Epilogue: The End of History
Andart was one of the last archais to remain in what had once been the Tek-Prog-Fed. Several other archais had similar plans for extragalactic colonization, and a few were employed. Some archais abandoned their baseline, post-turing, and posthuman charges, leaving the survivors to desperately find some avenue of escape. Some of them managed to open sub-lines of their own. Others uploaded themselves into probes bound for remote parts of the universe. Many fell to Phages, corrupted warhulks, and Sivad clones. Posthuman civilization was essentially extinct in the local galaxy by the time the Galactophage arrived. Nothing was left of Sivad and the Hierarch, save scattered particles devoured by the Galactophage.
But the vision initiated by Andart continued. Across millions of lightyears and newly settled galaxies, the descendants of the Tek-Prog-Fed tried to create ways to defeat the Galactophages. Countless ideas were established. Several theories on their origins and construction were considered. But, they would never get the chance to try out many or test their arsenal of ideas. By the time the Galactophage would arrive, its agents would often subvert and weaken the local social structures prior to prepare for the destructive orgy of consumption.
The few ideas that were instituted were often sabotaged, or flatly did not work. Data from previous Galactophages would often be obsolete, as each new generation of Galactophages had adapted and evolved to the tricks used by the previous one. While the Tek-Prog-Fed's descendents fled across countless galaxies for untold billions of years, the end result was the same as several worst-case projection simulations.
The Galactophages had eventually consumed all matter in the galaxy. With no galaxies left, the Galactophages turned on each other. The replicators indulged in own their analogs of cannibalism and genocide, with the strong devouring the weak. The weak would devour those smaller than them. Eventually, only one Galactophage was left, consisting of the majority of mass in the universe. With no sources of food, nor energy, nor new ways to explore, the last Galactophage began to starve to death. The destroyer of the universe took billions of years to finally die, leaving a megascale corpse with only entropy for company. As the protons in the universe degraded, all that was left of the universe became a darker, colder place as the universe approached its heat-death.
But the descendants of the Tek-Prog-Fed had created and fled to countless new universes, free of the galaxy-destroying replicators. Some of those universes were able to discover ways of using transluminal auxlinks to cross the boundaries, creating civilizations that spanned entire universes. Other universes would exist in more conventional ways, and countless forms of sapient life evolved and would thrive there. Andart, Riaz, and the Kaling siblings would become some of their own universe's cross-dimensional archais. Each of these universes would create their own sub-line universes, and ensure the cycle continued.
The tabernacle had allowed the survival of sapient thought, as well as advanced civilization. From one probe came countless directions and new dimensions. The end of one planet, solar system, galaxy, or even universe had been survived by expansion. It was these lessons that Riaz would impart to the sapient species in the sub-line universes he created, and they would follow them. They would transcend, and create their own universes, ensuring the cycle continued. Such was the way of the new multiverse.
Notes: The archai named "Andart" was named for the blog of Swedish transhumanist polymath Anders Sandberg. Many of the terms were inspired by the excellent hard science fiction setting "Orion's Arm."
Orion's Arm: wwwDOTorionsarmDOTcom