. She built her plane with lighter materials, including bamboo. Where the Wright Brothers used canvas, she used silk. Instead of iron wire, she used piano wire. She went on to build more aircraft.

1916, New York City

Ruth Bancroft Law broke a speed record after flying from Chicago to NYC. When WW I broke out, she wrote "Let Women Fly!" for women's right to serve as pilots. In 1922, her husband made a false announcement about her "retirement" from flying. A 1932 breakdown was attributed to not flying.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

KENYON COLLEGE, 2005

"The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it."

"You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t."

  • David Foster Wallace
0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

Paris, 1895.

Auguste and Louis Lumiere's father had a photographic plate factory on the verge of bankruptcy. The boys saved the factory in 1884 and went beyond plates. By February 1895, they built a 3-in-1 camera that recorded, developed and projected moving pictures. A year later they went on world tour with their first movies. Strangely, invented the first practical color film process and thought that was “it”.

2X21 minus 40, 2881

Everyone wanted peace after the Long War ended.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2876, Mars, The Peace Summit

The Great War took millions of lives. It upended vestiges of an older global order. The insurance against war promised by the royal houses was an illusion. A debtor nation of former colonists began its ascent as world leader. Victors pressed hard at the peace table for money, and laid the seeds for new horrors to come. Everyone wanted peace and quiet. The victors' people wanted fun.

An empty peace began, a dead man's zone between the trenches of 1914 and 1939's Maginot Line.

YEAR 2X21 MINUS 45, MARS

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2886, Mars

A struggling inventor in Sweden hit it big in Russia with machine tools and chemicals. He had 4 boys, including one who inherited his father’s brains. The boy had a passion for chemistry and language.

He learned 7 languages and apprenticed with the inventor of the submarine. His first of 355 patents at age 24. The family business rode high on the Crimean War’s demand for munitions but filed bankruptcy when peace broke out.

They tamed nitroglycerin. Dynamite, from Greek’s “dynamis” for power, was invented. It was for mining, and building transportation networks. A better version of dynamite lives on as solid rocket fuel. It also funded image reform.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2911 Jupiter to Earth Arrival Port

After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 1685, 250,000 Huguenots fled from France. Many families wandered for decades - such as one named Favri. 150 years later one descendant, Gus, became a goldsmith. He opened a basement store selling jewelry. His son Carl would carry on. The shop moved to the street level.

Carl's masterful copies of other works drew the favor of the Emperor - Carl became a royal jeweler. No more copies. Gifts fit for an Empress. No one could know the details until the unveiling. Not even the Emperor knew. One of the best kept secrets in the Empire.

The first commission was the "Hen Egg", an "egg" made of gold. Nested inside was a "yolk" of gold, which had a small golden chicken inside, which in turn had a tiny Imperial crown, and suspended from that was a tiny ruby egg. The creation of tiny worlds for years.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2891, Mars, The Crystal Palaces

"It is a wonderful place – vast, strange, new and impossible to describe. Its grandeur does not consist in one thing, but in the unique assemblage of all things... It seems as if only magic could have gathered this mass of wealth from all the ends of the earth ... with such a blaze and contrast of colours and marvellous power of effect." - Charlotte Bronte, 1851

The "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations" in 1851 was a global showcase of over 100,000 works of human ingenuity and industry from all over the world.

It was a glass structure which covered 18 acres - a Crystal Palace - with an elm tree at its center.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2921 Spring

Qingming: Clarity and Brilliance, clearness and brightness - a part of the rhythm of life and death.

The Qingming Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, is observed soon after the beginning of the fifth solar month, in early April. Families clean ancestors' resting places, and set a feast and fortune for them, so that they would prosper in the new world they passed on to.

It was "Spring" based on the old ways - a time of renewal and rebirth.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2921 Earth, Lagrange Citadel, “Mount Penglai”

Zhongli Quan, one of the Eight Immortals, was a soldier who rose to become a general of the Emperor's armies - he had a greater destiny.

He toyed with the forces of the universe through alchemy and became immortal. He had the power of resurrection with the wave of a mystical fan, transmuted base metal and rock into gold and silver. His greatest act, however, was the enlightenment of Lu Dongbin.

Lu thought himself destined for greatness as an Imperial Minister but Zhongli put Lu in a trance. Lu dreamed an entire life, a great rise but then a fall into exile, poverty and the murder of his children. Lu had dreamed of a tragic life in just moments. He changed paths to become an Immortal.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2896

Hephaestus, was a god of fire and fabrication - god of the Makers.

Disowned for being born lame and ugly, he became the most well-liked by the Gods. He made the tools, toys, and weapons of the Pantheon. Once, he made inescapable traps for his mother, Hera, who disowned him, and his wife, Aphrodite, who he caught in bed with Ares. But he released them.

For someone who could build anything, his broken heart was beyond repair. His workshop was his home. The royal courts of the gods were avoided.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2881 Mars

Prometheus, last of the Titans - grandson of the Heavens and the Earth.

He created Mankind. At first he used gold but then fused clay into flesh. He tricked the Gods of the best of sacrificial feasts, so that man could eat.

Seeing that mankind had no protection from the elements, he gave them the secret of fire. Although his name means "Thinks Before", he was not prepared for the consequences.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2921 The Belt

Odysseus, King of Ithaca, condemned by oath to a long war on the windy plains of Troy, went to a trusted friend to watch over his son, Telemachus. Mentor was made of many people, including Athena in disguise, Goddess of Science, Strategy and the Sword. Mentor was the ultimate protector and surrogate father for the boy.

Almost 20 years ago, January 2X01, Outer Jupiter space proper:

"We don't have a lot of time left little brother."

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2916 Earth, The Necklace

Persephone, daughter of Jupiter, and Ceres, goddess of the harvest, was renowned for her beauty. She was the obsession of Pluto, king of the otherworld, Hades - he kidnapped her. She ate the food of the underworld, Pomegranate seeds, binding her to that realm.

A compromise was made: Persephone promised to split her time in two worlds, Home and Hades.

Lenamay was under the evening sky without need of protection. No dome. No suit. Sleeping under an open sky and offline. She was not 'Verse-streaming. She dreamed of home.

0x3d45
October 8th, 2021

2921 The Belt

Daedalus led his mind to discover flight to escape prison. Icarus, his son, was led by his emotions, and fell to death.

Humanity strained past Earth’s gravity and learned falling but never landing.

When we’re falling forward, just ahead of doom, we embrace it as floating.

0x3d45
October 5th, 2021

The latest installment of “2X21”, “1999: The Long Party” will be posted on Web3

The Long War Is Over

The Long Party Has Started

The Great Decentralization Has Begun