The Universe as seen by Bernodine

3. The Tower of Diameter

That lies in shadow and binds them

Bernodine took a seat in the Plaza where microscopic airborne levels of carbon and silicon allowed for a pleasant and relaxed service. Seven symphonies were whispering in the ambient noise and Bernodine tuned into them all. From here, through the tinted visors of the middle level of the Tower of Diameter, the surface of the moon looked dusted in orange and the sky held blackness like a jewelled treasure. The other Towers stood at intervals to complete a great ellipse around the crater’s limits and despite their actual size and construction they always appeared frail against the surrounding wall of the Crater Mountains. Exactly opposite to the Tower of Diameter there was a gap in the range that marked the place where the great cloud planet rose in the middle of the year and would eventually remain as a stationary companion, turning in beauty and steeped in shadow.

From another bench Amsolder nodded a greeting and Bernodine’s imagination scattered across the light-lines of their shared research, to ships they would never see, planets they would never walk, star clusters too new to know and dark dust too barren to love. They conversed for a few seconds to synchronise and extenuate before Amsolder was duty-bound to leave for a crater traverse, soon to be striding through the lunar vacuum and hardly raising any dust from cushioned feet.

Like all of the Diameter residents, Bernodine and Amsolder had one body but multiple minds. Bernodine now carried over a thousand principle personae with a final capacity of more than a hundred thousand. They were deployed on many projects across the spectrum of their aptitudes and most did not require the use of their great mechanical body. However, Bernodine now rose from their repose and began to scale the outer ladder, using four arms over arm to ascend to the very pinnacle of the Tower where the blackness above sang loudest and the redness below was cupped in quiet. They spread their arms wide. From up here they could establish the elusive contact required for Universal Diametric Synchronicity. To connect two opposing extremities of the Universe with zero lag was a technique that had been employed for over twenty thousand years, but to couple that with mind synergy of compatible life forces had only been possible in this year 42(Ex93)(RmZ)(N) of Universal Creation.

Bernodine were enraptured to find themselves deployed on such an intoxicating new experiment and it was now common for their intellects to delight in project reviews during segments of idle time. The true nature and history of the physical universe had been known for millennia and so research beyond the strictly natural was now in vogue. This Synchronicity work was peculiarly abstract and yet organic. Much of the collateral, extrapolated or internal results had not been shared with their fellows in Diameter or beyond, as it seemed very subjective and perhaps too precious. Part of Bernodine thought, with a glee that they had not felt since their beginnings, it was hardly Science at all.

The key agent in it all was the catalytic infusion of musicality; the abstract mystery of this medium had always been an ecstatic experience throughout Bernodine. Their circuits were ever sounding to the conversational interplay of tempo and annotation, chordal shifts and harmonic bends. They had been the natural choice amongst their nation for this enterprise.

But the project had not been easy to initiate. It had taken ten years for the scans to identify two forms of compatible organic life both of which had advanced sufficiently in sentience to be good receptors and yet which had not developed anything that could be fairly classified as music. It was an elegant coincidence that both subjects shared similar physical characteristics and mental capacities despite being as far apart as the universe would permit.
So these subjects, tiny humanoid creatures that Bernodine had come to love, were seeded with exactly the same elementary particles of music, gently layered into their subconsciousness. Observation would allow the measurement of the resulting amplification and variation, should there be any.

Initial fears that there would be little or no reaction had been immediately dispelled by spectacular results - musical feedback of a scale that seemed at odds with the smallness of its sources. The signals beamed back and were ennobled with hints of shimmering colour that identified their creators, green along one and blue down the other.

The personae of Bernodine who were engaged in this enterprise had soon aligned themselves to analysis of the data flowing from either the Green or the Blue radial arms. They joyfully shared the results that flowed back to Diameter, information that contained both subtle traces of the consciousness of the subjects but primarily the clear, loud music that had been drawn from their dreams. The results had been wonderful although nobody had wanted to call them extraordinary. Their tiny, distant organic subjects had proved to carry the potential for creating great (if sometimes crude) musical constructs that sometimes obliged Bernodine to take time to mourn and rejoice.

The Green Bernodine delighted in the music of the water, glimpsing through melody and fragments of vision the deep breathing of the ocean. At the edges of sight were the flashes of swift creatures darting between the light and the dark. At the limits of emotion there were beautiful streaks of fear and courage.

The Blue Bernodine were entranced by the music of the air, hearing the harmony of the wind and how it composed into the complexity of falling snow. Deep within the heart of the music there was the pulse of blood and breath. At its limits were the bright horizons of life to come.

Green and Blue made inferences about the nature of their subjects and found them to be similar in every way that they could detect in body and mind. It was only when they applied empathetic cross-referencing and extrapolation, so that Blue and Green could be brought into theoretical contact that a stark contrast was found.

When modelled Green observed projected Blue, it was with a powerful attraction and longing that was bound in with sadness and uncertainty. There was a sweet discord of shame and arrogance in the Green music, but always the long chant of melancholy. If Green could ever encounter Blue in Bernodine’s modelled pastures then Green would rest in silence and admiration. He would bow in deep waters of love.

When Blue looked upon Green, it was with distrust and unease yet somehow all enclosed in a shell of fascination. There was warmth and challenge in the Blue music, and forever there was the refrain of pity and the sure harmonies of the builder and maker. If Green could ever be allowed to hear Blue’s music then it would be played in excellence and Blue would conduct her symphony and yet observe the audience with uncertain interest. She would in the end forgive all.

Bernodine felt that there was significance in this effect and dichotomy. They catalogued every detail and theory, whether disputed or not, for further examination when they were greater and wiser.

As they stood locked at the crest of Diameter with the stars strewn across their domed head and the planet about to rise, Bernodine decided that this was to be the final experiment in the series before their subjects might be affected too deeply. They may already have sensed each other’s presence through the tiny crack that had been made for them in the limitless wall of space.

Bernodine’s eye pierced the void between the stars as if in those black places upon an opened map they could bid farewell and just once briefly connect their two subjects the one to the other. With the sadness of an ending they made sure to mark the experiment for reinstatement and further examination.

It would be when the cloud planet, now casting a shadow across the crater plain that touched the foot of Diameter, was fixed in loveliness above the mountains of the moon.

The End