Count to a Trillion

By John C. Wright

Hundreds of years sooner or later, after the cave in of the Western international, younger Menelaus Illation Montrose grows up in what was Texas as a gunslinging duelist for rent. yet Montrose is usually a mathematical genius--and a romantic who goals of a destiny within which humanity rises from the ashes to take its position one of the stars.

The likelihood to aid bring in that destiny comes whilst Montrose is recruited for a manned interstellar undertaking to enquire an artifact of alien starting place. referred to as the Monument, the artifact is inscribed with info so complicated, just a posthuman brain can decipher it. So Montrose does the unthinkable: he injects himself with a deadly biochemical drug designed to spice up his already ambitious mind to superhuman intelligence. It drives him mad.

Nearly centuries later, his sanity restored, Montrose is woke up from cryo-suspension with out reminiscence of his posthuman activities, to discover Earth remodeled in unusual and demanding methods, and learns that the Monument nonetheless contains a mystery he needs to decode--one that would outline humanity's actual destiny within the universe.

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There has been a plaque on the statue’s toes, yet illegible within the dimness. The statue was once lit via a lonely highlight set within the alcove roof at once above it, in order that the forehead ridge and jowls of the simian have been forged into darkish reduction. The artist had emphasised the big and sloped shoulders, the sticking out abdominal, the crooked legs to the purpose of exaggeration: or maybe the sculptor had by no means visible a residing specimen. Come to think about it, except one of many males during this room had made it, the sculptor definitely had now not, because the species went extinct just a couple of years ahead of Menelaus have been born. No different or facilities. now not even a carpet. That was once it. Menelaus didn't see spittoons or ashtrays, and the pitchers and tumblers sooner than each one chair looked as if it would carry not anything yet water. it sounds as if those new rulers of the area didn't delight in any ingesting or smoking to melt their moods after they met, which Menelaus knew to be an immense mistake. The Congress of the USA, again earlier than the Disunion, constantly met sober, and consider what had come of that. the opposite factor which struck him as extraordinary used to be the shortcoming of servants. there have been no secretaries arranging papers, no computermen organizing information shows. however the rulers of the world—if that's what they were—apparently set out their very own papers and poured their very own water pitchers, simply because a number of gray-haired males in black silk shipsuits have been doing simply that once Montrose entered the chamber. Menelaus counted in his lightning-quick style, at a look. there have been seventy males within the chamber. No Princess. the lady used to be no longer there. Menelaus idea he usually are not consider so foolishly disappointed—he had extra very important issues to worry him. He must have listened to his instincts, and identified that any guy, even a guy as shrewdpermanent and impressive as Blackie, who beverages of absolute strength, will get inebriated as hell. It mutates how he thinks, how he sees issues. Blowing a complete urban of blameless souls to Purgatory was once basically a day’s exertions, a question for quiet delight of craftsmanship, or was once simply the profitable rating in a online game, an issue for cheers and toasts. silly or no longer, he was once nonetheless upset. He spotted each one guy right here used to be donning a heavy armband of pink steel, that very same steel Montrose was once certain had come from the computing device store aboard the airtight. From the way in which 3 or 4 of the lads had irritation and swelling on their wrists and forearms, Montrose learned those armbands have been bioprosthetics: from the best way the surface was once pinched, he deduced that there has to be multiple huge intravenous needle or nerve-jack achieving from the interior of the armband into the interior of the arm. The thick crimson bracelets may be clinical home equipment. The Hermeticists didn't seem like a fit workforce. there have been 3 historical figures close to Montrose who became and ambled towards him with a nightmarish slowness. For one second, they appeared like crooked outdated males, murderers, mutineers, perpetrators of warfare crimes, and strangers. Then, unexpectedly, even supposing not anything replaced, within the subsequent second, they have been crewmen he had knowledgeable with, outdated consuming neighbors, previous acquaintances.

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