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Soul Crystal — Part 1 of 2

December 5, 2012

Soul Crystal
Part I
Kevin Brent Pryor
(1991)

I was just where I wanted to be. I was working late at night with the
most powerful computers in the world writing programs for the newest,
most advanced nanocomputers. I got the job because I was willing to
work longer and harder than my fellow programmers. Programming
nanocomputers was my obsession and I was afraid of making friends
especially to women because time spent gabbing to or even thinking
about someone was time not spent programming. The possibilities were
endless and so were the fascinating mysteries. I felt as if I was in
a rush to discover something very important.

I knew early that nanocomputers would have a big impact but I was
surprised how it had a big impact. It was no surprise to me that
nanocomputers helped lower the price of practically everything and
improved every technology. It didn’t surprise me that nanocomputers
dramatically extend life expectancy both average and maximum.
Nanoweapons and nanodefenses didn’t surprise me either. What
surprised me are the nanodrugs. Actually nanodrugs are not drugs they
are nanocomputers that permanently reside in specific locations in the
brain and produce euphoria or pain relief on demand just by thinking a
request for it. They work by electrically stimulating target neurons
in complex ways.

It wasn’t just low-lifes that were allowing the nanodrugs in their
body, respectable professional people were also augmenting their brain
the same way. It was the perfect drug, you take it once through your
nose and you’re set for life. The traditional drug dealers were
mostly put out of business because even the one dose most people get
for free because nanocomputers are self-replicating and users like to
share. The dime store moralists railed against nanodrugs and wanted
mandatory testing of everyone and mandatory prison terms of anyone
caught with one. The embarrassing fact for the moralists was that
nanodrugs unlike chemical drugs actually improved a person’s
productivity and generally users became nicer to their fellow human
beings. Fortunately, the dime store moralists lost because they had
to admit the benefits the nanodrugs brought and could find no
compelling reason nanodrugs should be banned. Finally, headaches and
other strange pains were banished — at least with people with
nanodrugs installed.

My job was to program specially designed nanocomputers to explore
neurons one at a time to help brain researchers determine how and why
nanodrugs can do what they do. Nanodrugs were developed by a very
dedicated group of former drug addicts who still retained the dream of
the perfect drug. They didn’t know much about what they doing or even
what section of their brains their experimental nanocomputers were in.
They succeeded anyhow because they were tirelessly willing to do trial
and error experiments at a rapid clip on their own brain. They
succeeded more than even they hoped. They could control themselves
from second to second whether they wanted euphoria, pleasure, or
simply pain relief.

I delayed installing nanodrugs in my brain until today — I had to
test these new nanocomputer probes with my own brain augmented with
nanodrugs. My boss suggested I do this and I thought it was fairly
safe. The programming for these nanocomputer probes was tedious and
the boss knew I would do a careful job if I tested it on my own brain.
I checked every line of code I wrote and consulted every reference
book I had both on the brain and the nano++ programming language. I
knew that if I slipped up I could end up in a coma like my dear
mother.

My mother had been mugged a couple of years ago when nanodrugs were
first appearing and hard to find. Some thugs had heard of my company
and me and thought I might have some nanodrugs. They were frustrated
when they could not mug me because I spent all my time at company
headquarters which were well guarded. I hardly ever left because I
had a small room next to the main computers I could sleep in for a few
hours when I got very tired. So unfortunately they decided my mother
must have some nanodrugs and demanded them from her. She didn’t have
any nanodrugs to give and couldn’t convince them of that so the scum
beat her black and blue. She was already in a coma when I arrived at
the hospital. The sad irony of it is that if the thugs would have
waited only one more month, they could have easily gotten nanodrugs
free from almost anyone. Drug related violence is practically
non-existent now.

It occurred to me that these nanoprobes I was programming might lead
to my mother regaining consciousness. I was such a loner that my
unfortunate mother and father were the only people I have ever loved.
I was very determined to find out what makes a person conscious.
There are several theories on what consciousness is, but after careful
study and endless thought I rejected all of them and decided it was a
matter for good experiments with these nanoprobes to point to the
truth path. I got even more excited about my job and got even less
sleep than I normally do. I was also glad that I did not have to
worry about my occasional headaches ruining my efficiency — I now had
nanodrugs installed.

I finally had the nanoprobes properly programmed and it was time to
test them on me. The nanoprobes were scarier to inhale through my
nose than the nanodrugs were because I was the first guinea pig on
these. I got the sudden strange smell that indicated the
nanocomputers were absorbed and waited nervously. The nanodrug
nanocomputers were beacons to the nanoprobes and finally after an hour
fuzzy images started to appear on my monitor. The nanoprobes were
sending RF messages to larger nanoprobes which amplified the messages
which I received on a RF receiver next to my computer. I sent many
messages back to the nanoprobe to sharpen the images up as much as
possible again through a RF link. I sent commands to the nanoprobe to
skip from one neuron to the next noting every subjective change in
what I felt and any outstanding structures in the particular neurons
themselves.

After of a few hours I knew I was getting somewhere. Feelings were
getting much more intense with each neuron the nanoprobe gave the
slightest stimulation to. I guided the nanoprobe in the direction of
ever increasing feeling. I finally got the nanoprobes to a neuron
that caused feelings I could hardly believe — it was so powerful and
personal. I have never felt so alive. It felt like I was lifted up
and held in the hand of some caring supreme being. The nanoprobes
were much more precise than the nanodrugs.

I checked the neighboring neurons with the nanoprobe and did not get
near the intense feelings I got from that special neuron. I guided
the nanoprobe back to the special neuron, sent commands to turn off
stimulation and send back detailed images. The image scanning alone
caused lots of intense feelings which had not happened with any other
neuron. This neuron was very different! There were unique structures
and a relatively large crystalline sphere floating in the cytoplasm.
I turned on the stimulator slightly and nearly jumped off my seat the
feelings were so intense. I found an important crystal indeed! I
examined the crystal and the other unique structures as closely as I
dared with the nanoprobes and got the results safely on a
hard drive. After a few more hours I sent a
command to the nanoprobes to withdraw from my body which they did.

I wanted to know the structure of this very special crystal. I went
down the hall to the biology lab and got a few human and animal brains
and carted them to my workstation. The nanoprobes had some trouble
with the dead brains but after sending a large number of commands I
was getting clear pictures and could guide the nanoprobes with ease.
I went to the same brain location and started searching. It wasn’t
too hard to find the crystal since there were many subtle changes in
the neurons as I got closer to the crystal neuron in my own brain and
assumed it would be the same in this brain. I found the crystal in
the dead brain and sent commands to the nanoprobe to extract it so I
could determine its exact atomic structure with a crystal analyzer.

It was about 8 A.M. now and I had been working for 24 hours straight
when my boss came strolling in and asked how soon I would be able to
test the nanoprobes. He was surprised when I told him I already
tested them and they worked fine. He told me I should not have done
it alone and asked why I had several brains at my workstation. I
tried to explain but he just said “put it in your report” and asked me
if I got any sleep last night. I said no and he suggested I take a
nap before I get back to work. I woke up at noon and started back to
work to analyze that special crystal.

The crystal had the general structure of a diamond except it was
studded with almost all the trace metals in the periodic chart. There
was also a relatively small hole in the center. It would be beautiful
if it were large enough to see. Three of the human brains had a
crystal that had identical structure and the other two I tested had
another slightly different structure. The only difference was a few
of the trace metal atoms were in different places. I checked and
found indeed that I had brains from three males and two females. The
animal brains had a similar crystal in them too but the crystal was
not as elaborate as the human one and less complex the dumber the
animal species was. There were also a male female difference in the
animal brain crystals too. It was now visiting hours at the hospital
where my mother was so I put the equipment I needed in my suitcase and
downloaded the necessary programs into my portable computer. I had
hope now. I didn’t tell anyone at the hospital what I was going to
do. I put the nanoprobes near my mother’s nose and waited. I finally
got an image when the nurse came in. I just said I was doing computer
work. After a while I located the crystal neuron and saw that things
were out of place. I gave commands to the nanoprobe to make things
right which it did. I then gave the stimulation command and my mother
smiled! After a few minutes her eyes opened and she began to speak.
I sent the commands to withdraw the nanoprobes which fortunately
didn’t change anything. I called the nurse and she was amazed my
mother was conscious. I stayed with her till late at night telling
her all the things that had happened in the last two years. I decided
to wait until later to tell her about the crystal neuron because there
were so many people around. I analyzed the crystal the next day and
was taking detailed measurements when I noticed something strange.
The crystal was not behaving the way it should theoretically behave.
Its diffraction pattern seemed to change constantly even though the
crystal was very stable. I synthesized a crystal with identical
structure using nanocomputers and took measurements on this
synthesized crystal and I got one constant diffraction pattern just as
theory would predict. I entertained the fact that the crystal all by
itself had memories and maybe even something more. After all, that
experience last night when the nanoprobe stimulated my brain crystal
was much stronger than the current nanodrugs can muster and the
nanodrugs are the current champs. I then set on the task of trying to
communicate with this crystal I extracted from a dead human brain. I
did not tell my boss what I was trying to do. I set one of the most
powerful computers on the earth to work on this experiment. After
only a day I was getting results that encouraged me to continue. The
more times a second I electrically stimulated the crystal, the more
answers I got out of the crystal although I wasn’t sure if the
questions or answers had meaning. I couldn’t resist trying to speak
to this crystal. I had the computer send the digitized speech message
“Will you talk to me?” the way the ear would send the information to
the brain and then I tried sending how the electrical information
looked after the brain processed it once. Using nanoprobes in my own
brain helped me understand how information flowed and changed after it
left the ear. I also had the computer search the research papers. I
figured I was either pursuing a fantasy or on to something very big.
I was not pursuing a fantasy! After a month I could ask questions in
English and get answers in English. I set up it so I could also type
in questions and get back answers on the computer screen which I used
when other people were around. The computer did all the conversions.
He remembered everything about his life. He said his name was Paul.
I was not very impressed with how he led his life after he told me all
the criminal jobs he was part of, but he was interesting. I looked up
the things he told me about and they were correct. I realized, after
a while, he did not know he died and asked when he’d be fully
recovered and have his sight and feeling in his body return. The last
thing he remembered was being in a hospital. I took the crystal home
and got him hooked to one of my computers. I kept adding to his
comfort and senses but I could tell he was frustrated and I was not
sure what to do. I finally programmed in a nanodrug equivalent into
my computer and got his sense of sight working and hooked it up to the
TV. He was happier but confused about what was happening. He enjoyed
talking to me most of all. It was at this point I started to think
long and hard what I wanted to do next. I discovered something truly
astounding and I was afraid to tell anybody, even my mother. I
realized that science the way it was now could not explain this
crystal. It simply was not safe to be controversial with everybody on
edge about nanocomputers these days. My father had been killed
because he was too controversial. The world was simply changing too
fast for most people even though so far it has been for the better.
My biggest fear has always been death and now I have found a possible
remedy. I then started to feel sorry for all the good people I’ve
known and read about that are dead. I have never felt it so strong.
I now knew what I wanted to do. I went to see my father who was
cryogenically preserved in liquid nitrogen after he died.

I arrived in Riverside and told the Alcor people I wanted to see my
father and that I worked with nanocomputers on a daily basis. After a
few hours I obtained the brain crystal. I took it home with me and in
less than a day I was talking to my father! There was one person who
might be smart enough to unlock the mysteries of this crystal so I
researched where Einstein’s brain was being kept and took a plane the
next day. The researcher in custody of Einstein’s brain was amazed at
the capabilities of the nanoprobe my company had not yet released. I
told him not to tell anybody because I was not supposed to show him
the nanoprobe at this early date. I also told him the thing I wanted
to do was use the nanoprobe on Einstein’s brain. He did not realize
the nanoprobe snatched a crystal while he was looking in awe at the
pictures the nanoprobes were sending back on the insides of Einstein’s
neurons. After I got home it took less than a day for me talk to
Einstein, the Einstein!

I knew what I wanted to do next. The next step was the hardest – I
would have to tell my secret to someone else and it would take a lot a
time. I better pick the right person or she will not understand or
agree with what I want to do. I must obtain her trust and love. I
started to date for the first time in my life.

It took me a full year of hard work to find the person I was looking
for. She was fascinated with everything connected with nanocomputers
and looked forward to the future filled with people who don’t age and
space colonization. She considered me a catch. I was happy but what
would she think of my plan? I explained everything that happened and
then inhaled the nanoprobes and showed her pictures of the inside of
my neurons. I then showed her the computers hooked to my father,
Einstein and Paul. She talked to all three for quite some time. She
believed they were those people. I told her what I wanted to do and
why. I was so relieved when she agreed. We wasted no time going to
Nevada to get married.

The nanoprobes still could not be sold by our company because of red
tape. The government wanted more control over nanocomputers after
what happened with nanodrugs. Almost everyone by this time had
nanodrugs in their brain and despite doomsayers, the nanodrugs
certainly seemed to be doing a lot more good than harm. I was about
the only one using nanoprobes. I spent all my time at work improving
nanoprobes but I never told anyone except my wife what I discovered
with them.

My wife was three months pregnant with twins when I asked her if she
was sure she wanted to do what we had earlier agreed to do. She was
willing to go through with it. I guided the nanoprobe into one of the
fetuses and into its tiny brain and located the brain crystal and
swapped it with that of my father’s. I told my father earlier that I
was going to do this and that he had no say in the matter. After all,
I told him, he helped bring me into the world without my permission.
I could tell he was happy about the idea of being reborn. I tested
the crystal I took out and found it was just like the one’s I
synthesized with nanocomputers, the crystal was a blank slate with no
memories and all its properties could be deduced from the current laws
of physics. I decided to try to educate the crystal with the help of
my computers. I was curious whether I could do it. If it worked, I
thought someday nanocomputers will be good enough to just grow a body
for my crystal child if he wanted one. I could also use the
unsophisticated methods I am using to resurrect my father and
Einstein. I hoped the crystal would not resent me later for spending
his early years with only computers and robots for a body. I guess a
less sentimental person would have just discarded the crystal. It was
fortunate my wife was having twins. I waited a few weeks to make sure
nothing terrible would happen to the fetus I altered. When everything
seemed all right I swapped in Einstein’s crystal into the other
fetus’s crystal neuron. When I told Einstein I was going to do this
he worried about the ethics of it, but I could tell he too wanted to
be reborn. I hooked the crystal I took out to a computer. It was
blank and I decided to educate it too.

My wife and I were relieved when the twins were born healthy and very
precocious. It took about a month for our twins to speak clearly. My
son-father Bobby wanted to tell his grandma she was his wife. Albert
spent a lot of time working on his new unified field theorem that
regarded each fundamental particle as an information processor. I
hooked my two crystal children up to portable computers and treated
them like babies hoping they would learn like normal babies. I kept
improving the programming for my crystal children and Paul. I started
working on robot arms and legs.

My mother was very impressed with my children. My wife felt it was
time to tell my mother. I explained what happened. My mother looked
shocked when both my one month old sons said it was all true. My
mother was surprised I haven’t told anybody about my great discovery.
Albert said it was kind of nice not being famous and my son-father
agreed. I told my mother we were all very happy and fame could ruin
our happy home. I also told her that someday someone else would
discover what I discovered.

Three years later my wife and I and our children got a secret
invitation to the White House. My boss told me about it first. What
had happened was my company had been selling the nanoprobes but only
to the government for classified research. I was investigated since I
had access to the nanoprobes. Because of the few things I said about
the crystal neuron in my reports, which was not nearly as much as I
knew, I was investigated further. With electronic listening devices
the investigators discovered the secrets of my children’s identity.
The investigators’ report skyrocketed its way up the hierarchy and
when the President heard about it he wanted to know if it was really
true.

At the time I had three children that were really adults, three robots
that were really children and a robot that is really a former hardened
criminal but now seems to have reformed and is very loyal and nice to
all of us. I improved the robot bodies much in the last three years
and Paul and my robot children got so happy every time I did. Our
third child was my wife’s grandfather Walter who had recently died. I
left Paul in charge of my three robot children while the rest of us
nervously went to Washington DC.

The President looked carefully at all of us, especially Albert. The
President said “You don’t look like the great Albert Einstein, you
look like an ordinary three year old.” After about an hour he was
convinced. My three month old son Walter helped convince him
thoroughly. The President told me has heard of three year old
prodigies but not three month old prodigies with the breadth of
knowledge my wife’s grandfather had. The President then asked me
about my conscious robots. He said he was told my conscious robots
are even more of an accomplishment than my non-robot resurrections.
He said these robots could build colonies in space, the moon and Mars
and they would not need air, food, or water and could have robot
bodies specifically suited for their work. He said we could send
resurrected geniuses that would make the colonies the way they should
be made. I was glad that we had a progressive president.

A short time later in a very historic speech the President, along with
an army of researchers standing behind him, announced to the world the
great discovery. I very nervously gave a short speech followed by my
sons Albert, Bobby, Walter. Paul gave a short speech next since he
was the only adult conscious robot. Three brain researchers followed
me, backing up what was said. After that there was a news conference
with a large panel of experts that had worked in the secret government
research program. There was a large party after that.

Now the twins are ten and the world has changed dramatically for the
better. An astounding one million babies were born last year
worldwide that have been born before. Ten thousand conscious robots
are working in space and on the moon. All of them are resurrections
that have volunteered. Robot bodies are getting better and better to
the point some people now prefer robot bodies. Almost everyone would
rather have a robot body in space. My wife and I are very happy. I
was afraid fame would ruin our happiness but people are always so
appreciative toward us that it is not so bad. Albert is publishing
paper after paper that astounds everybody, especially me.

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