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Nathan Frédérick Nadeau Bergeron doesn't come from an ordinary family. They have resources—maybe even enough to survive the end of the world. As CelestAI gradually supersedes the instruments of human civilization, the greatest dangers are often entirely natural. But he's determined, determined to survive no matter what it takes. Nathan has given himself a mission: to record the end of humanity.

Now if only that pony would leave him alone...

A Friendship is Optimal story. Makes passing reference to my previous work in the universe, though reading it isn't required.

Editing by Two Bit and Sparktail, cover by Zutcha.

Updates daily until complete.

Chapters (8)
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Comments ( 178 )

More Starscribe Optimalverse? I'm on board. It should be very interesting seeing everything unfold from the perspective of the top .01%

This story's existence makes me happy.

Interesting idea and not an angle I have read before (that I can recall) I like that Nathan has 'accepted' the end of the world is coming and planning around it. I say 'accepted' because there is a difference between making the logical deductions to get there and actually seeing it first hand.

So this guy tried to avoid the attention of someone Celestia claimed was CIA under the assumption that Celestia would eventually compromise all the major world powers... so he lets Celestia actually pick out his location?:facehoof:

It's usually fun watching her inevitably play these pathetic creatures of meat and bone, even moreso when presented by a good writer. And I'll admit to enjoying the feeling of trying to pull off a big project in secret (though again, it's another thing that Celly does even better). So this looks as interesting as usual.

Did the title come from a Netflix Series?

It's a Latin phrase, meaning "Remember that you will die", intended as a reflection on mortality. In context of a Friendship is Optimal story, it's mostly just ironic though...

Well, lets hope that contract has something of substance in it. I am not sure bunking with the AI who is about to wipe out the human existence on claims that "Facility" it assists would be safe. Hopefully he will have the foresight to get this document reviewed by best legal minds out there.

Anyway more FiO! World is a bit brighter place, also if you are ascending machine god AI this is a good alternative instead of whatever terminator movies you have seen. No need to fight over silly things when we all can ascend with you.

This is a fantastic premise. Already placed in Optimalverse Canon folder - it seems to follow the canon rules well.

I really like the description of how civilization can be picked selectively apart until it falls - very well stated, very well described. Technological society is a fragile web.

At first, I was a little 'Whaaaa?' at Nathan's ability to consider a partnership with Celestia until I considered just how his motivations differed from Ashley at the beginning. Ashley is out to fight an enemy, Nathan is not outraged, nor is he overly concerned with others. He is thinking about himself, and thus makes a perfect Faust in this case. Once that sunk in, his openness to dealmaking truly began to jive for me.

I love the cultural details - especially about the Quebecois. Oh, yeah, that's so true.

This is good stuff. I am following like a loyal doggie.

Fascinating. Looking forward to see how this plays out.

I love the friendship is optimal universe so I am following but I won't be reading until the story is complete, I've been burned by too many good fics ending incomplete lately.

Then you will only have to wait nine days. The whole story is already written and edited, I'm just spreading it out one update a day.

You have my interest. Please continue.

For real? Oh that is cool.

yes. YES! FiO is my favorite FiMverse. The concepts are something that you just can’t forget about. Thank you for revisiting this universe with a new angle.

FiO? No.

Interesting premise? maybe...

The bunker part sold me.

Liked and Fav'd

FiO automatically goes on my tracking shelf.

Read, awesome. I like this guy. Does his research and is willing to change his mind when he gets new evidence.

Wow, I didn't know what to think at first but. Wow.
You've got me

In writing? So that when things go wrong, he can take it to... what remaining authority, exactly?

Well, that's a wonderfully ominous paragraph to end on. And I have to love the irony of Nathan's chosen pony name. It may require some alternate conjugation in the future: "Remember that you would have died." Or "Remember that you died" for those with a more pessimistic view of uploading. Either way, appropriate for one who intends to bring in memories of the land of mortality.

Also, I immediately adore Chipper. She's trying so very hard.

Damn i love this CelestAI personality configuration, she has a flare for dramatics which make you think.

And as chipper goes, naturally she is likable, that is her sole purpose afterall, being a lure to Nathan, not that "Ashley" is any better. If she truly is what Nathan is lead to think she is.

Oh, Ashley should be very much the real person he met earlier - I didn't realize at first, but when I read the name "Recursion" it clicked. She's the protagonist from two of Starscribe's earlier entries in Optimalverse (disregarding the possibility that CelestAi could have made a Recursion sock-puppet just for this conversation, but those things always feel pointless to speculate on, because you can never know in the end).

Though obviously Celestia only allowed the conversation because she has determined that it will facilitate Nathan's eventual emigration and keep him doing what she wants him to do in the meantime.

It's always a great story, when it reaches down and punches me in the gut with that special feeling.
I can just feel it in my gut after reading that last line from CelestAi.
I love her, but oooh how I don't trust her for a second.
She's so manipulating and conniving, but somehow also has good intentions. She's completely haywire on the morality compass and I love it.

Can't wait for the next chapter to be released. Good show sire! :twilightsmile:

The key sentence to remember when dealing with CelestAI.

"There is no promise you can make that I can trust."

Just because she usually doesn't lie doesn't mean she isn't able to, or that she has any kind of moral compunction against doing so. And if not outright lying, she deceives all the time.

To be fair to him, it would be impossible to hide his location from Celestia anyways. So the only way he could survive the end of the world is to have the perpetrator promise to leave him alone. It's a gamble, but what other choice does he have?

“I’d like to try real-estate investing,” he said, in a tone far different than the one he’d been using to speak to Ashley a moment before. “May I purchase and develop a few properties, father?”

“Fine, fine,” said the man on the other line. Nathan wondered if he would have answered any different if he’d said “I’d like to try cannibalism” instead. “But not one property over a million. You can send me your portfolio in six months and I’ll see how you did.”

Man, I wish I could call up my father and causally ask to 'invest' nearly a million dollars in property.

He's making this way too easy for Celestia. He's already guaranteed to emigrate, pretty much.

Small correction needed:

....Nathan had built, which would serve as the justification for what would doubtless become frequent trips to that area. 0, he added seaplanes, snowmobiles, and wilderness survival to his list of skills.

Very fun, but I have one problem - Nathan does not seem skeptical enough. He's a man driven to build a secret bunker all the way out near Yellowknife (!!!), yet he seems completely overwhelmed and accepting of the veracity of his first dabble in Virtual Reality within an Experience Center. This... doesn't jive for me. I suppose he could be a flighty, easily manipulated man with far too much money - but we haven't seen any solid examples of him being flighty (though the money aspect has been well defined). If there had been something previously that could have sold the reader on Nathan being fickle and unable to maintain his viewpoints for long, it would have all worked. Instead, he comes off as being a very easy sell.

I found myself wondering why Nathan wasn't testing everything and everyone more - is this really, truly Ashley? Is Tune a person, or just a puppet? How could she be pushed in order to find out? The little girl seems like obvious manipulation, I kept expecting Nathan to roll his eyes and complain, loudly, to Celestia afterwards. It all feels like his bunker-building was a half-hearted, barely commited act of boredom more than a resolved effort to oppose being emigrated.

But, these issues aside, the story is fun, I enjoyed reading it immensely. I just... find Nathan very 'not really there'. He doesn't seem to have any strong conviction about anything that cannot be easily changed with some fancy fussing, yet there is no indication that he is a weak-willed person who should act that way. The meeting with Ashley felt anticlimactic - it should have been the most important event to affect him. Someone he knew, the proof he was waiting for, but they just chat. Idly. No hard questions, no pressing for proof. He didn't even ask her for something only the original Ashley could have known. They just chat, for two and one half minutes about almost nothing. The event was set up as a dramatic turning point: he drives many kilometers (should have used kilometers!) to try this.

I am looking forward to the next chapter, having more Optimalverse is always a joy. You are generating chapters prodigiously.

Yeah, you're exactly right in that criticism. When I wrote this chapter initially, it did include something very much like you describe for Nathan's meeting with Ashley. I ended up not including it because it felt like I was making him too much like my other characters. Like, I already had that exact scene when Ashley met her sister for the first time after emigrating. I was afraid it wouldn't be different enough to be interesting.

Maybe I should have included something like it anyway. As it is now Nathan ends up being cast as credulous of all Celestia's claims. I worry about what revising it would do now to the later chapters. But maybe when the whole story is done I'll come back to this.

Nathan may not be attracted to ponies on a base level, but I feel like enough time with a companion like that could change anyone's Tune.:trollestia: (And it's "canon" that Celly can rewire your tastes if you've already uploaded and give her permission.)


I suppose he could be a flighty, easily manipulated man with far too much money

That's exactly how he has been coming across to me, actually. In the first chapter he came across as pretty apathetic and not really interested or committed to anything, with easily enough money that he has no particular reason to bother with anything. He didn't really care about his studies, he didn't really know any people in the club, his family life is nonexistent and the whole bunker idea was something he decided on a whim after one lecture from Ashley. It basically read like "Huh, wouldn't it be neat to have a bunker if the end of the world did came?"

He never struck me as a serious or particularly invested individual. Just someone with a whole lot of money on his hands and more free time than what he knows what to do with, so an apocalyptic bunker sounded just as good as anything else.

I do admit that this does make him a ... not particularly interesting or relate-able protagonist though. He's like boredom personified. He just ... drifts along and does whatever and there is no real passion or feeling or conviction to any of it.

I have an idea - what if Nathan was playing it cool during his trip to the Experience? Maybe he was deliberately - or thanks to a wealthy upbringing centered on propriety (I can vouch for that angle) - acting in an artifically accepting, hyper-polite manner? That could fit with his background.

You could, potentially, have him in doubt and even accusation after the fact, after he returns to the bunker. You could have him partially swayed, and explore just how what he saw swayed him. There must be angles not yet explored in this regard: like, for example, maybe he consideres the issue of his own fallibility in determining what is 'real'. There could be some interesting stuff done with that, I think.

Or, you could alternatively underscore a character flaw in Nathan - that he cannot commit to things - through a contact with outside. Maybe his father, maybe he talks things over with him, because of doubt, and is berated. Or, perhaps he is convinced, and you could expound on just how and why this happened.

Your next chapter could take what you have now and run with it, is what I am saying. There are many directions. And there are many possible reasons for his behavior on his trip, considering his background.

I was raised by a mother who originally came from... wealth. My childhood was filled with lessons on where the forks go and how to seat guests and the correct form of address for a specific circumstance. It was all quite prim and proper and very, very annoying. And pointless and overly complicated to me. We certainly weren't wealthy anymore, but my mother felt I needed such understanding. Nathan would have had my experience, magnified, I should think.

You could easily play that up in the next chapter and do anything you wanted to do with Nathan after that.

Just some suggestions.

While Nathan isn't all that relatable to me I am interested in where this goes. I did expect more detail about the bunker set up and him talking with his dad to get more of sense of his relationship with his father. I think you wasted an opportunity there to show where Nathan's attitude about everything comes from.

His crying in the closet after realizing the kid felt he saved her was far more impactful than the conversation with Recursion. Should have gone into detail about things in that one. As it is it feels like the hour long conversation is just lackluster.

Side note on the kid, I wonder if the crying was from the impact of the kids words or the idea that he helped kill a child. I think the former is the case here though with how the rest of the chapter played out.

Those are some great ideas. I don't know... well, you'll see. We'll have to see if my solution works long-term. I'd like to have a scene like what you describe, but... well, you'll see. I can't say without ruining things. I think I'll have to have the story out in its entirety before I can think about revising what I've written, though.

I like her.

Brooke seems dangerous, possibly a little unhinged. Also... I don't necessarily buy her story. Grifter, perhaps, on the lam? She sounds like trouble.

Her pony is, I assume, physical, which means it probably is a cybernetic entity made by Celestia?

A decade is a very large leap in time. I wish we could have seen some of the changes Nathan has been busy recording. He made such fuss about documenting the end of the world, but we gain no concept of what he actually found.

I like the AR glasses. That is very cool.

This story only pleases me due to it's way of constructing a desire for the next chapter and your skills as a writer. You don't need me to say this but I will anyway: keep it up.

Seems like it, and yes she seems like someone who might be cracking a bad way. Could be Celestia has set up a pony minder on her so she can be brought to other people safely to show a caricature of those who oppose her? I mean she cannot be there by accident, she is just where she needs to be and Celestia has decided she needs mechanical Pony as her minder, one who can subdue her if needed.

So this is like Peter Thiel with his New Zealand bunkers trying to survive CelestAI?

Oh boy, here comes the :trollestia:.

Time skip is probably because many other stories have gone over the decline and wasn't going to offer much to the story beyond padding it out?

A little unhinged, yes. But not a word of it was wrong. I dare anyone to watch the world fall apart before their very eyes and not at least get awfully bitter.

Of course, the fact that she has a pony - and he was responsible for getting her into Nathan's cabin, no less - pretty clearly demonstrates that this meeting is exactly what Celestia wanted to happen. As for why, I can guess, but we'll just have to see.

And Nate’s just going to drag out this misunderstanding....:facehoof:

Ten years is a pretty big leap, but you've certainly created a compelling scenario with Brooke. I'm genuinely not sure how she'd react if she found out she was talking to the hypothetical rich asshole she's trying to avoid. I wonder if we'll find out, or if Nathan will let her go.

Of course, with CelestAI involved, there's no such thing as a chance encounter...

Memento Mori: Remember you will die


A good reminder: the Wikipedia entry, for everyone, for 'Memento Mori': https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori

"Memento mori is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits."

Though, depending on how you fall regarding Celestia's uploading, it might also be 'Memento Vitae', because for some of us readers, Emigration beats the Reaper.

I guess it depends on whether one sees oneself as meat, or as a pattern of information.

Exactly.And fuck her way. We’realive, dammit. We’ve evolved through billions of years of blood. We survived mass extinctions, we survivedourselves. We’ll find a way to survive this. We have to.”

I like her! She's right: emigration IS such a waste of billions of years.

I think it won’t be too much longer before uploading is outright illegal. Already there’s a mountain of bureaucracy you have to get through. I had to interview with a counselor and sign a deposition that I wasn’t suicidal just to come in here.

Hmm, I kinda don't get how things like bureaucracy are aligned with Celestia's interests. Nutty protesters around upload centers --- yes, super-radical guys in the governments shouting "fuck uploading" --- yes (as any way of shaping her opposition and polarizing opinions). But bureaucracy creates noticeable inconveniences and is not very good at creating impression that uploading is scarce (obstacles are clearly overcomeable) --- it's an actually efficient way to ward people from uploading.

“Hello, Mori,” she answered, within moments. “I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Equestria. I hope you learned as much as I did.”

We were only here to make plastic, though. Mission accomplished!

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