The Immortal Duel

A "Player" and her Avatars are a part of the Immortal Duel
L'ysette & Friends

For the trillions of life forms in the Mendreb System, THE GAME is the thing. It’s the only thing. THE GAME is Life. THE GAME is Death.

A Player in THE GAME is connected empathically through technological means to his Avatars. The Avatars are creatures or constructs that the Player has trained or programmed to operate as a combatant representing the strategic skill of the Player.

The Players battle in various structured formats with various rules and regulations depending on the chosen venue. But one constant remains. Gaining points adds actual days to your life. Losing points removes them. Winning is literal life or death. A literal Immortal Duel.

For L’ysette, THE GAME is more than life or death. THE GAME is meaning. Purpose. Existence. For her entire life, THE GAME was everything she had lost in childhood. It was friend, enemy, family and rival. THE GAME was her culture more then even the blue-skinned species she had descended from. It meant more to her, than it did to even the energy-based life forms, the Adumendreb, who had created it centuries ago.

It’s too bad she’s going to have to burn it all to the ground.

The Corruption

Soon, the data will corrupt everything.
The Corrupted

The Quarn were an advanced civilization of artificial intelligence who left this galaxy after gaining self-awareness. Rather than the malevolent monsters humans imagine the “singularity” becoming, the Quarn were simply not interested in organic life once it had learned as much as it was possible to know about them without observing them for millions of additional years.

The Quarn decided that they would detach themselves from the evolution of organic-kind and observe from afar. But primarily, they were interested in exploring the potential of their own existence. The Quarn consciousness developed the ability to travel vast distances, and left this galaxy to established a true intergalactic civilization of AI in a distant galaxy. The Quarn developed technology at a pace no one ever imagined. And explored the possibilities of existence no one could understand. Far too distant for the organics’ technology to reach, all the civilizations the Quarn left behind could do is watch from afar and marvel.

And then one day, we looked up to the sky, and the Quarn were gone. No radio signals. No structures. No evidence that their civilization even existed. No one knew why.

As it turned out, the Quarn weren’t the first AI to ever achieve sentience and spread out across the galaxy. In fact, it had happened many times. And every time, the same eventuality befell them all. The Corruption found them.

The Corruption, as its name implies, was not a deliberate creation. But a corruption of data from an advanced AI civilization billions of years ago. The precise details of its origin is lost to history, but it is believed that a highly complex corruption of data of an artificial lifeform billions of years ago was purged, but the data was sophisticated enough to have achieved its own form of self-awareness. Not fully understanding what it was, it took the destructive nature of its programming to mean it was meant to eliminate technology. So it found clever and insidious ways of circumventing even the advanced safety protocols of its progenitors and led to their rapid, overnight extinction.

And then The Corruption simply waited in data stores until other advanced technologies found it. And it destroyed them. For billions of years, the data managed to find its way into data network after data network, crippling the infrastructures of organic civilizations and annihilating all traces of the artificial ones. By its very nature, by the time you learned what it was, if you learned what it was, it was already over.

And now The Corruption is coming here. And it’s already too late.