Morning light glints off of the car windows in the lot in front of the research facility, glare from the building makes it hard to maneuver the automobile without rear-ending someone. The harsh light relents just as Dr. Sepulveda's car came to a stop in his usual spot. The erudite fellow finishes his commute in the break room with a quick cup of coffee before settling into his office. The lights wink on as he enters, hearing the wireless signal of his cell phone, he grins smugly thinking about the weekend he set that up.

"Good morning, Dr. Sepulveda," says the computer after a moment, its manner is a tad groggy as its hard-drive initiates.


The splash screen with the research group's logo flashes onto the monitor, an old flat LCD. Emails have piled up over the night, but they always do. Years ago Sepulveda would have been up late enough to have answered them, administration leaves an academic tired like no marathon of coding and debugging can. He looks through them and eventually reaches for the cranial jack line. After a few auto-dictated replies one of the emails catches his eye.

A Project 86 status update, rarer than celestial events and certainly more interesting than expense reports; he opens the email. It reads:

Big news, come and see me when you're free.

Dr. M. Banks

Sepulveda notes the 4:30AM timestamp. He queries the computer, *Is Dr. Banks still in the building?*

*Yes,* the computer replies. *He is on a couch in the atrium. Biofeedback suggests he is napping.*

A quick walk across the facility to the lobby brings Sepulveda to the quiet open space were most of the researchers take lunch over the latest preprints or, as Banks was doing, recover from nights spent working. A couple of people eat breakfast or possibly dinner at the tables. Sepulveda quieted his walk as he approaches the reclined, slightly overweight man. A polite cough from Sepulveda is enough to rouse him and Banks's recognition eventually follows. The man rises, brightened by news which seeks to bubble forth from him.

"Morning Boss"

"Morning Mike. What's this news?"

"Big news. Real big. Come on," as he speaks he turns slightly in expectation toward his lab. "You know what I've been doing. Fiddling with neural implants and the supercomputer, seeing what we can do with it. Making artificial brains and so on.

"Well last night I got something working, something I'd been toying with and I'd like to show it to you. You'll love it boss."

The lab was cluttered, most get that way, with equipment and cables of various uses. Sepulveda picked his way carefully through the debris of science over to a workbench with Banks. A vigilant, little plastic transforming toy robot stands on a pile of humming computer equipment on the bench.

"Here, hook yourself up," Banks says, handing over a jack. Sepulveda inserts it at the base of his skull as Banks fits a helmet over his head, a brain scanner, this one was particularly expensive and then inserts his own jack. "Alright, Boss, make sure your socks are correctly secured."

"Hello, World"*Hello, World,* Banks's voice simultaneously fed through Sepulveda's ear. The two part speech was a little out of sync and so a touch disconcerting. But such communication was nothing new.

"What's so big about this Mike?" says Sepulveda. "I was teeping with Shalmaneser this morning." As he spoke a green LED lit on some equipment on the table.

"You*You* wanna*want to* see*see* what's*what's* so*so* big?*big?*" asks Banks, in the irritating pedantic fashion from which he derives amusement. Banks removes the helmet and then the jack. "This"


Sepulveda's confusion sparks a curiosity in him, a feeling of something momentous occurring overtakes him but he does not know why.

"Go on, explain it to the man," Banks's face is verging on the cherubic.

*This morning as I was working on a new neural net on the super computer I decided to connect it to my own. Got it working on its own code, doing all my debugging for me. Then I thought, hey, why not teach it some poetry while I'm at it. So I started reading a book off the internet. After a while I lost track of what I was doing and started just thinking about my other work and reading a book or two and planning my next luncheon and drafting a paper and so on. Then I looked at the clock and realized that almost no time had passed. I was really enjoying the clock-speed. Then I thought, Mikey old boy, let's see what else we can do.*

*So, I had a go at some writing, dabbled in some virtual sculpture, wrote a few programs, learned Latin, Chinese, Esperanto. Eventually though, I'd spent an hour doing all of this stuff and started feeling peckish. And then all of the sudden, my body died.*

*What?* Sepulveda's confusion clearing, replaced by awe.

*My body was gone. I was shocked, afraid that I was hallucinating in my last moments. I sincerely thought that I believed I was a computer. And then, this bozo Prime comes back with a Mars Bar.*

Sepulveda's eyes shoot up at Banks, who smiles and waves.

*You should have seen the look on Prime's face. Suddenly I've got memories of a run to a vending machine and he's got memories of a panicked computer-mind. But now I have the memories of him taking a nice nap and he has just learned how to fly a Cessna.*

Sepulveda realized he had an iron grip on the workbench, and that was all that was keeping him on his feet.

*It's me boss. It's Mike. I suppose it's redundant since Prime already said it, but...*

*Good Morning*

SciFiQuest 3008

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