Man to PostMan
When his son stepped through the privacy-field into his home office, Manfred began to disconnect.
“You told me to come see you after I finished my homelearn session, Dad.” His son’s eyes narrowed disdainfully at the etherware bands his father removed from his head and set by the brainframe, their household’s direct link to the infosphere.
“Dexter, your mother and I both wanted to discuss this with you. But, it’s dust up on Mars, so she auto-messaged me to talk with you tonight. To have a kind of old-fashioned man-to-man talk. You’ll be eighteen in a month and you’ll be eligible to…” Manfred hesitated. “You promised you wouldn’t decide until Mom returned, but that could be a year now, and she’s worried—we’re worried—you won’t wait.”
“I’m not going to wait. I’m going Post on my birthday,” Dexter said matter of factly.
Manfred rose out of his chair. “Dex, don’t do this to your mother, or me. You haven’t thought this through.”
His son’s blue eyes grew fierce. “You mean about getting rid of this crappy body, asthma, acne, colds, retro-flu and all that other biological bs? I don’t need this physicality. Nobody does since the singularity. I’m ready to upload. I’m going Post!”
“What about this?” Manfred placed a hand on his son’s shoulder. “What about touch? Talking face to face? Man to man? What about having a child of your own someday?”
“You mean, so I can watch my kid grow apart from me as my body slowly rots. I’m sorry, Dad. You’re living in the past. It’s dying and so are you. I’m going to live forever as a Post. I’ll experience every possibility.”
“It may not be that way, son. Not everything happens like the sim ads on eN-vision promise.”
“You’ve never even done the simulation. I’ve done it plenty. It makes your precious brainframe seem like a thousand-year-old abacus. You don’t have a clue how it liberates your mind,” Dexter argued, his eyes drifting to the floor. “And Melanie’s visited.”
Manfred turned away.
“She has, Dad. I’ve felt her, like she’s trying to pull me beyond eN-vision and the infosphere. She’s tugging at my mind, but I can’t go because of this deadweight. This body. I want to go with her. You have no idea how that feels.”
“I know the grief her parents feel!” Manfred shouted. “They’ve cryo-cized Melanie in her room. They’re hoping she—her consciousness—will come back. No one even knows if that’s possible.”
Dexter went rigid. “You’d better not do that to me. I don’t want some metabolizing mass that’s supposed to represent me frozen forever!”
“You’d rather we just forget you were our once living, breathing son?”
“Chrislam, Dad! You are so…so human. Why can’t you see the future? Do it with me. Plenty of families have. Then you and mom could be together forever, too.”
“What about your sister?”
“You can all go Post when she turns eighteen.”
“We may not want to. You see, Dexter. It’s not simple. I don’t want to become a hive-mind hybrid.”
Dexter exploded. “I can’t believe you use that kind of propaganda bs! It’s racist. It won’t stop the trend. Thousands go Post every year. The numbers keep growing. It’s evolution. You Corpses are going to die out within a few hundred years.”
Manfred winced at the nasty term. “Dex, you really believe the Postsingularity Office? That you’ll become a liberated consciousness, no longer constrained by time, space or physical maladies? This isn’t just some slick eN-vision ad promising omnipresence. What will your ‘totality' mean when it just looks to us like you’re brain dead?”
“You and mom should’ve thought about that before you had kids. Posts have been around for over twenty years.”
“Only daredevils, neurotics and freaks did it then!” Manfred shot back, exasperated.
“So, which category do I fit? Do you consider me a freak?”
“Right now, you certainly aren’t behaving human.”
“Then, this is a good move for me,” Dexter said quietly. “Is that your back-handed blessing?”
Manfred sat down, rubbing his temples in a way parents since the dawn of time would recognize. “Just one more question, Dex. Will you try to ‘visit’ us?”
Dexter smiled as earnestly as his father could ever remember. “Every day, Dad.”
Manfred took a shallow breath. “Then promise me one thing. If, as a post-human you really do attain these purported god-like powers…”
“Sure, Dad. Anything.” Dexter reached down, clasping his father’s shoulder.
Manfred held his throbbing head as he very mortally sighed, “…be merciful, my son.”