When the split between calendrical time and quantum accounting set Earth-based humans against their comrades, history changed for one group and disappeared for the other.
The citizens of the Inner Solar System Alliance continued to operate on a Martian time scale, giving humans on the major planets and orbiting satellites a common measuring and planning tool, each according to their local traditional timekeeping.
Meanwhile, the Quantumites no longer kept track of a single chronological path.
They erased time from their conversations.
The Quantumite subculture existed in parallel with the ISSANet, able to operate in both systems when needed.
They were just as aware of spatial relation as they were to distance-independent means of making progress.
For them, sets of states of energy on one planet constituted a megastate of energies, a computational mass, an I/O engine whose inputs and outputs were tied, in ISSANet parlance, to both previous and future states of energy on other planets in our solar system and ones within our galaxy.
Space travel as envisioned by scifi writers was no longer necessary.
The Quantumites knew they were an existential threat to the majority of humans in the ISSANet so they did not make their presence known through recruiting methods or other ways of drawing unwanted attention.
Shadowgrass had met a Quantumite during research on the history of black hole mathematical modeling.
The Quantumite, itself a model for the type of person Shadowgrass had become, a bioelectromechanical being able to mature like a human being, had not wanted to reveal itself to Shadowgrass.
Shadowgrass would not have noticed anything different about the Quantumite except that it had the ability to manifest itself in more than one form in more than one place at a time, an accidental discovery that Shadowgrass made during a laboratory experiment, planting special RNA type material on everything in the lab when a piece of lab equipment exploded and spewed liquid all over everywhere.
A few sols later, Shadowgrass had flown over to another Martian Colony to give a live lecture and a biological material detector in his body signaled the presence of the RNA material in a group of sponges floating in an aquarium.
Shadowgrass took samples of the sponges back to the lab, analysed the samples and determined that the sponges’ genetic material closely matched that of the Quantumite.
The Quantumite gladly admitted the event was not a coincidence but the happy luck of Shadowgrass’ genius breaking a barrier.
After a long discussion, Shadowgrass agreed to keep the Quantumite’s existence as an unspeakable/unthinkable state of being.
Of course, the ISSANet, through deduction, reasoned out the gap in Shadowgrass’ research time and associated it with the presence of the Quantumite with Shadowgrass.
Vocabulary analysis further showed that Shadowgrass had changed his conversations with others, cutting them off unexpectedly or acting deaf when asked certain questions.
Although Lee and Guin were off on another mission and away from Mars, the ISSANet contacted them and requested their telemetric presence with Shadowgrass, explaining to them the unusual behaviour patterns that Shadowgrass had recently exhibited and a request that Lee and Guin extract the details from Shadowgrass.
Independent as they thought themselves to be, Lee and Guin understood they depended on the ISSANet as much as they didn’t want to.
They asked Shadowgrass directly about his contact with the Quantumite.
He explained that the Quantumite told Shadowgrass about its influence on Lee and Guin when they designed Shadowgrass.
They agreed the Quantumite was an unusual being and had been a big contribution to the attributes they gave Shadowgrass.
Of course, they knew the ISSANet was listening to their conversation.
Therefore, Lee and Guin could not at that time explain to Shadowgrass his quantum entanglement capabilities. Instead, they could only very slowly move Shadowgrass into contact with the Quantumites.
Shadowgrass had been embued at “birth” with the ability to see planetary systems as computatational states, large algorithms at the macro level.
The laboratories he had built were subconsciously designed to analyse the outputs of several planets at once, their own solar system an equation ready to be read at the right moment.
The Quantumites had linked quantum states across molecular boundaries, showing Lee and Guin, when they had discovered how to hide their clones from the ISSANet, how their own work was contributing to the Quantumite Library.
Every state of energy was connected to and led to the next state of energy, sets interlinked with sets.
When Quantumites had rejected the concept of time, they opened themselves to a form of immortality that ISSA citizens could only dream of.
It was like a snake shedding its skin and becoming an eagle which shed its form and became a sun which gave birth to a planet from which snakes formed, forms building on and changing into forms, ad infinitum.
Lee had actually been born a Quantumite.
So had Guin.
Many were born but many more created.
Some discovered their true selves and others were shown.
Some would never know.
Regardless of their state of awareness, Quantumites were linked across the galaxy in a level of awareness matched to their knowledge of self.
Some chose to remain in their human form their whole lives, experiencing the pain, joy, life and death of a single human life.
Some chose to leave their birth solar system and transform into other forms elsewhere.
Some chose mortality of 100 Earth years.
Some chose mortality of 8 billion sun years.
Some didn’t choose and allowed the semi-random interaction of sets of states of energy to determine their lifespan.
For those who chose immortality, the concept of self melted away.
A Quantumite never gave itself a name, being in a constant state of flux for which labels were meaningless except to temporary sets of states of energy like humans and other social creatures.
Lee, Guin and Shadowgrass used their birth names as a means to track themselves in the ISSANet.
Deep down, however, they knew they had no names, having achieved immortality as they individually learned how to transform from one shape to another, the idea of self vaporising into thin air like a morning fog.