C. W. Kesting's 
FreshMuse

"Technology has robbed us of everything that made being human fun."
--Aristotle Leary
from
Rubicon Harvest

Rubicon Harvest offers a futuristic world in which the issues surrounding the utilization of embryonic stem cells have been long resolved and diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s have been completely eradicated through the Advanced Stem Cell Initiative. Technological breakthroughs in optical computer processing, human genomics, and the globalization of governments through corporate economics have thrust society into quantum leaps of forced adaptation.

                                                                                     ~Selected Excerpt~



Carla held her breath as her heart chilled and her stomach knotted tight.

“The events leading to Eve’s tragic demise have been intentionally blocked, as have any facets of memory that relate to her actual identity,” explained Matheson. “We did this to preserve experimental integrity and eliminate bias from the protocols that we developed.”

“What you did, dear doctor, was to erase the mind of a human being and turn her into a mere organic data processing unit,” Fawlings suddenly interjected catching Carla by surprise.

Matheson flinched, but Cronus narrowed his eyes as he smiled at Fawlings.

“On the contrary, Dr. Fawlings,” Wyatt began. “It’s because of the overwhelming success of the Halo interface, and the Hemisphere project that we’ve finally been able to conclusively and completely map the entire mind. The human brain itself has guided us through its own complexities and aided us in unraveling the enigma that is consciousness. We now have an atlas of the mind. A mode by which we can begin to fully, and finally, understand the human psyche.”

“Bullshit!” Fawlings spat. He leapt to his feet and pointed at Wyatt Cronus. “All that you have done is further confuse the issue of existentialism. Oh, you may have stumbled upon a wonderfully new physiologic breakthrough, I’ll give you that. This technology may indeed hold some promise, improving our abilities to better understand the electrochemical and organic processes of the brain.

“But to claim that you’ve found a portal into the human mind is blasphemous.” Fawlings took a deep breath and scanned the seated crowd. He continued, energized and vehement.

“Do not confuse the physicality of the brain with the essence of the mind. It is in the way we experience our world that makes us human. Our specific and individual relationships with every aspect of the universe constitute our being. By blocking access to this woman’s memory of her experiences, you have simply removed that which makes her unique. You’ve erased the essence that makes her human.” Fawlings swept the room with wide piercing eyes; his upper lip trembled.

He clutched the PDD with white knuckled determination. Carla resisted the urge to reach for his hand and draw him back into his seat.

The crowd stared in silence, brows furrowed and eyes blinking in wonder. Matheson visibly cringed, but Wyatt Cronus remained silent and smiling. Dolan Douglass slinked slowly to his side.

“Professor Fawlings,” Cronus responded coolly, “as some of you may or may not know, is one of the premier metaphysical philosophers responsible for molding the young minds in our moderate universities these days.” Cronus turned to Fawlings and cocked his head to the side.

“I believe you took an equally vocal stand in opposition of the embryonic stem cell advancements, isn’t that so, professor?”

Fawlings stood unresponsive, his silence echoing the political blow.

Cronus continued to smile as he added, “And look how that turned out.” Cronus spread his arms wide and swept the audience with a prideful smirk. “We have cured diseases, friends! We’ve improved the quality of life for hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of people. Make no mistake; it wasn’t by mere chance that stem cell therapies found success in our world. Nor was it a miracle.” Cronus paused and looked directly at Fawlings.

“It was science, and the determination and vision of a handful of remarkable individuals. Ask a diabetic how it feels to no longer have to endure daily blood tests and injections. Ask a grandmother with Parkinson’s how it feels to share precious time with her family without ever having to suffer from debilitating tremors. I can promise you, dear doctor, that the answer will be universal--life changing!” Cronus swept his arms around the room, a silent endorsement of his personal philanthropy for mankind.

“We change lives, ladies and gentlemen. That is what we do. By making our existence in this dangerous and often unfair world, easier, and if not altogether better, then at least more palatable.” Cronus beamed with egomaniacal pride.

Dolan Douglass took two confident steps forward, resting his hand on Cronus’ shoulder. When he spoke, the air in the room grew thin and seemed to vibrate. “Some have called these advances miracles of science, attributing it to God’s will or the incalculable benevolence of nature. Whether divine intervention, pure mathematical luck or the convergent harmonious rotation of the spheres, these are all excellent topics for debate. And all of your opinions mean a great deal to us. To me. That’s why you all were specially chosen to witness this wonderful event.” Douglass warmed the room with his celestial smile.

“But please witness the event in its entirety. Give us that much respect. Then, we’ll be anxious to entertain any and all opinions. Philosophical, theological, even economical.” He turned to Fawlings and offered a sanctimonious pout. The older professor sighed heavily, then nearly slumped back into his seat with a defeated shake of his head.

Douglass nodded once, let his eyes fall closed in silent acceptance, then stepped slowly back into the shadows behind Sarah’s floating form. The room was electric with tension, yet remained silent.

Carla’s earpiece buzzed with Robert’s distant voice. “I think it’s time, boys and girls.

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