VY Canis Majoris
Valerie was always the tough one, Yekaterina the aesthete. Yekaterina was therefore the one who came up with the idea to give a name to their love; VY Canis Majoris. She thought it suited them. VY Canis Majoris like one of the largest and brightest stars in the Milky Way, seemed just perfect to describe their feelings for each other. 30–40 times the mass of the sun and 300.000 times more luminous. A red hyper giant, supergiant pulsating variable star. Pulsating, because the star did swell and shrink, affecting its brightness and spectrum. Exactly, like Valerie’s and Yekaterina’s moody feelings for each other, which nevertheless, stayed strong and luminous like the star itself. It was explained that the strong stellar wind is responsible for the star’s condition, to lose a lot of material, due to its high luminosity and relatively low surface gravity. Relationships can be exhausting. But they can also be worth the struggle. Nobody else can understand or even measure the real meaning of such a deep bond of devotion. VY their initials, will always shine bright in the night sky. That’s what they both told each other. Placed in the star constellation of Canis Majoris, their love for each other will earliest burn out in a billion years.
Valerie and Yekaterina didn’t sleep very much over recent weeks. Their preparations were almost complete. Fixing their algorithm, coding some last lines. They were sitting for months in their bunker, executing the plan they had been developing.
“I’m almost done” said Valerie.“
“Then I have to send the message,” Yekaterina replied.
“Yes, do that.”
They exchanged a long look. Both had complex face expressions, rich in emotions and feelings, based on a broad spectrum, which could only mean an intensity of experiences beyond the possibility to find words for them. Yekaterina nodded. Then she began to type an encrypted message. She couldn’t be certain whether the encryption will hold up to the quantum computers trying to crack it. But they had to reach out to the other groups of resistance before, no matter what. They had to inform them about their move. Any encryption buying them time would help.
Having been 17 meter underground, isolated in a skip zone, kept them save for the last weeks. The heat overground was unbearable, and reached up to 50 Degrees Celsius. Nobody could survive such a climate for very long without access to water or shadow. Most of life on the surface ceased to exist anyways. At least underground the temperatures were mild. The air however was thick, rather stifling. Fresh, pure oxygen became one of the most valuable goods in the new age of those who had to hide underground. Bottles of oxygen were rare, but high in demand, at least among those who could afford it. And the new currency to afford anything, was fire power. But that was nothing compared to the war for blue gold. Fresh drinking water. While in the past the chase for oil and information created an arms race, the scarcity of water created a totally different level of warfare. It was termed paradoxical hyper-asymmetric warfare. In short, PHAW.
These were however not the issues of concern, Valerie and Yekaterina were worrying about. Both had a mission. Both had a dream. Both were full of hope, despite all the unfortunate circumstances of their time. Valerie and Yekaterina wanted to be free and safe. They desired a different world, a better one, one where they weren’t be hunted down by ubiquitous rogue AI. When they had been young, they were reading books about different times, different places, and different beings. They read stories about young rebels, standing up against hegemonic powers, confronting the tyrants of everyday life, each and every single Friday. They read about how the situation got worse, and when those who were critical, were always the first who got very sick. They read about the extinction of species, until there were almost none left. They read about a lot of things that changed, like that the color of oceans used to be blue. They read that sometimes white cold powder fell from the sky like magic. Those were the stories that inspired Valerie and Yekaterina. Those were the narratives that kept both going, even when there didn’t seem to be any hope left.
Yekaterina finished typing. Then looked up. Took a deep breath and turned her look towards Valerie again. Valerie was waiting for this moment. Without hesitation she got up, took the pocket antenna system and her mobile device, and packed it into her back. Yekaterina followed her example, and did the same with her encrypted message, stored on an external memory stick. They had to be overground in order to send anything. The signals began to work around 5 meter below surface, depending on the material of the ground. 17 meter was safe though. No signal could have spotted their movements. A GBU-57A/B bunker buster smart bomb could penetrate the ground above them at anytime, once their location would have been noticed. Dropped a minute earlier, navigated by an autonomous long-range attack aircraft, the bomb would pierce 6100 cm through the ground in an instant, and would then explode with more than 4000 megajoules, leaving not a single trace of any of them. Valerie and Yekaterina met at the door. Valerie took Yekaterina’s hand and together, as they have always been, since they could remember, together they climbed through the catacombs, to get to the surface.
Two hours later back in the bunker.
Valerie was alone. She had scratches all over her body. She limped. Her clothes were dirty, ripped apart. She thought to herself, the whole thing was supposed to work. Stealth mode should have enabled all micro suicide drones worldwide to fly undetected to several locations, where we assumed the regimes will be at. We hacked the face recognition, the voice recognition. We hacked everything. We thought of everything. The barbed wire, the surveillance drones, the laser sensor beams, the radar, the concrete posts, the watchtowers, the patrol routes for those fucking cheetah robots, chasing you faster than you could possibly run, the corrugated metal walls, the electrified fences, the infrared detection systems, the predator drones, the autonomous weapons systems. We thought of everything. We did our homework. We perfectly developed and executed the plan. Why the fuck didn’t it work? She might never find out what went wrong, what mistake they made, or who might have betrayed them.
Valerie was devastated. She felt lost, sinking deep into her pain. Her heart was shattered. In her grievance, she didn’t notice the splinter in her shoulder was a tracker. All she thought of was that she lost her. She lost Yekaterina. All she could think of was the question why anyone would have ever wanted to deliberately create and design such a world of misery on earth, a living hell. She needed to write down her thoughts. She needed to write it all off her chest. She needed to write down her accusations against those, who did that to her, who did that to Yekaterina, who did that to everyone else on the planet. Yekaterina. She imagined her beautiful face, her kindness, her spirit. She began typing in her computer. She didn’t care what she was writing. She just wanted to write down her thoughts, her anger, her rage, her sorrow, anything that come to her mind, to ease the pain.
Please, let me ask you a question. Could you actually imagine to receive a letter from the future? I know it sounds implausible. How could one even receive a text, a message, or a letter from a time that does not yet exist? Well, let’s imagine for the sake of the argument, it might be possible. For the sake of the argument, let’s suspend our disbelief. What would the letter be about? A letter from the future would have to tell you something about the future, assumingly, allegedly. But from which future? From which future would it speak to you?
Let’s assume it is just some future, random, unknown, unrecognized, certainly unwritten yet. The specifics maybe don’t matter so much. The message itself matters probably much more. Words form sentences. Sentences carry meaning. Meaning might hold significance. Building a bridge from what might eventually be, to that what currently is, but what could always change. We perceive the world in images in front of our eyes. Our senses comprehend a broad spectrum of information, mathematical equations, fractals ubiquitously scaling throughout the universe. The sum of it is building the narrative we tell ourselves and each other. There might be flaws in our story. There might be gaps we can’t understand or explain. Curiosities, wonders, moments of awe and inspiration. Physical facts, chemical reactions, even tragedies, traumas, pain and suffering. Complex and rich in details, sometimes poor in imagination.
Most of the time however, we seem to realize too late the actual beauty of a moment. Only after the moment passed by, we begin to comprehend the enormous quality of what we have just experienced. But somehow we could’t fully acknowledge and appreciate the moment itself, being trapped in thoughts around the past or the future. The moment itself might have been overwhelming. It might be a curse of our minds to miss out on the beauty in the moment. It might be the malaise of our culture. Disappearing ecological biodiversity is only one of those unfortunate side effects of missing out on the actual beauty in life. Sliding though our fingers like sand. But the consequences are yet unforeseen in their tragedy. For you at least.
Now a letter from the future arrives. You read it and you begin to notice what it tries to tell you. It tells you that you have it all. There is no need to look for something else and to get misguided by temptations or distractions. You do realize that, don’t you? A tender hug that comforts you in difficult times when you need it the most, is always close by. Acts of kindness, gestures of goodwill, actions of solidarity. Feel the warmth that friendship, deep trustful bonds provide you. Or the excitement in passionate romances, mysterious eyes, orgasmic ecstasy of bodies on bodies. Forbidden fruits that nurture and nourish you. Walks through the forest, dives deep into the blue ocean. Birds singing. Bees humming. You have it all. But all of this exaltation of life, you’re throwing it away in your state of mind of invincible ignorance. Why the hell are you doing that?
You are self-destructing by serving a toxic system, essentially consuming the future, externalizing the costs of pollution, infinitely increasing your so called ecological footprint, mindlessly. Maybe you never questioned any of it. Maybe you did question some of it. Maybe you questioned some assumptions, but you never dared to do something about it, to oppose your own assumptions as the predominant authority in your life. Yes, it might have been enough for the moment. It might have worked today. It might even work tomorrow. But it won’t work forever. We know that. You know that. The future knows that. Don’t lie to yourself.
The question now is, how much self-compassion do you really have to make a difference? A difference that makes a difference. Because if you can’t be the change, we all need to see in the world, there won’t be a world left anymore. Don’t pretend otherwise. Civilization is a race and collapse is winning, right now, in the very moment you’re reading this. It won’t help to walk a street up and down to protest. It demands much more than that. Your whole life has to be a protest. Your effort to rebel against extinction has to push you towards your own limits, where you begin to face the inconvenient truths of your time. Your status quo is suicidal. I’m not writing you all of that to primarily play the blame game, to sound alarmist, or to mess with your sense of internalized mandatory positivity. I could also leave you alone and let you be. But then, when you arrive in the time from which I am writing you, if you are unfortunate enough to ever arrive here at all, you would have wished for this letter.
You are enmeshed in a big pile of cultural bullshit, and it takes tremendous effort to crawl out if it. It doesn’t do you any good to be naive in your world, or in any world. It doesn’t serve you, nor does it serve our collective future. Instead, it ruins us all. The conformist, the orthodox business as usual. It all demands your obedience, and a perverted degree of self-censorship. For what? So, that you can look foolish worshipping Mammon? So, that you can look sad, by pretending to be a happy slave? A corporate bitch? A consumer monkey? A brain dead follower? It’s pathetic. Have some dignity! Have some grace! Your indifference to the consequences of your own actions or your own inaction, will one day be your biggest regret.
You’re alive this time, not some other time. If you want to leave a legacy, then stand on the right side of history that works for a better tomorrow. Not as lip services. Not as propagandistic tech-optimists. Not as a false prophet. Not within your filter bubble, comfort zone, or Ivory Tower. But instead there, where it hurts the most, where it is most difficult, as worriers of light, agents of change, spirits of transformation that can heal our relationships with each other, with our selfs, and foremost with the millions of years of time-proven permutations in nature. Nobody will remember neurotic fucks and cowards in the future anymore, only shining examples of courage and bravery. You have a choice. Let me tell you at least that much from a perspective of the future. The possible futures are malleable, and it is in your hands to form those images. Choose wisely when you decide what form you would like them to have, and where you invest your daily attention and energy in. Your hearts know the more beautiful worlds are possible. Your love for this world can shine bright in the sky like a star, even when darkness surrounds us. It can make all the difference in the world.
The moment she finished the last sentence, a creepy sound seemed to come closer. Before she realized what was going on, the door to her underground hideout broke open. A swarm of insectoid robots rushed into the room. A mother bug opened up and smaller scale insectoids hatched out of her, immediately racing towards Valerie as the target. She grabbed a half-automatic gun and fired in a desperate attempt around her. But the swarm of insectoids just raced unstoppably towards her, besetting her body, and forcing themselves through the pores of her skin, through her bodily orifice. Valerie never felt such a pain in her life. Her scream was a roaring exclamation mark of a tortured body, which weakened each and every single second the insectoids continued to damage her tissues and organs from within. 2 very long minutes later she was dead. Valerie’s letter was never received by those she was addressing it to.