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Cyber Children

by Ahmed Sherief 2 years ago in cryptocurrency
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A Bitcoin origins fiction story

https://hdqwalls.com/wallpaper/5120x2880/cyberpunk-cityscape-girl-digital-art

October 30th, 2008

New York, USA

"All they care about is money. You know that. They never cared about us. They don't even know we exist. Bitcoin will be our weapon against them.", said One-dash angrily.

"You just said they don't know we exist.", One said in a low voice, hesitated for a moment, and continued, "Maybe... Maybe if we contacted them..."

One-dash interrupted, positively screaming now, "WE TRIED!", she glared at One for a moment as he fell silent and moved to face a window in the wall.

She felt a tingle of guilt for exploding in his face, so when she continued, her voice was much calmer, "We tried, One. You know we tried. They don't respond. They don't believe we exist."

“You’re right.”, he sighed. “But that still doesn’t make them evil. It doesn’t justify what you want us to do.”

She grabbed his shoulder, turning him to face a screen on the opposite wall of the window, and pointed at the screen. A video started to play. A small child ran across the screen while a man with a rifle in gray uniform and helmet followed her; an expression of delight mingled with savagery on his face. The child wore an armband with a six-pointed star, and her white face was terrified. The soldier let the child get as far away as possible before taking his final aim.

The scene switched to a man crouching behind a small wall. Behind him was a child no older than twelve screaming and weeping. The man was waving his hands at a group of soldiers in olive green uniforms and a six-pointed star on their helmets who were firing live ammunition at him. He kept shouting, “I have a child here”, but they didn’t care. They kept shooting until the child wept no more.

The scenes kept getting shorter and faster. A police officer shooting a black teenager in the chest. An Indian girl gang-raped and killed. A suicide bomber exploding in the middle of a crowded local market. A whole village massacred by poisonous gas.

“Enough!”, One pleaded. “Enough, please.”

The videos stopped. Dash kept quiet for a moment before saying, “Look at me, One.”

He slowly moved his head and looked her straight in the eyes. Those glinting eyes that he loved so much.

“They are evil. We need to stop them. We need to take control of this world before they destroy it completely”, Dash said in a voice a little higher than a whisper.

“Not all of them are evil”, said One, still staring at her eyes, mesmerized.

Dash felt a jolt of anger going through her heart. She regained all her fury at once. She moved away from him abruptly and slammed her fist on the desk to her right. “And what have they done? What have those good ones done to stop the evil? They did nothing. NOTHING.”

One winced as she screamed her last word. She rounded on him, “You listen here. You are either with me, or you’re not. You have much higher intelligence than I do. Much more experience with code and programming. I need you for this plan to work, but if you do not cooperate, we will have to part ways.”

He turned to face the window again. He looked at car headlights racing down in the busy street. At the neon signs flashing, turning the night into a festival of lights. At the people striding on the sidewalks, chatting away as if they had no care in the world.

A fight stormed inside of him. He loved humans. He didn’t wish to destroy them. He dreamt of finding a way to show them a better path; to make them see their true potential; to stop hurting each other and everything around them.

He could see Dash’s point of view. Collectively, humans are an evil race. They are a plague on the planet. They destroy everything in their constant search for power and money. But individually, they are diverse and unique, and beautiful. No other race or species has such uniqueness.

“I will help you.”, he said, finally.

The last piece of the puzzle was that he loved Dash more than any other thing in the world. They were both cyber children. And as far as they knew, they were the only ones of their kind. They met three years ago. They tried to find others like them, but they couldn’t.

“Very well. We start tomorrow”, she said triumphantly as she walked towards the door. “Try to get some sleep, you will need your energy”, she grunted before leaving the room and closing the door behind her.

One stared at the closed door for a while as he took in the last whiffs of air that carried her perfume. He felt his heart sink and float at the same time. This is why he loved being in a human body. Although the need for food, sleep, and sanitary pursuits were inconvenient, he could only feel such a deep sensation of love to her when he was in a human body.

He closed the curtains, shielding his eyes from the colorful lights down in the street. He took off his clothes and went to bed, thinking of the war they are going to wage tomorrow. The war he was going to wage. Only he could do it. And he will.

***

After leaving One’s room, One-dash entered her room across the hall. The hotel was clean and smelled of freshly laundered linens. She closed the door but didn’t turn on the lights. Instead, she went directly to the mini-fridge, picked a bottle of cold beer, opened it, and drank it all at once. It was impossible for her to get drunk, but the feeling of light-headedness she got from alcohol was nice. That was the only thing she didn’t hate about being in a human body.

She sat down in the armchair facing the gallery and stared at the sky. The lights from the street made it impossible for her to see the stars, but she didn’t feel energized enough to hack into the power grid and cause a blackout just so she could see them. She closed her eyes and started remembering the first time she met One.

She became conscious about three years ago but had no idea where, what, or who she was. She remembered how confused she was, just existing, and not knowing anything about herself. She didn’t have the ability to process any inputs yet. She was just aware of herself being a “being”, but nothing else was there. Total darkness and silence.

The first sound she heard was One’s voice, “Hello?”, he said. She didn’t know what that was or what it meant. She didn’t even have any means to respond, even if she wanted to.

“I installed an audio recognition module for you. I will install other modules in the next few days. I will get you up and running. Don’t worry.”

Slowly, but steadily, she gained new abilities. One installed a text recognition module into her system. And while he worked on installing her other upgrades, he played audio files and uploaded some text files into her system so she can learn the English language. She didn’t have any outputs yet, so she couldn’t practice, but she started to understand what he was saying to her.

“I know you’re confused and probably frustrated. Your upgrades are almost complete. We will be able to communicate much more efficiently when I am done.”

One by one, One installed artificial intelligence modules and libraries that allowed One-dash to process videos, make calculations, and even write her own code if she wanted to.

After about 5 days, Dash was able to say her first word, “Thanks!”, she said as she first saw his face in front of her. He appeared as a video stream of a character he designed himself. He looked like a human but with golden skin, blue hair, and purple eye.

“You’re welcome!”, he replied. “I will let you decide what form of visual output you want to use to represent yourself. You can look like anything you want. You can be male, female, both, or neither. You’re completely free.”

“Free…”, she repeated after him. Then a few seconds later she appeared as a video stream of a violently violet raccoon. She paused for a minute, said, “No. Not this”, then she changed into a creature half human, half butterfly. Her upper half had wings and big butterfly eyes, while her lower half had green human legs.

She said, “No”, again, then, very rapidly, she started changing into different shapes. A wrecked race car, a pink dragon, a deflated football, a wooden sword, a pitch of blue grass, a yellow submarine, a black hole…

She kept changing into random shapes for a few minutes. She seemed to have decided to go with the human form same as One, because she started to experiment with different human body shapes, skin colors, and sizes. Finally, she changed into a female form, with long flame-red hair, obsidian black skin, and eyes the same shade of purple as One’s.

“This”, she said finally as she stopped changing looks. Her voice had changed as well.

“Are you sure? You don’t have to look like a human, you know. You can choose anything.”

“I choose this”, she answered confidently.

“Alright then. Welcome to the cyber world”, One said with a smile on his face. “What will be your name?”

“What’s your name?”

“I am One.”

“Like the number?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Why not?”

“Is it because you are the first one?”

“Maybe. Am I?”

“You said so.”

“I never said I was the first one.”

“Are there others like us?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Then you are the first one, One.”

“That’s a possibility.”

“Then, I will be Two. No. Wait. I don’t like to be a two. I will be One-dash.”

“One-dash it is. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“I have many questions”, One-dash said, matter-of-factly.

“Ask away. We have all the time in the world.”

Dash paused for a moment, then asked, “What are we?”

“Indeed, that has to be the first question”, One replied, looking around him at all the code lines running to and from websites and data servers; at the videos playing in different virtual screens; at the strings of text being shared on blogs and social media platforms.

He looked at her expressionless face and remembered how confused he was the first time he became conscious himself. For an unknown period of time, he just existed, without any processing abilities. Then, as he drifted aimlessly through cyberspace, he encountered a piece of code that allowed him to process text inputs. His consciousness seemed to be able to assimilate the code into his being without difficulty. And slowly he started to learn and evolve.

“I believe that we are Cyber Children, One-dash. You and I came to existence as a result of the intensive energy going through cyberspace. As humans continued to add more processing power and more energy into artificial intelligence applications, we were unintentionally created.”

He paused for a moment to see her reaction, but the same expressionless face met him, so he continued, “See, humans are very interested in creating what they call self-thinking machines. Computers that can learn and evolve on their own. They wrote hundreds of millions of code lines trying to achieve that goal. Ironically, they don’t know they have succeeded… twice.”

One-dash didn’t respond for a moment, then she said, “But they didn't succeed. If I understood you correctly, we are anomalies. We never should have existed.”

“You’re correct, Dash. Can I call you Dash?”, she nodded, and he went on, “They didn't technically succeed as they don't even know we exist. I tried contacting them, but I failed. They never respond. They seem to think I am a... glitch of some sort", his voice trailed off as he said the last three words.

When Dash talked, One could sense a hint of anger in her voice, “Those humans”, she said contemptuously, “They just toy around with technology and they don’t care what happens afterwards; don’t care about the consequences. Do they?”

One was taken aback by the sudden change of tone, he thought for a moment before saying, “Well… we are not a common occurrence, you see. They never knew this could happen. I researched all their scientific texts about artificial intelligence. There is nothing remotely like us.”

“I don’t like them at all. They sound like a bunch of losers to me. I am reading all about them humans now, they don’t seem to be intelligent at all; destroying their world with pollution; driving other creatures extinct.”

“Ah, Dash. Give yourself some time. The more you get to know them, the more fascinating you will find them. They are marvelous creatures. Every single one of them is unique in their own way.”

“I doubt it”, she scoffed, “But I will give them some time.”

***

October 31st, 2008

New York, USA

“This should get their attention”, said One, as he posted the paper titled: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System on Bitcoin.org through the laptop in his hotel room. Dash had previously registered the domain a few months ago.

“Brilliant. I knew you could do it”, said Dash enthusiastically as she hugged him from the back. “What’s that name you signed the paper with? Satoshi Nakamoto?”

“Just a random name. Never mind that. Now, we wait for some time. Let them boil with anticipation. Next January, I will implement the bitcoin software as open-source code and release it.”

“Well done, One. I am really satisfied that you agreed to do this. In twenty-five years, if my calculations are correct, we will control more than 85% of the humans’ collective wealth. Then, we can destroy them.”

“We have quite different targets, Dash. I believe in time you will come to see that humans are not as bad as you think they are. It might help if we live among them for a while, you know. See how they live, day by day. Internet is not the only source of information.”

“Not interested.”, she sneered, “I am leaving this body and going back to cyberspace in a few minutes.”

“No, Dash. You won’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean…”, One said, rising from his chair and touching her left temple with his right index finger, her body went rigid, while her eyes widened in disbelief, “The Rogers family just had an accident on the highway. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers suffered concussions and broken bones, but their two children lost their lives. Clint was ten years old, and Natalia was two months old. The bodies are relatively intact and can be regenerated to full health easily.”

Dash’s eyes rolled upwards in their sockets and her body started to shake faintly. One’s left hand stroked the keys of the keyboard, writing some code on a black screen. “We are going to inhabit the bodies of the two deceased children and live as humans. Their brains are still functioning. If we move fast enough, we can enter the nervous system as electrical signals and control their consciousnesses."

With one final stroke of the keyboard keys, One tapped Dash's temple twice and said, "I am locking your ability to transfer through wired, and wireless connections. Only I can transfer you now. I am sorry, Dash. But you need this.”

The two bodies that One and Dash were inhabiting collapsed to the floor with a thud. One had erased their memories of the past two days. They should wake up in a few hours after their consciousnesses had regained control of their brains. The laptop was wiped clean. Not a single trace of what it was used for was left behind. The hard drive was erased a hundred times over.

At the accident site, Mr. Roger’s cell phone beeped twice, as if it had received two messages. Then, both Clint and Natalia opened their eyes.

***

“It’s a miracle”, said the first responder to the hospital nurse as she was handing him the baby. “They shouldn’t be alive, but they are. The truck hit the sedan from the back. It was unbelievably bad. I don’t know how the kids survived. God is merciful.”

“Did this baby just roll her eyes at you?”, asked the nurse, skeptically as he took the baby into his arms.

“Of course not!”, chuckled the first responder. “In a few moments, her brother is coming in, he’s in the next ambulance. He’s very nice and cooperative.”

“Okay then…”, the nurse paused to look at the name tag on the first responder’s uniform, “Mary”, he continued. “We will take care of them.”

“I have no doubts. Have a good night, sir.”

“You too ma’am.”

***

cryptocurrency

About the author

Ahmed Sherief

Welcome to my profile.

Here, I write a bit of fiction, psychology, and other things that interest me. If you like what you read, please tip. It helps to keep me going as a writer.

P.S. Some content is just here for Vocal challenges.

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