My real story starts 2050 with the launch of my personal rocket containing a Von Neumann probe on board.
I was 74 years old at that time and my body had reached its breaking point. Luckily for me there was the technology to digitalize your consciousness already developed some years before with only a small margin of error. I was lucky that it worked without any problems for me.
That wasn't any cheap adventure as the process costs around 1 million credits, a currency introduced 15 years before when cryptocurrencies overtook national ones as the people had enough of countries fighting economical wars with their favored money system.
The planet would have been much nicer if we didn't need any currency but humanity would have to evolve much more for that to happen. I had invested my earned money over my life quite good but even then I didn't have big enough money bags to digitalize my mind.
That changed when I won the european lottery and got more than 250 million credits to my account. What a flash. First I just wanted to go with the flow and go digital and enjoy my life on the world in a computer, playing games and other things but the overall status of the planet went more and more downwards.
Global warming had destroyed most of Afrika, central Asia and large parts of central America. Coastal areas and cities had been flooded with massive migration enlarging regional conflicts into global ones.
Energy production was mostly still with fossil fuels even if some countries had begun to find new ways for getting the industries fueled. Helping that was the advancements of 3D-printers into the first real fabricators using base materials like iron or carbon. It revolutionized everything from food production to machine construction. The only chokepoint was the massive energy needs of even small fabricators.
Fusion reactors were still a thing of the future largely because energy concerns sabotaged every step leading to a working model. Not that anybody officially admitted it but everybody with a working brain was clear about the circumstances of the latest big explosion of a fusion reactor in Australia rendering everything in 50 kilometers radius to slightly radiated dust.
Fortunately that happened in the big desert in the inner part of the continent so the damage was not so big. Controlling the media and influencing social networks threw the development of this technology decades back.
All in all with lots of politicians going more and more nuts I decided to find a way for leaving the planet for good.
Sadly most space programs and companies went down the drain when the powers that be decided to focus all money on maintaining the status quo on Earth and direct all money flows to their own purses. Nothing new there.
So I just had one last space rocket left from SpaceX which tried desperately to find someone buying it. I used some of my money to get the rocket and let it get made stronger for delivering my probe to the sky.
The probe contained two small fabricators, plenty of computing power and memory for my mind, mining equipment for gathering raw materials and the best solar cells that money could buy for outer space.
Risk was high that I would die a final death when I sent my mind into the probe.
I had learned all I could about engineering, physics and chemistry before leaving Earth and my data bases were the best you could get containing the planet's sciences. Without all the videos of cats, porn and other stuff in the internet the real knowledge was still massive but could get on most state of the art hard drives and I had many of them on board.
When the rocket lifted off I prayed for the second time in my life with all intensity I could muster. There was a real danger that somebody would try to destroy me before I could reach outer space and leave Earth's weapon reach.
The only thing that happened was that I got thousands of messages from all over the world from people that wished me luck and some of them asked if they possibly could send their own minds someday to me if I survived wherever my path lead me. That felt nice.
Space was lonely and after deploying my solar cells and getting enough energy for my electromagnetic drive developed back the late NASA I went my way for inner asteroid belt where I wanted to mine some smaller chunks.
The journey would have felt eternal if I hadn't reduced my awareness down to something resembling sleep for a digital mind.
The first time as a digital was confusing and made me panic but after I had some time adjusting to this new lifestyle it was awesome. My mind worked faster and much more efficient than before and the best thing of all was the missing emotions created by a working hypothalamus. Don't get me wrong, I still felt things, but much muted, but feelings like desire and lust disappeared along with their biological counterparts. No balls no fantasies about women.
For some people that would have been the loosing of their life essence, for me it was a very much freeing discovery. All the energy and drive I suddenly had an overflow of.
When I neared my destination I awoke from sleep mode and scanned my target. The asteroid was only 200 meters in diameter at the widest and roughly the shape of an potato. My scans showed high iron and silicate amounts so I could use it for building me a better body.
The only problem was the rotation of the asteroid. I would have to stop it somehow and I thought I had the most dangerous part behind me. Surprise, life always finds a way to fuck you sideways.
I studied its movement and magnetic field and realized that maybe I could use my own mass to lock its movement to my own. Surely, it would take some time to accomplish but that was something I had in overabundance. I would still need some help to accomplish that.
Earth hadn't changed much in my time away. Most of the old politicians still betrayed their purpose and wars ravaged many parts of the planet. No relevant new technologies for me to use but I got plenty of questions from all around the planet asking me how my journey went.
Mostly the questions originated from hobby astronomers but some were from kids. No clue how they got hold of my contact. I only had a small communication device installed on Earth to still let me connect with the Internet. Quantum communication is something that was around for 10 years now and didn't want to totally loose contact with my former home. My parents were long dead and my older brother too but my younger sister was still kicking even if she got slower over time. Her tongue was still sharp as ever much to her kids indisposition. My niece and nephew lived in a world derived of any bright future but still fought on knowing that there was mostly only one way the place could go.
I hoped I was able to do something for them out here. Maybe I would be able to transfer their minds too after I had build myself my first real spaceship. Not that there was much money left for their own digitalization but what was left I had transferred to their accounts. If I was able to get somehow some pricey materials back to Earth there was perhaps a chance to slow the final clash of the main powers on the cradle of humanity.
That were noble dreams for now because first there was this chunk of space garbage to stop. I still had some connections to some guys from the late NASA and ESA and tried to open a channel with one of them. Unfortunately I had to try more than 10 people before I got an answer.
Old Henry Gallagher from ESA connected with me. He was a former exo-geologist so I had a good chance that he was able to help me with my problem.
“I can't believe it. You're still in one piece out there.”
“Yep, space was good to me. No space junk or minor hits from anything on the way and now I stopped at a small asteroid and ain't sure how to stop its rotation.”
He nodded and frowned, “You could stop it with your own mass but you'd have to fly all around the sucker and it could take years. How big is the thing?”
I sent him my telemetry data and after a moment he became excited.
“That's the best data I got since ages. Thanks man. Even just looking at the overall state of things I would say that you're looking at at least 9 months of slowing the sucker down. And that's only after you have studied its magnetic field closely enough to anchor your position.”
I sighed. Nothing's easy out here.
“You don't know an easier way, don't you?”
“Easier maybe but surely much more dangerous for you.”
“Out with it, give me some alternatives.”
“You could find a relatively still place and touch down there but I fear that would also hurt your energy production with your solar panels.”
“Okay that is out of questions. Fuck, nine months just for slowing it down, maybe I should search for another chunk of stone.”
My friend just chuckled, “I wish you luck with that. Chance is that most of them, if not all, have a stronger rotation that that one. Did you give it a name?”
“Haha, why should I? When I'm done with that block there will nothing left over but dust on its way to the sun.”
“Right, I forgot that you're now the equivalent to a vacuum cleaner out there, pun intended.”
“You're still such a jester, you know.”
“Yeah, but I'm happy to hear from you. Our small community wasn't sure if you'd make the journey. Also you should better fortify your network against any attacks from other digitized. The situation down here goes fast down the gutter.”
I became serious again, “It's so bad?”
“I wished it wasn't but lately the Russians and Chinese started to fight over parts of siberia because with global warming and flooding of good farming land the cold land has become a much better farming ground than before.”
“Hm, and there's only one way that could end with two stubborn oxes fighting. Fuck I didn't think my fears would happen so fast.”
“For now I think they will use only conventional warfare but I and friends of mine have begun to dig our own bunker.”
“One way to survive. If everythings fails I'll send you the coordinates of my quantum link so you can take it with you to your bunker. Maybe I can help you in the future then with my ressources.”
“Dark times ahead, my friend. The idiots will fight some years hopefully before the show goes down so you should be able to get your own problem handled and build a new home for yourself and perhaps some lucky suckers out there.”
“I'll do my best. Please send me your computations for the best place to stop that sucker here and I'll start my work.”
“You'll have them as soon as possible. Henry out.”
The connection ended and I was left thinking.
I'd have to strenghten my cyber defenses for now. This was my home and anybody trying a stunt here would get his ass beaten to Mars and back.