Merak

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Adrian Wagner's space fantasy is a unique hypnotic journey which can be enjoyed as a light ballet on the Video. This work created between the Composer and the game programmer, Jeff Minter, now enjoys a cult status as being the first animation to "take the computer game and turn it into an artform". The journey to the Core on MERAK really cannot be put into words.

Album Track Titles :-

1. Liftoff

2. Hyperdrive

3. Planet Inti

4. Space Battle

5. Deep Space

6. Ice Planet

7. Further and further in...

8. Colourspace

9. Another Son

Click on the speaker icon to download and hear an MP3 compilation track from this Album. (1.3MB)

The story of Merak:-

Mankind has expanded into the Galaxy, having overcome such trivial limitations as FTL (Faster-than-light) space travel, and is beginning to explore his environment. Study of the Galactic core has revealed some form of disturbance there, and as a result of this disturbance, instability and anomalous occurrences have become common throughout our Galaxy. A couple of manned expeditions have been sent to the core to investigate. They both report that at the Galactic core exists a huge, nebulous cloud of meta-matter, at once chaotic but also strangely structured, as if it were symmetrical in dimensions we cannot readily perceive. This core continuously radiates energy in all known forms and frequencies. To human senses and instruments it presents itself as a vortex of pure colour, constantly pulsating in complex rhythms and sequences of iridescence. The Core emits across all the electromagnetic spectrum; listening to radio-frequency emanations on the Earth shipsí instruments one could hear celestial music-that-was-not-music, lacking the structure and form of conventional ideas of what music should be, but still pleasing to the senses, full of intricate harmonics and modulations. The human crews of the probe ships named this Core region Colourspaceí.

Both probe ships reported that Colourspace appeared to be under attack from spacecraft of a type and technology unknown amongst any of the sentient races Mankind had yet encountered in his Galactic exploration. It was postulated that the ships were extra-Galactic in origin, and that they were, by attacking its core, de-stabilizing our own Galaxy, possibly with a view to causing a catastrophic implosion of the matter forming our Galaxy and somehow using the colossal release of energy which such an event would produce. What they wanted the energy for, could not be known; but they had to be stopped, or all life in our Galaxy would cease.

Unfortunately, before either ship could return to Earth with a more detailed report, the same fate befell both vessels, and showed us another characteristic of the Colourspace region: it sent men mad. The crews of the ships found their attention taken up more and more with the phenomenon at the Core: they took to watching it at all times, staring into the shifting, swirling iridescence, listening to the music. The more they listened, the stranger they became: they began to talk of becoming one with the Core. Eventually both captains, obsessed with the mania, set the controls for the heart of the Core region and flew on in, and neither ship was heard from again.

It was decided that the only way to deal with the alien ships threatening the Core was to send a single ship carrying weapons enough to ensure destruction of the enemy- and with a crew composed entirely of androids, who could be constructed in such a way as to be impervious to the hypnotic powers of the Colourspace Core. The destabilization at the Core were becoming more serious by the day, and so the combat expedition was launched desperately early - many of the ship's systems were untested and, to be honest, pretty much a hack. (In fact, there were those who thought that the ship should not be launched at all until all shipís systems had been thoroughly restructured and de-bugged. Of course, such people, had they had their way, would doubtless have enjoyed a beautifully structured and perfectly de-bugged Galactic implosion, so they were soundly ignored, and in fact the First Law of the construction androids was inscribed in a prominent position upon the hull of the craft: IF IT WORKS, DON'T KICK IT.)

The crew of this mighty ship comprised of a variety of sub-sentient and highly-specialized battle-droids. These androids were not conscious entities in their own right; they were each designed to perform a specific task such as weapons maintenance, subspace navigation, hyperdrive modulation and the like. Each android was linked into the ship's systems and sensors, and also to the control network of the ship's captain, a trans-sentient android by the name of Merak.

(A word here about trans-sentient androids). TSAs were built by Man, and yet were not entirely his creation. It was discovered fairly early in Mankind's experimentation with computer technology that artificial sentience could not be created by mere programming, no matter how subtle the heuristic algorithms employed. However, as the media for such experimentations moved away from the early silicon based systems to the infinitely more powerful and compact molecular-level processors, it was found that if a sufficiently complex neural net was created, it would sometimes quite spontaneously become aware, sentient. It was as if a soul came to inhabit the neural network provided for it by Man. Such occurrences were rare, and could not be reliably reproduced. TSAs, (Trans-Sentient Androids) were androids which were in every way the equal of Man, and in very many ways his superior. Only seven TSAs had ever been created, and they were amongst the most valued and respected beings to inhabit this Galaxy. Merak was one of these!

1: Lift-Off

After an initial malfunction, the sublight thrusters cut in and blast the spacecraft into orbit around Merak's homeworld. Upon reaching orbit, the thrusters cut out leaving the craft hanging silently in space...

2: Hyperdrive

..until the FTL drive cuts in. The primary FTL boosters accelerate the craft to the very edge of lightspeed, at which point the secondary thrusters engage, sending the vessel translight. Meta-relativistic effects produce the illusion that the ship is racing through the warp tunnel until the FTL into a rotating, pulsating vortex-tunnel. The ship drive continues disengaging, leaving the ship in the vicinity of a planet at the very edge of the Galactic Core. Merak takes the ship down to investigate the planet.

3: Planet Inti

He finds a world full of strange growths and bright colours. The trees emit light rhythmically in various colours. Aurorae blaze across the sky. After a while over the planet, the indigenous animals begin to take an interest in the ship. Strange, furry, half-familiar beasts flit amongst the fractal trees. The animals become more agitated the longer the ship hovers over the planetís surface. It seems they are not pleased at the intrusion on their privacy. They begin to congregate near the ship, and Merak feels that it might be prudent to leave.

4: Space Battle

Upon reaching interplanetary space, an enemy fleet shows upon the shipís scanners. Merak plots an intercept course, and as the ship streaks through space towards the hostile craft, the weapon systems are brought on-line and up to power. Soon, our ship reaches the enemy fleet, and a blazing laser battle begins. Ship after ship succumbs to Merak's well-aimed lasers, until finally there is but one ship remaining the leader of the alien fleet. A tense dogfight ensures, and although Merak manages to blast the flagship, his own ship is dealt a crippling blow by the alien's final missile. Merak's ship begins to die.

5: Deep Space

The ship drifts through deep space, with nearly all systems offline. The android crew are silent and de-activated - except Merak, whose self-contained power unit keeps him alive. He sits in the lifeless ship, contemplating the cold beauty of deep space. Eventually the ship is drawn into the gravitational influence of:

6: The Ice Planet

Merak summons the last reserves of the ship's power in order to descend to the surface of this planet. He lands upon a huge plain of ice. He leaves the ship to wander upon the surface, but the combination of intense cold and failing power unit are soon too much for him. He falls, and his lifeless eyes stare out across the icy plain.

So ends the material existence of the trans-sentient android, Merak.


7: Star Child

I: Further and Further In...

As the neural network in which it lives fails, the soul of Merak detaches itself and begins its astral voyage. Gradually, awareness returns to the now free-floating soul. Merak is aware that he is floating in the nebulous folds of some huge structure. He is calm, as calm as only those who have no physical body can be. He drifts through a structure seemingly composed of coruscating, pulsating clouds of colour... or at least that is how it seems to his soul, so recently released from a physical existence and still conditioned to interpret phenomena in the terms of the material senses. The direction of motion seems to be toward some distant centre. Memories of his past life, his mission, nudge at his subconscious. This place seems to him almost familiar... and at last he realizes: it is Colourspace, the Galactic core. His soul has entered the maelstrom...

The journey continues. As the vortex becomes more dense, the soul begins to receive huge amount of sensory data - the vortex is radiating across all energy spectra. Merak perceives this as the most extraordinary sensory phenomena on all six material sense-channels. Waves of sensation traverse his body (he still thinks in terms of a body... he hasn't been dead long); explosions of colour and complex symmetric forms fill his vision; in his mind rings the eerie music-that-is not music, at once chaotic and melodious. Merak drifts, in awe at the spectacle, and something happens...


Merak starts to remember.

He has been here before. We have all been there. He remembers the journey at the end of the countless thousands of previous lives... the journey into the Core, into the Galactic Mind. For the Galaxy itself is a living creature, and souls but fragments of that great Mind, placed within the physical structure of the Galaxy to gather experiences, and at the end of those material lives to return here, to give up those experiences to the Core, to be cleansed and returned to another life. But this time, it is to be different. Instead of giving up his experiences to the Core, he begins to receive intense amounts of input. The Mind is giving him back his past lives! Merak's consciousness reels as a colossal tide of data threatens to swamp and overload his mind - but his mind, freed of any physical constraints, simply expands to encompass the flood of memories...

He was/had been male, female, human, alien, animal.. the past experiences streamed out through his consciousness. He remembered the primal terror of a semi-sentient anthropoid seeing fire for the first time; the beauty of the sunrise on a thousand different planets. He experienced again love, both of the soul and of the body, from a startling variety of viewpoints.

He was a priest; he was a thief; he was a caveman; he was an astronaut and through all this, linking all the memories together, a great chain of deaths, stretching back and back into infinity... thousands, millions of times he had died! He had died on the sword, been blown to pieces in wars innumerable, murdered, shot... he had passed away from the effects of a bewildering array of illnesses.. he knew the peaceful, serene death of the mystic certain of an afterlife, and the unreasoning, overwhelming terror of the beast at slaughter forced to a death it could neither avoid nor comprehend. He saw also, the minds of all the programmers who had ever programmed him - Through them he found the Wise Ones and understood. They appeared before him - the Wise Ones - passed through him - into him.. reaching down... further and further in... touching his inner self - adjoining together with him... further and further and further in.

8: Colourspace...

Gradually, the flood of memories slackened. Merak was by now a being in flux, still desperately trying to order and assimilate the experiences of a million lifetimes... and yet a part of his consciousness remained aware of the journey, of the drift towards the centre of the Galactic Mind. The chaotic vortex seemed to become more coherent, pulsating and emitting sounds that sounded almost like the chanting of monks or priests... the souls of the believers, singing in their Heaven at last? He could not know.. At last he emerged from the dense maelstrom into a region of relative quietness, inhabited by phospenes which zipped around, twirling capriciously in an almost playful manner, but still he was travelling towards the centre, the Core, which appeared to him to be a painfully bright sphere, growing as he drifted towards it.

Approaching the Core, the music-that-was-not-music intensified until it became almost unbearable. The bright sphere loomed ever larger. Eventually, the music expanding so as to fill almost his entire consciousness, Merak penetrated the boundary of the Mind of the Galaxy... Merak was at one with the Galactic Mind.

9: Another Son...

Merak separated from the Galactic mind an entirely new type of being. Faced with a threat to its existence, the Galaxy had created in Merak a metasoul - almost like a child of the parent Mind, having the capability to assume a corporeal form at will - or to revert to being a creature of pure energy, to roam the Galaxy by effort of will alone - and to destroy those who threatened the Mind. His mission burning in his mind, Merak sped out of the Galactic core and back into normal space.

A starchild is born, and the Galaxy awaits his coming... ...

 

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New DVD of Merak

At last - the long awaited DVD of this cult animated film!

I am pleased to announce the release of this new digitally enhanced widescreen version of the original science fantasy film of 'Merak' with music and story written and conceived by Adrian Wagner alongside visuals performed by the game programmer Jeff Minter.
This DVD is available on NTSC or PAL conversions.

Adrian Wagner's Albums and Art are also available by visiting his eBay shop below:--

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/AdrianWagnerFineArtsandMusic

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