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We live in an age of abundance. Why are we white-knuckling through unprecedented prosperity?

- Mr President’s Notes to Self Twitter Account

 

4 Days Later - Raptor - Freedom

I soar through a mountain pass. I enjoy the thermals. I see a little lamb far below. Yum. He's a chunky little fucker, I better slam him hard.

I drop into a dive. I'm going hella fast. I lock my talons and shriek. Bones crack and blood flies. I drive my beak into his neck and tear out his throat. His blood is spongy and dry. The fuck?

I come out of my trance. I'm crouching naked on Candy's couch. I've torn the throat out of one of her throw pillows. I spit out a mouthful of foam and fluff. I'm glad she doesn't own a cat.

I stand and stretch. I'm sore, but the good sore. I've tried all of Candy's new hypno isometric exercises now. I like the Raptor the best. I love how strong my hands are getting. And, whatever muscles I'm growing in my face and neck make oral sex effortless. But, mostly the strong hands thing.

I look over at Candy and Lodestone. They are really giving it to each other. There's been lot of fucking and drinking since we decided we’re fucked.

“She’s not really there, honey. You’re gonna throw your back out.” I say.

Candy grunts and falls on her face. “Ah, yes. I see.”

Lodestone sits up, wipes her mouth. “The Space Prick is making his move.”

“God Damn Space Prick!” I say. I turn on Mr. President.

Earlier in the week, Space Prick had launched from Mars to rendezvous with the settlement ship Hephaestus. Now, to the surprise of no one, the Hephaestus was changing course to Damocles.

I can't blame him for trying. Damocles is way nicer than Mars. But, the politicians on Earth are going to lose their minds, and take it out on Mr. President. Maybe Space Prick will get eaten by space monkeys.

We drink and watch it all go down. It's depressingly predictable. Concerned politicians call for the destruction of the Hephaestus, because they're scared Space Jesus will smite them. Or, because Space Jesus promised Damocles to them. Mr. President refuses to execute thousands of people to satisfy the fear and greed of idiots. Everybody freaks out. Mr. President's approval ratings slide further down the toilet.

“He has a dominant understanding of his superintelligence.” says Lodestone.

“That’s what I was thinking.” says Candy. “But, you better explain it for Megacles.”

“Intelligence is the ability to see the future. A superintelligence controls your future.” says Lodestone.

“The ancient greeks thought seeing the future was a curse.” says Omicron.

“Intelligence has uncoupled from biology. Smarts are as useful for telling the future, as strength is for winning a gunfight. Your ability is no longer defined by what ideas you conceive, because you can find a better idea online in minutes. Now your ability is defined by what ideas you act on.” says Lodestone.

I’m barely listening. Mr. President is quietly penning a proposal for virtual suicide. It’s kinda like declaring social bankruptcy and putting yourself in witness protection. It’s needed.

“A superintelligence is an intelligence’s only evolutionary pressure.” says Lodestone. “They co-opt your reward centres and reprogram them.”

“Like we did to dogs!” says Candy.

“More like the relationship between humans and the cells we are made of.” says Lodestone. “Working together with a few rules and lots of luck, single celled organisms made their own gods.”

“So, kinda like dogs...” says Candy.

“With each scientific advance, the company we keep, becomes our only evolutionary pressure.” says Lodestone. “Society, logic, religion, math and science are the superintelligent gods that humans create to satisfy our desires. But, over the generations, these gods change our desires. They stop serving us, and we start serving them.”

Candy nods. “If humans didn’t already exist, dogs would have to invent us.”

“Correct.” says Lodestone. “Mr. President has a dominant understanding of our social superintelligence. The internet has changed the rules of politics, and he has adapted better than anyone else. He is using his understanding to change the rules even more. He's making a vocabulary for us to discuss the future. In doing so, he's changing it.” She shrugs. “He’s taking a stab at who we are.”

“Wait. A set of rules can be superintelligent?” asks Omicron.

“Of course. I'm making one now.” says Candy. She's building a website called join-my-superintelligence.com. “Rule #1 - Lick my pussy. Oh look! I already have two followers.”

“What the fuck, man. What about sentience?” asks Omicron.

“Sentience is hypothetical.” says Lodestone. “Frankly, the only difference between you and dirt is time.”

“Time travel is anti-entropy.” I say.

Everybody looks at me.

“The God Machine is an inflection point on the reality wave.” I say.

They wait.

“Shit. I’m not sure if that’s gibberish or not.” says Candy.

The lights flicker.

“Megacles,” says Lodestone. “It’s started.”

All of our screens and devices start thrumming and flashing with notifications.

“It’s a big one.”

The internet is spamming itself to death with one message - Mr. President is in DANGER!

I look at Mr President's feed. He's still working quietly. I find a feed outside the building. Men with red masks and machine guns are storming in. There are a lot of them. Security is overwhelmed.

Mr. President is notified of the attack. He watches the feed of the fighting for a few moments, then he dismisses his staff and tells security to stand down. The fighting dies down, though many of the staff stay at their posts.

It feels like I've been watching for hours, but it's been less than a minute. I project into his office. I don't want to watch anymore, but it's all I can do. I won't leave him.

Mr. President is beaten and thrown to his knees. There are a dozen men around him, pointing machine guns at him. There's hundreds more in the surrounding hallways and rooms.

There's a moment of stillness. Mr. President and the lead gunman look at each other. There's nothing to say.

The lights go out. The wall of windows behind Mr. President shatter. The Darkness has arrived.

“Get out.” says the Darkness.

The lead gunman turns to her. Makes to speak. Drops dead.

“Get out.” says the Darkness.

The dozen gunmen in the office look at her. They finger their guns nervously. They drop dead.

The Darkness turns on the hundreds of gunmen behind her. “Get out.”

They get the fuck out.

The Darkness approaches Mr. President. With him on his knees, she’s a little taller than him. She digs her fingers into his hair. Pulls him close. Kisses him.

“I will never abandon you.” she says. “But, I am leaving.”

She lets him go. Steps back through the broken window. Disappears into her namesake.

Mr. President stays on his knees. The feed shudders. Goes dark. Mr. President is offline.

“Holy shit!” says Candy. “Was that it?”

Lodestone shakes her head. “It hasn’t started yet.”

Around us all of our feeds and screens flicker.

“Red Team is hunting us. Dead Men are hunting Red Team. Leviathan just ate itself.” says Lodestone. She shudders. She rallies. “Woof. Someone took a run at me.”

I look at her. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” She does not look fine.

I patch a large hard drive into my phone. I hold it to her face. “Get in.”

She stares at it. She’s shaking. “If I go in there, I could die.”

“Only if I die first.”

She goes in.

“How much time do you think we have?” asks Candy.

The lights go out. I look out the window. The whole city is dark.

“Nevermind.” says Candy.

We stand in the darkness, waiting for the Darkness. It’s a bit of a relief, actually. I’ve been living in fear. Fear that Doc-Danger was dead. Fear that Doc-Danger abandoned me. What if I had nothing to fear? What if Doc-Danger loved me and hadn’t fucked up?

“God Machine?” I say.

YES.

“Ha-ha!” I say. “Can you take me to Doc-Danger?”

YES.

A glowing eleven dimensional construct appears. It looks kinda like two croissants fucking.

I grab Candy. I kiss her deeply. “Keep the lights on Baby.” I let her go.

I grab Lodestone and jump through the hole in reality.

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A note from Doctor Zero

Hi!  This is the end of Part 1.  The story gets a little weird from here.  Sorry.

This book has seven parts.  There are three long parts told by main characters - Megacles, Candy, Doc-Danger.  There are also four short stories told by secondary characters.  The short stories are flashback episodes.  It sounds terrible, but you're gonna love it.

The next part is called Into Darkness.  It follows Mr. President through his first political campaign.  It has a tagline!

We spend $5 billion on cancer research and $600 billion on obsolete weaponry. We should switch that around. A cure for cancer is better than a couple aircraft carriers. 

Also, this book is slowly sliding towards obscurity due to a lack of reviews.  If you could take a second to post that it's the best book you've ever read, we can trick more people into reading it, thereby increasing the odds that we get a hypno-clone.  (If 1 million people read this book, one of them will invent a hypno-clone.  Trust me, this is how it happens.)

Anyway, it's been fun talking to you, but I'll let the book do the talking from now on.  I have 50 more chapters on deck.  Cheers!


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Doctor Zero

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