Mindsong

Definition

n. – mindsong

The connecting stream that defines the y’nal itself.

Notes

This one is really difficult to nail down, because there are so many facets to it.  Fido refers to mindsong as the core of the y’nal; the thing that actually makes the bond possible in the first place.

It’s important to the Tarthet for much more than a means of communication, though, because they also use it as a source of energy to feed themselves.  Without such a connection, their higher biological processes begin to shut down.  In the short term, that translates to losing the ability to move around, but after that, the effects will progress with increasing speed, resulting in a kind of half-death.  In that state, everything that the individual has learned is lost.  They revert into a vegetative state: the body itself continuing to live and function, but the mind that drives it now lost forever.  Further, once the link has been disconnected to the point of beginning to affect movement, the biological component that enabled that connection has already atrophied and died away, which is usually little more than a death sentence to them.

The longer I’m subjected to awareness of it, though, it seems that mindsong is more like something the Tarthet have simply learned to tap into and use to their advantage.  According to the Tarthet, all sentient life has it, and while I can’t vouch for the rest of life in general, I can say with all certainty that Terrans have it too, though the intensity and clarity varies widely from person to person.

The core of the problem (which is behind this entire conflict with them in the first place) is that, to their minds, the definition of sentience only includes mindsong that they themselves are able to perceive, and they aren’t able to “connect” with us at all.  Well, under normal circumstances they can’t, at least.  Fido’s situation was unique, in that he was forced to actively cast out for another mindsong in order to survive; something no Tarthet individual has had to do before.  Or, more accurately, something no Tarthet has ever heard of, because if an individual succeeds in “changing the channel”, they are then effectively cut off from the y’nal with the rest of them, and can’t pass on their experience.

Unfortunately, again, to the Tarthet, only those forms of life with detectable mindsongs are considered sentient, so those individuals who might have found a way to survive being disconnected won’t be allowed to live for very long anyway.

If there were only a way to get them to understand that their ability to perceive mindsong doesn’t by itself indicate possession of self-awareness!

For my part, I don’t know if I might have the ability to connect with the rest of the Tarthet yet.  In fact, we don’t really have a clue how far our own link will extend, or even if it’s affected by distance in the first place.  These are things we hope to be able to explore later on, after we get back home and navigate the inevitable bureaucratic insanity Fido’s presence is going to create.

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