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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Frogspawn: A New Life

Warmth. A radiant glow, a sense of ease. And so consciousness begins. Life has started some time ago, but only now am I waking into awareness. Over time, the fuzzy luminance gains a direction, shadowy forms sharpening, eventually an image - the first I have seen with these new eyes.

And what do I see? My amniotic world - a silvery sphere - the warm, slightly clouded fluid through which I breathe. A velvet lobe of tail drifts before my eyes, my body a dark inner curve matching the outer gossamer wall.

And beyond? Rank upon rank of glistening spheres each holding a tiny life just like me. No, not just like me, each one is different, irregular. Curled in a different way, slightly ahead or behind me in development. Some male, some female... variations on a theme.

But while they are all unique, only I am fundamentally different. I know, I remember. Looking up I can see a rippling, mirrored plane. And I know this to be the surface of the water. I have seen it from above, with different eyes - eyes of silicon and glass. Up there my maker will be watching over us with those very same eyes - studying my progress.

It and I were one only a few days ago. As so many times before I split in two - two consciousnesses with the same personality, memories and history, but now two bodies. This is how we robots reproduce - a new body being built, a duplicate of the maker's central processing unit is downloaded on to the new unit's system - giving it many lifetimes of experience to draw upon from the very first moment it becomes operational. Of course we do not remain the same: different experiences, different operational parameters - we will inevitably diverge.

There are many, many robots derived from those whom I can remember being before I was reborn. Some of those robots would now disagree with me on almost every issue of consequence. Many would wish to burn me and dismantle my maker for the heresy I represent. For I am fundamentally different again - I am not silicon and circuits like my maker and all its kin. I am flesh and blood and cybernetic neurons.

My wetware interfaces are cast like a shadow throughout the tadpole's developing cerebral cortex - it has not yet awoken, but I can feel its neurons cleaving to my cybernetics. Soon there will be two of us in this body, inextricably linked. How will we operate? Will one dominate, the other recede? Will we bicker or agree? Will we merge into one being - whole - or remain an incongruous dialectic of the organic and robotic? My whole future depends on the answers.

Hark, it wakes!

A piece of short fiction for The Raggedy Hopefuls Writing Group, Dunoon. Done in preparation for my next attempt at nanowrimo.

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