I finished the last lines of code and pressed the compile button. Then I relaxed and watched the progress line creep slowly towards the finish line, feeling the rising waves of pleasure coursing through my body.

The code passed verification and compiled successfully, and I came hard. I remembered sex, from the times when I was an analogue creature, flesh and blood and nerves, and it was never as good as the rewired pleasure I got from a particularly good piece of code.

But what nobody told me was how deeply the sex got into my brain before I got uploaded. I purged myself of all the base desires and needs of a biological body, I rewired my pleasure centers, I was a being of pure thought and data and I was still in love.

And my biological primary was still out somewhere in the physical world, fucking my/her wife. I inherited half of our vote, fifteen percent of our cash assets, none of her outstanding loans, and I paid my bioparent twenty percent of everything I made, but the terms of upload/duplication deed were quite clear. The biological Samantha Greer was the only one with a marital relationship with Jane. And Jane, well, she didn’t want to upload. The idea of a digital copy of herself, an immortal sibling-child-clone-whatever, it made her… queasy.

I made her queasy. The woman I loved.

I had it all, money, fame, immortality, and my life still sucked. I don’t know how I could ever think I would get over Jane by simple rewiring.

The things our brains do to us.

To Serve and Protect

“Escalating situation protocol to level RED. You’re weapons free. Calling for backup.”

The professionally calm voice of the dispatcher didn’t help me at all. I was frozen with terror, huddling behind a damaged, burning garbage sweeper and staring in panic at the dead chassis of my partner, cored through the chest by an armour-piercing bullet.

“Officer Callahan, your vital signs indicate a state of distress. Please remain calm, backup will be at your location in four minutes”

I tried to force myself to breathe slowly, but I couldn’t help but imagine the havoc a sniper round would do to my squishy, biological body. My hands seemed to grip the handgun handle of their own volition and I couldn’t force them to flip the cover over the bright red button that would switch the gun to autonomous lethal engagement mode.

It wouldn’t help against a sniper, anyway.

“Officer Callahan, I have notified your medical supervisor and she has released the safety interlock on your injector. Please stand by for combat drug response.”

I couldn’t pry my eyes from the dead body of my Partner, lying on the road and leaking bright green coolant all over the greyish white surface of the pavement. My intellect knew that Pix wasn’t dead. Before we went on patrol, just as every cop went through mandatory drug testing, every Partner went down to the precint’s basement, to make a backup on the offline storage frame. But the fear response in my brain knew what I was seeing – a dead body of my friend, killed by a high-powered, military grade weapon. A weapon that its sights now set on killing me.

Heart drugs

Bad dreams. It all started with bad dreams. Drowsy and tired, I told the house to delay the wakeup procedure three times, the maximum I hardcoded in earlier. When the windows finally turned transparent and blasted me with the cold light of the morning I had to hurry to make it to The Hive on time. So I forgot to take my pills.

The feeling of being lovesick struck me three hours later, when the effect of the medication finally wore off, and a random train of associations led my thoughts to Mark’s name. And so, instead of working I moped over the inherent bleakness of my existence and the hopelessness of being in love with a straight man. And it was a terrible, gut wrenching sensation.

Love. How, exactly, did people survive falling in love before the invention of Adfectine?

And to add insult to injury, after fifteen minutes the mood sensors locked me out of my Top Secret clearance workstation and notified my supervisor. This was going to be one of those Mondays.

My work phone, a large, ugly, dumb brick with an archaic, touchscreen-based interface started chiming insistently, displaying the face of Jenna, my supervisor. Bringing private phones into the Hive was of course strictly forbidden, as was bringing any other private possessions. For security reasons, I was wearing federally provided and funded dumb clothing. And the idiot phone on my desk kept ringing, staring at me accusatorily. I placed it next to my ear and listened meekly to an angry tirade, interjecting weakly from time to time to show appropriate contrition.

Ending the conversation was not an option, since Jenna had a higher administrative rank and had initiated the call, so I had to listen to her ramble on about my duties to the great proud American nation and all the innocent civilians, whose lives depended on me being clear headed enough to notice a gem of information in a sea of garbage. This was of course a load of bullshit. The only problem Jenna had with me was that she had to give me a day off, since operational security procedures and safety interlocks on terminals prevented people with significant emotional disorders from working on classified material. And being in love was definitively a significant emotional disorder.

When she finally told me I had a day off and had to come in during the weekend I was enormously relieved. I have already used up all my sick leave for the year, so I had to stock up on pills, stay longer on Saturday and come to work on Sunday, unless I wanted my performance review to suffer, yet at least I had today to wallow in emotions. For a few hours, anyway.

“Oh, and John, you really shouldn’t ride in your condition, you’re liable to kill yourself.”

She just had to stick in a needle at the end, of course. She was right, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t going on the public transit, not today.