Dr. Flynn was daydreaming through the last ten minutes of her break. Her thoughts, for the first time in a long while, had moved from the possibilities of what would happen when the machine was turned on. Now, she was thinking of all the people throughout history who had been praised as great thinkers even if their ideas turned out to be comically wrong. She thought of the great philosophers of Greece who believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. All the great physicist who insisted breaking an atom was impossible. Mostly, because today was a live test day, she thought of Martha Penny. She thought of how many people considered her the mother of this age despite the fact that she thought building God would be a matter of spending enough money.
Many thousands of years ago, Martha Penny was an heiress. The type whose family had more wealth than could be explained in polite company. This left Penny and her siblings with a lot of time to pursue whatever they wanted. So while her brother Derek went into high speed railroad development and her younger sister Sarah went into television programming, Martha spent most of her time thinking about God. She didn’t have a particular idea of who or what God was, but she had formed a hypothesis on religion. She thought it was an idea that had been evolving.
When gods first appeared to people, they were things people could see and not understand. Things that helped in their day to day survival or things that threatened it. Later, when people stabilized enough and had time to imagine, gods became more like people. They had struggles, virtues, and plans. They were made in our image and given our language so we could attempt to give the forces of nature reason and excuses whenever we felt they needed it. Then, as people advanced and the unknown revealed itself, gods became metaphysical. They could not be observed except by a chosen few prophets who could hand down their commandments in layman’s terms to humanity. God knew us, better than we knew ourselves, but we only knew enough about God to know that we could never comprehend him.
To some, the next logical step in this evolution was for gods to disappear completely. They were to become should cautionary fairy tales of past that was plagued with authority figures claiming the blessings of non existent omnipotence to serve their own ends. Remembered as metaphysical scaffolding to keep us going until life was good enough not to need a scapegoat.
Something about this did not sit right with Martha Penny. She could not believe that our understanding of the divine would end with Atheism. She thought it was too simple of an answer for a question as big as God.
So Martha Penny dedicated herself to publishing. She wanted to speak to people whose job it was to think and focus thoughts into digestible information. It was twenty years and thirty-nine bestsellers later when Martha Penny, after speaking to countless philosophers, theologists, and mathematicians, came up with her theory on the next step of our understanding.
God did not exist, yet.
Martha Penny’s hypothesis was that man had been created by God for the purpose of creating God. The blueprints and resources had been given to us and we simply had to advance enough to understand them. What some would call the “Spark of the Divine” simply translated into an inherent inspiration that we were all born with that would lead to God’s creation here on Earth. She wrote a book on the subject. It became a novelty intellectual hit, but most took her idea as an abstract and she could not get many to understand it as a literal.
So Martha Penny, who some now called “The Mother of Invention”, did the extremely primitive thing that history had absolved her of. She spent her enormous wealth attempting to build God. She envisioned an advanced computer and hired the greatest minds of her time to come and design it. Her ambitions lost her a large fortune and she passed without seeing any draft of the computer finished. The computer’s patent was sold for a price that guaranteed another two generations of Pennys could live their lives with ample amount of thinking time and Martha Penny was remembered by few for many years after.
Dr. Flynn, noticing she should be getting back to work, wondered how Martha would have felt if she could have seen a picture of today. Humanities fifth attempt to activate God.
Humanity had not made it to this point easily. In fact, they had run head long into extinction for a good amount of time before dedicating to Martha Penny’s vision. It wasn’t until The Last War, when the old ideologies and boarders left them with too little wealth to get worked up about, that humanity found itself needing some motivation to keep waking up in the morning.
The first big idea was to leave Earth and try again somewhere else. There was eventually a consensus that the risk wasn’t worth the reward of finding new land to kill each other over. Then the idea of rebuilding what we had lost with the lessons we had learned started to gain some support. Of course, to rebuild it at all would show that we hadn’t learned anything.
Then, someone whose name and existence has long since been debated, found a copy of Martha Penny’s book.
It was the right book for the times. With no one really believing that any God would have let things get so bad and the gnawing sense that humanity needed a project to keep its mind off of vice, the idea that God required assembly really took off. At first the project took up a small section of the world. The first attempt only took up an area the size of Athens and didn’t produce anything that could be said to be close to omnipotent. Still, the project had given the people who worked on it a focus and had gotten the land still called Greece to a point of stability not seen many other places. So, slowly but with little resistance, the human race decided that the best thing it could do with itself was try to build God.
Dr. Flynn had not been alive for any of the four previous attempts. They only tended to happen once a lifetime and the results were unpredictable. The second attempt had produced the new worldwide communication system that was still in use today. The third had overheated the original Greek hard drives and set the project back a decade. That setback did lead to the invention of the current steam based storage system , which generally gave people the feeling that it was a predestined move towards the goal. As it was designed to be designed was the popular idiom.
Currently, the machine that Dr. Flynn hoped was God took up about 68% of the inhabitable world. This iteration was designed around the idea that if mankind had been given the entire Earth to use in God’s creation, than there was no need to be conservative about it. So, the data centers expanded over entire continents and humanity went to work filling them. Facts, theories, art, dreams, and everything that humanity could be credited with discovering was explained to the machines and the machine was programmed to take it all in and create a product. Dr Flynn and the rest of the human race were attempting to make the world into an algorithm and produce the Alpha and Omega. If it didn’t work this time, there was a whole 32% of the world left for the next try.
Flynn checked the readings on her of the end of the system before checking in with the other stations set around the world. It was a bizarre process, not being sure what God was going to do when it was activated, the best they could could do was protect against overheating when the system started up. No one actually knew what a successful experiment would look like.
“This is base 1.” Flynn said after she got the last go ahead from her technicians. “We are go for activation.”
Base 2 through 7 gave their go aheads as well. Flynn wondered if there should be speeches from the seven project leaders before this attempt but thought better of it. If they were about to activate their own creator, it would be best to keep their humility in check. Her colleagues agreed, and they activated the system.
The steam holding all of our questions and answers began to mingle into a miasma of what was, what is, and whatever could be. The cooling system that was comprised of the oceans of the world began to bubble with the heat the different parts of the machine put out. The information in the steam meshed and sorted through itself, and a small thought began to form. The thought became a question, and the question resolved into an answer. Something inside the impossible machine became aware that it was being created. Then,
That was it for us.
When we fell, we were smiling.