[Media prompt] Once computers can seamlessly interact with our minds, it’s conceivable that they may be able to store our minds as well.
The Wolf and the Rabbits
Zeb Coyote was six-five and weighed three hundred pounds, a string of reconstructive treatments failing to hide face gouges acquired in Manila blood pits, his presence in multi-millennial circles a wolf mingling with rabbits, and despite this, or perhaps, if the truth be known, because of it, the outstanding terrahyde in the Ten Cities regardless. He was in a rabbit’s office now, the window behind the secretary scraping a black cloud across mountains, flat granite slabs stippled with the green dots of faraway trees. Neither was to his taste; not the yellow haired reco-struct who kept her eyes down, not the fake Flatirons. But when someone like Sander A. Lithe requested your presence, it was … well, it was best to do as he asked. This wasn’t Manila.
Eventually the reco looked up. She nodded, opening a panel in the wall for him. Coyote eased himself off the stool, lighter on his feet than a man half his weight, preparing to meet one of the few first-gens remaining. Although charitable when it came to longevity, content with his ten score and ten, Coyote nevertheless found the multi-millennials demanding beyond reason. Like many, he wasn’t even certain the corporations that assured the integrity of ancient minds didn’t simply build them from the ground up with each chassis switch, maintaining flecks of memory simply to ensure continuity.
Lithe’s current incarnation was young, effeminate, like all of them, his head too big for the shoulders on which it nestled. His voice however was resonant, an obvious ploy for dominance. Coyote played the part, standing stiffly, pretending to listen attentively while his mind wandered to the reco outside. He’d changed his opinion; she was to his taste. He wondered if Lithe had spoken to any of the other terrahydes. Before they shook hands, cementing a deal, he told Lithe he wanted the reco outside as part of the contract. Lithe smiled. She’s programmed to resist, he said, so she’s a bit more challenging than your run-of-the-mill type. Coyote smiled; you want me to terrahyde Leon Keem Revus, he said. I don’t think a reco poses much of a challenge compared to that. Lithe laughed loudly.
Revus was the architect of the neural lace, and the original test subject. Technically, he was the longest lived of all the first-gens, the oldest person in the world. He was also the founder and CEO of Astel, a mind storage enterprise that had proven notoriously difficult to crack. Bander Bartok, one of the best, had been butchered only last year trying to terrahyde a nobody held in the lower levels of the Astel vaults. Coyote had respected Bartok, an old school professional who was slow but cautious, and almost always successful.
For millennia the ancients had tried to wipe each other out, nothing left to prove but to be the last left standing, playing a chess game as multi-dimensional as time and space itself. Everyone else saw their brains atrophying; why couldn’t they see it themselves?
One of the aphorisms of terrahyding, much quoted in the profession, is that the greater the line of visibility the greater the threat. Coyote was nearing seven score and ten, and in all his time had never seen as far as he did the first time he entered Revus’s mind mist. Of less interest to terrahydes, many of whom overestimated their genius, were the paradigms of behaviour exhibited by marks, the sorts of things they did rather than were. Which is why, after about six months, Coyote discovered that Revus had a vulnerability; he liked to reminisce. And so one day, as Revus emerged from his clear mist, a calf birthed in the bright noon sun, eyes closed as he sniffed at his memories, Coyote threaded the neural equivalent of a hydrogen bomb through the crack and laid waste to nearly five thousand years of synaptic transmissions.
When Sander A. Lithe heard the news he smiled. He shouldn’t have. He was Coyote’s next target.