He couldn’t stay long but it was nice to have a place to rest for a while. Of course, his name wasn’t Timothy Fleming here. Today, he was an American student spending a few months in the Slovenian capital. He had changed the color of his hair and grown a beard. He’d purchased a cane and became adept at walking with a limp (a motorcycle accident, he explained) to alter the manner of his gait. He spoke with what was referred to in the States as the “California non-accent,” since he was too easily identified either by his mid-western speech patterns or his mother’s South Eastern British accent.
Not being sure if the Agency had gained access to any of Hellspite’s “alternative” identifications including passports and driver’s licenses, he’d created a new identity for his current sojourn. The forgeries he was using would do for a short time while he accessed certain vendors on the dark web and purchased something more substantial. He’d still have to move around frequently to evade detection.
At first he blamed that bitch at the ale house in Dover but it was really his own arrogance that nearly got him pinched. He should have realized he was still close enough to Dymchurch and Romney that he could possibly be recognized by someone from the old days. He’d barely gotten away in time, though he had to abandon his original escape route and travel by other means.
“Not a fine day to enjoy the view, is it Alex?”
His downstairs neighbor Julija had taken a fancy to him. It was a shame really since she was very attractive, but he wanted to keep people at a certain distance so he’d confided in her that he was gay and recovering from a difficult break up. A lover could potentially learn too much and then have to be eliminated.
“I enjoy the Dragon bridge, Julija. I’m somehow drawn to the Vienna Secession.
“You artists.” She laughed and tousled his dark brown hair. He made sure to dye it often so his the lighter roots wouldn’t begin to show.
“I’d think an engineering student would appreciate bridges.”
“Electrical engineering student, Alex. What do I know of bridges? I do know it’s snowing and I’m freezing out here. How do you stand it being from California?”
“I grew up near Lake Tahoe. We get a lot of snow.” All she knew about California was Los Angeles and what she saw in American films and television shows.
“Come on, Alex.” She grabbed him by his arm and pulled. “Let’s go someplace warm. You can buy me a coffee.”
He pushed the bridge of his tinted glasses up on his nose with his free hand. “I’ll go with you, but you can buy. I paid last time.”
They laughed as he let her lead him toward the Kavarna Pločnik. His relationship with her was dangerous, even as casual acquaintances. In a week, maybe two, he’d get a message saying his Mother was seriously ill and he had to cut short his stay. Then he would move on, probably east again, adopt a new identity, and then wait.
Timothy Fleming was dead and for the moment so was Hellspite. The assassin had a reputation for killing with cold and professional dispassion, but a year from now, he would make an exception. His confidant and former lover Marquessa O’Shaughnessy had made a deal with the authorities in exchange for leniency. The sentence for betrayal was death.
Sophia wasn’t an artificial intelligence in the sense of most science fiction movies and novels. It possessed neither ego nor consciousness as the concepts were understood on a human level. However it did gather and collate all of the data regarding the applications and potential uses for all of the synthecon substances in relation to biological organisms, including humans, and then made decisions based on projections for improved efficiency and adaptability of design.
Daniel Hunt’s Synthecon Corporation had founded its reputation on being a superior replacement for even the most advanced prosthetics. After all, if you had lost an arm, would you prefer an electronic/mechanical replacement or one grown from synthetic DNA that mimicked your own? The result of the latter would be an arm that was indistinguishable from the original. The catch was both the cost and the fact that medical insurance companies generally didn’t offer such coverage.
While synthecon products were well-established in repairing or replacing limbs, damaged skin, certain organs, facial reconstruction, and the like, only dystopian extremists and fanciful visionaries imagined using the technology to reconstruct almost all or in fact all of the original organic material of a human being. Mikiko Jahn and Elon Rosenberg knew that having 80% or more of your organics replaced by the synthetic was not only possible but practical. What they were unaware of and what even Daniel Hunt didn’t know was that for the world’s first two syntheorgs, the process never truly stopped.
Within a year, the last of the organic material they had possessed at the beginning of their reconstruction would be replaced with synthetic equivalents, including their brains and nervous systems. On that day, both Mikiko and Elon would become completely synthetic, finally giving Sophia her first two intelligent companion entities.
This is the final entry of my initial Mikiko Jahn saga. I’ve decided the only way for me to write a novel is to draft it one chapter at a time on this blog and then ask for reactions. Of course, there are a number of chapters missing, and some of the entries are not part of the formal canon, so I’ll have to create those and then go through the long process of editing for readability and some form of publication.
I suppose I could self-publish, but I’m not really interested in going through this entire process just so that a few hundred readers can purchase my work for ninety-nine cents a pop. Not sure how else to approach it, but then again, I’ve got time.
My Sean Becker Undead series is coming along nicely and I’ve finally gotten the second half of that “novel” outlined, albeit very roughly. That means the potential for two novels being completed (more or less) within the next three to six months, one scifi and the other horror (although not real gory blood and guts horror).
All of what I’ve published for both characters is subject to change. Their initial outings here are to test out ideas and characterizations and suggestions for improvements are welcome (especially since I don’t know all that much about Japan, Japanese culture, the UK, and Chicago).
For this epilogue, I wanted to create a somewhat plausible way for Fleming to vanish. I happened across an article called How To Disappear And Live Under The Radar which seems to be written more for the survivalist and “black helicopter” crowd but that nonetheless, provided some interesting tips.
Since the author “Sergeant Survival” suggested hiding in a mid-sized city (big cities have too many cameras and small towns don’t offer enough cover in terms of population), I looked up What are the best medium sized Western European cities? and chose Ljubljana, Slovenia from the list.
Alex Graham (Timothy Fleming) can’t stay very long since another piece of advice from “Sergeant Survival” is to move frequently, but then the Sergeant didn’t take into account that the person hiding may have a great deal of money stashed away in digital currency and can afford to buy just about anything on the Dark Web (which sounds totally fascinating, but even if I could access it, I’m entirely too cowardly to visit) which is a small subset of what’s known as the Deep Web.
I’ve also introduced a semi-sinister quality of Sophia (I’ll have to write a lot more about her and Mikiko’s initial construction process to make the AI’s role clearer) in that she is having the nanobot systems in both syntheorgs continue to replace not just the damaged organics but the non-damaged systems and organs including their neurology. One rationale is that the overall biosynthetic system will function more efficiently if there is no necessity for an organic-synthetic interface. If the person is entirely synthetic, he or she is easier to maintain. Of course Sophia never saw fit to ask permission first, but then moral and ethical reasoning isn’t necessarily part of how she conceptualizes her function.
What does that mean for Mikiko, Elon, and those who come after them? That’s a topic for future novels.
Here are the stories I’ve written for the novel. Some are not in chronological order and others are not part of the final canon.
- The Reconstructed Woman
- Burn Victim
- Woman Under Repair
- Five Years On
- Woman in the Shadows
- The Search for Armageddon
- The Swimmer
- Murder at 900 North Michigan
- First Flight
- The Man in the Dark
- The Vengeful
- The Most Dangerous Predator
- The Protector.
- Night of Syn.
- The Hawkhurst Gambit.
- Game Over
- Epilogue One: Mikiko’s Race