I woke from a dream about heads. Not the grisly trophies of primitive Maori tribesmen or vulgarly savage Islamists, but rather the cryogenically preserved heads of creative geniuses surgically removed at the time of their natural deaths.
I was in an online chat room in a closed network – limited to a particular facility – when these people came in and started talking, pleading with anyone, about being returned to their bodies.
Naturally, I was confused about chatting online with people who claimed not to have bodies. I mean, wouldn’t that normally render them unable to type even if they somehow weren’t dead? I laughed it off, sure they were trying to pull my leg.
They kept insisting it was no joke, that they were in one of the campus’s several buildings and their bodies weren’t far from their heads.
I was amused to recognize a few of their names: Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, and Walt Disney. Idols of mine… as much as make idols of anyone.
Walt Disney explained to me that their cryogenically preserved heads had been brought out, their old skin replaced with fresh skin, their eyes replaced with new orbs that could both film and take snapshots of whatever they looked at, and their skull bones somehow crystallized.
I interrupted to ask, “Like the Mitchell and Hedges skull and other crystal skulls? To store either memory or general information?”
“Yes, exactly so,” he told me. “Same technology.”
I didn’t ask him how he learned the technology. I had a very clear impression that it was something he just understood/absorbed in the process of handling the crystal skulls.
I’ve often wondered if those skull ever belonged to real living and breathing physical beings. Was this my answer?
He told me that he’d planned to have his head preserved this way long before his death and that others had too. They just had to wait in fridge as it were until the technology was up to par. The general schematic was already laid out.
He’d also built android bodies for both himself and the others that were preserved or would be. He hadn’t gotten the walking function up to speed before he died, but left that for future technology to solve… which it had.
I always loved the animatons at Disneyland, always marveled at them. My daughter, on the other hand, only found them creepy when I took her to Disneyland to see them. The ones at Chucky Cheese’s creeped her out too. At this point, I figured that even I should be creeped out, but I wasn’t. No. I was just flaming with curiosity. I really wanted what this Walt person was saying to be true.
Conveniently, I was working at night and known to all the security guards so was free to roam the campus at will when curiosity finally overcame my reticence against being taken in. I went for stroll.
The lab in question wasn’t forbidden to me. I’d just never had reason enough to go past the door. It was a clean room environment. I’d have to don the goggles, the cap, and the stupid ESD coat and shoes. Okay, not stupid, but such have always felt like hijab to me so I usually avoid it at all costs. This time I didn’t. My curiosity overrode all else.
Right on the other side of the airlock, a staircase descended into the lab. I didn’t want to disturb anything, so I didn’t turn the main lights on, instead relying soling on the running lights of myriad consoles and equipment. And there they were…
There were maybe a dozen fully animated heads plugged into sockets on what looked like a broad chrome bar. It was barely at eye level. And they were all turning in their sockets to greet with more than a few “I told you so’s.”
They were life-like, albeit more youthful looking than they’d been when they died. Fresh skin, you know, grown in vats from their own cellar material. Creepified moment there as I swayed on the balls of my feet taking it in, staring in disbelief.
Here I’d wanted so much to believe and now that I did it was shocking to me, a pang in the pit of my stomach.
“Our bodies, please,” Nicola said, indicating with a jut of his chin something behind me. “We’ve been waiting so long just to live as our old selves again only to be plugged into this thing called the ‘Internet’ instead.”
He had a beautiful voice. Even saying this, it was mesmerizing. But how…? He surely didn’t have the physical criteria to be pushing air through his larynx… or did he? And then, belatedly, it came to me what he’d just said.
I turned around. The headless bodies were hanging in harnesses but their motionless feet were planted firmly on the ground.
I reached for Nicola’s head, plucking it from its socket with a small ‘pop’ then put it in a similar socket on a body I thought it would fit. It did. And that whole of him came to life.
Walt was next, then Einstein and all of the others.
I knew I’d be in big trouble for it, but I felt it was worth it and only right. Most souls leave at the close of their physical lives and come back only into new lives. These had waited around. They had work to continue that they didn’t care to have interrupted by the loss of their past life memory.
Ha. The progenitors of Tomorrow Land. These are the ones who’d be sure to push it on through. We just had to get behind them and help.
And yes, I did just watch the movie Tomorrow Land before going to bed.