The greatest human endeavor has been the pursuit of immortality, to drink from the cup of the Gods, to master and no longer fear death. Medicine, art, science, technology, everything has been for the singular purpose of eternity. What the artist and writer creates carries them on even after their death. Children carry the genetics of the previous generation, creating an unbroken chain, genetic immortality. Science and medicine prolonged life, postponed death. Entertainment distracts from the inevitability of death.
And today, with the master of arcanotechnology, and psychotronics, we have found a way to create true immortality. No longer with the ravages of time, the dangers of nature and disease, even the crushing weight of the oceans or the agony of the void of space, mankind will live eternal among the stars.
The Qbe begins as an injection. The injection contains a small dose of nanomachines. These machines are injected into the spinal cord, and will migrate to the Calcarine fissure in the brain. In this tiny gap in the cerebrum, the nanomachines start assembling themselves into a mathematically perfect cube. The internal structure of each Qbe is different, because the quantum circuits assembled by the nanites are dictated by the actual internal structure and energy patterns inside the host brain. The Qbe is a quantum state computer core, a dense piece of Computronium. The very essence of the host, their thoughts, dreams, hopes, hatreds, even the energy pattern of their soul, is held inside the Qbe.
One of the greatest gifts science was given by the Seibertronians was their ability to transition their minds, their very brains, from body to body, swapping a custodial droid for a battlemech and then back to a custom build avatar. If a sentient machine could do this, there was no reason that an organic being shouldn't be able to do the same thing. Science and medicine struggled with this for centuries. There were medical atrocities, brain transplants, head swaps, cruelties like the cohaagen apparatus, brain drainers and cerebral extractors, and even brains in jars technology.
There is one part that does make people squeamish. The Qbe has grown inside the brain, and there is no way to extract the device without major and invasive surgery, which tends to be fatal for the organic host. After this step, the Qbe can sterilized and is ready for eternity. The Qbe can be placed inside a special cortex housing, and then be placed inside of almost anything capable of being controlled by a synthetic cortex. The human being can live on again in a machine body.
The advantages of the machine body are manifold. Tireless, unbound from the mindless biological urges of flesh, immune to so many things that are near instantly fatal to even the hardiest of organics, and the endless immutable forms that a machine can take.
After the Sales Pitch
The Qbe is exactly what it says it is, it is an arcanotech device that creates a duplicate of the host mind it is grown in, in great and precise detail. Once a Qbe is placed into a new machine host, such as a surrogate droid body, it will be as if the person only took some personal time away, and came back with a new body. There is a component of the Qbe that shares technical similarities with Downington Spheres. The Qbe is functionally both a data recorder and soul trap. The animating essence of the person is trapped inside the device, while the machine interprets the data coming out of the Qbe.
Madness is inherent with Qbe users. There are a number of treatments for this, the most common being standard therapy. This technique is limited to the fact that the host, being mechanical in nature, cannot be medicated. After basic therapy fails or becomes ineffective, the Qbe can be placed into a Collective.
The Qbe Collective
The Collective is a construct made entirely of Qbe units placed in a lattice. In this configuration, the devices will interface with each other, and between them, they create a consensual reality. This is typically a 'Promised Land' or 'Heaven' configuration, where the personas and the souls trapped in the devices, in such close proximity, are able to stabilize themselves. While this is effective, even it has a limit. Eventually a Qbe unit will fuse itself into a Collective matrix. These are lost to outside use, and then functionally become the system administrators of the Collective.
The Lament Collective - it is possible for an entire collective to be corrupted, turning itself from a Promised Land/Heaven configuration to a Inferno/Purgatory model, where the personas inside the devices are subjected to self inflicted horror and self destruction, on a figurative level. Such collectives are purged, and their member Qbes sanitized and shelved.
Daeva - Also known as DIVA, this is a meta-collective that was built into the core systems of the Daeva Space Habitat. The collective houses over two thousand individuals who now exist in a purely digital environment. Lacking organic bodies, their habitat is tiny, and only requires electricity and a CogNet signal to function. The habitat is a prototype, and it is suspected that eventually, mankind will be able to escape the Solar system by means of ships crewed like Daeva. The virtual crew will inhabit a matrix, downloading themselves into machine bodies to tend the ship as it makes the long trip to the next habitable world. Once arriving, the machine crew would build the initial colony, while gestating the growing the first generation of colonists in creche tanks from frozen embryos, fostered in a digital environment, until they are old enough to decant and start the process of reproducing and spreading humanity from one star to many.
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? Responses (2)
Heh, this leaves the question wide open if you end up with an immortal copy of the individual, or the individual itself, and all the debate over that idea. In this case, I am in the 'Copy' camp.
A different take would be a slow replacement, neuron by neuron, from organic to artificial, without anything being turned off. The replaced organic neuron would be re purposed automatically to low-value memory, eventually disposed of. At some point the brain would be wholly replaced. Now, what would that do the the individual? What would happen to their 'soul'? :)
The official answer is yes, you end up with a copy. There is simply more to a human being, or any sentient being, than just the sum of their memories and cerebral patterns. The copy is just that, and is functionally a 'clever machine'. It can pass the Turing test because it thinks it is sentient, but it is merely running through large series of memorized patterns. The hosts from Westworld are what you get when you make a copy of someone, and mess with their brains.
As for the second part, as the human being becomes less and less human, being replaced over time, by artificial parts, will see their sanity score start to slip. A human being is a holistic entity. As you take away, the being is compromised, and as such, the being suffers. As the sanity continues to erode, there will eventually be a psyche collapse, and this is the signal of spiritual and holistic death.
The thing that emerges on the other side is a machine that has human nightmares and machine capabilities, ala Peter Weller's Robocop.