TRANSMUTATION… A Wickedly Cool Sci-Fi HyperShort by Anthony Lawrence


Another “outta the park” HyperShort by Fireball Pop, this one is. (Hey, I sounded like Yoda…) Enjoy.

TRANSMUTATION by Anthony Lawrence

Panic swept over me. Consciousness returning. No pain. I couldn’t open my eyes. I couldn’t move. Not even my eyelids. Silence. In the deepest forest you can hear birds, crickets. Out on the vast sea, you can hear waves, the wind. Even in deep space, you can hear your heart beating. This was the silence of death. But I couldn’t be dead. Maybe just dreaming. A nightmare.  But it’s like a lucid dream. There’s awareness. Memory. The accident! Oh, God, Jen, I saw her face! Her beautiful face, covered in blood, dead, before I passed out! She was gone! I was alone in silence and darkness. Where could I be? What could I be? Why couldn’t I move or see or hear? But wait. I was in a coma! That must be it! I was in a medically induced coma. I was badly injured and they had to put me into coma. It was just temporary. Or was it? When would I come out of it? How could I know? Maybe it wasn’t temporary. Maybe I wouldn’t come out of it. Maybe never. No, it couldn’t be! I couldn’t be stuck here in darkness and silence forever. I wanted to scream but I couldn’t.

Jen and I were astronauts. Astronauts, yes! A comforting memory! Not much but something. I was able to remember. Two weeks from the launch.  Another thought. Civilian spacecraft. Where were we going? I struggled to remember! Alpha Centauri B.  Exoplanet.  Surface area larger than earth.  Liquid water.  Superhabitable. Thoughts burst into my mind. Like puffs of smoke.  Final hope for the human race.  Avoid extinction. Global warming.  Then it came!  The truck!  The sounds in my mind.  Smashing, breaking glass, darkness, silence, panic, hopelessness.  Oh God, why couldn’t I move? If I could just move, only the slightest bit. Move! To move is to know you’re alive!

Then I heard her voice. No, it was not a voice. I felt her presence and I seemed to be a part of her mind. It was something she called “quorum sensing” and her thoughts were non-linear, like millions of seeds being planted in my head simultaneously.  How does one explain “collective consciousness” or what it feels like to become aware of chemical “signals”? Jen was a bio-engineer and she was producing “output chemicals” to my mind that seemed to explain everything. I was now a part of something known as “wave function collapse” that occurs in isolation. I suddenly understood the nature of single cells and how colonies mimic biological neural networks. I understood altruistic and cooperative behavior and the influence of colony structures. I knew we were using chemicals to talk to each other. It was not a psychic trauma to know that we were partly made of pond scum because a new and astonishing vista had unfolded.

We were able now to communicate in sophisticated ways, take concerted action, influence human physiology, alter human thinking, and work together to bio-engineer the environment. I knew now about the connectiveness of all life on this planet, and that enzymes can be as smart as the human brain. We had transmuted somehow into eminent microbial life. We were now a part of something like bees and ants serving the greater good. I had become part of the largest, strangest cooperative microorganism on earth.

We were already consuming plastics and the metal of the Titanic’s wasted wreck, and through organization, cooperation and growth, we were like alchemists who would soon convert the corrupted base matter of this world back into gold.