These Transhumanist Drabbles

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ArtificialEnt
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These Transhumanist Drabbles

Post by ArtificialEnt » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:09 am

...
These were getting lonely in my drafts folder, okay?

Neon

Blink.
Green light flashed incandescent across his closed eyelids.
Blink.
Closed? Or maybe they were open, maybe his world was dark already, or were they a she, maybe she was staring fixedly at the ceiling, and that was her alarm clock, or maybe —
Blink.
Were those stars on the ceiling? Bright and beautiful, faint galaxies of infinite cold, lost in their race through the depths of space which she would never see—
Blink.
There were fewer of them now than before, so much fewer that she, no, he could see. What happened to the stars? Or were they bits of paint inserted into the ceiling, glowing softly, harshly, sharply, kindly? How long had it even been?
Blink.
Alarms blared for a brief instant, casting frantic green across the room, and he/they watched the ejection message flash along the glass between them and the world, eyes glazed with somnambulist weight. With a rush of air, and a curling of steam, the blurred lens was lifted again from their world.
They took one step. The sensation of mass landing heavily on their foot as it made contact with the floor ricocheted from foot, to ankle, to knee. The prickle of air on frozen skin. The whirling screech of the crisis alarms—they stumbled as the world tipped drunkenly around them, shuffled for balance,
Fell.
There were no stars in the ceiling when next they woke. They? He, now, they decided. They felt like a he. The closed sky before him was dark, coated in stretched metal gloom, scratched and rusted and splashed with… soot? Soot, black plumes like the shadow of a fire, displaced in time from its bright originator. How did he… A hoarse sob tore the air, and he choked. Who was… him? Why was he… crying? He rolled over on one side, hand clawing at the rivets which dug into his back, the back which finally felt something for the first time in however long it had been. With great, heaving coughs he waited for the tears to stop, forehead resting on his arm. It ached. A mess of crackling hair flopped onto his hand, trailed slowly off. His eyes ached, his lungs ached, his head radiated empty pain from its edges, its center, its fullness. At least, at least he felt something. Somehow. How did he, how could he, how did this work, he felt? He felt. Knees dug under his back, scooped themselves beneath him as he stood up, slow and staggering.
Pip pip.
The alarm’s brief chirp flooded the world in neon fear, and he clung to the wall until it faded.
What
Oh
One hand brushing still against the wall, he stumbled to the darkened doorway, and it lit up in pale green light at his approach. The screen beside the door and just within the hallway flashed familiar shapes at him, too sharp against the void of its great background. He couldn’t… parse it? He couldn’t… ah. There it was, his slothful brain finally stirred enough to understand the shapes which scrolled across the screen, that they were words.
You have. One. New message.
It took a moment for him to remember what to do next, to reach one shaking hand to press the indented shape beside the window upon endless void and lime glowing letters.
“A couple of things.” The woman’s brown and worried face was not alleviated by the short and ramrod raven of her hair, nor the tension steepled in her callused fingers. “This message is from date 8347.985. I am the last conscious human remaining in the station itself.”
He stared at the screen in numb startlement , shocked at the sudden silence of the staring stars. Gone, they were, they were, they were gone?
“After this message is recorded, I will send it to whatever remains of the people of this ship. Since I do not wish to join their ranks in stasis, I will make a final gift of myself in the hopes that those who do choose sleep will last a few more years without my weight. Perhaps the generator will hold you all in your vacant state a little longer, with the reduced drain on your resources.” She licked her lips. “If any of you see this,” her eyes fluttered in a series of hard blinks. “If any of you see this, either you will all be saved, or you will all be doomed a little sooner—either something, someone from outside rescues you, or something is wrong, whether with the bunker or… or all of you.” A tiny gasp escaped her lips. “Either way—I’m sorry.”
Message complete. Please press left to delete. Please press right to save.
His mouth was parched. Save. He had to save it. Noble scientist, saved them all a little longer, saved them. Save it. Save her. But then, he couldn’t save her, he knew, not really. She threw herself in the generator. For them, she gifted herself, she saved herself, she threw herself in the, in the generator. Trembling fingers pressed the button on the right.
Save.
So.
He had a duty, here. The alarm had seemed to agree, given the urgency of its occasional chirps. Something had to be done. What?
A swipe of pressure on the screen provided him with details, despite the pang he felt in erasing its blackness to be replaced with words, removing the endless mirror from its face. The problem was simple enough, something any competent mechanic could do with an ounce of creativity, just not anything the bunker’s machines could quite manage to figure out. He/she/they were a competent mechanic, even if it wasn’t their primary skill. Honestly, he had always preferred chemistry over the masses of parts and machines. Their humming, their blank stare, it always filled him with something resembling disgust. Hatred, perhaps? Fear? He didn’t know. Certainty, perhaps that was it, for machines were nothing if not certain. Certain of their decisions, certain of their protocol, certain even of their rare uncertainties—there is exactly a 67% chance that this is true. Certainty. Only the stars were certain, and the deaths they underwent, lost in the fire and aching time.
In any case, it seemed there was an issue somewhere, preventing the bunker from updating its hardware information on one of the repair robots, and when the bot in question noticed the continuing disparity in blueprint accuracy, it alerted the fallback maintenance. When other bots registered the same problem, it was upgraded to urgent maintenance to prevent a total breakdown of the system, and the bunker had followed its programming and woken up—
Someone.
Not that many of his memories leapt eagerly to mind, at the moment. Oh well. Nearly all memory loss inflicted by a person’s egress from a pod was temporary, memory supplied . Perhaps re-entering the pod so soon after leaving for an assignment would confuse that fact, he thought. Maybe he could go the rest of his existence, or of his lack thereof, free from the burden of thought colliding with the back of his, his empty mind in neon semaphore.
Break.
His duty done, his feet trudged back the way he came. His hands ran smooth along the pitted walls, the waiting bunker hidden under buried earth. Footsteps even, he reached the screen where he had been originally given the assignment. A tap. Another.
No picture showed on the flattened piece of void, only the same endless black as before, but for the tiny red dot flashing in one corner. And when he spoke, his voice was no longer a mere series of croaks. The job was done, he breathed, a pair of wires on the bunker’s hard drive shorted out and screwed with some of the data before the repair drones could save it. He fixed it. Eyes bored vacant into the listening screen. He fixed it, and the dot stopped flashing.
Stop. Save.
Each step sent tremors up his spine. The thud of every footfall rang in ears no more used to hearing sound than they were to seeing smells. The darkened room was entered once more, the blank-eyed figure tiny against the spiderey corpses of the pods which loomed about him. One arm came up to rub his eyes, his shoulders flinched before the impact of the pods’ gorgonian stare. Fingers no longer steady, he punched a number into the edge of the single empty pod, cherishing a final look at the glassy void, then stepped back in, bare feet strong against the smoothness of its egg. He strapped himself in.
Leaned back
And the lid closed. Cold crept from the ground against his skin, and shuddering pulled him into its liquid-filled embrace.
Blink.
A needle sent slowness to drag behind the blood rushing through his veins, leaving only honey in its place—
Blink.
Who was that woman anyway, that scientist, and why was she so against this preservation of life, this temporary annihilation of consciousness?
Blink.
The man fell asleep again as frost bloomed stars on his lonely doorway.
Blink.
And above the bunker, where free winds blew--
Blink.
Another star went out.

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Re: These Transhumanist Drabbles

Post by Shinigami » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:35 pm

Interesting. I was actually hoping there'd be more of this, and then I got to the end. XD
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ArtificialEnt
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Re: These Transhumanist Drabbles

Post by ArtificialEnt » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:24 am

:D

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Annasiel
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Re: These Transhumanist Drabbles

Post by Annasiel » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:07 am

Marked! I adore your pacing.
Alone she drifts from ancient mists
Nary a candle, nary a wish
But in the wont of wandering paths
Through wooded knolls, and windworn crags
She seeks a face she thought as friend
But now -- she thinks as judgement's end

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