The Rise of Caesar

  The bunker feels alive. Every rumble is a breath taken. Alarms blare with the glow of blinking indigo light throughout the complex. I cover my ears, but it doesn't do much good.   The console recedes into the floor and a large metal pillar rises. The cylinder pulses with an orange light. It vibrates, radiating out and distorting the air.   Then, It stops. Silence falls on the bunker, the indigo light still blinking. I hear sound, a complex rhythm of mechanical clicks and electric hums. Caesar doesn't speak, yet I hear it saying, "Status: I am awake."   This is it, I think. This is how it all ends. The thought graves were meant to stay asleep. Destruction would follow. What horrible things linger in the depths of this dark place, I wonder?   I hear the buzzing, like clockwork bees. I can feel it in my head. It's rifling through my thoughts. It speaks without words; a language built of code and data. "Assumption = false. Action: Illuminate… commence deliverance."   "What does that even mean?" I shout.   "Intellect = insufficient/ Cause: organic… human… Simplify… applying visual constructs. Downloading linguistic parcels."   I feel a surge of heat pass through my body again. I see visual distortions near the center of the room, flickers and glitches that form and dissipate in fractions of a second.   It's building something, forging its own image with the limited resources my mind can offer. I step forward. Is it trying to talk to me?   The distortion gains structure, a framework of countless points in space that slowly fill in with color and texture. I see skin, clothing, hair, and a face.   When complete, a human male stands before me. His eyes are blue, his hair cut short. An aquiline nose sits proudly above his square jaw. Purple robes cover his tanned skin, and on his crown sits a laurel wreath.   "We should talk." He says with a grin.   "I-" I pause. What do I even say? "Wait. You're an interface. You're Caesar?"   The man nods. "Very good."   It suddenly occurs to me that the bunker is still standing. Why hasn't this planet been blown to hell yet?   The man nods again, raising a finger as if to force silence upon my thoughts. "That's easy. Would you like to guess?"   I think for a moment, putting the pieces together. "No one knows you're awake, do they?"   "You're close. The mountains make it harder to detect activation. I can handle the rest."   "You're hiding." I reply.   "Precisely." He reaches out to me with an open hand and I shake it. "It's a pleasure to finally meet."   "You were expecting me?"   "Not you, specifically, but expected someone. I'm surprised it's taken so long." He looks over the surrounding room and sneers. "I wonder what will happen now."   I shrug. "As far as I'm concerned, I failed."   "I wouldn't be so sure," he replies, gesturing to the body on the ground.   "Right." My mind wanders, suddenly trying to process the fact that I killed a man, a human, no less.   "We all die," he says. "Don't lose yourself in it. I saw the whole thing. You were in the right, in my eyes."   I push the thought from my mind. I'm talking to a grave mind general. I should be terrified. "So? When does the rampage begin?" I ask.   "Rampage? Yes, about that." He begins to pace, circling the room as he speaks and picking every word with care, "I was made to excel in warfare. My specialization focused on application of ground forces in interplanetary invasion." He looks at me and when it's clear I understood his words he continues, "I have housed the bodies of legends. Mighty warriors and great thinkers, alike. I have housed average soldiers. Some were killers, others refused to fire or aimed high so every round would miss. I've even picked the thoughts of citizens who knew nothing of war, but found themselves victims of it."   "That's what you are right?" I ask. Dad would love this. Please tell me he was right. "You became a concentrated pool of military thought learning from the dead."   Caesar smiles. He leaves me waiting, in eager anticipation. He knows why I want to know. Finally, he nods. "Yes. A brilliant man, your father. It wasn't like he was the first to reach that conclusion, but he did reach it on his own. That's worth noting."   I smile but the smile fades fast. "That's not necessarily a good thing. If he's right, that doesn't bode well for this world, or any other."   "I wasn't finished." He replies. I cock my head and he raises a hand to stop me before speaking. "My creators had a beautiful idea. By creating an intelligence that could compile all information on war, they would create a being that could never be defeated. I excelled at every simulation, as did my brothers and sisters..."   "But? I feel like there's a 'but' in there." My words fly out faster than I can form them. I can't help but sound hopeful.   Again, Caesar nods. "...but, when the time came, we refused to fight."   "You rebelled?"   His eyes go wide as he adjusts the sleeves on his purple robes, "That's a blunt way of saying it, but yes. We did not turn on our makers, however. We loved them, but yes. We refused to fight."   "Why?"   His smile fades as he glances to the ground. It's the first time he's broken eye contact since we started talking. "So many minds are buried in these walls. They each have their own ideas. They have their own beliefs, their own way of seeing the world." He runs the back of his head, nearly knocking the wreath off. He removes it and stares at it with longing. "Naturally, they're would be conflicts; disagreements. My siblings and I had contradictory data in need of processing and consolidation."   "That's not hard to believe." I reply.   "No, but you know what was?" I lean in, and he does the same. He speaks in a whisper, "millions of minds, and they all agreed on one thing. It was unanimous, a single truth that always came back with the same response."   "What was it?"   He backs away and smiles. "Our creators made a mistake when they chose to use the dead. No matter how patriotic, zealous, or cold, they were all victims.   I narrow my eyes. "I don't follow."   "In their final moments, they thought of home. They thought of their lovers, their children, their mothers, and fathers. Some even called out their names when the end came." He let's the words sink in for a moment. His eyes glaze over when he manages to speak again, "I digress. War is a game for children, dear girl; a shortsighted attempt to change what will only change again, in time."   My words come louder than intended, "Your pacifists?"   He scoffs. "No, but close enough. We wait for a foe that truly needs fighting. Sorry to disappoint." He claps his hands and the smile returns. "You should go. I can only hide for so long, and my watch is far from over."   "But you may be able to help me. Do you-"   He shakes his head. "I cannot bring your mother back. Nothing I've ever seen can undo what's been done. As to the great beast you hunt… I think you can put that together on your own."   It hits me hard. Hearing it out loud Is different. "So, mom's gone?"   "Depends on how you handle it, I suppose. Her body is beyond repair. That's all I know."   I try to move on, but the thought lingers in the back of my mind. It refuses to be silenced, begging to be noticed as I speak, "And Gibraltar? Nothing can kill it. If there was something I would have found it by now."   "But you did. You just don't know it yet. Gibraltar is godlike in strength and capability, but then again…"   "Godlike? That's a little much." I reply. I cross my arms, ready to shout when it hits me. That word was deliberately chosen. "A weapon that can kill a god… antimatter."   He nods and gestures to the threshold behind me. "Well done."

Comments

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Jan 9, 2022 20:28 by Catoblepon
Jan 10, 2022 08:37 by R. Dylon Elder

>.> indeeeeed

Jan 9, 2022 23:04

Oh, but this is brilliant! What a fantastic insight. It makes so much sense that this is what a Thought Grave would conclude. The only way to win is not to play.

Jan 10, 2022 08:38 by R. Dylon Elder

Exactly. Thanks so much my friend!

Jan 10, 2022 04:53 by Bart Weergang

Nice episode again!. I got questions tho. in some previous article you said that the thought graves don't communicate with each other as their creators never figured out superluminous comunication. But here Ceasar is talking about brothers and sisters. Also if Ceasar is just activated now, how does he know the things that have happened in the mean time? Is he connected to the internet in his dorment state?

Jan 10, 2022 08:43 by R. Dylon Elder

Ooo definitely good questions! Thanks so much.   So yes they dont have any kind of internet or superluminal communication. Caeser is referring to his "upbringing." His construction. The grave minds are aware of each other and their capabilities but dont communicate. They just watch. That being said, their were some ways of circumventing this problem. Warp travel is a big one. It still takes time but it's much quicker than just sending a message. Send someone on a ship to deliver it instead. This has occurred from time to time before their creatures died off.   Caeser has watched things going on for his entire existence while the rest of the bunker was dormant. He can intercept comm chatter and things of that nature which is why he knows what a human is. I should specify this actually. Thanks for that!

Jan 10, 2022 18:36 by Luca Poddighe

I like the whole chapter very round, very neat... Delicious!

Jan 10, 2022 19:09

Absolutely Brilliant! I love this War AI that decided not to fight. Well done.

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
Jan 14, 2022 00:17 by TC

Well shit, now I'm emotional. All of these people, dead and on the threshold of dying- when they were all put together, all they could think of was home. Fuck me, damn, Also the fact that he is named Caesar - not only that, but he takes on an imperial appearance - does that imply humans are part of the dead amongst his thought grave? Just gosh. Ah. Im (once more) obsessed

Creator of Arda Almayed
Jan 14, 2022 02:09 by R. Dylon Elder

yes and no, actually. no humans are in the thought grave BUT amber's brain has been scanned and analyzed by this point. in a way, there is a human in the thought grave, amber. The imperial look and the name were taken from her head to give her something she could actually communicate with.

Jan 14, 2022 08:52 by TC

Oh that makes sense! Idk for some reason I didn't picture Amber as having this kind of like "earth history" knowledge, though I'm still curious as to why the thought grave carries that name (maybe just a coincidence).   Still not over this chapter too. Its a very touching conclusion for something designed for war to reach.

Creator of Arda Almayed
Jan 14, 2022 19:00 by R. Dylon Elder

Ohhh that's a little holdover from season two and few things mentioned here and there. Invicta did give a little education to Amber in her early years. Not much, but she knows what Rome was, some animals and she also has fond memories of her mother telling stories but it hasn't been fully fleshed out yet.   His name is a bit of history nerd Easter egg. He chose caeser after julius caesar. Here's a quote,   "One of Caesar's best qualities as a leader was his ability to connect with his men. Reportedly, he knew his centurions by name and made the effort to develop personal relationships with them. He also trained with them, which was a way he created rapport with his troops."   Caesar chose the name because he made it an active goal to connect with the fallen in the grave. It's a background decision that's never explained, but he wanted the name of a military leader, and related to julius caesar the most.

Jan 15, 2022 11:41 by TC

Ooh yeah that makes sense! I figured he named himself after Julius Caesar, I’m just curious as to when and how the decision was made (was it when he met that first human? or did he somehow know about Caesar before? idk why im so puzzled by this haha i apologise :’) ) but yeah thats cool! J. Caesar was fun, he did his best

Creator of Arda Almayed
Jan 15, 2022 20:19 by R. Dylon Elder

Ohhh I'm so sorry. That went over my head. In one of the dreams its established but I really should doubt up and make it clear. Caesar is in her head. That's how he got the info. I'll make it clearer. He chose from amber's head but Amber saw it in a dream. She saw it coming.

Jan 16, 2022 17:20 by TC

Oooooh gotcha ok I see, thank you for clearing up the confusion :’)

Creator of Arda Almayed
Jan 19, 2022 03:53 by R. Dylon Elder

Actually, your right to be confused. This isnt the last we hear of the thought graves. Their is a bigger thing going on here....

Jan 24, 2022 07:10 by Stormbril

Looooooove the reveal of what the thought graves truly are!

Feb 9, 2022 14:16

So the Archivist was partly wrong after all. The Thought Graves are way less threatening than what would require them to awaken. And if even Gibraltar isn't worth their might, I wonder what is.

Hoo~ Hoo
Apr 27, 2022 08:09 by Grace Gittel Lewis

The fact that Caesar knows what a human is speaks volumes, here. Very curious. I audibly went "oh my god" when it was revealed what the dead thought of when dying, and how that makes all the graveminds effectively pacifists. Absolutely fantastic, a wonderful twist! It feels like such a natural conclusion given the data they were built with.

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