Randomly generated writing challenge: A transhumanist flash fiction.

26 Sep



 Randomly Generated Writing Challenge

 A neat random generator for writing challenges spat out the following:

“A character will take a bath, and the action has far better results than expected. A character becomes energetic during the story. The story is set during a class/training session. The story takes place a thousand years into the future. During the story, there is a fight.”

Thank you, seventhsanctum. Thank you very much!


The New Life of Prof. Marlow


The scholars sat at home, each in her own augmented reality sphere, attending the term’s inaugural lecture by Professor Marlow. The day’s subject was to be ‘Life Sciences.

Sophia Bloom sipped a carton of Googlemax as she looked around at the 3,132 other scholars, some of whom were light years away and spoke in a tongue no human mouth could reproduce. Of course, it didn’t matter. That’s what SMARTS were for. Anybody could converse with anybody else.

Sophia switched off her sound filter momentarily, and the rich tableau of multicultural exchange blended together from all directions in an unintelligible mass of opinions and thoughts. Curiosity satisfied, the filter was re-applied and Sophia’s piano concerto playlist resumed.

The lecture space was a digital reconstruction of the ancient Greek amphitheatre at Delphi, a proud proclamation to the United Universe by the Amalgamated University of Earth of its intellectual heritage. Depending on the privacy settings of its user, each Augmented Reality Sphere Interface (ARPI) showed anything from a picture perfect live representation of the entity inside, to an opaque black orb.

Sophia’s ARPI was situated high up in the amphitheatre towards the back, and looking around she could see clusters of black spheres together who were no doubt denizens of particular solar systems or planets. Sophia smiled at this. It was all so tribal, and old-fashioned.

The music faded out, and three bell chimes signified the start of the lecture. The ashen-haired, crooked figure of Professor Agnetta Marlow appeared at the lectern, with a bath. ‘Welcome all,’ she said. ‘As you can see, I have a bathtub here with me.’ Sophia saw the other scholars nodding their heads, affirming this. ‘It contains a quantum nanoid substrate, and has been prepared at unfathomable expense and effort. Now, as you should all know, for the past fifty-nine years I have been developing a cure for everything from acephalous necrostasis to Zanuckian storm-hornet stings.’

Sophia’s family had been killed by Zanuckian storm hornets on a research holiday to the Ypresian nebula nine years ago, which was to provide her with the field experience she needed to meet make the undergraduate academic quota. The event ignited her consuming obsession with reanimation.

Sophia’s father had been an Atomist high priest of the third order, fighting all his life against the reviled ‘cult of morticide,’ and forever preaching on the beauty of death and the Eternal Reward. The crisis of conscience she felt afterwards had never left her.

‘Yet Death,’ continued the professor, ‘invisible; impregnable; stalking; invincible.  Silent, from beyond New Mesopotamia’s rubble, the eternal rest of the lost gender. She hounds us still, she persists. But We resist…’

Sophia knew the words well. Marlow echoed the heretical Sisters of Ouroboros. The professor had always been an outspoken progressionist, but this was blasphemy. Sophie felt a stab of guilt. The scholars linked up to one another, exchanging panicked data packets over the artfully programmed spacetime rifts between the ARPIs.

‘This is a lesson you will remember for all time.’ Sophia flinched as the professor, her hero, cast off her coat, revealing herself to the class. ‘When faced with a twenty percent chance at immortality, you immerse yourself in the possibility. Like so.’ Marlow climbed into the bubbling bath of silver substrate, disappearing from sight.

Disturbed, angry and confused scholars all soon discovered that they were in lockdown. United Universe Enforcement had detected a fringe event, making the ARPIs inescapable until the rifts linking them were deemed quantumly stable. Deafening system crash reports littered Sophia’s dashboard, flashing up red, yellow and orange, with giant black exclamation marks.

Sophia flicked her fingers across the menus, attempting to forge a contact, but every ARPI had gone black to minimize tachyon interference. Breathing slowly, deeply, she focused on the bath. It alone was illuminated in the simulated amphitheatre amidst the dark misty mountains of ancient Greece.

The bath foamed with an electrostatic buzz. A silver star-like light grew bright in a broad dome from the epicenter, and then shrank back. A silence settled. Then came the supernova. A goddess was born.

What do you think about this, then?

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