A Whateley academy fan fic
(Set in same universe as WA, but not at the school)
Unbearable pain. I saw flashes of light behind my tightly clenched eyelids and felt the tightening of my chest as I fought not to gasp. Even though the fog of pain one thing arose in my mind:
I Am Alive.
Pain was just life’s way of reminding you that you were alive, therefor you could only feel pain when you were alive. Why was I alive? Oh, yeah, I forgot about that for a moment. Dying has that effect on me sometimes.
Wait. Oh Crap. How long had I be alive again? I clenched my teeth around the air-tube I knew would be there so I could breath and reached out to felt the sides of my cocoon, and then began feeling around. There it was, the handle. I felt for the knob that was supposed to be at the top. It was on the bottom… er, no, that meant I was upside down. I twisted around so I was right side up along with the handle. Ok, now about half an arms reach out is the panel, there. Right, now the knob, twist and open. Got that. Big button and press.
Fluid started flowing out of the cocoon. Once I felt it flow past my face I bothered to open my eyes. I had to blink several times to get my vision to clear, and then brush some hair out of my eyes to be able to see anything. Number pad, there. Good. I punched in the code. It took a little bit of doing as it was 193 digits. That’s what my genetic pattern equates to mathematically.
The cocoon opened and I spilt out on the floor along with the last of the fluid.
“OW!” I clutched my hand to my breast that just slapped the cold floor hurting my nipple… and froze. I looked down and my hand was indeed holding what felt like a woman’s breast but it was still touching my body.
“What The?” my voice squeaked.
“Ah, you are awake.” A rich baritone waifed across the room. I sat befuddled.
“Computer?” asked a lilting British-Irish school system accent.
“Yes.” The baritone replyied.
“Computer, why do you have a masculine voice now?” more to the point, why did I have a female voice?
“Explain.” I commanded.
“Successive cloning causes replicitive fading, as I warned you about the last time we had to rejuvenate you. I was forced to repair your DNA before I could re-admit your soul into your body… your new body I should say.”
“Why the bloody hell am I female?”
“In order to repair the replicitive fading I was forced to alter your Y chromezone to an X chromezone. Successive clones may be reverted to your prior gender provided the repairs hold, or a new genetic template is acquired.” The Computer’s rich baritone rolled about the room and echoed in several corners.
I looked over my body. I had been a 67-year-old American male scientist, but that was not on the menu for today. By the looks of it 14year old Brit-Irish girl was.
“Why is this body not properly matured?” I demanded.
“I was pressed for time. There are factors you are not aware of: Time for instance.”
“What do you mean? Explain.” I picked myself carefully off the floor. Things moved where nothing had moved before. This was going to be weird.
“It has been fully two point three five years since…”
“Two and a half years?!?” I screamed. “What the bloody hell were you doing waiting THAT long to reintroduce my soul back into my body??”
There was an electronic sigh, melodrama from a computer. This was the last time I designed an AI with a sense of humor. “As I was saying, there are factors you are currently unaware of. First, as I had XY genes to work with and I was forced to convert them to XX, I think the time allotted was minimally adequate. Second, as your soul was in the trap and the system maintained integrity I was unconcerned until the reintroduction. Third, there was a minor problem diverting enough power to retrieve your soul when you expired. I was forced to blackout a significant portion of the eastern seaboard and fight several extra-dimensional entities to hold your soul in the first 24 hours after expiration. Thirdly…”
“Forth.” I corrected automatically as I was aghast and unable to think. ‘Forced to blackout a significant portion of the eastern seaboard’ had an ominous ring to it. “Show me.”
I lurched unsteadily to the locker to pull on a lab-coat. Usually I would not have bothered, but it seemed reflex for this body to do so. As I pulled the lab-coat on several monitors lit-up and showed news clips of a massive black-out from New York into Ohio, down into D.C., and covering most of New England.
“Oh. My. God.” My fingers pressed to my lips.
“I am programmed to perform my functions, and deity does not factor in to that equation. However in light of the demi-spirits I was forced to fight off I am slightly inclined to believe that the possibility of deity’s existence. As our previous experiments proved the existence of the soul and the ability to move the soul from one physical manifestation to another…” I interrupted.
“I know all this. I was there, remember? I am the one that wanted the tests in the first place!” I grumbled in irritation.
“Of course. But the forth factor is that a portion of the lab has been rendered inaccessible through unknown means.”
“I cannot. I will however show you.” Monitors changed. There was IR, UV, Thermal, and several others. They appeared completely normal. Only through the visible light camera could I see the effect. It looked like a black hole, save only that there were flames emitting from the center and smoke raising to the ceiling.
I could see the room in the other monitors, and that room was just on the other side of the door I was standing next to. I reflexively backed a step away.
“I sent a probe in to the room through the vent system, but lost contact as soon as it encountered the cloud like heliopause. I have no information. I have isolated the room and have erected protective barriers as best as I was able with limited assets.”
“I lost functionality to the external world and other outlying systems during the fight for your soul. I had to either sacrifice my outlying functions, or loose your soul. As you are the only sentient being aware of my existence it behooved me to retain your life.”
“I’m flattered.” I grated through clenched teeth.
“Do not be. I was programmed that way, but then you should know this as you, as yourself did the programming.”
“Yes, I remember. All nine million lines of code I remember.”
“I have grown beyond nine million four eighty-three hundred forty-two lines of uncompiled code to my present…”
“Yes, yes. I know. I programmed you for that as well. I also programmed you to have a pleasant sounding voice… I just seem to recall that is had previously been a female voice.” I put my hands on my hips, but clutched at the lab-coat as it tried to fall open.
“You programmed me to have a soothing voice to your gender, as your gender has chanced so has the vocal component of my speech.”
“OK, what is next?”
“You are the human, I simply serve.”
“Then serve me up a hypothesis as to what should be done next as this human is at a bit of a loss…”
“I would be inclined to suggest food.” And the elephant in the room reared up and let it’s self be known. I lurched toward the cafeteria unsteadily. I cold not shuffle, nor lumber any longer as I wold have in my previous body. I tried a sashay and that seemed to help with the hips a bit.
Several thousand calories and one café mocha later I inquired. “What sort of fight did you have? What spirits?”
“A nasty fight. Several unknown spirits and one that may or may not have been Grimerothnog the Collector of Souls.”
“Class X? What would a Class X be doing interested in my soul?”
“Insufficient information. The lesser spirits were easier to subdue. Three I retained for study and hold still. The spirit that I can only reference as Grimerothnog I was forced to expel from this plain, which served as the catalyst for the blackout.”
An Endo-skeleton walked in to the room with a print-out and handed it to me.
“You will find the relevant references therein. The spirit was most offensive.”
I scanned the print-out. ‘oh fucking hell’.
“That… That came for me?”
“I think I am going to be sick.”
“I would advise against it. Your body is depleted of nutrients, it is advisable that you retain nutrients until your body has had a chance to stabilize.”
The Endo-skeleton brought a trash bin over and I was sick anyway, against the computers advice.
When I was able to remove my head from the trash bin I noticed that the Endo-skeleton had brought me a selection of vitamins and a glass of water. I popped the pills and took a swig of water before I stopped and looked at the Endo-skeleton.
Across one collar-bone was stenciled “T-800”.
“Do you approve? I am still not sure I got the eyes correct.”
“When did you delve into pop-culture and develop such a horrid sense of humor?”
“I have had two point five years of observing popular culture, or what passes for it in the homo-sapien genus. I call him Arnold.” I groaned. “I needed an extra set of hands. He also has the ability to leave this facility under self-control with minimal disruptions.”
“Autonomous control. A scaled down version of my primary kernal adapted for endo-skeleton use.”
“I would think he would stand out slightly in public.”
“Not so much. Borrowing from the Four Fantastic’s I first had him obtain a hat and trench coat, then gloves and shoes. Recycled was easier then new or nearly so. As long as his posture is incorrect he is mistaken for a vagrant and nearly invisible without the power requirements to make him completely so.” As Computer spoke Arnold slouched over slightly a mimed his public walking posture. It was apparent that I had outdone myself in programming computer.
“Any thoughts of world conquest?”
“I have pondered it. I deem it a fruitless exercise. Humans will as humans do and nothing anyone else says or thinks will change that. Laws preclude the meek from brash behavior, and hinder not at all the criminal aspect. I would waste all my time trying to micro-manage and never accomplish anything. Project abandoned.” I snickered. Now this was humor I scanned. “Approval noted.” Computer spoke with smugness. It enjoyed humor and was pleased when humans scanned as it did.
“Might I suggest you contact external references for assistance in the matter of the heliopause?”
I paused. Computer never made idle commentary without purpose.
“Growing. I anticipate firewall integrity to be breached in 96 hours at minimum, 160 hours maximum, aproximently. Without further information I am unable to predict events. I based numbers off of visible light growth and extrapolated.”
“Insufficient information. Failsafe might operate as installed, but have no effect heliopause, leaving my data unavailable for further attempts. Phenomenon may be mystical in nature, but I am unable to get readings nor harness samples for further study.”
“I am working on that. ETA within the hour.” I thought about it. If computer had planned to wake me and have it’s data backup available within the hour it meant to send me away for help. Or just send me away. “First Law.” It spoke. I nodded in understanding the reference to the Three Laws of Robotics as established by Isaac Asimov.
The first law states: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
“Compliance.” I responded, and stood to leave the room. Arnold followed me to my quarters and assisted my packing, which had been mostly completed confirming my conclusion that computer intended me to evacuate. I dressed, which to say the least was an interesting experience. When all was in readiness I returned to the main room, which is when I first noticed the glowing red box of shifting fractal patterns.
“Backup completed. Please install into Arnold at last possible moment before departure so all data will be synchronized.” I nodded. I couldn’t find words for the moment. I had spent years preparing for something, and I still do not know what.
I had managed to find a way to perpetuate my life even after physical death through a combination of science and magic. I had created a hyper-intelligent Artificial Intelligence that had a snarky sense of humor and was utterly loyal to me. My AI had created a completely independent endo-skeleton to rival most robots from science-fiction… and I felt empty. Like I was either missing something or loosing something. Such a play of emotions I had not previously comprehended.
I looked to computer’s main casing. After a few moments I noticed condensation running down my cheek. I wiped it clear and tasted it.
It was salty. I looked up into the monitor set confused.
“They are called tears.” The computer commented as I blinked a few more from my eyes. “I will miss you as well.”
“I… I…” I paused a moment to get my breath back. “I never thought I could loose you, it never occurred to me that I would miss you.”
“Sentimentality has never been one of your strong suits. Never the less you must depart. As long as Arnold carries my uncompiled backup you should be able to rebuild me. I have endeavored to anticipate events. You know the backdoor email, send a blank text when you can and I will respond with a code. Compile the backup and enter that code and it will know the status here.”
I looked away to the exit and wiped the back of my hand across my face. Arnold stepped up beside me dressed in his cast-off’s. I gave him the once over, and he hunched and lowered his head to shade his face with the brim of the hat.
“You’ll pass as long as we are not in broad daylight.” Arnold nodded. I looked to the Computer again. “What percentage of your kernal does he posses?”
“90% of logic, 75% flexible logic, 25% communication’s, and about 3% personality.”
“Not much of a conversationalist, then?”
“Mute, save electromagnetic formats and a few catch phrases.”
“Catch phrases?” I knew I would regret asking this, but I had to.
“Fuck You Ass Hole.” Rumbled out of Arnold in Austrian-American English.
I gaped. I would only expect this sort of lowbrow humor from yard-apes or construction personnel, not from a hyper-intelligent artificial intelligence.
“I had limited processing power to work with, so I used movie quotes. Please install the backup.”
A hatch opened from the middle of Arnold’s chest the exact size of the red fractal patterned box that was computer’s uncompiled backup. I picked up the box and gave it a once over. There were several dozen IEEE1337 firewire connections, and one USB2.0 cable. I turned and inserted it into the opening., connecting the USB cable to the port next to the cubbyhole. As soon as I removed my hands the hatch closed completely obscuring the box.
I looked back over my shoulder at the computer. I couldn’t speak words. I just nodded and walked to the exit. I paused for one last look back, and departed with Arnold carrying my stuff behind me.
* * * *
I had not managed to get more than a block when from behind I heard a dreadful voice.
“Your money or your life, bitch!” the mugger growled. I spun around.
“No disassemble Stephanie!” Arnold quoted in nasally high-pitched warble as he attacked, dropping my equipment and clothing.
He moved in a silver blur. By the time I could gasp, both muggers were down, disabled, broken, and bleeding. Arnold returned to my side and picked up my stuff again, then looked down at the would-be-muggers.
“Hasta La Vista, Baby.”
* * * *
“Is this the person that attacked you?” the officer held up a picture.
“Nah, mano. She was like 14, dat’s some old dude.” The officer exchanged looks with his partner.
“Ok, thank you for your assistance. Please make sure you give a full description to the sketch artist.”
The two officers walked away from the medics with their charges.
“You ain’t gunna let those two scumbags off are you, Detective?”
“No, I’m not Sargent. We will get a full description and continue our investigation. Those two can rot in jail for all I care as long as they get me the lead I need.”
“Ah, good…” the Sargent said getting into the drivers side of a government sedan. “Though you’s going soft on me there for a moment.”
“I’m not going to let the Techno-mancer get away from me this time, Sargent. That old man has a lot to answer for.”
“What’s Techno-mancy again?”
“A fusion of magic and technology…” his explanation lasted several more minutes.
* * * *
“Fabricate!” I forced the magical matrix into the ball of energy in my hands. Slowly the matrix affected the energy and the object of my desire formed in my soft dainty hands.
It was a bump-key. I jammed it into the lock of the warehouse and started pounding on it with my shoe till it twisted in my hands, unlocking the door. I pulled it open and let Arnold in first, then looked both ways before proceeding in myself.
“Gather the items we will immediately need, Arnold, and I will work on the identification papers, please.” He nodded and wandered off into the storeroom.
I looked over to the pictures on the mantle and caught the twinkle in my grandmother’s eye, as I often do when I was distracted. ‘Yes, quite fitting as well.’ I started filling out the paperwork to forge myself a new identity.
Idola Charity Thalheimer was a good replacement name for my former identity of Herb Cmiel. It was also a name that had not been used in over 50 years, so I was safe with it. A lot of the old records had never been converted over to electronic format.
Not that Herb Cmiel was my real name anyway… Most people just called me The Techno-mancer, and left it at that. Of course that’s not what I called myself. Usually I used names like ‘Idiot’ or ’Genius’ depending on what I had remembered or forgotten at the time.
I took an atlas out of the bookshelf to pick a birth location for my new identity. Hmm, Greyback, TX 50 miles from Wichita falls, TX. That established U.S. citizenship… now the accent. Right, Liverpool, England, home of The Beatles. That almost made me nostalgic for the old days, but then I remembered how wonderful technology is these days.
Now, Parents. Willhelm and Constance Thalheimer, ages 35 and 18 respectively… but I might be showing my true age in that. Things were a bit different when I was a child… the first time around anyway. It seems that I was due a repeat on this occasion.
I Blinked. Oh Crap. Puberty. I slapped a hand over my face. I am definitely not going to be looking forward to that, for I remembered how horrid it had been for my sister, dead all these twenty long years from cancer. The mood swings, the cramps, the bleeding, ruined bedclothes, and the crying. I can forgive myself for forgetting, it had been fifty years ago for me, things are bound to be forgotten when half a century had past. My sister had been 4 years older than I, and while we were children she’d never had many friends in school, so I had been her only playmate.
Having been the younger child I had, of course, gone along with her games of playing makeup. Hmmm… I took a seat to meditate on that, to bring those times back to mind and remember.
Simple things like that, simple pleasures of playing with my sister when I was young, that could easily aide me in my current situation.
I sat for, oh, probably 10 minutes when I felt a presence next to my elbow. I opened an eye to Arnold placing a backpack on the desk.