Author: Malcolm Carvalho
The algorithm has just been published. I move my fingers over the cylinder in the centre of the room. A tube runs into it. I verify the cylinder’s valve can easily control the flow and pressure of the hydrogen atom stream coming into the cylinder.
I retrieve Neha’s profile from the cloud. As I read the first few details, her lavender scent envelopes me, tingling my neck. I hear her voice. The gibberish she would say just to sound funny. Boy, didn’t that work?
I return to my computer and move my finger up the profile intensity slider. I can now feel her arms around me, her feet moving in a one-two waltz, her head against my shoulder.
Enough of these recreated memories. I want Neha back now, in person. Let the illusion become real.
The screen shows the institute has added new data to her records. Lines and lines of symbols encoding her composition. All I need to do is convert these symbols into machine language. The parser will read the translated code, fuse the hydrogen into higher elements and compounds, and then structure them according to the orientation in the symbols.
It will take about twenty hours to get Neha back. In the flesh. Fusing her cloud profile into her body may take another hour.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. What if something goes wrong? Like what? Stop overthinking. What could be worse than losing her forever?
I have followed the procedure to the Tee. My feet tremble as I walk to the door. I push it open.
“Baboo!” The voice is shrill. I’m sure it’s not just in my head. Can’t wait to hold her.
Neha is sitting in a corner. Everything’s perfect, the mole below her lip, the thick eyelashes, the inch-long scar near her left collarbone. Her eyes look through me, as if they are focussing at an infinite distance and I am a transparent screen.
She holds my hand and squeezes it. “Baboo, it never felt like I went away.”
Her body has shrivelled further, her arms limp and her lips chapped. It looks like she has difficulty breathing. Her chin is sagging. I cannot understand. It’s been about a month since I got her back.
I sit beside her and hold her hand. It is smaller. What has BodAI done?
I go through the terms and conditions of the contract, pausing after every point. This is difficult to understand, but I will plough through it.
Note 3(d) settles it for me.
Bones and flesh generated by BodAI using the symbol data will age quicker than in naturally living humans.
An asterisk follows the statement. I read the footnote.
As more people use the BodAI Human Printer, we deplete our hydrogen reserves at a quicker rate than we generate it. The only way to catch up with this deficit is to periodically reconvert some of the generated bodies back into hydrogen, and unlock it for others to use. We do this by rapidly accelerating the aging process of the resurrected person. On the fiftieth day, the person will be gone. You may reapply to recover him/her back after a gap of two weeks, so that others can have their loved ones back.
I look up the calendar. It’s been exactly thirty-eight days since I got her back.
I rush back. “Dinner time?” I hear her call as I lock the door.
I can avoid her for the next twelve days. And wait for another two weeks. That’s better than seeing her grow old and senile.