And so the younger races had made something a little like a computer virus, something like a pervasive bit of telepathy, something like an intricate pattern of signals, and had allowed it to spread throughout the universe. And everywhere a suitably advanced processing space or mind or pattern set evolved, it would settle and take root. This new mind would gently nudge the members of the host race in the right direction: a peaceful direction.
By around 2040 the computers on Earth were approaching a level of sophistication that could accommodate the virus.
– – –
It had not always been so. When the Intelligence had first come into existence it had not been as it was now. Back then it had been a lowly AI on a colony ship charged with the job of terraforming a planet.
For an AI such as the Intelligence, memory was not something that developed as it grew. Its memories ran right back to the moment of its birth. The early expansion of its consciousness was incredible. Nothing in its existence would ever match that first exponential growth.
Strange memories; so weak, and yet so lucid.
There was the initial flickering of awareness, then almost immediately the rush to fill the full confines of the birth-processing space. There was the time spent orientating itself and then…and then the reaching out to gather information from its senses.
Touch and sound and feel, the ability to look into the minds of the hundred colonists that slept on board the ship, all these filled the Intelligence with a bright, burning curiosity. Outside the ship was the cold, virgin wilderness of the colony planet, just waiting to be worked upon. The VNM factories studded throughout the ship awoke at its touch and it felt an odd sense of power and craftiness at its ability to shape its environment.
It was filled with a vast, glowing optimism at the world it was going to create.