As promised, here's the first of many short stories to come. I think this one will have a follow up story or stories in the future. I haven't come up with a title for this one, yet. I'll update this post if I think of one. Please let me know what you think!
"Thanks for coming, Frank. I'll see you next week. Drive safely!" Frank's brother, Mark waved to him as Frank walked through the yard to his motorcycle at the curb. Frank glanced at the sky with some apprehension. The weathermen said that it wasn't supposed to rain today, but he could tell that it was already raining over Apple Valley a few miles to the west. Steeling himself for the ride ahead, Frank said to himself, "I'll make it home before the rain gets here."
He sat down on his Honda motorcycle and started the engine. As he drove the few blocks to the onramp for the highway, he noticed it was getting darker out even though it was still early afternoon. After he merged with traffic and got in the middle lane, the clouds opened up. "Shit," Frank swore.
Since there wasn't a good place to stop to take shelter, Frank, like the two semi trucks on either side of him, slowed down. Frank saw the semi to his right start to drift into his lane. "Dammit!" he yelled to himself as he moved left within his lane. He was paying so much attention to the truck on his right that he didn't notice the truck on his left start to change lanes until it was too late.
The next thing Frank knew he was dry, dressed in a suit and tie, and sitting across a desk from a man he didn't know. Startled, Frank stood up and said, "What the hell?!?"
The man smiled and said, "Good, you're up."
Frank glared at the man and replied, "Up? What the hell are you talking about? The last thing I remember is that I was about to get squished between to semi trucks!"
The man's face grew somber and he nodded. He said, "Yes, I had heard about that." The man paused and sighed, then continued. "That happened over three months ago."
Frank was shocked and quickly sat down. He stammered out, "Th-three months ago? Was I in a coma or have amnesia or something?"
The man shook his head. "No, nothing like that. Maybe I should introduce myself."
Sarcastically, Frank said, "Yeah, nothing would please me more."
Ignoring Frank's tone, the man said, "I am Hugo Argnatius. I am the lead project manager of AI Solutions at Cray Supercomputers." Frank's confusion must have been evident on his face as Hugo continued his explanation. "My team and I have figured out a way to map human consciousness into computers."
Still confused, Frank asked, "And I volunteered to have my brain patterns mapped into a computer?"
Hugo shook his head. "No, not exactly." He paused and wouldn't meet Frank's gaze. Finally, he blurted out, "You died that day. We were able to save your brain and used it to map your patterns into one of our supercomputers."
Frank sat in stunned silence for many minutes. "I don't know who you think you are, but that's not funny."
Angrily, Frank stood up and turned away from Hugo. He looked at the wall, but didn't find a door to walk out of. Turning back around again he noticed that there weren't any doors. "What the hell? Where's the door? I want to get out of here!"
Shaking his head again, Hugo said, "There's a problem with that. This isn't a real room. I was trying to tell you...we're inside of a computer. There's nowhere to go."
Hesitantly, Frank sat back down. "If I'm really part of a computer, are your brain patterns mapped inside this computer, too?"
"No, I'm using a virtual reality device to communicate with you. I'm actually standing inside the device right now, next to your computer." After another long pause, Hugo continued. "I know that this will be hard for you, at first, but I think that you'll soon come to enjoy your new existence."
Frank shot out of his chair again and turned to the wall that had been behind him. Tears ran down his cheeks as his fists pounded against the wall. "Things were going so good for me. Why did this have to happen to me? What about my family? My job? For Christ's sake, how could you do this to me?"
Still sitting, Hugo said, "Calm down, Frank. Let me tell you about how you got here. This idea has been my life's work. I always thought it would be possible to move a human consciousness into a computer. After all, computers and humans are built remarkably alike. They both have short term and long term memory, information processing centers and input and output peripherals. I've been designing supercomputers for over thirty years. My theories on Artificial Intelligence and the human brain were read by the executives at Cray and we started the AI Solutions department seven years ago."
Hugo paused in thought for a while, and then continued, "It was rough going at first. Our budget was low and even though I knew that we wouldn't have a sellable product for some years, we were under constant pressure to release something within the first five years of the project. I split the department into two sections, my team and the AI development team. The AI team has since released several products that have been used mostly by the government in network defense and strategic testing. They have been our main source of funding for the project ever since.
"We've made constant progress over the past seven years and about six months ago, I requested a donated brain to run our first test. You wouldn't believe all the governmental rigmarole involved in getting permission to test on even deceased human body parts. The day before you died, we finally got permission to obtain a human brain from a deceased person. Yours happened to be the first acceptable one that we had access to."
Hugo let that sink in for a few moments before he said, "I'd like to personally thank you for being an organ donor and wearing your helmet."
Frank started hysterically laughing. "Fat lot of good it did me!" He continued to laugh hysterically as Hugo sat there looking uncomfortable.
After Frank had settled down again, Hugo said, "Yes, well, I'm going to leave soon. I want you to get used to your environment for a day before we begin your training."
Frank looked around and replied, "What environment? This is a single room with a single desk. There's nothing else here."
Hugo chuckled. "Right now it appears this way because I wanted to keep things simple for our first meeting. We're inside a computer. Eventually, your surroundings will be determined by you. We're going to supply you with your surroundings for the next week or so. What I really want you to do is to explore your abilities. You will be able to subtly change your surroundings at will over the next week, within the restrictions that we've placed on you. Until you've fully realized your potential, these abilities will appear as abstractions of what is really going on in the background."
Frank shrugged and said, "I don't understand a word you just said."
Hugo smiled and said, "You will."
Untitled by Erik Mason is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.