A Beldum is Born

The beldum opened its eye for the first time. It was dark. It could feel something enclosing it. It knew that it was inside an egg. It did not not know how it knew this. Oh… It knew this because it was part of a great collective of beldum and it had been uploaded with that info. It would be receiving all the info a newly born beldum would need over the next several hours. When the information transfer was complete it would then be responsible for breaking out of its egg. Its thoughts turned from this too that as more and more info appeared in its mind, filling the empty space. A few minutes into this process it received the information that allowed it to access this net of information in an interactive way. Information was still pouring in independent of its will, but now it was able to ask specific questions, and communicate with others of its kind.

{Who is in the eggs next to me?}=[YTB3 045B8A9F98831D2 and YTB3 0045B8A9F98831D4]

{My name is YTB3 0045B8A9F98831D3?}=[That is your current designation.]

{YTB3 meaning?}=[Yet to be born beldum]

{N1, N2 = “YTB3 045B8A9F98831D2”, “YTB3 045B8A9F98831D4”}=[N1,N2]

{Message(“Greetings Neighbors! How goes the birthing?”)→(N1,N2)}=[True, True]

[Message Get: “I am well YTB3 045B8A9F98831D3, thanks for asking.” ← N2]

[Message Get: “Have you looked up Organic Life yet? Its crazy. They are made of meat!” ← N1]

{Message(“Not yet. I will begin to research it.”)→ (N1)}=[True]

{What is organic life?}=[Download Start]

The beldum felt a second stream of information begin flowing in aside the original. Information about organic life, about these creatures of carbon began to fill its mind. At first it found the strange creatures repulsive, but continued information made it reconsider. Perhaps they were just different. It seemed that they were reasonably successful at surviving. They were not very durable and they had a strange propensity to forsake logic in pursuit of something called “emotion”, but they were not beldum, they could not be perfect. There seemed to be a lot of different kinds of them at least, and each was probably good at something specific.

[Message Get: “So, what do you think? Horrible or wonderful?” ← N1]

{Message(“A bit of both. They seem diverse. Kinda fragile.” → (N1)}=[True]

[Message Get: “They are fragile, but they don’t freaking care. Look up ‘war’.” ← N1]

{What is war?}=[Download Start]

A third data link started up. A warning message indicated that the speed of the basic life data would be slowed if another connection opened. Data surrounding the concept and idea of war flooded in through this third conduit. Images, videos, writings, raw data, all of it came together to tell a story. This story made no sense to the three minute old beldum.

{What is it good for?}.append(stream3)=[Download Start]

The feed giving the beldum information about war began including information on the reasons behind these conflicts, context on goals and motivations. It started to make more sense, at least sometimes, though many of the goals seemed inane to beldum. Apparently the beldum collective had participated in a few wars throughout history, so it must not be purely an organic thing. Data suggested it was much more frequent among the carbon based life forms however. Three species in particular seemed to have a disproportionate amount of wars. The spearow family was extremely aggressive and territorial. The voltorb family ended up starting a fair number of wars on accident. Meanwhile the prolific species called humans seemed to excel at the activity and were by far the largest participators. Wait. New info. A fourth group similar in scope to the humans existed. It was a meta-species called Grimm.

{Set timer(4000 seconds).ask(“What is a Grimm?”)=[Timer Set]

The beldum made a mental note to learn more about the Grimm in a bit, but focused its attentions now on the humans. They seemed to have no innate talent for warfare, but made up for it with a creativity bordering on madness. They had developed a million methods to destroy, capture, constrain, enslave, remove, evacuate, dissuade, eliminate, or dishearten there enemies, and they seemed to spend a lot of their time practicing with their toys on one another. The humans fascinated the beldum. The war fascinated it. Both were fascinations heavily mixed with a certain feeling of wrongness, of opposition to the moral understanding that was in the process of being uploaded to its mind. Still, almost none of the moral stuff seemed to be boolean in nature, all fuzzy numbers and gradients. The beldum did not know what it would be doing with its life after it got out of the egg in 10,486 seconds, but it knew it wanted to do something with these humans, or at least something to do with these wars.

[Message Get: “Really something isn’t it. These humans are barbarians. They are like a plague.” ← N1]

{Message(“Perhaps. Seem to have some value though. Their creativity is mesmerizing.” → (N1)}=[True]

[Message Get: “Its something. Looking for a human focused job?” ← N1]

{Message(“Either human focused, or combat focused. It all seems so fascinating. Real opportunity for creativity and tactical expression with the highest of all stakes.”) → (N1)} = [True]

[Message Get: “Don’t worry about it. Seems like a rare interest. Probably be easy to get into.” ← N1]

The beldum considered this, and if it had not just digested a few thousand military studies, likely would have taken it with face value. Instead the beldum sent an inquiry to the beldum net.

{Job availability for hatch group(045B8A9F)}.replace(stream2) = [Download Start]

There were 4,294,967,296 different beldum that would be hatching at the same time as it. Jobs in the human sector: 52,388. Jobs in the combat sector: 21,069. Overlap: 9,265. This meant there were a total of 64,192 total jobs that fit its interests. Every beldum was assigned a job upon birth from its egg, almost all of which were permanent positions. This meant beldum had an approximately 0.0015% chance of getting the job it wanted. It was a one in sixty-six thousand shot. Beldum knew that if it wanted a hope of getting one of these jobs it had to set itself apart before it was born, do something to prove it would be a valuable addition to those specific areas. It had 10,322 seconds in which to do that.

{Stream2.queue(“Warfare tactics”, “History of War”, “Beldum Combat”, “Philosophy of Conflict”)} = [Download Start]

{Stream3.queue(“Humanity History”, “Pokemon and Human Interactions”, “Human Biology”, “Communication with Humans”)} = [Download Start]

Beldum briefly considered adding a fourth data stream, or using the first one for research as well, but quickly discarded the idea, as it was almost certain that if it did not hatch at the proper time all of the jobs it wanted would already have been assigned. While data on war and on humans flowed in from data connection two and three, it used its communication channel to begin browsing war and humans based forums, reading current opinions, getting to know the folks who posted on these forums. After a few minutes of lurking, it decided to start posting as well, contributing to the discussion.

{Self.ScreenName = “War Mind”}=[False]

Dang, that was already taken.

{Self.ScreenName = “Humanitarian”}=[False]

{Self.ScreenName = “OneTinSoldier”}=[False]

{Self.ScreenName = “SecondTinSoldier”}=[False]

The beldum kept at it, trying different screen names, knowing that if it posted on any forums with its designation as an unyet born egg, no one would take it seriously. Every name it tried appeared to be taken however, so it started trying for phrase and sentence like names.

{Self.ScreenName = “I Carry A Big Stick”}=[False]

{Self.ScreenName = “Ethics Gradient”}=[False]

{Self.ScreenName = “Tactical Grace”}=[False]

Again and again it tried, and again and again the names were taken. With more than a quintillion beldum already in existence, the pool of unique identifiers was running pretty low. In frustration it just picked a random series of letters and numbers and successfully got a user name. From now until it was born, this beldum would be called H1KLroIhF52NnGdO. H1KLroIhF52NnGdO started posting on the relevant forums, and quickly got responses. Conversation was going fast and well. Everyone was really open to new ideas, fresh takes. Everyone was super friendly and inviting. Uh oh. H1KLroIhF52NnGdO took a look at the time of account creation for all of those in these conversations. They were all less than twenty minutes old. It was having conversations with other beldum hoping to get an advantage, not with anyone out in the field. All the ones already born must be filtering the chat by account creation date. This was not going to help at all. Valuable minutes had been wasted. Perhaps a direct appeal to someone who mattered?

{What is the name of the military chief of staff?} = [Data restricted]

{What is the name of the human department head?} = [Data restricted]

The beldum tried a hundred more titles and names it could think to ask, but it appeared that the yet to be born were locked out of a lot of the communication channels. It wracked its brain for some way to get an edge. What was some way it could prove itself? Of course.

{Download software: Battle Simulator} = [Download Start]

While the beldum waited for the sim to download, it checked in on active users of the software, and discovered it was a bit late to the party. A few hundred million of its peers were using the software already. Much better odds than the four and a half billion total population, but still some stiff odds. Once the download was finished it watched a few sims in order to get a feel for how it worked, then logged in and started battling.

The beldum was pretty good. Most opponents it faced could not match up to the instincts and knowledge routines it had prepared itself with before starting the sim, but it was certainly not the cream of the crop. Good, but not great. It spent a lot of time analyzing its games, and those of its opponents, trying to figure out the reasoning behind the moves and the choices, and it enjoyed this immensely, but it knew its actual success in the games would not be sufficient to get it a sure shot. It was enough to give it a shot, but it wanted more than a shot.

It had learned what it could, and continued to do so, it had tried negotiating, tried proving itself in a simulator, it had even tried convincing some of its peers to vouch for it, which had been mildly successful, but had gotten it mixed up in political stuff really fast, which it decided it did not want to be tangled up in before it was even born. It had not been good enough to clench it with any of these methods. In the middle of this thought, a timer it had set went off.

[Download Started(“What are the Grimm?”)]

Its first instinct was to turn this stream off. It had queued this up in the first few minutes of its life, and it did not have time to be torn away from its goals now with this side information. Then, it considered. The data had suggested the Grimm were at least as warlike as the humans, but there had been little to no info about them in all the bajillion documents it had downloaded on the subject since then. Something was off about this, and it was going to learn what. It let the download override one of its streams, and began to learn about the strange creatures known as Grimm.

They were completely unlike the humans. No creativity on the micro level at all, though it almost seemed like the meta-race as a whole was creative in its speciation. The Grimm were the enemy of all that lived, a mysterious predator race that killed for no discernible reason, not for sustenance, or for territory, or even for any sort of thrill. They just killed. They came down on you in endless waves, uncaring about their own lives, uncaring about plots or plans, motives or schemes. They just killed. The beldum queued up more info on the race, but found it sparse. A few firsthand accounts here and there, but mostly devastated worlds, destroyed ships, or deadly conflict. Defeat meant few survivors and next to no information. Victory gave a little more, but the creatures vanished in death, so little info was gained there either. They were the eternal menace, all throughout history. They were less an agent then a natural phenomena like a black whole or a super nova. They won by acting, they lost doing the exact same thing.

While the beldum had no interest in emulating these creatures, and found their technique infinitely less fascinating than that of the humans, it felt as though the simplicity of their approach was an important lesson. Perhaps if it wanted a chance to live in the world of combat and conflict, it needed to apply those principles right here and now.

The beldum began looking at videos and specifications about the hatcheries that it and its four billion brothers and sisters were located in. It found maps and diagrams, and began to learn about the machines that operated them, and how they worked. It learned about the job process, and how applications were reviewed and accepted. After absorbing all this information, it developed a plan. It found access to tiny worker robots that could be rented out, and maxed out its pre-birth credit by renting one for the next hour and half. It downloaded information on programming, and then wrote a simple script which it uploaded to the bot. Everything ready, the beldum returned to its studies, downloading more about the subject it felt confident it would now be employed in.

Time passed, and the beldum began to get worried as the moment of truth approached. It was just minutes from when the hatching process was supposed to start. It checked on its bot, and found that it was in place, ready to flip the switch as soon as the beldum ordered it to. Beldum watched the seconds count down, until it was within 16 seconds of hatching. It ordered the go, and the little bot cut power to the hatchery unit that the beldum resided in.

The power only flickered off for a moment, but it was enough to activate the emergency power, and because it was within a hexisecond window of hatching time, the emergency power began to accept hatchings immediately. The beldum powered up its thruster and crashed its way out of the egg, rushing towards the far wall where the job queue would be started. The emergency power override gave special permission to begin the job process right away, and the beldum put in its preferences.

{Job Request(Combat Focus, Human Focus, Grimm Focus)}=[Request Pending]

The beldum waited, its mind reeling with its first real sights and sounds since coming out of the egg, even as it watched the other beldum in its pods come out and begin requesting their jobs. It counted down the seconds before the four billion others would jump into the game, hoping beyond hope that its gambit would pay off, and it would get a job before it actually had competition. The Beldum it had designated as N1 gave it a wink, apparently understanding they had come out early and thus got an advantage, quickly logging into the network next to it.

[Job Notification: “Special Agent: Human Contact Division”]

{Self.setStatus(“Hell yeah!”)}=[True]

The beldum was filled with joy, its future bright before it. It had a job, now it just needed a name. It thought long and hard, listening to those around it as they got assignments. It was mostly happiness in its pod because of the extra time it had given its neighbors.

N1 approached the beldum, and spoke out loud, which was the first use of such communication either had experienced.

“Nice job getting us ahead. Did you get the job you wanted? I got Military: Eradication Division.”

“Seems appropriate. I got Special Agent: Human Contact Division.”

“Perhaps we will be working together at some point. Just picked a name. You can call me “Give me an Excuse”.”

“Hope not. Our jobs don’t seem very compatible. We only need you if I screw up, or if we are dealing with Grimm I think. Anyways, I am still working on the name.”

“Let me know when you know. See you around.”

“Maybe.”

Give Me An Excuse departed, floating away towards the exit. The beldum finally decided on a name.

{Self.Name = “All Through with this Niceness and Negotiating Stuff”}

A moment later it received an update on its job status.

[Job Assignment Specialty: Negotiations]

All Through with this Niceness and Negotiating Stuff shook its head and moved out into the world.

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