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Gift of the Gruldak, Chapter 4: Simple Solutions to Complicated Problems

Kylyssa Shay is releasing a serialized science fiction novel in single chapter increments that you can read for free only on HubPages.

Gift of the Gruldak is a science fiction novel you can read live and free online as it's published in serial installments.

Gift of the Gruldak is a science fiction novel you can read live and free online as it's published in serial installments.

Find the Table of Contents and All Available Chapters of Gruldak Here

Introduction, Linked Table of Contents, and Chapter One

Gift of the Gruldak is a serialized science fiction novel that's free to read online at HubPages. Some chapters are edited for overt sexual content and violence to avoid offending Google Adsense.

Chapter Four, Simple Solutions to Complicated Problems

Guido’s screen printed the words, “I’m sorry.”

"But couldn't the Gruldak just boost a signal to a human, uh, matter duplicator?"

"First of all, the signal only travels at the speed of light, but worse yet, by the time it reached Earth hundreds of thousands of years from now, it would be horribly degraded even if there still are matter duplicators and humans on the other end."

"But why not use the little jumper data bots to send the signal?"

"They each hold a lot of data but nowhere near enough to assemble a complete human being, mind and all."

"Didn't they do exactly that for me? Why wouldn't it work the other way around?"

"The computers, you would call them, that could put the information together into a usable form don't exist on earth."

"What about the computers they have now?"

"As best we can tell from some of the fractional mind prints the Gruldak have given me, the most sophisticated computers humans have now can match the power of about two and three sixteenths of one of the Gruldak's probes."

"Then why not sent a whole bunch of memory or whatever it is and then send robots to assemble a computer with it there?"

"Raw materials would be a problem," he replied.

"Then couldn't they just send it a crumb at a time?"

"The necessary computational device would require something like a half million crumbs as you put it."

"And the Gruldak don't have enough pods to do it in a reasonable time frame," I mumbled.

"That, too, but mainly, the planet the Gruldak use to launch and receive pods just isn't set up for it. And there's no Guido down there."

"But my mind and my DNA are small enough to send?"

"Yes, but just barely."

"What about sending my mind alone?"

"What would it go into at the other end?"

"A computer, maybe? They've got to have good enough computers for that?"

"They are probably good enough and they even have Artificial Intelligence now but they aren't compatible. The matrix inside each crumb doesn't even work on binary."

"What about taking over a human brain?"

"That would be horribly unethical! How would that be any better than growing a new you in a woman?"

"What if the person didn't exist yet?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why not fix a matter transmitter-"


"Whatever. Why not fix one so it doesn't destroy the person who goes into it?"

"Oh, I think I see where you are going with this," he said, laying a ghost image of my head over the head of a John Doe-looking guy standing in a "transporter" booth.

"Yeah, and insert my mind/brain imprint into the signal. The person doesn't get hurt, just inconvenienced, and you get a duplicate of my mind in a body on earth."

"That would probably work. It would probably take a long time to get the signal to match and to patch it into an active signal being sent but there might be enough time."

"It doesn't matter anyway, Guido, I have no more clue about the problem with our solar system than I did before so they've got plenty of time to work on it."

I started to get up, but the realization hit me hard. Even though millions, no, probably hundreds of millions of people had already killed themselves multiple times in "matter transmitters" by then it had to be stopped as soon as possible.

"Why don't we just send a message rather than a whole person? We need to tell people about the transmitters."

"I think you are right. I don't think the Gruldak understood the suicide was not voluntary or if they even came to the same conclusion about the matter transmitters that I did."

“And why don’t they just build wee machines to build tiny robots to build bigger robots and so on to solve the damned problem themselves, instead of trying to teach an idiot like me to understand a problem they are incapable of explaining?”

The next time we talked, Guido was in a much better mood.

“I have a surprise for you, Kevin.”

“Really? I don’t think there’s much surprise left in me.”

“You’ll like this one,” Guido lettered on his screen and said in a low voice.

“OK, I’m game. What’s the surprise?”

“Go out the front door.”

“But I thought there was nothing outside.”

Sounding like a little kid hoping desperately for approval, Guido said,“Just take a look.”

Illustration for Gift of the Gruldak, a serialized sci-fi ebook

Illustration for Gift of the Gruldak, a serialized sci-fi ebook

I went to the front door and, while the handle didn’t work as I expected the door opened with a suck when I pulled on the knob. Walls of faux simulated wood grain paneling lined a tall and massive hallway, carpeted with a bright green and even brighter green cartoon version of gently wiggling grass and capped at least a dozen feet overhead with a single, large and brightly glowing, light blue panel along its entire length.

“I made you some outside, Kevin,” wafted Guido’s voice from somewhere in the pseudo-paneling, “How do you like it?”

It was a horrible alien nightmare.

“It’s beautiful, Guido,” I said. It wasn’t exactly true, but I was coming to see that Guido was quite beautiful himself. And that piece of “outside” was Guido.

“Kevin, would you sleep on the couch for a few days, or maybe even out here?”

“OK. Did I make you mad or something?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Remember I told you a while back that when a man makes a woman mad, sometimes she makes him sleep on the couch.”

“Oh, no, Kevin, I’m just working on something special for you.”

“Sure, Guido, I’m not all that fond of the bed anyway, no offense intended.”

“None taken.”

So I slept out on the springy grass-like stuff under the fake alien stars that night and the next several more.

I was going through the bedroom to the closet one “morning” when I noticed that the “bed” didn’t have its normal, flat appearance but instead appeared mounded as if someone lay under the pseudo-silicone covers. Backing up in confusion, I yelled (with a bit more of a squeak than I prefer), “Guido, what the Hell is this?!?”

“It’s your surprise, Kevin,” he replied.

“Holy shit, Guido, is that what I think it is?” My mouth felt dry and my vision narrowed to the crashing surf of possible impending unconsciousness as I staggered down the hallway to the dining room and Guido’s original communication platform in the table.

“That depends on what you think it is.” Guido’s screen filled with question marks in all kinds of wacky, colorful fonts.

“It’s,” I began with a gulp, lurching into my usual chair, “It’s me, I mean another me, isn’t it?”

“No, there’s no plan to make a fourth Kevin Wang here. Why, do you want me to make you one?”

I looked around at the squishy not-pile of almost junk mail and the strangely flexible not-glass half full of not-tea growing from the rubbery almost-exactly-my-dining-room-table-except-for-the-alien-face-in-it. I felt the blood drain from my face and suddenly, I felt a long, long way from home.

“Back up a minute. I know I’m not that great at math, but did you say that there’s no plan to make a fourth Kevin Wang here? Don’t you mean third Kevin Wang, as in third Kevin Wang in existence?” I asked, but I already knew I was pissing into the wind.

“I mean fourth as in the fourth Kevin Wang to be assembled in this complex, here on Kevin’s Place.”

“Kevin’s Place?”

"Maybe you should put your head down for a bit, Kevin?"

It was a good idea because everything was getting a bit dark gray and sizzling around the edges.

A few minutes later I got up, got a refreshing drink of water from the “fridge” and came back to the table to talk, or maybe just to chase down the Mad Hatter.

“OK, so I’m the third Kevin Wang created here. What happened to the first two?” I asked, even though I was pretty sure I didn’t want to know the answer.

“They and their makers are still alive, well, sort of alive,” said Guido.

Before I could close my mouth and swallow to speak up Guido interrupted, “They are in stasis until the Gruldak can figure out what went wrong with them and fix it.”

“What’s wrong with them?”

“The first one just shambled around and couldn’t find the food and water, even when my twin put them right by his face. The second bit his own flesh, ripping out hunks of it and spouting blood all over the place the second day it was awake.”

“That sounds horrible!”

“I thought so, too, Kevin. I’m glad you turned out perfect. They fixed all of the flaws they could find in the first two just to cover all their bastards.”

“Bases, Guido.”

“Yeah, I know, but I know how you smile when I use words wrong,” Guido said, decorating his screen with fluffy puppies, bunnies, chicks, and kittens.

I had serious doubts as to my own perfection, some of them brand new, a gift with purchase included with the knowledge of my twisted twins. It also explained my more robust physique and overly calm demeanor. I began to wonder if Guido’s fears of replacement were more grounded than I’d thought before.

“So, if my surprise isn’t another me, who is it? Where'd you get more human DNA?”

“The same place they got all the rest. While your body was carrying around nano-machines studying you, you were also shedding jumpers, little robots that hop from place to place, or in your case, from person to person. The Gruldak put tiny homing beacons in thousands of people you were in direct contact with and thousands of people each of them were in contact with. They later took full mind imprints from many of them years and years later. They have many, many samples from all over your planet. It’s all part of the back-up plan.”

“So who is it?”

“It’s a surprise,” said Guido cryptically and I began to fantasize about the red-headed barista at my neighborhood Starbucks. I didn’t like the idea of anyone else trapped here but even with Guido to talk to I was feeling extremely lonely for human company.

Continue Reading with Chapter Five, There's No Place Like Home

© 2014 Kylyssa Shay

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