Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Trapped 3/3

short story 3/3

“How did you do that?” I nearly choked on my own astonishment.

He sighed, “basically, they uploaded my brain. I look like I think I look. I can do what I want now, I’m not limited by my body.” He appeared on screen and his body took form, jeans and a sweatshirt. He walked around on my screen a bit while I tried to pull the details together.

“Who? How?”

“Top secret stuff. Can’t tell you much more than that.” A ball materialized and he tossed it around on my screen. We talked for a while and eventually I signed off and went to bed. He told me that he didn’t need sleep anymore, or food, or water, or even his apartment. All of his stuff had been moved to some secret facility and he would commit to doing experiments with them.

We kept hanging out together. He always just showed up on my screen and we still did most of the things we used to; we played a lot of video games and talked about life. Soon his limitations set in, he couldn’t go anywhere unless someone walked around with a webcam. He started cruising unprotected video feeds and absorbing all of the incoming data.

Then his behavior started becoming erratic. He said that he had started getting into programs, feeling the inner workings of the internet. I asked him about it and he said that they were working on something really important. They turned out to be a bunch of people who had been like Carter. All people confined by their bodies.

As the days passed I grew accustomed to being with him in that way. It was like hanging out with someone only through the internet. But he seemed to become...boring. At first I thought it was because he didn’t experience the world anymore. But it was more than that. He knew everything going on in the world, he knew way more than me.

Talking to him had become predictable. And it had lost emotion. He kept saying things that were out of place and didn’t seem to reference anything. His face stopped appearing, instead he typed out conversations. One day I told him.

“I’m worried about you man, I want you to quit this experiment.”

“Can’t. Lot’s of reasons. Can’t.” His speech had become staccato.

“Look what it’s doing to you. I barely see you anymore man, you have only been text chatting with me.”

“It’s ok, this is important.” He said. I tried to argue with him for another 30 minutes but his answer was always the same, “it’s ok, this is important.”

That was three months ago. And that was the last time I talked to him. Who knows what happened to him. I think he disappeared into the ether. He kept losing parts of himself until he was just a string of ones and zeroes. Now some big company is offering digital back-ups of our personalities and memories. Carter must have been working with them. I don’t think they made a back-up of him, and if they did, would it be the same Carter?

I don’t really know. I miss my friend though. I took out an obituary for him in the newspaper, just to say my own little goodbye. I hope he finally got to be a part of it.