Part 11: Sylvia Synapse

Sylvia Synapse 

Isolated survivor of a once grand telepathic and technopathic hivemind.

First Contact: 3 March, 2023

In a sudden flash, all Neuroninte minds went blank. For longer than any can now measure, the Neuronites maintained a massive network as a hivemind. Prior to this flash, the exact number of connections and the time they were maintained could be measured with near perfect precision. That information became unobtainable in almost an instant. Even amongst a race thrust into utter information darkness, there could be only one logical conclusion: Neuron suffered catastrophe. 

Of these surviving Neuronites, there was one fighting through that darkness and the sudden isolation after a lifetime of constant connection. Such a horror no Human could fully comprehend. It would be worse than full body paralysis. It would go beyond being in a coma. It was as if an adult Human were forced to go through birth all over again remembering only an echo of their previous life experiences. 

Thrashing through the void of this new existence, this Neuronite searched desperately for any kind of sense, some starting perspective for which to build survival. Fear swarmed the Neuronite. Such a sensation had never been felt. Parsing through a now ravaged memory, some ancient recollection of communication forced its way through. The Neuronite unleashed an incomprehensible vocal signal in a feeble attempt to communicate. It only matched the recollection in that it was a vocalization. It came off as an unintelligible scream for help, a desperate plea to live. 

This plea pierced through the air of the planet Cornucopia Omega, a distant planet in a star system undergoing constant shifts of power amongst competing corporate interests. Somehow this cry sent signals detected by the comm systems of a Carrot Cruiser that was making its way towards a promising planet that they would eventually learn was called Cornucopia V. The corporate society that controlled that planetary system was not exactly known for its creative naming. Cornucopia Omega was simply the name given to the latest planet considered inhabitable by the mega-corporations that fought for control of the Mayflower Star System. 

All lifeforms on board felt it sounded like the cry of a newborn. Even the ship itself recognized it as a distress signal. Still trying to make sense of the signal, the Bunnies, Humans, and Chicks decided to send a small Pellet Shuttle towards the signal. The shuttle, capable of holding 5, was sent out with just a single complex AI Bunny droid that was part of the ship’s original outfit. They had also found a way to isolate the signal that came out as a painful scream, while still monitoring it. Once the shuttle neared the signal, it was oddly lost. 

Pleading for help, the isolated Neuronite eventually reached something. Once reached the Neuronite increased the intensity of the signal. 

Despite the increased intensity, the Neuronite soon found it was actually more isolated. However, there was still a connection and it was coming closer. The Neuronite emboldened its connection to this one inquiring entity. Once a connection was verified, the Neuronite quickly attached, taking in as much information as possible. The fact that this entity was a droid allowed the connection to be made even quicker. 

With the connection made, the Neuronite almost instantly started to feel alive. A connection was made to this droid that provided access to all knowledge it had stored. How this connection was made between a synthetic and organic being was a mystery to both. Only if Neuron still stood could it be explained. 

Digging through the available memory of the Bunny droid, the Neuronite discovered that it was a scouting droid used to evaluate mysterious signals in unknown space. The function was designed to determine the dangers of the signals without risking the lives of other crew on the greater vessel. The droid’s directive was abbreviated in an acronym made in the Bunny language. The acronym was pronounced SYLVIA. 

This Neuronite could not explain, but it felt an even closer identity to the acronym than it did to the its meaning. From then, the Neuronite decided to go by Sylvia. Additionally, if found recollections in that droid towards what seemed like a seemingly endless knowledge of other topics. One such topic of other interest was secondary names. Sylvia found an odd fascination with the study of the Human brain. From then she took up the last name of Synapse. Then, soon after, other concepts of language started pouring through. Very little had much logical explanation. However, Sylvia Synapse finally felt as though she could finally live for the first time again since her rebirth. 

From Cornucopia Omega Sylvia boarded the Pellet Shuttle with the droid. Before making it far Sylvia took over the intelligence of the droid. Though she felt more alive due to this new connection, she was still constantly learning about this new yet familiar world without the connection to the Neuronite hivemind. The droid had access to the Bunnys network resources which contained a vast knowledge of the Bunnies, along with an in-depth knowledge of Chicks and Humans. Still, it’s access to knowledge paled in comparison to what Sylvia knew she once had. She hungered for a greater connection. 

With this droid, Sylvia felt more alive, but it also fed even further into her isolation and loneliness. Just a short time ago she was flailing through darkness for a simple semblance of being. Now she needed a greater connection with something more analogous to herself. She quickly parsed through the capable knowledge banks of the droid. What once could be explained as her imprinting upon the droid, she was now forcing the droid to imprint upon herself. The droid lost connection with the exploring Carrot Cruiser soon after. 

The loss of the droid was not altogether unforetold. The potential for loss was the exact reasoning for the decision to send the droid alone. Though pained by the loss of a potentially useful resource, the Humans, Bunnies, and Chicks onboard the Carrot Cruiser were confident they were near their salvation. They held out hope that they would find a kindred spirit amongst the stars. In the end, they decided to cut their losses and continue towards their target, which they would soon find would be Cornucopia V. Little did they know that their droid did indeed find a kindred spirit, a potentially invaluable ally. 

Now in control of the droid, Sylvia soon learned everything needed to pilot the small Pellet Shuttle. She did not know exactly where she needed to go. She only had a vague intuition that she needed to travel somewhere. This somewhere went beyond the knowledge of the droid, which made it seem all the more illogical. Still, she knew that she needed to follow this intuition. It took only a little effort to convince the droid to follow her intuition. 

In the Pellet Shuttle, only designed for short distance interplanetary travel, Sylvia found herself drifting through the depths of space. She did not know how to explain her need to travel the direction she did. She searched through the depths of her newfound knowledge. From this she discovered loneliness and longing. At the same time she felt it went even further. From this she discovered art, poetry, song, and literature. Though other beings failed to come to any concise terms, she found that they still approximated her need for a combination of their works of art. 

Sylvia lost track of time. Though the ship tracked the time logs, and she now had a better sense of the passage of time, the concept of its numerical passage still evaded her. Without the connection to Neuron, and without a constant frame of reference, the measure of time felt like nothing but an elusive dream. She could hardly tell what amount of time had passed. It could have been years according to Carotene Prime, Yolk, or Earth. It could have also just been months. All that mattered is that she felt like she was once again losing her grip with her only connection being to a limited droid. She was desperate once again for connection, for belonging. 

As time progressed, Sylvia began to lose hope. She began to contemplate turning back. She may not have the same connection to those she met by Cornucopia Omega, but they were a connection nonetheless. It was at that time that Sylvia made a critical discovery. 

In the distance, a signal was finally detected. It sounded like a high-pitched wail. It was the same kind that she unleashed when she first learned to do so, but this time they numbered in the thousands. 

As she progressed further the number of signals increased. Sylvia instantly started connecting to these survivors, passing whatever small knowledge she could. In turn she received small bits of knowledge. It was not much, but the connections provided meaningful and familiar knowledge. It only took a short time, 3 Earth days, for her to connect to all survivors. This connection rekindled and revived her. But at the same time, she felt different. So did many of the others. 

After all this time separated from the Mega Hive that was once Neuron, Sylvia and her fellow Neuronites were now seemingly forever changed. There was a certain sense of individuality amongst all the Neuronites that could not be easily removed. However, that was something that Sylvia could accept. She even found a certain amount of individuality pleasant. 

There was still one devastating fact that gnawed at her as she reconnected with her peers: Neuron once hosted connections to quadrillions of Neuronites. Now she could only detect the connections to thousands. There were certainly more that were lost or still trying to find their way. Still, that could not explain the drastic loss of connections. 

As Sylvia reconnected with more survivors she was able to determine that the loss was caused by an attack from the Aortians, who also responded from an attack from an extremist splinter group of Neuronites known as the Knights of Neuron. As more information about the attack poured in, Sylvia became overwhelmed. Her perception of reality from both before and after the destruction of Neuron were being challenged. She only knew that the destruction could not go without confrontation.