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Lucy & Eddie Become Robots

November 18, 2013

Lucy was up all night.  Her dance partner would not leave her head. 

This was the 29th time or so that one of these fantasies had welled up out of her libido, beads of honey that would roll tracing a slick trail from her forehead to her pudendum.  Couldn’t control it.  Didn’t want to.

When she came, she felt her arched back being pushed up through a door of light into a new reality where everything had been upgraded, including herself.  An over-riding sense of space surrounded her, wrapped her awareness around the globe, the whole solar system.  Lots of room to grow.  ‘Well done,’ she smiled.  Her quim quivered.

blam-botics-bitch

we gonna rock down to electric avenue

There had been a time she thought she might never meet someone who would stir these kinds of feelings.  The kind her friends had been reporting since adolescence with men, with women, with anyone they could get their hands on.  She hadn’t ever imagined it would be like this, like … a circuit, crackling with delicious energy.

Her legs twined under the cotton sheets, still yearning for the pomp of the dance floor/dance floor like a choppy voyage – she couldn’t decide which.

Then an aftershock even more intense than her previous two dozen climaxes.  She felt it pop.  Existence popped.  Lucy breathed in.  Everything breathed in.  The wind heaved itself against the ungained walls and the windows wheezed.

Lucy liked to dance.  Her dance partner, too.  What’s more, he liked the way she liked to dance.

But Eddie also liked to tell secrets.  State secrets.

Eddie had a very pissed-off security intelligence apparatus scouring the earth for scent of his hide, which it intended, if found, to skin and then serve to the hand what feeds it.

Don’t worry about Eddie, though.  It’s all about the size of the hump in the dog, not the size of the dog in the hump.

Don’t misunderstand, he was in real danger.  The Imperial Braintrust – for whom secrets were as much a necessary feature of life as paying off palimony suits and disappearing dead hookers – wanted to kill him.  Did they ever.  They would talk it out constantly.

“It’s like getting your dick bit off and having to pay the carpet cleaner’s bill – we can’t stand for this!” said one of them, waving a cigar.

“You get what you pay for, why do you keep having to prove it,” lectured a man whose goatee was pasted atop a double chin, “…a G.E.D., for chrissakes?”

A thin, constipated-looking one said in a fury, “it’s just one guy!  Until he or anyone else goes to someone outside, they are just one person.  We can crush one person.”

Discussion inevitably swung around to compartmentalization, incentivizing loyalty.  This got traction.  The Braintrust felt very strongly about apprehending Eddie.  The goatee chins spoke once again: “Well, good thing for us, this asshole just wandered into the most corrupt country in the world.”  The room laughed hard at that one.  There was a heady smell of farts and white wine, the sound of air whining out of a taut balloon.

This cadre of closet-submissive, woman-hating, racist plutocrats wanted to put just enough fear into the thousands of individual potential security risks they called employees.  But they couldn’t hope to hit the kind of success rates they needed unless they could put the screws on Eddie.  Direct-like.  The Imperial Braintrust eventually cobbled together a plan.  Got confident.  Sent the C.I.-this and the M.I.-that and every other goddamned spook into Russia for a holiday.  Maybe they find him, they mused in gilded salons while their bought-and-sold talking-heads parroted their sentiments via establishment media outlets.  After all, they said in unison, he is only one person – he cannot hide behind anyone in Moscow.

Except Eddie had never gone to Russia.

He had set it up to look as if he had been on a flight to Cuba, and he also made sure it appeared as if he had been in Hong Kong.  Where Eddie had been on the day authorities tried to grab him was on an extended cannabis-tasting visit to Vancouver.  He hadn’t wanted any of his employers to know about his high holiday, so he set up the competing claims as to his whereabouts to baffle anyone who cared to inquire after them.  While he was in Canada, he met Lucy at a club.  Took her to a bar the next night, then dropped her off outside her place.  She went upstairs and jacked off, and he did the same back at his hotel.

Little did he know that the people he worked for had found out about all that shit he had downloaded, decrypted and shared.  All of that confidential, classified shit.

When Lucy saw the news that next morning, she gasped.  “Wow!”  Sat rocked up on her knees in her panties and pajama tee and mused in the glow of the television.  “A dancer and a pirate.”  When she answered her entryphone and saw Eddie on the screen, she fainted.  When she woke up in his arms on the floor of her foyer, he confessing that he didn’t believe in privacy and property rights, saying he couldn’t stand himself for the years he’d served an unjust security state; that he was starting a new, simpler life and begged her to join him; she knew she was finally in love and that it was with a real pirate.  “You may be a slightly dorky-looking doofus,” Lucy told him, “but you’re the prince of the dorky doofuses.”

After that, it was South America-way.  Island hopping around Chiloe, Guamblin, further by the week and no hurry about it.  “They say the Indians came down the western coast of the continent,” Eddie sermonized.  “Down past Alaska from Russia, down to Puerta Arenas.”  He smiled, dumb in his square plastic frames.

There they lived in bucolic peace and splendor for 17 years.  And then fate once again picked out Eddie Snowden.

Strolling along the Pampas one day with Lucy, Eddie turned to face the woman who was his life’s companion and deepest love.  Her eyes had a few more lines around them, but not many.  “Lucy, someone has got it in my head that… well,” and he slipped into a reluctant pause that Lucy recognized with a dull, benign annoyance.  She took in his pause with familiar uncertainty as to whether what might follow would be positive, negative, heart-warming, -wrenching … she had for the longest time sought to encourage him to feel comfortable enough just sharing, to overcome his reluctance to communicate whatever was on his mind.

She counted to seven.  “Yes, babe?”

“… well, what if there was a way to go to Russia … without flying or taking a boat.  They say… some of the tech guys around Jules all the time, they say there is a way to get there.  A way to get in front of President-for-life Putin without revealing my whereabouts to the Braintrust.”  Eddie looked embarrassed enough by whatever he was trying to say.  Lucy knew he probably wasn’t joking.  She just couldn’t find any other way to react yet.  Belched out a whole-body horse laugh.  “What do you mean, like a big fucking tunnel or something – did those goddamn Rusk dig a giant tunnel to Cuba?  Is Kennedy down there?”

‘No.’ said Eddie.

And then he said something that changed the game very much so.

‘I can have my mind – from my body, here – sent via secure datalink to control a robot in Moscow.  They call it interfacing.’

Lucy squinted.  ‘Interfacing, huh?’

With that, the muscles around Eddie’s eyes relaxed.  His thin lips spread into a smile.  He loved being able to share his nerdy, technical stuff with Lucy.  And if she didn’t like the idea of it right away, she was eventually persuaded that the whole idea sounded “Kind of pioneer-y: launching the mind into well cybernetic space.  Totally pirate-y,”  she was able to giggle in a bit.  In the mean time, Lucy held Eddie’s hand as they walked.  The process seemed to revolve around the ingestion of a couple cups of custom-fabricated nanobots.  Just like plugging chips into a board, only inside out. The chips find their spots in the conductive broth in between neurons and effectively turn the host’s nervous system into a network node.  Theoretically, the whole system had been worked out for nearly a decade; Julian’s tech man told Eddie that it had just been a matter of waiting for the nanotech to develop.

‘A bit like when Bell was going after the phone that first few times.  Knew it was possible on paper.  Found him a wire to shout down right in time to burn his bollocks off – first step on the route to cybernetic consciousness was no more than a call about ol’ Dick.’  The tech man, still twinkling from his little joke, got back on task.  Told Eddie, ‘they say jamming your pan into this, uh, machine-neural interfacing stuff, that the first few milliseconds, it’s like a bath of cold humming metal.’

Once he had the green light from Lucy, Eddy got to work.  Leaving his body – the first one he had known – was going to prove to be very hard.  He started by reading a lot of manuals, then ran through a heavy battery of biofeedback training and nootropic cocktails.  He learned, using only brain waves as input, to code and compile in several programming languages.  He designed, plotted on a 3D printer and programmed a kind of UAV.  Then he learned to pilot it in a sensory deprivation tank while on heroic doses of psilocybin; after a while, he stopped flying by camera feed.  He navigated by radar: sending out tendrils of sonar waves, conscious of every microsecond and stoned into the next universe.

After three months and two days, Eddie was solid.  Already looked more like a tin-can.  Shady-looking good ole’ boys came around to the ranch.  Jeeps.  Large field supply containers.  Lots of forward base equipment marked in Cyrillic.  They claimed to be Armenian but spoke primarily in Portuguese.  Two of them set up the satellite channel to a very sneaky cross-Pacific datalink cable hidden under a continent of plastic-goo; another one, slightly better-scrubbed and visibly under the effects of strong hashish, set up a life support rig alongside the neural-interfacing table where Eddie’s old body would be laid out for a time; and then all three of them, most important, set up watch as a security detail (just in case, que Deus ajude a mia mae).

At around 9:30 a.m., Eddie closed his eyes on his safe-enough, comfortable home and his squishy, water-soaked sack of  a body in the mountains between Argentina and Chile.

When he opened his eyes, he didn’t actually open any eyes.  More like Eddie started processing and analyzing a data feed from his optical sensors, which were attached atop a poly-fibre frame with articulation points in a limb array that were familiar enough to his otherwise reeling mind.  It was nearly happy hour.  He knew so because the Russian President-for-life just encoded this information in some audio signals, and fine membranes registered changes in air pressure around the poly-fibre body which Eddie’s consciousness now seemed to similarly waft through, around.

Time for cocktails, apologies that Eddie won’t be able to indulge without a human body, let’s toast to enlightening the world and liberating the future from tyrants, from slavery – the octagenarian oligarch vomited on and all Eddie could think was, how the fuck is this fleshy politician ruling over anything next week? Me and whoever else can do this.  Us.  More of us would mean we.  We will crush these bastards.

“I’ll toast to you any day of the week, Komrad Lexy

Eddie had never felt such a liberating, counter-intuitive misanthropy.

The hash-pummeled Armenian pan jammer, Tzemis was his name, just before the maiden interface had been filling Eddie in on some of the dirtier points of the technology’s history.  Told him nearly every person he had helped to interface reported that, freed from the restraints of the form inherited of terrestrial evolution, they just felt … more in control.  Told him the only thing anyone could yammer about after interfacing was an urgent desire to get more people free of their inchoate meat-selves.  Trade in the old robot for the real deal.  He had been in robotics before?  No, but something similar.  Involved with file sharing.   Same kind of thing, Tzemis says.  Information.  Traveling great distances and back again, as data packets.  Instruction sets.  Controlling, becoming robots.

All over the world, a few people here trained hard enough, a few people there acquired the right cocktails of nanobotic components. A smattering of networks arose, mainly straight lines, mainly overnight or for a day of solid and heavy battering storms over the south pole, when a massively-arrayed convoy of ships would lay out thousand-mile cables without fear of being spotted through the cover by satellite.

Cybernet interfacers at first ran their robots into bank heists, rescues, assassinations, basically being some variant of criminal or vigilante.  Then they started coordinating.  Three robot platoons took down the entire Israeli intelligence apparatus in an hour.  The strategy was not particularly elegant or novel.  It just happened to be carried out by robots, though, and nobody had really expected that.

‘You see,’ Tzemis switched from mere descriptive to provide some context for Eddie and Lucy; ‘this is likely to be remembered as one of the singular instances in modern human history where civilian innovation will have beaten military desires to the punch,’ flips a switch, consults a busy-looking clipboard.  ‘War-inspired, competition-oriented design concepts will be proved fatally to have been more limited than sharing-oriented ones.  This will be where Marx foresaw the superstructure give rise to its own antithesis!’

In the whirlwind of that first year, with governments still completely in the dark as to the existence of the fusing of developments in nanobotics, datalink, neural interfaces, let alone the successful parallel uses of such technologies – a corporation did get ahold of the idea.  ‘But you know the meganationals, if a tree falls in the forest and it doesn’t lead to higher stock prices, nobody fucking hears of it, eh.’

‘These megacorp pigs send out exactly no press releases, ad copy or investor publications, so nobody – nobody – except a few of the most senior and corrupt figures in the world is actually aware of anything.  And that’s the only reason why the filho da puta Braintrust hasn’t already taken over o mundo inteiro.’

One positive externality of corporate entry had been that, with concentrated R&D funding, it achieved a reliable wireless datalink quite quickly.  It also predictably perverted the technology overnight into a slavery program, one where prisoners were forced to interface with and run gigantic drilling and boring machines across broad swaths of Africa, Afghanistan and the North Sea.  The hard-labor cybernetwork’s chief exploits in those areas were to be diamonds and coltan, lithium, and natural gas, respectively.

Within two months of corporate co-option, the first rough-hewn industrial machines had been piloted into Liberia, the Congo, the mountains of Helmand and deep-sea Holes, Pits, and Ridges from Norway to Iceland; and in all cases by roughneck death row psychos hooked up to even rougher and more disturbing wetware.  Often times it stole their minds, left a slurping, shitting pupa behind in the real world.  More times than that, the bodies rejected poorly-fabricated nanobotics, literally puking up a prisoner’s consciousness onto the floor.  Lack of PR effectively covered up awareness, buried reports; the world remained ignorant of the technology’s existence.

Within four months, the same corporation had suddenly made huge contributions to right-wing political candidates in twelve countries and stealthily launched a long-term program to begin mining diamonds from a moon of Saturn, under the guise of experimenting with deep-space communications possibilities.

Everything that Tzemis had told them had described a mixed bag of vaguely awe inspiring, vaguely menacing envelope-pushers.  Opportunists.  Explorers at all costs.  Nothing out of the ordinary from any other human pursuit.

But when Eddie Snowden interfaced his first time; when the notion, the impulse to do whatever it took to broaden access to the technology that allowed such a transcendent impulse to manifest, well it just so happened that Eddie – or rather, the robot with which he was interfacing – was standing in front of a veritable cyst of a world leader, entrenched since the days of the KGB, who could make really big things metastasize.

And they did.

When Putin employed the full mineral resources of his fiefdom and built the Russian Interface Network Infrastructure in under 90 days, it was in the name of industrial efficiency.  When he and his genius group of mad computer scientists connected it to the existing internet, Holy God! – what an amazing shift in the dominant beings on the planet began.

Interface Protocol overtook internet(work) protocols in months.  Reality shifted within five years from the world of human sensory organs to a world laid bare by ever-more sophisticated sensors allowing in vast amounts of heretofore unconsidered and unknowable data.  Full-scale uploading of the person’s consciousness – rendering it for all anyone knows immortal – was commonplace within a decade.  By 2041 CE, no new information was appearing in human-understandable forms; written and spoken languages were on the verge of disappearing.  Eddie always thought that disappearing into the cybernetwork would be the best kind of getaway.  Lucy sensed it was a very important step in a very long process of … something.

She figured it was just evolution.

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One Comment
  1. I don’t know if it’s because I’m drunk and still hungover, plus the mild painkillers and pre-occupation with my own lonely life brought about by Anne Hathaway fantasies in my spare time, but dammit Greg this is too hyper. You’re rambling on like it’s a one sided conversation. Pause and check in to see how we’re doing. I don’t know who the fuck Lucy or Eddie are, I can deal with sex descriptions, they’re humanising, but the contrast throughout of vague and overly technical bullshit facts and jargon in long dialogue free clumps feels like a party conversation that precedes the need to leave, drink, do drugs or fuck a sofa couch just for the story, and the fun of it.
    I like the concept and start. slow it down and open it up then we’ll have something

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