In the primary CPU of a female Cyborganic, a program began to stir. Data streaming in through audio sensors indicated that a change had to occur, and the program was the one designated to perform this change. The data continuing to come in, the program began forming preliminary connections through the transistors of the female's brain, activating several other programs and partially turning others on. For now, nothing was done aside from this. Everything was on standby. A quota had to be filled first, and the audio information was nearing that quota.
The first program processed and computed, sending a repetitive line of one-zero-one-zero to all other linked programs. The quota was reached, then surpassed. The broadcast of actual instruction began. The next thing to be activated was all the unconscious parts of the brain. The pulsing of the fission/fusion power core and the several small cardiovascular valves that controlled organic blood flow all sped up. Respiration increased. Several muscles and hydraulics moved, but still the program had not finished.
With only 20% of the CPU active, the program incurred its greatest change. With a single ping, it started all inactive programs on the path to boot-up. These programs were unaware of what had woken them, or even that they were programs. They were more concerned with other things, and began to go about these things with a slightly cross attitude.
WAKEUP.cbg, the initial program that started all this, saw that it had successfully awakened the CPU, and immediately became dormant.
Megan Electricien, Breedbot, had just woken up and was trying to sit up in her bed. Failing halfway, she slimped back down with a mumble of, "Uhnng." A clock set into the doorframe of the hall exit displayed 6:00 AM, and was screaming noisily. Megan groaned again unhappily, and managed to slide onto the floor in a roughly upright position.
The drawers set into the frame of her bed opened at her touch. Taking a few clumsy tries to fasten a bra, she tugged on a shirt and pants with slightly less difficulty, then sluggishly shimmied a set of colorful tube socks over her feet. Lingering for a moment on the floor, unenthusiastic towards the idea of getting up, she finally sighed and stood, the doorframe going silent as she passed through it.
Eyes half open, she shuffled into the bathroom and flicked the wall, turning on the lights and mirror. Reaching out for a brush, she idly started to shove it through her black hair, which was in a chronic state of sleepy disarray. A window popped up in the lower right-hand corner of the mirror, wishing her a good morning and notifying her that the house had noticed she was awake, and wanted to know if she would like some coffee. Switching the brush to her left hand, she tapped yes, then selected the amount of creams and sugars to go in it. The window closed, and displayed the patch of wallpaper on the opposite wall that it normally did.
Hair acceptably straight, she set down the brush and leaned closer to the mirror, checking both sides of her face for anything unsightly. Plucking a fallen eyelash from her cheek, she reached over to a bottle of clear liquid, which flowed around its container on its own power. Popping open the top, she filled her mouth with it and swished it around, shuddering at the taste and sensation as the helpful bacteria within it ate everything that shouldn't be in her mouth, eroding away plaque and microscopic bits of leftover food. She spat it out, rinsed with some regular water and walked out of the bathroom, fingers brushing against the wall to turn off the light.
The living room at the end of the hall was dim. The morning sun was still below the horizon somewhere off to the east, and the light that came through the windows was weak and gray. In the kitchen, a cup of coffee sat below an automated dispenser on the counter next to the fridge. She took it in her hands, letting the warmth seep into her fingers for a few seconds.
She took a sip, and the heat slid down into her throat and stomach, warming her insides. After yesterday's dinner had been fully used, the coffee would be broken down in her fission/fusion powercore to keep her alive; the atoms fused and split repeatedly until they formed materials needed by her body, releasing energy with each reaction. For now, it was only 'tasted' by cells lining her lower esophagus, which sent the chemical composition of what entered her body to the unconscious portion of her CPU, so the approriate response could be simulated by her body. This occurred within the space of half a second, mostly analysis time.
She took another gulp, unmindful of the regular processes taking place in her body. Glancing at the time in the living room, 6:16 AM, she walked over to the coat closet and opened it with a touch. Selecting her favorite maroon leather jacket, she held the coffee mug in one hand as she slipped a sleeve over the other. Shifting the mug into her opposite arm, she finished pulling the coat on and fastened it one-handedly. She went out the door to the outside then closed it behind her, automatically activating a locking mechanism that kept out anyone lacking her exact DNA. Standard home security.
In the cool spring morning air, the caffeine and warmth of the coffee helped wake her up quickly, and by the time that her car was activating to the touch of her hands, she felt wide awake. Slipping the mug into an adaptive cupholder, she pulled the car out of the driveway and onto the road.
Fifteen or so minutes later, she parked in her employee spot in front of a nondescript concrete building. 300 years ago, a cryogenic storage facility had been built beneath this spot. Last year, it was discovered by construction workers attempting to build a grocery store. Instead, it was repurposed as a reanimation and cryogenic rehabilitation center. Megan worked as a culture shock counselor for recently awakened subjects.
Leaving her car genelocked, she entered the building, showing her ID to the guard posted at the door. Nodding to co-workers and responding to the odd "Hey Megan," as she walked through the halls, she navigated her way downward, towards the main reanimation center. On her way, she touched a rough concrete band that ran along the wall, part of the original plug that had been intended to seal this place off from the world, as well as any form of radiation.
Stopping in front of a room marked "MED 4" in faded paint, she rummaged around in her pockets, eventually pulling out a pair of darkened glasses. Unfolding them and putting them on, she took a deep breath, and turned the doorknob.
Inside, a man of no more than thirty lounged in a medical bed. His clothes were strangely cut, very baggy but not apparently oversized, and marked all over with icons, names, and ideas that had been long forgotten.
His face, too, betrayed subtle clues of being from a different time. A few hundred years of racial mixing had blurred the lines between race characteristics, blurring that had not occurred on his face. His jawbone had a very sharp angle to it, even for a man, from Megan's point of view. His hair had a peculiar sheen, and his skin was very pale compared to the average tone. That may have just been part of being frozen for three centuries, however.
He was smiling, comfortable for the moment. The place where he was now was made up to look like his time period, and as far as he knew everyone was 100% human. "What's up?" he asked, the accent of his voice unfamiliar.
Even though by now Megan knew what the phrase meant, she looked upwards, faking confusion. It was time for him to start realizing how different things were.
"No, no," he said, sitting up. "It means, what do you want?"
She smiled at him, lowering herself into a chair close to his bed. "Well, first, I'd like to know your name. It'll help me to talk to you, and we have a lot of talking to do."
Running a hand through his hair, he casually looked around the room as he answered. "Lucas Machiavelli. Charmed."
Idly, Megan noticed the abnormal amount of hair on his forearms. Each reanimated person seemed so different, both from each other and from people now, in every little detail of themselves. "Megan Electricien," she responded. "Likewise. I'm here to make sure that you don't get overwhelmed by being introduced into a completely new time period, which could cause you to go insane without a little bit of forewarning on some of the more radical aspects. First though, if you don't mind, I'd to know whatever you can tell me about what the world was like when you froze yourself. Just say what you feel was most important, so I know what to explain to you first."
He thought for a moment, fingers sliding again and again through his hair. "It was 2003, and The United States of America was the biggest power in the world. Bush was president, and we were involved with a bit of a scuffle in the Middle East over some terrorists who flew a plane into a couple of our important buildings. Cell phones and personal computers were big, pretty much everyone had one of both, and we were flying into space in shuttles fairly often."
Megan nodded. "Simple enough. The main things you'll need to know are you are now in the United North American Empire, or UNAE, one of five nations that rule the populated world, each of whom hold equal power. Large scale war has been replaced with small, controlled skirmishes in areas set aside specifically for that purpose. Technology as a whole has advanced, but biology has come especially far, as you'll see. I can't stress that enough. I want you to start trying to realize that everything is alive in one way or another. If you at least know that in some way, you should be able to cope the first time a dog talks." She smiled, letting him know she was kidding. He smiled back, but it was hard to read the effect this was having on him from his odd face.
"Alright, cool. Biology. I'm, uh, having a hard time imagining how that could be in everything, but I feel like I could handle it. Unless there's some super astounding thing that's been done that'll blow my mind for sure?" He grinned a bit more, his expression easing up a little.
Pretending to think for a moment, Megan nodded slowly. "Well, there is this one thing..."
Reaching up, she took off the glasses she had put on before coming in, revealing her green eyes. Leaning close to Lucas, she looked directly at him, making an effort not to blink too much. "Watch my eyes for a moment, and tell me what you see."
He raised an eyebrow, smirking, but proceeded to stare at her right eye, paying close attention to every detail. His eyebrows furrowed after a second, and then his mouth popped open. Megan focused on his face, then the wall behind him, then his face again, to make what she was showing him more obvious. His reaction was immediate.
Shoving himself backwards, he yelled in shock. "Your eye! It's a fucking CAMERA!!!" He jumped off the bed, pressing himself into a corner. "Oh man, what the fuck, what the fuck are you?!"
Megan, who was by now used to this sort of response, simply frowned. "Didn't people have manners in your time? Sit down, I'm not going to laser your face off or something."
Hesitantly, he took a cautious step towards the gurney, watching her warily. Sliding himself onto the far edge of the cushion, he seemed unable to look away from her eyes. Putting the glasses back on, she began to berate him. "You can't be doing that when you meet people on the street, it's terribly rude. And as at the moment roughly 50% of the population are like me, you're not going to be too popular. Now, as for what I am, I'm what you'd think of as a robot, but am officially called a Cyborganic, sort of like an artificial human. We mature, think, love, act, and essentially are humans, we just use different mechanisms inside. We all have organic parts, with unique DNA. The only practical difference is that we split into 23 different bot types, each with their own specializations and names."
A little bit of the fear faded out of Lucas's expression, replaced with confusion. "Ah, uh. Okay, so your organs and stuff are just... engines."
Laughing, Megan said, "Whatever you need to imagine to keep sane. We do have an engine of sorts, but... that's not important."
"Okay... Two questions, though. How are you specialized, and why the hell are you have the population?"
Still smiling, amused, she leaned back in her chair. "For specialization... the 23 types all have their own design modifications from the norm to make them best at what they're meant to do. For example, if you see a man lift 200 kilos like it's nothing, he's probably a Strongbot, which have cords of special fibers in place of typical muscles or muscle-like structures that allow them to lift more. Or if you see someone outrunning a car, they're a Runbot, which have special internal leg structures and gyroscopes that allow them go up to 150 kilometers per hour. Other kinds that might, ah, unnerve you are Beastbots and Freakbots. Beastbots are animal hybrids, humans mixed with dogs, birds, bears, all sorts of creatures. They're actually pretty normal once you get to know them, but a few do have some animal-ish habits. Very territorial, and all that. Freakbots, though, even creep me out sometimes. They love being different, as much as they can, and their bodies are modifiable in extreme ways. They can literally unplug their arms and put in different ones, and both of those arms will do something bizarre. Just... weird. The point is that they're supposed to be cultural variables, sitting on the opposite end of the spectrum than most people, to keep it mixed up. Way back they proved that uniformity and conformity can reduce the overall IQ of a population. Thus, Freakbots. But anyway, yeah. You'll probably still be a bit put off the first time you see one, but knowing what they are should help you from completely losing your mind. Any additional questions before I answer your second one?"
His mouth, which had been hanging slightly open since she began describing Runbots, closed. After a moment, he nodded. "Yeah, yeah. I've got one." He grinned a little. "Which bot type are you?"
Blushing, Megan looked away from him. "Let me tell you the reason half the world runs on electricity first. Otherwise you'll get the wrong idea."
His smile faded and disappeared. "I get the feeling this isn't a nice story."
Megan nodded. "It's also a long one, so get comfortable." He settled into the position he'd been in when she first entered the room, and she took note of this in her head. He was fairly comfortable, mentally as well as physically, by this point. She was doing something very right today. Taking a deep breath, she began.
"Around 2093, war broke out. We don't know who was fighting, or what they were fighting over, because of how destructive the war was. After conventional tactics apparently proved insufficient in killing enough people, the countries at war turned weapons of mass destruction. A single weapon, actually, which they all possessed.
"It was a biological bomb. Traces of the virus it released remained over the centuries, and today we know that it created all the symptoms of radiation sickness, killing within hours as people drowned in their own fluids. A nuke, without the destruction and ravaging of conquerable land. The countries must not have realized that they all had the same weapon at first, but once they did, they launched all they had. Cities were the main target, and so many bombs fell that, ninety-five percent of the population later, only five remained untouched. The rest fell to the practically 100% mortality rate and extreme communicability of the viruses. Eight billion people died in the space of one week. Asia was the heaviest hit."
Looking up at the ceiling, Lucas's expression became oddly blank. His voice was neutral as he asked, "So I take it... none of my descendants are even alive?"
Feeling uncomfortable, as she always did when this question was asked, Megan shook her head very slightly. "Probably not. I know a lot of people get... upset, when we tell them the great-grandchildren they never knew died to some stupid war, but again, you're still alive. You've got a new life here, and, I might add, the quality of life has improved significantly since your time. You get to start again."
He sighed. "Yeah..." He turned to look at Megan, folding his hands on his chest. "I had a son, back then. I wanted to get froze because... I didn't want to be a dad. It's sorta weird though, to think he grew up, had kids, grandkids, then died to some bomb one day." He looked back up at the ceiling, and didn't say more. Megan let him come to terms with things for a moment, then said quietly, "We can run a DNA check later. Someone might have lived. For now, I'd like to go on with the story, to help you understand this world."
He nodded, and said nothing. Megan took this as an okay to continue.
"The five cities that survived the war are now the capitals of the five countries in the world. They are Toronto, New Orleans, Salvador, Lyon, and Dublin. Respectively, they are the capitals of the United North American Empire, the United Southern Sector, the Confederacy of Lower Earth, the French Regiment, and English Parliamentary. This country, the first one, is usually called the UNAE, and uses an Imperial Republic, lead by an Emperor chosen by the previous ruler and approved by an elected congress."
"Now, five countries might not seem like a lot, but each controls a very large amount of territory. The smallest, the Confederacy of Lower Earth, controls the entire lower half of South America. But the populations of each country, in the aftermath of the war, were too small. There simply weren't enough people to support a modern society. So the governments began giving out boons to anyone who had children, to encourage growth. It worked, but only barely. Civilization was still on a cliff's edge, close to falling to pieces at the slightest push.
"For a century and a half, we grew slowly, becoming more stable. Life wasn't very comfortable, but your house would be warm in the winter, and someone couldn't just stroll up and shoot you without repercussions. People managed.
"But then, out of the blue this trust of robotics companies called Centurion Companies suddenly announced they had the solution to underpopulation. Us, Cyborganics. The governments jumped on it, and before even a year had passed companies were pumping out cyborganic babies by the thousands, spiking the population. It actually got out of control for a few years, and the governments had to break up Centurion's trust to keep the population from getting too high. At that time, there were only two types of bot, the original models. As time went on, more kinds were added, but those first two are what may have saved humanity. Those models were the Lifebots, who were just regular, unenhanced humans, and the Breedbots, female cyborganics capable of non-sexual reproduction." She started to blush. "Able to make children without sexual activity, whenever they wanted. Programmed to be wonderful mothers. And of course, very fertile for the 'natural way'."
Lucas sat up. "And that's what you are. A Breedbot. You forgot the part about enhanced beauty, they didn't make them like you where... I mean, when I'm from."
She smiled, embarrassed. "They didn't 'make' them at all when you're from. But thanks. I'm actually only slightly more attractive than the average girl. After a century of perfect gene infusions from Cyborganics reproducing, along with three centuries of pretty women having babies with handsome men, the bar has raised a bit since your time. Don't worry though, you're still acceptably attractive."
He grinned wholeheartedly now, delighted. "Oh man, they had theories about stuff like this in my time, but I never thought about it until now, that's awesome." Fingers through the hair again, and his eyes snapped over to Megan. "Hey, kinda off topic here, but how do you know all this? You seem like a walking history book."
Laughing, she shook her head. "I did have to study a bit so I could explain like his,but a lot of this is standard knowledge. Don't tell me you didn't know the story of how your country was founded by heart. It's pretty much the same thing."
"Ah, cool, cool." He scratched the back of his neck. "So, uh, what now?"
Megan pressed a button on the wall by his bed. "Now a couple people are going to come in and help you get started with living in this time. They're Cyborganics, so you can start to get used to being around us and have it hammered into your head that we're not that much different. But I think you're already pretty okay, or at least, you won't have a heart attack the first time you see a Freakbot. Any last questions?"
He hesitated, then leaned in close to her. Whispering, clearly feeling awkward, he asked, "Can I see the eyes again?"
She nodded, taking the glasses off once more. He watched in fascination, entranced by the way her iris shifted as she focused her eyes. Bunches of paper-thin lenses formed the dark pupil, with cams attached to a portion of the rim on each lens. When the lenses shifted focus, the cams spun, moving over each other. All the cams together overlapped to for a complete circle, and were painted green, making the whole assembly look like the cams were an iris and the stack of lenses a pupil.
Lucas kept watching for a few minutes, until the people Megan had called for entered the room. He took his eyes away reluctantly, leaning back against the bed. "Wow. This really is the future, isn't it?"
Smiling reassuringly, Megan made to leave. "It is. Good luck, Lucas."
Compare this to the first post, tell me which you like most. I'm actually thinking if putting the first part in after this, when she gets out of work. With the appropriate modifications, of course.
Last edited by Иanophяeak
on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.