Monday, July 25, 2011

Human Black Box: Things Go Sideways

What follows is a piece of transhuman fiction that I feel like writing. I'm an author in my spare time, unfortunately never having been published. I do enjoy writing fiction, though, and I figured that since the transhuman posts on this webpage seemed to be getting the most hits (take a look over at the left-hand column and see which post is currently the most popular), I could probably expand horizons a bit. The characters are my original creation and so is the plot, but the setting and back story is not of my design; I'm using the Eclipse Phase world for the backdrop. In a way, this helps me prepare for any future campaigns that I run, and lets me explore transhumanism where it intersects with another, fictional transhuman setting (that's actually free to use, remix, tweak, etc, so long as Posthuman Studios, the guys behind the game, are credited. Consider this that credit.

Anyway, here's part one of the story:

There had been smoke. There'd probably been fire, too, but the memories didn't go back that far. There'd been sirens; and there were people running past - a stampede of people. There'd been all these things, and probably more, but the memories didn't go back that far.

A flashing message appeared, and for a moment, they weren't exactly sure where or who they were. For a moment, there was no clear thoughts: just the growing awareness of a stagnant claustrophobia. The human mind had more than six senses; the very first sense that came to life when the synapses started firing was the sense of awareness - the vestibular sense that she; now clearly a woman - was lying on her back. The next sense that sparked to life was touch - whatever it was touching her was warm and all encompassing.

The flashing became clear - it was a single underscore followed by a period. It blinked, like a computer waiting for input. The ability to move hadn't quite kicked in yet, although now she became aware that something was holding her wrists down.

The underscore vanished, replacing itself with a "Good Morning" and a blinking, smiling emoticon. That emoticon vanished, and a sudden wall of text appeared; she was so far gone that even this sudden appearance of text in her eye barely caught her attention.

Unknown Sender (private chat, #A-WINNAR-IZ-U!#): [Congratulations! You have been selected from a pool of "willing volunteers" for a second shot at life. You should feel quite fortunate; not everyone gets two shots to fuck up in life. Of course, this second shot in life comes with a huge price tag, so hopefully you won't be screwing up anytime soon, huh? Nah, I know you. I selected you for a reason.

[My name - why yes, my name is ANTARES. You don't have to spell it in all caps like that, but I like to. It makes me feel special. I'm a Promethean and a Seed AI, and don't let anyone tell you any different. I'm your text with the mesh connection. I'm your puppet master, pulling your street. I'm in your kitchen, stealing your foo... never mind. "But Mr. ANTARES, what's a Seed AI?" "Not now, Timmy, can't you see I'm busy? Who let you out of the well, anyway?" If you like, you can lay every single problem you're about to experience at my feet. I don't particularly care, and something tells me you'll be too busy trying to survive to care, too.

[Where are you? Why, that's a stupendous question. You'll know as soon as you wake up. Then it'll just be one more problem. Why did I bring you back? Why, you're just full of questions, today, aren't you? Here's why I brought you back: we need volunteers for a project we're running. We need mice for our mice traps wheels and mazes. And if you run in our wheel and navigate our mazes well enough, we'll give you a slice of cheese. Yay! Cheese! Not Limburger though, that stuff stinks. I'm thinking a nice hunk of sharp cheddar. Actually, my metaphor died with my dignity a few paragraphs back. The cheese is neither Limburger nor sharp cheddar - don't you look at me like that - but, rather, it's your freedom. That cheese will be your freedom, and the ability to resume the life that you had here in the FUTURE! (note the caps and exclamation point. That means it's IMPORTANT! Everything in caps is important, like me, ANTARES!). Don't want to be a lab rat, a puppet, or experiment? That's cool - when you wake up, just go on your merry way. You're on Earth. We'd rather you do something stupid here and get yourself killed during the interview, rather than wait until you're doing something actually important to us and then screwing up. You go on your separate way here, and you won't last long. If you agree, though, and you do want to play the role of lab rat, then I have friends waiting who will be more than willing to help you get off of this hellish dirt ball... after you do what I tell you to, and not before. So, are you still with me? Good. Because you'll have to do everything I tell you if you want to get out of this nightmare - alive.

[Here's what's going to happen. You're going to wake up in a resleeving facility just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. Don't know where that is? Too bad. You'll find out. Your eventual destination on this dirtball is going to be a place called 'Groom Lake,' and that's in Nevada. Yeah, that's a bit of hike, I know. I would've gotten you closer, but there weren't any functional resleeving facilities between here and there.

[When you wake up, you'll find you're in a new body. Isn't that wonderful? You get a whole, brand new body out of this deal - lucky you! Want your old one back? No you don't. Trust me. No. You. Don't. Unfortunately, you got the only body that I could find there. There's another entity that's hanging around; he's locked up inside of the Ghostrider module that you'll find when you first wake up. Please take him with you, he'll get lonely if you don't. I can't guarantee you'll get a new body, so please, please, please take care of the one you've got. It'd be a damn shame for you to go and get yourself killed.

[When you wake up, there's clothes, ammo, and guns in the back room. As for food and water, well, that's not as important as ammo, guns and armor. Trust me. You'll question me now, but wait until you wake up. You'll be thinking, "Good ol' ANTARES, always thinkin' ahead". You may have to pry it off of a few corpses, but I can guarantee they aren't using them. As far as food and water goes, well, you're on your own. Just don't drink any water that glows too brightly in the dark, and as for food, there might be some stale, 10-year-old MREs in the back. It's rumored that those things could survive the apocalypse. If you find one, and you can still eat it, congratulations - you confirmed those rumors as fact.

[Oh, yes. The apocalypse. I knew there was something I was forgetting. But hey, this is one problem that you can't blame on me. I wasn't here when they rode the bomb home.

[See, this isn't your grandpappy's earth, ho-no. Well, it is, but I can guarantee it's not like you remember it. See, things went all sideways, then then they flipped, and then they went all woobly-woo before totally inverting and the world went to hell in handbasket. Understand? Good. Let Ol' ANTARES help you out here with a useful list of things to watch out for on your way to Groom Lake; through the desert between here and there and on the other side of the Las Vegas metroplex. This is an extensive and exhaustive list of everything on Earth that is out to kill, maim, harm, or eat you, or kill, maim, harm and eat you:


[Sometimes, a little paranoia goes a long way to making sure you get out alive - it'll help you get to Area 51 in one piece, anyway, which is where my friends will be at, waiting for you. Good luck. I'll see you space side.]

There was a flash, and the text vanished. She finally could move her arm, as the braces unlocked. She could hear the water - or whatever nanite-saturated liquid she'd been submersed in - draining away. Her eyes opened - it took a minute for the entopic displays to kick on; in that time, they were fuzzy and rather schizoid in how they presented themselves to her. When things straightened out, she could see the glass dome that had been over the top of the case pulled aside, and feel several cords popping off of her head.

It wasn't cold, that was for sure. No sooner had the door opened than she was already concerned about breaking a sweat; as she sat up, the blood all rushed to her brain with the force of a charging bull and nearly knocked her back down again. She had to latch firmly onto the corner of the strange container, her dark brown skin glistening. There were several strange, green lines that ran up her arm; she followed them, realizing that these stylized green lines were running all over her body, connecting an invisible circle just on her abdomen. The dark skin only made them stand out that much more, and as she focused through the haze and nausea, she could see that they were flashing, like runway lights. She noticed something just around the edge of it - some colors she didn't recognize - but they didn't click immediately. She had too much else she was worrying about.

Or perhaps that was just how dizzy she was feeling, and her eyes playing tricks on her.

She was startled by  a mechanical voice; genderless, with the text appearing in her eye.

Muse (private chat #?#)[I hope that the transition wasn't too much for you.]

She tried to force a noise but couldn't. There was something wrong with the vocal cords - maybe. She forced herself out of the pod and tumbled onto the dust covered floor on her knees and elbows before she lost her strength and finished the fall, lying there on her side. No clothes, no idea who she was, no idea where she was at - this was the ultimate nightmare.

Muse (private chat #?#): [Please, don't ignore me. I know you're confused and upset, but I'm here to help. That's what Muses do. We help.]

She forced words, finally. "Where... am..."

It was a feat of will to manage two words. Her whole head was spinning.

Muse (private chat #?#): [This is normally why they have trained personnel around to do this. I mean no offense, but you have to get things together and hurry. Whether or not your ego agrees with this body is not an option right now; we're on Earth, and I'm sure that being killed is the last thing you want to happen - it happened once before, and there's no use in letting it happen again.]

She coughed, something in the air burning her lungs. She opened teared filled eyes, staring across the dirt and dust covered floor and at a skeleton lying across the floor, covered with filthy, decayed doctor's apparel.

"What... what is that?" She managed; her voice hoarse and dry.

Muse (private chat, #?#): [That's what'll happen to us if we don't move. Please, try to find the strength to get up and move.]

It took another feat of will to get herself upright; or, at least, on her knees to where she could get a better view of what was around. The reason she'd coughed, she realized, was because it was so dry. She could almost feel it sucking the moister out of the dark brown skin. She paused to catch her breath, and then stumbled onto her feet. She managed to keep herself there, and even make several steps towards a table in the middle of the room before she fell forward again. Now she could clearly see where she was - she was surrounded by several large tubes, all of them broken or busted, with overturned debris rotted on the floor. There were no fewer than six skeletons scatted around; complete skeletons save for, oddly enough, their heads.

Using the table as a brace, she was upright again with much less trouble; the body she was in was lean and narrow, like that of a runner. the toes had green toenails, just like her fingers had green fingernails. She couldn't be sure if that was because they'd been painted or if it was to match the green racing lights that ran up her arms, on the sides of her chest, inside and outside of her thighs, and up her legs and around her back. They were flashing just like the lights were, though, so she could only assume they'd been modified rather than painted.

Walking was becoming a little easier now. Ahead, she could see a strange black box on the table.

"Is that...?" She deliberately trailed off, waiting for the muse - now with a clearly female voice - to answer.

Muse (private chat, #?#): [That's the ghostrider module that Antares was talking about.]

"Who are you? Why do I hear your voice in my head?"

Muse (private chat, #?#): [I'm your muse. I'm the artificial intelligence program that's been given to you to help you out in your day-to-day life. Everybody has one, so it would be very unfair to not give you one. And you wouldn't have any company, either. Let me ask you question - do you remember who you are?]

She stopped, looking at the black box. She thought, and she thought, and for a long moment was utterly silent before she spoke again.

"No. No I don't."

That realization made her want to cry. Her muse acted quickly, to stave off any unwanted or distracting emotions.

Muse (private chat, #?#): [Oh. It'll be okay. We will just have to give you a name, and then... and then you can give me a name, okay? Just follow my instructions, and we'll get out of here.]

"Okay," she said, running her hands through hair and fight back tears of fear. She stopped, and pulled the long hair around to look at it. It was green. "Someone... someone liked the color green. A lot."

Muse (private chat, #Chloe?#): [We could call you Chloe. You do have a lot green, after all. It stands out against the dark brown skin, and it's actually rather pretty.]

"That... I guess that sounds good," she said, not purposefully waving it off. But she had so many other thoughts in her head - it was apparent that message from Antares wasn't a dream, that this was all horribly real, but there were still so many questions. And none of them looked like they would be presenting answers anytime soon. She looked down at her body again; it was definitely a runner's body, but her legs weren't massive. She moved her toes, warming to this body and wondering how she wound up in it, where her other body was, and what had happened to get her here.

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [Chloe...]

"Okay, I know," she said, picking up the black box. "What's in here?" She asked, her voice becoming more pronounced. It was actually rather musical; her accent some type of Persian or Hindi accent.

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [It's another human, if my understanding is right. Another ego.]

"So it's a human black box."

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [Sort of.]

Holding the black box, Chloe turned and looked at the large, metal door - it had been knocked in, but not completely fallen off of its hinges. She gently stepped around the skeletons and avoided the sharp glass where she saw it, and walked towards it. She caught a glimpse of herself for the first time in the metal of the door, looking at the strange face. It matched her voice; either Persian or Indian of some kind, but very pretty. The green lights rand own her cheeks, high-lighting her flashing, green eyes and her green lips. It was all green, and it all stood out rather sharply against the dark brown skin.

It disturbed her that she didn't immediately recognize who she was. She had to run her hand over this stranger's face to make sure it was her's. She had to do it several times, a strange feeling of alienation creeping in. One she quickly stopped by looking away and taking her mind off of the subject matter. She was a pretty woman, she told herself. So pretty she didn't need to see her face ever again.

"This way to the back room? With the clothes and stuff?"

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [I don't know. I can't bring up a map, because we're totally isolated from the Mesh. I'm not sure how much that means to you, but I don't like it.]

It meant exactly nothing to her, because she had no idea what a Mesh was. She reached the door, and peered around it, her eyes hit with a wide array of color. There were colors that she couldn't even describe; she had never seen colors like them before. Colors that were close to red but not quite; a half-dozen new shades of reds, purples, blacks, and blues, with the rest of the colors lighting up like the false color photograph of a nebula.

The sudden rush of color made nausea kick her in the stomach and almost made her double over. She had to close her eyes for a minute and look away, coughing because the dry air made her lungs itch.

"Color... my God, I've never seen so many colors before. I... how am I doing that?"

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [It's your eyes. Those are normal colors for people to see now; the modifications done to your eyes allow you to see from the Terahertz range of electromagnetism to the gamma ray range of electromagnetism. Of course, you still won't see through people, or things, but you do get the benefit of a half dozen new colors. And a very pretty view of the night sky.]

That meant it was just something she'd have to get used to. She peered back around the door, looking at the hallway again. It took her a second to realize that all of the dried brown splash marks on the floor and walls weren't rust - they were dried blood. There were dozens of bullet holes in the dust-covered walls, and the windows had all been shot out, allowing her to look out over the vast, dusty field littered with dead and tangled trees, at the skeletal remains of several buildings rising up in the distance.

She forced the door shut, and pinned herself against it.

"What the fuck is going on?!"

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [That's not the door to the back room - try the other back there.]

"What happened?!" She demanded, trying not to panic and failing. Miserably.

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [Earth... nobody lives on Earth anymore, Chloe. They all left Earth, because... well, because a World War, because of the Singularity, and because everything went all woobly-woo, sideways, flipped over, inverted and ... went to Hell in a hand basket.] with the last little bit, the muse's voice became very apologetic.

Her heart was thundering against her chest. She closed her eyes, trembling. Home - she wanted to home. She wanted to wake up and find this was all a dream. But she didn't know where she'd wake up at - or who she'd wake up as.

"I don't want to be here. I want to go home. I want a face I recognize. I want to remember who I am."

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [There's a new home waiting, Chloe. You just have to get to a place where they can take you there, first.]

"Then the backroom," she said, looking at the door across the way and pressing the black box against her chest. "Let's see what's back there."

She started walking quickly there, careful not to cut her foot on any of the glass. She wasn't quite used to being so quick and agile; it took her a second to realize that her mind wasn't keeping up with what her body was capable of doing. Once she was across the room, she reached out and took the wooden door, tugging at it. It didn't immediately open, but she was able to knock the hinges free and send it clattering to the ground. The inside of the room was pitch dark; but once the door was pulled free, some light shone in. Dust bunnies danced in the new ray of light, and the floor was covered with bodies of all kinds, all of them skeletons - most of them missing heads.

She was reluctant to step in at first, but when she spotted urban camouflaged armor, she pushed away that reluctance and stepped into the room. She sat the box on the floor and walked over to the armor, crouching beside it. It looked like it might've belonged to a bulky male. That wouldn't do; she went looking again, and found partial armor that covered the chest, legs, and torso, complete with a helmet, that was made for a narrower frame. After several minutes of struggle she managed to get the dry and decaying bones out of the armor, knocking the dust out of it and sliding it, and the uniform under it, on.

Once she was dressed, Chloe looked around, at the different storage boxes.

"Why do all these bodies have their heads cut off?" Chloe asked.

Muse (private chat, #Chloe#): [I don't know. I'm pretty sure we don't want to know, either.]

That was true. She looked down at the ground and spotted a rifle, picking the rifle up. As she did so, she was hit with something suddenly. It overwhelmed her, and caused her to nearly drop the weapon. She caught it, though, stumbling back against the wall and catching herself there. Her green bangs fell in front of her face, as she looked at the gun.

Chloe had never used a gun in her life, that she knew of. She'd only seen them ... well, she'd probably seen them before now, but she was fairly certain that she'd never used them before. In the time it took for her to hold the device and focus on it, she felt a sudden whiplash of knowledge; like someone took the instructions of how to use, fire, load, and manage a firearm and burned it on the blunt end of a baseball bat and hit her in the head with it.

She looked at the firearm, fairly sure there wasn't anything about it she didn't know how to operate.


Muse (private chat #Chloe#): [What?]

"I... I just touched this thing and I think I know how to use it."

Muse (private chat #Chloe#): [That must be some modification, too. There's probably a lot of modifications made to this body that we're not familiar with yet.]

Chloe reached down and grabbed several spare clips, attaching them to the belt of the armor, and then picked up a pistol from the holster, holding it in her hand. She didn't experience that rush again, but she reasoned that was because she already knew how guns worked. She didn't need it again. Realizing she didn't want to carry all of this stuff, she grabbed the holster. She didn't want to move too fast - she still felt that creeping nausea just under the surface - and she could feel a tenseness in her chest and her body that she would give anything to get rid of. Holster on her belt, gun in her hand, and the black box inside of a bag that she'd found that was over her shoulder, she looked around, spotting a distant door at the end of the hallway.

"Let's go."

The door at the end of the hallway wasn't jammed shut like the others - in fact, it opened at the first push, allowing her out into the hallways. They looked like they'd been white and sterile at one point but now they were filled with dust and debris, with several additional headless skeletons. She kept her pace at a manageable level, knowing that if she tried to move too quickly, the nausea would kick in and she'd probably lose her sense of self, like what had happened when she first woke up. Using one hand on the wall to brace herself, while keeping another hand on the gun, she started forward, walking past the headless bodies and towards a sign that said: "Lobby", with an arrow pointing in her direction.

"We need to get to Las Vegas and Groom Lake from here," Chloe said. "That's what Antares said. So what we need, is we need to find some form of transportation. I'm not walking all the way there. Not like this."

Muse (private chat #Chloe#): [Maybe if we check the garage or the parking lot - there might be a vehicle there.]

She stepped into the lobby, looking around at the gutted furniture, the shattered glass looking out over the dead front lawn, and the overturned and blackened potted plants. The room was dead silent, although there were a few more headless skeletons, wearing clothes she didn't immediately recognize.

"More of these headless bodies," she said, keeping herself braced against the wall. While she found it hard to believe, in that short space, what had been exceptionally dry had turned exceptionally humid; as she looked out the window she watched thunderstorm clouds form, and then watched as they opened up with hail. The rocks slammed into the dirty ground, throwing up small clouds of dirt. "Well, I know we're not going out side now."

She turned around, as a loud crash rang through the building. She turned around and realized it was now hailing basketball sized hail, the huge hunks of ice slamming into the ground and against the roof, roaring loudly.

"Okay, we're really not going outside."

She turned away from the window and walked down a hallway that would take her further into the building, coming face-to-face with two flying robots as they appeared around the corner further down the hallway. They had dragon-fly wings and moved quickly, honing in on her and making a beeline. Those wings weren't what got her, though - it was the large buzz-saws mounted on the end of the two mechanical arms, and a second mechanical claw under it.

She looked at the headless skeleton, and then back up at the robot.

"Uh... I think we know why those bodies are headless now."

Edit: fixed typos graciously pointed out by Brin below in the comments. Thanks! :)


  1. If she has no memories from before, there the person she was before is as dead as if she'd never been cryonically preserved (I'm assuming that she was originally cryonically preserved on earth because she believed in cryonics and the singularity and was hoping to wake up one day in the future and live some more in a higher tech society, yes? Otherwise, this would all seem a bit less alien to her, I think. Even with the amnesia, she would still remember basic things about how the world works -- as you can see in what you've written: gravity doesn't surprise her; she knows what water is without an explanation; clearly she recognises those things which were available before she died.)

    But she has amnesia, the person she was in gone, she has no personality; none of her is left. Instead, she's someone new that she doesn't recognise, in a body she doesn't reconise, and she may not recognise her old one if she saw a photo in a newspaper clipping (from those pre-apocalypse newspapers that survived the apocalypse...)

    So, who she was in gone, irreversibly gone as far as I can tell (I read some of the eclipse phase rpg book but then i got distracted and didn't end up finishing it). And as such, cryonics has failed her. She died when her body died all those years ago, and this being that is alive now that was salvaged from the brain that body had is only tangentially related to her, the way her great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren would be related to her, had she not been cryonically preserved, but had had children who went on to have children. And the great-great-great-great-grandchild would at least be born into this modern world and be adapted to it.

  2. *waves* Hi! Thanks for dropping by and commenting, I appreciate it :)

    That's one possible theory on where Chloe is from, but I'm not exactly going to tip my hand yet. Just to muddy the water, here's a few more:

    - She's an AGI. That means she'd have knowledge of the basic stuff, but not necessarily knowledge of the more complex things. There wasn't a lot here to suggest she was an AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), but the story is just getting started, too. If she's an AGI, there was nothing in existence before Antares crafted it and downloaded it into that body.
    - Her memories have been so severely edited that parts of them are missing completely, perhaps by Antares, perhaps by something else. She could be one of the survivors of the Fall, captured by the TITANs. The opening strongly suggests this. Of course, if she *was*, that opens up a whole new set of questions.
    - She's a fork of another ego, who's memories are edited to the point there are "holes" in her knowledge.

    I never really described what morph (or body) she possessed. It looks like any type of body that you'd run into, but in EP (counting the two other books, Sunward and Gatecrashers), there's over twenty different bodies that you can possess. Just as easily as she could have a splicer morph (basic transhuman genefixed/cleaned morph) she could be a robot with a synthetic skin that appears utterly human and would never know the difference unless she had to have a medical procedure done on her, or she could be a pod. The last two open up the possibilities of her being an AGI.

    If any one of them are true (save the AGI), Chloe could in theory still jar her memories back and remember who she was, or who she's a fork of. If you're right, and she was one of the people who chose to be cryogenically frozen in preparation for the singularity, it's likely she'll never remember who she was (even if she were to encounter any kind of grandchildren), and if she's an AGI, there's nobody before this to remember.

  3. Hey, thanks for the explanation. I didn't finish reading the big Eclipse Phase pdf file I downloaded circa Aug 2009. I got distracted and then never picked it back up, but was left with a feeling of "well, that looks interesting."

    If she's an AGI, it would make more sense for her to be programmed with a "how the world works" library to skip initial confusion. Similarly, if she were forked from another person, it would make more sense for her to inherit their memories to give her continuity of experience. People who are created for a limited amount of functions are sometimes given very little continuity, but they are less likely to survive and adapt. Inheriting memories and abilities from the 'parent' leaves you with better decision-making abilities.

    I'm a member of a multiple system (MPD), which is probably why the mechanics of Eclipse Phase appealed to us in the first place. In multiple terminology, it's called "splitting", not forking, but we're linux geeks so forking makes sense to us.

    Our experiences are usually separate, but can be shared. Forks inherit some or all memories from the person they forked from. It is possible to be forked with only knowledge of the body's name and age. We have varying access to shared libraries and documentation (e.g. all can access /usr/share/doc/whatisgravity). I was born with fluent access to three languages. Lydia can't access libhungarian at all. The usergroup she was born into doesn't have systemwide language access and can only access languages in their home directories. We don't have an equivalent of a sysadmin who can change user permissions. :P

    I was born in January, 2007. I'm 32 years old. I was forked from pthalo, and I inherited all of her memories. It took me a month to figure out that I wasn't her. I'm very different from her, despite having access to memories she formed prior to 2007. This access made it easier for me to be a begin life as a fully formed, round adult.

    Pthalo was forked when the body was small, and she inherited some memories from her predecessor. She, like many here, was created to be abused. Some others from then had inherited memories, but many did not. Those that didn't have survived only in a handicapped state. For us, forking without memory inheritance leads to throwaway personalities who are destroyed, irrepairably damaged, or unalterably moulded by their first few experiences in the world.

    To come back to Chloe, we have a person who has inherited no memories at all. She has a support system who can advise her but cannot run the body for her. Her world is not a happy one where she might spend some time getting her bearings and preparing for future tasks. She lives in a violent, post-apocalyptic world where she is likely to be killed. She can get a new body, but death is still traumatic. Even an AGI would do better if it started with some knowledge of self and world mechanics.

    Without memory of one's formative years, one's first few experiences have formative quality. If she does have a memory backup somewhere, reintegrating those memories will probably be difficult -- her personality will have changed too much.

    I'm just pointing out some parts that distract this reader from the story by making us think about the unexplored consequences of some parts of this universe.

    --Joshua, with some input from Pthalo and a few others who were paying attention

    And my other point: in this universe, cryonics has failed the people who were cryogenically frozen in preparation for the singularity. They went into it believing this would give them continuity, allowing them to exist on in a new body (or in a computer simulation, or what have you) after their current body failed. But instead, who they were is completely gone, and now there is someone else instead. So was cryonics worth it?


  4. Is cryonics worth it? Probably not. You can only be dead for so long following your death in order to mind-uploading to work in absence of a stack; it's the neural signals that are brain-mapped by the nanites, not the actual brain structure. It doesn't even really preserve the body, because the ice crystals damage the cell lining and puncture it. I'm of the mind that here in this world, and in the EP one, cryonics is a waste of time and energy.

    Chloe having amnesia, regardless of the cause, is still a rather useful literary tool. Those not familiar with the world can learn about it through her eyes, a little at a time, rather than getting sacked with some 400 pages of PDF information at all once. There is a reason she's like this, and it will make sense at the end of the story. We're just getting warmed up now, though :)

    Also, as my friend pointed out to me, Chloe's morph is obviously an Olympian. It makes the mythological reference complete.

  5. Okay, I'm awake now.

    Places that should have “quite”:
    The ability to move yet hadn't quiet kicked in
    You should feel quiet fortunate; not everyone gets two shots to fuck up in life.
    Colors that were close to red but not quiet

    Also, the "yet" in that first one should go after the "kicked in".

    I'm your puppet master, pulling your street.

    Either that's supposed to be “strings”, or there's some meaning of “street” I'm not aware of.

    It'd be a damn shame for you go and get yourself killed.

    For you to get yourself killed.

    You'll be thinking, "Good 'ol ANTARES

    The apostrophe should be after the “ol”, not before.

    as she seat up, the blood all rushed to her brain


    with the text appearing i her eye.


    I took another feat of will to get herself upright


    Not clothes, no idea who she was

    Those should both be “no”, not just the second.

    She opened teared filled eyes

    Tear-filled. I'm not sure if the hyphen is optional.

    She could almost feel it sucking the moister


    she could only assume they'd be modified rather than painted


    Let me ask you question

    Ask you a question.

    someone liked the color 'green'.

    Why is green in quotation marks?

    not completely fallen off of it's hinges


    The green lights rand own her cheeks

    The space for “ran down” is in the wrong place.

    to make sure it was her's


    She was pretty woman

    A pretty woman.

    because she no idea what a Mesh was.

    She had no idea.

    a half-dozen news shades


    went to Hell in a hand basket,]

    Period, not comma.

    the muse's  voice became very apologetic.

    There's a double space between “muse's” and “voice”.

    Home - she wanted to home.

    To go home? To be home? Something along those lines.

    She wasn't quite used to be so quick and agile


    and the floor was covered with bodies of kinds

    It looks like there should be a quantity adjective there. Several? Many?

    She was reluctant to step in at first, but when she spotted urban camouflaged armor, she pushed away that reluctance and stepped into the room, setting the box on the floor and walking over to the armor, crouching beside it.

    I suspect there's more run-on sentences, but I'm not so good with those. I've been erring on the side of leaving things as they are. This one I'm pretty confident about, though: “She was reluctant to step in at first, but when she spotted urban camouflaged armor, she pushed away that reluctance and stepped into the room. She set the box on the floor and walked over to the armor, crouching beside it.”
    That first sentence might still be a little long; I'm not sure.

    knocking the dust out of it and sliding in, and the uniform under it, on.

    That “in” should also be an it.

    in fact, it opened the first push

    It opened at the first push.

    if she tired to move too quickly


    she'd probably loose her sense of self


    coming fact-to-face with two flying robots

    Face-to-face, unless this is supposed to be a reference to the robots not having faces. I doubt that, though.

    Thank you for using Brin's Betas!

  6. Thanks for the help - I appreciate it. I went through and fixed them :)