Gregory Marshall was the son of a billionaire, the only son. His life was easy, it always had been, his mother and father fulfilled his every whim. They had been trying for a child for years, and at the age of 45, his mother was finally pregnant. Gregs childhood, while being pampered and loved unconditionally, his parents never relaxed, afraid the slightest chilled breeze, or slightly angry dog would take Greg from them too soon. They protected him as if he were a priceless relic from a bygone age, irreplaceable, delicate and unmarked. If he had wanted too he could have skipped school daily, just a sniffle, sneeze or cough would send them in to action like a special forces team jumping off a helicopter in to enemy territory. Each of them had their tasks, one would grab the thermometer on would grab the Calpol, and while his temperature was being taken his mother would dash to his room, refresh the bedding a plump the pillows ready for them to return him to a place of safety. It did get a bit much at times, but the feeling of unconditional love, to be needed so completely, he loved the power it gave him, and nobody ever complains about being so wanted or loved.
Due to the late arrival of Greg in to his parents lives, he had lost them both by the time he was 25, his father died just after Greg’s twenty fifth birthday, nothing sinister, a heart attack of the 18th green after a thirty foot putt to shoot his first, and only, round under par, which also included his first hole in one. A round to be bragged about for years, but mid celebration he just collapsed in a heap and toppled in to a bunker, just off the green. Gregs first words after he was pronounced dead was
“Tight bastard will go to any length to get out of buying a round of drinks” he quipped, there was no malice in his comment, it was his first brush with death of anyone close, he had never had grandparents, uncles, aunts or cousins. His family unit was just his parents and himself, they had the butlers and maids, family friends and personal friends, but it was not the same as blood. His mother had died soon after, and consensus of opinion had been she had died of a broken heart, he was sick of being told the same thing every time the subject came up. For the first time in his life he felt alone, the world rushed by before him but he felt unable to be part of it, almost like he was in an unbreakable glass bubble, life seemed muffled in some way.
He was an intelligent man, a photographic memory made him able to indulge in any subject he wanted, he trained as a doctor, but never practiced, he studied physics, chemistry, mathematics to an advanced level, engineering, philosophy and every other subject he could squeeze in, he loved to learn and it came simply to him. By the time of his fathers passing he had just finished his final university degree, he simply could not find another subject he fancied doing. With the death of his mother six weeks later, the feeling of loneliness consumed him, and with no studies to lose himself in, it began to play on his mind that if it were possible to remove the soul or essence from someone and place it in another body, you could always keep loved ones, even when their body’s had finally given up. Through the tears and alcohol he had watched the film Big, and this is what had sparked his thoughts, he watched them all, Freaky Friday, Visa versa and all the others, he was obsessed by the concept. Some months later he was so consumed by the idea, he had failed to noticed he was no longer grieving for his losses, and had not even given his parents a second thought. He caught a view of himself in the hall mirror, and was taken aback by the image of a mad scientist that greeted him, hair disheveled and held in style with various form of lubricating greases, his normally clean cut face now sporting a shaggy beard that held the first glimpse of grey hairs, so bushy he thought that wildlife could get lost in amongst it. His shirt was covered in stains, from the food the staff brought to him on a regular basis, grease, coffee and various other contaminates. Worst of all, when he took a closer investigation, he stank. He had no clue of the day, month or year, no clue when he last showered, shaved or changed his clothes. He made his way to his bathroom, ran a deep bath while Phillips, his butler, trimmed his hair and shaved him, feeling almost human once more he slid beneath the hot water and turned various jets on to full speed. He dozed lightly in the bath, and as the water cooled, he jumped out, and retired to his room. He slept the first good sleep in months, and when he finally woke, he had slept for over thirty hours.
He rose from his bed, feeling refreshed, and was washed over with guilt as he saw the family portrait in a silver frame on his mantelpiece, he was struck by just how long that his parents had not been thought of, in his manic fury to create his masterpiece. Every inch of the house he viewed seemed to be different, he knew it was not, but he had spent so long looking at his basement walls he had forgotten how the sunlight hit these rooms, he sat down at the table in the dinning room for breakfast, a pen and pad on his left hand side, just in case he had an idea mid breakfast. He had purchased the TV for the dinning room soon after his mothers passing, neither his mother or father would allow TV during meal times, and he suddenly realised that this was the first time it had been switched on since its arrival, as he watched the morning news. The problems of the outside world had no interest to him, but he just wanted a noise in the corner, just to break the silence. He picked up his pen and began a job list, he wanted to go in to his research with a fresh mind, and work to a concise program, no more blustering wildly along and hoping for the best. He finished his breakfast, refreshed his coffee and made his way to the basement, stopping in to see Mr and Mrs Phillips to administer a set of rule to be followed while he was in his basement, lunch times, dinner to be served in the dinning room, no all night sessions, regular grooming and always a good nights sleep, he also gave them the permission to not take no for an answer.
Spot on 10am, he opened the door to his basement and descended the wooden stairs. He took a sharp intake of breath at the shock of the maelstrom that greeted him, it look like it had been hit by a hurricane. There were multi coloured notes stuck to every available surfaces, pages of text with highlighter graffiti on them pinned to the pin board or stuck on walls, printouts piling up in the printer tray and his small green bin surrounded and filled by screwed up balls of paper. He picked up the intercom,
“Ah, Phillips, could you please bring me down the roll of bin bags please” he asked with a laugh in his voice, Phillips picked up on it and smiled, it was far to long since he had seen Greg laugh,
“Right away sir” he replied, still smiling. Within a few minutes Greg heard the footsteps and spun round to greet his visitor, he knew it was Phillips with the bin bags, but he was never impolite to his staff and always acknowledged their presence.
“Bin bags, sir” Phillips announced as he stepped down off the last step, and brandished the bags towards Greg,
“Thank you very much, it looks like I am tidying up before I start, haha” Greg responded, with a smile,
“I could help if you wish sir” Phillips replied and returning the smile.
“No, you alright Phillips, take it easy for the day, take you wife out and I can order in” Greg replied all at once feeling guilty about something he couldn’t quite put his finger on. With giving his butler and cook the day off he still felt the faint pangs of guilt, but he was sure that trawling through all this for the day may have him feeling his old self once more.
He started with the bin and various paper balls it had failed to catch or over spilled it, once started he was on a roll. He looked though the post it notes, organised them in to categories stuck them on to lined paper and placed in to a binder, he then tackled the sheets of printouts stuck and pinned everywhere, read them and filed them by categories, and threw away any ‘post it’ notes that was duplicated. He finally tackled the printer tray, and did as he had done with the other papers, once he had highlighted various sections of them and hole punched the margins, and filed. His phone beeped as Phillips had text him to let him know that dinner would be delivered in ten minutes, and Greg laughed at the fact that Phillips had not trusted him to order his own dinner, and just did it himself. He returned to the ground floor, poured himself a generous drink. He had been a very busy boy of late, and there had been more than few strong ideas amongst it, which was a good step forward, there were just a few more papers to read before he called it a day, he grabbed his glass and bottle and took it down to his basement, came back up just in time to hear the boor bell ring, and he collected his dinner from the delivery guy, and disappeared below ground once more.
He was woken by the door bell the following day, he guess he only heard it because it was his unconscious mind was on the look out for it, as he had ordered him self a few dry boards to write his ideas on, he had wanted the one big board he saw, but there was a size limit to items for his work space. Phillips arrived a few minutes later with his morning coffee, the post and to tell him the delivery men where taking his delivery straight to the basement as his note had asked. He was eager to get down there to start unpacking, but he always felt the excitement lay in the anticipation more than the contents of a delivery. He took breakfast in the dinning room once more and listened to the news, as he ate and jotted on his pad. When finished, he reminded Phillips on the new rules, and disappeared once more to his new toys. He spent the first two hours unpacking and assembling the boards and disposing of the packaging. Clear glass boards in front of the wide expanse of white painted wall in his bat cave, lined up side by side. This is where he could write out and reassemble his ideas, eventually he would crack it, he was a genius, he told himself. In truth if it could be cracked, he was the type of person to crack it, it was just if it could be cracked or not. He was close, so close he could almost reach out and touch it, like trying to tell what you had seen someone on the telly, in before, you could see his character in this other programme, just ooohhh, where? Mmmm, that kind of feeling, it was just missing, something.
By the anniversary of his mothers death he had not made any progress for a month or so toward his goal, it was missing humanity, all the chips, boards and flashing LED’s was always going to too mechanical, clumsy maybe more humanoid than human. It was this problem where it had all stalled, he knew the answer was there, it was just being extremely difficult to wrestle in to life. He had decided to order flowers and visit his mother and fathers graves, he thought a day in the fresh air, thinking about other things might just jump start his progress. They were buried with the rest of the family going back generations on the island in the lake, on the grounds of the house. He could be the last of his family line if he did not find a wife and breed, he though as the boat cut through the light ice forming on the surface, the snow had abated for almost an hour, but it had threatened to go big or go home as the morning ticked over to noon. He loved the bite of the cold, the smell in the snowy air, the way it hung on conifers and naked trees alike, avalanches knocked from trees by winter birds. He loved the undisturbed snow that lay before him, to be the first to walk upon it gave him a thrill from his childhood, when he would get up early, pull his clothes on over his pyjamas and Wellington boots and be the first to break the virginal snow, building snowmen, giant snowball to roll down hills, just to see if it works like it does in the cartoons, and then the feeling of drying out and warming up with cocoa in front of the real fire in the lounge, he missed the smell of a wood fire all year, until it was time to once again keep a fire in the hearth. He spent and hour telling them what had been going on, how he was doing, and so on, said his goodbyes and returned to the boat. The ice was a little thicker on the return he thought, and the snow was being more persistent, all be it still a little weak willed, and by the time he entered the kitchen, the weather had decided it fancied being a blizzard, which hit just as he reached for the door.
He stumbled in to the kitchen in a heap, frightening Mrs Phillips while she prepared the evening meal, he huddled over the stove to chase the cold from his bones. She was cooking roast lamb and all the bits, his favourite meal. He had a night of food, wine and movies planned, early bed and a good nights sleep. He would miss big chunks of his chosen movies just hypnotised by the falling snow, coming down so heavy now it was setting off the sensors in the security lights, he just couldn’t take his eyes off it. Some point he drifted off in to a deep sleep in his chair.
The next morning he was woke early by the sound of Phillips refuelling the fire with more wood,
“Did not mean to wake you sir, I do apologies” Phillips said
“Coffee?” He added, Greg nodded and sat upright, first looking to the window, there must have been a few feet of snow there he thought. No sooner had he thought this he was handed a cup of fresh coffee, and began to wonder how it always arrived so quickly, then imagined Phillips following him around with a primed and ready coffee machine. He propped himself up and slowly sipped his coffee, when it hit him square between the eyes, making him splutter and choke on his cough, followed by,
“Sir? Everything ok? Bones in the coffee?” Philips asked in semi concern and laughter, leaving Greg just to reply,
“Eureka!” He screamed, and scrambled across the floor to reach his pad and pen. No sooner than he had grasped it that he started to write feverishly, the ideas just spilled from his head on to the lined pad, he felt as if his Bespoke Woods ancient Kauri pen would burst in to flames in his hand, it was moving so fast, he had filled ten pages with sketches and descriptions by the time he was called through for breakfast, and continued while he ate.
Still chewing the last of his breakfast he pounded down the stairs to his cave. He wiped unnecessary work from a few of his dry boards, before frantically putting his latest brainwave down, then filed the paper version in the appropriate folder. Once he finished, he sat back in his swivel chair and admired his work, it made perfect sense to him, how had he made such a problem with what now seemed to him a pure logic. He spent the rest of his day just thinking through the idea, he would need all his creative know how to develop the implants he would need, and then, in layman’s terms it was just a case of swapping consciousness from one implant to another, simple. He was to toil away for the next six months producing a reliable implant in a size that was not too big, not too expensive to make it prohibitive for sale. He envisaged in time that these could be then implanted in a humanoid form, freeing the human race from disease, repairable lost limbs, upgrading and a myriad of other benefits that he has not thought off immediately. However, the cyborg/humanoid creation was decades away, so his main concentration would have to keep the human interface. He finished this snowy winters day feeling very content with himself, he had cracked the first part, tomorrow would be the the start of the next stage, tonight was a chance to clear his mind and relax, maybe even try to watch some of the films he missed parts of last night.
He awoke the following morning feeling like a new man, he would have to contact his dealer, Dominic, the school drop out. His family moved in the same social circle of Dominics, he knew Dominics father had paid for the school not to expel him on three separate occasions for drug offences, on the fourth he let his son sink or swim. He works the upmarket party scene, he gets the invite to keep the guests supplied with their favourite narcotics. He can also get you anything you need, hitman, some one to steal you a painting, gun runner, Ivory and rare or exotic animals. There was nothing Dominic could not get for you or introduce someone who could. It had been Dominic who gave him a tip to buy in to bit coin, before we understood what they would be used for, just for this, dealing with the less lawful of the human race. He picked up his mobile and text Dominic……
“Coffee? My place?” a simple text like that was how you got hold of Dominic, if arrested he would just say he was popular, and all of us knew to endorse it whole heartedly if questioned……..
“Yeah, lets catch up, see you at 12pm” and that was that. Simple, he would just kick about today. He needed to buy a large amount of electrical bits, chips, motherboards, sockets, machines, run a 3 phase connection to his lab, tools and everything else he might need, he had a scribbled note to tell him what each part was for, how many of each to order. He went to a noted supplier of these items, on to their online shop and just spent. He had to leave his spending spree while Dominic was here.
They sat in the living room, a recording of the ‘1812 overture’ was playing softly in the background,
“So, Gregory, my old friend, what can I do you for? Got all the usual, specials are double cheese, star dog, blue diesel and G13 triple chocolate” Dominic, finished recounting his stock list, he knew never to offer Greg anything other than weed….
“Well, its not what I have asked you here for, but I will take an ounce of each of your specials and one of white widow” Greg ordered in as manner of factly as if he were ordering fish and chips….
“Oooohhhh, big man needs something naughty, tell me your darkest desires, Donald Stern was in a few weeks ago, don’t be shy, I can get whatever you want, nothing shocks me” Dom had a way about him that made Greg think of the guys selling their wares on the street….
“Monkeys, I want monkeys, for research, maybe sometime in the future, maybe, a Gorilla” Greg said with a rather smug tone in his voice….
“Well yeah, I can introduce you to some guys I know, they bring all sorts back, they were triplets until one was bitten by a Green Mamba, apparently they had only been born a few hours earlier, he put his finger in to give it a bit of a pet, he was bitten by all of them, dead before he hit the floor, they carry enough venom to kill a man from the second they hatch” he said in a semi humorous voice, Greg could only voice a bewildered ‘oh’, thinking that everyone must know that about the Green Mamba babies…..
“I would like a dozen to start, then top ups as needed I guess, and eventually the gorilla, got a top secret project” Greg said taping his nostril with one finger intimating it was a secret not to be shared, he did not however, reveal what the plan Dom had to keep secret, and he would not be involved in the trade he was, if he were indiscreet….
“Goes without saying, I will mention you to friends, I saw you, that kind of thing, but your request will only be heard by those who can facilitate the acquisition of, what we will only ever refer to it as, your order” Dom replied. The conversation then turned towards old friends either of them had seen since school, Dom knew them all, he guessed most were customers as well as friends, but he had never wanted to hear gossip, thinking to let such frivolities in to his full mind, may just erase something important to fit in unwanted gossip. They spent an hour talking before Dom’s mobile phone alerted him another friend needed to have coffee with him. He left in his car as Greg wondered how he could drive after and afternoon of tasting his ‘specials’, Greg was struggling to remember what he was doing before Dom arrived, and for a man with a photographic memory, it was a little disconcerting, that Star Dog reset his memory back to factory settings momentarily, then he felt the edge of a cold sweat and the nausea that come from the over indulgence of THC.
He didn’t smoke in the afternoons and had a couple to relax him in the evening, he had introduced his parents to Dom when his fathers arthritis started to get bad, his dad had caught him on one of his evening strolls, an excuse to leave the house and smoke weed, thinking his parents had not noticed his habit, but they did, and asked about Greg’s dealer. It was such a surreal moment talking drug dealers with your dad, should he not have put me over his knee and administered the belt or birch or whatever was supposed to be used at these moments. He had no idea, he never disrespected his parents, they treated him with respect and he did the same, if ever he overstepped the mark, he would be calmly spoken too and given an explanation as to why that was wrong.
He rode out the tail end of the high laying in the darkened room, and as the stone returned to mellow, he began his ordering again, once complete he set himself the challenge of calming the beast that was Star Dog. He lost. At around 11.30pm he crawled to bed and slept in the cold air above the covers, one foot on the floor to stop the spinning. He passed out in just a few minutes of this, awoken by Philips in exactly the same position he passed out in, his hands were the only naked part of him in the cold air, and felt like blocks of ice at the end of his arms, he placed them under his backside to defrost, although this did not appear to be enough. He struggled with the button on his shirt, eventually giving up and ripping his shirt. Off, jeans were easier to get off, and he re-dressed in jogging bottoms and t-shirt, just to avoid buttons or zips, went directly to the kitchen and stood by the stove to save his hands from frostbite. His plan for today would be to give his idea a second look over, double check the parts he needed, he could always add to it up to 5pm, and just see if he could see any major flaws and just get it fresh in his mind. By five he had decided to leave the order as it was, come to the decision it would work in theory, like one of his old tutors said to him in collage….
“In theory, I can fly a plane, but you would not like me to pilot your aircraft on a trip to Miami” It was a remarkable comment to make, but it told him all he needed to know about theory’s, and how so often they just don’t do what you had guessed they would do.
His phone buzzed in his pocket, it was a text from Dom,
“I asked the question they said no problem, give it a few weeks, will let you know when” Greg read this and joy filled his bones, he jumped on to the internet to buy som dog crates, he was sure these would serve as cages for his monkeys, and some thick leather gauntlets, to protect his hands. It was all coming together, and he felt that mad scientist get out of control, almost. He had an email telling him to expect his order tomorrow between 9am-9pm from the electronics supplier, nice small window he chuckled, which brought Phillips to enquire if he had called him. He had planned today to draw out specs for all his new electronic components, he was expecting a few weeks of building the pieces, that would only show him where he went wrong, so he could re-build them taking in to account their failure. He was also aware that he could still be doing this for years to come, because? His idea was just a theory, until he cracked it, in all honesty, it may never work, but its good to have something keeping your brain from the grief you buried deep down inside.
A year to the day later, he finally had built the devices to make his dream work, he had switched them on and loaded up programmes to the interface, and nothing had exploded in the pressure of running, for a change. Another step closer to his dream, it was now time to transfer a human conscience, to the body of the chimpanzee he had wiped the mind of yesterday, and here lay the problem. He was not sure, once the mind of a person is transferred, it will upload in the form of a programme to be loaded up, or will the mind be somehow drained and then implanted in to the brain of your subject. It should all just be copied in binary, but he was not going to test it out on himself, just in case. Now, he would need a human test subject. This is where he came to a stop, was he ready to wipe someone mind? It may be that it will not work and he could loose the programme to be transferred, he didn’t want any one to die as a result of his work, his options were, a call girl, stripper gram, advertise for a test dummy or post job vacancy’s, nothing, he thought, can be traced back to him. He called for Phillips,
“You called sir” Phillips said as he entered the room, greg had tried for years to call each other by first names, but if you call him by his first name he does not acknowledge it, and he has never used Greg to address him, about three years ago he just gave up,
“How do you feel about a little law breaking Phillips?” Greg asked in a serious tone, he didn’t want him to think he was having an elaborate joke,
“Law breaking sir? That all depends on the crime I am to perpetrate, sir, I’m not much of a getaway driver, and my 100 meters times do not have Usain Bolt looking over his shoulder and worrying” Phillips replied in a light hearted by serious tone,
“No, no, we are not going to hold up the bank, if I wanted the contents of a bank I would just draw a cheque from my account” he began to laugh at this,
“I need a test subject for an experiment, if it works we will not be killing anyone, but if it does go horribly wrong, we will have to dig a deep hole in the garden for a corpse” he accented the word corpse, just in case Phillips had missed that point.
“Well sir, what did you have in mind, a little bit of curb crawling?” Phillips replied with a little interest in his voice,
“Curb crawling, I had not thought of that, that would work, pick her up, no paper trail, we would need a car that does not link to us, by Christ I think we may have something there” Greg replied with the excitement of a child in a toy store.
“Precisely sir, tonight sir” Phillips replied, Greg nodded his head, and told him to be ready at midnight.
Greg didn’t want to know how Phillips found his way to the right part of town, without a single prompt from the idle sat-nav, but here they were, women surviving on the very edge of life, news papers rarely report on missing prostitutes, it no longer raises an eyebrow or sells papers, and Greg felt a little pang of sadness filling his bones. It was not lost on him that the girl he picks up tonight maybe buried in a deep hole on the family island by sunrise, but if all went well, he could set her up somewhere, start living a normal life, in exchange for her silence. He would hate to have to kill her, just to keep his secret, but hopefully she will comply. As they drove down this dark forgotten road, looking at the women on offer, young girls, larger ladies and old ladies, vie for a glance at the occupants of the cars as they drove by, some cars stopping when they find what ever their kink maybe, at the end of the road, Greg spotted a young girl, new to this as she still carried the shame on falling so low, he tapped Phillips on the shoulder, and he pulled over, Greg opened his window to speak to her,
“Hi, you could be just what I am looking for, hop in and we can talk” Greg said in a bold cheerful voice, the young girl recoiled,
“I mean you no harm, I would like to pay you for your company, if you don’t want to so be it, I’m Greg, and the driver only responds to Phillips” he said rolling his eyes and chuckling, and she seemed to relax, Greg opened the door, and the girl looked around as if this was the last time she would see freedom, and got in the car. Phillips pulled away, and Greg offered her a drink.
“So, whats your name?” Greg asked
“I’m Fiona” she replied still looking like a rabbit in the headlights,
“Ok, Fiona, I want you to relax, and as attractive as I find you, I will not lay a finger on you, if once you have heard what I propose, and don’t like it, then we will turn around and drop back where we found you” Greg said in his softest ‘I care’ tone, and he visibly watched her relax.
Greg went on to explain to her that he was doing a study on the brainwaves of people in certain stressful trades, chefs, armed forces, police, fire men, fishermen and so on. He went on to explain it was safe and pain free, and he would set her up in a better life before the exit closes and she is trapped in a life like that. By the end of the forty five minute journey, she had relaxed enough to give Greg her life history, and Greg felt a little smug when she said she had only been doing it a week, and she hated it, but it was either that or starving to death. She was perfect, Greg thought, no next of kin, no friends all alone, it was a relief on the off chance she didn’t survive. She looked in ore as they drove up the three quarter mile long gravel drive, through parkland, and then stunned when they pulled up to the front of the house.
Greg offered her food, Mrs Phillips had a stew on before they left, which was ready when ever they wanted it, Greg gave her a brief tour of the house, and when arriving back in the dinning room there was dinner ready and waiting, and a nice bottle of red wine. They chatted back and forth about all sorts of things, she was exceptionally pretty, as she reached her mid twenty’s Greg thought that pretty would turn to beauty. She had come to town to become an actress, but how many of the women that they had past tonight had ventured in to the big city with dreams of stardom, only to end up thirty years later selling themselves, offering the wildest of act just to attract trade. He really had the urge to save this one soul, he hoped that his contraption would work, and not fry her brain. When they had finished dinner, they ventured down to the ‘lab’. The basement run the full length of the house and had been partitioned off in to various rooms. This room was where the idea was born, the boards that surrounded the room were covered in equations, gobbledygook to an untrained eye. In the centre of the room was a dentist style chair, with a metal cage which went on the victims/test subjects head.
Greg explained it all bit by bit, and how it would copy her brainwaves and translate them in to binary code, so the computer could translate it, he had not told her that this copy would then be transferred to a chimpanzee. She sat in the chair, and Greg gently lowered the cage on to Fiona’s head, tightening it up slightly, Greg then sat behind the bank of computers, started the camera, and began the process. Fiona did not murmur or twitch during the thirty minute procedure. Greg approached her with caution, and removed the cage from her head,
“I didn’t feel a thing, is that normal?” Fiona asked as if she did something wrong to make it fail, Greg was hit by her sheer lack of confidence,
“Yes, that’s perfectly normal, you did vey well, very well indeed” Greg reassured her, and had a strong urge to just give her a big hug, and just the thought of this gave him a lazy lob, desperately pulling down on his t-shirt to cover it. “So whats next?” She asked excitedly,
“Well, it will take the computer some time to configure the data, and by the morning I should have the results” Greg put as much eye contact in as he could while lying to her. His intention was to get Phillips to show her to a room to sleep in, and Greg would then be back to take the freshly loaded conscience, and insert the implant on to which it was recorded. He was pleased to see that the first implant of the two needed had kept this chimpanzee alive after the memory had been wiped, implant number one continued to keep the brain functioning just enough to keep the body alive.
He had no idea what to expect when he inserted Fiona’s mind in to it, he began filming again, he wanted to document every stage, so to review it at a later date. He inserted the memory stick in to the vacant socket, and……
Nothing. The lights were all flickering, it was all working, then all of a sudden the chimp jumped up with a squeal to chill the bones. It jumped around in an agitated state, almost trying to speak, but without the mechanism to facilitate this action,
“Fiona? Fiona? FIONA!” Greg said getting evermore agitated, and the final shout Fiona seemed to break through as the chimpanzee stooped and looked at Greg.
“Nod your head, if you are Fiona” Greg asked, and the chimpanzee nodded its head,
“Did I pick you up tonight to help with my cleaning? Nod for yes, shake your head for no” Greg said, and the chimpanzee shook its head,
“Did I ask you to help with my experiment?” The chimpanzee boded furiously.
“Ok, I will give you a little something to help you sleep and we will carry on with this tomorrow” and with that he stuck the chimpanzee with a syringe of ketamine. With in a few minutes the chimpanzee was asleep, and Greg returned her to a bigger hand built cage, rather than a dog crate. Upon returning upstairs he asked Phillips if he would take her shopping in the morning to buy some nicer clothes, just to get her out of the house while he works with his test subject. With that all set up, he retired to bed, but sleep was not an easy thing to find, he dropped off just as the first fingers of sunlight tickled the sky.
He awoke abruptly at 12pm, there on his bedside table was a thermos of coffee and sugar. With seeing this he had realised that Phillips would have taken Fiona out shopping for the day, and when she mentioned a si-fi movies she fancied seeing, Phillips expressed a desire to see it also. Mrs Phillips laughed and rolled her eyes a she listened to the conversation, which she now recanted to Greg,
“Silly old bugger, he is too old to keep up with a young little thing like her, pop a pill and hope your still in the mood when it takes effect thirty minutes later, hahaha” she said flicking a playful elbow in to Greg’s ribs, and they both laughed at the though of Phillips trying to perform to a younger audience,
“Dirty old man” Greg joked along, and the two of them had to take a seat around the kitchen table to recover,
“He could always cut a hole in the bottom of the popcorn, stick the old fella through, and then get a cheap thrill as she reaches for a handful” Greg joked,
“‘ere, that’s the trick he used with me” chipped in Mrs Phillips, and they all fell about in hysteria. Greg laughed at the memory of it, there was a text from Phillips saying that they were indeed going to catch the movie, then dinner, and he aimed to be home by 9.30pm. Saying his excuse was to give Greg more time to work, dirty old man, bet the car breaks down on a dark lane somewhere, dirty, dirty, dirty old man. He retold the text to Mrs Phillips and both returned to the laughter of before,
“There’s no fool like and old fool, hahhaha” she said disappearing in to the kitchen to organise breakfast.
Greg waited excitedly to the moment he ventured down stairs to see his creation. He had set the chimpanzee up on a drip before he left the lab, to keep it in a controlled sleep, he imagined a life trapped inside a body less evolved than the human mind was developed to exist in, or were all the tools there, but their mind was not developed enough to utilise them. He wrote this question down, and a few other he had developed while desperately trying to grab hold of the tail of sleep. When he had finally finished breakfast, Mrs Phillips would never allow him to leave the table until she was convinced he was properly fed, he had four sheets of A4 of questions he needed answered, and off he rushed to once again don the costume of the mad scientist, like the old black and white horror films. He even practiced his maniacal laugh as he went.
He jump from the last step in his excitement, causing his teeth clatter together, and biting his tongue,
“Shit, crap, wank” he tried to utter although his tongue was poking out, as if he were trying to see the damage. It, however, did not knock the shine off his day. In the ‘dispensary’ he grabbed a fresh syringe and a little something to revive Fiona II, and off he trotted to the far end of the basement. He removed the drip, quickly pushed her on a trolly to the ‘school room’, where he attached a length of heavy chain to her sturdy leather collar. It was long enough to allow her to get so far across the room where Greg could sit in safety, no chance she could reach him and rip his face off. Within her reach were crayons, dry wipe markers, a white board and paper, on another white board there were a collection of magnetic letters and numbers.
Fiona II started to twitch and move as she came out of the deep slumber, and the excitement rose in Greg, she sat up and gave him a strange look and what seemed to be a half smile of recognition. He then watched as the realisation came over her that she was in a different body, a desperately made guttural noises as she tried to speak. Greg tried to calm her, and with the handle of a broom pushed a bowl of fruits towards her, as her animal nature momentarily gained control and she devoured the bowl of fruit, with the manners that would not get her invited to dinner at the Waldorf. When finished, a shame washed over her face as her more human side recoiled at her savage nature towards the fruit.
“Now Fiona, look at me, and listen to what is say, nod if you understand” Greg said in a soft comforting voice,
“I have copied your mind with my computer, as I explained to you last night, do you remember?” He asked, she nodded in agreement to this question.
“Very good, as you can see, there are crayons and paper to express yourself on, letters and numbers over there, and dry board markers so you can write on the white board, I have no idea where your extent is on using your human mind in a chimpanzee body” He told his subject. She looked less agitated and the knowledge she could communicate. The day flew by, he had hardly notice the time tick around to 9pm, and he was called for dinner. He then tranquillised Fiona II and returned her to the room at the end, hooking her once more up to the drip.
As he finished the evening meal, the young lovers arrived home, the thought of this made him chuckle. Fiona seemed full of joy, full of life, totally different from the girl he picked up last night. She sat with him at the dinning room table and he poured her a glass of red wine. They chatted aimlessly for a while, then grasping her hand Greg spoke,
“Right young lady, we have some business to discuss, don’t we?” Fiona shot him a quizzical look,
“How I plan to reward you for you participation in my experiment, as I said last night, I would not be returning you to the street corner I found you on” Greg continued,
“Err ok, I have not done much” she said in trepidation,
“You have done more that I could possibly asked of you, without you, this experiment would not be where it is” Greg said to reassure her. Greg laid out exactly what he had done, in as easy to grasp a format as he could, he left out his concerns for her safety during the experiment.
“So, as part of an agreement between us, for you discretion on this topic, I will pay for an apartment for you to live in, including the bills, and pay you a weekly or monthly allowance, giving you an opportunity to go back to school or collage, and begin a new life that does not leave you at the whim of desperate men” he explained, Fiona nodded,
“My lawyer will be here tomorrow with the paperwork, and if you would like an independent legal council, find someone to come out tomorrow at 12pm, just to be sure I am not pulling a fast one, please go ahead and call one and I will cover the costs. Also I have had the details of twelve apartments that are for sale sent to me by a friend in real estate, they are all here on the laptop, have a look at which ones you like and we can book you in to see some tomorrow, Phillips can take you to see them, look at all twelve if you so wish, and pick your favourite.” Greg finished,
“Its too much, its all too much, what have I done to deserve this, I couldn’t possibly….” Fiona began
“Stop, that’s enough. This invention could make me billions, hundreds of billions, maybe more, the quest for eternal life, thanks to you I have cracked it, and you don’t think you are worth a mere drop in the ocean?” Greg interrupted
“It sounds better put like that” she replied,
“And even if it does not make billions, I am already loaded, this house does not run on good will, haha” he laughed trying to break the tension. They moved on to the living room and turned their conversations to a more personal level and watched a movie.
The following morning he woke even more excited today than he was yesterday, he had established that the implant works, and the transfer of one mind to another would mean the consciousness of a human mind can be stored digitally, maybe even updated once a year, always kept on hand. Plus the mind of a human in a chimpanzee, didn’t seem to hold it back, she learnt rather easily to use the crayons and felt tips, to write, the quality of the handwriting left a little to be desired, but he guessed writing was all about the muscle memory. They had also staggered towards almost words, but he imagined vocal communications may take longer to master, he had not specialised in animal anatomy, but guessed they had some form of vocal cords, coupled with the implant mind having grasped the skill of speech, he guessed he could get Fiona II talking by the end of the month. Today he would use the skills picked up yesterday, he had to know how this mind felt in a different body, some feed back as to downsides as well as positives.
That was sixty three years ago now, the two Fiona’s had met, the original Fiona started working with Greg, when she was not studying her masters in engineering. She was fascinated to see herself reflected back in the face of Fiona II. It had taken Greg three months to get Fiona II to actually speak, and he was able to fill in the blanks in the research. Together they had built a smaller neater unit to implant, always getting smaller as the tech improved.
Mr and Mrs Phillips had died very close to each other twelve months after the technique had been perfected, gone but not forgotten? Or the first living examples of human mind transfer. He had recorded their minds once he was sure it worked perfectly, and just in time. Phillips had gone first, the coroner said it way an aortic rupture, he didn’t feel a thing. After that no matter how much she was jollied along, Mrs Phillips just disappeared in to her self. The real problem greg had was keeping the recipient body alive long enough to accept the implant rather than looking on it as an unwanted invader. They killed over 300 vulnerable people, with the many experiments they tried to get the human interface working. So where do you hide over 300 human bodies? On the family plot on the island, obviously. Once he cracked that, he found two people, who would not be missed, and back came Mr and Mrs Phillips like they had never been gone, and they did not miss a step, the transfer to same species was to be less of a shock on the mind. Even Fiona II seemed to be fading away, tired of trying to get the chimpanzee body to do what the human mind inside took for granted. Three months after the transfer of minds, as they prepared for another day with her, they were to enter her cage, and find he lifeless body slumped in the corner. A friendly vet, who knew a little of this project, and was kept quiet with a large retainer, said that Fiona II’s autopsy had shown no reason as to why she had died, but supposed her human mind had just given up the will to carry on.
By the year 2084 the ban on human cloning had been lifted, giving Greg and Fiona a legal way to remain alive. Upon taking over their current two bodies they had facial surgery so as not to be recognised as they went about life, there had been a time when the local new had been smothered with their victims photographs. Now the cloning ban was over, he engineered the new skins to have more discreet input for the implants. He never told his secret to a soul, never cashed in on his invention, it was his and Fiona’s fountain of youth, together, they will live forever.
Over the years of human experimentation they had got a buzz from the death of their first subjects, even though they no longer needed human bodies to experiment on, they carried on abducting young people living in the shadows of life, now in the year 2131 their tally count is up in to the mid four figures, with out so much as whisper of a serial killer on the loose. The flotsam and jetsam of life, those forgotten people, seen by millions of of eyes through the day, but never missed when they are gone, and their places filled twice over of more lost souls, to evermore be harvested by the indestructible pair.