SDMB Short Sci-Fi Story Thread!

Hey…write a story and post it here.

DEU-119

“…And in this chamber, we have the Data Extraction Units, which
The Impirium used to interrogate suspects.”

“How did they work?”, asked the boy.

“Well,” the Curator continued," the subject would be strapped into the chair and be given a selection of injections:
one to paralyze the subject, two to make sure the mind stays awake so as not to pass out from the pain or to revert into a
catatonic state, and some IVs to make sure the body has enough hydration and nutrition…some interrogations lasted days, if not weeks of continuous extraction.

"Next the chair would be plugged into the unit alcove, and
nano-filament probes would transverse the scalp and cranium to access the neural tissue directly. Every neural pathway…every
dendrite…every single electron in that subject’s brain would
be recorded, collated, and processed for whatever strategic or
tactical value possible.

"These 100-series units were designed to extract the specific data the Master Interrogator programmed into the unit.

"Sometimes the Resistance used hyper-psychic data packets
implanted into their couriers that would evade a casual scan.
Often, the couriers didn’t even know they were carrying a message buried so deep in their sub-conciousnesses.

“Of course, this didn’t matter to the DEU; the Unit would just dig
deeper.”

“What do you mean?”, asked the boy’s father.

“Well, think of it this way: You’re looking for a file left on your desk. If it’s right there on top in plain view, you just pick it up, and you have it. Maybe it’s buried under a few other files so you have to move some stuff out of the way. Maybe you have it hidden in a drawer, so you got to rifle through all the drawers…”

Just then the boy looked at the display screen and noticed the red
OCCUPIED function with vital signs underneath.

“Omigod…OH MY GOD! There’s still…somebody…”

“Yes…still somebody in there. The Unit is not programmed to release the subject until the required data has been extracted.
Nobody in the Imperial Interrogation Bureau though of the possibility of a subject who really didn’t know anything.
Like my earlier analogy, the Unit will keep tearing through the desk…atom after atom…in order to find that file it’s certain exists.”

“Can’t you just…turn it off?”

“No. That would mean certain death for that subject The United Republic passed a resolution to find a way to release this victim
of the Imperium.”

“But… the rebellion happened over 25 years ago!”

"Yes. And we’ve been trying to get him out since then.

As the people filed out of the Museum of Imperial Atrocities, the
Curator looked back at the Unit and smiled with evil satisfaction.

So, Emperor Omnipotant, you still haven’t found that last digit of pi, eh? I won’t let you out until you do!

THE END

“Explain it to me again, Daddy. Jesus said he was gonna shoot all the good people up into the sky. But all those people who took off yesterday, that wasn’t them?”

“That’s right, son. Those were the evil people.”

“But it happened just like Jesus said!”

“The evil people used rockets. Jesus won’t need no rockets when he comes to take us.”

The boy shook his head confusedly and began to pull out a thick sheaf of printed paper.

“What in the tarnation is that you got there, boy?”

“Mr. Ogilve, my science teacher, gave this to me. He said we could use it to make our own space ship. He said we might still have time to get away from The Flar.”

“You give that right here right now, boy.” His father looked at it suspiciously. “Directions for Building an Antigravitational Life-Boat. Damn, Satan’s voice is powerful in this. We’ll burn it now.”

“But, Daddy, what if Mr. Ogilve was right?”

“Boy, Mr. Ogilve was attracted to the power of Satan. But Satan will always loose to our faith in Jesus. That’s why most of us are staying behind. What else you got in that backpack?”

A short time later, the father opened the Franklin stove before them and tossed the printout in it, along with a few textbooks.

“There’s only one book we need to live by now, boy. Only one.”

And he was absolutely right.

“Of course,” said my grandfather, pulling a gun from his belt as he stepped from the Time Machine, “There’s no paradox if I shoot you!”

[this is just a rough scribbling of a longer story that occured to me in a dream; I know clone stories are horribly passé but hey, this is just for fun]

“Well, that’s about all the questions I had, Dr. Garruman. Anything else you’d like to add? Any hints about your next project, or what cloning research you’re working on now? Do you think that, in the future, more houses will have a staff like yours?”

The dark-haired man looked around at the servants hovering at the edge of the room, each one a near-perfect mirror of himself. He smiled beatifically. “Perhaps. I find it reassuring to be surrounded by myself, at least in image. Perhaps some day I will succeed in cloning a more intelligent replica, so I can have a research assistant to discuss my ideas with. But of course, not everyone has my tastes.” He turned back to the respectful reporter. “If there’s nothing else, Mr. Ockner, Eta will show you out.”

Nodding, the reporter tucked his recorder away, rose, and followed the blank-eyed clone out of the room. The dark-haired man waited until he heard the front door close, then gave a slow, quiet laugh. Gracefully he rose from his chair and stalked the room, stopping in front of a misshapen mute, hateful eyes burning in a scarred face.

“I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings when I referred to you as a brewing accident,” said the dark-haired man with mock affection, pinching one pockmarked cheek. “But really, how delicious it was to draw Ockner’s attention directly to you, and know that he had no idea …” Teeth grinding, the twisted caliban shuddered, and was casually backhanded across the face.

“Such a quoteable person I,” exclaimed the man with a grin, turning to wander to the bar and pour himself a drink. “I gave him some great sound bites. I know they’ll be in the news tomorrow. ‘How unfortunate that the intellect cannot be cloned.’ How unfortunate, indeed, that you weren’t more careful when you succeeded at that particular game, Doctor.” He raised a glass of wine – good stuff – and examined it absently. “You should have known better to make me your equal and treat me like your servant. As if I were one of them!” He waved an arm to indicate the rest of the servants, silent, vacant, waiting.

“Did you see how he looked at them, Doctor? Morbid fascination. Curious despite himself. The same way people watch the chimpanzees and the gorillas at the zoo and think, ‘How man-like they are!’ Even you earned that kind of detached pity, Doctor. That reporter will go home, write his story, and think to himself that he is an expert, that he can tell a Xerox from the original. He’ll never stop to think that sometimes a copy can alter that original, and who would ever know?”

He took a long sip of the wine and savored it. “Did you like the line I have him when he asked if the servants minded their brainless tasks? ‘The soul of a clone is gratitude.’ A half-truth, of course. The soul of a stupid clone is gratitude. The soul of an intelligent clone is pure, delicious hate.”

And they all lived happily ever after.
(Oh, sorry. You wanted science fiction and that’s fantasy.)