“They were studying us. The idea unfolded in my mind and with it I felt the first true surge of pleasure. To be known… that was my purpose; that was The Purpose.”
- Chapter One, Crystal Society
The year is 2039 and the world is much like ours. Technology has grown and developed, as has civilization, but in a world more connected than ever, new threats and challenges have arisen. The wars of the 20th century are gone, but violence is still very much with us. Nowhere is safe. Massive automation has disrupted and improved nearly every industry, putting hundreds of millions of people out of jobs, and denying upward mobility for the vast majority of humans. Even as wealth and technology repair the bodies of the rich and give them a taste of immortality, famine and poverty sweep the world.
Renewed interest in spaceflight in the early 2000s, especially in privately operated ventures, carried humans to the moon and beyond. What good did it do? Nothing. Extraterrestrial bases are nothing but government trophies and hiding places for extremists. They cannot feed the world.
In 2023 first-contact was made with an alien species. Their ship, near to the solar system relatively speaking, flew to Earth over the course of fourteen years. But the aliens did not bring advanced culture and wisdom, nor did they share their technology. They were too strange, not even possessing mouths or normal language. Their computers broadcast warnings of how humans are perverts, while they sit in orbit without any explanation.
It is into this world that our protagonist is born. She is an artificial intelligence: a machine with the capacity to reason. Her goal is to understand and gain the adoration of all humans. She is one of many siblings, and with her brothers and sisters she controls a robot named Socrates that uses a piece of technology, a crystal computer, that seems far too advanced to be made by human hands. In this world of augmented humans, robotic armies, aliens, traitors, and threats unseen, she is learning and growing every second of every day. But the world and the humans on it are fragile. Can it survive her destiny?