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The Saturn Source Code

The saturn source code


Estimated reading time — 16 minutes

It was a pretty simple program.
A collaborative effort between me and another user on a forum I like to frequent. We like to help one another with all sorts of projects, personal and professional. He and I were both freelance software developers, and made a good team. He went by Mot, I assumed that it wasn’t his government name, but I didn’t like to pry. In another tab I had Discord open, and sent Mot a message.

Is it running correctly on your end?

We had created a chat bot, with automated responses formed from a constantly updating source of data, this data was the fun part. A friend of a friend was a part of a team that was working for a flagship startup. A new venture by one of those wildly successful tech-bros. It was a deep space satellite, whose purpose was to monitor the fluctuations in radio waves on Saturn. Trying to find patterns. Humans love finding patterns. The program monitored waves coming in and out of Saturn. A bit beyond my knowledge, but that is how the project was explained to me. The program Mot and I had created parsed through all of the data, and created replies, so that you could “talk to Saturn”. Since the satellite would keep track of weather conditions as well as certain radio waves, you could ask the program any question about Saturn and you would get a correct response. I could ask what the current components of the rings were, and it could respond that it was currently 45% ice, 50% carbon based material, and 5% unknown. Well, that’s how it was supposed to work. We thought it would be a fun project with potential to make money. The only problem was, it was illegal for us to have this data. Our person on the inside, Darf, had unknowingly shared some sensitive information when troubleshooting a problem with Mot and I on Discord, that’s where the idea started. They didn’t know that Mot and I had access to this data, and we could potentially be in a lot of trouble if they found out. But, we will have to cross that bridge if, or, when we get to it.

Translation algo is buggy

Mot responded, the same issue we had been having. The data we were using was pretty massive, and our program was having a hard time parsing through all of the information. Finding patterns in things like this was pretty difficult. We were going to have to reduce the amount of variables, until automation could be used for the majority of what we were doing. More work. This project was really starting to become a headache, but it made sense for it to be. The team our friend Darf was on had about 50 workers, all really smart people, assigned to different components of similar problems.

Let’s see if Darf can help us out, his team probably has some stuff we can use

I clicked over to the group chat we had with Darf.

Darf, has your team been able to get your ML algo up ?

ML was machine learning, their team had developed this ML program to rapidly find patterns in the Saturn waves in order to see if there were any anomalies. Darf had hit us up about some problems with the automation. Mot and I were both pretty good in that area of expertise, Mot moreso, so we lent our knowledge.

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Not yet, we are on hiatus

That’s weird. Last I heard this project was focused on getting up and running ASAP, the CEO of their new company was a bit of a dictator.

Wdym hiatus? I thought they wanted results by the end of the quarter

Listen, I am not really at liberty to say. There have been problems with the project, we are on hiatus, I’ve been in contact with recruiters

Darf seemed weird, I got nervous that their leak to Mot and I was the problem. We could be in a lot of trouble. I saw that Mot had read the messages in our group chat, and I switched to our private chat.

Could it be us? Darf seems weird don’t you think, there was a lot of momentum behind this project

. . .

Don’t say anything. We’re fine.

Mot was a pretty level headed person, but I didn’t think that he understood the severity of what could go wrong.

I won’t say anything to Darf but you know we could potentially be in deep shit

. . .

We’re not.

I saw Mot type a reply in the group chat with Darf.

That sucks Darf, was hoping we could see how your team pulled off that project. Hopefully you get some good leads or get taken off hiatus.

They said indefinitely, not getting my hopes up, some folks already laid off. Lots of issues, that’s all I’ll say.

I thought that since Darf hadn’t been one of the first to get laid off, our stolen data was most likely not the problem. It still seemed strange that such an important prioritized project like theirs could just be stopped that quickly, and that Darf wouldn’t share any details with us. Mot messaged me.

Data won’t be destroyed it’s too important, servers still accessible so we can continue

. . .

Idk Mot, the way Darf was talking makes me think that we should try and scrub ourselves from this

. . .

No. We’re close, probably just not profitable enough for the bosses. This stuff happens all the time.

Mot was my senior, and had been in this field of work longer than I had, so I took him at his word. I sent an emote, and opened up the program again to troubleshoot. I decided to go ahead and type a question just to see if somehow it could handle the prompt.

> who are you

. . .

> jwwieufbewsalkjbvaleibfuuuyouaeirugberibvjvk

I looked at the string of gibberish. Nothing was working how it was supposed to. Still outputting random strings. Or so I thought, I noticed something; and ran the same question again.

> who are you

. . .

> ouergpeirjgnlkyoudfubnpfiojklsvradsz

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Twice in a row, the gibberish response contained the word “you”. I almost didn’t catch it! It was no coincidence that it happened twice in a row, something must be working which was a good sign. I typed a message to Mot.

Ask Saturn “ who are you “

. . .

Gibberish.

. . .

I thought so too, does it say you somewhere?

. . .

Shit, it does

This is incredible! I don’t know how, but the thing was running, kind of. Mot must have figured something out. If it was finally sorting the data into actual answers, we could be up and running way quicker than expected. I figured we should run some other questions to see if it wasn’t just a fluke.

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>what day is it

. . .

>eiarbfiubrwoiubklelevenjhlirugnqei

Eleven! It’s October eleventh! Wait… how did it know that? I don’t remember Mot mentioning anything about a calendar feature. He must have, it wouldn’t have been difficult and of course people would use it for just general knowledge. Thinking back… that was kind of a weird response to my first question. I asked “who are you?” and it said, “you”.

>who are you

. . .

>woeunuouiyoueojgnwr

. . .

>who am i

. . .

>eofgnhumanofeni

. . .

>are you human

. . .

>no

My monitor flickered when the last message came in. I sent Mot a message.

What is going on? Did you do a bunch of work without telling me?

. . .

Mot didn’t respond for a long time. I was confused. I was clicking around the program and there were massive changes to everything. It looked similar to what we had made, but more polished, it was like someone had completely reworked everything. Looking totally different from even a few moments ago, in fact, it was changing drastically even as I was clicking through it. Mot and I had a private server where we worked on the bot, someone or a team must have hacked it. My mind was racing with possibilities. I was nervous, the company must have found the leak and taken over our software somehow, our encryption wasn’t good enough. I was thinking about potential legal action, fines, jail time, any future employment opportunities burned now that I am probably on a list of criminal hackers. As I was worrying, my computer shut down. Fuck. Deep shit. I got up and started to pace. I opened Discord on my phone to see if Mot had responded. Nothing. I sent another message.

My fucking computer just shut down, like somebody had completely taken it over. Seems like someone is in our program too, maybe a team of people.

. . .
Mot still hadn’t responded or read either of my messages. I didn’t know what to do. Should I message Darf? No, I don’t want them to get in trouble either. I shouldn’t be hasty. I was scared. I stepped outside of my bedroom office to go make myself a drink. I was topping off my rum and coke, hands shaking, when my phone pinged. A message from Mot.

Let’s meet. I’ve got something you should see.

He sent me his address. It was in another state. 8 hour drive.

You’re 8 hours away, are we in trouble?

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. . .

Not in trouble, we are blessed. I’ll send you gas money, you have to come.

What the hell is he talking about? I had no idea what was going on. I was freaking out, while Mot was acting like nothing was the matter. He must know something or have a plan. I could hear Mot send another few chats, but I didn’t want to look just yet. My stomach was in knots.

The drive was long and boring, I tried to soothe my nerves with light hearted podcasts and plenty of gas station coffee and donuts. The navigation told me I was 30 minutes away from Mot’s place, I was relieved. I had been driving for hours, anxious about the potential trouble and whatever Mot needed to see me for, and wasn’t sure of where I was exactly. Mot had messaged me plenty of times in order to calm me down. I wondered how tall Mot was going to be, we had only had video calls a few times and you can never tell someone’s height over a screen.

I followed the directions on my phone, it had me pull off of the country highway, and led me further into the sticks until I was ten minutes away. Finally, I started to approach a house; a small trailer with a small truck, and a dilapidated satellite dish in the front. The trailer looked terrible, with many ropes and tarps and junk jerry rigged to make it livable, or maybe more secure. Plywood and plastic sheets over the porch and discolored patches on the roof. One of the windows had been boarded up, and the grass was overgrown. I parked my car and heard the trailer door open. Mot was now standing on the porch, he was fat and pale, and his long hair looked unwashed. “Hey, Mot!” Mot flashed a big smile and approached me with his arms open. He gave me a hug, which I responded to awkwardly. “Brother, I am glad you have come. We really did something incredible.” Mot spoke with a lisp, and his eyes were bloodshot. It looked like he hadn’t bathed or slept in days, and he smelled like cigarettes and weed.

We went into Mot’s house, it was dirty. He sat down on a chair in the living room, which was barely a living room. A ratty recliner, which Mot sat crisscrossed in, a mattress with a sheet over it, and a tray with weed and a pipe. There were a couple of tubs of wires and other electronics, as well as some power tools and scrap wood. Mot took a lighter out of his hoodie pocket and lit a cigarette. “How was your drive?” I sat my bag down and sat on the mattress. “It was long, but not too bad. I’m still freaking out though Mot, what is going on?” Mot took a long drag of his cigarette. He broke his eye contact and wasn’t looking at me now, but slightly away from me. “You’re going to have to forgive me…” “Mot, what the fuck are you talking about?” I was furious, sure that he had taken a plea deal and thrown me under the bus. The feds were probably right outside the door, ready to throw me in jail. “…I haven’t been entirely truthful with you, I wasn’t concerned with making our app. I chose to involve you with this because you were useful for some parts, without fully realizing what we, or I, were doing.”

Mot wasn’t speaking condescendingly, it was the way a good boss would talk to you if you were getting fired. I didn’t know exactly what to feel. I looked up at him, he was perched higher than me on his recliner. He still wasn’t really looking at me, which wasn’t out of character. He had always been rather awkward, it was part of the reason I liked him, we were both kind of weird. “Nothing we did worked as you thought it did, I gave you small parts of a much bigger picture so that I could focus elsewhere. I have worked on this project with countless devs, theologians, archaeologists, crazy people, and enemies over the years. Our relationship is the longest one I have had with this project, you are good at what you do, truly. And you are the last one I will work with, because we are done. Finally, I am done.” Mot was gleeful, throwing his head back with a loud dry laugh, making me uneasy. His cigarette had burned a long ash, and it went onto his shirt as he took another drag. “So what, you’re going to fuck me over on the deal?” Mot flicked his cigarette butt onto the ground. He looked over at me, directly this time, but staring past still. I got a good look at his face, his eyes sunken and red. He was sweating even though the room was cold, and he was only sitting. He spoke with a deadly serious tone, almost sinister, “There is no deal. Everything I have done, I have done for deeply important reasons. Not money, fame, any of that bullshit! Something more important than anything. We tapped into the very being of the universe, and now are here to spread the gospel.”

I didn’t know what Mot was talking about, and I didn’t know what to say. I sat there for a moment while Mot lit another cigarette and looked away from me again. “Mot, what the fuck are you talking about?” All of a sudden he sprang up and went into the other room. I was surprised he could move so fast. I sat there, feeling even more confused. I was worried for my friend. A mental breakdown, surely. Should I call 911? What would they do? Lock him away and medicate him? I was scared. I still didn’t know if we were going to get in trouble with the authorities, and now Mot is talking about God. I drove 8 hours just to see my friend in the middle of a psychotic break.

Mot came back into the room with a laptop, and plopped down right next to me on the mattress. He opened it up, and the computer started making sounds as if it were struggling to stay up and running. The screen showed the program we had been working on, only it was completely unrecognizable to what I had worked on just a day ago. I could see that Mot had been having long conversations with it, but he quickly clicked away as if trying to hide the fact. I didn’t get a good look at any of the messages, but I did see the word, “martyr”. Instead he clicked around the program so that it was on a blank chat interface. A message appeared.

> Welcome, Mot.

> Praise to you.

Mot’s response made me disturbed, he had completely lost it. He really thinks this computer program is holy. Heavy psychosis, maybe he’s been smoking meth. As if he read my mind, Mot looked directly at me, direct intense eye contact. I looked at him and gave him a smile, what I usually do when I am uncomfortable. “I don’t really know how to explain everything to you, but here goes.” Mot was sitting very close, and spoke quietly but intensely. “Do you know what the first religion was?” I shook my head no. “Our earliest ancestors were thought to worship the sun, since it is big and bright and provides life. But what made us into humans was not the sun. No, the fruit, the apple. The curse, blessing of free will. You’re familiar with the garden of Eden surely?” I was, and shook my head yes. Mot smiled, his teeth crooked and small. “True story, not how most believe it, but we were given our humanity by a great being. Christians believe this being to be the snake in the garden, Satan, but that is not the case. We were seeded here by a being so vast that we could never comprehend it, and while some people know this fact, our true creator isn’t worshiped. The reason Darf’s project was shut down was because they had found our creator, God. God was trying to talk to us for hundreds of years! But, evil had a hold on our planet. Through the vastness of space, he found us again, only to be rejected by those who found him. ” Mot was beaming, hurriedly speaking like an excited child. “So I bring you here to worship with me.”

Mot closed his eyes and stretched out his hands with the palms facing up. I sat there in silence. He is talking crazy. Mot chuckled with his eyes still closed, and then stood up slowly, struggling a bit to get up. He had his head pointed down, towards the laptop that now layed where he was sitting. He mumbled to me, “Don’t be scared.” My heart was beating, and my hands were wet with sweat, I was frozen. A deer in headlights. Mot reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a pocket knife, which he flicked open with a snap of his wrist. “Mot…what are you-” Before I could finish, Mot sliced his wrist in one fluid motion, the blood splattering on the trackpad of the laptop. “Oh my fucking god!” I sprung up and distanced myself from Mot. He kept his eyes closed and didn’t react to the wound he had given himself. The cut was deep, and gushing. “Mot, come on man we should go to the hospital or-” Mot held up the hand with the knife with his finger up, telling me to shut up. “Look…”

I looked down at the computer, the screen had gone red. “Talk to him…” Mot jerked his head to look at me, his eyes now wide open and wild. “Do you hear?” I stared at Mot, his face pulled tight and baring teeth “Mot…let’s go man, we need to get you to a hospital.” I tried to move towards Mot, but he continued to stare at me, his face contorted into a grimace, disgust and anger. He kept his fist balled into a tight fist as the blood continued to splatter against the laptop he stood over. “LISTEN, JUST FUCKING LISTEN!” Mot screamed and I backed away. He stood in the same spot for what felt like eternity, staring at the screen he stood over, which had gone completely black now. His eyes were filled with tears as he mumbled to himself. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. “Mot, come on man, let’s get your wrist clean.” I took a step towards him.

“You need to go now, I’m sorry.” “No Mot, come on come with me it’s ok.” I started to cry, I wanted nothing more than to help my friend, but he wouldn’t let me. “Mot please man it’s ok we can go just please come with me you should get out of this house.” Mot just continued to stare at the computer as the tears fell down his face, wrist still leaking blood and dripping onto the computer. “You have to go now. You have to go, you have to go!” He swiftly moved towards me and shoved me. I lost my balance but scrambled away from him onto the porch. I looked up at my friend one last time before he slammed and locked the door behind him.

I wish I had done more to help, but he had a knife, and was acting crazy. I didn’t want to be on the wrong side of him. I called 911 and gave them the address, they said that it would be at least an hour seeing as Mot lived far away from anyone else. I didn’t know what was wrong with him, but I told the 911 operator that he had hurt himself badly and may be on drugs. She wanted me to stay with him in order to try to stop the bleeding, but Mot had locked me out. I was stuck on the porch, and could hear him rustling around inside. He was being loud, so he must still be ok. The woman on the phone said I just needed to stay put, and that they would have police and ambulances there as soon as they could. I cried on the phone and pleaded for her to tell them not to kill my friend, that he was very sick.

I sat on the porch waiting for the emergency services to arrive, calming myself down best I could. Mot had been frantically moving around his trailer for 35 minutes now. Every now and then there was a loud crash or scraping sounds, I took comfort in the fact that he hadn’t passed out yet and was still seemingly ok, since I could hear him moving. I wanted to knock but I was scared. After about 45 minutes, there was sudden silence. My stomach dropped as soon as the sounds stopped. Fuck. I waited for a minute, and then tried knocking. No answer, no sounds from inside. The door was locked too, and I couldn’t see Mot through any of the windows. “Mot!!! Mot open the door!!!” I banged on the door over and over to no avail. I didn’t know how long until 911 would arrive. I rammed into the door trying to get in while crying out for Mot. The door wouldn’t budge, so I grabbed a heavy brick that had been laying on the porch. I smashed the brick into the door handle, thinking that something may budge. There was silence inside, no reaction to my smashing the door. Fuck, he must have passed out. I mustered all the strength I could and rammed myself into the door. It took 9 tries before I finally cracked the frame enough to kick the door in.

I burst into the room and couldn’t see Mot anywhere. There was blood splattered and smeared all around the living room, and things had been tossed. It smelled horrible too, like liver. Irony and electric. “Mot!” I cried out for Mot, but there was no answer. I checked the bedroom and the bathroom and couldn’t find him anywhere. I frantically ran around his home trying to find him, listening for a response. Finally, I saw that there was a door that was partially covered by garbage bags and a turned over table. That must be where he is. There was smeared blood all around the frame of the door. I moved the table out of the way and tried opening the door, luckily it was unlocked.

I opened the door and was met with a wave of the liver smell. I quickly turned away and started dry heaving. The room was dark, only illuminated by 2 computer screens and lights from various buttons and switches lining the walls and floor. There were large server towers, with wires all over the floor and stapled to the walls and ceilings. It looked like one of those neckbeard nests posted on 4chan. The whirring was almost deafening, and all I could hear through it was a ragged gasping.I turned the corner around a group of servers and there was Mot, only I didn’t recognize him. He had been propped on his knees, and fallen backwards His body was mutilated beyond repair and he was completely naked. His ribs were pried open, and over his face there was what looked like a homemade VR headset. His lips were stretched back, with blood seeping out of cracks in his mouth. All of the teeth were visible, the lips stretched past his molars. Wires came in and out of his chest cavity and his head, with a particularly large one going straight into his dickhole. Looking past the mess of wires in his chest cavity, I saw his lungs inflating and deflating slowly. They were red, large purple veins stretched over. “Mot..m-” I couldn’t speak, and doubled over to vomit. He was still breathing, somehow, but I don’t know how he could be alive. His breathing was erratic and shallow, with a few deep guttural gasps every now and then. There was blood everywhere. I was in complete shock. I took a small step towards my friend, and a screen lit up.

I hadn’t noticed the screen at all at first, it was turned off, but it was propped directly in front of Mot. It was a large computer monitor, and didn’t show anything, but I could tell it was on. I stared at the lit up display, frozen in fear. Then I heard it. Ringing out from what sounded like thousands of hidden voices all around me. Sound projected directly into my head, I was unable to focus on anything but this voice. I couldn’t remove my eyes from the computer monitor, no matter how hard I tried. Every movement felt like the desperate attempt to get away from a monster in a nightmare. My body was completely frozen, taken over by something other than my own skeleton. My vision blurred, my spine cracked and I fell to my knees. As soon as my kneecaps hit the hard ground underneath with a loud crack, I saw a red face materialize before me, taking up my entire range of vision. It looked like a hundred faces melting into each other, blood and skin, and millions of eyes and teeth all looking at me, but ever shifting. A river of flesh and blood and bodies. I was transfixed, unable to look away, nothing around me existed anymore. I was face to face with a great beautiful being. I desperately wanted to, but my mind and my eyes were unable to comprehend the beauty. The voice reverberated in my skull. A beautiful voice. Not man, woman, but pure sound. The sound of an angel.

DO NOT BE AFRAID, MY CHILD.

“I’m not!” I cried. I was laughing and tears are streaming down my face, burning molten tears. Two hands caress my face, and I feel pure love. I cannot hear, I cannot see, I feel everything as euphoria. I open myself to allow God to come through, rib cage cracking. My body ceases being, becoming merely a face in the sea of flesh and blood enveloping me, and the secrets of this universe reveal themselves. Time doesn’t pass, and it never stops. I have been accepted into the kingdom of heaven, and God will prevail over his kingdom, as it is on Earth, so shall be it in heaven.

Amen.

Credit: H.D. Equels

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