An Excerpt from NUI

As I stood there in the chamber thoughts rushed through my head in a mind-bender of untold proportions. You could even say my life flashed before my eyes.

And then I was dead.

I was still thinking, but for an instant there, it all seemed to stop. Then I was there, where I was, but not. I was someplace else, thinking the same thoughts at the same time. I couldn’t see, hear, feel, taste, or smell anything in that other place. I just thought, and I thought, here and there.

We thought together for a while, my senses moving over to the other’s mind, both interpreting the same way, both enticing the same memories. They told me to brainstorm on everything that passed through my mind, and we did. Every thought a déjà vu, every thought a connection with my new self, twin, psychic friend. The connection almost immediately started taking on an intimacy. We knew each other in ways we could only dream about in a soul mate. That’s what we were, we were of one soul. For those moments we shared a soul. For a few seconds I could be me and the other would know me and understand.

And then I was alive again.

The chamber opened, the mask came off, and I was painfully alone.

“Sorry about that,” Said Trechovsky, “You weren’t supposed to be there that long. The Quantum drift started taking hold before you came out.”

“Who was that?” Half hoping the other was still out there somewhere. Hoping we could meet for coffee on Friday and understand and console each other on the week’s events before we could even begin to complain about it.

“Oh, Sorry about that,” he said again, this time a little more somber. “When you’re in perfect sync during the transfer you can’t sense the computer, but once the drift starts in you’re two different people, just close enough that you can barely tell. One time this lady even came out saying that it was the best sex she’d ever had; begged me to let her back in. I shoulda thought up a pickup line at that point, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. She was almost in agony when I told her it was gone. Sorry about that.”

It was then that I noticed the spilled coffee and the pile of napkins on the floor. He must have gotten distracted and didn’t hit a switch in time. What he said sunk in, “She’s gone?”

“Yeah, uh, it’s gone.” His hand brushed through his hair as he thought about what to say next. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear it, but he was going to say it anyway. Might as well let him talk while I gathered myself.

“We create it through the quantum entanglement of the whole construct of your being. That was right about when your life flashed before your eyes. We activated just about every state in every microtubule in your head and imprinted it on the computer. It had no senses, no body, nothing to be. So within a few seconds it drifts away from being you, to being a disembodied you, then to a bitter disembodied you. I guess that depends on how you’d feel about being disembodied, but I’d be bitter. I caught it before that, but you got the second part. Sorry.” His eyes kept darting over to the console, to the coffee spill.

“Normally we catch it before then, dump the whole state to the imprint chip, and you go straight home to interface with your system. Sorry again. I haven’t missed like that in a while. Hey, you really need to get going. The less experience you have between now and the first interface the better. As it stands, this imprint will be good for about 5 years, barin’ any life-changing experiences.  As you go about life and become the person you will be 5 years from now, the imprint will get less accurate. The system’ll adjust for the things it knows happened to you, but a little drift occurs naturally. The initial interface is the most critical. Every hour you wait before it will degrade the imprint by almost a year. My little coffee spill here probably already took a few months off the life of this one, so I applied a 10% coupon to your account. Now get goin. Just mind the wet floor.”

I didn’t know what to do with that. Still reeling from my loss I just took to the chip he was holding out, stumbled into the hall, and promptly slipped on the coffee.

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