Several thousand years from now, about as far into our future as the Pyramids of Egypt are in our past, humanity has explosively diversified. Genomics, nanotech, and AI converged early on to create the New People. And with starsteeds (faster-than-light ships), they have explored and populated all 54 galaxies of the Local Group.
The Galactic Compact peacefully unifies thousands of worlds strewn across 10 million light-years.
Recently, the New People perfected the technology to probe close to the event horizon of black holes. There, embedded in a vortex of spacetime spinning at nearly the speed of light, they discovered the Hyperopolis.
Who built this sprawling megastructure of cobweb pastels and glittering diamond-echo interiors? Is it built? Or is it an emergent living thing?
Tidal gravity from the rotating black hole dilates an hour in the Hyperopolis to a million solar years among the galaxies. But advances in geometrodynamics permit starsteeds to enter and depart the Hyperopolis in closed time-like curves that return travelers close to where they began.
Android envoys to the enigmatic structure at the rim of the ultimate abyss came back with big news: They had found an entrepot of trade among universes, a prismatic trove of new technologies, beguiling insights into reality – and an invitation.
You were resurrected to accompany the first delegation of the Galactic Compact to the Hyperopolis.
For millennia, the New People have been reviving original humans as gifts and pets. You were intended as a good-will present for the denizens of the Hyperopolis. Of course, you were memory-sifted to remove any distressing recollections of your former existence – or your demise. And euphoric enhancements kept you perfectly calm in your revised state among the New People, who didn’t look at all like people to you.
No doubt that emo-gyro was helpful, too, when you arrived in the Hyperopolis and met the plasmantic factors of iridescent fire who manage this multiversal trading post. They received you cordially. And instantly – as plasmantics will do – they suffused you with their softest sentient energy, a clairvoyant, hard-white transparency like Himalayan light at noon.
Once they recognized your psychophysical limits and fragility, they did the humane thing. They atomized your body and installed “you” – your mind – in an anatomic 4D body simulation of 21st century Earth.
You’ve probably noticed when you reflect, your life has always felt a little strange, a bit off. Hasn’t it?
Now you know why.