Must be Monday. New podcast! Just click on the fancy logo below.
University of Planet
The substructure of the universe regresses infinitely towards smaller and smaller components. Behind atoms we find electrons, and behind electrons, quarks. Each layer unraveled reveals new secrets, but also new mysteries.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "For I Have Tasted the Fruit" (Accompanies discovery of the "Advanced Subatomic Theory" tech, and is the "welcome to the game" faction quote)
This unusual specimen is not so much a classic particle as a connector—a kind of string attaching two particles. As distance increases the connective power becomes attenuated, but if it is cut the power vanishes: forever.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "For I Have Tasted the Fruit" (Accompanies discovery of the "Graviton Theory" tech)
In one moment, Earth; in the next, Heaven.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "For I Have Tasted the Fruit" (Accompanies the Secret Project "The Space Elevator")
There are two kinds of scientific progress: the methodical experimentation and categorization which gradually extend the boundaries of knowledge, and the revolutionary leap of genius which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging our debt to the former, we yearn, nonetheless, for the latter.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov (Accompanies discovery of the "Nonlinear Mathematics" tech)
Man's unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov (Accompanies discovery of the "Intellectual Integrity" tech)
Begin with a function of arbitrary complexity. Feed it values, "sense data". Then, take your result, square it, and feed it back into your original function, adding a new set of sense data. Continue to feed your results back into the original function ad infinitum. What do you have? The fundamental principle of human consciousness.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "The Feedback Principle" (Accompanies discovery of the "Pre-Sentient Algorithms" tech)
The first living thing to go through the device was a small white rat. I still have him, in fact. As you can see, the damage was not so great as they say.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "See How They Run" (Accompanies discovery of the "Matter Transmission" tech)
The popular stereotype of the researcher is that of a skeptic and a pessimist. Nothing could be further from the truth! Scientists must be optimists at heart, in order to block out the incessant chorus of those who say "It cannot be done."
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, University Commencement (Accompanies first construction of the Skunkworks base facility)
The Academician's private residences shall remain off-limits to the Genetic Inspectors. We possess no retroviral capability, we are not researching retroviral engineering, and we shall not allow this Council to violate faction privileges in the name of this ridiculous witch hunt!
— Fedor Petrov, Vice Provost for University Affairs (Accompanies discovery of the "Retroviral Engineering" tech)
What actually transpires beneath the veil of an event horizon? Decent people shouldn't think too much about that.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "For I Have Tasted The Fruit" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Singularity Inductor")
The genetic code does not, and cannot, specify the nature and position of every capillary in the body or every neuron in the brain. What it can do is describe the underlying fractal pattern which creates them.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Nonlinear Genetics" (Accompanies discovery of the "Gene Splicing" tech)
Remember, genes are NOT blueprints. This means you can't, for example, insert "the genes for an elephant's trunk" into a giraffe and get a giraffe with a trunk. There are no genes for trunks. What you CAN do with genes is chemistry, since DNA codes for chemicals. For instance, we can in theory splice the native plants' talent for nitrogen fixation into a terran plant.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Nonlinear Genetics" (Accompanies discovery of the "Centauri Genetics" tech)
To map the very stuff of life; to look into the genetic mirror and watch a million generations march past. That, friends, is both our curse and our proudest achievement. For it is in reaching to our beginnings that we begin to learn who we truly are.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Address to the Faculty" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Human Genome Project")
A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions — if only we lived in one.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Now We Are Alone" (Accompanies discovery of the "Superstring Theory" tech)
We have reached an informational threshold which can only be crossed by harnessing the speed of light directly. The quickest computations require the fasted possible particles moving along the shortest paths. Since the capability now exists to take our information directly from photons traveling molecular paths, the final act of the information revolution will soon be upon us.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "For I Have Tasted the Fruit" (Accompanies discovery of the "Optical Computers" tech)
Time travel in the classic sense has no place in rational theory, but temporal distortion does exist on the quantum level, and more importantly it can be controlled.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "For I Have Tasted the Fruit" (Accompanies discovery of the "Temporal Mechanics" tech)
Time dilates as the speed of light approaches. To the extent that light consists of particles, it is in its own way, timeless. Through simple perturbations of the temporal manifold, we can refract or repel photons most efficiently.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Now We Are Alone" (Accompanies discovery of the "Photon/Wave Mechanics" tech)
Imagine the entire contents of the planetary datalinks, the sum total of human knowledge, blasted into the Planetmind's fragile neural network with the full force of every reactor on the planet. That is our last-ditch attempt to win humanity a reprieve from extinction at the hands of an awakening alien god.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Planet Speaks" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Voice of Planet")
The phenomenon of man is unique. After a billion years, blind evolution has brought forth the first animal capable of rational inquiry. In us, the universe has finally developed the ability to look back upon itself and transcend the limits of randomness. From this point onward, the fate of the universe will not be a matter of chance, but of conscious choice.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Now We Are Alone" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
The brain and the hand. Each is insufficient by itself, yet together they pulled Man out of a million years of animal existence and gave him the universe. The two create a cycle of advancement: the brain conceives, the hand builds, and the brain is thus enabled to conceive more widely.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov', "For I Have Tasted the Fruit" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri'' supplement)
Anyone can grasp details. It's the synthesist that is truly rare, the man who can step back and place a thousand unconnected details into their proper context. Such a man, even alone, could build a world.
— Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Address to the Faculty" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Some would ask, how could a perfect God create a universe filled with so much that is evil. They have missed a greater conundrum: why would a perfect God create a universe at all?
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "But for the Grace of God" (Accompanies discovery of the "Controlled Singularity" tech)
The righteous need not cower before the drumbeat of human progress. Though the song of yesterday fades into the challenge of tomorrow, God still watches and judges us. Evil lurks in the datalinks as it lurked in the streets of yesteryear. But it was never the streets that were evil.
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "A Blessed Struggle" (Accompanies discovery of the "Information Networks" tech)
At atrociously high energy states, the properties of matter change subtly and new miracles become possible. The Plasma Accretion process is now dangerous and difficult to control, but its products will soon become commonplace in our society.
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "The Lord Works" (Accompanies discovery of the "High Energy Chemistry" tech)
As distances vanish and the people can flow freely from place to place, society will cross a psychological specific heat boundary and enter a new state. No longer a solid or liquid, we have become as a vapor and will expand to fill all available space. And like a gas, we shall not be easily contained.
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "But for the Grace of God" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Planetary Transit System")
Beware, you who seek first and final principles, for you are trampling the garden of an angry God, and He awaits you just beyond the last theorem.
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "But for the Grace of God" (Accompanies discovery of the "Unified Field Theory" tech)
The Morgans fear what may not be purchased, for a trader cannot comprehend a thing that is priceless.
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "The Collected Sermons" (Accompanies discovery of the "Planetary Economics" tech)
And so we return again to the holy void. Some say this is simply our destiny, but I would have you remember always that the void EXISTS, just as surely as you or I. Is nothingness any less a miracle than substance?
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "We must Dissent" (Accompanies discovery of the "Advanced Spaceflight" tech)
Men in their arrogance claim to understand the nature of creation, and devise elaborate theories to describe its behavior. But always they discover in the end that God was quite a bit more clever than they thought.
— Sister Miriam Godwinsonn, "We must Dissent" (Accompanies discovery of the "Quantum Machinery" tech)
Will we next create false gods to rule over us? How proud we have become, and how blind.
And what of the immortal soul in such transactions? Can this machine transmit and reattach it as well? Or is it lost forever, leaving a soulless body to wander the world in despair?
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "We must Dissent" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "Bulk Matter Transmitter")
Already we have turned all of our critical industries, all of our material resources, over to these...things...these lumps of silver and paste we call nanorobots. And now we propose to teach them intelligence? What, pray tell, will we do when these little homunculi awaken one day and announce that they have no further need for us?
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "We must Dissent" (Accompanies discovery of the "Industrial Nanorobotics" tech)
Out of the very Apocalypse our people fled, to this new world among the stars. If any among you fear that God has forgotten us, do not be deceived. How could we have survived at all, unless the Lord had kept us in the palm of His hand? Surely we are here because we are destined to obey His will and fulfill His purpose.
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "But for the Grace of God" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Always there is the reach for more. Build up more wealth, tear more veils away from the ultimate mysteries, seize more power over your fellow man. More, more, always more to bolster human arrogance. Yet in the end, none of this frantic scurrying after worldly advantage will matter. When a man stands naked before his creator, he will have nothing to show but his soul.
— Sister Miriam Godwinson, "We must Dissent" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Information, the first principle of warfare, must form the foundation of all your efforts. Know, of course, thine enemy. But in knowing him do not forget above all to know thyself. The commander who embraces this totality of battle shall win even with inferior force.
Spartan Battle Manual (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Command Nexus")
Against such abominations, we organize our defenses on the principle that one strong and able mind can shield the many.
Spartan Battle Manual (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Neural Amplifier")
The klaxon began to wail, but we felt the reassuring tingle of the Tachyon Field crackling to life around us, encasing the entire base in its impenetrable glow.
— Spartan Kel, "The Fall of Sparta"
I don't know but I've been told
(I don't know but I been told)
Deirdre's got a Network Node
(Deirdre's got a Network Node)
Likes to press the on-off switch
(Likes to press the on-off switch)
Dig that crazy Gaian witch!
(Dig that crazy Gaian witch!)
— Spartan! Barracks! March! (Yes sir!) (Accompanies first completion of Network Node base facility)
Man has killed man from the beginning of time, and each new frontier has brought new ways and new places to die. Why should the future be different?
— Col. Corazon Santiago "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide" (Accompanies discovery of the "Advanced Military Algorithms" tech)
Proper care and education for our children remains a cornerstone of our entire colonization effort. Children not only shape our future; they determine in many ways our present. Men and women work harder knowing their children are safe and close at hand, and never forget that, with children present, parents will defend their home to the death!
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide" (Accompanies first completion of Children's Creche base facility)
I have often been asked: if we have traveled between the stars, why can we not launch the simplest of orbital probes? These fools fail to understand the difficulty of finding the appropriate materials on this Planet, of developing adequate power supplies, and creating the infrastructure necessary to support such an effort. In short, we have struggled under the limitations of a colonial society on a virgin planet. Until now.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide" (Accompanies discovery of the "Orbital Spaceflight" tech)
It is altogether fitting that we who have sailed the deeps of space now return again to the sea. This is in many ways a water planet, and it can be ruled from the waves. With sea power, rugged terrain can be bypassed and enemy strongholds isolated. Once naval superiority is achieved, Planet is ours for the taking.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Maritime Control Center")
Industrial Grade Nano-Paste, one of Planet's most valuable commodities, can also be one of its most dangerous. Simply pour out several canisters, slide in a programming transponder, and step well away while the stuff cooks. In under an hour the nano will use available materials to assemble a small factory, a hovertank, or enough rifles to equip a regiment.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Nano Factory")
A ship at sea is its own world. To be the captain of a ship is to be the unquestionable ruler of that world and requires all of the leadership skills of a prince or minister.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "Leadership and the Sea" (Accompanies discovery of the "Doctrine: Initiative" tech)
Our scientists now use fractal theory to "teach" the molecules to assume, or resume, a particular form. Substances of amazing strength become simple once the formulae are properly computed.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "The Council of War" (Accompanies discovery of the "Nanometallurgy" tech)
We shall take only the greatest minds, the finest soldiers, the most faithful servants. We shall multiply them a thousandfold and release them to usher in a new era of glory.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "The Council of War" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Cloning Vats")
Until now the battle had been proceeding smoothly. The enemy was outflanked and had been driven from the reactor housing, but against the reactor itself the matter canons were strangely ineffective. Rounds simply stopped in mid air.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "A Tactical History of Sparta" (Would have accompanied discovery of the deleted "Inertial Damping" tech)
Air power rests at the apex of the first triad of victory, for it combines Mobility, Flexibility, and Initiative.)
— Spartan Battle Manual (Accompanies discovery of the "Doctrine: Air Power" tech)
Mary had a little lamb
Little lamb little lamb
Mary had a little lamb
Whose fleece was white as snow.
A handsome young cyborg named Ace,
Wooed women at every base,
But once ladies glanced at
His special enhancement,
They vanished with nary a trace.
— Barracks Graffiti, Sparta Command (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Cyborg Factory")
He held his arm too stiffly, and so was thrown back repeatedly, until at last I seized his forearm and snapped it back against itself. His training suffered while the arm healed, of course, but I felt this was a lesson he must learn early, and well.
— Spartan Kel, "Honing the Ki" (Accompanies discovery of the "Doctrine: Flexibility" tech)
The tragedy of Earth is not that so many died. Death is an inevitable part of life. The tragedy is that so many died as victims. When the crisis came, they were helpless, unable to use their deaths to buy anything of value. Millions of otherwise intelligent people had been tricked into ignoring a fundamental truth: that no man has any rights if he is unable to personally defend them.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
To seize air superiority, and to hold that advantage as long as possible, must be our highest priority. Once we are able to move men and material thousands of miles in a day, to strike at will into the heart of an enemy's territory, to think once again of taking the high ground of space... then no one shall ever threaten our legitimate interests again.
— Col. Corazon Santiago, "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Our ancestors harnessed the power of a sun, and so again shall we.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "The Science of Our Fathers" (Accompanies discovery of the "Fusion Power" tech)
I loved my chosen. How then to face the day when she left me? So I took from her body a single cell, perhaps to love her again.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "Time of Bereavement" (Accompanies discovery of the "Biomachinery" tech)
I think, and my thoughts cross the barrier into the synapses of the machine—just as the good doctor intended. But what I cannot shake, and what hints at things to come, is that thoughts cross back. In my dreams the sensibility of the machine invades the periphery of my consciousness. Dark. Rigid. Cold. Alien. Evolution is at work here, but just what is evolving remains to be seen.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "Man and Machine" (Accompanies discovery of the "Neural Grafting" tech)
Until quite recently, spider silk had the highest tensile strength of any substance known to man, and the name silksteel pays homage to the arachnid for good reason.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "U.N. Scientific Survey" (Accompanies discovery of the "Silksteel" tech)
As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he deems himself your master.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "U.N. Declaration of Rights" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Planetary Datalinks")
In the years since our arrival, we have foolishly disrupted so many of Planet's ecosystems that entire species may vanish without our ever having understood, or even known them. We must halt this plunder, and halt it immediately, for our own survival as a species depends on our ability to strike a balance on this world.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "Mind Worm, Mind Worm" (Accompanies first construction of the Centauri Preserve base facility)
The Mind Worms are the natural defenses of the living Planet—the white blood cells, if you will. In a world in which unassimilated thought represents danger, the Mind Worm seeks out concentrations of sentient mental energy and destroys them, ruthlessly and efficiently.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "Mind Worm, Mind Worm" (Accompanies discovery of the "Centauri Psi" tech)
I hold a scrap of paper in the darkness and light it. I watch it burn bright and curl, disappearing into nothingness, and the heat burns my fingers. Where has it gone? What has it become? I cannot shake the feeling that I have witnessed a form of transcendence.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "The Convergence" (Accompanies first use of the Stockpile Energy command)
The entire character of a base and its inhabitants can be absorbed in a quick trip to the Rec Commons. The sweaty arenas of Fort Legion, the glittering gambling halls of Morgan Bank, the sunny lovers' trysts in Gaia's High Garden, or the somber reading rooms of U.N. Headquarters. Even the feeding bay at the Hive gives stark insight into the sleeping demons of Yang's communal utopia.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "A Social History of Planet" (Accompanies first construction of the Recreation Commons base facility)
Scientific theories are judged by the coherence they lend to our natural experience and the simplicity with which they do so. The grand principle of the heavens balances on the razor's edge of truth.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "A History of Science" (Accompanies discovery of the "Applied Physics" tech)
Once a man has changed the relationship between himself and his environment, he cannot return to the blissful ignorance he left. Motion, of necessity, involves a change in perspective.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "A Social History of Planet" (Accompanies discovery of the "Doctrine: Mobility" tech)
The Warrior's bland acronym, MMI, obscures the true horror of this monstrosity. Its inventors promise a new era of genius, but meanwhile unscrupulous power brokers use its forcible installation to violate the sanctity of unwilling human minds. They are creating their own private army of demons.
— Comissioner Pravin Lal, "Report on Human Rights" (Accompanies discovery of the "Mind-Machine Interface" tech)
Certainly, Planet has its own dynamic, but it also represents a blank slate on which we humans write our own aspirations. It was never inevitable that we should divide our scattered settlements into ideological states. We can still reverse that division and meet Planet's challenges as a united species, if that is what we choose to do.
— Commissioner Pravin Lal, "A Social History of Planet" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Technology conditions society. The range of possible human activities, as set by the state of technical progress, always serves to define what form society can take. The danger is that such progress may permit or even require society to assume an unhealthy form. What does it profit a man if he masters the physical universe, but in so doing loses his soul?
— Commissioner Pravin Lal, "A Social History of Planet" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
We must never forget that people are the sole reason for our struggle.
— Commissioner Pravin Lal, remarks in Council, M.Y. 2088 (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Einstein would turn over in his grave. Not only does God play dice, the dice are loaded.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Looking God In The Eye" (Accompanies discovery of the "Probability Mechanics" tech
We hold life to be sacred, but we also know the foundation of life consists in a stream of codes not so different from the successive frames of a watchvid. Why then cannot we cut one code short here, and start another there? Is life so fragile that it can withstand no tampering? Does the sacred brook no improvement?
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Dynamics of Mind" (Accompanies discovery of the "Biogenetics" tech)
I maintain nonetheless that yin-yang dualism can be overcome. With sufficient enlightenment we can give substance to any distinction: mind without body, north without south, pleasure without pain. Remember, enlightenment is a function of willpower, not of physical strength.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Essays on Mind and Matter" (Accompanies discovery of the "Monopole Magnets" tech)
Technological advance is an inherently iterative process. One does not simply take sand from the beach and produce a Dataprobe. We use crude tools to fashion better tools, and then our better tools to fashion more precise tools, and so on. Each minor refinement is a step in the process, and all of the steps must be taken.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Looking God in the Eye" (Accompanies discovery of the "Polymorphic Software" tech)
Why do you insist that the human genetic code is "sacred" or "taboo"? It is a chemical process and nothing more. For that matter -we- are chemical processes and nothing more. If you deny yourself a useful tool simply because it reminds you uncomfortably of your mortality, you have uselessly and pointlessly crippled yourself.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Looking God in the Eye" (Accompanies discovery of the "Bio-Engineering" tech)
If our society seems more nihilistic than that of previous eras, perhaps this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are at last ready to accept life's fundamental truth: that life's only purpose is life itself.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Looking God in the Eye" (Accompanies discover of the "Planetary Networks" tech)
What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Essays on Mind and Matter" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Virtual World")
Learn to overcome the crass demands of flesh and bone, for they warp the matrix through which we perceive the world. Extend your awareness outward, beyond the self of body, to embrace the self of group and the self of humanity. The goals of the group and the greater race are transcendent, and to embrace them is to achieve enlightenment.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Essays on Mind and Matter" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Ascetic Virtues")
It is every citizen's final duty to go into the tanks, and become one with all the people.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Ethics for Tomorrow" (Accompanies first construction of the Recycling Tanks base facility)
My gift to industry is the genetically engineered worker, or Genejack. Specially designed for labor, the Genejack's muscles and nerves are ideal for his task, and the cerebral cortex has been atrophied so that he can desire nothing except to perform his duties. Tyranny, you say? How can you tyrannize someone who cannot feel pain?
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Essays on Mind and Matter" (Accompanies first construction of the Genejack Factory base facility)
I tell you that every man is an accident, a twig on the tree of life, an animal which can barely be called sentient or self-aware. If our lives have any meaning, it is as part of the greater whole, which existed long beofre us and will exist long after we are gone. Those of us who are aware of this fact must step forward, to guide those who remain snugly wrapped in their illusions.
— Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Looking God in the Eye"' (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Our first challenge is to create an entire economic infrastructure, from top to bottom, out of whole cloth. No gradual evolution from previous economic systems is possible, because there is no previous economic system. Each interdependent piece must be materialized simultaneously and in perfect working order; otherwise the system will crash out before it ever gets off the ground.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (Accompanies discovery of the "Industrial Economics" tech)
Human behavior is economic behavior. The particulars may vary but competition for limited resources remains a constant. Need as well as greed has followed us to the stars and the rewards of wealth still await those wise enough to recognize this deep thrumming of our common pulse.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Merchant Exchange")
Energy is the currency of the future.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (Would have accompanied discovery of the deleted "Global Energy Theory" tech)
We estimate the during the next mission century most of Planet's industries will be moved off-planet to Nessus Prime and other orbital facilities. Many of our industries will benefit greatly from the low gravity environments available in space, particularly those involving genetically engineered microbes.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (Accompanies completion the Secret Project "The Living Refinery")
What goes up...better doggone well stay up.
— Morgan Gravitonics, Company Slogan (Accompanies discovery of the "Applied Gravitonics" tech)
Richard Baxton piloted his Recon Rover into a fungal vortex and held off four waves of mind worms, saving an entire colony. We immediately purchased his identity manifests and repackaged him into the Recon Rover Rick character with a multi-tiered media campaign: televids, touchbooks, holos, psi-tours— the works. People need heroes. They don't need to know how he died clawing his eyes out, screaming for mercy. The real story would just hurt sales, and dampen the spirits of our customers.
— Morgan Stellartots Keynote Speech, "Mythology for Profit" (Accompanies first construction of the "Hologram Theatre" base facility)
Important? Yes. Critical? Absolutely! I would go so far as to say that superconducting fiber alone makes our present economy possible.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, MorganLink 3DVision Live Interview (Accompanies discovery of the "Superconductor" tech)
Yes, yes, we've all heard the philosophers babble about "oneness" being "beautiful" and "holy". But let me tell you that this kind of oneness certainly isn't pretty and if you're not careful it will scare the bejeezus out of you.
— Anonymous Lab Technician, MorganLink 3DVision Live Interview (Accompanies discovery of the "Singularity Mechanics" tech)
'Abort, Retry, Fail?' was the phrase some wormdog scrawled next to the door of the Edit Universe project room. And when the new dataspinners started working, fabricating their worlds on the huge organic comp systems, we'd remind them: if you see this message, always choose 'Retry.
— Bad'l Ron, Wakener, Morgan Polysoft (Accompanies discovery of the "Nanomatter Editation" tech)
Optical computers, genetic catalogs, nanorepair modules—forget all of that. It's when you see a megaton of steel suspended over your head by a thread the thickness of a human hair that you really find God in technology.
— Anonymous Metagenics Dockworker, MorganLink 3DVision Live Interview (Accompanies discovery of the "Super Tensile Solids" tech)
Organic Superlube? Oh, it's great stuff, great stuff. You really have to keep an eye on it, though - it'll try and slide away from you the first chance it gets.
— T. M. Morgan-Reilly, Morgan Metagenics (Accompanies discovery of the "Organic Superlubricant" tech)
As I stepped onto the Magtube, a thought struck me: can there be friction where there is no substance? And can substance be tricked into hiding from itself?
— Dr. Gail Nimbala, Morgan Industries Researcher (Accompanies discovery of the "Frictionless Surfaces" tech)
You ivory tower intellectuals must not lose touch with the world of industrial growth and hard currency. It is all very well and good to pursue these high-minded scientific theories, but research grants are expensive. You must justify your existence by providing not only knowledge but concrete and profitable applications as well.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Ethics of Greed" (Accompanies discovery of the "Applied Relativity" tech)
Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Ethics of Greed" (Accompanies discovery of the "Industrial Base" tech)
And when at last it is time for the transition from megacorporation to planetary government, from entrepreneur to emperor, it is then that the true genius of our strategy shall become apparent, for energy is the lifeblood of this society and when the chips are down he who controls the energy supply controls Planet. In former times the energy monopoly was called "The Power Company"; we intend to give this name an entirely new meaning.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (Accompanies first construction of the Quantum Converter base facility)
Of course we'll bundle our MorganNet software with the new network nodes! Our customers expect no less of us. We have never sought to become a monopoly. Our products are simply so good that no one feels the need to compete with us. —Where do you want your Node today?
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Network Backbone")
I plan to live forever, of course, but barring that I'd settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be pretty nice.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, MorganLink 3D-Vision Interview (Accompies completion of the Secret Project "The Longevity Vaccine")
Fossils fuels in the last century reached their extreme prices because of their inherent utility: they pack a great deal of potential energy into an extremely efficient package. If we can but sidestep the 100-million-year production process, we can corner this market once again.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, Strategy Session (Accompanies discovery of the "Synthetic Fossil Fuels" tech)
Objects once measured in meters have become so small that they cannot be seen by the naked eye, with revolutionary applications across the board. Gentlemen, forget what your courtesans have told you: size does matter!
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, Morgan Industries Annual Report (Accompanies discovery of the "Nanominiaturization" tech)
In the borehole pressure mines 100km beneath Planetsurface, at the Mohorovicic Discontinuity where crust gives way to mantle, temperatures often reach levels well in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius. Exploitation of Planet's resources under such brutal conditions has required quantum advances in robotic and teleoperational technology.
— Morgan Industries, Ltd., "Annual Report" (Accompanies discovery of the "Industrial Automation" tech)
We are no longer particularly in the business of writing software to perform specific tasks. We now teach the software how to learn, and in the primary bonding process it molds itself around the task to be performed. The feedback loop never really ends, so a tenth year polysentience can be a priceless jewel or a psychotic wreck, but it is the primary bonding process—the childhood, if you will—that has the most far-reaching repercussions.
— Bad'l Ron, Wakener, Morgan Polysoft (Accompanies discovery of the "Digital Sentience" tech)
Life is merely an orderly decay of energy states, and survival requires the continual discovery of new energy to pump into the system. He who controls the sources of energy controls the means of survival.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (Accompanies first construction of the Energy Bank base facility)
Look at any photograph or work of art. If you could duplicate exactly the first tiny dot of color, and then the next and the next, you would end with a perfect copy of the whole, indistinguishable from the original in every way, including the so-called "moral value" of the art itself. Nothing can transcend its smallest elements.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Ethics of Greed" (Accompanies first construction of the Nanoreplicator base facility)
Planet's Primary, Alpha Centauri A, blasts unimaginable quantities of energy into space each instant, and virtually every joule of it is wasted entirely. Incomprehensible riches can be ours if we can but stretch our arms wide enough to dip from this eternal river of wealth.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (Accompanies first construction of the Nessus Mining Station orbital improvement)
Some civilian workers got in among the research patients today and became so hysterical I felt compelled to have them nerve stapled. The consequence, of course, will be another public relations nightmare, but I was severely shaken by the extent of their revulsion towards a project so vital to our survival.
— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, The Personal Diaries (Accompanies first construction of the Research Hospital base facility)
Wealth is the universe's way of rewarding those who are clever and efficient. Those who scorn it are turning their backs on the imperatives of life. They should be careful. We all know what happens to those who lose at the game of evolution.
— CEO Nwadudike Morgan, "The Centauri Monopoly" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Let's get to work.
— Slogan attributed to CEO Nwabudike Morgan, c. M.Y. 2100 (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Having now established a secure perimeter, we've made ourselves relatively safe from enemy incursions. But against the seemingly random attacks by Planet's native life, only our array of warning sensors can help us, for the mind worms infiltrate through every crevice and chew through anything softer than plasma-steel.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "The Early Years" (Accompanies first construction of the Perimeter Defense base facility)
Observe the Razorbeak as it tends so carefully to the fungal blooms; just the right bit from the yellow, then a swatch from the pink. Follow the Glow Mites as they gather and organize the fallen spores. What higher order guides their work? Mark my words: someone or something is managing the ecology of this planet.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Planet Dreams" (Accompanies discovery of the "Centauri Empathy" tech)
The fungus has been Planet's dominant lifeform since about the time of the Lower Paleozoic on Earth. But when, once every hundred million years or so, the neural net at last achieves the critical mass necessary to become sentient, the final metamorphosis kills of most of the other life on the planet. It is possible that we humans can help to break this tragic cycle.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Planet Dreams" (Accompanies discovery of the "Sentient Econometics" tech)
The prevalence of anoxic environments rich in organic material, combined with the presence of nitrated compounds has led to an astonishing variety of underground organisms which live in the absence of oxygen and "breathe" nitrate. Likewise, the scarcity of carbon in the environment has forced plants to economize on its use. Thus, all our efforts to return carbon to the biosphere will encourage the native life to proliferate. Conversely, the huge quantities of nitrate in the soil will be heaven to human farmers.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "The Early Years" (Accompanies discovery of the "Ecological Engineering" tech)
I believe Planet will talk to us if we are willing to listen. These fungal stalks behave as multistate relays: taken together, the neural net connectivity must be staggering. Can a planet be said to have achieved sentience?
— Lady Deirdre Skye, Arguments in Council (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Xenoempathy Dome")
From the delicate strands,
between minds we weave out mesh:
a blanket to warm the soul.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "The Collected Poems" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Telepathic Matrix")
You are the children of a dead planet, earthdeirdre, and this death we do not comprehend. We shall take you in, but may we ask this question—will we too catch the planetdeath disease?
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Conversations With Planet" (Accompanies discovery of the "Advanced Ecological Engineering" tech)
Eternity lies ahead of us, and behind. Have you drunk your fill?
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Conversations With Planet", Epilogue (Accompanies discovery of the "Transcendant Thought" tech)
No longer mere earthbeings and planetbeings are we, but bright children of the stars! And together we shall dance in and out of ten billion years, celebrating the gift of consciousness until the stars themselves grow cold and weary, and our thoughts turn again to the beginning.
—Lady Deirdre Skye, "Conversations With Planet", Epilogue (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "Ascent to Transcendance", which ends the game)
You waited so long to heed us, earthdeidre,
Almost we pruned you, as we may yet prune your branches.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Conversations With Planet" (Accompanies discovery of the "Secrets of Alpha Centauri" tech)
We welcome you, earthdeidre and earthwheat and earthtree as
honored guests, for you add great power to our ancient song—
planetfungus and planetworm and planetmind sing and play
here, and you are welcome among us.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Conversation with Planet" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Pholus Mutagen")
Planet's atmosphere, though a gasping death to humans and most animals, is paradise for Earth plants. The high nitrate content of the soil and the rich yellow sunlight bring an abundant harvest wherever adjustments can be made for the unusual soil conditions.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "A Comparative Biology of Planet" (Accompanies discovery of the "Centauri Ecology" tech)
The Isle of the Deep is really not a single creature but a colony of thousands of individual tubules, an aquatic vector of the Mind Worm which terrorizes Planet's continents. Over its lifetime certain tubules secrete a tough, gluelike substance which hardens to form the characteristic shell that floats the colony and creates the appearance of a rogue island.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "A Comparative Biology of Planet" (Accompanies discovery of the "Centauri Meditation" tech)
As the writhing, teeming mass of mindworms swarmed over the outer perimeter, we saw the defenders recoil in horror. "Stay calm! Use your flame guns!" shouted the commander, but to no avail. It is well known that the Mind Worm Boil uses psychic terror to paralyze its prey, and then carefully implants ravenous larvae into the brains of its still-conscious victims. Even with the best weapons, only the most disciplined troops can resist this horrific attack.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Our Secret War" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Citizen's Defense Force")
Symbols are the key to telepathy. The mind wraps its secrets in symbols; when we discover the symbols that shape our enemies thought, we can penetrate the vault of his mind.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Our Secret War" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Empath Guild")
I shall not confront Planet as an enemy, but shall accept its mysteries as gifts to be cherished. Nor shall I crudely seek to peel the layers away like the skin from an onion. Instead I shall gather them together as the tree gathers the breeze. The wind shall blow and I shall bend. The sky shall open and I shall drink my fill.
— Gaian Acolyte's Prayer (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Weather Paradigm")
In the end, our devotion to Planet is driven by faith. While the other factions prosper by carelessly devouring the wealth of Planet, we stand firm in our belief that Planet has moral significance of its own. They gain strength from plunder. We gain strength from the beauty and value of the thing we serve.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Arguments in Council" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
In ancient times, the members of our own family and tribe were human, but all else was a dangerous Other. Our entire history can be considered a process of pushing this boundary back, toward a point at which nothing that thinks can be said to be alien to us.
— Lady Deirdre Skye, "Arguments in Council" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
The Cybernetic Consciousness
Those who join us need only give up only half of their humanity—the illogical, ill-tempered, and disordered half, commonly thought of as 'right-brain' functioning. In exchange, the 'left-brain' capacities are increased to undreamed potentials. The tendency of Biologicals to cling instead to their individual personalities can only be attributed to archaic evolutionary tendencies.
— Prime Function Aki Zeta-5, "Convergence" (Faction "welcome to the game" quote)
And I stood before him, and I sang unto her, and it appeared to listen. His very countenance rippled like the sea, and the sound of my own voice came back to me, distorted. For a moment I thought she was mocking me, or it was nonsapient and mimicking me. Then I understood: the sounds were not important; it was how I affected his sounds and how she affected mine that transmitted the message.
— Prime Function Aki Zeta-5, "One Future" (Accompanies discovery of the "Progenitor Psych" tech)
The Progenitor race appears to sense, and possibly even manipulate, local fields an untrained human cannot percieve without mechanical aid, including at the very least electricity and magnetism. This sensitivity creates entirely new worlds of artistic endeavors for the race—or it may be developed into a powerful combat awareness that can foil any attempt at surprise.
— Prime Function Aki Zeta-5, "Alien Analysis" (Accompanies discovery of the "Field Modulation" tech)
And here we tinker with metal, to try to give it a kind of life, and suffer those who would scoff at our efforts. But who's to say that, if intelligence had evolved in some other form in past millennia, the ancestors of these beings would not now scoff at the idea of intelligence residing within meat?
— Prime Function Aki Zeta-5, "The Fallacies of Self-Awareness" (Accompanies discovery of the "Sentient Resonance" tech)
The question I pose to you is simple. Who is to be the master, you or the bits of talented meat that secrete hormones for you? Your glands are the product of aeons of evolution, and they are not to be scorned, but neither are they to be obeyed blindly.
— Prime Function Aki Zeta-5, "The New Awareness" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
The sea... vast, mysterious... and full of wealth! And the nations of Planet send their trade across it without a thought. Well, the sea doesn't care about them, so it lets them pass. But we can give the sea a little hand in teaching the landlubbers a lesson in humility.
— Captain Ulrik Svensgaard, "The Ripple and the Wave" (Faction "welcome to the game" quote)
Of all the employments, working in the the brood pit was at once the most horrific and the most desirable. Horrific for what we saw occur day after day, and because of the very nature of the sessile native lifeforms. Desirable, because having been chosen to work in the pit, you were highly unlikely to be one of its victims.
— Captain Ulrik Svensgaard "The Shadow Resonance" (Accompanies first construction of the Brood Pit base facility)
Each individual pipe contains a hot slurry of minerals drawn from Planet's crust and makes a sound like rain falling on a tin roof. When they converge on the trunkline the sound is a terrifying thunder, a thunder of untold wealth, and power.
— Captain Ulrik Svensgaard, "Tending the Sea" (Accompanies first construction of the Subsea Trunkline base facility)
The boundary between cold water and warm, the Thermocline, has been important to undersea warfare for hundreds of years of man's history. Now we have found away to harness that power for constructive purposes. Once what cloaked us can now feed us. Once what shielded us from death, now brings us life.
— Captain Ulrik Svensgaard, "The Ripple and the Wave" (Accompanies first construction of the Thermocline Transducer base facility)
Let the others fight their religious wars and bicker over the scraps of the Unity. At sea, you can face down the elements and win battles worth winning. At sea, you can find treasure the like of which the land-huggers will never know. At sea, you can be free, really free for the first time in your life.
— Captain Ulrik Svensgaard, recruitment speech, M.Y. 2136 (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
The Free Drones
Now it's day and night the irons clang, and like poor galley slaves
We toil and toil, and when we die, must fill dishonored graves
But some dark night, when everything is silent in the town
I'll shoot those tyrants one and all, I'll gun the flogger down
I'll give the land a little shock, remember what I say,
And they'll yet regret they've sent Jim Jones in chains to Botany Bay.
"Jim Jones", Traditional (Faction "welcome to the game" quote)
To understand a thing is to know the manner by which it might be destroyed. A fundamental understanding of the basic building-blocks of the Universe is essential, then, to the total destruction of everything.
— Foreman Domai, "One Tool, One Thought" (Accompanies discovery of the "String Resonance" tech)
In one dimension I find existence, in two I find life, but in three, I find freedom.
— Foreman Domai, Cadet Induction Ceremony, Mission Year 2216 (Accompanies the Secret Project "Cloudbase Academy")
Without our work, nothing is built. Without our work, no wealth is gathered. Without our work, no secrets are discovered. Without our work, no base can be defended. Now you tell me: why should our work be taken for the benefit of others?
— Foreman Domai, "Manifesto" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
The Data Angels
What's more important, the data or the jazz? Sure, sure, 'Information should be free' and all that—but anyone can set information free. The jazz is in how you do it, what you do it to, and in almost getting caught without getting caught. The data is 1's and 0's. Life is the jazz.
— Datatech Sinder Roze, "Infobop" (Faction "Welcome to the game" quote)
War is war; destruction is destruction. You think this is obvious. But war is not destruction, it is victory. To achieve victory, simply appear to give your opponent what he wants and he will go away, or join you in your quest for additional power.
— Datatech Sinder Roze, "Information Burns" (Accompanies discovery of the "Adaptive Doctrine" tech)
By creating a planetary network, mankind on Planet now has the ability to share information at light-speed. But by creating a single such network, each faction has brought themselves closer to discovery as well. At the speed of light, we will catch your information, tag it like an animal in the wild, and release it unharmed—if such should serve our purposes.
— Datatech Sinder Roze, "The Alpha Codex" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Nethack Terminus")
Ideology is a tool of power. Anyone who dangles a bright, shiny ideal in front of your eyes is likely trying to distract you from the chains they're about to snap around your wrists.
— Datatech Sinder Roze, "Infobop" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
The Cult of Planet
Mankind has been blind for thousands of years—for all of its history. We have come to a place whose wonders are a hundred-fold more amazing than anything on Earth. Around us is clear evidence of the will of a higher power. I bring the Vision to the blind eyes of men. I bring the Word to the deaf ears of men. I will make them see it. I will make them hear it.
— Prophet Cha Dawn, "Planet Rising" (Faction "welcome to the game" quote)
The ancient Chinese had a name for it: Feng Shui. We call it energy flow. It is the same thing, the same thought: energy is everywhere, but only a fraction of it is tapped by humans for their purposes. Now the Progenitors have taught us that we can tap not only our own latent abilities, but the latent abilities of the Universe itself.
— Prophet Cha Dawn, "Planet Rising" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Planetary Energy Grid")
I saw the alien phalanx coming toward us, and I calmed my mind as Kri'lan had taught me. And what I saw next to the phalanx was a shadow regiment, half-formed from the resonance around them. I cursed the aliens... with power like that, each one could fight as many, and I thanked Planet for sending us the betrayer.
— Prophet Cha Dawn, "The Betrayer and I" (Accompanies completion of the "Bioadaptive Resonance" tech)
Kri'lan taught me of the resonance and how to feel it. After much training, I could see — the very surface under our feet, Planet itself — is a living, fluctuating nexus of energy, violent, beautiful and quite unstable. And I could also feel its cousins — distant mirrors on the other side of the space-time continuum — the far-flung Manifolds.
— Prophet Cha Dawn, "The Betrayer and I" (Accompanies completion of the "Secrets of the Manifolds" tech)
Humans were unfortunate enough to evolve on a world in which they comprised the most intelligent and powerful species. Thus the overwhelming arrogance wired into them, to imagine gods in their own image and then discard them when they become inconvenient. That will not be possible here. Make no mistake, Planet itself is a sleeping god, and when it wakes there will be apocalypse.
— Prophet Cha Dawn, "Planet Rising" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Tau Ceti flowering: Horrors visited upon neighboring systems must never be repeated. Therefore: if it means the end of our evolution as a species, so be it...
— Caretaker Lular H'minee, "Sacrifice : Life" (Faction "welcome to the game" quote)
Humans : there is no space inside rocket. Progenitor : space exists around all things with mass. Space : "here". Inside rocket : "there". Secret : bring here to there.
— Caretaker Lular H'minee, "Secret : Space" (Accompanies discovery of the "N-Space Compression" tech)
Manifold harmonic fields : within, the true nature of the universe becomes apparent. Layers : within layers. Worlds : within worlds. Inside : the heart of everything opens, and everything opens to it.
— Caretaker Lular H'minee, "Resonance : Power" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project, "The Manifold Harmonics")
Resonance comes not from individual being: rather city as whole. Progenitors not separate: lines between us blur. Resulting Power: exponential. Brilliant beacon: even in vast Universe!
— Caretaker Lular H'minee, "Resonance : Power" (Accompanies completion of the secret project, "Subspace Generator")
Flowering : doomed to fail. Failure : horrors unimagined by primitive minds. Caretaker : serve life by preventing Flowering.
— Caretaker Lular H'minee, "Manifold : Service" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Risks of Flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure?
— Usurper Judaa Marr, "Courage : To Question" (Faction "welcome to the game" quote)
Humans : correct in making leap from wealth as currency to wealth as energy. But logic failure : wealth ultimately is extension of desires, fluctuating with emotions and state of mind. Desires : when all are supported in purely adaptable system, true wealth is achieved.
— Usurper Judaa Marr, "Human : Nature" (Accompanies discovery of the "Adaptive Economics" tech)
Missile attack on Zeta-5: humans activate first defense successful. Afterwards: danger posed by innovation suddenly clear.
— Usurper Judaa Marr, "Human : Nature" (Accompanies completion of the "Flechette Defense System")
Human : galaxy appears empty of life. Progenitor : life takes shape in every favorable environment. Life : mind. Mind : evolution toward Flowering. Secret : Progenitors prevent Flowering by preventing mind. Usurper : question wisdom and rightness of such strategy.
— Usurper Judaa Marr, "Courage : To Question" (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
— The Conclave Bible (The very first quote in the game, at the beginning of the intro video; from Genesis 3:23-24)
And the Lord God said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever, we must send him forth." Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
— The Conclave Bible (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "Clinical Immortality")
And the Lord God said, "Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
— The Conclave Bible (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Universal Translator")
''And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.
— The Conclave Bible (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Preliminary analysis indicates that our rivals have developed a safe and reliable method to simulate conditions existing on the interior of a stellar mass. The fabrication and transmutation of materials possible in such an environment guarantees significant industrial and military applications.
— Probe Team Operations Directorate, Top Secret Report (Accompanies discovery of the "Matter Compression" tech)
God does not play dice.
— Albert Einstein (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Supercollider")
And when the hourglass has run out, the hourglass of temporality, when the noise of secular life has grown silent and its restless or ineffectual activism has come to an end, when everything around you is still, as it is in eternity, then eternity asks you and every individual in these millions and millions about only one thing: whether you have lived in despair or not.
— Soren Kierkegaard, "The Sickness Unto Death", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Secrets of Creation" tech)
We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?
— Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7. Activity recorded M.Y. 2302.22467. (TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED) (Accompanies first construction of the Bioenhancement Center base facility)
It is not uncommon to see patients undergo permanent psychological trauma in the presence of the Sphere, before the nerve stapler has even been strapped into position. Its effect on the general consciousness of the culture is profound: husbands have seen wives go inside, and mothers their children. Dr. Xynan left the surface of the sphere semitranslucent for a reason. You can hear them in there; you can see them. It is a thing of terrible beauty.
— Baron Klim, "The Music of the Spheres" (Accompanies first construction of the Punishment Sphere base facility)
If I determine the enemy's disposition of forces while I have no perceptible form, I can concentrate my forces while the enemy is fragmented. The pinnacle of military deployment approaches the formless: if it is formless, then even the deepest spy cannot discern it nor the wise make plans against it.
— Sun Tzu, "The Art of War" (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm")
If you can discover a better way of life than office-holding for your future rulers, a well-governed city becomes a possibility. For only in such a state will those rule who are truly rich, not in gold, but in the wealth that makes happiness—a good and wise life.
— Plato, "The Republic", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Social Psych" tech)
And when he has brought forth and reared this perfect virtue, he shall be called the friend of god, and if ever it is given to man to put on immortality, it shall be given to him.
— Plato, "The Symposium", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Threshold of Transcendance" tech)
Some vices miss what is right because they are deficient, others because they are excessive, in feelings or in actions, while virtue finds and chooses the mean.
— Aristotle, "Nichomachean Ethics", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Ethical Calculus" tech)
The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist of amusement. If Eudaimonia, or happiness, is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should in accordance with the highest excellence; and this will be that of the best thing in us.
— Aristotle, "Nichomachean Ethics", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Eudaimonia" tech)
There are only two ways in which we can account for a necessary agreement of experience with the concepts of its objects: either experience makes these concepts possible or these concepts make experience possible."
— Immanuel Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Secrets of the Human Brain" tech)
Without sensibility no object would be given to us, without understanding no object would be thought. Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.
— Immanual Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason" (Accompanies discovery of the "Self-Aware Machines" tech)
I swear sometimes they're watching me.
— Bozon Pete, Shift Foreman, Metagenics Biomachinery Division (Ibid.)
Therefore a wise prince will seek means by which his subjects will always and in every possible condition of things have need of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him.
— Niccolo Machiavelli, "The Prince" (Accompanies discovery of the "Doctrine: Loyalty" tech)
Heaven lasts long, and Earth abides
What is the secret of their durability?
Is it because they do not live for themselves
That they endure so long?
— Lao Tzu, Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Quantum Power" tech)
The wicked have told me of things that delight them, but not such things as your law has to tell.
— Saint Augustine, "Confessions" (Accompanies discovery of the "Cyberethics" tech)
We sit together,
the mountain and I,
until only the mountain remains
— Li Po, from the Yang Collection (Accompanies discovery of the "Environmental Economics" tech)
Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks—those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of the "Homo Superior" tech)
Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous on-the-way, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous shuddering and stopping. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under. I love those who do not know how to live, for they are those who cross over.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", Datalinks (Accompanies discovery of "The Will to Power" tech)
The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot stay in the cradle forever.
— Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, The Father of Rocketry (Accompanies completion of the Secret Project "The Theory of Everything", read out by Zakharov)
I sit in my cubicle, here on the motherworld. When I die, they will put me in a box and dispose of it in the cold ground. And in all the million ages to come, I will never breathe, or laugh, or twitch again. So won't you run and play with me here among the teeming mass of humanity? The universe has spared us this moment.
— Anonymous, Datalinks (Accompanies first construction of the Habitation Dome base facility)
In the past 20 years, we have used our telescopes to gather a few terabytes of information about the target world. On this basis, we glibly call Chiron "earthlike." I want you to consider for a moment what that means. Chiron has gravity not too much higher than we find comfortable, an atmosphere containing water and free oxygen, a surface climate that we can tolerate. That's all. Billions of years of separate evolution have inevitably made Chiron a greatr challenge than we can imagine. Even the familiar will be alien.
Captain John Garland, initial address to the Unity crew, 2058 (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
To reign is worth ambition though in hell:
Better to reign in hell than serve in heav'n.
— John Milton, "Paradise Lost", Datalinks (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
We have only to believe. And the more threatening and irreducible reality appears, the more firmly and desperately must we believe. Then, little by little, we shall see the universal horror unbend, and then smile upon us, and then take us in its more than human arms.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Datalinks (from GURPS Alpha Centauri supplement)
Please don't go. The Drones need you. They look up to you.