G0PH3R

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
an invention convention gone horribly, intriguingly off the tracks.

Submitted: May 13, 2011

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Submitted: May 13, 2011

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“What’s the best invention you can think of?” The man in the grey suit asked the audience. His patch of what looked like two day old stubble undulated and darkened the shadows of his face as he spoke, making it look like he, himself, had spent countless nights awake with the very same question in his head. He put his hand in his pocket and jangled his car keys.
“Everybody knows how someone, someone with imagination comes along every once in awhile and addresses some need in our lives.” He looked up at the ceiling contemplatively.
“Sometimes an inventor will address some need so clever, or important, or useful that they make tons of money off of it, am I right?” The audience chuckled appreciatively; this being an inventors’ conference in San Paulo California. The weather, cold, windy and sleeting of all things, did not seem to really forecast any great wealth of luck or promise to the day. It looked, like so many of the patrons: shabby and slightly depressing. The Stark Expo this was decidedly not.
“Ladies and gentlemen I am that money-laden man.” He said with a grin. “I present you G0PH3R.” He held his hand up above his head in triumph. Nothing happened.
“Ahem, sorry about that…ah, Oh!” He pulled up his sleeve a bit, exposing a tiny silver bracelet. “G00000000PH3R!!!” He yelled, repeating the gesture. This time strobe lights and colored spotlights flared to life as the house lights abruptly flicked out. A heavy bass rhythm started to pound my eardrums. I silently gave the man a figurative tip of the hat as I recognized the 90’s classic: ‘Strike it up’ by Black Box. 
Still by all accounts he appeared to be doing all of this in awe of a silver bracelet, which despite the entrance, sat on the man’s wrist without so much as a ~Bleep!~.
As he started to fist-bump and bob his head to the music, I realized he was slowly rising off of the stage on a silver platform. He started to walk up a flight of silver stairs that also rose up from the floor, each to come into position just before the next bass thump-footstomp combination carried the inventor up another few inches. All of a sudden he started twirling a silver cane. A silver tophat appeared on his head. Great silver statues started to rise out of the floor as the silver stairs started his descent back to the stage. As the final notes of the song came crashing out of the loudspeakers, he stepped onto the floor.
“So what is the best invention you can think of?” He asked again as the music faded away and the lights came back slowly.  As he gestured back across the stage a line of silver items appeared one after the other: A bicycle, a grill, a shovel, a ladder, an armchair, a dresser, a lawn gnome. He started back across the stage floor. As he walked all the items folded up in a strange sort of movement and disappeared. I looked closer and saw tiny silver fragments jumping back into his bracelet.
“G0PH3R is a device that connects to you directly. It does or takes the shape of whatever you want.” He raised his arms and the silver bracelet slithered around his body and then back onto his wrist.
“Of course, that would still be too easy. You’d still get bored of a device that did whatever you thought at it. It’s like a video game with no controller, am I right? I’m right.”
The audience was silent.
“Are you fucking serious?” I heard someone to my rear left whisper.
The inventor continued: “Yes, it would be awesome to have something that acted like an extension of your arm or your foot or whatever and followed commands you thought at it, but it would still require a programming language, have a lag time, have limitations in other words. Not what I want. What I want is the first step into a new world. I want a toy that you’ll never get bored of. I want this to really bring the world of your imagination to reality, not just follow commands. That in mind; I set out to tackle a bigger problem.”
“What the fuck is he talking about?” said the whisperer, “How the fuck did that thing do what it just did? Is this a magic trick or some shit?”
“Excuse me!” said someone in the front row. At first the inventor looked like he wanted to continue without pause to notice the person but they, a middle aged brown haired woman in a red business suit, began to wave their hand in the air enthusiastically.
“Could you slow down?” she asked, laughing “Can you explain what we just saw? What was that?”
The inventor paused, and walked off of the 8 foot tall stage briskly. The audience started a bit but when he was lowered gently to the ground, again on silver stairs, they relaxed.
“Hi what’s your name?” This was a quieter exchange.
“Gina. I’m with the press.”
“Yeah. Hi Gina. Just don’t worry ok? Be patient and I’ll explain everything.”
The directness of his response and the patronizing element of it clearly had her out of her element and defensive,
“Y-yeah no problem go ahead I didn’t mean to make you stop I just-“
“G00000000000PH33333333RRRR!” yelled the inventor into his microphone, still maintaining eye contact with the now silent and agape Gina. 
The bass music and the lights resumed as he ascended to the stage once again. This time silver dancers four feet tall followed him up the stairs, circled him on stage and as the music cut out, they took up various poses among the silver statues already present around him.
“G0PH3R is the most advanced piece of tech you are going to see here today folks.” He flashed a broad smile.
“In fact, what I want is for G0PH3R to ultimately become the end all solution to pretty much any problem. If you can imagine it, G0PH3R can take it’s shape. And the best part that I’m getting to is that you don’t even have to fully form the thought. G0PH3R figures out what you want to happen, what you want to do, what you want to have, and makes it happen, before you actually think it. See, your brain actually makes descisions way, waaaaay before you have the time to work it out, put it into whatever language you personally think in, and think it. That all takes valuable seconds. Have you ever heard of ‘acting before you think’ or ‘not having time to think’ like when people are under stress or something?”
He paused like this was not a rhetorical question. To break the awkwardness we all started nodding our heads.
“You have? Good. There’s no such thing. You can’t act without thinking, you just think without fully processing it. The thought was there, you thought it, you just didn’t have time to think about thinking it. That’s where G0PH3R comes in. Did you see that Bruce Willis movie ‘Surrogates’ a couple of years ago or whatever? Where everybody uses robot bodies that they control with their thoughts? That thing in that movie acted like your body. It does what you tell it to do. It can also act on unprocessed thought just like G0PH3R, but if you want it to do complex actions or motions you have to process it. Like if someone shows you a dance, and you want to copy them, you have to stop and think for a second before you move. Your brain already did several things: it saw the dance, decided it was cool enough to want to copy it, and started working out how it was done. That last part is the part that G0PH3R lets you skip.”
He paused for effect. We tried to act like we understood everything. The news people had zero questions. All of a sudden everyone started clamouring; everyone strated talking to the person next to them, everyone in the front started asking questions and waving their hands, everyone in the balcony started to argue about business.
“Quiet quiet.” Said the inventor.
“How does it move like that?”
“How does it read your thoughts?”
“How does it change size?”
“How is it connected?”
“Is it multiplying when it makes stuff?”
“Where are the batteries?”
“Oh who cares?” He spread his arms “You can get into as much tech as you want later. Do you have any idea what just the surface of this experience is to absorb? Trying one of these things on is like having a second head all of a sudden. Trust me, you don’t want to rush this into anything more complicated than you’re ready for.”
“Wait, how does the thing work? Do you have a powerpoint or something for god’s sake?”
The man on stage gave a reproachful look.
“Look,” he said, “get up here and try it”
“Yeah right what if I get cancer?”
“Then just make a machine that can cure cancer.”
Everyone around me laughed.
“No really. Come up here kid so you can try it out.”
A spotlight came to life and shone on the audience member engaged in the demonstration. He sat there for a moment but when people started to clap he got up and walked up onto the stage. He looked like he was maybe 22 years old.
The inventor held out his hand in a fist.
“Do this.”
The kid held out his wrist but he stood about 3 feet back
The inventor held out his own wrist, and a silver streak along with a bright bolt of lightning zipped over to the young man, the former quickly settling around his own wrist while the latter struck him powerfully in the chest, knocking him flat on the floor. A silver tangle of appendages pushed him up off the floor and into a standing position, as he helped with his own arms. His own bracelet, rather than sitting serenely on his wrist, writhed and shook as if with nervous energy.
“It’s getting to know you.” Said the inventor. “It’s finding it’s way into your mind to attach itself to the part of you that thinks without needing to verify everything. 
The young man stared at the bracelet and then at the inventor.
“So what do you think would be the coolest thing to have it do for you?” asked the older man. 
As if in response silver wings immediately rose from the kid’s back and spread out to a 10 foot span. He froze instinctively for a moment, but after a brief time gave first one wing and then the other a few experimental twitches. 
“I can’t feel them,” He said.
“They aren’t really part of your body, but you can move them.”
The inventor left the now silver winged youth in the background and walked to the front of the stage.
“Who else wants to try it?”
Several volunteers now made themselves known. He enthusiastically swept his hand from one end of the auditorium to the other.
“Come on up!” He yelled to the audience.
As they filed up on stage he held up his arm and thin metal bracelets jumped up onto each of their wrists. As soon as it struck them silver architecture, tools, and other manifestations sprang to live across the stage. Abruptly, first one man’s dancing elephants turned pink and then a woman on the other side of the stage clapped as her miniature broadway show dancers sprang into living color, although their features and textures remained blocky and doll-like.
“Seriously” said the rumpled inventor, “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what to invent; I’ve been through an electric potato scrubber/peeler, a genetically modified bacteria that clears tooth plaque from your mouth, and a book page turner that also holds the book up above your head so that you don’t have to sit up to read.”
He paused to place a bottle of water on a table at one end of the stage and walked to the other.
“No matter what I invent you get bored of it and you don’t use it often enough to justify spending money on it. Honestly I feel bad taking peoples’ money by selling this stuff.”
The faceless whisperer behind me in the crowd snorted. “Holy shit, someone actually exists with a conscience.”
“And I also thought about how I’d rather die with a history book written about me than a bunch of money anyway. And I thought about video games. I didn’t leave my house for like 3 weeks while I was drinking and thinking about how to change history.”
Whisperer: “Ah, there we go. He’s bat-shit insane. Right? Seriously dude. How the fuck does that thing work?
The inventor flourished his hand in the air, and a system of gears and pulleys sprang out of his sleeve, built a scaffolding across the stage, and a crane descended, intricate articulating fingers grasped the bottle and unscrewed the cap as the crane whizzed along a silver track back to the inventor, who stood with his hands on his hips as metal fingers stabilized the bottle against his head and tilted it for him to drink, then placed it on a newly constructed silver end table.
Behind him, model airplanes twisted in dogfights as silver tigers prowled the backstage area shadows and silver pictures and sculptures sprang to life dancing and singing, drowned out by the shabby man’s voice in the microphone.
“One thing I forgot to mention,” he said, licking his lips and barely containing his happy laughter, “the more people who wear one, the smarter they get. More brains equals more processing power. You notice when I’m up here alone that all I can make are basic solid objects. Statues, staircases, a hat. Now that we have eight or nine people up here I can make stuff like that, and give it moving parts, give it color, make it move around and do stuff even more.”
“How many people have one?” yelled someone.
He paused, turned and quickly counted the audience members on stage.
“Ten.”
Whisperer: “whaaaaaaat bro?”
“You guys are the first people I’ve ever had test one besides me. Works great though right?”
“Jesus what if we really do get cancer or something?”
“Listen lady I didn’t go off half cocked. I’ve been wearing mine for two years, I can’t detect any radiation from it, I can’t find any evidence that it leeches out heavy metals or any other molecule for that matter, and I’ve had colonies of microbes growing on it and I haven’t observed any change in genetics of a significant degree with a confidence interval of 97-99%. I mean if you wanted to have the G0PH3R make something toxic or radioactive, then you’ve got a health hazard, but I went to school ok? And besides if you don’t like it you can take it off.”
“How does it come off?”
A pause.
“…It builds cranes and articulating joints out of nothing.” He said, exasperated. “It can just jump the fuck off if you want it to.”
“Well you don’t have to get so uppity I’m just saying…”
“Who else wants to try one?”
“Are you giving them away or what? How much are you going to charge for one of these?”
“No, no they’re free. Everyone can have one. I couldn’t stop you if you wanted to give one to all your friends anyway. Doesn’t cost anything to make another one from yours.”
Everybody started getting excited. Several more people thrust their hands in the air and silver streaks quickly extended to each of their wrists.
Whisperer: “Alright, I want to see one. It’s got to be a trick. Like this is all some awesome new 3-D video game or some shit.”
People started forming a line for the silver streaks, which jumped from wrist to wrist, appeasing the room in a matter of moments. Canaries and toucans flew overhead. Trees sprouted from the floor. Cars built themselves, reassembled and modified themselves. Huge speakers rose out of the floor and some kids started the loudest musical ensemble I have ever heard, which was promptly and thankfully cut short by a metallic Edward scissorhands who destroyed the speakers and melted into the floor afterwards, at which point the speakers started to be repaired by an army of small robot spiders, silver jungle cats pounced and devoured the exotic birds. Sparks and chunks of metal littered the floor.
“This is going to be awesome!!” Yelled the inventor. “G0000000000000oo000000000000oooo0000PPPPPPPHHHHHHH3333333333RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
The heavy bass music was queued up again, deafening me, and the carnage continued. Inventions destroyed inventions, built new inventions. People raised themselves up on watchtowers to get out of the madness. Somewhere on my left a woman screamed, and I turned to see her clutching her bleeding stomach, as a two foot soldier stabbed her over and over with a toy bayonet, two others held handfuls of her clothes. I stared wide eyed and started yelling, waving my arms as the lights pumped, the music blasted, the inventor danced on stage, and the jungle crept out from behind the curtains, choking out the theatre in ivy and elephants and rivers and sharks in trenches dug by robots; as tribal soldiers snuck up on the audience and started slitting the throat of anyone left on the floor, which I saw happen twice before I ran and booted the stabbing soldier off of the shivering woman on the ground. A wide eyed teenager twitched, staring at us as I tried to help her toward the door. He started and continued staring, his lips a thin line, a string of spit hung from the corner of his mouth. 
Two more soldier figures in black masks flanked us on wither side as I cast about for a door in the cacophony. They beat us to the exit and barred it off with a piece of construction rebar, which they used a blowtorch to bend around the door handles. One of them produced a suitcase and opened it on the floor. Looking around wildly I saw similar figures at all of the other doors, blockading them, trapping us in the auditorium. Soldier A was entering code on a keypad inside the suitcase and before long, steam issued from the contents and green slowing cylinders extended upward about six inches from the inside. A circular object in the center of the luggage started ticking. I looked down and realized the woman in my arms was dead. 
The crowd danced, but they were robots, and were destroyed and rebuilt several thousand times as I watched. The people in the watchtowers cheered. The inventor was no longer on stage. But the music and the lights remained unchanged. Someone, I think it was the whisperer screamed “Oh my god!!!!!” somehow managing to be heard over the music. People started yelling and trying to get away from the bomb in the suitcase, flying, driving, swinging, breaking down the walls, and then we were all gone.
 


© Copyright 2019 Terry. All rights reserved.

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