Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
The First Heresy: The Koreda Matrix
This book was discovered at the bottom of the Dead Sea in a chest hewn from sial amidst bio-luminescent microbes. The sea was also home to an ancient being that appeared to be a gigantic eye and huge tentacles that lay in some kind of stasis hibernation or slumber. It was awoken by McGreggor lifting the chest and allowing magma to super-heat the bottom of the sea.
This Heresy dates back to a planetary survey conducted over 550 years ago by the now-extinct Empire of Zeldun. Back then, the Zelduni had just lost an internecine war with several of their neighboring systems and as a result, they lost a great deal of territory. Pressured by overcrowding on their home world to find more living space, Zelduni scouts searched their realm in a renewed effort to evaluate which of their hundreds and hundreds of systems were most suitable for colonization.
The Empire of Zeldun had, during its long years of supremacy and complacency, become something like an old attic – filled with things the owners forgot they even owned. So it was that the home world hardly knew anything about the planets in its domain. How excited they must have been, then, when news came back of the Koreda system, which had several likely worlds to settle, but most of all, it had a world of unusual composition. On the surface, it seemed like an ordinary rocky planet, but harmonic readings indicated an interior more consistent with an engine block or computer core. When Zelduni ships went out to investigate, the planet’s rocky surface shattered, like dried mud breaking away from a lizard that was finally shaking it off. Beneath was a gleaming planet-sized piece of technology! It had huge energy vents at its various axes, and the rest of the surface was covered in deep circuit-like paths that cracked with white energy.
Preliminary Zelduni science reports indicated that this “world,” known to them as Koreda Minor, was in fact a planet-sized mega-computer, most likely sentient, and probably of mind-boggling power. Zelduni scientists tried to contact the device, which obligingly accepted the “Koreda” title but insisted it be referred to as the Koreda Matrix. The Koreda Matrix communicated with the Zelduni briefly, and then demanded to know the answer to a series of radically advanced astro-mathematical equations. The Zelduni scientists, who had never even seen such figures before, retired to solve the problems. Clearly, the Koreda Matrix had posited to them a problem in a form ofmath nobody had ever seen before, a kind of computation that only something with a digital brain and enormous amounts of raw computational power could solve in a reasonably quick time frame. Frustrated, the Zelduni returned to the Koreda Matrix empty-handed. Apparently, this insulted the Koreda Matrix, which, as the story goes, fired energy bolts at its visitors, isintegrating them. Promptly thereafter, the Zelduni Parliament quarantined the Koreda system, citing “hyper-natural phenomena risks” and leaving it at that. Over the years, the Zelduni repeatedly denied the Koreda Matrix existed, though independent ships would frequently penetrate the system and try accessing the device on their own. Inevitably, the story was repeated time and again, with the Matrix offering a preliminary discussion, posing the equations and disintegrating anyone who returned without the correct answer.
This might have been the end of the story if not for a cataclysm blamed on the Matrix nearly 200 years ago. A large war fleet of ships hailing from the neighboring Thorov Hegemony invaded the Koreda system with the intent to take the Matrix by force. Zelduni warships intervened, and before long a full-fledged battle was raging across the system and around the Matrix itself. The fighting ended when, with a massive pulse of energy, the Koreda Matrix disappeared, taking with it every star system from both the Empire of Zeldun and the Thorov Hegemony. Where any of these systems or the Koreda Matrix went is unknown, but a few planets from either society have appeared in interstellar space in the years that followed. Every time one of these “stolen worlds” was discovered, all that remained was a charred, lifeless ball of rock, apparently destroyed by the
Zelduni and Thorovian survivors who were not in their home system at the time they disappeared have become convinced that the Koreda Matrix was indeed the Cosmic Forge under a different name. The warfare around it must have spooked the Cosmic Forge so badly that it fled the system, but in doing so, accidentally took all of the Empire of Zeldun and the Thorov Hegemony with it, most likely destroying both civilizations in the process. Despite this fact, Zelduni, Thorovians, and those who believe in this theory, further speculate that all one must do is find the Koreda Matrix once more and present to it the answer to the mathematical problem it would pose to all of its former visitors. Whoever does this, so the theory goes, will prove to the Matrix that they are sufficiently advanced to be worthy of whatever gift the Matrix/Forge might be willing to bestow.
These theorists also believe that by conducting certain forms of harmonic triangulation, one can trace the route the Matrix took when it disappeared from the Empire of Zeldun and the Thorov Hegemony. The really weird thing is, no living Zelduni or Thorovian can actually remember where their homelands once were! All recorded evidence they might have had pointing to their homelands’ location has also mysteriously vanished, all throughout the Three Galaxies! Somehow, the Koreda Matrix, be it the Cosmic Forge or not, has somehow erased all records that it has ever existed. Only through word of mouth among the now scattered and dying Zelduni and Thorovian civilizations
does this story still circulate. To most folks in the Anvil Galaxy, this tale is just meaningless folklore, since there is no hard evidence at all to back it up. How could there be?
To those who believe in any of the other Eight Heresies, the story of the Koreda Matrix is just a pathetic excuse by the remnants of two long-dead civilizations to connect themselves to the Cosmic Forge. A sad attempt to make themselves important.