Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feeder in the Greed Machine: 1) The Sleep

Feeder in the Greed Machine is a science-fantasy story with an evil twist on cloning devices. The story comes in four parts, to be released on a weekly basis beginning Saturday, February 21, 2009.

This is Part 1. Click here for Part 2, Part 3 or Part 4

1) The Sleep

"Just relax, honey - it's gonna sting a little, but you'll be asleep in no time." Nurse Hutchinson pulled the soak away and drove her needle into Williams' arm. He closed his eyes slowly and a coolness spread out from his elbow to his wrist.

Judge Horace leaned in to whisper at the prosecutor, Mr. Cheeves. They were all waiting for Williams to succumb. "You know, I still don't understand exactly what it is that he did," he grumbled. "All that finicky mumbo-jumbo about bit-sanctity and quantum nonsense."

"He's a psychopath, your Honor," said Cheeves shortly, "he needs to be put to sleep."

"Psychopath?" the Judge said, raising his eyebrows. "But, uh, I don't - I don't recall anything about any murders or violence -"

"Well, no, he hasn't committed any violence, no. But he is a psychopath - they all say so. All the people who know him. Friends, neighbours. Colleagues, even. He doesn't care about anyone's feelings. He is a numb, emotionally unreachable man. No morals of his own, and he shrugs off the morality of others with absolutely no consideration for their interests or points of view. That is why he built the machine," he said, nodding to a small black box with rounded edges, no larger than a small child's fist. "And that of course is his actual crime, that is why we must put him under."

The Judge peered at the black box, set lonely on the evidence desk. "Yes ... the quantum mumbo jumbo. But - what, erm, what does it actually do?"

"It is a cloning device," said Cheeves, anger in his voice. "He went and made a cloning device!"

"Clone ..." said the Judge, breathing in sharply, his fingers twitching a moment. "You mean - you mean as in we could, say, clone a sheep?"

"As I said, he is an immoral psychopath."

"Does it really work?" asked the Judge. He turned to William's counsel, Mr. Tweed, who had been standing silently with them until now. "Can you clone, say, a sheep with that thing?"

"Mmm. It has not been tested on living subjects yet," said Tweed. "But it can clone complex things, we know that. We tried it with microprocessors, for example. In fact, the machine itself is built from microprocessors that it cloned on its own," he said proudly. "It almost literally fabricated itself, piece by piece."

The nurse interrupted them. "He's going under, gentlemen," she said. They all walked up to the bed where Williams lay. The judge shook his head.

"Induced into a coma. Quite a punishment, my boy. You say he chose this?"

Cheeves nodded. "Lunatic. Well, anyway, best for all of us, I think. We want to keep him around. So we can revive him, you know. I mean, in the future, in case we have any questions of a - technical nature."

"Brilliant mind," nodded the Judge. "But, as you say, truly a psychopath."

Williams looked back at them - he was smiling calmly. His eyelids fell heavier, heavier, his eyes glazing over, and he drooled slightly. When it was finally over, the three men left him lying on the bed. But Judge Horace stopped at the evidence desk, looking down at the small black box. "Here, Cheeves," he said.

"Your Honor?" said Prosecutor Cheeves, returning attentively to the Judge.

Horace hesitated a little, rubbing his fingers together. "Let us - um - well, why don't we take this device to my chambers. I am quite ... curious ... about it."

Cheeves looked thoughtfully at the cloning machine. "Well - I suppose I don't see much harm," he said slowly. "I mean, if it is just us." He looked back at William's counsel attorney. "You like to join us, Tweed? We're going to take a little look at the black box."

Mr. Tweed smiled back at them from the door. "Oh, no, no. I'll have to sit this one out. Meeting the wife for dinner. But you gents go ahead, go ahead." He smiled at them once more, then left through the door.

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