Name: Paul Watson
Paul Wilson is an aspiring basketball player. It is an one of the First World games, invented by a mathematician back in the twentieth century. His father taught him about it as a child and he has loved it ever since.
“It is speed, trajectory, and the magic of flight, my son...”
Paul was born with a quickness rating of 933. This is well above normal. Nearing the thousand point cap, in fact. It’s a miracle. Anomalous. Most professionals work their entire lives, never coming close to 900. Their overall score is of course much higher than Paul--that’s why they’re professionals--still, some have all the available upgrades, and it is not enough. Paul has a general physical attribute of 933, and he is one year too young to even get upgrades.
“In your case, mostly the speed.”
Paul’s logic rating, however, is nothing to brag about. For instance he has no answers as to the why. None at all, and only the beginning inner workings of the how.
When a human birth is facilitated by the Human Biotechnology AgencyA, as 99% of all births are, the embryo is injected with a randomized equality nano-program. It binds at the molecular level for life, allowing for further nano-upgrades and utilities throughout their time, integrated through a DNA membrane. The Naturalists criticize the Randomization Engine which apportions the fate of Second World, as the supposed ‘randomness’ of such an approach seems inherently flawed given that it was programmed.
Even if self-programmed.
Paul’s father put it to him an interesting way once: “I’ve always seen the RE as a functional equivalent to the nature of First World: chaotic, but brimming with order. Call it whatever you want: machine, god---I prefer referee. The rules are set, and then we play. So let’s play.”
Rules: these is the general thrust of the Human Biotechnology Initiative, a concise global mission statement crafted from the forward-thinking logic of the worlds leading philosophers. Like a final plaque on the structural palace which houses modern peace, the HBI states the following: “...the initial random proclivities of any given individual are, in fact, systemically equal. Time will reveal that mind, and only mind, bares any difference in outcome.”
Whatever that means.
All the kids are forced to learn about and read the HBI in school but the majority of it can be summed up as ‘play.’
The way Paul sees it, he got lucky--statistically a miracle--but speed isn’t the only variable. Not in any game. The real question is: will he make a name for himself? He has researched other Tier 9 births similar to himself and some of them are just sort of hanging around, not even competing. Some cite it’s not really fair whereas some dominate their fields without remorse. The latter are legends but they are also scarce on friends.
“How did he get that rating? I thought the GBI was supposed to be fair...?”
“Maybe he can read the code?”
“Code reading is impossible, period. It’s in inherent contradiction.”
“Jesson DeLandry says if you can think it, it’s possible.”
“Jesson DeLandry goes against HBA logic. Which is illogical.”
“Anomalies do occur from time to time, and anomalies are logical.”
Paul had overhead his friends discussing him earlier today, much to his disappointment. In many ways verbal communication is the most secure, as it largely prevents psychic echo, but in as many ways simply being within earshot is just as relevant. The human2 ear can discern multiple faint sounds at a distance, and Paul was definitely close enough---just around the corner from the court.
Later on Paul shoots around alone in silence where his friends had been. He replays the audio over and over in his head and he can’t help but reconstruct the scene visually. The facial features, the head shakes. He might as well have been there anyways. Maybe then he could have explained it to them: he has more questions about this than anyone else. Why can’t they see that? Deep down Paul also feels more alone than anyone else. He hopes no one sees that.
He keeps practicing.
The ball pounds the ground; his feet glide with overabundant sufficiency. He pulls up in front of one of the mental images of his so-called-friends and shoots. He misses.
The HBA officer’s explanation soon after his Tier 9 speed had manifested had been curious, and definitely left something wanting. They had met in a very, very large room, which he had later found out was a type of containment zone, used for anomalies which could pose a risk. In a way it makes him laugh: baby Paul, the security risk. He remembers the floor as an aesthetically shifting sea of nano-mites, capable of doing or producing nearly anything. The lighting comes from underneath and is set to a calming melody of chimes and colors which did not sooth Paul very much. The HBA officer sat at a desk, the only thing in the room. The entire back wall of the room a mirror.
“My son,” the HBA officer started, putting a hand on his small, infant shoulder, “we don’t see anything wrong in the code, and it seems conclusive enough that you did not tamper with it. You are free to go.” The officer stands from the desk and politely escorts him back outside the threshold of the door.
“Congratulations on the miracle.”
Paul thanks him and starts back with baby steps towards his mother, waiting on the other side of the airlock. He looks back one more time at the officer before the door closes behind him, partially in awe, and partially resentful of this whole process. That was the first time Paul remembers feeling that emotion.
When one becomes an HBA officer any remaining attributes which might happen to be below, get bumped up to Tier 9, or 900 points---that is the public line at least. To say they are capable is an understatement. Their decision is final and usually makes perfect sense. They are demigods...but with feet like the rest of us. As he flew home (just for fun) with his mother that day in their flight pod he looked down at the city below. It was so large then, what he was to be a part of. At night he would dream of running across the whole thing, and the people he would meet. He dreamed of a lot of things. The waking reality is that the world is bigger than he could have ever imagined. Unlike the First World of duality, technology is everything.
“We are all one, Paul,” his dad said tucking him into bed that night,“biotech infractions are the most serious offenses.”
Paul is not a historian, but he knows Second World was not without it’s birthing pains. Everyone knows why things must never again get out of control. Early in his childhood he, like everyone, repeatedly learned about the Sundial Event, one catalytic day of some forty years ago. Perhaps the most famous day ever in earth’s history, the world watched in surreality the images of what became of Army Corporal Nian Dyce of the Northern Americas after he secretly upgraded himself past what would be today considered Tier 10 equivalency, in effect making himself a God. The footage of Dyce’s consequential emergences contain some of the most disturbing images ever seen by man. Things that should be “impossible, for everyone’s safety and sanity” as stated by early HBA pundits. These public circuit videos capture the only two historically recognized incidences of Dyce’s emergence, though it is often claimed, if not accepted widely, that there have been many more. Currently no one knows what became of Dyce, for it seems unlikely that such a self-evolved entity could ever be apprehended. There are rumors that he will return someday as much as there are rumors that he is gone forever. Some talk to the Naturalists to get this information. Mostly people have forgotten about Dyce except for when the HBA feels the need to remind the world of what he represented: the brink.
After the Sundial Event the extent of nano-machinery and other esoteric technology was removed from the depth of secrecy and into the public scientific sphere for dissemination and consideration. It had to be, after what was seen. This was the day the world stopped and everyone was finally filled in. Secrets came out. Conspiracies revealed. When things started revolving again acceptance towards this unequivocal global makeover seemed salient from the beginning. Most of the intellectuals and celebrities embraced the idea from the start, and being in a much more iconic psychology back then, most everyone else hoped on board as well. Everyone was tired and wanting a change.
Of course there were those who exempted out of this process.
For example during what has now come to be called the Shift there was still much of an integration among the human1, and human2. The most skilled Human1 athletes were able to hold their own with the enhanced human2’s. It was a global phenomenon, watching these stubborn underdogs slowly get beaten down by the next generation of pit-bull.
There was one in particular, a young tennis player by the name of Lessi Peer who simply refused---both to upgrade, but also to lose. He would go onto display remarkable feats of natural, human1 ability, not only winning matches against opponents with physical enhancements that should have given them almost unquestionable dominance, but winning them with a sort of elegant grace some have argued died off with the advent of human2.
Lessi was once famously quoted as saying: “Playing with them makes me stronger, and I can think faster than they can upgrade. In the end, everything is thought.”
Right at the peak of his career he died suddenly and this more or less ended the last of the true human1 competitors. Eventually everyone else who had not submitted to the superior human2 way of life and the Shift was hailed as more or less complete. Those who did not---The Naturalists, as they came to be called---eventually settled in the area of Tibet, cutting themselves off from the global psychic data stream commonly referred to as the Hive.
It was surprising, from what Paul could tell, how fast people became to resent their former brethren. Their ancestral roots. The differences, through HBA media at least, now illustrate human1 as being infantile and ridiculous---animals to be left in the wild. It has been forty years since the shift, for all Paul knows they really are another species. Still, though, he practices with Lessi’s philosophy in mind. He is, born and raised, Human2, but he has his intuitions there are worthy opponents out there who are not. Even still. If there is he will find them. One more year until he is old enough to upgrade which means it will be one year before he starts official competition. One year to find the Naturals. One year to find, and train against his Lessi.