Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Daily Story 6: Unity of Purpose

I think I’m the last one who remembers the day John uploaded his mind into the computer.

It wasn't what he wanted, it wasn't a magical sci-fi transformation into a glorious angel of technology and light; it was just a brain dump. As head of the project he knew it wasn't ready, but the divorce had put a lot of stress on him. When the transfer was complete the human version stepped into his office and tried to catch a bullet with his frontal lobe, and we were back down to just one John - if only for a while.

John in the computer wasn't alive exactly, the technology wasn't really there. He had some of John's personality and memories, but it wasn't the same. If there was some way to give an existing healthy adult autism and Alzheimer’s right after castrating them, you might end up with something close. We monitored him, talked to him. The project continued. After about a year an intern screwed up while setting up a test system, and he copied John. It was a stupid mistake, but once it had happened it felt wrong to try and undo it. Before any real decision could be reached we checked on them and found that the two Johns had started talking. Mostly they went in circles; John had always loved the sound of his voice, loved talking to people who agreed with him. It seemed best to leave them.

When the project was finally finished, they uploaded one John into the prototype. He asked about his double, but we only had the one brain ready and somehow we forgot about it after that in the excitement of production and marketing, last minute tweaks and fixes. I think the other John just stayed around in the system. If we had moved him to a positronic brain would things have happened like they did? Or was it that he was in a brain without a body? We had looked into getting an unused body for John, but there were legal issues so we set that aside for later and told him to have patience.

Immortality is a popular product, and the scientists and executives at the company were no exception. Everyone transferred over, everyone but me. I was always looking towards the next model and kept putting it off. I said I would do it when we hit that magical goal of fifty percent saturation, but we had only replaced forty-eight percent of adults in the country when it happened. We were sending a small firmware update down the tube, just a minor patch that would allow for better file sharing. It loaded into memory and then installed when everyone went to sleep.

They woke up as John.

At this point I think it was the John in the positronic brain and the copy working together, but I don't know. I see them kidnapping others, replacing them. Even children. It happened so quickly nobody could react. My girlfriend had installed the update – she was working the night shift so she found out in time but I couldn't do anything, couldn't get to the lab because they already controlled it. She stayed awake as long as she could, but everyone has limits. She's so beautiful when she sleeps. I'm watching the sun shine through her hair, watching the rise and fall of her chest as she dreams of being John.