Mindscream by R. Schlaack

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SUMMARY: Ever want to be uploaded into a computer? A word of advice: don't.

The Survey Post, February 7th, 2400

Roger Edgar's "Strange and Unexplained" column

On this date in the year 2330, fifteen Bellamy Q50 quantum computers were removed from the Survey Applied Technology Institute.

The occurrence came as something of a shock - Bellamys were supposed to be the most reliable supercomputers ever devised, virtually guaranteed never to need replacements. The official line - that the grids overheated - seemed odd, considering that the interface was suspended in liquid helium, and sounded even more suspicious if one understood the null-thermal effect of quantum information storage.

The truth, perhaps, is in the rumors currently flying around the SATI intranet. They remain a pretty secretive bunch over there, and little word has leaked out.

One former SATI quantum technician (name withheld) claims not only to know the truth, but to have actually been at the controls when the accident occurred.

This is the story, in his own words:

"I was there during the actual event, and I know the truth. The Institute boys want to cover it up, you know, because of the mess it would make if someone found out. Shit, it was a mess to begin with. That Cathy Matheson, you know. She thought she knew so much, thought it was all right, and that made it so much worse when...but hang on, I'm getting ahead of myself.

It all started with the Carlsbad Directive, you remember it, where they wanted some kind of transhuman upload? Flavor of the month stuff. No one really knew what they were talking about, so they just spouted the party line, made it seem kosher - the usual thing. It's all a bunch of crock until some smart-ass gives it to the public, and then they eat it right up: Immortality! Freedom from nature! Pseudo-science, that's what it was. But the public bought it. And then the politicians picked it up. And ultimately you end up with the Carlsbad Directive.

Don't remember, huh? Carlsbad Directive was a legislative push to get the institutes to focus on human-to-digital mind transfer. There was that paraplegic, Ricky Barlowe, who replaced his body with a NomLech Cyborg-Suit, and then suddenly everybody was buzzing about the next logical step. If the brain can interface with a fully mechanized body, they figured, why not put the mind directly into a computer? Everybody thought the brain was just a biological computer anyway. So there you go

Usually they just want more research - a money hole to make the public think we're doing something - but the Carlsbad Directive wanted results: something in the computer by January 2331. Didn't really matter what it was - some kind of animal. So we at SATI, being the precocious bastards that we are, blew the hell out of that schedule.

Carlsbad Directive arrived here in the form of one Cathy Matheson, a whiz-kid in neuroscience and something of a mystic. She claimed to have studied with Tibetan monks for seven years, and they'd taught her some kind of super-duper metabolic control. Crock of bullshit. I worked with her all that time, day in and day out, getting an earful of Tibetan Student stories, and never once did I see any of her "metabolic control".

She was damn smart though.

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