spoiler warning: plot details follow!

This is a "meta" level discussion page (another) that can be used as an aid for collaborators who develop the science fiction story "VirileMail".

Prequel[edit | edit source]

7,384,545 BP - an interstellar spacecraft arrives at Earth. The ship contains only nanorobotic artificial life, but Earth is exactly the kind of planet they are searching for. The aliens discover that there are a dozen ape species on Earth and they quickly start experimenting with ways to control their breeding.

The aliens are able to insert nanorobotic probes into animals and take control of some bodily functions. With time they chart the primate brain and discover how to manipulate emotions, memory processes and fundamental drives such as thirst and hunger. The human hosts for the nanorobotic probes are unaware that they are "infected" and their behavior is under alien influenced.

132,459 BP - The aliens have constructed an underground base on Mars and now they start transporting some humans to that base. The aliens expect that humans will eventually develop a technology-based culture in which humans will be able to understand nanotechnolgy.

1439 CE - The alien nanobots had previously "infected" (entered their brains) a group of humans within the Byzantine Empire and the aliens had worked to help these "infected" humans promote Byzantine science. In particular, the aliens were trying to help these humans develop movable type. Fearing that these humans might be killed in the final collapse of Byzantium, the aliens move them to their base on Mars. Further work on the development of movable type in Europe was moved to Germany at that time.

{With time, the language of these Byzantines becomes the language of the "VirileMail" software that "Janek" must translate into English. This artificial intelligence software was developed on Mars by the descendants of the original Byzantines who were taken to Mars in 1439. Dr. Daniela Gajduskova is selected by the aliens as the Earth human who will be the "apparent creator" of the VirileMail software.}

1930 CE - Bruce Geisler is born into a family that has served as hosts for alien nanorobotic probes since early in the industrial age. With time, Bruce comes into control of the family business holdings which include several computer and biotechnology companies.

1943 CE - Nikolai Vavilov is taken to Mars along with a group of other Russian geneticists who had been persecuted by Stalin. They become the core of a genetic engineering project that eventually designs viruses that can be used to make human neurons produce proteins that allow the alien nanobots to efficiently integrate into neural circuits (VirileMail/2008#Step 5).

1954 CE - Anthony Geisler is born and also soon becomes a host for alien nanoprobes. Anthony earns a Ph.D. in computer engineering and becomes Director of Operations at Antler Network Services, one of the Geisler family companies.

VirileMail[edit | edit source]

Chapter 1[edit | edit source]

Tuesday September 8, 2003 - an alien artificial intelligence is put into the computer network at Antler Network Services. In order to make some major changes to the computer network, the aliens physically disconnect the computer network from all off-site backup and monitoring routines and force a system re-start. Also, key Antler Network Services personnel are under the control of alien nanoprobes and start to display a pattern of odd behavior.

Later (see below) the reader learns that Joe and Brian have already started working on a new software project, but at this point all the reader knows is that Brian is acting strangely and having memory problems.

What is actually going on is that alien nanorobotic probes have taken control of the brains of both Joe and Brian. The nanorobotic probes are taking control of the behavior of Joe and Brian and forcing them to optimize the workings of the alien artificial intelligence that was put into the computer network. The nanorobotic probes are preventing Joe and Brian from remembering what they have been doing while under the control of the aliens. At the same time, the nanorobotic probes are trying to bring into existence a "cover story" in the form a new software project.

Chapter 2[edit | edit source]

The "eggplant".

That same Friday. The reader learns that Joe is having trouble sleeping. This is the first indication that Joe is having an unusual reaction to the alien nanorobotic probes. Later it will be revealed that the alien nanorobotic probes have several ways of altering human memory processes. The nanorobotic probes can take control of the human motor cortex and block normal memory storage in the human host while the probes are in tight control of the person's behavior....this allows the controlled human to do what the nanoprobes want while at the same time not being able to later remember what happened. Also, the probes can make use of patterns of brain activity during sleep to block the recall of memories from times when the human host was not under tight control. A series of fluke events eventually allow Joe to start to escape the control of the alien nanorobotic probes that are in his brain.

Joe and Brian get to watch while their boss (Erin) becomes infected by alien nanorobotic probes. She tries to explain away her odd behavior. No matter how strange the events, the new “VirileMail” team members seem not to question what is happening. Joe gets to see Brian's PhotoShop version of the “eggplant”, but before he can think too much about this freakish object, he is overwhelmed with hunger and departs in search of food. Only much later does Joe learn that the “eggplant” is a flying vehicle for the alien artificial life forms.

Chapter 3[edit | edit source]

That Saturday. Chloe and Joe have chance to talk and Joe becomes more aware of the team's strange behavior during the past few days. Something has a heavy grip on his mind and will not allow him to react normally to the strangeness. Chloe is obviously suffering from the same affliction, but she seems happy as long as the new “VirileMail” project is moving ahead.

Chapter 4[edit | edit source]

That Sunday. Joe went through a night without sleep and is now concerned enough about their strange behavior to stop accepting it. His paranoia leads him to suspect that some kind of industrial espionage must have taken place when the holes were made in the building and the server array was knocked off line. Worse, he does not trust any information that now comes from the company's computers. He tries to use a VCR as a way to record goings on without making use of the computers to store the data. More long discussions with Chloe and she helps try to figure out if someone gained illicit access to the company's computers and data.

Chapter 5[edit | edit source]

That Monday. Joe's paranoia and use of the VCR finally pays off. He gets solid evidence on a video tape showing that data on the company computers has been altered and that some mysterious force has been able to erase important parts of the memories of people who are working on the VirileMail project..... apparently this memory loss involves suddenly induced periods of unconsciousness or sleep. The video shows his previous (but forgotten) discovery that the foreign language translation results the team has been getting from the mysterious Janek, supposedly a computer scientist in the Czech Republic, were, in fact, being produced by software running on their own server array! With the evidence now on video tape, Joe prepares to share these important discoveries with Chloe. Fearing that even now he will suddenly forget everything again, Joe records a short description of his discoveries on a new video tape. Then, mysteriously, the original video data tape is lost, leaving only his rather hysterical personal account of what had been on the original.

Chapter 6[edit | edit source]

Tuesday September 15, 2003. Dr. Anthony Geisler assigns Joe to a new task, coordinating with Ormuz Computing for access to some new microchips that might help meet the VirileMail project's high demand for computing resources. Joe is able to obtain a few of the new microchips and brings them back to Antler Network Services. Based on what he sees during his visit to Ormuz Computing, Joe suspects that at least some of the workforce there is showing the same unusual behaviors as the VirileMail project team members.

Chapter 7[edit | edit source]

Joe goes to his first appointment with Dr. Wanda T. Klein, a psychiatrist. Joe hopes to be able to talk to Dr. Klein about the strange events of the past week and try to get help from someone who is not showing the odd behaviors of his co-workers. However, as Joe talks to Wanda, he suddenly realizes that he has been deceiving himself. He has been trying to suppose that the strange events of the past week might be due to illness (some spreading virus?), on-going industrial espionage or special abilities of the VirileMail artificial intelligence routines. He now decides that no conventional explanations or human forces could possible account for what he has experienced. There must be an alien force at work! He blurts out this idea and the nanorobots in his brain take action, preventing Joe from saying anything more about aliens. Dr. Klein suspects that Joe has had a seizure and so she injects him with an anticonvulsant and puts Joe into a hospital.

When Joe wakes up in the hospital he is under the influence of the drug that Dr. Klein administered. Unable to think coherently, he has strange thoughts about aliens and UFOs. Dr. Klein wants to check his brain for unusual activity, still suspecting some form of epilepsy or other brain disorder. The results of Joe's brain scan are unlike anything Dr. Klein has seen before. She decides to not give Joe any more drugs and to visit Antler Network Services in order to determine how much of Joe's story was real.

Chapter 8[edit | edit source]

Wednesday September 16, 2003. Joe wakes up again and now the effects of the drug are wearing off. He realizes that he cannot speak about aliens without causing an anxiety attack, but he is surprised to find that he can still remember his idea about an alien force being the cause of all the strange events of the past week. He tries to leave the hospital, but doing so also causes him pain, sweating and a sense of panic.

Dr. Klein visits Antler Network Services and meets Chloe. Chloe learns that Joe is in the hospital.

Thursday September 17, 2003. Chloe visits Joe in the hospital. Joe still cannot talk about aliens, but he tries to give Chloe hints about what is going on, hoping she will at least remember what they had discovered about Janek. But Chloe is still caught up in the VirileMail project. She explains that they are going ahead with the installation of the new Lockback chips into the server array.

Joe spends two weeks in the hospital with the hope that medical studies can reveal what is happening to his brain and produce proof that some alien force is at work. However, the nanobots can only be detected indirectly by their modulation of Joe's brain activity, and they learn nothing useful from all the medical tests.

Chapter 9[edit | edit source]

Friday, 15 days after Joe last saw Chloe
Joe finally gets permission from Dr. Klein to leave the hospital and go home. He finds an email from "Janek" asking Joe to visit an IRC chat channel. Via IRC, "Janek" explains to Joe that the aliens are nanorobotic artificial life forms who are trying to communicate with humans. Joe does not trust the aliens.

Chapter 10[edit | edit source]

The aliens take Joe to their base on Mars. On the way, Joe familiarizes himself with Martian culture.

Chapter 11[edit | edit source]

On Mars, Joe meets the genetic engineers who are creating a virus that will make human brains much more easy for the alien nanobots to control.

Joe learns that there are a few Martians who are "rebels" and trying to fight against the aliens.

Chapter 12[edit | edit source]

The Martian rebels convince Joe that he must return to Earth and stop the aliens and subvert their plans. He is to deliver to Earth a vaccine which will protect against the mind control virus. Also, Joe plans to destroy the special hardware that allows "Janek", the AI, to communicate with the alien nanobots. In order to get a "ride back to Earth" from Janek, Joe must pretend that he will help deliver the alien mind control virus.

Chapter 13[edit | edit source]

Joe returns to Earth and cannot prevent the final technological development that will allow the alien nanorobots to fully integrate with a human brain. However, Joe does free Chloe from nanobot control and they inactivate the Lockback modules that have been powering Janek's consciousness and the anti-alien resistance forces of Earth start producing the vaccine that can protect humans against alien mind control.

Chapter 14[edit | edit source]

The aliens back off from Earth, having perfected their tools for interfacing with human brains. Chloe and Joe contemplate their future. Should they stay on Earth or accept Janek's offer and go to Mars?

Epilogues[edit | edit source]

Some forked endings that tell how things work out for Joe and Chloe.

Sequel[edit | edit source]

Humans living on Mars continue to develop the alien-inspired technologies for linking human brains to nanorobotic devices.

After May 8, 2008 - Martian technology allows full integration of the alien artificial life forms with humans. The technology can also be used to allow humans to download their memories into artificial life forms. The humans on Mars are still limited to using conventional hardware, above the level of true nanoscale devices. Earth continues to press ahead with nanotechnology. The humans on Mars start to plan how to gain access to advanced Earth technologies.

Navigation[edit | edit source]

Continue to Chapter 1

Chapters: 1234567891011121314

Other pages: CharactersGlossarythe novel all on one pagemain talk page for the story

For authors (warning: plot details!): MetaTimelineVirileMail/2008audio version

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