Tune C. Handa — Pure: Prologue

Pure: Prologue

She woke up to complete darkness as usual. It had been ages now, but she still found waking up to darkness difficult. It took her a few moments to figure out whether her eyes were shut or open. She remembered last time waiting in bed for four minutes thinking they were open, ready to wake, but her eyes had been closed. It had felt like forever.

She could hear her systems starting up. Yes, her eyes were open. At first she only saw a few pixels, but then the resolution got better and in 3.2 seconds she could see everything clearly, down to a picometer. She moved her eyes around to see if the rest of her body was ready yet.

She was one of the odd ones. Her head, besides her eyes, and her left leg up to her hip were completely original existence pieces.  Most of her family were complete techs. She saw the green online light on her torso and, as she was lifting herself up, she checked the time.

There were still three hours until work. She was working as a helper for a pure couple with a child. They were living in a huge house like all the other pure people. They looked so beautiful, those pure ones. When she was a child, she asked her father if the pure ones looked so nice because they were rich. Her father laughed and said that when he was a young boy there had been some pure people who were not rich, and they looked just as beautiful.

She dreamt of meeting a pure person who was not rich, but as she grew up she realized her father’s youth was centuries ago. Times were different now. Nobody could stay pure without money.

As she was walking past the shops she remembered that her boss had asked her to get an update on her hand functions. They also had been asking her to replace her original existence leg but she kept coming up with excuses. She felt a sense of pride looking down and seeing a part of her original existence self. Even though it was limping, twitching, and most of the time cramping, she figured she could use it for about another 70 years.

She went inside one of the quick update shops. A complete tech came up to her and asked what she wanted. She could see his eyes lingering on her original parts when she asked for the hand function update. Then she added “As fast as possible please, I don’t want to lose much time here.”

He asked what the hurry was for but she couldn’t answer. How could she tell a complete tech that she wanted to spend her time outdoors, feel the wind in her hair, and the sand and the grass under her foot? She knew it didn’t feel exactly the same with the tech parts. It would have been cruel to remind him everything he was missing if he was missing at all. She alternated between feeling sorry for complete techs because they couldn’t experience the world the way she did, and envying them for their better living conditions.

See techs were all bionic, computerized and technological to the point that they no longer had much human left in them. Thus, everyone wanted to hire complete techs because they never made any mistakes, you could upload new skills and knowledge into them and turn them on and off as you needed. “They are slave robots” her uncle used to say.

But those slave robots could always find the best jobs and get the best updates. Companies no longer accepted human error so they no longer hired anybody who was not a complete tech.

She wondered, from time to time, if it was worth keeping her original existence leg and head. Her family members were working in the best positions in big corporations, so if she just went for the full upgrade she would surely start high and would no longer have to cook and clean after the pure ones.

As the updater entered her arm, she remembered the time she decided to become complete tech about 213 years ago when she was 14. Her uncle, who was still mostly human, had found out and stopped her. “No job, position, or comfort, is more valuable than your original existence self. You see our family members working for big corporations all ruled by pure humans. Everybody is so eager to slave themselves off to some wealthy pure forever. You’re better than that.”he had said.

She loved her uncle and thought of him as her hero until only a few weeks ago. She thought her black sheep of an uncle was finally doing alright since she hadn’t heard from him in a long time, until recently when she received the DNA event message stating that he was arrested for stealing bread (Bread! That was for pure consumption only!) and while he was being brought to his forced complete tech upgrade he ended his existence.  Getting a complete tech upgrade was the penalty for any person with original existence parts who did something against the rules. There were no penalties in place for complete techs as they never broke the law.

Suddenly it hit her; she had been keeping that aching leg and the rest of her head for nothing. Her uncle spent his life hungry, miserable, homeless and most of the time even unemployed. Why should she follow in his footsteps and be miserable? How much longer would that pure family keep her employed anyway? She could have been working at one of the best companies by now. Besides, it wasn’t like she could magically become pure someday.

Her mind was suddenly filled with hatred for her uncle. She felt betrayed and fooled. All those years she had believed him. She pressed the buzzer and the complete tech walked in. “I want the complete tech upgrade now” she said. The complete tech walked her into a room and made her lay down. “I can’t believe I am actually doing this” she thought to herself. She could feel the tingling on her leg as the machines were operating.

Her head was next. She heard the tales of head upgrades being very painful. Her uncle used to say that the pain was not physical but mental. All those stories were coming to her now and she started thinking that maybe it wasn’t too late to quit. Just when she opened her mouth to say something the machines held her lips. All of a sudden she thought she heard her uncle saying “You are now lost my child.” That was it. She didn’t want to continue with the upgrade. “No”, she tried to scream, “Stop!”, but there was no sound, no matter how much she tried to scream.

Desperately trying to regain her composure, her mind struggled to find a way out of her situation, ”think, think …. think …. think… th….OBEY”.