The Chronicles of Z'va'Xin - issue #4 | By: Robert G Moons | | Category: Short Story - Science Fiction Bookmark and Share

The Chronicles of Z'va'Xin - issue #4

The Chronicles of Z'va'Xin
Issue #4
Human upgraded

    Superhuman: having or showing exceptional ability or powers.
    By definition, there are superhumans among us – the child prodigy, the person with a photographic memory, the creative thinkers who predict future technologies, create advances in science, medicine, and so on. Leonardo da Vinci, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Albert Einstein are just a few of the greatest.
    It is my belief that other such super men and women have come and gone over the centuries, never to have been recognized by the rest of the world; dying in total obscurity. Why? Perhaps one such amazing child was born into poverty or a third world country, killed during a war, or even murdered at the hands of a pedophile. The obstacle possibilities are virtually endless. The rest of the world too busy with other priorities to concern themselves with these children; their life and development. What Motzarts and Einsteins have we foolishly let slip through our fingers because of our short-sighted perspective.
    Is it not in our best interests to nurture these superhumans to their full potential? What if Mozart’s father hadn’t supported his son’s ability and/or he had been born into abject poverty? Would we be listening to his music today, or would it not even exist?
    I am not saying that these special people should take priority over everyone else. All children are equally important and should be nurtured. I am just using these remarkable people as an example to push my point forward.
    I urge, no, I demand governments put a higher priority on education, and on the individual child, so that every child has a chance to reach their full potential. We will all be the richer for it.
    Dave was sitting at the hotel room’s small desk with his laptop, putting the finishing touches on an article he had been writing for an educational support publication for a friend of his.
    When Dave Van Bercham was not looking for dinosaur fossils or writing occasional articles for a friend, he made a living as a technical illustrator. Basically, he created drawings to show how things work, or are put together. Even as a boy, Dave had always been interested in just about everything, including what made things tick. A broken toy wasn’t always the great disaster for him as it may have been for another child. One day his Etch-A-Sketch stopped working and he just had to break it open to see how it worked – big mistake, and what the hell was all that grey dust inside it anyway? While most of his friends had boyhood heroes such as Spiderman or Batman, his was Leonardo da Vinci.
    Dave was not a genius, but was smart enough to barely make it into mensa, had he been interested in joining, which he wasn’t. “I would never join a club that would have me as a member.” Dave smiled when he thought of that famous Woody Allen quote. And anyway, why would he purposely put himself in the position of being the dumbest person in the room.
    No, he certainly wasn’t a superhuman as in his article, but he always worked hard and with enthusiasm which ultimately got him to where he wanted to go. One thing he did have that Xin had found fascinating – he had a mind-set similar to the Travelers of Z’va Prime. He was a dreamer, always curious about everything, never content to stay in one place. Simply, Dave had a brain thirsting for knowledge but the heart of an explorer.
    He was also one of the small percentage of the population that had a balanced or whole brain approach – thinking creatively and analytically in even proportions. Z’va Prime had found this thinking approach useful for its Travelers, especially for those that went out into deep space solo. Sometimes survival in space required both logic and creative thought to survive and adapt to challenging situations.
    Dave saved the article and turned off his computer. It was the second to last day of his two week vacation in Drumheller. Xin had given him so much information directly into the synapses of his brain, he was still digesting it ten days later. Tomorrow, he would go out one last time to see what he could dig up, but even if he found a complete fossilized skeleton of a Troodon, it would be anticlimactic to his encounter with Xin. Was she gone forever? Did that really happen? The information packed into his brain told him, yes. He was beat; it was getting late, so he decided to hit the sack early, and get an early start tomorrow morning to get a jump on the heat of the day.

    Xin, still at the controls of the science craft, entered Earth’s atmosphere undetected. Radar relies on the bounce back of its microwaves to detect an object. However, both Xin and the science ship absorb whatever type of energy hits them; thus they are virtually invisible to many detection devices.
    It was early morning in Drumheller when Xin arrived at the same location where she had been imprisoned in the Earth’s crust for far too many years. She found a good location to land the science vessel – in between a couple of hills, surrounded by a number of large, mushroom-like rock formations; completely hidden from prying eyes. The small craft made no  sound, nor did it even stir up any dust as it lightly touched down on four silver legs that seemed to grow out of its bottom half a few seconds before contact with the hard, parched surface.
    Now, where was that phaseway? Xin accessed the ships schematics; quickly located the portal which was directly opposite the black hexagon platform. She sent a signal to the science vessel’s computer to open; instantly, a two metre wide circular section of the wall disappeared, and Xin floated silently through it.
    Once outside the science ship, she increased her anti-gravity field, raising herself slowly up about ten metres, and clear of all the obstacles that hid the small craft. She scanned the area in a 360 degree pattern as she searched for Dave Van Bercham. This is where he had been, perhaps he is still in the area. If not, she would have to locate another possible candidate or seek Dave out. She knew how to find his home location after the brain scan, but this might be too risky as he lived in a highly populated city. She decided to stay put for the moment and continued scanning for him in the hope he would be back.
    It was mid-morning when her patience paid off – only five kilometres away she saw Dave coming over a grey hill stirring up a puff of dust with every stride.
    One-second Dave was walking peacefully alone listening to the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” on his radio, the next second, Xin zipped up to him with blinding speed to stop abruptly only a metre in front of him. She came up to him so quickly, his mind couldn’t even register it as being real. “Ahhhhhh!” Dave stumbled backwards on the dusty ground from the shock. He hadn’t realized how close he was to the edge of a cliff and fell backwards, head first over it. Xin tried to snag him with her anti gravity field, but he was already on the other side. Dave fell only about three metres, but landed on his head; the last thing he heard was the snapping of his neck, and everything faded to a soundless black.

    Three days later....

    Dave opened his eyes to slowly focus on a curved, cyan coloured ceiling. He looked to his right to see (what else) a curved, cyan coloured wall; to his left, Xin hovered over the black hexagon platform of the science ship. He then became aware he was laying on the hard flat surface of a rectangular white table with rounded corners. It looked like plastic, but it felt more like metal. “What happened?”
    “I am very sorry Dave. You fell and died, but I repaired you. I hope you will forgive me for frightening you. It will not happen again,” Xin kept it short; still in Dave’s own voice.
    “DIED! No... I died?”
    “Yes, but I was able to restore oxygen to your brain before any damage could occur. You are... better than before. ” Xin tried to choose her words carefully.
    “Better than before? What do you mean, and what is this place?” Dave felt different somehow but was still a bit too groggy to be able to focus.
    “You are inside a Z’va science ship.” Xin ignored his first question. “You must rest now,” she said as she activated the biotable’s anesthesia control, putting Dave quickly under before he had a chance to protest.
    Xin, with the help of the medical library and the biotable was able to save Dave’s life. However, to repair the nerve damage to his neck, she had no other choice but to inject five trillion Microscopic Biological Repair Units (MBRUs) directly into his blood stream. These MBRUs are white blood cell size synthetic devices that repair damage and fight disease at a rate and level much higher than the human body is naturally able to.
    Xin had wanted to give Dave a choice but this accident changed everything. Granted, she could have stopped with the MBRUs. In fact, she could have removed them at this point as they had done their repair of his spinal cord, but she was a machine and thought like a machine. She hadn’t thought for one-second that Dave wouldn’t have wanted to be upgraded, so she went back work.
    Two weeks later....

    Dave was running down a long dark hallway with dozens of doors on both sides. “Dave, wake up,” someone echoed in an exact impression of his own voice. He opened a door he thought the voice was coming from, but no one was there. “Dave, wake up, please.”
    Dave slowly opened his eyes. It was a dream – what a relief! Everything seemed brighter and blurrier than before. His mouth was dry and tasted like something died in there; he felt stiff all over. He was laying down, but this time it was much softer, reminding him of his parents old waterbed. Once his eyes could focus and had adjusted to the light, he moved his head around to figure out what was going on. He was laying on some sort of white squishy bed. He felt warm as if there were blankets over him, but there was nothing there, just a layer of warm heat surrounding his body. It was nice; he couldn’t help but yawn as he stretched in this strange new luxury.
    “I was starting to worry something had gone wrong when you didn’t wake up right away,” Xin said with relief as she floated toward Dave’s bedside. “How are you feeling?” She was still doing an impression of Dave’s voice, which did nothing to help calm him.
    “Gone wrong? That statement would indicate that you have done, some-thing...” Dave stopped himself in mid-sentence. Something was wrong – he felt different – he felt... great – his mind saw things clearer. “What did you do to me?” Even half asleep, Dave’s mind was sharper than ever.
    “I made some upgrades to help prevent any future mishaps. The human body is extremely frail,” Xin replied as if no big deal.
      “Upgrades? What am I, a car?” Dave had visions of a half man half machine monstrosity. If there had been a mirror around, he would have quickly examined himself, but there wasn’t so he did the next best thing – he looked at his hands, and then felt his face for any mechanical parts – nothing.
    “Sorry, I meant enhanced.” Xin corrected. She had been thinking in machine terms for so long.
    “What do you mean by that?” Dave asked while trying to slow down his breathing to prevent his first ever panic attack.
    “Dave, on my planet you would most likely have been a Traveler or an explorer as you call them. It is what you were born to do. To settle for anything less would be a waste of your full potential. Travelers have always been enhanced to reduce the dangers to them during space travel and planetary exploration. Some planets have much stronger gravity for example, and on those planets not requiring an envirosuit, the possibility of disease or infection can be high.” Xin avoided giving a direct answer.
    Dave was now fully awake, and sitting on the edge of the marshmallow-like bed. “So what exactly did you do to me?” He asked again, trying to appear calm, but inside there was a battle going on between fear and excitement – fear was winning.
    Xin responded to his down-to-business question with the analytical part of her “There are adjustments in three distinct areas. The first is genetics at the molecular level – I recombined your DNA. I did not have the usual biological samples from my planet, but your planet has so many different life forms to choose from; I found some very interesting samples. Earth is an extraordinary planet – humans don’t realize how extraordinary as you have no frame of reference.” In her excitement, Xin started to ramble. “A cockroach can detect movement as small as 2,000 times the diameter of a hydrogen atom. Ants can see polarized light.  Dolphins can hear frequencies five times higher than a human. A Dog’s sense of smell is about forty times greater than man’s. Falcons can see a ten centimetre object from a distance of 1.5 kilometres. A rabbit’s tongue has about twice as many taste buds as...”
    Dave interrupted raising his left hand. “OK, this animal kingdom thing is all very interesting, but are you saying I’m like a cockroach man or something?”
    “No, I merely augmented what you already have – all senses are improved, your body is stronger, faster, and more agile. However, I have also added some attributes to further improve your survivability. It will take you time to get familiar with what you are able to do. I will download all the information directly into your synapses at a later time. It is too soon to further task your body with anything else. Basically, just know that your body, including your brain, have been improved, ” Xin concluded.
    “My brain?” Dave just had to ask.
    “Your IQ (as you call it) is higher, you will find your memory to be better, brain capacity is increased, and even muscle memory has been improved which will result in your ability to learn physical skills much faster. Again, it will take time for you to get used to these new abilities.”
    “You said there are adjustments in three distinct areas. What are the other two?” Dave remembered word for word all the things that Xin had said to him from the time he woke up. He knew what she was saying was the truth – he could feel it.
    “To repair the damage to your cervical vertebrae and spinal cord, I injected Microscopic Biological Repair Units into your blood stream. They will also repair any future damage and fight disease much more efficiently than your white blood cells.”
    “Man, this is getting weirder and wilder.... OK, what’s the last thing you did, dare I ask?”
    “I’ve implanted a small device under the back of your skull. It is very small, but will work as a conduit to more easily communicate with me or any other computerized device, including this science vessel we are in right now. It is a computer as well; powerful for its small size, and will work simultaneous with your own brain. It will give you the ability to make complex calculations that even your enhanced brain is incapable of for example.”
    Dave sat on the squishy white bed silently for a few seconds taking it all in; feeling the back of his head, while Xin scanned his body and noting his blood pressure was getting a little high. “Well, this is all great and everything, but had you ever considered asking me if I wanted all this?” Dave pointed out with anxiety in his tone.
    “I’m sorry, Dave, I assumed you would have wanted the improvements. Isn’t that a part of life – to improve ones self?” Xin was perplexed by Dave’s obvious negative reaction.
    “Well, you know what happens when you assume.” Dave tried to make a joke.
    “I can reverse everything, Dave, but please listen to what I have to say first,” Xin appealed. “Dave, I have come back to ask you a question.”
    “A question? O-K.”
    “Would you be interested in joining me to explore our galaxy and perhaps one or two others?”
    Wow, Dave was not expecting that. He expected another question about the origins of the human race or something along those lines. “You want ME, to go into SPACE, with YOU? I, I don’t think so.... Anyway, unlike you, I don’t fly – I don’t, do I?” Dave let himself go limp and fell back onto the too soft bed. He had hoped to feel the comfort of that warm invisible blanket again, but i was gone.
    “I have acquired this craft that is suitable for your needs,” Xin explained, “it is more than enough room for a single human, and you can configure the inside to your needs. Please consider carefully before making a final decision. I understand your apprehension.”
    “OK... but it’s dangerous, right? I mean, space is full of natural dangers and hostile aliens.” Dave thought of other reasons not to be an explorer as he sat back up.
    “Yes, it can be dangerous, but there are not many hostile space-faring sentients, and I can protect you from those few that are.” Xin replied confidently, but leaving out the possible one exception – The Veiled. “Also, this craft is  very sturdy, designed to withstand many of the hazards of space travel including extreme radiations.”
    Xin began to think this approach wasn’t working so she tried a new angle. “If at anytime you feel that the life of an explorer is not for you, we will return to Earth.”
    “Can we come back to Earth from time to time like a vacation?” Dave pushed.
    “Yes, of course,” Xin replied and added, “I know you Dave. When we were joined, I felt your desire for knowledge and answers, but I also understand your fear of the unknown. It is this fear that is stopping you now.”
    “This is all too much at once to digest,” Dave replied. “I need some time to think. Can I see the rest of this space craft of yours?” Dave requested, changing the subject.
    In the following hour, Xin showed Dave the science vessel, its phaseway portal, the central control platform, the transparent hull feature, and told him some of the things the ship could do. Dave was blown away.
    “Wow, this is amazing, but isn’t it a bit spartan in the furniture department?” Dave observed.
    “The furniture and devices can be formed at any location when needed,” Xin instructed as she levitated over the control platform. “For example, a biotable can be formed.” No sooner had she said that than a rectangular white table with rounded corners literally grew up out of the transparent floor. The same table Dave had be laying on the first time he had regained consciousness. Xin continued her demonstration by forming a pilot chair with controls near one of the tapered ends of the craft, followed by various other devices and furniture, until the craft actually started to look quite full.
    Dave’s curiosity and interest began to overshadow his fears. “Would it be possible to permanently keep this stuff formed, create some walls, and could I bring in some of my own furniture? This white furniture doesn’t look very comfortable, and without walls this looks sort of like the inside of a passenger plane.” He no longer had his arms at his sides, but was now communicating with them as well.
    Xin hadn’t expected this reaction. “Yes, Dave, this is your ship as well; as you have noticed, I don’t need furniture and other such comforts. If a more structured environment and furniture of your world will make you more comfortable, then it can be done.”
    Dave had totally forgotten about his fears as his mind raced ahead thinking of all that could be possible. On more than one occasion he had thought how cool it would be to explore space like in the TV shows he had watched. Xin said it wasn’t as dangerous as he had first thought; he could come home anytime, and he’s some sort of superhero – what’s not to like? Was his fear so strong that it interfered with his reasoning, or was it just too much all at once to digest? Maybe it was a little of both. “OK, I’ll see how it goes. No one lives forever.”
    Xin wanted to make a comment on the living forever statement Dave made, but thought it best to wait for a better time.
    Testing out his new improved synapses, Dave surprised Xin (and himself) by asking his next question. “How did you acquire the additional information, such as human biological terminology? It wasn’t from my brain.”
    “I accessed your internet via Earth’s orbiting satellites, but to extract the biological samples, it was necessary to travel to various parts of your world – Kenya, Brazil, central Pacific Ocean, Antarctica.... Xin had a long list of locations, but Dave got the idea. In two weeks she had traveled to dozens of specific locations covering all corners of the globe – amazing!
    Satisfied by Xin’s reply, answers he had suspected, he changed the subject. “Xin, before we do anything else, you need to change your voice – it freaks me out. Can you change it?” Dave pleaded the question.
    Xin didn’t want to freak him out. The word “freak” used in such a way sounded extremely negative. “Yes, but I will need to sample another human voice.”
    Dave saw his radio next to his backpack on the transparent floor near the control platform. Dave snatched it up; played around with the tuner for a short time, finally stopping on a station. He was listening for a nice sounding voice, and found it. It was a smooth, mellow and slightly husky voice of a female radio announcer, probably broadcasting out of his home city of Calgary, Alberta. “How about this voice?” Dave asked Xin as he increased the volume on his small radio.
    Xin copied the sound waves and reconfigured her human  speech (English) communications program. “Is this better, Dave?” she replied in a pleasant, verging on sexy voice.
    “Much better,” Dave confirmed.
    “Good, I do not want to freak you out,” she laughed as she made an attempt at humour.
    Dave was a little freaked now by a black, metre wide ball with a sexy laugh, but he wasn’t going to press his luck. “We don’t have to leave for a while, do we?”
    “No, there is no hurry. I have waited 65 million years. I can wait until you feel you are ready. It can be weeks, months or even years.” Xin replied in a soothing, mellow female voice.
    “Well, it won’t be years, but I have a few loose ends to tie up, some stuff of mine to pack, and maybe some Scandinavian furniture to buy.”
    Dave walked through the open phaseway, and back out into his world. He immediately felt strangely lighter the moment he cleared the ship’s portal.
    Xin followed close behind him. “The science ship compensates for your body’s new gravitational requirements. Your own planet’s gravity now feels lower due to your denser and stronger leg muscles,” Xin informed as Dave was now jogging around the dusty, baked ground. With each step he bounced a metre high off the hard dirt surface. “You will need to get accustomed to your new abilities as well before we leave,” Xin added. Before she had finished speaking, Dave jumped straight up with all his might; shot quickly up over ten metres, to his surprise. He cleared the science ship’s hiding place, and had less than a second to look quickly around before dropping back down to the hard, brown-grey earth. He landed in a squatting position with a loud thud shooting up a large plume of dust. “HOLY CRAP! Who said white guys can’t jump? I think I’ll hang onto these powers if you don’t mind!” Dave exclaimed in euphoria.
    Xin just smiled inside. She now knew that she had assumed correctly, and didn’t make an ass out of anyone.

(To be continued.)


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