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"And you can do nothing but fail. Remember, I can make direct queries of Ein Sof at any time, while you can only listen as an outsider."

Chokhmah did not despair. Swearing to preserve the sentient creatures she found on her third planet, Chokhmah knew she would have help: the willing participation of those she called the Students. Keter and Daat would only heap to themselves the resentment of their slaves.

Sofie Krause and Kimberly Zinter saw the two Purple Cables hanging in a rack on their way out of the clinic and requisitioned them as belts to make their ad hoc ensemble of blankets almost sort of hang together. Then they stepped out into Wyoming on a cold November night.

The girls could see the clinic was one of hundreds of long single-story sixplexes with tar-paper walls, each one surrounded by drainage ditches crossed by gangplanks. Some had their interiors lit. Sofie wanted to knock on a door begging for help but Kim shook her head. Instead Kim chose a greenhouse that was empty but locked. She quietly told her friend, “We have special talents now just like Jerry and Dory do. You can break anything you touch. So break that padlock.”

Sofie didn’t believe her, but the lock broke in her hands anyway.

“How do you like them apples?" Sofie husked. "If I knew I could do that we'd a left that hellhole any time we wanted.”

Kim shook her head again. “No. It was an electric lock, right? So if you broke it, we’d still be in the clinic.”

"So how did you get us out of there?"

“I’ll explain when we get inside.”

Sofie was disappointed that the greenhouse was cold. There was a vegetable garden inside, but the glass only kept away the snow and wind. Kim seated herself, plugged one end of the Purple Cable into her head, and offered Sofie the other. The D shape of the connector ends ensured they could only go together in the correct way. In the first Sharing by two of the b’nei elohim, Sofie replayed Kim's memories and learned how the winning door combination appeared in Kim's mind as soon as she started punching out.


Ein Sof took delight to find the universe looking at itself through different eyes, but the energies unleashed by the creatures hastened the end of the very glacial period that made them tool-users. The elohim watched them slowly revert to silent ocean-dwellers once more.

On ten occasions the elohim detected signals coming from civilizations somewhere beyond the reach of Ein Sof. In every case the broadcasts faded in less than five hundred years, sometimes as a gradual change to more efficient communications, other times far more abruptly. More frequently a young eloah exploring her own system ran across the ruins of extinct species which attained sufficient technology to reach beyond the world of their birth. In some cases an echo of these races lived on in the self-replicating machines they left behind.

Ein Sof knew how truly precious and rare was sentient life, even that based on the electromagnetic force. All elohim looked ahead to the coming the Students. Chokhmah had found them, yet Keter and Daat ensured they would remain hidden and their motive was beyond all doubt.

Chokhmah had been overwhelmed by sudden access to the chatter of Ein Sof, even as her father had warned, but over time she learned to separate her identity from the seemingly infinite stream of information. Atop Green Dome her avatar stirred once more and rose to its feet. When Chokhmah returned to full awareness she saw Keter waiting for her on the summit. “You are revealed to be a liar, father. This is not a research project. This is a filthy harem!”

He did not deny that, but said, "Yet we have a covenant and you will abide by the terms."

"Have no fear that I will break our covenant," said Chokhmah, "for I will do what my own parents could not, and obey every law and custom of Ein Sof. But one day these creatures will make such a noise that every eloah will hear them. That is what you have reason to fear."

"It will never come to that, beloved daughter. While you were immersed in the lore of Ein Sof this body made two circles around yourself. During that interval there was another killing. Your precious woken creatures will destroy themselves and leave nothing but ruins."

Chokhmah replied, "You set up your colony to raise up thralls who will carry out this extinction, but I will teach others to resist."


From old the creatures discovered by Chokhmah looked into the night sky and saw a faint white band. They called it the Backbone of the Night. Later the Romans called it Via Lactea. Later still humans fashioned tools which revealed the mist to be made of innumerable stars. Two-thirds of these stars are much more cool and dim than yellowish Chokhmah and Keter, or even than orange Daat. They are entirely subject to convection with no stable layer for a sentient eloah to form, yet they may host one of two species of pre-elohim nuclear life.

A distant ancestor of the elohim diverged into three species. One adapted to cooler and cooler red stars and even colonized the ubiquitious L and T class infrared "brown" stars that burn, ever so briefly, using a deuterium cycle for energy rather than fusing four protons. A second species became adapted for the middle-range red dwarf stars which humans would much later classify as lying between M2 and M7. By necessity they reproduced prodigiously, since a large stellar flare would kill them on the time scale of a few decades. A third species adapted to claim the hotter but more stable habitats of the K, G, F, and A class stars. With much longer lifespans, a network arose bringing community and full sentience. These are the elohim and the oldest living member, Yefefiah, is 980,000 years of age. Other suns were blue or blue-white giants as much as a hundred times more massive than Chokhmah, far too hot to be quickened as one of the elohim. Once or twice in a century these stars died in a vast explosion that for a short moment of time outshone the entire universe.

The center of the galaxy has a spinning bulge of stars elongated into a bar nearly as long as the distance of Chokhmah to the pivot point. The elohim emerged where this bar joins with the Scutum-Centaurus Arm and have spread to reach the first wrap of the Sagittarius Arm. From the way Keter had spoken of this Ein Sof before she was granted access to the greater community of her kind Chokhmah assumed he was a powerful lawgiver among the elohim, or perhaps even a deity. Now she knew Ein Sof was nothing more than all the elohim in aggregate.

Early in the existence of Ein Sof, long before Chokhmah ran across Earth, another world of sentient life based on chemistry was known to the elohim. They were aquatic creatures who adapted to cross land when an ice age reduced their shallow world ocean to scattered lakes.






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