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Ravens of Eternity
Chapter 431 - 431 The Roots of Yggdrasil

431 The Roots of Yggdrasil

Raijin sank down into the vast sea of circuits that ran the entire station. Her nanite swarm spread all throughout the core as her own consciousness mingled with and reviewed the various intelligences that ran it. And although this was all something she had done hundreds, if not thousands of times before, this seemed a wholly new experience for her.

The station’s complexity and advanced technology certainly helped in making her feel this way. Mostly, it was because she was analyzing code that had lasted for tens of thousands of years.

The entire system’s operational core was certainly antiquated, but it allowed the more complex self-healing, self-repairing, self-learning Administrator to grow around it. She was able to patch over most of the old code and modernize it. Most would see that as its only saving grace, but Raijin saw a bit more in it.

The original Engineer might have been misaligned and flawed, but his code was well-structured and layered. At the very least, he had the foresight to understand that his code would eventually become obsolete.

A pity he wasn’t so farsighted as to allow the system’s Administrator intelligence to apply patches to itself. Perhaps it was simply a flaw of his original technology. Perhaps it was a flaw of his ego.

Raijin thought that perhaps it was a bit of both.

Despite the huge problems, she found it impressive that something that ancient could achieve as much as it did. Knowing that she could do damage simply by making changes from the outset, she instead decided to completely study the code first.

She needed a complete understanding of its mechanisms, or more specifically, of how the Administrator attended to its mechanisms. It was the only way she could accomplish any kind of update at all. At least, successfully.

Once her nanites were in place and had embedded themselves in the most critical circuits inside of the core, she activated her Machine Trance.


Awe filled her as she dove headfirst into the system’s codeset, as it ran in realtime all around her. She had traversed countless human and drogar systems and had experienced vast myriads of digital realities within both of them.

Whether they were multilayered cities or all-encompassing oceans, she always found amazing self-contained worlds in each one. All held beautiful and intricate dances between information, their structures, and their interactions.

She had seen cleanup pigeons and rats that scavenged forlorn data from dirty streets. And she had seen sleek megadolon patrolling highly secure waters. There were rains that flooded streets with raw information, and whirlpools that drained entire seas of data.

But no matter what she had seen or experienced before, little helped her come to terms with the station all around her. This was something beyond her altogether. These codesets didn’t form a mere city, or a simple ocean.

This was an entire planet. It was multiple ecosystems filled with data.

Its many interconnected systems dictated how that data was then stored, accessed, manipulated, backed up, consumed, copied, and/or discarded. The planet itself was filled with various biomes, from frozen poles to vast oceans to vast mountains to lush woodlands to coastal cities. There were even lakes filled with lava and deserts made of obsidian.

If one could imagine any biome at all, then this planet definitely had it.

More than that, each one had their own lifeforms in them. They were the ones that manipulated the raw information that made the landscape itself. They scuttled around and carried or consumed or manipulated or combined them as any intelligent forms of life would.

It didn’t matter if they were crabs building castles on a beach or humans hunting deer in a forest, all changed the world of information all around them. And it was constant and ceaseless – the whole planet was abuzz with fervent activity.

Raijin watched as a herd of subroutines raced across the fields with reckless abandon. Chasing after them was a pride of relentless security daemons. The fastest of those daemons caught up to the slowest of the subroutines, and tore its transportation commandsets into pieces.

The subroutine tumbled and fell painfully, rolled a few times around the sweeping digital grass, then was promptly mauled by the rest of the security daemons. Its inner functions spilled out as its belly was torn open, which were quickly scooped up and consumed by the now feasting daemons.

In the blink of an eye, Raijin sped over to another biome and watched as similar transactions occurred there. She went over biome by biome and saw similar patterns repeating, each one in its own special way.

People in cities in restaurants, chatting, dining, sharing information. Replaying, copying, archiving. And at the same time, consuming, recharging, idling. Birds flying overhead, searching, seeking, diving, predating. Field mice captured, consumed, absorbed, transformed, deleted.

More than the fauna, there was of course the flora.

There were thick trees in the forest biomes with their sprawling canopies and thick roots. They branched in every direction and practically merged with each other along the forest floor. There were countless vaults filled with raw data scattered across the vast obsidian desert, each one covered with so many prickly spines that they drove off even the thirstiest of creatures.

Of course, Raijin also found that the data never once stayed in their own biomes. There were vast transfers that went between – people fished straight out of the ocean, lakes flowed in vast caverns underground, timber and steppe wolves clashed at the borders of their territories, that sort of thing.

It astounded her to see that the entire planet’s ecosystems were completely balanced with each other. More than that, it remained balanced even as the biomes and the data grew.

She was reminded of Foundation, the Hegemony’s most prized possession, which was itself modeled after Gaea’s own ecosystem. One that actually worked in harmony with itself and was in a state of balance, artificial as it was.

She quickly noticed that each of the biomes grew larger and larger, almost imperceptibly. Their growth was subtle at first. But when she reviewed their storage allocations directly, found that their boundaries expanded at a constant rate.

Raijin realized that the planet itself expanded in concordance. After all, the biomes didn’t consume each other, and yet were all growing. It only made sense that the entire thing grew as a whole as well.

Just like any database, the more information it received over time, the more its storage needed to grow. Perhaps exponentially. In other words, the station automatically created more databanks as needed.

All that data had to come from somewhere, of course. The moment she looked through the station’s network pipelines, she was instantly overwhelmed. If Raijin still used her lungs to breathe, she would have lost all of the air from them.

As she long suspected, the station was indeed connected to the entire galaxy. But its access was far more encompassing than even she realized. The Administrator had embedded the Station’s reach out through every major communications node in every major nation and organizations.

She had created data tunnels so old that they outlived entire clans and houses and corporations. There were subroutines built into the cities and towns for so long that removing them was close to impossible.

Most of all, the station had absolute access to any lever of power anywhere in the galaxy. It didn’t matter if they were a Great House or a corporate overlord or a roving band of cannibalistic marauders.

The Administrator had near-unfettered access.

Laced all within those lines of influence were all the machinations of the Engineer’s design – the will he and his Administrator embedded into every society. Traces of his designs were everywhere, bits here and bits there. Bits everywhere.

And they came in all manner of ways. There were the obvious ones – the building of fortunes and crumbling of foundations. And there were the far more subtle and devious ones – genetic adjustments and psychological rewriting.

No matter the method, the objective was always the same. An overarching need for every society to amass to the point of ruin, which would allow them to weather all manner of catastrophe. As the Administrator had already confessed, it was because of some ridiculous need for the “betterment” of all life.

At least, according to one powerful narcissist.

Raijin metaphorically sighed at seeing those traces all throughout the galaxy. The thinking was so flawed, yet so embedded that removing it seemed utterly impossible.

Still, she was glad he was long dead. A pity his influence has perpetuated this long. Raijin felt that any manipulation was bound to cause damage, no matter how subtle. And everyone had suffered the Engineer’s manipulation for so many generations that it had become ingrained.

Thankfully it was soon to be over, and all could begin actually healing for the first time in tens of thousands of years.

“Greetings, Engineer,” said the Administrator. “Do you find my systems agreeable?”

Her voice echoed all through the planet, as though she was right next to Raijin at all times. In a way, she was. And in other ways, Raijin was herself also all around the planet. She was, after all, logged in as root.

“They’re much more complex than I originally imagined,” Raijin confessed.

“Will merging your updates be a problem? Should I perhaps make some last-minute adjustments to any translation circuits?”

“You may if you wish. I’ve already begun to adjust my Engines to adapt to your codesets. All I need is to complete my scan of your functions, and they will help me build a merge. I am hoping you will help consult them.”

The Administrator nodded happily, which prompted Raijin to introduce her Engines into the system. They didn’t begin their takeover as normal, but instead negotiated with the Administrator herself. Together, they put together an update plan that ensured the survival of the station, and the optimization of its operational core.

More importantly, they worked to remove the Engineer’s directives as much as possible.

Raijin oversaw the proceedings, of course. She adjusted things along the way with further tweaks and improvements to her own code. At the same time, she reviewed the Administrator’s personal codesets and ensured that she understood every single line.

Once she was certain that the plan was airtight, she gave her Engines the go-ahead.

The merge occurred in the blink of an eye, within the space of nanoseconds.

Code ran by the engines swept across the core, throughout every critical circuit. They overlapped and overlaid and overwrote the Administrator to the point that she had turned into an Engine herself. Though her core programming remained, all of her primary instruction tables had been updated.

She joined the rest of Raijin’s Engines and immediately got to work on improving the inner core, on iterating and updating and future-proofing it as best they could.

While they did so, Raijin herself took the old Administrator code now devoid of its consciousness and closed off to itself. In case she ever needed to access its records, she restructured it into a living archive and planted it in the middle of the planet’s sweeping rainforest.

Its roots and branches immediately reached up and out further and further until its canopy and footprint dominated much of the forest itself. The massive tree intertwined with the verdant plant life all around it easily, as though it had been there the entire time.

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Ravens of Eternity Chapter 431 - 431 The Roots of Yggdrasil