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Quantum Prosthetics

By Jason Fink All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Scifi


Surprisingly enough, the Singularity didn't start with the internet. It started with an amputee. This is the tale of two Dacks, one a human, the other an accidentally formed artificial intelligence – though it doesn’t think that its intelligence is all that artificial. To prove it, the computer version of Dack will take over the human, then the world… not really. Together they embark on a journey, a winding path that tries to define what it is to be human.

Chapter 1

Surprisingly enough, the Singularity didn't start with the internet. It started with an amputee.

And his name was Dack.

Once upon a time, Dack was born. He slid into the world with a minimum of fuss, for which his mother was exceedingly grateful. He was a he and not a she, not an it, not at all confused by anything but the cold bright air that pounced on him suddenly. He cried a bit, sucked a bit, pooped a bit.

Before long, he was off to a university.

The middle bits were unimportant, really. So was the university where he’d decided to go, and eventually went. The university would have most likely been unimportant as well, except that’s where he lost his hand.

Not that he actually lost it. He knew perfectly well where it had gotten off to, not that he’d had any say in the matter. His hand had meandered off one evening while the rest of his body had been doing the overly-hormonal boy thing; that is to say showing off for some girls in the hopes of getting laid.

The problem with hormones and boys and girls and sleepless nights spent trying to prove that they were deep and meaningful by calling it the Dawn Patrol and spinning some tale about how meaningful the sea is and adding alcohol and other substances to the mix; the problem, one might say, is that in this mix there lies a great abundance of stupidity.

And lo, did Dack drink of the never ending flagon of temporary idiocy, and he found it good. For a moment at least. He was very pleased with himself for having found a way to scale a razor-wire topped fence. This was done so he could get to the other side and let the aforementioned girls (and some boys who had happened to also want to be a part of the late night overly hormonal Dawn Patrol stupid fest, but Dack didn't care much about the boys at that moment) let this minor horde of people he called friends into a fenced off outdoor pool for a bit of skinny dipping.

He was counting on debauchery and he was counting on being thought of as impressive and he was counting on one of the girls (and there was one particular girl, a girl he knew was a woman) to have decided that she would drink from the Flagon of Idiocy and choose him.

What he wasn’t counting on was, upon reaching the top of the aforementioned razor-wire was the likelihood that he might slip. And, of course, he did slip.

This was not how he lost his hand.

This was, however, how the girl (woman, his mind prodded) decided to drink from the Flagon of Stupidity and help Dack, who had fallen and twisted his ankle but still managed to let the minor horde of people who he called friends into the pool area anyway and had done so without much complaint but with an overly exaggerated limp. This woman had decided to stay by poor, brave, foolhardy Dack’s side and help nurse his bruised ankle and not-as-bruised ego.

This was where Dack and Jova met and where the first spark of love embered up and would most likely have blossomed into the heat of sex fire if the guard dogs that no one had really noticed had not chosen to show up right about then. Not that the dogs had actually done the choosing, it was the owner and manager of the apartment complex who, tired of college kids breaking into and using the pool of said swanky apartment complex, had let set the dogs upon them. This apartment complex was one that was filled with tenants who liked to swagger and use words like filthy to mean something was fantastic, and who did not like the unwashed masses to use said pool.

The manager had decided to take what he thought would be the next logical step in security and buy a six-pack of Doberman Pinschers in order to chase off the previously written about college students. The manager had assumed that the man he had purchased the canines from, a man whose van was not entirely dilapidated and who had not smelled as unclean as he looked, the manager had assumed that this man would have given the animals a proper vetting and proper training and kept them up on their shots and vet visits. The manager suspected that this may not be the case when, after paying the man what seemed like an all-too-reasonable fee, when the man shouted something about the dogs being his problem now and then slammed the door of the not-overly dilapidated van and drove off, leaving the smell of rubber lingering in the air.

The manager realized that the dogs were indeed his problem now and he decided to use them to make them the college students' problem. He did so in a flourishy manner that was the violent equivalent of waving a cane and yelling “Get off my lawn!” Only this time the lawn was a pool and the cane was a half dozen Doberman Pinschers with anger control issues, issues that, to the manager’s credit, were being addressed in weekly therapy sessions. Since dog therapy is a thing now. Though it wasn’t once, and life was probably better for it.

The beasts charged slaveringly into the hoard of college kids, and they were all jumpy and bitey and growly and barky and slobbery and other words that end with a y. There was a panic and an elevated potential for danger that ensued, with college students who had all drunk from the Goblet of… actually it was probably due more to the tequila and adrenalin at that point. The college kids ran around and yelled and screamed and generally made a nuisance of themselves.

One of these dogs, the slobbery vicious dogs, had decided to charge at Jova. Perhaps it was because she appeared especially tasty, perhaps it was because she wasn’t moving at all. No one really could tell except the dog and the dog really couldn't tell. It could speak, but that’s more of a bark and less of a Hi-how-are-you-let-me-tell- you-how-my-day-is type of thing. Whatever the reason, the dog ran at Jova, mouth agape with shiny sharpish teeth (they were actually more sharp than sharp-ish, but Jova was hoping that they were more on the ish side; they weren’t).

So Dack decided to go with the chivalrous route and shove his arm in the dog’s mouth

No, not that arm. Not yet.

Dack decided to shove his arm in the dog’s mouth and the dog, rather than clamping down hard the whipping its head around and latching on until the proper Dutch word was spoken after which it would release, the dog gnawed ever so lightly then released Dack’s forearm. It then pulled off an amazing downward dog as if it had been born into the pose, and wagged its stump of a tail.

Dack then realized that the dogs just wanted to play and he said as much to his friends and what was once a chaos of panic was now a chaos of college kids finding themselves surrounded with giant puppies who wanted to jump and run and play tug-of-war and who partook in the skinny dipping as well. As much as a dog can dip with the skinny. There was no shaving involved so the fur stayed on.

And Jova kissed Dack and it was good. Dack was exceedingly happy, as his plan worked out much better than he had hoped for. He sat on the chaise lounge with Jova while they were what some would call snogging, other call kissing, others making out and still others macking, and they were both glad that they’d been a little bit stupid. Jova leaned her head into Dack’s shoulder while Dack leaned over and slightly back, bracing his body by putting his left hand onto the glass side table.

Yes, this is where and when it happened. While Jova’s face was deciding to be silly and bury itself in Dack’s right armpit, a clean armpit, Dack had made sure, and while her head was buried he could smell the jasmine scent of her shampoo.

That was all he really remembered. Except for the searing pain, of course.

He was later told that his hand was now a part of the permanent tilework of the pool. He was also told that a stray rivet had worked its way out of a jumbo jet, one of the new ones that every major airline wanted, and this rivet that had worked its way out at twenty-thousand feet had decided to drop onto Dacks hand. There was some slight exploding-like action, but, miraculously enough, only the hand and the glass table were destroyed, though there was some significant damage to the poolside cement.

And to be fair, it wasn’t just the left hand that was gone, it was also three-fourths of Dack’s left forearm.

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