redbugpest wrote:we can infer that the probe must have jumped away to the far reaches of the galaxy / universe /whatever
No, we couldn't, because the probes didn't have "jump" (by which you mean spacefolding?) capability.
Some hack in The Butlerian Jihad wrote: The humans had designed and begun to assemble a new model of long-distance space probe, an explorer of far-off planets. Such probes could be adapted as emissaries for the thinking machines, new substations for the computer evermind.
On the galactic map Omnius noted the travel times required by even a high-acceleration machine probe. He scanned territory designated as "Unallied Planets," not yet claimed by machines or human vermin. So many star systems for him to explore, conquer, and develop, and these prototype Giedi Prime probes would make that possible. The new evermind saw this as an opportunity—and so would his allied computers on all Synchronized Worlds.
And again, from the section I posted earlier:
Same hack in same book wrote:When the work had been completed, Omnius used his watcheyes to observe the flurry of launches—five thousand probes simultaneously taking flight, programmed to scatter to the farthest corners of the galaxy, even if such flights took millennia. Timescales did not matter.
So even if there WERE anything in the text to imply that the probe moved on, it would still take it MORE millennia to get there.
Oops ... sorry, GAME OVER, Petal.
Same hack in Hunters of Dune wrote: A small and innocuous-looking probe.
"Even seemingly insignificant things have great import. As this device proves."
Centuries before the Battle of Corrin, the last great defeat of the thinking machines, one of the evermind copies had dispatched probes out to the unexplored reaches of the galaxy with the intent of setting up receiving stations, planting seeds for the later expansion of the machine empire. Most of the probes had been lost or destroyed, never reaching a solid world.
Erasmus looked down at the small device, marvelously engineered, pitted and discolored from its many centuries of unguided flight. This probe had found a distant planet, landed, and begun its work, waiting ... and listening.
The probe was NOT IN SPACE. It received the signal ON THE SURFACE OF A PLANET where it had already begun rebuilding a machine civilization.
And lest you try to weasel around and claim that the probe on the altar wasn't the one that received the signal:
[Erasmus] looked down at the small probe on its altarlike stand. If that receiver hadn't been in the right place, the Omnius signal might still be drifting, attenuating. Quite an ignominious end ...
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