Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Moment

"Lucy, I know that this is a lot to ask, but it is important that you put on the diadem."
"No! I won't!"
This was not a surprise. She didn't trust the New Archivist. I didn't either, to be honest. But only the New Archivist could access the information stored around us in towering heaps of electronic and chemical databanks. "If you don't put it on, we will all likely die."
"The New Archivist is as bad as them."
"That is not the case. The Fortarians, perhaps. But Dr. Demented is a threat to life on any planet he touches. His insanity and power are twin horrors that ravage the cosmos."
"I can't do it."
This was going nowhere. I had maybe a four percent chance of convincing her. But it only took up a fraction of my brain to keep on pressing, while the rest slowly, ever so slowly, worked through the Archives. "Please-"
"Stop asking!" She was getting agitated. If I kept pressing, I might only make things worse. But if I stopped pressing, an omnipotent madman would wipe out planet Earth and replace it with his own demented fantasy-land.
Lucy tensed. Her hand clenched into a fist. She was going to hit me. I didn't shift my brain to think fast. Thinking fast was my natural state.

Lucy couldn't hurt me. Physically speaking, we weren't in the same league. She could go to the Olympics and win a gold medal in an event. I could go to the Olympics and reduce the stadium to a twist of broken I-beams and shattered concrete. Different leagues.
So, I wouldn't need to worry about being physically hurt. I was invulnerable to such trivial things as two bits of flesh connecting at fifty meters per second. But she wasn't.
Should I let her break her hand in a futile gesture of anger against a cyborg? No. She was under my protection, and nothing was going to break her hand. Not even my face.
Well, why not? She wanted to hit me. To harm me, more or less unprovoked. She had been given the opportunity to think of the consequences. Why should I step in and bail her out?
Well, for one thing, I remained to be convinced she had been given the opportunity to think of the consequences. Lucy's brain didn't work in terms of cause and effect. As far as I could tell, it worked in terms of goal, most direct route to achieving the goal.
Plus, beings like her couldn't be expected to analyze the consequences of every split-second decision. It just wasn't possible for them. They couldn't slow down time around them as their supercomputer brains steamed away. I might be able to fill up a page of thoughts using a sliver of my brain in the time it takes a fist to connect with a face. But nobody else could. She couldn't. Shouldn't I correct her error in judgment? Especially given what I was asking of her? Yes. I should.
I had about .04 seconds to move out of the way. To the side was an option. Actually, it wasn't. There was no was I had enough traction to move that quickly. I ran the numbers a dozen different ways. Wasn't going to happen.
Up? Give me a break. I could jump that high, but jumping my full body height in less than a twentieth of a second would crack the floor, rip off my clothes, and probably injure someone. Just for fun, I ran a few simulations. They all ended in disaster.
By process of elimination, I would be going down. This wouldn't constitute ducking. Ducking is when you crouch to avoid a blow. I would not be doing that. In times scales as brief as this, everything is weightless. I would be curling myself into a ball, floating in space as an angry hand whistled over my head. Not very dignified, but so what?
I remembered that I still hadn't thought of a rock-hard code of cyborg ethics. We (I) had incredible power over ourselves and others. What obligations did a cyborg have to a human? Or another cyborg? Or to the simulation he was running of a dead relative's brain? Of course, humans didn't have a single unified code of ethics. But lots of people tried to make one. But, given the more pressing issues surrounding me, I decided that I could continue to show my usual amount of regard for ethical considerations (none), and proceed as usual.
I finished calculating my trajectory. It was actually fairly complicated. A human would have had trouble. Taking into account the air resistance, and effect of Lucy's arm punching through the thickened atmosphere inside the Archives. The motion about three different shifting principle axes. But I figured out a way to land on my hands and feet and bounce right up to standing position.

"Sorry I was going to hit you."
"I forgive you."
"How did you get out of the way in time?"
"Just reflexes." You wouldn't believe how much thought I put into formulating that response.     

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