~ A Novel About The Joys of Exploration And Discovery ~
This is a work of fiction inspired by real experiences of my life. It includes passages of real events, people, places etc. as commentary, but the story itself is fabricated from my imagination in which all events, places and people–living, dead, or anywhere in between–are entirely fictional. The real stuff is clearly indicated as such at the beginning of each chapter, followed by nothing but fiction until the beginning of the next chapter. Why? I'm not sure. It just seemed the best way to get this story written. NOTE: Equations and other illustrated formulae or technical graphics presented in this novel are currently in use in the real world. In this work of fiction, they serve only to introduce and reinforce chapter imagery related to science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. For those interested, search them up on the internet using the associated descriptive text provided beside each equation, formulae, or technical graphic in the story. It's fascinating stuff even if the math is not understood. And don't blame yourself while reading this novel for not knowing every detail of the math. I certainly don't. Also, they just look so cool!
~ The True Stuff ~ When I really began getting into playing music, I enrolled in Junior High Orchestra playing cello and loved it. Symphonic music sent chills racing up and down my spine so intense they almost made me pass out. I was also starting to love playing guitar a lot. So much so that I frequently fell into a trance while playing. One day I was sitting on the front porch of our house playing guitar for a next door neighbor and fell into a deep trance only to be pulled out of it when he started gently shaking me by the shoulder saying "Hey! Hey, man! You're drooling on your guitar!", which I was. But he was cool about it, only commenting on how into it I was instead of ridiculing me for being a slobbering idiot. While living on a pig farm near the southern tip of Lake Michigan, I signed up for Junior/Senior Band after meeting the band instructor during summer orientation. He appeared to be a very staid fellow at first sight, but after talking with him a few minutes it became obvious he was anything but. Besides the usual concert and marching band stuff we did, he organized a few of us into a dixieland band with me strumming banjo and later on that winter, three of us teamed up to form a bluegrass band. Near the end of the school year, he loaded us all up into a school bus and we drove up to Northern Illinois University in Dekalb to see Maynard Ferguson perform on his quarter tone trumpet with a pianist playing a quarter tone piano. That music was spacey enough, but then Maynard switched on a new device called a digital delay processor and started playing along with himself. Blew my freaking mind, and I began dreaming of doing something similar playing guitar. Having played cello, I imagined a fretless guitar played through a delay processor would be just the instrument to achieve that goal. I still drop into a trance when playing music–especially when composing a new piece, achieving an intense feeling of being transported far away from all of the bullshit society seems hellbent on stirring up and dealing out for no good reason. Recent casual study of quantum wave theory set me to speculating that these trances may be more than a mere dream state and I'm somehow tapping into a powerful means of telepathation. Yep, that's a made-up word.
~The Made-Up Stuff ~
Momentum of a photon.
Energy of a photon.
Momentum of a photon in terms of relativistic mass.
Kuel always kept these three simple equations scribbled on sticky notes attached to the top edge of his quantcomp monitor. On the bottom edge he kept another.
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.
Key concepts essential to understanding his invention: the Quantum Contrapuntal Interspatial Synthesizer (QISS for short, but in no way a contemporary reference to that awful rock band of the 20th century KISS). QISS. A revolutionary musical instrument. QISS was now Kuel's focus in life. Also a starship of sorts. One without hulls, engines, life support, armor, shields, weaponry, galley, head or captain's chair. Instead of all of that useless crap, it leveraged wave particle duality to find and open paths Kuel could follow in an instant to any place and/or time he wished to go. A high-energy physics instrument for instantaneously traveling vast distances and timespans within any universe and for traversing across multiverse brane boundaries. Something no one has been able to achieve to date, even in the most powerful qwarpships. With QISS, Kuel was the ultimate traveler of space and time. QISS was his secret too. No one else knew of its existence.
Well, almost no one else.
Staring at the sticky notes on the monitor, he said a silent goodbye to them, to his trusty quantum computer, to his home and to everything and everyone he had ever known. He was about to become a hermit of the strangest sort–always keeping company and secrets of QISS with no one except himselves.
After building QISS, he had understood theoretically what to expect, but theory and practice are frequently two different beasts, especially in applications of bleeding edge high-energy physics. Hoping for nothing and believing in less as he fired it up and began playing the instrument for the first time, he found–as expected–that he was able to sense dualities in musical patterns produced by QISS correlating to dualities of waves and particles, and that he was actually able to manipulate those physical dualities through nuanced dualities of musical expression. As waves and particles became one at the crest of musically orgasmic waves, he was instantly quantum teleported to a parallel universe where another musician/physicist was composing for the first time on a QISS of his own invention. It was him₂. Not a doppelganger, but actually him in the other universe to which he had just successfully Qported.
Upon meeting, no time or energy was wasted on verbal introductions as they immediately set about collaborating in their music. Conversing exclusively in tonalities and resonance durations woven instinctively through actions applied to their instruments, they soon discovered compositional elements which allowed them to also cross brane world boundaries into parallel universes together. Upon conclusion of that first collaboration, they uttered a single exclamatory word of mutual satisfaction.
Now they meet themselves in all of the universes they visit to collaborate, join forces and continue on their journey exploring the multiverse through quantumusical compositions which they call The Duality Duets. Because, after all, they are but one and the other. But because they are both one and many too; all the same and yet singularly varied; their duets become much more than that.
Through telepathation, they become–in deed (and indeed)–quantusymphonic composers of the cosmos.
~ The True Stuff ~ I took partial differential equations in college and somehow passed the course, although I cannot claim to have achieved any appreciable level of maturity in mathematics. Certainly not enough maturity to delve into mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics. So as I try to at least get a layman's grasp on the subject of quantum wave theory, I look at things like Schrödinger's equation which describes changes over time in physical systems in which quantum effects like wave-particle duality are significant and try to imagine visually what they mean through Gedankenexperiment (thought experiments) the way Albert Einstein liked to do. When playing a musical instrument I do something similar, rarely ever visualizing musical scores representing the music I'm playing in notes sprinkled over staves governed by clefs and signatures of key and time, instead visualizing the sounds of a musical piece in four-dimensional flowing, interacting waves of multiple colors. Sometimes, mere visualizations aren't enough, though, and other senses come into play, including sense of motion. Thinking of Euclidean n-space and n-vectors, the notion of n-dimensionality of music crosses my mind. Four-dimensions is pretty easy for my mind to handle in most thought experiments, but when more dimensions are considered, my mind balks and falters, wanting to take a break to kick back with a bowl of sugary cereal to watch a good Saturday Morning TV cartoon. Entanglement...
~The Made-Up Stuff ~
Feynman derivation of wave equation in three dimensions.
Dirac equation - relativistic wave.
Wave-particle duality...spatial and temporal frequency transformations...relativistic subatomic particle movement...a r r g h E N O U G H !
Kuel hated it when he dreamed in equations and solutions, always waking in a cold sweat. Much more preferable to don his augrealrig and mesh with appropriate community knowledge clouds for such exploratory thinking expeditions. Dream learning was iffy, at best. Enmeshed with CKCs through the ARRig he had received at age two–as every child did on their second birthday–never were. Enmeshment learning was a lot more fun too.
Swinging vertical in his suspensorbed, he levitated for a moment to yawn, stretch and scratch. He did not totally discount the damned dream, having learned to trust his subconscious mind's unstructured wanderings in the realm of mathematics as much as his waking mind's methodical wonderings in it. He had solved some hairy damned math problems while dreaming of them entirely intuitively, especially some particularly vexing Fourier Transformations of n-dimensional quantum wave forms. There were only a bakers dozen of CKCs in the mesh (that he was aware of and had access to) which could assist him with such transformations via quanputational modeling, and they could not hold a candle to the speed and efficiency of a deeply intuitive dream triggered in the constantly running supercomputer situated between his ears.
A quick visit to the head and a long, hot shower set him to reflecting on his first days with his ARRig. His parents had presented it to him with marked nonchalance along with other birthday gifts. A few of his neighborhood friends had already received theirs and had told him about them. After the cruelty of compulsory education and all of its horrors–not the least of which included teacher bias–had been outlawed, no child needed prodding to don their ARRig and begin the astounding journey of discovery only self-directed learning expeditions into the world's CKCs could spark. Thanking his parents for the other birthday gifts, Kuel recalled ignoring them and eagerly donning his ARRig to begin his own learning journey.
Within a matter of weeks, music had become central to his learning experiences and he began requesting access to various musical instruments. CKC ArtifIntAdmin had checked his learning stats and had approved acquisition of the instruments which were delivered within a matter of a few days. Kuel had progressed rapidly, learning not only how to play the instruments but the basics of music theory as well as practice and performance technique and had then started exploring the mathematical foundations of music. By age four, he had settled into his professional niche entirely of his own, self-directed learning accord–a budding PhysiMusician determined to positively change the world with his music.
Drying off with an old-fashioned terrycloth towel and starting the autoshave, he chuckled at his childish thinking patterns.
"Change the world, lol."
He hoped what he and himselves were now doing across universes would bring about positive change, because there apparently wasn't anyone or anything standing in their way as they composed the music of the cosmos.
~ The True Stuff ~ In the late 1990s I began tinkering with multitrack recording using a Roland VS-880 Multitrack Digital Recording Workstation and CD Burner, producing thirty original compositions and songs with it before the turn of the century. It wasn't long before I decided to delve into the world of audio spectral analysis and manipulation using a software application called Sound Forge on my recordings. Especially useful was its Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) feature which I used to analyze and fix inevitable glitches introduced by the crappy Wintel personal computing hardware and OS I was using at the time. Prior to getting my hands on the VS880 and Sound Forge, I could only dream of building a home recording studio because the equipment costs were so enormous. With this set of digital audio recording and analysis tools I spent every minute I could on nights and weekends recording and mastering original musical works I had been composing for years prior to emergence of such affordable, home studio toolkits. And as this happy hobby time progressed through the end of the 20th century into the 21st century, a lot of the mathematics I had struggled to learn in cold isolation of infuriating textbook-to-test method of study employed in college coursework began to reveal clearly and meaningfully in practical applications which were of specific interest to me. This was when it finally dawned on me that project-oriented learning was the best way for me to gain and expand knowledge in any subject matter.
~The Made-Up Stuff ~
Fourier Transform in terms of position space.
Fourier Transform in terms of momentum space.
Waiting for the QISS to power up, initialize and run through its built in tests, Kuel composed a farewell letter to his surviving family members and sent it off via delaymail to arrive in their inboxes in a couple of days. Eventually, he would travel back in time to tell those already dead about the journey upon which he was about to embark, especially his maternal grandparents who played a key role fostering development of his keen interest in music by replacing his inexpensive CKC-provided starter model musical instruments with professional quality models costing a great deal more. They did this five years before he would begin earning his own income at age ten–a gift of generosity he had only been able to thank them for by performing professionally with the instruments and always making sure they had front row seats at every recital and concert they were able to attend before they were killed in the NeoCon attacks.
The QISS beeped softly after power up and BITs had completed. Kuel inserted its binaural mics and let them attune and adjust to his especially complex ear canal topology. He wondered sometimes if he had been born with more normal ear canals if he would have ever taken the course of study and profession he had chosen to pursue or if he would have ever invented the QISS. Doctors examining them had admitted they were particularly torturous but scoffed at the idea they enhanced his musical abilities, but then doctors were consummate scoffers in regards to patients' intuitive notions of their physiology–a very limiting, arrogant form of bigotry in his opinion.
Picking up the QISS and plucking at its string clusters, he allowed it a few more seconds to automatically adjust gains as he prepared for "takeoff" by silently thanking everyone and everything which had enabled him to reach this key moment in time and space. Then he played in a style of improvisation well suited to inducing telepathation through ultra-fast Fourier Transformations of aural patterns he performed into relativistic position and momentum space quantum wave forms. The effect was mesmerizing and as wave/particle dualities emerged he could feel them through the feedback mechanism of the QISS as a deep thrumming which resonated throughout his body very much like a heavy-lift quantpter's sonic effects on huge volumes of air felt in flesh and bone as it approached at low speed and altitude. A quick tweak of QISS's quantum compass calibration to adjust to the planet's constantly shifting magnetic field, a subliminal flash of light and burp of atmospheric disturbance and he was there, looking at himself holding a QISS looking back at him. Kuel₂ smiled and nodded at him and without further delay they began composing their first Duality Duet, aiming to travel backward in time to visit with his grandparents and grandparents₂.
For this trip through time, the dueling QISSs required significantly larger amounts of power and drew it directly from dark energy sources detected and drawn upon as the newly composed duet's form solidified. No one else could hear the duet as Kuel and Kuel₂ composed and performed it on the fly, but their QISSs recorded every musical element of it for future reference and reuse. The two Kuels wondered in tandem if someday the recordings might end up in a CKC of their own design and construction for future generations of PhysiMusicians to appreciate and learn from. They grinned at each other, knowing that goal would someday become a project they would enjoy working on together.
Their QISSs pushed spent energy as dark matter out exhaust ports to maintain dark energy/matter balance in their respective regions of the universe pair they were now traversing through time in. It would not do to allow any imbalance to develop from their quantuphysical activities. The outcome of such carelessness would bring an untimely end to themselves and to everything else in existence. Their mission was positive creation of possibilities for others, not total destruction in an abrupt, unannounced collapse of time and space. For the two Kuels, the trip was instantaneous and they each appeared before their grandparents with a soft buffeting of air expanding outward about their point of arrival that lightly disturbed the hair of their beloved lost relatives.
Speaking as one to grandparents and grandparents₂ in each of their respective universes, they told them of what and how they had accomplished their goal in life to return through time and space to tell them how much they appreciated their generosity and devotion to life and happiness of their grandson and grandson₂.
"It would not have happened without your influences," Kuel told them. "Not just the pro-level instruments, but your patient, deliberate knowledge sharing too."
His grandmothers nodded. "So you were listening. Paying attention," she complemented with a warm smile.
A puzzled expression crossed Kuel's face. "Sometimes you seemed so frantic to get back to the music, we wondered," his grandfather added. "We weren't sure much of the math and physics were being absorbed."
Smiling and bowing his head in shamed respect, he admitted it was difficult. "Gaining maturity in mathematics wasn't easy. Not like the music was. More natural talent there than in math and sciences, I suppose. But your lessons in rewards of perseverance helped. As soon as thinking mathematically became more intuitive, the physics were easier to grasp, though none of it is ever a cinch."
They laughed with their grandson over this honest declaration. "It never is," his grandfather said. "But damn, the achievement effect is fun to experience, eh?"
Since his grandparents were well versed in quantum mechanics and wave theory themselves, they were not so very shocked by appearance of an adult Kuel and Kuel₂ telling them these things when they had just seen their preteen Kuel and Kuel₂ performing with the Quark Interplanetary Symphony Orchestra the evening before. They were very surprised at how he had leveraged his knowledge and skills, though, and expressed their extreme pleasure with his astounding accomplishment, first hugging and kissing him with deep delight then examining his QISS with deep curiosity.
"It's so light," his grandmother observed. "How did you accomplish that?"
"It carries material resources to manufacture mechanisms and fixed parts only needed occasionally on the fly, then recycles the materials. Not a lot of heavier moving parts otherwise, most of those needed only to provide haptic feedback."
"Ah, then no magic involved," she said.
"None whatsoever," he replied. "I may be an entertainer in the realm of music, but I'm horrible at method and effect in the art of distraction and slight of hand conjuring, not to mention severely lacking in persona without an instrument in my hands."
They decided to prepare a meal and eat while discussing details of it all together at their leisure rather than try to absorb it in an intense, impersonal cram session. It wasn't important, after all, for them to retain any of the information, even if it were possible. After dining and talking, he informed them they would not remember anything about their reunion or anything they had talked about upon the moment he departed. Only impressions of emotion might remain, depending on how deeply felt during their time together. They all understood the temporal implications of such memories and accepted them without protest, simply enjoying the time together while it lasted.
"Any idea when you'll build and mesh the first CKC?" his grandmother asked.
Shaking his head, Kuel admitted he didn't know. "I've never built one before, only using them, though by the thousands. So I have to learn the ins and outs of that. It will depend on how rapidly the trudatsets grow, and I certainly don't want to allow any bias to creep in. That would make them useless."
"Why are you keeping this secret?"
"Because I can't keep it secret forever. Eventually effects of playing the QISS around the multiverse will be noticed, tracked down and investigated. If not, someone else will build one of their own invention. By that time, I hope to at least have the first CKC up and connected to the mesh and I can reveal it as it should be, to everyone equally through freemesh access. Besides, as the inventor, I deserve to enjoy first-field-run fun with it."
When it was time for Kuel and Kuel₂ to leave his grandparents and grandparents₂, they thanked him for returning to tell them all about it, happy that their influence in his life had perpetrated such an amazingly positive outcome for him.
Then the two Kuels took up their QISSs and primed them for departure, performing a brief, purely musical prelude for his grandparents before shifting into quantum duality manipulation strains for travel, concluding the movement with a lyric:
Your perceptions of promise
And faith in talent
Repaid now only with love
With a small, atmospheric implosion and a minuscule exchange of dark matter for dark energy consumed upon exit, their talented grandson and grandson₂ were gone from their respective time/space positions in their respective universes without a shred of memory of having ever been present remaining. An ineffable sense of warm satisfaction settled in and persisted, though, and they smiled at each other for the gift of it.
~ The True Stuff ~ It is always gratifying when someone does something so many have been saying for so long is impossible. This happened fairly recently (as reported last summer) when 18-year-old Ewin Tang proved classical computing techniques could solve the "recommendation problem" almost as rapidly as a quantum machine learning algorithm proposed by Kerenidis and Prakash could. The promise of quantum computing is intriguing, if not yet a reality, and I hope to see it come into mainstream usage before breathing my final breath. In the meantime, work by upstarts like Mr. Tang are a refreshing breath of fresh air.
~The Made-Up Stuff ~
It always stuck in Kuel's craw that he was expected to blithely accept the notion that instantaneous action at a distance is impossible. It wasn't that he disrespected theorists' stand that simple correlation was not to be construed as "spooky actions at a distance", what he could not–would not–accept was an insurmountable barrier preventing superluminal communication and travel. What fun are universes without ability to move about within and between them at speeds conducive to practical exploration? EM spectrum analysis of ancient waves and particles through observatories hanging in space just wasn't going to cut it for him.
So like that young upstart of long ago who bucked established thought that only quantum machine learning algorithms could provide ample computing speeds for solving big-data problems and then proceeded to prove that classical computing techniques were capable of attaining comparable speeds, Kuel set his mind to task at finding a way to attain faster than light speeds for exploring the multiverse.
Having discovered the means to do so (and not by mere accident, but through concerted, brain-busting research and meticulous experimentation), Kuel₁₋ₓ now set out into the multiverse upon a simple, straightforward, 3-fold mission for the remainder of his lives:
Exploration of the multiverse
Composition of original musical works
Construction of Community Knowledge Clouds
He had no ambitions to amass monetary riches or possessions. He did not wish to gain political leverage of any kind. He didn't want to teach anything to anyone, form any sort of religions, or start any kind of cultural movements. He was not compelled to propagate his genetic material through family building (though he and himselves had already securely banked their genomes in case they changed their minds about that some day). He felt no drive to control and manipulate anyone or anything except elements of music. He didn't even really care if anyone ever meshed with the CKCs he and himselves would eventually create and load up with their compositions and massive sets of discovdata across the multiverse. He would leave it entirely up to learners seeking knowledge from the un-biased trudatsets contained within them to decide if they were worthy of perusal and absorption. Pushing his thoughtbiases upon anyone was as revolting to himselves as committing assault, robbery, kidnap, rape or murder.
His only burning self-centered desires from this point forward were to experience surprises he suspected were in store for him in his explorations of the multiverse, and creating musical compositions which might induce the spine-tingling responses within himselves he always enjoyed so much.
These were his frank responses when his grandparents had pointedly asked him what his intentions were, wielding his powerful invention. They expressed no relief upon hearing his answers–knowing him as well as they did. Only joy and satisfaction had coursed through them to know that he had found a lifeniche which might bring about both positive progress and deep meaning for himselves without causing harm.
So after leaving his grandparents, Kuel used the QISS's quantprobes to locate a good place to rest for a while, Qported to a cool, quiet, remote mountain valley on a strange terrestrial body harboring no poisonous atmosphere or deadly flora or fauna which might bring injury or death and began composing a new solo piece while Kuel₂₋ₓ did the same in their respective universes. They played separately in the multiverse, their work beginning pensively while they tinkered a bit to decide upon mood and timbre for their pieces. Subconsciously referencing the Circle of Fifths, influences of Coltrane drifted into the session and a vision of his own Circle of Tones pervaded. Then the parts came together, soared and expanded into quantusymphonic majesty as they improvised, revised and crystalized their compositions.
Satisfied with the outcome of the session, they found fruit trees standing beside clear, cold streams and enjoyed strange new flavors and long, quenching drinks before tending to bodily functions and settling down to sleep beneath stars as their QISSs deployed quantshields–adjusting temperature and humidity to optimal levels within–and kept close watch over them, softly playing back their new compositions, primed and ready to autoQport in a nanosecond to safety, if necessary.
Bathed in the sonic blanket of their new musical creations, Kuel₁₋ₓ pondered the next exploratory expedition and soon dozed. Then they began to dream.
~ The True Stuff ~ At age twelve, my sleep time requirements plummeted from more than eight hours per night to six, at most, and more frequently to just four hours, and that became the new norm. Why it happened is a mystery, possibly connected to puberty. It was disturbing at first because I had no idea what to do during the extra waking hours while the rest of the family was fast asleep. Reading helped but wasn't enough. Fortunately, I had my own bedroom by then where I could work on quiet hobbies until sunrise when it was time to prepare for school during weekdays, or dash outdoors to play on weekends and holidays. Practicing cello or guitar during wee hours was out of the question. Homework was never so taxing it couldn't be completed long before dinner time (usually finished during the bus ride home). Watching the only TV we owned in the living room at such ungodly hours was not permitted. So a four-inch reflector telescope pointed out a north-facing window, an electronics project kit, a chemistry set, a junior weather forecaster station, writing for fun, model building, drawing, preparing slides and examining specimens of plants, animals, and minerals collected during daytime outdoor explorations through microscope and extended reflection on previous experiences in life nicely filled spare nighttime hours. Sometimes our dog Tanji would come upstairs to keep quiet company with me, but no one else in the family ever did–all sleeping soundly throughout the nights, which was just fine for my purposes. Enjoying freedom from social interaction expectations and tensions (good, bad and everywhere in between) during these hours may have been the beginnings of tendency to desire and seek solitude. My mother tells me I take after a branch of her father's side of the family, comfortable with company of none but themselves. This may be true. Now more than half a year into retirement and free of duties working for income and the majority of thought cycles focused on complex problem solving for others, twenty waking hours per day are now spent entirely on personal projects. A recent acquaintance has encouraged workshopping to develop this enjoyable writing hobby, something I may try via online workshop channels, reluctant to expose myself to various strains of influenza running rampant at this time of year (having already contracted and survived flu four times over the last six years), not to mention exposure to ever-increasing numbers of other contagions from E. coli, hepatitis (A,B,C) and Rotavirus to tuberculosis; all easily picked up while mingling with people downslope. And as global warming encourages proliferation of contagious diseases, I'm prone to limit exposure to those vectored from local higher-altitude sources like hantavirus, plague, and pneumonia. It's not that I'm afraid of death, just not eager to experience it anytime soon. A long, prosperous life has always been an attractive prospect. And it's not like physically living apart from others is pure solitude in this still-budding but rocking and rolling information age. A nice, fast, two-way connection to the internet keeps me well connected to family and friends for rich communication and passively sharing meager creative works, as well as around-the-clock access to a plethora of information sources from which I can select the best of the best, safe and sound here where quiet hours are so plentiful apart from churning masses. The recent acquaintance freely expended a lot of valuable time and effort to share vast knowledge and solid advice, though. A remarkably generous thing to do considering his busy lifestyle, still fully engaged in close proximity with others. So I won't ignore it.
~The Made-Up Stuff ~
A time evolution formulation of the cognitive process.
Kuel slept briefly, soundly and dreamt deeply, stirring only once to relieve point pressure stresses on hip and shoulder without surfacing to full consciousness. Binocular rivalries spurred his dreams. Alternating pairs of distinctly separate visual imagery projected virtually by subconscious mind onto crisscrossed retinal perception centers of his brain competed for dominance, efficiently kindling conceptual thoughts into indeterminately retrievable patterns for future use during conscious mind thought cycles.
Upon waking, he sat up and looked at the creatures gathered around him, crowded up close, within centimeters of shield perimeter. He knew they weren't dangerous. The QISS would have alerted him of their approach long before they were so close if it perceived any threat.
"Hello," he said. The QISS's AI translated the word into a quantumusical phrase of friendly greeting. This elicited an excited response from the creatures. Many stood, hopped about and chattered in bright, musical tones and percussive vibrations.
"They are excited a stranger so full of new music has come to their world," the QISS answered without delay.
"How long have you been here?" he asked. The QISS translated with a lightly modulated sonic sweep and short, pleasant clang.
The largest of the creatures, a headless, hulking hexapodish creature still squatting on rear haunches with two rows of blinking eyes on each of its front shoulders answered with low, resonant whistles and moans through an orifice, or orifices, Kuel could not see. The QISS translated: "Not long. Heard you playing. Came to listen. Please play more."
So Kuel picked up the QISS and did so for his first non-human, highly-sentient audience.
That first performance brought rewards for both himselves and for the creatures of the world he had stopped upon for sustenance and rest. And as he played pieces refined and well practiced for the small group of inhabitants of the world, they listened intently as if there were answers in the music for them. Answers they had been seeking within themselves and their own musical languages but had never been able to find. The first performance also brought about increasingly clear and agile communication between Kuel and his audience as they intoned appreciation between performance pieces. The QISS AI absorbed and processed the intonements to build upon its knowledge of their languages and taught them to Kuel through tonal feedback guidances. Soon, the AI was able to relinquish all communication actions to Kuel as he became adept at understanding the musical languages of the creatures and played his own musical responses conversationally.
"Where do you come from?" they asked.
Analysing quantunavigational waypoints, the QISS conveyed to Kuel the general region of the night sky to point to.
"From a planet near the edge of our galaxy, just near that cluster of three stars beside empty space...there," he told them. "We call our home planet Earth. What do you call yours?"
Their answer was delivered entirely musically and the name they spoke was a beautiful contrapuntal weave of encompassing multimeaning. The QISS recorded it all, and as their conversations progressed over the months he stayed there, Kuel began to realize this would be the first place he would construct a CKC for eventual connection to the mesh, as their questions were many more than he could answer in a lifetime. He also realized he would construct only the shell of the CKC populated only with basic trudatsets related to Earth and his relationship to his home world as evidence of his brief presence here, leaving it to the creatures of this world to populate it with trudatsets of their own. So he set about showing them how they could do this through his musical performances, which the creatures seemed to always enjoy, while spending his time apart from them designing the CKC to be built and activated for trudatpopulation by the creatures after he departed.
It required more time and effort than expected, but Kuel persevered, with the help of QISS AI at first, then with the help of the creatures to prepare interfaces for them to feed their trudatsets into it.
"This CKC is now yours," he told them when it was ready for them to fill. "Feed it all you know and all you wish to know. It will eventually be connected to a multiverse mesh to allow sharing it with others across the cosmos and to allow you to mesh with a multitude other CKCs already in existence and more still to be constructed."
Thanking him for the gift, they lavished Kuel with praise first, then attempted to give him gifts in appreciation. He kindly refused the gifts, "I cannot carry them with me when I leave."
Hearing this, a dissonant cacophony rose up from them in protest. "You cannot leave us! We need you to help us! We need your music to mix with ours to survive!"
More shocked by their reaction than flattered, Kuel tried to convince them they did not. "Your own music is all you need. Mine is stored in the CKC for you to reference when desired, but now your own music is all that you need to proceed on vectors of positive progress, just as you were doing before I came here!"
But the creatures were not convinced and moved aggressively to restrain him. To capture and cage him. The QISS AI signaled its intent to Kuel in a short, sharp tone and emergency Qported them to safety of an uninhabited world it had located and cataloged for just such an eventuality.
Kuel sat down hard on the ground and shuddered, trying to understand what had just happened. He had given his music and gift of a CKC freely. He had not created any mystery for the creatures to solve to use it. Why had they so fervently insisted they were incapable of continuing without him? He had not been amongst them so long that their eons of history were warped or disrupted by effect of his presence. He knew his music was pretty good but nothing in comparison to theirs, music produced through their own physiology rather than through an invented contraption.
A few other Kuels joined him within the confines of the shield his QISS maintained about him to discuss the unexpected turn of events.
"We must have given too much of ourselves to them," Kuel₉ suggested. The others agreed this was possible.
"Too much inspiration can be as limiting as it may be liberating. They seem to have lost confidence in themselves, in their own abilities," Kuel₁₅ offered. "Hopefully only temporarily."
"But we left them CKCs₁₋ₓ across the multiverse, and knowledge to use them," Kuel₃₇ replied. "They have not been irrecoverably damaged, and as soon as they realize this they will begin filling the CKCs with their own trudatsets. And when ready, they will allow them to connect to the mesh."
"Possibly," Kuel₁ said. "Or they may ignore them altogether now that we're no longer on their worlds for command performances."
All Kuels nodded agreement to this, understanding there could be no other way for it, knowing time is precious and that none of them were immortal or invincible.
"Their choice," they said in unison. "As it should be for all sentient beings we encounter."
~ The True Stuff ~ An interest in construction of stringed musical instruments developed at age fourteen thanks to an excellent West Texas wood shop class instructor, Mr. Butcher. His knowledge of woods and their grain properties and extended discussions we had about Stradivarius violins sparked an interest in materials and their harmonic energy properties at microscopic and atomic levels. He also helped me learn to be flexible in my thinking and planning when an overly ambitious project for the year had to be scaled back to something doable within the limits of class time and within my elementary woodworking skills capability. Instead of building an acoustic mandolin which entailed more hours of work shaping the front and back of the instrument to thicknesses and 3-D shapes conducive to good acoustic resonation, I ended up building a modified Rickenbacker style electric guitar out of beautiful slabs of black walnut. Still a big project, I was able to complete it in time, finishing it out with a hand-rubbed gunstock oil that brought out the complexity of the walnut grain. This project selection switch happened after spending days producing detailed mechanical drawings for the mandolin then having to redo them all for the guitar design. I would have panicked if Mr. Butcher hadn't showed me how to shift gears quickly and efficiently at the drawing table by stepping back to assess what I had already done and how I might utilize it as much as possible for the modified project. Applying minor scaling modifications to the existing mandolin design drawings to transform them into the design for a guitar shaped just like the symmetrical mandolin design I had come up with required only one day of work. Always too optimistic in planning phases of my projects, that lesson has served me well in absolutely every design project I've ever worked on since then, from musical compositions to small and large-scale metal fabrications as well as software engineerings.
~The Made-Up Stuff ~
Hamiltonian for quantum mechanical model of a lattice that allows phonons to arise.
Hamiltonian in wavevector space.
Hamiltonian in three dimensions.
System For Propagation of Quasineutral Ion-acoustic Waves:
Ion continuity equation.
Ion momentum conservation equation.
Kuel lingered on the uninhabited planet for a few days making specific modifications to phonon excitation distribution patterns in the resonant quantum ion-acoustic lattice properties of the QISS. After the rattling experience with the creatures and their lack of confidence in ability to carry on independently after his departure, he wanted to engineer capability to convey and instill a mounting, persisting sense of self confidence within audiences he communicated with through his music rather than merely inspire them. Not quantusonic brainwashing, just reinforcement of innate abilities through the power of quasiparticle manipulations via propagation of quasineutral ion-acoustic waves.
It wasn't an easy modification to make. By the time he finished and QAed the mods to satisfaction his food and water supplies were completely exhausted, and so was he. The world he had been emergency Qported to by the QISS AI did not have any natural sources of food and water he could safely utilize, so he returned to his home on Earth to rest and recharge and to work on adding a matter synthesis module for conversion of energy into essential nutrients, clothing and basic personal hygiene items he could use while traveling.
The QISS chimed upon completion of matter synthesis mods integration and verification. Then it chimed again indicating some of himselves wanted to meet to discuss the next excursion. After a quick shower, Kuel Qported to the designated meeting location on the far side of Milky Way₅₅ on water world with a single island no bigger than a contemporary small farming community of one hundred thousand acres. There were four thousand seventy three Kuels already there setting up camp when Kuel₁ blupped in on the pale blue-sanded beach with QISS shield already raised. One of himself parted from the throng, approached and motioned for him to walk along with him, their shields merging into one.
"Well, that first outing was a trip, eh?"
"More than expected, not exactly a pleasant surprise, but an interesting one."
"This backbrained notion to explore a water world teeming with pre-sentience is interesting too. It will be a nice break from performing for demanding audiences."
Looking inland, trees were blue green and thick a top turquoise undergrowth lush and vine-ridden. Four snow-capped mountain peaks served as backdrop. A white sun about to set was met by another blue one rising. Turning and walking backwards, an enormous, golden sickle moon consumed a broad arc of sky. The large multi-colored disc of a not-so-distant planet situated nearby glowed orange around the edges.
"Is it a gas giant?"