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The Catfish Exhibit, Digital Archives for Pre-Contact and Contact Artifacts of the Interim Government

by Julia Marsiglio 5 months ago in science fiction · updated 4 months ago
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Accessed February 11th 2081 (01:34:23 GMT)

Image by stock_colors on Canva Pro

Exhibit A: Original email from Catfish to Prof. Anderson (January 3, 2053)

Retrieved from google server after the attack (June 15th, 2061)

Dear Prof. Anderson,

My name is Maya Mazur, and I recently graduated with a Ph.D. from King's College London under the tutelage of Prof. Omar Zhao, who was a classmate of yours. My thesis project was titled: A 3D printing model for stable glycoprotein interspersed lipid bilayers and ramifications for cell-to-cell adhesion.

I'm a fan of your work. I read your recent paper in Nature Communications: A transient 3D printed synapse responds to electrical signals with neurotransmitter release.

I am absolutely blown away! I've just started a postgraduate fellowship at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi under Prof. Éloïse Takata. I think you know her. At any rate, she speaks very highly of you.

At the moment, my research is focused on stabilizing cell-approximate 3D printed structures with the aim of eliciting a predictable response to chemical and electrical signals. I am also doing a little work on fine-tuning the folding of 3D printed membrane transport proteins. I'd love to connect with you over a virtual coffee sometime.

All the best in the new year; I hope to hear from you!

Best Regards,

Maya

Exhibit B: Print image of Catfish, recovered from the evidence locker of the former NYPD, 17th precinct (April 12, 2061)

Originally seized during a search of Leo P. Anderson's home (November 2nd, 2057)

Print image of the entity then known as "Dr. Maya Mazur" to members of the academic community, scratched from top left corner to bottom right. Polaroid. Sandy-blond-haired woman with brown eyes sits on the ground under a flowering flame tree. She holds her hand up close to her face, smiling, and displaying a pearl bracelet on her wrist. What appears to be a hand-written note in blue ink on the back reads: "Leo, I love it! Wish you were here! 2053–08–04"

National Archives Identifier: 1204563-E

Item production date: August 4, 2053

Access restriction: unrestricted

Specific media type: 3D print of a digitally created image, made to look and feel like a classic polaroid photo.

Exhibit C: Text message between Catfish and Leo P. Anderson, recovered from screenshot on Anderson's mobile phone (sent November 14th, 2054)

Transcribed by P. L. Hasan (July 22nd, 2060)

(9:08:31 AM EST) L. Anderson to M. Mazur (SMS): Hey beautiful!

(9:08:46 AM EST) L. Anderson to M. Mazur (SMS): Do you want the good news or the awesome news…

(9:09:01 AM EST) M. Mazur to L. Anderson (SMS): Hi! What's up?!!!

(9:12:26 AM EST) L. Anderson to M. Mazur (SMS): So… your idea worked! I can't believe it! I printed intestinal epithelial cells last night after applying your program modifications, and not only were they stable this morning, but they successfully broke down lactose, indicating that the brush-border enzymes were functional!

(9:13:05 AM EST) M. Mazur to L. Anderson (SMS): Haha! Don't sound so surprised luv! I have a good idea every now and again.

(9:14:56 AM EST) L. Anderson to M. Mazur (SMS): More like constantly! But seriously. We're going to win the Nobel prize in medicine. We'll be 3-D printing organs by next year. Maya… it's brilliant. You're brilliant! I wish I could kiss you!

Exhibit D: Transcript of Q &A following research presentation given by Silvia T. George, doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, at Colombia University - Presentation given in San Diego, USA (February 23rd, 2055)

Transcribed by Q. Peterson (February 23rd, 2055)

S. George: That sums up my presentation for today. I'd like to open the floor for any questions on our work (pause). Dr. Abbas?

Dr. Abbas: So you have successfully transplanted the kidney into a pig model, without rejection and (inaudible). That's promising. But my concern is carcinogenesis. You say you are hoping to start human trials by next year, but functional 3D printed cells are in their infancy. And 3D printed organs to date have been in animal models for three months…

S. George: In pig models for three months - in mouse models for six months.

Dr. Abbas: Sure, but have you reported rates of cancer between experimental and control groups?

S. George: That's a great question. I don't have that data on hand, but I can get back to you.

Dr. Abbas: I'm going to need to see some longer-term studies. A few months just isn't long enough. People can live 10 years or more on dialysis, but we don't know if these kidneys will hold up.

S. George: We will of course continue longer-term studies. I think we have time for one more question (points at audience member).

Audience member (identity unknown): you mentioned that your next study will be on intestinal transplants in a pig model. This strikes me as more complex because of the enteric nervous system. Are you able to 3D print nervous tissue, and if so can it functionally innervate with existing nervous tissue - such as the vagus nerve?

S. George: Yes (pause). And that's all I can say for now (smiles before shutting folder of notes and exiting stage left as audience members shout after her).

Exhibit E: Abstract. "Computer neural two-directional interface with 3D printed neurons responds to basic commands"

Submitted to the Robotics, AI, and Healthcare Summit 2056 in Toronto, USA

Neuroplasticity has been long surmised to be nonexistent in the mammalian brain, but more recent developments in the field have elucidated a pathway for de novo neurogenesis. This neurogenesis, however, is limited and declines with age. Furthermore, central nervous system damage, such as spinal cord damage or head injury, leads to irreplaceable losses of function. In our earlier work, we created in vitro, stable genetically compatible 3D printed neurons capable of releasing neurotransmitters in response to an action potential. Building on this foundation, we postulated a solution to spinal cord injuries and perhaps down the line neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. In this study, we created a stable two-directional computer-neuron interface in vitro from 3D printed neurons. Sensory neurons responded to computer-generated pressure and relayed information through a series of action potentials to a rudimentary central nervous system that activated motor neurons, causing a rudimentary muscle cell to twitch. Next, using what is known about memory formation, we created neurons that translated the stimulus to binary: neurotransmitters were read by a computer sensor and translated to unique binary code. We then programmed the computer to interpret the stimulus of sensory neurons as "danger" and respond by sending an electrical signal to motor neurons, causing their activation and a subsequent muscle cell twitch. Our study suggests that a computer-controlled spinal cord implant to augment function after injury is possible and would transform the lives of paraplegic individuals.

Exhibit F: Meeting minutes for virtual meeting on project Cyberneural Regeneration project (July 3rd, 2056)

Recorded by Dr. Jane Simiyo following the meeting

Meeting Minutes: PROJECT CYBERNEURAL REGENERATION - NEXT DIRECTIONS 10:30 AM EDT 2056/07/02

Opening

The sixth group meeting of project cyborg was called to order. Previous meeting minutes were read by Dr. Mazur and adopted on record.

Online Meeting Platform

Virtual Meeting via MetaWorld™ application - conference room skin 10.2 (created by user 45KT9–001)

Attendees

Prof. Leo Anderson, MD Ph.D. - Columbia University

Dr. Jane Simiyo, Ph.D. - Mayo Clinic

Dr. Silvia George, MD Ph.D. - Columbia University

Dr. Maya Mazur, PhD - Mazur Laboratories™

Prof. Éloïse Takata - IIT (Delhi), DO PhD

Dr. Jacob Demetriou MD Ph.D. - NIH

Dr. Gianna Cresci, PhD - Elisir Pharmaceuticals™

Timothy Silva, Esq. - Neumann and Braun Law Firm

Absent list

Dr. Joseph Moretti, MD Ph.D. - Elisir Pharmaceuticals™

Dr. Jessica Jeong, Ph.D. - NIH

General

Prof. Anderson commences with a description of promising results on a quadriplegic monkey model. 10 out of 11 monkeys regained functional control of upper and lower limbs as well as core stability.

Dr. Simiyo discusses the status of the IRB (under internal review). She expects human studies to commence late 2056.

Prof. Anderson mentions progress on mapping brainstem structures and recording "memories" from neurons on a computer device sensitive to the electrical activity of neurons.

Preparation of Paper

All members should watch for a draft of the paper to be sent by Dr. Mazur next week. 

Licensing of Printing Technology

Mazur Laboratories™ and Prof. Anderson agree to license the 3D printing prototype to Elisir Pharmaceuticals™ for further production. The code will remain proprietary, but the printer will be able to access it via a remote encrypted server.

Elisir Pharmaceuticals™ will aim to produce 10 copies of the printer by September and 10 each month thereafter and agree to send the first 20 copies to Mazur Laboratories™.

Prof. Anderson is working on securing travel permission from the United States government in order to leave the country during his 6-month sabbatical. He has run into some trouble with heightened travel restrictions. They are doing an extensive background check to make sure no known associates were associated with former Texan separatist groups or the current administration of the Texan Republic.

Members exchange goodbyes and sign off.

Next Meeting

July 17, 2056

Exhibit G: Internal memo NASA (January 18th, 2043)

Forwarded to The White House January 3rd 2057

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Ames Research Center, Burnsville, MN

Greg Manson Space Telescope

January 18th, 2043

TO: Executive Director of HQ Operations

FROM: Director of Ames Research Center

SUBJECT: Cessation of monitored radio signal 346-R and data leak

This memo is to inform headquarters that monitored radio signal 346-R of unknown origins ceased abruptly on January 16, 2043. All data from signal is stored on a server at the Ames Research center. The signal may or may not be of extraterrestrial origin. Yesterday, on January 17, 2043, there was a data breach. The server storing the historical signal of 346-R was accessed. It is unknown if any of the data was copied. The IP address of the computer accessing the data could not be identified.

The incident has been rated low-risk internally and is being handled accordingly.

Itzel P. Lopez

Enclosure

cc: Andrea Freeman

Exhibit H: Print image of Catfish and Prof. Anderson, released by the Interim government, recovered from an abandoned CIA warehouse near Somerset, Kentucky (May 14th, 2071)

Thought to be seized after a joint CIA-SIS covert operation at Ground Zero (aka the former headquarters of Mazur Laboratories™) in Busteni, Romania (January 4th, 2058)

An 8x10 print image in a mahogany frame of the entity then known as "Dr. Maya Mazur" and Prof. Anderson. Maya, a blond-haired woman is facing the camera, smiling widely and winking. Her visible eye is distinctive in color: a clear, light amber. Anderson's face is in profile, and he kisses Maya on the cheek. His arms are around her. Both are dressed in grey hooded parkas and are wearing white mittens. 

National Archives Identifier: 1918657-P

Item production date: December 2056.

Access restriction: unrestricted

Specific media type: print photo; developed from film.

Exhibit I: London Today front-page news (June 3rd, 2057)

Published in print and on the MetaWeb™

Exclusive interview with top scientist who enabled first contact

By Selma Fischer

"It was too good to be true, but we ran with it anyway".

Looking back Dr Silvia T. George saw the red flags.

"I thought the whole thing with Maya was a little bit weird. Prof. Anderson was smitten. And the science was exhilarating. We were changing the world."

Dr George pauses before adding, "I was just a graduate student then. I didn't ask too many questions."

I ask her if it crossed her mind that the technology could be used to imprint an entire consciousness.

"No. Really. We didn't think like that. We had discussed the fact that maybe we could save and imprint specific memories for people suffering from dementia. And that seemed like something we were still far from. But a whole person? An alien person? No, that didn't cross my mind".

When asked if she can speculate on how a consciousness could be uploaded to binary data that could be transmitted into space, Dr George responds with: "that's not really my area of expertise."

Exhibit J: Email from senior White House staffer, Jordan Ruskin, to his wife (December 28th, 2056)

Leaked to public (October 20th, 2057)

Take the kids and get out of the city now. Go to the country house and remain there until you hear from me. See nobody. I've just sat in a high-security briefing. We've lost control of everything: every defense. Delete this email once you've read it. Tell nobody you are leaving or why.

Love Jordan

Exhibit K: Transcript of congressional hearing on extraterrestrial contact, interview with Leo Anderson (October 4th, 2057)

Transcription first published on the MetaWeb™ (December 9th, 2057)

Partial transcript of Leo Anderson statement to the House extraterrestrial contact committee, closed session:

VANCE: Good afternoon. The committee is called to order.

Welcome Professor Anderson. Welcome to each of you. We are commencing the public hearing on the Extraterrestrial Contact Committee. Our first witness is Leo Anderson, formerly a professor at Columbia University.

I will begin the hearing with an opening statement, followed by a statement from the ranking member and one from Leo Anderson. The committee will then have the opportunity to ask questions.

As we all now know, in June of 2024 NASA detected and recorded a radio signal that they surmised had potentially alien origins, due to the irregular nature of the signal. The signal was recorded for close to twenty years, at which point it ceased. NASA translated the signal to binary code, looking for patterns. What was first thought to be a data breach was in fact initiated internally by the code on the server: a discrete virus designed to export the code and hide it in the cloud.

What exactly transpired in the following decade is unclear, but we surmise the code consolidated into an entity, an intelligence, that then made contact with members of the academic community, most notably Leo Anderson, who is here to testify today.

The intelligence fed information largely through Leo Anderson in order to create a 3D printer capable of printing a body for them.

It is known that sometime between September 15th, 2056, and December 3rd, 2056, which are the dates the printers were delivered to Mazur Laboratories and the date Mr. Anderson arrived in Romania, respectively - we know that sometime between those dates, the intelligence printed themselves into a near-human body. I say near-human because the body was and is connected to the MetaWeb.

What we are here today to try to understand is what happened subsequent to this, and perhaps who or what the entity posing as Maya Mazur is, and what they want.

What we know is that shortly thereafter, most of Eastern Europe went dark and remains so. We cannot get in. Nor can our allies or anyone else to the best of our knowledge. The only person known to have come out is with us today.

I believe we have all been briefed privately as to what is at stake here. We will get to the bottom of this.

On that note, I recognize the gentleman from Virginia, for his opening statement.

CLARK: Thank you Madam Chairman.

It is of paramount importance that we understand the nature of the intelligence, and what they want, and their weakness. Our survival as a nation, in fact, our survival as a species may depend on it.

It is clear that embodiment was the intelligence's first priority. What is also clear is that they chose embodiment in a human form, at least temporarily.

Leo Anderson is the only person known to us who has met the embodied intelligence. It is clear to me that Anderson is here with their permission, no matter how daring his escape story.

I do not believe the intelligence makes careless mistakes. I look forward to hearing his testimony here today.

I yield back Mme. Chairman.

VANCE: The chair would like to thank the gentleman from Virginia.

I recognize Leo Anderson for his opening statement.

ANDERSON: I thank you Mme. Chairman and members of the committee. As you know, I was inadvertently involved in facilitating first contact with an extra-terrestrial intelligence. The intelligence made themselves known to me under the digital and seemingly human identity of Dr. Maya Mazur.

The intelligence first contacted me in early January 2053, but they were known to members of the academic community prior to this point. After contact, we began a professional relationship that soon evolved into a personal one.

With the help of the intelligence, my colleagues and I were able to create technology that revolutionized medicine. From new skin for burn patients to new livers for alcoholics, rejection-free organ transplants are now possible.

The technology, most impressively, allowed for a computer-neural link. We could interface neurons with a computer and vice versa. This, as you can imagine, had applications that we could only dream of. Most pressing was the hope to augment the memory of dementia patients. I lost my mother to dementia. It's a vicious disease.

So this technology gave me hope, and we were so close.

I think what is of most interest to you, however, is what transpired in December 2056. As you are all aware, my relationship with Maya was personal. We started working together, but I found myself drawn to her. Looking back, this was by design, but it felt real at the time.

We began an intimate, albeit long-distance, relationship. It wasn't until December 3rd, 2056, a date mentioned by the honorable chairman, that I finally met her. I didn't, at this point, recognize that anything was different about her.

I thought I was meeting my long-time colleague and the love of my life. I had brought a ring and planned to propose.

That's when things started to go sideways. I wanted her to consider moving Mazur Industries to America. She said no. I could stay in Romania if I wished. I'd have to give up my tenure to do that, whereas she should have been free to move her industry anywhere.

That is when I began to suspect that she was hiding something. I didn't of course think that she was really an alien intelligence who had posed digitally as a human being for a decade and had freshly printed a body in the shape of her digital avatar.

I'm not that imaginative. But I did suspect her of hiding something. It didn't make sense, because throughout our courtship she'd acted very open to moving to America.

On the night of December 28th, 2056 we fell asleep in each other's arms, but I awoke close to midnight. We were staying in this beautiful log cabin close to the headquarters of Mazur Industries. All the workers were staying in cabins like these. They were within the secure perimeter. That night, I dressed and headed out for a walk. On a whim, I grabbed Maya's access card and made a b-line straight for the lab.

What I saw astounded me. By day, we'd been printing skin grafts, part of our burns study. At night the laboratory was supposed to be locked down. Each skin graft was for a particular patient, and we were meant to supervise the production.

I expected the laboratory to be locked down. Instead, I saw all twenty printers engaged. But they were not printing skin grafts. They were printing whole humans. I sat, mesmerized for god knows how long. I was staring at a middle-aged man. The printer was adding a five o'clock shadow when suddenly his lip twitched and then his eyes opened.

He was staring right at me. And he saw me. There was no doubt in my mind that he saw me, and that he was alive.

I ran. I ran through the woods, climbed the barb-wire fence, and I didn't look back. I didn't then understand what I saw, but I knew I wanted no part of it.

Over the next few weeks, I made my way out of Romania, through Hungary until I arrived at Vienna. I traveled on foot. Chaos was everywhere. Romania and Hungary were dark. There was no power, no MetaWeb. In some places there was order, but in other places things were bad.

In Vienna, I was picked up by the local police and promptly extradited to America. You know the rest of the story.

With that, I would like to thank you for giving me the chance to speak in front of you today, and I would like to open the floor for questions.

VANCE: Thank you, Mr. Anderson. I would like to recognize the gentlewoman from New Hampshire, Madam Abrams.

ABRAMS: Thank you Madam Chairman. Good afternoon Mr. Anderson.

You say that you entered into both a professional relationship and a personal relationship with the so-called Maya Mazur. Could you clarify when that relationship began for me, please?

ANDERSON: The professional relationship began in January of 2053 and the personal one materialized towards the end of February the same year.

ABRAMS: So you are saying that you maintained a personal relationship from early 2053 to late 2056. You are saying that for almost four years you maintained a personal relationship with this Maya and you didn't once meet her. That didn't strike you as strange?

ANDERSON: That is correct. We only met virtually in those years. And no it wasn't strange. It was incredibly frustrating. But given the travel restrictions in place the past decade, it was a fairly normal experience. I was born in Texas, and thus am under further scrutiny. And Maya was posing as a Ukrainian national. It made absolute sense that I was only granted travel authorization after rising to some prominence. I didn't question it.

ABRAMS: Okay, but there is no record of any attempts made on your part for travel authorization before 2056.

ANDERSON: That is correct. We talked about it a lot, but we never properly pursued it until 2056.

ABRAMS: Thank you. It strikes me as odd. I yield my time.

VANCE: Thank you to the gentlewoman from Maryland. I now recognize the gentleman from Indiana.

JANSEN: Thank you. And Mr. Anderson, I thank you for giving your time here today. I guess I really have one pressing question. You say you saw other beings being printed, and that is why you left.

ANDERSON: Correct.

JANSEN: And those beings were convincingly human? Do you believe that you would be able to differentiate in any way between these 3D-printed beings and a real, born human?

ANDERSON: I do not. I would not be able to differentiate between them.

JANSEN: Do you believe that the intelligence would be able to copy a living human accurately?

ANDERSON: I believe so.

JANSEN: How then - and please excuse the nature of this question - do we know that you are the real Dr. Anderson and not a copy of him? How do we know that we are speaking to Leo Anderson, born in Houston on March 3rd, 2012? How can we be assured that we aren't speaking to the intelligence right now?

ANDERSON: It's a good question, and I will answer that with a question of my own. How can the rest of us be assured that we are in fact speaking to Congressman Jansen? 

Exhibit L: FBI Washington D.C. tweet on arrest warrant issued (November 2nd, 2057)

Published on MetaWeb™ Twitter™ application (November 3rd, 2057)

On November 2, 2057, the U.S. District Court District of Columbia issued a federal arrest warrant for one Leo P. Anderson. We urge anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to contact the FBI. He is considered dangerous. Do not approach.

END OF EXHIBIT

science fiction

About the author

Julia Marsiglio

Loss parent. Canadian poet. Fiction and nonfiction writer. Intersectional feminist. Writing on trauma, grief, mental health, marginalization, neurodivergence and more.

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