I had absolutely no concept of time, since I did none of the things which mark the passing of days. There were no announcements like, “I am hanging your breakfast bag of nourishment.”
Somewhere during the interviews, it changed from what I had done, to what would you do if. One of the dumbest of them was, what would you do if you went into a room with ten hostages and a terrorist. He is holding one as a shield and has a pistol to that one’s head. He is threatening to kill them all. If you had no weapon whatsoever would you attack the hostage?
I told the interviewer I couldn’t answer that, since I would never be in that situation. I would not go into a situation like that unarmed, unless I was bringing the terrorist some kind of way out. If they simply wanted someone to attack the terrorist and die without having done any good, I would never have agreed to go in. I remember my 1st sergeant’s advice, from my first combat tour, “Save yourself first, cause you can’t save my ass if you are dead.”
I’m not sure what any of that had to do with pulling my plug. Well it wasn’t as simple as pulling a plug there were a few more active measures needed than simply pulling a plug, but it was the same thing. I knew for a fact that within a mile of were I lay, there were at least a hundred men or women, who would gladly do it with a pillow, if given the chance.
After a half dozen ‘what if’ interviews a woman came in. I could tell from her voice that she was female. “Good Morning Maxine. I am going to raise your bed so that you can see each other.”
“Good, you are the first one willing to look me in the eye, when they deliver the bad news,” I said.
“Maybe because what I have to say isn’t all bad news,” she suggested.
“Unless you have a way to give me my life back, the best you can do is not so bad news for me,” I said trying to smile for her. When the bed finally got me high enough to see over my feet, I noticed that she was at least a hundred pounds over weight. She was also at least older than me.
“So here is the deal. We need to have a little philosophical talk, then I am going to offer you a deal.” she said.
“Like on a that TV show. I can tell you now I want the curtain,” I said trying to be myself to the end.
“Trust me you can’s afford not to take it. First of all let me say that this is not a one sided deal by any means. You bring something to the table in spite of how you might feel. We aren’t just being nice to you, because we love your winning ways.”
“Good, I could never keep that front up forever,” I said. “So let hear the deal.”
“Oh no first you have to hear the philosophical part. There is even a little God complex in the speech. What would you think, if I told you, that the soul is no more than the realization that one day we are going to die.”
“I wouldn’t doubt you since I have never been all that big on souls. I think that doing right and wrong is learned behavior, no more.” I said.
“Then you believe that we are the sum total of our experiences interpreted through the filter of what we grew up believing?” she asked.
“Of course, it’s why some people can kill one person to save a hundred others. But two people can do the same thing and the world will call one a hero and one a villain. I’m not sure I understand that.” I replied.
“Most of us don’t really understand it, but some of us use it,” she said.
“I know, I have done the same. Bet my life that if I ever got before a Jury, they would not convict me.” I said.
“Better judged by 12 than carried by 6,” she agreed. “I have certainly heard that enough times as justification for bold actions.
“On both sides of the good and evil line I’m sure,” I added for her.
“That is true. So it seems they were right,” she said. She saw the look of confusion on my face. “All the reports on my desk.”
“Ah the interviewers who proceeded you,” I agreed.
“And the background reports. On paper you were perfect, the interviews were all we could hope for and more. You are not only perfect where it counts, you bring just the right baggage to the project. The reputation the lifestyle and the resources. There is no reason anyone would doubt you or connected to us in any way,” she said.
“And that is important why?” I asked.
“That is important because we don’t want anyone to question what we are doing. With your lifestyle no one would ever question anything you do, because no one has a clue what you will do next week.”
“I’m sure this somehow makes sense, but I don’t understand it,” I said.
“You already know about the Eve and Lucy projects. Eve is a leap ahead from Lucy, don’t you agree?” she asked.
“Yes Lucy was a great friend, but on the retarded side. Eve is almost human even to me who knows she isn’t.” I said.
“We are ready for the next generation. An entity who is totally robotic but programmed with every bit of information from a human brain. A body that is a 100% working replica of a human with their memories and thinking because it is their brain only in a computer. The perfect entity. No one will be able to tell that this entity isn’t human.”
“But the entity will know?” I asked.
“Yes if you steal someone’s brain, they are going to know it was stolen. They are going to know that when they put their hand on a hot stove, there should have been pain, even though there is none.” she said.
“So I assume you are going offer me the chance to be the first of these,” I said rushing to the end of the story as I always did.
“That’s pretty much the whole story. We can’t do this with just anyone, they wouldn’t fit our profile, and they probably wouldn’t agree, because it will burn out the brain in the human form. There is so much to transfer from the body to the host, that there is considerable damage to tissue.”
“So worst case it doesn’t work and I’m dead?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
“And it has never been done on a living person?” I asked.
“No, Eve’s personality was from a cadaver,” she said. “So not only was her body not perfected the programming of the brain left some things that needed our input regularly.”
“If this works, can the new me go back and be the old me?” I asked.
“The prospect of that, is a large part of our choosing you,” she admitted.
“Then what is the downside?” I asked.
“It is all going to be new ground. We have no idea who or what this new entity would be. It might still have to be terminated at any stage,” she admitted.
“So are you the creator, or the controller, or both?’ I asked.
“I choose none of the above. I’m just the least geeky of the geeks. None of the others could explain it to you as well.” she admitted.
“You didn’t even need to do that,” I said.
“Yes we did. If you work up in an Eve type body, there is no telling how you would have reacted. You aren’t going to be like any of the others. You are going to be one of a kind. You might even be the first of a new breed. If something built with a blow torch can be a breed as such.” she said.
“Trip that IV and let me wake up with a new working body even if it ain’t mine,” I said.
“I can do that. By the way I’m sure at 44 years old you were worrying about getting too old to do the things you do. You can forget that shit now,” She grinned when she said it.
I drifted off to sleep with dreams of Dorian Grey without the painting in the attic. I felt better than I had since the jaywalking indecent happened.
When I woke up there were no tubes sticking in me. I did have electrical wires running everywhere, though. I go just a quick glimpse in a mirror before I got shut down. Somehow I knew exactly how much time passed. It was just under two hours later, when I got turned on again. I woke up instantly, and I just knew things. I didn’t really wake up in the old sense of the word. I realized that someone had turned me on.
“Maxine how are you doing,” a human voice asked.
I heard it on a different level than than the next thing I experienced. I just kind of understood them without hearing. That second thing was a kind of data load that instantly filled my mind with the time date and temperature and a hundred other things. “Now that is going to take some getting used to,” I said, or did I say anything.
“What the wake up data load,” the voice asked.
“Yes that,” I said.
“Did it process different from my voice. or did you process them the same?” the voice asked.
“They were different,” I said.
“Good, then your computer is processing them just as Eve’s does. The processing you are doing at this moment is voice processing,” he said.
“Okay, I get that,” I replied. Then suddenly there just appeared a bunch of data in my brain like a thought.
“That data just appeared there,” I said. “I didn’t have to process it at all. It was just there.”
“Good, then we have a voice link and a data link,” I heard him say it to someone else. The data link just filled my mind with everything that had happened since I was shot. All the news casts I had missed. I probably knew more at that moment, than I would have known had I been awake for it all.
I spent exactly 17 and a half minutes being updated on the current state of the world. I didn’t know that I was going to like that clock thing constantly going off in my head. I had a feeling I needed to talk to the controller and get some kind of understanding. Make this livable, or just turn my much better looking ass off.
Yes part of the new me had a younger face and body, not drastically so, but some. It still had the raggedy ass hair though. I guess we were going to go with I spent the last month in a spa. Now that was a fairytale no one was going to believe. We could try, ain’t it amazing what a few weeks of deep sleep can do for the body, horse shit.
There might be some really nice things about the new me. One thing I did like, I still saw me as me. I was afraid that I would feel even more like a freak. I had always been a little freaky, so I guess it was just another reason I was perfect to be the first whatever the fuck I was.
I wanted to see the operator’s manual for this robo shit. I had to get some idea whether I could enjoy Helen’s food or not. I knew for damn sure I wanted a steak and baked potato from her kitchen at that moment. That did make sense, since my brain still thought it was in the old body. Whether I would want a second one, after I ate the first, was debatable.
“I love that she is trying to adapt to the whole thing. It’s like there is no shock at all,” the controller said to someone.
“Hey clown, you need to shut that mic down while you are talking about me,” I said out loud. I didn’t know how to send a text yet.