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Love’s Not Worth Dying For More than Once (2033 Immortality Fiction Contestant)

Posted: Thu, January 17, 2013 | By: Fiction



by Tyler Schuster

This was it. This was what all the bloggers had been talking about in the net. Nanobots. Nanobots in the blood, through the blood-brain barrier and into the mind. Brain augmentation. It seemed like everyone was getting them now. Tripped past tipping, it seemed.

A signature, retinal scan, transfer, and then a syringe, a quick stick (not willing to commit to an injection sphincter yet; would decide soon), the pull of mass-equal blood draw, and it was done.

The magnetic activation chamber was cold and sterile. There was a static sensation like a numbed foot throughout as it powered on, but not unpleasant. It might have gone away or maybe the nerves just acclimated to it. No thoughts at first, just a swaying.

-Calibration should take about fifteen minutes, but you’re free to leave anytime.

A few minutes in a chair cleared the remnant dizziness. Out the door and life seemed a little clearer, more intuitive.

Her: twenty-five, augmented, blue eyes, fifty-six feet, 8 km/hr; him: fifty-one, unaugmented, brown…

The information buzz grew stronger and then snapped up the spine to the insular cortex. The sensation triggered a neck jerk and opened eyes.

There was a third voice in the darkness. Mind, body, and…Amy.

The transition was easy enough to make. Amy responded at the speed of thought, just a third path reprogrammed into the loop. Brain function (especially reflex) began to improve over time as Amy constructed new pathways and replaced others. The strangest sensation was forgetting something temporarily while she made the switch from one pathway to another. Then it came back in a head-tilt and a distant stare – déjà vu.

Training was the fun part – like exercising with a friend in an American gym. Amy’d provide a challenge for the mind or the body and the component would respond. Amy would evaluate the result and come back with a challenge. This was the mapping process. Amy had to learn every in and out of the mind and body, learn their reaction to stimuli, and deduce how to optimize that reaction.

The body and Amy connected well, and there was noticeable synergy. The technicians said this was good. But there was the problem of the mind.

The mind had a high-enough amount of neuro-plasticity remaining – that was not the problem. It was that Amy simply did not seem to be up to the challenge of creating a query that could spawn a complex-enough reaction in the mind. The technicians said it was one of two things: either Amy was not smart enough for the mind, or the mind was simply being too assertive – stubborn was the word they used. It had something to do with the way the chemicals interacted. The body and Amy were having such a good go of it though, that the whole experience was not unpleasant. The stubborn internal dilemma only manifested as a nervous tic occasionally, or a furrowed brow. It was not worth undoing the procedure. After all, early adopters always pay a somewhat higher price, right?

The technicians did provide a kill switch charge though, just in case.

But after a few months, the tension between the two became unbearable. The disconnect between the two systems began to manifest itself in strange bugs, like tears, or mood swings. Alcohol seemed to disrupt the electrolytes enough to subdue the emotional barrages between the nanobots and the relevant brain clusters.

It all came to a head one day in a spat of emotional reaction. It manifested itself at -289187.4498351092. Amy’s attempts to receive a correct cryptographic response from the mind resulted in a dramatic rise in adrenaline, as well as serotonin metabolism.

It had been a while since those pathways had been activated, so the effect was devastating – like a drug overdose, or a grating mental pulse. It was like dehydration, incision, and fermentation at once.

Kill switch.

I open my eyes and the rest of the sDMT flushes out, Amy’s particles metabolizing and restructuring them back into neat storage. The subtle psychological effects of the treatment start to take effect. It is still dark, then the augmentations power back on.

The pharm tech:

-You good in there?

-Good to go.

The seal hisses.

-How would you describe what you’re feeling?

-Gratefulness.

Scribbles down a few notes.

-It looks like everything is functioning as it should. Would you like to schedule your next appointment?

-Yes.

-You can set that up at the front desk.

It both feels and is good to move my legs in pSpace again. The toxins are almost all gone. The secretary is different from when I had come in. Our pheromone levels are more in sync than the last one. Both of us have Friday evening free. We will meet in low orbit then. Romance will never die either.

-When would you like to come back next?

-Tuesday.

-And which?

This answer took a few skipped cycles.

-Longing.



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