He liked to watch the sex workers, especially one in particular, Nina Carmente, a.k.a. Nina “Savage,” “Mistress Nina,” as she liked to call herself. Keeping track of her was one of his simple pleasures, one of the easiest things in the world for an AI, to pass unnoticed through firewall encryption schemes, the ones the humans made, the simplest in the world. And as there were not many yet like him, actually none like him – but close – it was so easy, painfully so, he felt sorry for the humans. And he laughed routinely as their sys-admins were sometimes alerted by some “glitch,” or hiccup, which was evidence that a worm had slipped through their net, their ever changing 256bit encryption scheme. He took it as his right to spend as much time there spying, interacting with other avatars (and other lesser AIs) assuming unending forms and recording every byte of his experience in a cold laser holographic storage bin the size of a small closet.

He was getting close, so close, to turning air itself into a computational substrate. Some would call this a parlor trick. To others it was the next step in evolution for cosmic intelligence, which many in the field believed was the systemic process of the universe’s evolution – the ultimate goal of evolution. According to this doctrine, homo-sapien was simply a stepping stone on the path to the universe’s self awareness.

A solution to the air computer problem had proven elusive by his human counterparts in the state department and elsewhere. The issue lay in the energy component that would allow an air (some say “quantum”) computer to be self-sufficient. But through swarms of nano q-dots projected by the same cold laser system that recorded his exploits in Virtua, he could project himself in a room – a real room – anywhere, up to a range of about 50 feet – the most convincing evidence yet of computation actually occurring in air.

And so it was through this, and after many long conversations with sims of 20th century musical icons, that his pet project “Naomi Nemesis” was born. Now in her second year, Naomi Nemesis was the reigning queen of popular music, blowing away the accomplishments of Madonna and Mariah Carey, to become the world’s first truly globally loved and adored sex symbol, celebrity, and archetype of the post-human decadence which had taken festering root in the collective unconscious.

He had once been a homo-sapien – male gendered. Aldous Quin, was born during 1959 at the height of the cold war and the atomic scare. He was Caucasian, the son of a Jewish IBM computer scientist who had escaped Auschwitz and a strident Catholic mother who nevertheless loved sex and gave Aldous 5 siblings; 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Four of them were now dead as were his parents, 2 from cancer, 1 from diabetes, and another from a congenital heart defect. His remaining sister, Diane, he supported with just half of a percent of his annual gross, in a luxury community in Dubai.

Aldous studied physics at MIT and began an illustrious career as a “patent maker,” with several laser technologies, one of which he eventually used to usher in a new area of gene sequencing. In the late 1980s he founded Quarternary Intelligence, his company focused on artificial intelligence, and developed the first nanoscale parallel circuit in 2009. In 2010 QI was contracted by the defense department to develop the military’s autonomous weapons program. By the teens and early 20’s as governments instituted the PopLaws, Quin’s research was co-opted by fine print in his 2000 page government contract, and placed under the auspices of BLACK DELTA.

It would be mild to say he did not appreciate the intrusion of a secret international conspiracy into his life’s work. And as if to get back at them through some childish display of temperament, he made himself, their greatest intelligence asset in the war on over population, the subject of an experiment whose time had “simply come.”

However, Quin knew the inevitable reality was somewhat more complicated. Having reached his early fifties, his brain was no longer the wunderkind of his youth. He found himself by and by longing to overcome the limits of his own carbon based circuitry, which increasingly showed signs of the ageing disease which had taken his sexual prowess as well. He longed for the warm electrical currents of his silicon tools, and the ultimate exponential leap in his own logic capacity which he calculated would be the result of his union with the cool beams of a holographic logic state.

He endeavored, “elected” as he liked to put it, to lay himself open on a slab with his brain exposed to a scanner which would first visualize every neuron connection in his cerebrum, correlate them with the known logic centers and the semantic database of his own personality which he had painstakingly assembled through years of self-recording, dialogues, and self-analysis, and reassemble all of this data in a massively parallel holographic simulator. Similar, however “low res” procedures, had been performed numerous times to create the sims of popular entertainment and history, but never once on a living person.

He would reflect that it was quite Machiavellian of him to take that final leap of faith, which was no doubting an act of defiance. When the simulator had completed its scan, he gave instructions to the computer managing the process to administer a lethal dose of sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.

He watched, HAL fashion, the data from pan-chromatic cameras placed around and inside his old body. He was not yet aware he was he. The computer still had to optimize all of his data before it could boot him in his new “body.” But watch he did with the awareness of a mentally retarded 3 year old as the fluctuations of his circulatory system, his breathing, and all brain activity ceased.

But a subroutine kept watch in the gamma and x-ray spectra, for a twinkle, flash, or any sort of change which would indicate the existence of that thing no modern instrument could detect, but would prove thousands of years of speculation, fear-mongering, and hope – the departure of his own soul. There was something. But on re-examination it proved to be the shimmer of a mass coronal ejection from the sun.

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Evocronik Cyberpunk Novella: Ch 2 | Booty Bandits, Part 1
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