Friday, July 18, 2014

The Quark Within

Hi Everyone,

This story is coming after a long, correction, a really long time. The life after a kid becomes truly hectic. Believe me, these creatures are the best and the worst thing in this world :)
Add a demanding job on top of it and you have a brilliant recipe for a time machine that makes jumps through months in future.

Anyway, for a long time I was thinking about writing a story having the same theme as the title of this blog. I also did some experiments with changing POVs that I found really difficult. 

Do let me know if I succeeded in my attempt.

The Quark Within

It was a dark night - maybe even the darkest Zone 12 has seen since The Last War. A heavy downpour fell from the sky and large drops of rain collided violently with the earth. The incessant white noise filled the background which only an occasional siren of emergency pods managed to penetrate. A chilling wind pierced through the air in the town of Dragora - a town which was not on the maps of even best cartographers in the world; a town forgotten enough to not to have weather control even after two hundred years. Natural trees run amok near the remaining few houses waiting to be consumed by the wilderness eventually. Dragora just seemed to be on the brink of officially declared outside the Zone.

It was unthinkable for anyone to be venture out in this Natural storm. But there he was, dressed in a long overcoat and a worn out hat. Long streaks of water slithered down his overcoat like snakes as he paced in large steps towards the settlements.

He briskly made his way through the rain, occasionally stopping to check his radars for satellite surveillance. He knew that a lone man walking outside the zone on such a night was bound to attract tracers. But his resolve was firm and reflexes superhuman. He had waited for this opportunity for five years and he did not want to plunder it just because of last minute callousness. Even the tiniest of the dots on some radar scope hundreds of miles away could ruin his plans.

Five years ago, when he was commissioned, it was a nearly impossible to even fathom such an endeavor; for he was the First. He was named Adam - a fitting name for the first of its kind. The first bio-robot ever created - he was human’s finest attempt to play God of the day.  He was on the header of virtually every news stream for a long time. Not a single magazine cover that month, across all the zones, carried anything else but him. He was a pinnacle of technology and science and yet had profound implications on nearly every discipline and branch. Scientists were jubilant, religious leaders were acerbic and creationists were skeptical. Whatever was one’s reason, he became the most recognizable face the world had ever seen.

He had the intelligence & knowledge of best of the machines and wit & charisma of best of the humans. He travelled across the world and met with top leaders and intellectuals and proved himself to be their equal. He was interviewed like a human and he behaved like one. “Humanity’s son” he once called himself in one television interview, to which a standing ovation had followed. In one stroke he had converted billions of critics into his “Humanity’s Son” became the ultimate seal of superiority of human intelligence. And he became that seal.

But being a First is not without its downside – one is also the First to become obsolete. Within a few years, long after the initial euphoria had died down, shutterbugs satiated and science and religion settled at a new equilibrium; far more advanced models came about and Adam was forgotten. Who wanted an outdated and clumsy bio-robot when thousand times more powerful robots were now washing dishes?

Yes, he was part of history books nevertheless. Every opening sentence of chapter bio-robots started with him– “Adam was the first bio-robot to be commissioned in 2184”. Yes, his name was there in all the texts and online museums. But his name was the only thing they wanted. He was shoved from one museum to another every few months before ending up in a scrap yard in the wilderness few days ago.

Five years, Adam thought. I waited with this secret hidden deep inside. Not even hundreds of interviews and experiments brought it out from me. I concealed it with all my will just for this night. This is the only chance I have. He would not have expected this.

He refocused his telescopic eyes. His destination was close now. It was the only home worth mentioning in Dragora –a Betan biologist Dr. Frank Greoger’s house who lived there with his wife and a six year old daughter Alice.
He felt the energy-gun in his right pocket. He took a deep breath (or equivalent for a bio-robot).


Dr. Frank Greoger was a Betan scientist whose job was to collect natural specimen outside the zone. It was this love for his job that had made him stay in this forsaken land, giving away all the luxuries of the zone. He kind of liked it there. The uncertainty and randomness of nature and life in wilderness excited him. Tonight, after a long hard day of work, he was having a quiet dinner with his family. A musky light from the fireplace glowed on his daughter’s smiling face. Alice always managed to make Frank forget about everything else with her innocent charm.

“Mom, but you promised …” Alice quipped in a defeated tone as she fed an imaginary bite to her teddy bear.

“I promised you that if remain a good girl for the whole month then Mom will think about it. You already have a Mr Teddy with you, why do you need a RoboDog for.”

“Because I am the most beautiful girl in the world, isn’t it dad?” Alice knew where to place her questions.

“You sure are, my dear,” replied Frank much to aid to the case of Alice.
Alice’s face brightened up like a full moon and her contagious smile formed cute little dimples on her cheeks.

Joanne gave a sharp look to Frank before quipping, “You have spoiled your daughter. Do whatever you want. Both of you.”

Frank smiled at Joanne as he knew that she loved the little Alice as much. Mothers have conflicting urges of loving and disciplining their children.

A rustle outside the door interrupted his thoughts. It was not uncommon at the place to have some small animals stray into their lawns. He ignored it. And then he heard a distinct and heavy knock on the door. He jumped up. A visitor is the last thing one expected in Dragora. That too in this weather and unannounced. He looked at Joanne. Her eyes were wide open staring obliquely at the door. She pulled Alice onto her lap as Frank signaled her to stay put. He walked up to the door.

“Who is this?” he said.

“This is Adam, Dr. Frank Greoger,” a cautious voice whispered from the other side.

“Who again?” asked a confused Frank.

“Adam Dr Greoger. You probably remember me as the Project Genesis.”

That didn’t make any sense. When he heard about him the last time, it was in a small non-descript news column which said that he was being transferred to a museum in Zone -1 for a possible decommissioning. There was no way Adam could have survived that unless for some extenuating events.

At any rate, it was complete bizarre that he showed up here, in wilderness. What business could he have? (or ‘it’ have – Frank reminded himself).

“Please open the door Dr. Frank. I just need your few minutes. Tonight can be the night when you become the most famous scientist in the world.”

With hesitation Frank pressed a few buttons with trembling hands. The door swung open and a cold burst of wind swarmed its way in. Frank closed his eyes for a fraction of a second and when he opened it, a towering six-feet-four of human figure was standing in front of him.

But last five years has taken a toll on the machine. The face was worn out with rouge circuits protruding from the metallic skin. The pseudo skin was tearing off at places and the metal was shining through the gaps. The high iteration cameras fitted into the eyes have also lost their agility and sync. But there was no mistaking it – this was the first bio-robot ever created. It was Adam.

“I hope you remember me Dr Frank” Adams eyes rotated in its place to take a view of the room and briefly met Alice’s eyes.

“Of course I do Adam. I thought you were decommissioned. At any rate, I did now not expect that you would be, ummm unaccompanied, ” Frank tried to maintain a calm tone.

Adam’s face twitched a bit. For one moment Frank thought that his robotic brain was having a nervous breakdown. He then shrugged at the thought of associating humanly charades to an old robot’s faltering circuits. A curious thing , he thought– humans made bio-robots in their own shadow – with two legs, two hands and (most importantly) a humanoid face and yet they could never consider them to be anything more than machines.

“I am a fugitive Dr. Frank if that’s what you are trying to figure out. I am sorry to inconvenience you but there was something I intended to do since last five years. I will tell you everything and it will propel you into top echelons of scientific community. I will tell you things which will change the fundamental science about robots and humanity. But I will ask for something in return. And only you can give that to me.”

“What is it Adam?”

 “I want Alice Dr Frank,” he said looking in the direction of Alice.

“You want what?” Frank could not believe what he was hearing.

“Alice, Dr Frank. I want Alice. I assure you I will return her to you safely…”

“I don’t understand what you are saying Adam. I think you need to see a robotist. They should be able to help you with those circuits.” Frank cautiously stepped away from the door towards his phone.  “Do you want me to make a call to someone?”

“I wouldn’t do that, Frank,” said Adam as he pulled out the energy-gun from his pocket.

Joanne shrieked in horror.

“I am not doing anything Adam. Please keep that thing down,” Frank said stepping away from phone.

“Why don’t you take a seat Dr Frank and let me tell you something. I don’t want anybody getting hurt tonight.”

“All right Adam.” Frank cautiously walked upto the fireplace, and tried to calm Alice with her teddy bear.

“The day was 7th Sep 2184 – I remember it vividly Doctor. It was the day they switched on this nuclear powered positronic bio-brain. It was,  ummmm, odd. I woke up and there was this distinct feeling. This feeling of being aware. I was ‘Me’. I don’t know how to describe it better than that. Perhaps you can say that I gained consciousness. Whatever it was, I came into existence. They assembled my remaining body. And so I was commissioned.“

“I was a technological marvel, a conclusive stamp of superiority of human race. Rather than merely using electronic circuits to perform purely logical operations, I was also embedded with artificial synapses. You can say that I was a hybrid of an artificial and human brain. And that made me the most powerful robot of the time because I possessed the most precious quality of human brain – the power of intuition. And then I was reveled my true purpose- I was built to lead the human civilization. I was built to take crucial decisions on behalf of humanity in every field - economic, social, political and even war strategies.”

“Despite human intuition to guide me, I failed at my purpose. The Last War suffered too many defeats. They said that my war strategies were useless. They said that my human DNA was overpowering over my logic circuits. They went on to make better robots and I became a museum display.”

“However, there was one thing which no one ever knew. I lost the Last war because there was another power which was guiding me. The power of human mind that no one intended me to possess.  A power bigger even than the intuition-” Adam hesitated before completing the sentence.  “The power of love. I was capable of feeling love Dr. Frank.”

At this point, Frank was overwhelmed with implications of what Adam was saying. They only intended a bio-robot to have advanced logical prowess of humans, but Adam’s brain surpassed it. It was capable of having feelings. And feeling those feelings. A feeling of “Love” can only be harbored by a sentient mind. The man, not ‘it’, but the man standing in front of him was the most conscious, self-aware mind ever created by God since man. Adam, in the very sense of the word, was a new-human. He was a true First.

“I lost the Last War but I minimized the casualties doctor. Wasn’t that a worthy outcome fitting for ‘humanity’s son’?”

Frank wiped his forehead, not leaving his stare. This human robot was a miracle – miracle of science. And not a single parallel to it in the history of mankind. The implications were immense.

“Why are you telling me all this after so long?”

 “You had a very significant role Dr. Frank, without your knowledge, in creating this mind. My positronic brain was developed by combining to the synapses developed from human DNA. I am not sure about it but this DNA has caused me to have feelings like human. Think about it Dr Frank – robots with positronic brains were around for hundreds of years and not one – not single one of them developed awareness.“

 Adam sighed.

“…the chunk of human cells which were implanted in me was developed from your DNA.”

“I told you all this so that you’d cooperate. Please send Alice here Dr. Frank else I won’t hesist…”

A piercing sound of several emergency pods engulfed them. Windows glowed with focus lights. A voice boomed as red hot laser dots appeared on Adam’s chest. “We have six automated L-rays pointed at you with a miss probability of only one in three trillion. Drop your weapons at once and come out of the house.”

 “When did you call them, Dr Frank?” Asked Adam. And then answered it himself. “That teddy bear – has alarm trigger, isn’t it?”

Frank nodded in a guilty silence.

“Why did you want Alice, Adam?”

“Same reason as you Frank,” said Adam as he raised his gun towards the pod hovering near the window. Several beams cut through him before he could fire. A metallic lump fell to the ground as the voice circuits gave way to almost shrill mechanical sound with final words.

 “I loved our daughter.”

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