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By Andrew J Lucas All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Scifi

Chapter 1

Now I’d never considered myself one of those kids that had to have the best most flash upgrades, but I have my standards.  Mom never really got that but then she grew up when body work required a weekend stay in a stodgy clinic and not a dip in a refresh tank.  Don’t even get me started on Dad, in his era you only upgraded in a hospital and the way he told it only after a car crash or something equally horrific.  I knew that was crap because no fifty year old has abs like my Dad, at least not natural ones.  Universal printers were not new tech, but my parents never really approved of them, they grew up with printers that put ink onto paper or built objects out of extruded resin, not from a complex gel composed of atomic particles.

The older generation always seemed to have tunnel vision when it came to new tech.  When I was a kid Mom always went on about how Nana used to nag her about using her cell to text her friends instead of calling them like the phone was supposed used to for.  Apparently Nana had a landline or something and the interweb was something called dial up whatever that was.  Mom liked to tell that story when we all got together, like it showed everybody how tech savvy she was, but she still replied to my avatar contacts with plain texts.  She always got bent out of shape when I let my avatar reply to her instead of texting myself.  Like I need to interact to tell her I’m on my way home that’s why my cell has an avatar, it’s not like I sent her to voice mail or something.

  But that really was beside the point, what was really important was that this weekend was Prom.  So Ashley and Sarah, my best friends decide at the last minute that we’d all go wearing the same outfit.  I know right!  Even worse they decided on mini skirt blouse number straight out of the aught twenty’s.  That style was hard to pulled off when it new, couple of decades later it’s damn near impossible especially with my hips and Sarah knows it – that bitch!

  Anyways, I catch a break as my older Sister, Ashley, has a little number that would fit the bill nicely except for two problems.  One it’s the wrong color and two it’s too small.  Luckily both problems are easily solved with Teddy, my younger brother Charlie’s, brand new compiler.  The little brat’s always poking around my stuff or ratting me out to the parents, so I didn’t feel bad about returning the favor.   Now before you start looking at me like I’m one of the wicked stepsisters from some old Disney flick, I should like to point out that when I was eleven Charlie took all my Barbies and reprogrammed them to chant;

“Charlie is great!  Charlie is great!  His sisters, his sisters they don’t even rate!”

  So no, I don’t feel bad about breaking into his room and using his compiler and printer tank to help me get ready for the prom.   

Luckily Charlie never really shut off his compiler, Mom always calls it a computer but it really was much more than that.  Dad says it compiles data from calculations conducted in small quantum pocket dimensions using bubble logic and predictive algorithms.   Pretty much sure he has no idea what he’s talking about but man does my Dad love to hear he own voice.  If that how it works then by all rights Mom should call it a calculator or a conductor, but who really understands old folks.  All I knew was Charlie’s compiler has processing speed to spare and a brand new gel cartridge for his 3d printer.  He only used it to make snacks, build stupid anime figurines or polyseal his comic collection so I figured there would be more than enough to do what I wanted without him even noticing.

  I would start with the easy tasks first before moving on to what I really needed to make prom night perfect.  I’d customized a swimsuit for myself a couple of year ago on Charlie’s old compiler, it wasn’t hard then so I figured I could just as easily run the new compiler as his old. 

I guess I might have been a little overconfident.

  The skirt and blouse went into the tank with no problems, but then the tank was almost as big as a small couch when it was rolled out.  Collapsed it looked like nothing more than a rolled up futon, in fact Charlie stored his tank underneath his bed along with a couple cardboard boxes containing his Magic: The Gathering card collection, a handful of comics and way, way too many action figures.  I was mildly pleased to note the absence of any girlie magazines, but I suppose he wasn’t quite old enough for that and anyways he had a compiler, access to the interweb and no parental oversight, so that meant nothing. 

  The tank was one of those models with a telescoping frame and sort of airlock arrangement that allowed items to be inserted into the gel or for the frame to grow to accommodate the item being grown inside it.  Mechanical extruders and chemical infusion painters allowed the amino gel and resin to build any object you could imagine.  It could build practically anything accurate down to the atomic level.  It really was amazing what you could do with them, heck a girl down the street used an older model as a dialysis machine for their grandma, then they upgraded to a tank that let them print and install a new liver and kidney for her.  I suppose the proper word isn’t install, the manual calls it autonomous surgery, but really it’s just like installing hardware in a compiler.  Well so I’ve heard it’s not like I’ve done it myself and who reads manuals anyways.

  The compiler loaded up very quickly and ran through a fast self-diagnostic that I glanced over briefly before bringing up the copy/mod program for the tank.  Charlie had a lot of programs in his start up queue, and I cycled through them very quickly to get to the one I wanted.  I wasn’t interested his email, back up prog, virus checker or file sharing programs I just wanted to get his tank up and running.  After a moment I had it up and was scanning the blouse and skirt into the compiler’s memory.  Inside the tank the clothing was reduced to its component molecules prior to being rebuilt to my specifications.  A sickly sweet smell filled the room from the open tank as it dissolved my sister’s clothes.  I could have sealed the tank but this wouldn’t take long, and the smell was a harmless byproduct.  Frankly Charlie’s room smelt like a combination of garbage dump, meat locker and used gym strip, so this new smell was a definite improvement.

Charlie was running an energy star system that avoided waste by utilizing any material placed into the tank as components.  Put a broken toy into the tank and after few minutes of the tank reducing it to a chemical/organic slurry while uploading the toy (as a backup) to its memory the tank was ready to recreate the item.  Of course you would want to rebuild the toy so that it wasn’t still broken, but then that’s why the compiler had construction programs so that you could do just that, and plenty of universal gel to make up for any missing parts.  You could even enhance them by inserting robotic armatures and a direct high speed interweb link to control it.  Boys and their toys.  I had the program up quick enough and was looking over the information the tank had collected when it absorbed the skirt and blouse.

The construction program was running a little slowly, probably because of all the other programs Charlie had running in the backgroundt.  I glance at them briefly to see if there would be any conflict with construction program, but everything looked okay to me and the lag was minimal.  He was just downloading some stupid anime robot figure from the interweb.  Sure it was drawing off some of the compiler’s resources but there was plenty left over for the simple task I needed.  Damn kid had too many action figures anyways, they were always underfoot.  I didn’t care so much but Mom was always screaming at him to pick up his crap before she threw it out.  She was all bluster but she refused to pick up after Charlie, usually Dad would just pick them up when Mom wasn’t looking and toss them in Charlie’s room.  Neither parent really wanted to clean any of their kid’s rooms for them which was fine by me as I liked my privacy, but it did result in Charlie’s room being generously described as a crap hole by Dad.  Toys were everywhere hidden amongst piles of week old laundry and stacks of plastic sealed comic books – he collected those as well.

The program had analyzed the clothes by the time I’d scanned through Charlie’s running programs.  I looked over the display and made the adjustments I wanted, draw in the skirt a couple of centimeters, raise the hem a tad and add a bit a cleavage to the blouse - after all it was Prom.  Then I selected a nice color scheme, salmon for the blouse with the skirt a dark brown at the waist blending to a brilliant orange as it approached the hemline.  I know, I know, but you really had to see it to really appreciate the vision.  Once you added a pair of vintage Doc Martin’s, a few silver bangles and a yellow fedora as the piece de résistance it really was to die for. 

I couldn’t wait to try it on.

The construction program bleeped that my outfit was complete and I spun around on Charlie’s desk chair to retrieve my new outfit.  I suppose I should have been a little more careful.  If I’d read the program’s manual I would have known that the outfit had been sent to the compiler’s buffer and the tank was still assembling it.  Not a big problem, I’d just have to wait a little longer.  At least that would have been the case if in my rush I hadn’t slipped on a stack of polybagged comics which took my feet right out from under me - slippery buggers.  Losing my balance I slipped full into the tank and the amino gel it held.  Generally a messy and embarrassing situation, but not something to really complain about, however this tank was in full operation rebuilding my prom outfit from the basic molecules of the gel. 

Perhaps I should have made sure the tank was closed before I started the compiler like the instructions and warning labels said.  Live and learn I suppose, I was just thankful that the tank had an automatic anesthetist program built in as it rendered me to my component organic compounds.  Luckily the compiler also had a large enough memory buffer to store myself within itself.  I know that sounds strange but imagine experiencing it firsthand. 

Luckily Charlie came home from school early.  Of course he freaked, more because I was in his room than in his compiler, the second part he thought was pretty cool.  He also figured out that the process was easily reversible but it would take time after all rebuilding a human body from the soul up is much more time consuming than breaking it down.  There were plenty of safeguards for just this type of accident, I guess it was more common than I’d have thought.  It would take almost thirty six hours to reconstruct my body.  Now Charlie agreed to cover for me with our parents which shouldn’t be that hard, as they really didn’t pay that much attention to us anyways, but the prom was something else.  I couldn’t miss Prom it was the single most important event of my High School years.  I couldn’t miss it.  Luckily Charlie had some ideas there as well.

So that’s how I came to be the only girl to attend her High School prom as a WiFi enabled robotics enhanced action figure.

Eat your heart out Sarah!

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