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THE ELEMENTS OF NATURE
April 9, 1999
Two attendants escorted David-11 from his sleeping quarters to the anteroom of the laboratory. For the past week, David-11 had been prepared. He was shaved, medicated, adjusted, altered and as he had joked with the doctors, bent, mutilated and spindled. Dozens of small machines had been implanted into this body in preparation for the big transformation.
David-11 wasn't just another human, David-11 was a clone. His biological father was the original David, known as David-prime. David-prime had discovered the biochemical process that permitted regeneration of a human body from a single cell. There were ten successful David-clones in the world.
The David-clones had very little in common with the statue of David by Michaelangelo and even less with the biblical David. Ironically they were a modern day Goliath.
The military said that clones were products of genetic manipulation created by medicine for the betterment of mankind. No one believed them. At least not after the Light Drive test that had went awry.
David-11 was stronger than a half dozen men and stood nearly seven feet tall.
Trained by the military with reflexes superior to any living creature, he was the ideal modern soldier, able to withstand heat and cold and function for long periods of time with no rest, no food. Raised in the electronic world, David-11 could do differential calculus and analyze equations at the speed of most small computers.
Today was David-11's day.
Today, he would become mankind's ultimate weapon.
Today, he would become a robot.
This had been tried before with non-clones. First with steroids and growth hormones, then with bio-implants and computer technology, and even a sequence of genetic engineering. But none of these attempts had been successful. The key to success was a new element, atomic number 164, one of the new ultra-heavy, ultra-stable elements. Element 164 was able to combine with human flesh and create a harder-than-steel alloy that moved and lived. The only drawback was that the process required a volume of Element 164 equal to the volume of flesh and bone of the subject. Otherwise, the process did not go to completion and the unconverted flesh would be rejected. Rejection meant death. However, the new Superconducting-Supercollider had been working several years to produce a sufficient quantity of element 164 to create one soldier who would become the ultimate weapon.
David-11's thoughts were interrupted by the entrance of more technicians. They brought lead-lined cases holding a suit of armor. Physicists, engineers and doctors followed the technicians with more boxes. They all were dressed in bright yellow radiation suits and helmets and goggles. The technicians had not seen David-11 before and stared at the large, well-muscled, naked hulk that sat awaiting them. It was not so much his size, as the computerized interfaces that made David-11 look inhuman.
As they opened the boxes and began to prepare the suit of armor, they looked at David with uneasy, sideways glances. The computerized devices made of Element 164 glowed and glittered from where they had been attached to his body.
The upper half of his skull had been replaced with computerized sensors of Element 164. Special hearing aids were attached to his ears and covered the sides of his head. Data interface connections covered his face around his eyes and nose. A tube had been inserted into the base of his throat to provide for a special air processing unit on his suit of armor. His vocal cords had been removed and replaced by an electronic voice synthesizer that filled the front of his neck. The mastoid process had been replaced a satellite telemetry interface. A fabric made of Element 164 covered his lips and teeth, filled his mouth, and extended down his esophagus to his stomach. A fusion power unit had replaced David-11's stomach and small intestine.
Computer patches and sensors were fastened on both shoulders, down his arms and to his fingers. An oval shaped sensor array was fastened over his solar plexus in the middle of his chest and fanned wires out all over his body. Computer pads and sensors covered David-11's hips and legs. Special armor plates were fastened to the small of his back to protect his kidneys. Sensors protruded from each vertebrae of David-11's spinal column. Internal sensors had been attached to all major organs in David-11's body. A second fusion synthesizer replaced his large intestines. From his head to his feet, Element 164 glittered and sparkled. From the base of his skull down to his buttocks shone silver and gold.
The military had considered what the ultimate weapon would be.
An intelligent, indestructible soldier was an obvious weapon, but an intelligent, indestructible Adam was the ultimate weapon. Adam, of course, was capable of creating his race. A thick tube attached to a third fusion synthesizer had been implanted in David-11's bladder and extended out his penis, holding it stiff and erect. David-11's testicles had been implanted with metal structures that enhanced their ability to create human sperm and manipulate the gene within it. Once transformed, David-11 would be able to recreate all life on earth using a cloning chamber. He would become the ultimate agent of survival.
Despite the number and size of these attachments, there still was insufficient volume of Element 164 to properly convert David-11's body. Thousands of needles of Element 164 had been fabricate on the inside of a suit of armor would provide the rest of the metal required to transform David-11's body into metal.
The technicians signaled that they were ready to begin assembly of the suit of armor and David-11 walked over to the support platform. The suit would be bolted together around David-11's body and subsequent irradiation would convert flesh, blood and bone into a metallic alloy.
Each part had been molded to the contours of David-11's body and had a shiny, glittery, metallic sheen due to its radioactivity. The inside of the suit was covered with long, thin needles spaced about 3/16 of an inch apart and protruding nearly an inch and a half. These were designed to penetrate flesh and bone and ensure that each part of his human body was in intimate contact with Element 164. The technicians started with the boots.
The boots were made in several parts, a bottom and three sides. The technicians guided David-11's feet onto the boot base one-foot at a time. The needles hissed as they contacted flesh. David-11 winced as the needles travel through his foot and came out the top. The drugs in his body and the radiation of Element 164 prevented David-11 from feeling pain.
He watched as the technicians wrapped the other pieces of the boot around his ankles and calves, carefully forcing the needles through his ankle and leg bones. Special ankle joints were built into the boots to increase the strength of his human joints. The needles made his legs feel warm. The reaction was starting.
The technicians moved up his legs. New knee joints were installed and bolted into place and thigh pads and hip joints were attached to the inside and outside of each leg. These metal pads also interfaced with all the new computer devices that had been implanted in David-11's legs and hips. The technicians had to be precise here because the needles of Element 164 were long and inserted deep into David-11 thighs and hips. With the legs finished, he stood astride the stand like the colossus of ancient history.
A broad waistband was fitted around his torso both front and back. It took a little time to fasten the computer pads and align and tighten the bolts. The wasitband covered his abdomen from his crotch to the ribcage and attached to his legs. It had a series of flexible joints to permit movement. The back of the waistband flared out for additional kidney protection.
A breastplate was fitted onto David-11's chest and body and bolted into place. Here, an intricate pattern of needles was inserted into his chest to assist in converting the ribcage. The breastplate pushed David-11's shoulder back into a wide military stance. The back portion of the suit was so large, the technicians had to use a mechanical device hold it in place while they attached the sensors that poked out of David-11's spinal column. To complete his torso, they added a collar that came as high as the chin line and nearly covered the back of his head.
The technicians then set about to place the armor on David-11's arms. They let him flex his arms once more before the technicians began to press the needles through his arms and begin to attach the pieces together. The suit was built with complicated set of flexible plates for the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints and these took a long time to affix the needles and bolt into place. The "gloves" of the suit of armor were really twenty-four separate pieces and had to be fitted precisely together. David-11's stood patiently while the finishing touches to his hands were completed.
The codpiece was installed next and was fabricated in several pieces that fitted around his testicular enhancements and extended out the shaft of his penis. In the Military's vision, If David-11 was the last man on earth, then he would be hormonally driven into procreate his race. As the technicians bolted the codpiece together, the innate energy of Element 164 activated the testicular enhancements and began pumping hormones into David-11's body. David-11's felt lightheaded and giddy with this sudden rush of sexual energy.
The Physicists believed that only being at ground zero of a nuclear blast could destroy the new metallic man they were going to create and that in the case of nuclear war, David-11 could "reseed and repopulate" the human race.
The technicians, engineers and physicists moved with added urgency. With only the upper half of David-11's head exposed, there was danger of spontaneous reaction.
The first part of the helmet the technicians installed looked like giant goggles. This held filters for the eyes that had to be fitted one at a time directly onto David-11's human eyes like contact lenses. During the transformation, they would fuse with his eyeballs. Quickly, the technicians fitted the nose, jaws and mouth, carefully attaching them to David-11's face. The top of the helmet was composed of and internal and external pieces. The internal pieces were specially irradiated needles of Element 164 that could be inserted into David-11's brain without killing him. The irradiation had the effect of making the nerve cells flow around the needles. This gave the technicians a few moments to insert sufficient element 164 into David-11's brain. The top of the helmet was then fitted over the top of the satellite telemetry unit and David-11's head.
The technicians banged on the suit with a wrench when they had finished bolting it together and began to move it into the target chamber. Inside the suit, David-11 took inventory of his soon to be former body. He could feel the individual cells undergoing conversion from contact with Element 164. If he flexed his muscles, sufficient energy was transmitted to the needles to convert small portions of skin and bone. Cell by cell, the energy was building.
David-11 found that he could control the energy that was pulsing through his body. With each pulse he started to visualize his body as metal and not as flesh and bone. David concentrated on the molecular conversion that he could feel in his body. He focused the energy on his brain converting the cells one by one. He directed the energies his brain, to convert unused portions of his human brain and create a super-brain that would be thousands of times more efficient than his human brain.
A final clank of metal on metal signaled that he was in the target position. The technicians and physicists had to get away from the chamber to their safe room. That would take fifteen minutes. Once in their safe room, they would immediately evacuate the air from the chamber and activate X-ray machines.
David-11 heard the pumps start and felt the air being drawn out of the chamber. An increase in the rate of cell transformation indicated that the giant X-ray machines had been started and were pouring energy into the chamber. He concentrated the new energies on converting his body to what he desired rather the military blueprint that had been given him.
The final sequence was engaged. He heard a radio voice announce 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and POWER. David-11's armored body was instantly engulfed in a wave of gamma and X-rays that had been focused on the target chamber from an underground nuclear blast. The gamma and X-ray energy seared and burned his human flesh for an instant before Element 164 could combine and convert it to metal. One instant he felt human, the next, he felt metallic. Energy raced through his new body converting, reshaping, and rebuilding. One minute, neurons handled his thoughts and the next, living metal synapses that operated millions of times faster had taken their place. He felt Element 164 dissolve into his flesh and bone and he felt his flesh and bone become metal. It was more than mere replacement, he felt his mind race as it attempted to help his body grow and shape itself to fit the armor. The energy raging through his body had not just converted him to metal, but to functioning metal components.
The joints in his arms and legs were completed first; he could flex them and feel how much stronger they were as metal than as bone and sinew. Hips, shoulders and chest transformed next, then back and buttocks. Then the complex structure of his spine became metal. The energy moved up to his head and he felt the satellite telemetry become active. A new face was forming as his mouth and nose became active. The breathing apparatus began to supply oxygen to the power units in his body. A fierce white light greeted David-11's new eyes as they adjust their built in shields and dimmed the light. He felt the three fusion synthesizers activate and begin to generate power for him to function. Telemetry was being collected and analyzed by the pod in his solar plexus. His new metal body began to function.
He moved his new metal hands over his metal body and was amazed that the feel of metal against metal felt like normal skin. His hands felt over his new body and explored what he had become. He was bigger and stronger. In the intense radiation, he could see his hands and legs and they looked like shiny metal. Metal muscles moved under metal skin. He felt a metal heart sending energy throughout his body like blood in his human body. His metals hands now felt his new testicles and manhood and he was pleased that it was not only as flexible as his human one had been, but larger and longer.
His body was still absorbing the vast amounts of radiation that flowed through the room. His mind was struggling to change the course of the transformation. Both mentally and physically he had been able to alter the military vision of what he was to be.
The military blueprint would have left David-11 looking like an otherworldly, over-muscled robot. He had smoothed the muscular contours of his new body into a less dramatic and more human form He had been able to refashion his eyes, nose, mouth and jaws into a normal human appearance. He had been able to enhance the strength of his new metal skeleton in ways not imagined by the military designers. Thus, reducing its bulk and making him look like a 25-year-old man.
Flexing, bending, and stretching his new body and muscles, David-11 stepped off the platform and looked around the room.
2646 words more or less
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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