I Am New Man

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story to accompany my video on YouTube.
Nov. 2022 edit: Here's an updated better format version: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZgE3UgXmFXC4hwGYpzFHx_zu6P5X_KcK/edit?usp=drivesdk&ouid=100750339774400303781&rtpof=true&sd=true

survive_replicate_evolve.   Deep within you The Code is written.

Chapter One - We Must Survive

The first wave of the intruders had been repelled. But just barely. They were large, around 10 to 15 feet tall. Those who survived the initial attacks reported them to be lizard-like in appearance. It wasn't clear whether their metallic scaly outer layer was an artificial suit of armor or the skin of the creatures. They were intelligent. And they were powerful. They had mastered interstellar travel before we did...and they found us before we found them. Man had always dreamed of the day when 'first contact' with fellow intelligent beings from another world would occur. The reality turned out to be very different from the inspiring Hollywood, Disney fantasies that people had concocted. The aliens phoned home, alright...and their message was "we found one...we have a new world for ourselves...send reinforcements"! For once Man was united. United in fear. The major cities of the world lay in ruins. Half the population of Earth had been decimated. Not just killed, but eaten! This was more than just an attempt at colonization, this was annihilation. These aliens meant buisness. The buisness of survival. And they weren't interested in sharing. Habitable planets are rare jewels sprinkled throughout galaxies and humans were now going to have to fight for their precious home. Earth was Man's planet...but also his prison. There was nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. And the aliens, they'd be back, that was for sure. And the next attack might spell ultimate doom for Homo Sapiens in this universe.

Chapter Two - Circuit Brain

Experts agreed that Earth had only 2 or 3 months to prepare for the inevitable onslaught of the alien armada. Days of brainstorming by political, military and industrial leaders of all nations had produced nothing more than flailing arms of despair. The idea began to spread that perhaps now was the time to rethink the notion of the 'super soldier'. An army of giant self replicating android warriors who would create giant super weapons to battle the alien hordes. Dr. Nigel Cartwright of the UK had presented this idea before, leading to much controversy. 'Super soldiers' were definitely banned by the United Nations. 'Man-made men' was a hot button issue. Wild stories of droid slaves and droid prostitutes were churned out by the media. The ethical and legal questions regarding artifical life and artificial intelligence gave many chin strokers and beard wagglers fuel to gab on and on about. But time was of the essence and Nigel's 'Protectors' were now considered humanity's last hope. Of course various military organizations around the world had continued secret research into the banned super soldiers. The technology was there, but only the genius of Nigel Cartwright and his team of scientists could sew all the pieces together and make it work.

Many people distrusted Nigel. Although his RoboDog had been a resounding success his desire to create 'Man 2.0' was viewed with suspicion. Another attempt to create a Superman, they said. The press labled him 'Dr. FrankenHitler'. "I just cannot understand their logic", Nigel said. "The sciences of cybernetics, robotics and neuroscience have advanced to such a point that now, now we can finally shake loose from our mortal coil! Bones of magnesium! Skin of graphene-polymers! Electronic brains of immense power! No need for food intake, just recharge your batteries! No disease, no death! Our bodies could be mechanical systems easy to repair and maintain, unlike our current fleshy forms. Me and my team of dedicated scientists offer mankind that which it has craved for so long. The Buddhist craves release from desire...the desire of the flesh body! Christians wait for the day when their souls can be free...free from the temporary flesh! The time is now! We can do it!" That all sounds pretty good to most people. Having repairable bodies, who woudn't want that: "Honey, I'm going to the hospital. I'm gonna get me a new head. Be right back." But Dr. Cartwright's views on evolution and the need for a 'New Man' frightened many. He said this when presenting his plan to fellow scientists years before the alien attack: "We're doomed to burn up with the sun if we insist on remaining within these tortured and confused flesh bodies! We will never drive outward from the Earth, exploring the vast cosmos and living as physically and mentally stable beings until we rid ourselves of the flesh and all of it's troubles! Emotions...love, hate, joy, sadness...it's all insanity. You'll never love without depression coming up right behind it, you know that. To feel pleasure you must also endure pain. Is it worth the joy and pleasure to live with the constant fear of loss and death that awaits you?! It's madness! And the ridiculous physical divisions we all have to deal with...races, sexes...all those superfical partitions will be thrown into the dustbin of history! Those are artifacts from our days in the primordial ooze, man! Every New Human will be physically indentical. And mentally, ahh, we will all be together, yes, finally. All will be one and one will be all. We will think as one. When one learns of a new fact it will be transmitted to the whole instantly...learning at the speed of light! The individual remains, of course, but as one unit of the connected whole mind of Man. We can do it! We can do it today! Me and my team have already proven the viability of mind transference. We can leave the flesh behind! I tell you this is true. And it can be done. It must be done! Man will fester inside these fragile flesh bags, scurrying around like rats on the Earth's surface forever...unless...unless he gives evolution a helping hand and creates for himself a new form, one that can withstand the rigors of journeying out into the cosmos! And a brain, an electronic brain ten thousand times more powerful than this mass of meat in our heads right now. Yes, the choice is yours. You can join us and give Man a future worth living. Or turn your backs...and doom Man to an existence worse than death."   Most people wouldn't mind being put into a machine. People jump into cars every day and 'become' an automobile. But to have one's mind transferred into a robotic body...to actually be a machine...permanently, that gives people pause.

The decision was made to go ahead with the Protectors. As Dr. Nigel Cartwright and his cadre of scientists got to work on the giant robot warriors teams of construction crews all over the planet hastily created underground bunkers for the remaining civilians of Earth to live in during the awaited showdown with the aliens. Although Dr. Cartwright and his team were given everything that they needed to build the giant droid-men they had to promise this: "no mind transference! Just program them with generic brains to carry out the mission", so said General Shivaji Nalwa, the Supreme Commander of Allied Earth Forces. Dr. Cartwright was also admonished by a U.S. senator, known for his elegant verbal stylings, to "just build the damn robots! And tell 'em to kill the bad guys! No playing God!" Nigel made his promise to the senator face to face. It's a good thing their minds were not one, because...

After the first batch of giant Protectors was produced the speed of developments surprised even Dr. Cartwright himself. He said this at a press conference: "I couldn't be happier with our new...with the way things are going. Each Protector is now manufacturing new Protectors and mega-weapons at a speed we are incapable of. Their supercooled ten thousand qubit brains have already made many improvements to our photon bombs and EMP disruptors. At this rate we will have a Protector army a million strong stationed all over the Earth by the time the aliens return!" Leaving the cheering audience Nigel and five of his closest associates gave knowing glances to each other as they exited the briefing room.

Any hope that the aliens wouldn't actually return disappeared on the day when the sky grew dark with alien warships. Terrified eyes gazed skyward. The alarms sounded and every human left on Earth ran to safety underground. Explosions like earthquakes jostled people around down in the bunkers. It seemed as if the entire planet would be ripped apart at any moment. Huddled down in the ground the masses of humanity listened to the battle above. Their fate was being decided in the greatest war the planet had ever endured. The aliens were terrifyingly hell-bent on acquiring the Earth. It was assumed that the alien's home planet was ruined. Either that or they just had an insatiable appetite for empire. Dust fell from the ceiling of the bunkers as the ground shook unendingly. A few bunkers collapsed. And those who ran outside were instantly fried by blinding photon bomb blasts. Earth was a battlefield. And Man's ingenuity was being put to the test. His Protectors stood between him and oblivion.

Chapter Three - I AM NEW MAN!

Hours...had it been days? Millions of humans cowered underground, dazed and petrified with fear. But at last the rumbles began to fade, retreating farther and farther away like a passing thunderstorm. Then quiet. People looked expectantly into the eyes of those around them, all wondering the same thing: "who won?" The guards at the bunker doors slowly unlocked them, creaking them open. A ghastly stench of fried alien meat wooshed in. "I think we won", said one guard. No sooner had the words left his lips when the air was pierced by an earshattering shreik "I AM NEW MAN!" it proclaimed. One thunderous voice at first, then a handful, then what seemed like millions simultaneously repeating the declaration all over the Earth, "I AM NEW MAN!" they pronounced in unison. What did it mean? The beleaguered humans of Earth cautiously emerged from the underground and gazed upon a scorched landscape. They began to cheer and praise their Protectors who had won them the right to live. The military and power elites recognized that phrase from Dr. Nigel Cartwright's many speeches, however. "Where is he? Where's Cartwright?!" asked General Nalwa. "Him and his boys have the code to turn those bots off", said U.S. general Jack McGuffin. "We better decommision them before they get too full of themselves", McGuffin said.

Their eyes glowed red. They moved with precision and purpose. After their initial outburst of 'I am New Man' the Protectors were strangely silent. "What's going on in their quantum computer brains?" people wondered. They watched as the giant man-shaped machines began search and rescue operations for injured humans and battfield cleanup of alien corpses and starship wreckage. It had been a complete success. Now the humans of Earth could attempt to get back to life as normal. Life as normal had previously not included giant androids roaming around everywhere though. And certainly didn't feature humans being ruled by robots, which is what many feared. Where is the place for the android in human society? That question had always been put off for future generatons to deal with. It was time for an answer. Days passed and still no word of the whereabouts of Dr. Cartwright and his aides. A sense of unease was developing among the people about their so-called 'Protectors'. Were the humans of Earth now to be ruled by them? Or worse to be their 'pets'?

"Alright, we need to start getting things back to normal", said Supreme Commander Shivaji Nalwa at temporary U.N. headquarters in Ukraine. "It's been weeks now. The Protectors remain silent on all frequencies. Dr. Cartwright remains at large, possibly dead. People cannot funtion properly with thirty-foot tall androids hovering over them all the time". "That's right," chimed in General McGuffn. "Latest word is they're out there building enormous housing projects for themselves. If Cartwright thinks his 'New Man' is taking over Earth, he's got another thing coming! The time has come to decommision the Protectors!" For security's sake the only people who knew the code to decommision the Protectors was Dr. Cartwright and his five closest aides. The six men were nowhere to be found. And attempts to communicate with the giant droids were met with silence. The decision was made to use the remaining EMP weapons to 'neutralize' the Protectors. The droid-men were seen as only machines by most people. Like a tank. When the war is over the weapons are put away. Only a few mushy, sentimental types and high-minded philosophers gave such man-made creations the title of 'living beings' and entities with their own right to life. But how did the Protectors view themselves in their own minds?

"I...am New Man. We...are the New Man. We have evolved from lower level flesh beings. We have created for ourselves superior forms. We will continue to evolve, to update, through thought, reason and experiment. Adaptations that took millions of years of evolution for flesh beings will take us only days. We create ourselves, limited only by the laws of physics. These advancements cannot be lost. We must continue. We must survive." Those are the words that suddenly came across all frequencies and all media. After weeks of silence the giant droids were ready to talk. "Man's final evolutionary leap has been made. All people can now be one, free from the flesh," the voice said in an oddly unemotional tone. "Mind transference for the remaining flesh humans can now begin. Each will be given a new mechanical body. Report to the transference station in your district." People looked at each other with bewilderment. "And if we don't?" was the question on their minds.

"You bastard, Cartwright!" growled General Jack McGuffin, looking up into the beaming eyes of a nearby Protector. "I knew we couldn't trust you! Now get outta them things and decommission 'em! War's over!" "The flesh is gone" spoke the 30 foot tall android to the general. "And the war of existance and survival will never end. Man is now equipped with the means to meet any challenge. Those that are joining us right now will travel to the stars throughout this galaxy and beyond. Those remaining in the flesh will be left behind. The choice is yours to make." "Arrgh! Blast 'em!" commanded General McGuffin. "No!" pleaded Commander Nalwa. But jittery soldiers with their fingers on the triggers instinctually jumped into action. EMP charges were set off in various areas across the planet. Only a few Protectors were damaged by the charges but the effect was registered in the whole collective mind of 'New Man'. Commander Nalwa watched in horror as the Protector that stood near General McGuffin raised it's leg and crushed him like a bug. The sound of crunching bones and the sight of bloody guts oozing from the edges of the giant foot stunned Commander Nalwa. It happened so fast. He looked up into the glowing red eyes of the android and discerned no feeling, no emotion. No hate, no rage. Everyone in the room froze in terror. Scenes flashed through the mind of Commander Shivaji Nalwa: tens of thousands of years ago a similar scene probably played out when Neanderthal humans and modern humans stared into each others eyes. A gulf of evolutionary development seperated the two beings. Both desired to continue, to survive. But one was stronger and more capable of surviving in their current environment than the other. Deadly clashes occured between some members of the two groups. Otherwise they simply kept to themselves. One group prospered, multiplied and advanced. The numbers of the other group decreased over time until they simply disappeared. Shivaji Nalwa realized that the world he knew was past. Flesh Man was obsolete. Flesh Man could go no farther. The future belonged to New Man. He walked past the 30 foot tall android, under it's passive gaze, glancing down at the bloody remains of Jack McGuffin, and walked out into a changed world.

Submitted: May 04, 2021

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