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Monday, July 30, 2018

Microstory 896: No Small Parts

Our only saving grace when the aliens came to take over our planet was that they severely underestimated our will to fight back. They didn’t send enough ships at first, and while they were able to enslave a good chunk of the population, they left the rest of us enough time to learn their ways, and come up with countermeasures. What we discovered was that once an individual was being controlled by one of the aliens, their minds could never be saved. Even if you killed the alien that was controlling them, they would just continue doing whatever their last order was; whether that meant walking in one direction without stopping, or shooting at other humans. We were forced to start killing our own kind, and I tell you, I do not envy the people responsible for that front. A team of brilliant scientists managed to capture some of the invaders, along with the humans they had enthralled. They spent months studying the permanent neural link between them, and could find no way of severing that connection. Then one woman showed us the way, but not because she somehow knew how to stop the aliens, but because was already a visionary before this all began. She was what one would call a transhumanist. She believed that man should shed his biological limitations, and “upgrade” to more advanced systems. While her achievements were remarkable, before the war started, they were also illegal in most jurisdictions. She had to conduct her experiments in secret, using a handful of extremely willing volunteers, as well as herself as guinea pigs. She realized that she and her people were incapable of being influenced by the alien mind control, if only to some degree. Simple math proved that the higher the number of upgrades one possessed, the easier it was for them to resist the control. That was our solution, but that doesn’t mean it would be easy, or quick.

Humans evolved to be what we are today due to a series of happy accidents, and genetic traits that mostly only passed down because they just happened to support the species’ ability to survive. All of our organs function automatically, so that we don’t have to concentrate on each process all the time. We feel pain to alert the brain that something is wrong. We form clots to patch wounds. We are simply not designed for modern medicine, which is why every major biomedical breakthrough has come after years of finding ways to trick the body into accepting aid. Just as it’s possible to transplant certain organs, under certain conditions, from one individual to the next, it’s possible to install nonbiological components. But this requires a lot of time, because the body always needs to adjust to the foreign object. It’s primed to reject it; because it could be a threat to the body’s survival, which means people can’t be upgraded all at once. The scientists began the process of upgrading as many people as they could, as fast as they could, but it was proving to not be enough. Finally I had to come out of the shadows. You see, transhumanists weren’t the only ones immune to alien control. Since I only had a sample size of myself, I had to guess, but I suspected the reason aliens couldn’t break my mind was because that mind is not what they expected. When I was in college, I was diagnosed with autism, which is a medical condition every single person I met told me was a disadvantage; something that we must try to correct. It took me a long time to get over the stigma, and to realize that I was not diseased; I was just different. Even before all this happened, if I could have flipped a switch, and stopped being autistic, I wouldn’t have, because it’s a part of me, and it’s made me the kind of person I am today. And the kind of person I am is one with the natural inclination to help and protect people. I didn’t need to replace my body with the upgrades, so I knew it was my obligation defend those who did need that. My latest assignment is to protect the princess, and she is proving to be a handful, but I’m honored to do it, because we have to win this war. We just have to.

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