rockym93 dot net

archive · tags · feed

Astronaut

17 November 201004:10AMfiction

Beginning scan. Stand by.

Anna was the perfect candidate. IQ of 120, which wasn't a big deal. Personality as stable as a fifty foot thick block of steel-reinforced concrete, which was. Friendly, charming even. A born diplomat. Educated from the age of two in mathematics, advanced physics, linguistic theory (she spoke six languages, all from different roots), computer programming, and a working knowledge of the past ten thousand years of human history, with emphasis on first contact scenarios between primitive cultures.

Encoding deep structures. Sixteen percent complete.

She sits in a heavily modified medical scanner. There is a rotating MRI ring around her head, a PET scanner to the top, and a CAT X-ray in front of her face. Sixty-four electrodes are attached to her scalp, and another twelve are surgically embedded at different depths inside it. Together, this machinery is making a composite picture of her brain, the most complete image of a human mind ever created, a picture so advanced they needed a datacenter the size of a small mountain to store it, and so intricate that the technology to understand it, let alone wake it up again, won't exist for another hundred years. They wouldn't even know whether or not the scan had worked until then. They are flying blind.

Encoding long term memory engrams. Thirty-two percent complete.

The room Anna is in is totally sterile, but beyond a glass panel there is a massive group of observers. Technicians and doctors. The director of the Contact program. Half a dozen billionaire CEOs, who had financed the program in return for access to the first ever human mind upload- the medical and technological advances which would come from something like this were astronomical, but that wasn't why they were doing it. The vice-president of the United States. The President of Russia. Anna's family.

Encoding personality structure. Sixty-four percent complete.

In the middle of Siberia, the other half of the project is already finished. A titanic dish stretches across five kilometres of wasteland, with a kilometre high tower in the centre. But this is no telescope. This is a radio laser, capable of pulsing a million bits a second into the interstellar hydrogen band, at a brightness that would outshine the sun to anyone using a radio telescope within, say, a hundred lightyears. As the Earth rotates, the signal it puts out will be visible to thousands of stars. _ _ Encoding sensory data. Ninety-six percent complete.

The director of the program cracks open the door to the scan chamber. The X-ray plate slides back from Anna's face, and the director looks her in the eye.

"Anna, the process is almost finished. If the project is successful, this will be the last thing you remember. And you'll be entirely on your own"

Anna wants to nod, but her head is held in place. She settles for a grim smile instead.

"Good luck, Anna, and Godspeed"

Suspending consciousness for encoding. Stand by.

-a moment of nothingness-

-sciousness restored. One hundred percent encoded. Program terminating.

The director smiles at Anna. A pair of technicians unstrap her from the chair, slide away the scanners from her head, and peel the electrodes off her scalp. The ones embedded in her brain are made of organic fibre, and will dissolve naturally over the next few weeks, leaving no damage at all. Anna spends a few days under observation in a local hospital, and goes home.

Her mind-print is piped over undersea links to Siberia. And the antenna begins to pulse...

--

Encoding sensory data. Ninety-six percent complete.

The director of the program cracks open the door to the scan chamber. The X-ray plate slides back from Anna's face, and the director looks her in the eye.

"Anna, the process is almost finished. If the project is successful, this will be the last thing you remember. And you'll be entirely on your own"

Anna wants to nod, but her head is held in place. She settles for a grim smile instead.

"Good luck, Anna, and Godspeed"

Suspending consciousness for encoding. Stand by.

-a moment of nothingness-

Anna panics. The world has flipped out of existence. There is no silence, or blackness- there's simply no sensation at all. She can't feel anything, not even numbness. Maybe something went wrong with the scanner? She tries to take a deep breath, but there's nothing there to breathe with. She panics some more. Ohgodohgodshesgoingtodie-

--

Encoding sensory data. Ninety-six percent complete.

The director of the program cracks open the door to the scan chamber. The X-ray plate slides back from Anna's face, and the director looks her in the eye.

"Anna, the process is almost finished. If the project is successful, this will be the last thing you remember. And you'll be entirely on your own"

Anna wants to nod, but her head is held in place. She settles for a grim smile instead.

"Good luck, Anna, and Godspeed" _ _ Suspending consciousness for encoding. Stand by.

-a moment of nothingness-

Anna panics, but only for a second. The lab has flipped out of existence, replaced with an utterly featureless white nothing. Someone's figured out how to wake her -Not her, her, but the copy of her that was just taken- up. Obviously imperfectly, since she can't see anything much. She starts testing the capabilities of her environment. Vision, check. Sound? Unknown. Movement? She doesn't appear to have a body yet. Problematic. At least she's thinking clearly. Not that she would know if she wasn't. There are mental constructs embedded in her memory, which she tires to access. Maybe whoever is running her can figure out how to paste sensation from her memories over this simulation? No? Well, nothing for it but to wait-

--

Encoding sensory data. Ninety-six percent complete.

The director of the program cracks open the door to the scan chamber. The X-ray plate slides back from Anna's face, and the director looks her in the eye.

"Anna, the process is almost finished. If the project is successful, this will be the last thing you remember. And you'll be entirely on your own"

Anna wants to nod, but her head is held in place. She settles for a grim smile instead.

"Good luck, Anna, and Godspeed" _ _ Suspending consciousness for encoding. Stand by.

-a moment of nothingness-

Anna panics, but only for a second. The lab has been replaced by a blank grey concrete room. There is a table in the center which she appears to be sitting at, and a light globe above her head. Okay. She's been woken up, obviously in a fairly complete simulation. Whoever has done this has some experience with these things before her. That's good, it might make her job easier. She looks around; the room is empty other than the table, and a light switch. She walks over to the light switch. She flips it off and on again. Then, it flips itself off and on, the same as she did. Okay. Two way communication. She can work with this. She starts flipping out prime numbers on the switch. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29-

--

Encoding sensory data. Ninety-six percent complete.

The director of the program cracks open the door to the scan chamber. The X-ray plate slides back from Anna's face, and the director looks her in the eye.

"Anna, the process is almost finished. If the project is successful, this will be the last thing you remember. And you'll be entirely on your own"

Anna wants to nod, but her head is held in place. She settles for a grim smile instead.

"Good luck, Anna, and Godspeed"

Suspending consciousness for encoding. Stand by.

-a moment of nothingness...


I apologise for the repetitiveness of this one. It started out with reading this thing on Wikipedia about Bracewell Probes, and how it might be more efficient to make first contact with aliens by sending probes rather than cryptic messages, and from there on to one of said cryptic messages which included a chatbot, with the hope that the aliens could wake up said chatbot and learn about Earth from it. And then I thought, what if you could send something better than a chatbot, like an actual person? So yeah.

< Skyline Yo dog, I heard you like siblings... >