Uplifted and Out, A Science Fiction Story
November 30, 2009
Uplifted and Out, by Adrian Perez
Tuesday really is the most ignored day, Manuel thought to himself. It certainly is, his computer echoed back to him. The computer was not communicating telepathically. For that to be happening, it would have to be somewhere outside his brain. However, it was not in some box on his desk, but wrapped in a network of strands interlacing his brain cells.
Manuel only vaguely remembered inventing the implant twenty years ago. It was an attempt to create a technological extension to the brain. He was the first to be implanted with the extension. For two months he sat in a coma. His compatriots marveled even as they worried he might die, while they watched his brain tissue deteriorate and the implant become more and more active.
When Manuel came out of the coma, he spoke like a twelve-year-old for several months. But he was an enormously brilliant twelve-year-old. After examining the data the explanation for the effects on Manuel’s brain were intuitively obvious to him. His brain was forming new connections in order to offload functionality to the implant.
In the aftermath of his coma, something wonderful, and frightening to everyone else but Manuel started to occur. The implant refused to bond with Manuel’s mind, and instead started to become a distinct assistant. A sense of melancholy that had always permeated Manuel’s existence began to fade away. As the assistant asserted itself, he did not feel lonely ever. It was as if there was always someone with him.
The strange part of it is that the effect did not show up in any of the other implantees that came after him. That is until the twelfth implantee. The whole team was struggling to find why Manuel’s case was so anomalous. He and his colleagues ran test after test, until they found one that measured introversion versus extroversion. The implantees after Manuel had all been introverts. Manuel, and Alicia, the twelfth implantee were extreme extroverts.
So it seems like the implant was adopting a complementary role, and it was manifesting asymmetrically between personality tendencies. When extroverts were implanted they got a buddy to talk things over with.
As time went on, Manuel’s desire for social contact began to dissipate. He enjoyed other people’s perspectives. But for solving problems and doing things, he started not to see a need.
A month after that, Manuel discovered he had enough self-awareness to manage his bodies aging. He kept it secret, but looks from Alicia made it obvious she had discovered something similar.
A year later, he found himself in a bustling space station orbiting Earth. The inhabitants were entirely extrovert implantees. They were busy at work manufacturing what they called Excursion Vehicles. These spaceships contained all the mining, solar, nuclear and biological facilities for deep space flight. There were roughly a million people at the station.
Some of them would go together. Some of them would go alone. All of them pointed towards different potential homes, powered up propulsion and headed into the unknown.
Halfway to the star Manuel had chosen, he clipped a sausage of synthetic meat from his mini-factory, and pondered Tuesday.