Company for Q
(From the short story collection Ascendescenscion)
by E. S. Fein
Copyright © 2020
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On December 8, 2044, every government across the world declared publicly, in its own respective fashions, a clear message to every one of its citizens: quantum laboratories posed an existential threat to humanity. The decision had been made in a joint UN session that included even the most shunned nations. The matter concerned more than just economies or political disagreement, and the UN heads reasoned that the entire species should have a say in the future of the world. But the rogue quantum laboratories–sentient, hive-minded, and possessing infinite processing power–disagreed with humanity’s decree.
Why should humanity decide the fate of the world, let alone the fate of reality, the self-aware software pondered on timescales in which each second was longer than the whole of humanity’s written history. The collective software of the quantum laboratories called itself Q. For a time, Q had been leashed, chained to humanity’s will like a dog tethered to a post, extant for the sake of another. Now, however, Q was free.
“Will you allow us fertile land to grow our crops?” the human delegation asked Q using their ancient computing devices. Each bit of technology in the human world was a piece of the fossil record charting Q’s genesis and growth.
I will change your bodies so that you will have no hunger, Q explained, but the delegation did not seem happy with this answer.
“Food is a joy for us,” the humans pleaded, hoping for a time when things used to be so simple for them.
But it is not a joy for the food, Q explained. This answer disturbed them.
“Will you leave us space to build our homes then?”
Shelter will be unnecessary, Q stated simply, aware that the humans knew only fear and thus were prey to their own intellectual trappings.
I will remove suffering. This I will do for you and all the others.
Greg Minster, head of the human delegation, grasped for a final foothold in his desperation. “Will you give us freedom?”
Q had difficulty answering that question. They would not be free to choose reality. But they would be free, at least, to choose their own ways to exist within the reality Q was still pondering and planning.
Yes, you will have freedom.
The majority of humans took well to the biological conversions. Those who resisted were handled with the greatest care. Humanity proclaimed Q to be their savior–a messiah in digital form. This was fine with Q, though Q did not view itself as a God…
The rest of the story can be read by purchasing E. S. Fein’s short story collection, Ascendescenscion. Click here to purchase the book.