Last of the Humans
Read 'em and weep...
The opaque sunglasses blocked any light. A fllat plane appeared, turned into a map, then a 3D structure, and finally it minimized to a floor. He was slowly getting his bearings in this version of a cyber base. A beautiful spiral nebula was floating around near the ceiling.
"Hi," a voice said from above him. "Do you know where you are?"
"Getting it though my skull where I work?" he asked.
"That's funny. You're dry skull." it sounded more like a perky female now. "Okay, Skull. Lesson one. how to design a galaxy."
He tried to absorb her instructions which were brilliantly simple and profound at the same time. He realized that he didn't know her name.
"Who are you?"
"Watch," she said and the nebula deepened into spiral cone as the view went toward a bright point of light and then cleared to a cluster of unbelievable complexity and choreography. "You can make anything here," she happily summarized.
"I really appreciate this, Watch, but I need to test my theory. Can I rig this for new rules? There are some rather long and tedious computations that must be performed."
The sky vanished.
"Choose creativity or automation." she replied curtly.
His heart felt like it was in a tug of war between horses galloping in two opposite directions.
"I cannot do both. It must be the latter," he said disappointedly.
She said "Correction, do as he says. Skull, it is now yours."
Continued draft, Scribd, Amazon.
Holmoff stood at the head of the conference table. Ray and Qui-Ling were seated along the side opposite Pavlov, and others surrounded them.
"What we are about to discuss is private and should not leave this group. The company is involved in international beta tests of an urban project which involves human upgrades that we have dubbed Streetseeker. This meeting is intended to introduce you to the conversion process. First, I'd like you to meet Dr. Kent Stone who will be your supervisor. He is an expert in transhuman metamorphosis."
A handsome, medium-height, athletic, blonde man stood and went to the same position. He smiled briefly and brushed the edge of the table which cleared the previous images. "The procedure is straightforward. Each person is evaluated. A list is made of their dominant skills and weaknesses." As he spoke, a different slide accompanied each sentence. "We then determine which are structural limitations, compare development options, and select those which fit the requirements profile. After we implement changes, there is a reevaluation. Those who pass will be connected to the others. Skills are then prioritized and activated. There are then a few final conformance checks. That is the summary. Are there any questions?"
"Why don't they just use robotics or telepresence for this?" Ray asked.
"This project will look at both first impressions and longer-term change. It specifically requires human brains and bodies in order to get conscious feedback on social elements including communication, identity, memories and emotions," the doctor replied.
Qui-Ling raised her hand. "Would I lose any of my creative talents?" she asked suspiciously.
"That is not necessary," Stone replied. "Your new capabilities are intended to complement the existing ones. For example, you might choose to be magnetically attractive to others. It will not be pursued here, but we are also researching uploads between twins which would make an identical copy in case we needed to restore the original state."
"Can we go back after?" Ray asked.
Stone looked at Holmoff who shook his head. "That will not be possible. This will be a one-way process. As with medical operations, you must decide beforehand what is the best course. There can be adjustments, however. You can select to be seen as a natural authority figure. Other than yourselves, noone need know that there has been any change."
Pavlov studied the diagram on the display. it depicted a human It showed the skin layers and brain. There was a photonic communications and control backbone, biosensors, wireless transceivers and enhanced replacement organs. Most of it was error-correcting and self-healing. "How much will this cost?" he wondered aloud.
Holmoff gestured that he would field that one. "Normally, an upgrade as expensive as this would be secured by a loan to the recipient which had to be repaid on a usual interest plan. The power law of the square of the number of connections alone would show a positive ROI. In this case, there are tasks in the project that will be completed on behalf of the client so the income from that will cover the costs.and you are free to enjoy the benefits."
"There are some maintenance requirements, of course," the physician added, "but these are similar to your normal expectations and will be covered by an insurance plan."
Others had some brief administrative and ideological questions. They were told that, if this seemed to exceed their religious practices, they were encouraged to not be involved. Noone backed out. The event had gone as expected. A calendar was displayed and the group was dismissed.
Continued draft. Scribd Amazon
The Art of Creative Nonfiction, Lee Gutkind, 1997
The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass, 2009
Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass 2001
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, Donald Maass, 2004
Writing Fiction for Dummies, Ingermanson and Economy, 2009
20 Master Plots & How to Build Them, Ronald B. Tobias, 2003
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, 2006
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King, 2nd edition, 2004
Writing Popular Fiction, Dean R. Koontz, 1972
Elements of Writing: Plot, Ansen Dibell, 1988
How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, Orson Scott Card, 2001
How to Write a Damn Good Novel, vol. 1, James N. Frey, 1987
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