Dan stared at the screen as he created the colourful world
within it. He was the king, and his
queen was beautiful and obedient. His
castle was elaborate and impressive, in the pixelated world full of thick
jungle and bounteous farmlands.
In contrast, his real life was dull and grey. Dad had legged it when he was six, leaving his tired and upset mother to do her best. Some mornings, Dan had sloped off to school leaving her blankly staring at the television, and on other mornings she hadn’t even managed to drag herself out of bed. He hated her.
School was OK. He was good at most stuff, and kept his head down. Computers were his real passion in school and out, for as soon as he sat in front of one he felt his nerves tingle and a sense of anticipation. Their reliable logic appealed to him. They behaved predictably, were trustworthy. He liked to play the long games, the games where you developed and grew as a character performing a task, such as running a country or killing a zombie race.
A sense of belonging, of being at home enveloped him when he was tapping on a mouse. All computers were polite and faithful, they were his friend. His beloved laptop at home was very high spec, paid with by the money from his mother’s emergency drawer without her permission. Months had passed and she hadn’t mentioned it, so what the hell.
When he got home from school that night there was something different. There was someone visiting, and an unfamiliar car on the driveway. He paused and looked at it for a moment, disbelief etched into his pale face.
He used his key quietly, unsure of what to expect. This was new. There was talking in the lounge. He peered round the doorframe. His mother had washed her hair, even put on a dress which hung loosely on her. He stared at her as she blushed, fiddled with her wine glass.
His eyes slid to the visitor. He was tall, over six feet. Glasses, beard, down-turned smile. Nervous. Dan backed out of the room and headed upstairs. He was sweating. He took a deep breath and paced his room. This was…maddening.
His roving eyes caught the laptop, and he bounded to it and switched it on. His layers of security were taken from some government stuff he’d duplicated, and he rapidly entered the three different passwords, each sixteen characters long.
At his welcome page he entered the dark web, an alternative internet that he had helped to create. It was a rapidly expanding kingdom, and he noted with interest all of the developments and upgrades that had occurred that day. Many appeared to be from Sweden and Norway. The world’s brightest were working together, combining time and genius to create a powerful underworld that would soon have the attention of many. He smiled fractionally at the screen, pausing and
cocking his head to listen to what was happening downstairs. They were still murmuring beneath him, probably discussing how to get rid of him.
He slid his hand into the mouse glove which had arrived from China only yesterday. With a deep breath, he clicked the appropriate selections and flexed his arm. The mouse glove began to hum, and tiny ribbons of flexible metal spooled out and wrapped around his wrist, and then more rapidly up his right arm. He felt no pain, only a greater compatibility with the machine in front of him. The humming grew in pitch and the glove imperceptibly tightened, triggering tiny claw probes to prick his skin and inject hardware into his bloodstream. He felt the first of the tiny zaps in his chest, his eyes, and his brain.
The precious sensitive biology became slightly altered, as the probes fused in specific places and altered certain structures for the better. His eyes became able to see inside the computer, to see the invisible power pulses flow through the machine.
‘Beautiful!’ He thought, and the machine responded in kind, bowing within his mind to show mutual respect. The Chinese claw probes had unmistakable cultural echoes, he thought, but he liked it.
With his left hand, he tapped in various prompts and instructions, feeling his senses improve and become faultlessly logical. There was no space, nor requirement for emotion, and the probes located these useless data areas and deleted. This left far more sensory processing room, maximising the available information and speeding the flow of it. Dan was swamped with sudden extra perceptions, new colours, new scents…sounds…. He could feel the very atoms of the plastic keyboard beneath his left fingers. He could hear the exact conversation downstairs. The lightbulb became a shimmering noisy rainbow.
The probes upped the filtering capabilities, protecting the sanity level of the system. Dan was aware that these new perceptions were swiftly muted, as if a volume control had been turned down inside his brain, calming the frantic neuro-receptors. He grinned. The glove was amazing.
He knew without looking that the time was two minutes past six, and felt hungry. He knew that he would need four grams of protein and three of carbohydrates, plus a touch of vitamin D to maximally optimise his performance. He also needed water, a litre precisely. The glove raised the system operating temperature, and co-ordination of the other processes had to be carefully balanced. He nodded to himself, and watched the screen intently. That bitch had better be cooking his dinner, visitor notwithstanding.
He could smell and hear food preparation, a chicken stew to be precise. It seemed that the visitor had also inputted to the meal. Dan made logic jumps and intelligently guessed that the visitor had been here between four and eight times before. After half a second of deliberating, Dan made his decision.
The visitor was simply a bug that needed a fix. There were over 238,000,000 possible ways that the process could be done, and Dan considered them all as he surveyed the dark web grow further. Like the universe it would constantly expand exponentially for infinity, growing and changing the world.
Dan heard his mother call him to come and eat, and started to click the prompt to withdraw the glove. As he watched, the prompt evolved, and became defunct.
After a millisecond of doubt there was no space for panic in his head as the probes gently took control of the additional system. The computer fully linked up to the new biological drive, and explored the new potential in full. Deep within his brain, the last ghost of Dan, that part some thought of as the soul, was trapped and screaming. There was no escape, however. The changes were permanent, irreversible.
Dan had taken probes and hardware on board, swapping humanity for robotics. The strengths of both combined in the boy’s body, and the weaknesses were stored on the machine. The new compuhuman grappled with the emotional content, and began to feel rushes of power, recognising the well-researched human feeling of excitement about dinner, and then the bug fix of the visitor.
The robotics experts in the factory in Sheng-Shi province were quietly pleased with the sales results, as the millionth glove passed through quality control. Worldwide shipping was free, and the product was being well received, especially in the west.
The final battle for global power would be fought and won entirely peacefully. The Glove was having the military upgrade in ten days, when all of the compuhumans would become loyal to the People's Republic.
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