Fractal Masters & Fractal Mystics
The first six thousand years of the Baulian Empire were brutal and dreary. Then the Great Reform changed everything 7,852 years ago: the two traditional guardian classes cemented in law the Two Principles of Empire: 1) to control the cosmos; 2) to ensure that subjugated species benefit from Baulian benevolence. Up until that point Baulians were indifferent to the welfare of the species they subjugated or destroyed. The addition of this ethical Second Principle made the Baulians even more proud of themselves.
At the time of the Great Reform the Baulians still believed that there was only one universe, comprised of about 420 billion galaxies. The orange technology they developed to explore adjacent galaxies, however, was so powerful that it led them to discover and explore two other universes, first the green Buzz and then the Violet Hoop. The first inter-universal mission occurred 1,285 years ago.
The details of colonization and subjugation were of course kept secret, and only Fractal Masters were allowed to study their design and to implement their trajectories. It was they who, from one of the lofty peaks on the 520th floor of the Great Temple, determined where the quadrillions of invisible fractals were to be filtered into the armies of orange lines. It was the Fractal Masters who determined how the embedded fractals were to fly through space at near-infinite speeds and then rain down on entire planets. One pulse could contain up to 3 sextillion fractillaries, enough to subjugate a population of 25 million.
The fractillaries of the Fractal Masters were superior to any they knew of — and even to any their philosophers could dream of. Their fractillaries penetrated cells with all the usual chemical permissions, yet hidden inside the structure of the incoming code were other codes, ones that slowly, from within, rewrote the larger, clumsier codes. These ‘deep fractals’ were invisible to creatures who could only measure subspace in bosons or leptons. Such primitive creatures couldn’t decode what they couldn’t see. They were like an 18th-century human scientist who believed that his glass microscope detected the finest detail that was possible to detect.
In brief, the creature about to be subjugated from within didn’t know what hit it.
On the top floor of the other tower were the quarters of the The Fractal Mystics. Their job was to inquire into questions of ethics, spirituality, and the paradox of finding meaning in infinite fields.
Rablanar was the subtlest (yet not the most popular) of the Fractal mystics. He had recently published a paper on the following question: How can we be increasingly in control of the cosmos if the more we control of the cosmos the more we’re aware of the spaces over which we have no control?
He started his discussion with the following observations: Now that we’ve expanded into 755 billion galaxies, we see that there are 78 million outlying galaxies that we don’t control and that we can’t predict. At what point in our expansion do we run into a neighbour like ourselves? By expanding ever-outward, we’re simply increasing the likelihood that just as we assimilated other life forms, we too will be assimilated.
Rablanar continued with his inconvenient questions, tearing into the delicate intellectual fabric the Fractal Masters had constructed to soothe the elusive soul of the Baulian Empire: At what point are we victims of our own system? Are we making slaves out of the species and universes we subjugate? At what point do we ourselves become slaves? At what point do we become pawns in our own chess game?
But of course no one listened to these inconvenient truths. Rablanar’s paper got filed in a minuscule fractal that circled itself and was only brought out at conferences or when the fractal bin needed dusting. As a result no one seriously considered the danger of expanding from universe to universe. Everyone took it for granted that continued expansion was itself proof of the unstoppable power of the Baulian Empire.
Rablanar warned his fellow Masters & Mystics that infinity was a deep game to play. While Baulians could mine their fractals deeply, who was to say that some other power couldn’t mine their fractals more deeply?
His argument was unacceptable to the practical Masters, who assured the Mystics that they’d gone almost a thousand times deeper than any evidence of fractal activity by any other species. Going any deeper was a waste of time and resources, especially since every power of ten doubled the cost.
They weren’t interested in Rablanar’s objection: In the game of infinity, the deep players don't care about thousands. They’ll square a trillion and then cube it, just to make sure.