Tomorrow Happens
prove ?

    Are we still arguing over the nature and existence of a soul ?

    Back in my sanctum, house and prudence scoured our corporeal body for toxins while seer perused the data we acquired from our scouting expedition to the Friends of the Unreal .

    I had inhaled deeply during my visit, and all sorts of floating particles lodged in my sinus cavities. In addition to a variety of pheromones and nanomites, Seer found over seventy types of meme-conducting viroids designed to convert the unwary subtly toward a reifist point of view. These were quickly neutralized.

    There were also flaked skin cells from several dozen organic humaniforms, swiftly analyzed down to details of methylization in the DNA. Meanwhile, portable implants downloaded the results of electromagnetic reconnaissance, having scanned the pro-reif headquarters extensively from the inside.

    With this data I could establish better boundary conditions. Our model of the Friends of the Unreal improved by nearly two orders of magnitude.

    We had underestimated their levels of messianic self-righteousness , commented oracle . These people would not refrain from using illegal means, if they thought it necessary to advance their cause.

    While my augmented selves performed sophisticated tasks, my old-fashioned organic eyes were relegated to gazing across the lab's expanse of superchilled memory units—towers wherein dwelled several quadrillion simulated beings, all going through synthetic lives—loving, yearning, or staring up at ersatz stars—forever unaware of the context of it all.

    Ironically, the pro-reifers also maintained a chamber filled with mega-processing units. They called it Liberty Hall—a place of sanctuary for characters from fiction, newly freed from enslavement in cramped works of literature.

    "Of course this is only the beginning," the spokesman had told me. "For every simulation we set free, there are countless other copies who still languish beyond reach, and who will remain so till the law is changed. Even our emancipated ones must remain confined to this physical building. Still, we see them as a vanguard, envisioning a time when they, and all their fellow oppressed ones, will roam free."

    I was invited to scan-peek at Liberty Hall, and perceived remarkable things.

    Don Quixote and Sancho—lounging on a simulated resort beach, sipping margaritas while arguing passionately with a pair of Hemingway characters about the meaning of machismo . . .

    Lazarus Long—happily immersed under an avalanche of tanned female arms, legs and torsos, interrupting his seraglio in order to rise up and lecture an admiring crowd about the merits of libertarian immortality . . .

    Lady Liberty, Athena, Mother Gaia, and Amaterasu, kneeling with their skirts hiked up, jeering boisterously while Becky Thatcher murmurs "Come on, seven!" to a pair of dice, and then hurls them down an aisle between the trim goddesses . . .

    Jack Ryan—the reluctant Emperor of Earth—complaining that this new cosmos he resides in is altogether too placidly socialistic for his tastes . . . and couldn't the pro-reifers provide some interesting villains for him to fight ?

    I glimpsed a saintly variant of JFK—the product of romantic fabulation—trying to get one of his alter egos to stop chasing every nubile shape in local cyberspace. And over in a particularly ornate corner—done up to resemble a huge, gloomy castle—I watched each of two dozen different Sherlock Holmes taking turns haranguing a morbid Hamlet , each Holmes convinced that his explanation of the King's murder was correct, and all the others were wrong. (The one fact every Holmes agreed on was that poor uncle had been framed.)

    There were even simulations of post -singularity humanity—replicating in software all the complexity of an augment-deified mind. It was a knack that only a few had achieved, until recently. But it seems to be a law of nature that any monopoly of an elite eventually becomes the common tool

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