“You will be able to go in the forecastle, the captain’s cabin, and the study,” said Violet.
Sam felt a surge of excitement. These had all been forbidden areas. On their previous travels Violet had often retreated to these areas and locked Sam and Rose out leaving them to burn with curiosity.
“The Drasti has many secrets, and I will show some of them to you,” said Violet. “Come, follow me.”
Sam walked dutifully behind Violet as she opened the door to the forecastle cabin. Violet paused to indicate to Aravand that he should wait outside.
On entering Sam was a little disappointed. The room did not look like anything special. There was a desk, a bunk and some stairs. He was confused about the stairs because he could not remember seeing corresponding stairs on the gun deck below.
“I see you’ve spotted the first little surprise, the stairs,” said Violet. “Let’s go down and see what’s there shall we?”
Sam followed her as she descended. They arrived at a deck that was not the gun deck, nor the tween deck, nor the hold. Sam was very confused. “This is not possible.”
Violet wore a sad smile. “This is the library. Every book you will ever need is here.”
Sam was breathless. “This is impossible, this deck is … it’s longer than the Drasti. Did the icor build this for you?”
“Not exactly, it was the singularity that built it,” Violet said dismissively.
Sam sighed. “Listen, this does not make sense.”
“What doesn’t make sense?” asked Violet.
“Nothing makes sense: the singularity, the icor, Yuang, Siva, Hedon… I just don’t understand any of it. Is the icor, the goddess?”
“The singularity is a perfect intelligence, it knows all, it is god-like. It ascended to a level intelligence so advanced that humans could not interface with it, so I used the icor to create manifestations that could ask the singularity questions.”
Violet let out a long noisy breath. “Well, the first question I asked was whether God existed.”
Sam’s confusion deepened. “Which god?”
“Many of the ancients used to believe there was only one God. A God that created everything, and was all powerful, all knowing and perfectly good, and all other gods were imaginings.”
“Wow, and this God was male?” asked Sam.
Violet chuckled. “I know it is hard for you to think that could be true having been brought up with a female goddess.”
“A male God makes no sense,” said Sam emphatically. “How can a male God give birth to the universe, and nurture us into being conscious?”
Violet shook here head. “I think assigning gender to the divine is an absurdly human thing to do.”
“What did the singularity answer?”
Violet’s eyes lost focus for a moment as she was lost in memory. “It said there was a God.”
Sam’s mouth dropped open.
“Then when my friend Ethan asked the same question, the singularity said there was no God,” Violet added.
Sam’s mouth closed. “Well, that’s impossible. Either God exists or does not exist, right?”
“Well, me and Ethan had different definitions of God. That’s the real problem when we ask spiritual questions, we lack a spiritual dictionary. All our spiritual definitions are subjective.”
Sam was frustrated. “And if an all-powerful God exists then he sure isn’t doing a good job looking after the world.”
Violet chuckled a little. “I asked it, how can God be good if He allows so much suffering in the world, and it told me that we don’t understand God’s nature, and that we are trying to judge God as if God were a man. God is not a man. If a man kills a child, then that is an evil man, but if a lion kills a child, then it is just acting in its nature. How are we to judge God when it is impossible for us to understand God’s nature.”
“So where does Yuang, Siva and Hedon fit in?”
Violet opened her palm and produced some icor, it changed from white to blue, to red, to purple, to green. “Icor is like trillions of little minds and they form opinions on the most important question of all… what is God’s purpose. Siva believes that suffering is the most powerful experience therefore it is the primary purpose for humanity. Hedon believes that as humanity strives to minimize suffering and maximize pleasure that means that pleasure is humanity’s purpose. Yuang believes that all the facets of experience are supposed to exist in balance. The real question is, what do you believe?”
Sam shrugged. “I haven’t the foggiest.”