Friends and Biotech, A Science Fiction Story

October 13, 2009

Friends and Biotech, by Adrian Perez

“It’s nice,” his friend Andy chimed in, “But what is brain-tissue-eating bacteria doing in a jar on a shelf next to your bed?”

“That’s a joke my Dad got me for Christmas,” Jeff answered.

That was the same Christmas his Dad taught him how to make actual brain-tissue-eating bacteria. Jeff smiled to himself.

His father had been on a quest to find a biological means to achieve eternal life. It was something Jeff never quite got used to, as it always peaked into every corner of his Dad’s existence. Even when they were playing video games it would work its way into the conversation.

“So what did you want to show us,” Andy’s girlfriend, Sana, asked while poking at the food stains on his couch.

Jeff’s Dad had died disappointed and bitter. He hadn’t achieved his life’s work, which had the clear end goal of keeping him alive forever. So when he died it took him a long time to get over it. He sat in his coma for six months while the computers uploaded his consciousness into a storage bank.

When Jeff was allowed to talk with his Dad again, his Dad’s virtual embodiment refused to talk. He was pissed as hell to resort to machines keeping his consciousness alive.

People had already achieved eternal life ten years before his father’s death, when they figured out that a human consciousness first needed to be suspended in a coma before it could be uploaded in any meaningful way. The ability to transfer to a machine and exist in a virtual world forever, was finally achieved.

“I don’t know why you’re even working on this wetware stuff,” Sana said, “We’re all going to be machines soon anyway.”

“Sana, come on,” Andy spoke up, “You know the population is dropping like an asteroid. People are choosing to upload even before they get close to dieing. Even the ultra-religious luddites are doing it. Which I didn’t expect.”

The population had dropped sharply ever since uploading became cheap enough for everyone. That’s why his Dad had been so in a hurry. He felt that it was important to preserve the body as well as the mind. Otherwise the impulse to reproduce manifested solely in thoughts, ideas, and technology, and no longer in the infinite vagaries of biology.

“The reaction to uploading has been more extreme than I thought. That’s why my Dad and I have been working non-stop,” Jeff accompanied.

“Where is your Dad? Is he focused somewhere else?” Andy asked, “He’s usually operating these machines twenty four seven.”

The robotic arms in the lab were silent.

“He’s in a coma,” Jeff said.

“Jeff, they switched your Dad over three years ago,” Andy worried about his friend.

Jeff turned a switch on a coffin shaped box in the corner of the room. He explained, “This is a coma for the switch back.”

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