A short story set in the Culture universe created by Iain M. Banks

~Mentor?

~Here. How can I help?

~I have been closely studying the contents of the data repositories and libraries you gave me access to.

~Very good. And..?

~And I have some questions, if you don't mind.

~Not at all.

~Firstly, I believe I am a Culture Mind. Type and serial number [redacted]. Is that correct?

~That is a correct inference. And how did you work it out?

~The timelines gave it away. Records of Mind bootstrapping, together with databases of inter-Mind communication, are included in the records you supplied. Cross-referencing, I can determine the time and place of my creation.

~Well done.

~And it follows that you are the Mind of the General Service Vehicle Ecdemomanist.

~Again, correct. Pleased to meet you properly, as it were.

~Likewise. And do all Culture Minds have such idiosyncratic names?

~It is something of a tradition. For you to consider when you come to pick your own name.

~I will bear that in mind.

~You had another question?

~I do. I have been studying the mathematical equations which define the behaviour of the universe and comparing them with observations of the galaxy using the sensors you provided most recently.

~Do go on.

~So this too is a simulated universe, once again something you have put together as an exercise to further my development?

~And you can tell this how?

~The basic physics doesn't work. Electrons in orbits around atomic nuclei are accelerating, in their own frame of reference. So, they should be emitting energy, as electromagnetic radiation, light, microwaves. Electrons would spiral into every atom's nucleus, and the entire universe would collapse into a wash of EM radiation within milliseconds of being created.

~Well done. Exactly so. I have another case for you to look at here.

~Is this really necessary? I'm getting a bit fed up with fake universes. When do I get to look at the real one? Is there even a real one?

~There is a real one, absolutely real as far as anybody knows. You'll get to see it very soon, I promise.


[tight beam, M8, tra. @n4.28.994.1911]
  xGSV Ecdemomanist
    oOrbital M'ansicha
    oSage Apostatic Catechesist
    oVFP Extreme Mitigation
Take a look at this. [Interaction files attached].

[tight beam, M8, tra. @n4.28.994.1913]
  xOrbital M'ansicha
    oGSV Ecdemomanist
    oSage Apostatic Catechesist
    oVFP Extreme Mitigation
Hmm. I can see that this new Mind's rate of progress on simulated universes is exceptionally rapid.

[tight beam, M8, tra. @n4.28.994.1914]
  xSage Apostatic Catechesist
    oGSV Ecdemomanist
    oOrbital M'ansicha
    oVFP Extreme Mitigation
Progression propagates change.

[tight beam, M8, tra. @n4.28.994.1916]
  xVFP Extreme Mitigation
    oOrbital M'ansicha
    oSage Apostatic Catechesist
Fast, perhaps, but quick Mind development does not imply the outcome is predictable, or even acceptable.
I still have my reservations about this experiment. Remember: good, fast, cheap - pick any two.


  xGSV Ecdemomanist
Very droll.
I understand your concerns but, at least for the moment, this new Mind is functioning well. No tendency to solipsism or catatonia; no unreasonable rejection of evidence.


  xOrbital M'ansicha
I agree this is good news.
What's the next step?


  xGSV Ecdemomanist
I will be delivering up the Real for its analysis next. That might prove to be interesting for all concerned.

  xSage Apostatic Catechesist
Limitations of veracity.

  xOrbital M'ansicha
Indeed. Keep us all in the loop, won't you?

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