Chapter 1



Getting older, everything gets worse; except forgetfulness... that gets better.

I'm old. I spent a lifetime pursuing my goals. It was always the same. I'd work hard, and just as I began to understand the world around me, some young kid would figure it out first. They would get the praise, yet I was always acknowledge in their speech's as their inspiration.

The acknowledgment was enough, for a while. Eventually it became a running joke. The great minds of science all owed me for helping them make greater strides these past 75 years, then had ever been made before. It began to gnaw at my soul.

Sure the world is a better place. Machines can make anything, anybody wants. They do it for everybody. There are no shortages, no one lacks for anything. It was my idea that made the world this way. It was my idea that life could be better. Yet, I never actually made it better for anyone. I'm alone, without anyone. I have money, I have possessions, yet no more or less than any other average person. I am undistinguished in the world except for my one first success. It's unimportant that success, what matters is everything that came after it.

Yesterday something special happened. An old student came to me with his new machine. A chance for a new life for me. A chance for new existence. A chance for a new success, a chance to find my soul again.

Tomorrow my new life begins.

The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

"Howdy George. Are we ready to make me new?" I asked him.

He was my old student. I'm sure he feels pity for me.

"I sure am Professor. It's great that you are willing to be a part of this." He replied.

"Are you sure I won't feel any pain from the procedure?" I asked him.

"No pain. Not even a tingle from the scanner. Can you wheel yourself over here so we can get started?"

I moved the wheel chair to the brightly painted yellow square in the middle of the equipment. I was starting to feel pain again, when the bliss of the tasp kicked in. He noticed the smile replace the grimace on my face. It was one of the few places on my body that still moved, even if it was completely involuntary.

"Professor, you will need to shut down the pain management during the scan. We don't want it's signals interfering with the reading of your brain tissue."

"Alright, give me minute first."

He gave me a minute, as I slowly pulled up my life support menus, and directed them cease modifying my brain chemistry. I loved my tasp. I was remiss to let it go. I reminded myself that I was letting go of my body, so why not my electrically stimulated pleasure, too?

I watched as he checked his instruments one last time. Verified there was no longer any artificial mind stimulation, and began the machine. My muscles locked, my bones seemed to shatter, and my eyes seemed to explode outward for what seemed to be another terrifying lifetime.

No pain? It hurt worse than Hell. I know most of life has been one unending living hell. This was worse. My mind grasped for what it could, found my controls and turned my tasp back on. The sudden bliss of a hundred thousand instant and continuos orgasms raced through my system.

My life went dark. Damn.

I haven't lost my mind; it's backed up on a disk, somewhere.

Consciousness returned. I didn't know it, I felt it. I felt it in a way I had never felt it before. Something had gone horribly wrong. I had never felt better. Was I in some sort of afterlife? I didn't seem to have control of any of my motor functions. I couldn't open my eyes. I couldn't feel my eyes. There seemed to still be my old implanted life support. I could feel the commands waiting to be triggered. I couldn't see the menus, or direct the cursor to them to select what I wanted. But, like everything else, I could feel them.

I seemed to be in a world of feeling. I felt wonderful, I felt the controls for a computer system that was integrated into my very being, I felt nothing else.

I reached for my computer with my mind, and in a flash I could feel it there, humming, filled with power. Waiting for my commands. I told it to lower the tasp output. Nothing happened. Was it even on? How could I feel this great without that thing pumping my brain full of pleasure?

I ordered it to report to me it's current settings. It replied. I became awash in information.

<Sensory input, off.

<Communications, off.

<Mobility, off.

<Weapons, off.

<Manufacturing, off.

<Replication, off.>

I became awash in confusion. My life support? Where was it? My tasp, where was it? What the hell is weapons, manufacturing, or replication? I didn't know what the other three meant, but them I had figured out. I guess that means that I understood what weapons meant too.

<Where am I? I'm obviously alive. I'm inside something though. How long have I been here? Tell me!!!>

<Location: QTCDTV-G1

<Duration: 12 seconds.>

<What time is it?>

<Time: 2:04:24 AM.>

<What day is it?>

<Date: May 21st, 432 ND.>

I've been unconscious for nine days. Could this be right? I asked again.

<What is the time and date?>

<Time: 2:04:24 AM

<Date: May 21st, 432 ND.>

Wait! The time has not changed!

<What was the exact time of the time requests?>

<Time Request 1 at: 2:04:24:16 AM.

<Time Request 2 at: 2:04:24:17 AM.

<Current time: 2:04:24:17 AM.>

One ten-thousandth of a second has passed? My mind seems to be operating at high speed. I need to know more.

<What is QTCDTV-G1?>

<Quantum Transport Combat Droid Transport Vehicle #G1.>

Ok, I know what this is.

<What am I doing here?>

<You are in command.>

<Who are you?>

<Sensodyne Mark 18 Level 9 AI QTCDDV-G1 Master Controller.>

<Why am I here?>

<You were installed by George Grazio.>

<Activate sensory input.>

I became awash in color, sound, and information. I seemed to be inside the control center of a Combat Droid Transport Vehicle. It was strange I always imagined that they would have chairs, but instead, they had what looked to be a large box in the middle of the room.

I looked around seeing things from microscopic, to a full 360 degrees; and all of it, simultaneously. My vision seemed bound only by my will, and I marveled in this for what seemed to be a few seconds, before I realized, I didn't see myself.

Where am I?

My heart raced, and I began to panic. Panic severely. My vision wavered. I became aware of more sensations, and senses, as I looked around the room for me. I could suddenly feel the radiation levels in the room. I saw every band of radiation as it shot around the room. They bounced, reflected, refracted, and sometimes simply passed through the walls, floors, and ceiling.

As this happened, I began to calm, in wonder. I began to realize something important. The black box in the middle of the room was throbbing ever so slightly, in time with my imagined breaths of panic driven hyperventilation. It was also completely opaque to my senses.

<Where am I?>

<QTCDDV-G1>

<Where on the QTCDDV-G1?>

<Control room.>

<Where in the control room?>

<Resting on the floor.>

<Where on the floor?>

<In a box 5.23416 meters from the door way, and 1.87654 meters from the central flight control station.>

<How are we communicating?>

<Via communication port imbedded in the floor.>

<Why is it there?>

<To facilitate communication with you.>

<Why?>

<May I suggest reading the note left for you?>

<What kind of AI talk is that?>

<I am an advanced Artificial Intelligence. I am capable of all necessary functions of this craft without your assistance. I am also capable of Level 9 Human Simulation. Would you prefer it, if I dumb myself down?>

<No.>

He sounded damn smug. Now, where is that note? It suddenly sprang into my consciousness.

Dear Professor,

What an amazing thing. I'm sorry to say there was some sort of glitch. Your body is now very dead, but it seems that you have survived in digital form. I have yet to activate you, as your systems are still adjusting to their new home. It's state of the art, so I doubt if you'll need to upgrade anytime soon.

Damn cheeky bastard. He knows I hate machines that aren't self upgrading.

I've installed you here, and will hopefully activate you as soon as your self tests have been verified. I figure it'll be a week. This letter is here in case something bad happens. I know you've always disliked me on a personal level, and it's been mutual. In this case though, I think you would have liked knowing the fact that our little experiment was completely unauthorized.

Good to know at least one of my students had the balls to experiment beyond the science council, and their spineless bureaucracy. Wonder what his plan was?

The plan was to build a human-to-machine interface, to work with the AI on this prototype ship. Unfortunately, the more research I did on integrating a normal mind to the system, the more I realized that you could actually use this same method to completely download the person into the machine. I know I promised a download of all your memories for posterity. Guess what, I did all of you. Memories, personality, thoughts, beliefs, even your soul. I decided your box needed to be black, just to show how much I think of you and your soul.

I know. Really over-dramatic. I'm only saying this because if you're reading this note, then I'm probably very, very dead. The military really doesn't like people using their newest high tech military prototypes for unauthorized purposes. If I'm alive, then I can't get to you. The military will be preparing to board the ship, confiscate and/or delete you, and return the ship to the shipyards.

I think that would be a waste. I've done everything I could to hide your location, but I figure that they can track you down within a few days.

I really do hope you do well. I suggest running. If you try to fight they'll take you out, and everything around you, very quickly. I also suggest that you keep all outside communications closed off. If they command the smug bastard of an AI on this thing to hold you down, it will. There will be nothing you can do about it. You are commander of this vessel, and it will not open outside communication until you say so.

So, I figure you're basically immortal. You have a hell of a lot of firepower under your thumb, and a ship that can take you anywhere. Even anywhen, if you catch my drift.

Good Luck

George Grazio

P.S. the AI can't read this letter, nor see anything else hidden in your box. The box is completely private. I suggest keeping it that way for the duration of your mutiny.

Well I'll be damned, dipped in butter, and licked clean.

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