Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
After figureing out immortality and automating all daily tasks to computers, humanity lives a no stress happy life. But as Gordon soon finds out, things are not always what they seem.

Submitted: October 07, 2012

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Submitted: October 07, 2012

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Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

By: R. Stempien

Copywrong 2013 R. Stempien

“No Rights Reserved”

Cover art by kevin Sortor

 

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To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 1.0 Universal with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work. The summary of the Legal Code is available at http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/.This work is published from United States

I do not retain the rights to this work, no matter what the official booksie copyright says.

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To the extent possible under law, Kevin Sortor has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Good Things Come To Those Who Wait cover. This work is published from: United States


“The planet will be here, we will be long gone, just another failed mutation, just another closed end biological mistake, an evolutionary cul-de-sac, the planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas.”

-George Carlin

Gordon was dressed in pale, cheap white shorts with stripes all around; the elastic tightly around his waist. They were definitely something you would not wear outside of the house. He also had a very plain, cheap white shirt on. The kind that rips easy, washes easy, and has enough room for any kind of writing. Again, not something you would step out of the house in. And finally, he had long ratty, dark hair and a thick, dark unkempt beard.

He was lying on a dark, old couch. His apartment was plain white; underneath the screens, baked into his walls, were plain white and drab. There were a lot of clothes on the floor. Next to the couch, was a plain, brown coffee table with a screen baked into it. On its screen was a word processor file neatly displayed, with nothing but a title written in it: “A Hero Stands Alone.” It was originally planned to be an epic fantasy novel about a mythical superhuman called a “Soldier,” who was engaged in the mythical ritual of killing people of an opposing side. This ritual was known as “Combat”.

If Gordon were to have accomplished this project, it would have become the first human-written novel in hundreds of years; most were procedurally generated these days. It was always Gordon’s dream to become a famous writer; though actually becoming one was much harder than it appeared. Suddenly, he heard an alarm buzz.“Oh, time to eat!” He then transferred his attention to his completely empty story.“Well, I still have millions of years to finish this thing.” He declared. He got up and walked over to grab the synthetic algae-based food that had fallen from a chute built into the ceiling.

The chute lead from a long pipe system that spread all throughout the city where Gordon was living in. The food came from a set of automated food manufacturing plants, controlled by a set of mainframe Linux® kernel based computers that had a mix of userland software from GNU and the many BSD’s. The computers had been switched on around 800 years ago and hadn’t been reviewed since. They controlled everything in the capital, as well as all the rest of the cities around the world. They handled electricity generation and distribution, water treatment, food production, human gene Tran-differentiation, basic entertainment, films, novels, comics, and short stories. They all were procedurally generated by the computers, based on a series of algorithms implemented so long ago and taken from typical attributes often found in stories.

They did this so people would not have to do anything but enjoy themselves. Gordon’s coffee table buzzed; it was a message from his friend Ralph. It read, “Meet me at the theater.” Gordon thought about this for a minute, then got up. He put on jeans over his shorts, threw a leather jacket on, and walked out the door, which automatically slid shut behind him, and he stepped out onto a conveyor belt. A small screen emerged out in front of him.

He decided it would be better to head to the life extension plant first. So, he hit the button corresponding to the plant on the little screen and the conveyor started steadily moving. He looked around; the city was a drab hi-tech masterpiece, or failure, depending on your own opinion. The city was composed of black and gray metal buildings that were chipped and peeling. They were all old, rusting, and interconnected to the system of conveyor belts that spread around the city. Sporadically, there were small flying robots sent out by the mainframes to repair the structures; they mostly ignored humans. The conveyor belt was moving slowly, as it always did.

A few times Gordon was stopped by the massive amounts of people traveling in the same direction as he, the conveyor belts were just over filled with people. After awhile though, Gordon got to the life extension plant. It was a small building connected with all the rest and with the same coat of paint. Gordon stepped off the conveyor belt and only traveled five feet in order to reach the building. Inside, a small chamber had opened up with a perfect human-outlined hole for someone to set in. Next to it was a simple computer screen for adding one’s identity. Gordon bent over to add his name, then stepped into the machine. Connectors slowly began to snake up into his brain and into the rest of his body; the life extension procedure had begun. First, his brain was mounted as a hard disk in the mainframes operating system. A script was activated to first back up his brain, archive it, then add the back up to his newly restored body. The connectors in the other parts of his body analyzed all his genes, then a program started something called “Transdifferentiation,” where all of his cells’ growth were shifted back a year, from age 26 to 25. This is how Gordon and every other human had managed to stay alive for hundreds of years. After his genes were reversed, his brain image was restored. This way he wouldn’t be able to lose one year’s worth of memory.

Only this time, there was a problem. His brain image had become corrupt from hundreds of years of cell age. So in order to cope with this, some of the corrupt parts were replaced with archived chunks of his brain,; some of which were from a few hundred years back, some from only a few years back, and one from the very first archive. After emerging from the machine, Gordon fell to the floor in a heap; feeling disoriented, he vomited up a brownish pink liquid, which was unnatural and only developed when you ate artificial food. Suddenly, memories began to flow back into his brain. They were of Gordon sitting in a lab, programming something called a “City Mainframe”. He had memories of being clean shaven, showered, and if he were not mistaken, writing? Apparently “A Hero Stands Alone” would not be Gordon's first form of fictional work. Something else had come back too - a nagging urgency, a feeling of incompleteness, as if something he worked on might not be as safe as he once thought. After a few moments, Gordon dusted himself off and finally headed off to the theater. The theater (like everywhere else in the city) was a barren place; unfinished, the walls and stage were made of black sheet metal, and dozens of robot actors were rooted to the ground.

It was currently inactive since the play had not started yet. Gordon caught sight of his friend Ralph, over in a seat for two. Every seat was big and mechanical looking; surrounded by clear glass which separated them with each other. Gordon took a seat next to Ralph and shook his hand. Ralph was a small, plain looking man, with similar unkempt facial features like Gordon's, except his were blonde.

“How’s it going?” asked Ralph in a monotonous voice.

“Kinda weird, actually.” replied Gordon.

“How so?”

“I just had a tune up at the life extension plant and since then, I keep having memories of working on the computers.”

“What's a computer?”

“Hmm, I don't really know. I think they do things for us, important things, and I feel like something is wrong with them.”

“It’s probably just a reaction to the tune up, give it some time and it will pass.”

“Maybe, I have a question though. Do things feel right to you? Cause they don't for me. I feel like things were not always handed to us like they are now.”

“What kind of things?”

“I'm not sure now, my head hurts.”

“Maybe you should just sit back and enjoy yourself. The play is just about to start.”

“OK.” Gordon leaned back in his chair as a wire snaked into his brain yet again. That wire began filling in all the details of the play; the background, the actor’s faces, and even dialogue to give the play more life. The play itself was nothing special, just another procedurally generated, predictable work about a romance gone bad. There was something small about this that caught Gordon's eye though - a single tiny detail. It was the name of the main male protagonist, John. It reminded him of something.

Suddenly, his mind cast far back to earlier in his life. It was his most successful story ever written, one that had put him on the map. Something else came to mind though too from that time. That feeling of incompleteness he felt before was back, this time much more intense, and he could finally pinpoint it. It had to do with the programming for the Linux® kernel based operating system that went into the mainframes. In Gordon's growing laziness, he used a proprietary kernel module to control part of the machinery instead of reverse engineering a free module. Since the source code for the driver was not available, Gordon could not audit it for bugs, like the one other users had reported of it a few years after he had installed the system. This caused a fatal kernel panic (the Linux® kernel equivalent of the blue screen of death) on the system it was running on. He had tried to write a replacement driver, but kept putting it off until he eventually forgot about it. Now all he could think about was getting to the mainframes. He forcibly willed himself into remembering where they were.

“I need to get out of here!” Gordon screamed.

“Would you calm down?! Just watch the play and you will feel better.” As Ralph said this the room suddenly went completely dark, no noise, no machine movement, no nothing. The kernel panic had started, Gordon knew what he had to do. He reached back and ripped the wire out of his brain, screaming shrilly in pain as he did it. Then when it was out he took off running. He ran through many stalled conveyor belts and was horrified at all the chaos going on around him: people were running around, screaming, hitting each other, and rolling around on the ground, but he kept going.

He had his mind set on the computer’s storage area, when suddenly, an explosion took effect. A red shock wave shot out from the distance engulfing everything in his path. Gordon had not stopped running and had ran right into the blast, then he was picked up into the air. The entire city and all of its residents were vaporized in a matter of seconds. The same thing happened to all the cities in the rest of the world.

The mainframes were controlling the nuclear power plants that fed everyone electricity, when the kernel panic took effect. All the plants failed at once and took everyone else with it, in a blink of an eye humanity ceased to exist. No one knows why the humans had to die or why Gordon found the answer at just the wrong time. Maybe the earth simply wanted them gone. Maybe it was the work of a disappointed god who wanted to start over again. Maybe the biosphere was simply correcting over population. Or maybe the humans had just been unlucky. It was bound to happen sooner or later though, the humans were on borrowed time. In their quest to be free from work, to be free from commitment, they entrusted everything to a machine - a machine that was only as perfect as those who created it. In any case, the earth moved on. Its radioactivity subsided and new forms of life began to take over. Some made the same mistakes as humans did, while others prospered and spread throughout the universe.


 


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