TWINS… a New Sci-Fi HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence #hypershort #twins #highconcept #idea #story


Great, and brain tweaking idea from my bro FIreball Ethan. Move over consciousness, I’ma comin’ in.

TWINS by Ethan Lawrence

John and I hadn’t seen each other for years, not since he went off to be an artist in Nepal. I was supposed to go with him, but I went into finance. I think I did it just to prove we weren’t carbon copies of each other. One twin was painting landscapes on a mountain, the other acting like a responsible adult – and making a killing at it.

Then, one dim winter day, someone in a hurry didn’t see the crossing’s lights and the roo bar of their 4WD propelled my responsible adult ass into intensive care. One twin was penniless and unemployable; one was good for nothing but organ donation. The researchers got hold of us, ran us through a bunch of tests, and then made us (well, him, I was a cabbage) an offer too tough to refuse. They kept me on life support and stuck my head in an MRI machine, painstakingly scanning my brain one nanometer at a time. That took a couple of weeks. Next, their computers converted that 3D image into a mathematical model of the connections in my head. That took eight months.

“This part of the production is nothing new,” Doctor Preminger explained.

They’d been scanning nervous systems to that level of detail for some years and the math was standard stuff from Internet Theory. What was new was what they did next. First, they cleaned my artist twin up, got the bugs and the drugs out of his system. Then they scanned his brain too, though not to the same level of detail. Then they took a stiff plastic ‘hairnet’ studded with four hundred tiny electromagnets, tucked his head into it, and switched me on.

By the time I understood I was dead and a computer simulation being run in my twin’s frontal lobes, it was already time to put me back into the box. I was screaming at them not to do it. What if they couldn’t get me back out again? What if when they switched me off, my twin didn’t resurface? At least they had the kindness and the common sense not to show me my own body. It’s still around, somewhere. I don’t ask.

It got easier every time. At first I could barely stand up, or count to ten. Within a few months I was able to walk into my old office and get my disoriented staff back on track. I insisted on drawing up papers that made my twin the joint owner of my portfolio. No matter what happens, his bills were paid for the rest of his life. While I was at it, I set up a foundation to fund Dr Preminger’s work. Since those first rough experiments with a handful of twins, his project had advanced in leaps and bounds. The push was towards better abstract models of the personality. But my investing in Dr Preminger’s work was more than just enlightened self-interest. What he was hoping to patent was immortality.

My twin generally hosted me for about a week. Much longer and his own identity and memories, submerged below mine, would begin to degrade. That week was packed with visits, neurological and cognitive tests, and business meetings. I cheated death, but it’s only earned me about a quarter of whatever time my twin had left to live. He took me to movies and a couple of art exhibitions, but mostly I just unwound by playing tennis. It was always a weird experience for me. I couldn’t play tennis worth a damn – but my twin could. At first it was frightening, to be reminded that all I was, was a thin layer of tissue atop someone else’s cerebrum. But it was exhilarating, like playing a video game, albeit with real muscle strain.

“You see, what we’ve done,” Dr. Preminger tells me, excitedly. “We’ve created a model of native neuron-based computation itself. A software brain, on which we can run any mind. Given time, we’ll be able to run any mind in any brain.”

I’m doing fine on the IQ tests, but I’m not quite following. “I thought you could only use identical twins.”

“For the prototype, yes. If all goes well we’ll be able to port you into any brain.”

I’m seeing Dr. Preminger from a whole new perspective, all the little clues I missed. He was working for DARPA and I was their newest weapon against terrorism.



Ethan Lawrence has served on the writing staffs of the TV series The Pretender, Murder in Small Town X, Fearing Mind, So Weird and SyFy’s acclaimed series Eureka. He has developed web series for Generate Management/Alloy Entertainment such as Full Metal Alchemist and has sold TV pilots to NBC, ABC and The Gold Company.   He wrote the screenplay Hellraiser 5 for Dimension Films, Nevermore for Propaganda Films, Downloader for Stuart Gordon/Red Hen Productions, Mortal Velocity for Warner Bros. Studios, Creepers for Papa Joe Films (based on the David Morrell New York Times bestseller Creepers) and wrote the feature film Asylum for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios/Hyde Park Entertainment.

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