The Suthidruu, my twistedly compassionate genocidal monastics, are given to exterminating all life in whole galaxies, one planet-buster or nova-trigger at a time. Their motivation is the belief that they are sending their victims to paradise, offering salvation, on its face a murderous delusion.
But what if they are at least partly right? What if there’s a grain of truth to it all, however warped?
What if they are sending their victims to paradise, just not to the one they actually believe in in some other dimension of reality?
In some far corner of the universe lies a red dwarf star. Enclosing that star in layers, like an onion for ogres, or a parfait for talking donkeys…
…there is a massive structure, a collection of solar collectors and computing elements…a Matrioshka brain. Within its vast network of circuits lies a virtual universe.
It is a relic of the bygone days of the Nine Who are One. It is here that paradise lies, in this massive universe-within-machine. Here, all of the destroyed species are uploaded by mind-ripper technology and here they exist as data-patterns.
In the Suthidruu’s infamous Last Rites ceremony, the neural patterns of every species on a world capable of perceiving and reacting to its environment are destructively copied. Brains and nervous systems are turned to soup, and the data uploaded to the Matrioshka brain. They reside as digital shades unaware of their predicament and existing in this virtual world for as long as the ‘brain can draw power from its star.
The mind-ripper is effectively black-box technology to the Worms, considered to be holy relics of mysterious construction.
There is no downloading to a new body, or return to an old one for the copied data-pattern. They’re stuck there, to await the company of the Suthidruu far in the future of the universe.
That’s when the Pious Worms have finally fulfilled their duty and destroyed themselves in a final mass-uploading. Only then will they know the truth behind the myth, when the patchwork nature of Paradise is revealed, its less-than-optimal simulation of the hereafter obvious in the universe’s dying days as the star powering it cools to a lightless cinder.