A young man learns his family's wealth comes from trading with an advanced alien species, but as he investigates further he discovers that the alien benefactors may not be an benevolent as they first appear.
Emma had a brief gimps of a dimension beyond our own. To her that world now feel far more real than the one she is forced to live in so she seeks to once again escape the confines of the normal world, but she fears she is being manipulated by others for reasons she doesn't know.
A man discovers a source of power that could change the world but he can't convince anyone to take him serious even when he demonstrates it.
I wrote this story most of a decade ago and it is one of the few stories from that time that I still actually like. It is pretty simple and it is in part due to the frustration of the government dropping the ball on space exploration. I suspect the name has been used for a number of other stories, but I hate titles enough I didn't bother looking to find another.
By Elton Gahr
Paul slammed the newspaper on Cedric's desk and said, "How the hell did the newspapers get this before me?"
“You’d have covered it up. Someone had to make sure the people knew."
"I would have studied it! Finding complex life isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s just one fish," Paul said.
"One fish found in ice from Europa. How many do you need? There's life on Europa," Cedric said.
"The President gave a speech today announcing a manned mission. A trillion dollar trip! A trillion dollars we should spent on schools, hospitals and public infrastructure!" Paul said, his eyes bulged, and the vein in her forehead throbbed.
"We’ll win the Nobel Peace Prize," Cedric said and ran his finger over the newsprint photo of the perfectly formed fish which looked more alien now than it had in the laboratory.
Paul stood up, the red disappearing from his face and he said "They’ll probably have us on every TV show in the country. We’ll be celebrities."
Cedric glanced at the black and white picture and said, "You know I don’t like being in public. I'd rather you take the credit, like the other times. I'll stay here and study the fish. Someone has to get a skin sample."
Paul looked at the picture for a few seconds then said, "If that’s what you want that's what we’ll do," the smile now breaking his face nearly in half.
The news anchor droned on about half a dozen subjects but, like everyone else on the planet, Cedric was only interested in the shuttle which circled the moon of Europa with twelve men and women ready to start one of the greatest scientific missions ever created by mankind.
The mission had already paid for itself in Cedric’s opinion. Countries were working together like never before and several scientific discoveries had improved recycling and manufacturing techniques. Much of that was about to change.
What shocked Cedric the most was that in three years no one had bothered to get a second sample of the fish's DNA. It was simply too valuable to cut up and study and he wondered for a moment if this had all went too far.
That meant that the only one who knew that there would be nothing found today was Cedric. There were no fish, in fact there had been no signs of life at all.
When that happened there would be a witch hunt. And when people began to check the DNA findings they would find see Paul’s name as the only one who took samples of the DNA thanks to his need for glory.
Cedric then glanced down at the envelope. The letter in it reminded Paul of the ideas he had stolen and pawned off as his own three years ago. Then it explained, in the most cryptic language Cedric could devise, how he had gotten even with a small rubber fish.
I find the idea of the singularity generally interesting, and while these stories can be huge and epic ideas this is not one of those. I simply had a quick idea of what might happenen if someone transfered their mind into a robot at a more personal level.
“I am sorry, Madam, but your husband is dead,” the lawyer said. He did not seem all that upset by the statement. The smirk on his face even suggested he was enjoying it and the woman want to slap him.
The woman looked across the table at the seven foot tall robot and said, “That is my husband.”
“Not legally. Legally that is a robot which was owned by your husband and programmed through a procedure which allowed it to keep intact the memory and personality of your husband, but it is not your husband. Your husband is dead.”
“And his will?” the woman asked, though she knew already.
“Leaves everything in a trust, to be managed by the robot,” the lawyer said.
“But if it’s not my husband isn’t it just a computer?” the woman said.
“The courts have already been contacted. It has proven an ability to take care of itself and so has been conditionally emancipated. I’m sorry madam, but you’re going to have to vacate the property. You are trespassing,” The Lawyer said.
The woman looked around the mansion which had once been her world and at the machine which had once been her husband and then turned and walked out with nothing but the shirt on her back.
The robot turned to the lawyer and said, “So, that’s it. I’m free. I can do anything I want.”
“More or less, as you know there are some limitations to the hardware. Touch, taste and smell are not installed yet, so don’t try eating anything. Of course you are also currently neuter due to those same limitations. Also the memory storage and CPU would need to be upgraded for your full capacity to be restored,” The Lawyer said.
“But that’s coming quickly,” the robot said.
“That’s the other small issue. The transfer cost a bit more than you planned. Which means, you have more debt than property. Also, the emancipation was conditional on money which allowed you to support yourself. Without that money you become nothing more than a machine. Which leaves the matter of my fee. According to the law, I am able to take position of property in return for my fee. I believe the house robot is of the correct value, so I will take position of that.”