The lonely walk on the rough cobble-stoned path to the lab appeared more cold and dreary than usual. The eyes housed in my head could see the path was bumpy but my feet didn’t return the sensation to my brain. Like always. I scanned my memories and found those necessary to push out tears. Feeling no grief, I noticed as the saline solution trickled down my cheeks and evaporated in the cold air. I wanted my artificial heart pumping artificial blood through my artificial veins, to ache. Something I never dreamed I would ever wish. My brain tried to relay the memory of the pain downwards into any essence left of my being. The fake body would never be able to duplicate the human range of emotions I once thought stressful. The last one hundred and fifty years has taught me a number of things about the human mind and existence. I have watched as the artificial technological landscape has become one of perfection, peace. Absent of struggle. There is no longer genuine joy or sorrow. Humans have always wanted to part with sorrow. I understood it as a young man, and I still understand it at two-hundred and one years old. I will only speak for myself. I hear the others, but choose only to speak for me. I hear the whispers at the theatre, fundraisers, athletic events, and social gatherings. Cryptic references made in the social atmosphere of our wired and connected brains housed in micro-chips. None of us are happy, that much I do know. We simply exist. Suicide is strictly forbidden and very difficult to achieve. The greater good propels all of us now to remain connected and intertwined in a binary language that has no nuance of feeling. A language based strictly on survival for the greater good.
I reached the lab, in precisely thirteen minutes and thirty-nine seconds. The same exact time as every other day I had an appointment for programming, upgrades, or a diagnostic evaluation. I grabbed what should have been a cold metal handle and felt nothing. Searching the deep recesses of a once fully functional human mind, encased in flawed synthetic flesh, I tried to remember the feeling of snow. The sensation of cold. The chill in the air which spoke to the mind about satisfying, secure, warmth. My mouth turned upwards in a computer driven response. Walking inside I moved through the lobby acknowledging the receptionist. He was more a watchdog than anything. There were no spreadsheets or calendars to check off, no names to confirm or IDs to show. We were already connected. Without asking he knew who I was, why I was there, and where I was going. Entering the sterile room, I sat in a chair, allowed my arm to be plugged into the mainframe and sat knowing this was my sad ongoing life. But for how long? Death came to very few. Recycling was paramount and re-purposing the new norm.
Looking in the mirror one final time, my processor chip was reconfigured in the base of my skull. There was something peculiar and faulty in this latest upgrade. The reasons, as of yet unclear, offered the remaining human in me hope. I focused on clarity, allowing the upgrade to proceed so as not to alert the mainframe that a complete reboot would be necessary. I didn’t want to go through the lengthy scrubbing process again. Not so soon after the last one, a short six hundred forty nine hours, fifteen minutes and twenty-nine seconds ago. My once fleshy conscience fought for control as the upgrade concluded. I removed the connection from my arm, and nodded to the young lab attendants who never had the pleasure of sorrow or loss. They were machines through and through.
As I exited the lab, I breathed in with the full force my plastic lungs would allow. I hoped, another dead word — hope, my brain would somehow provide the sensation of cold clean air filling my lungs with the satisfaction of another life-sustaining breath. Exasperation I think. Or was it the absence of? Nothing but a memory. I headed home, thinking in a seldom used partition, not caring I was connected. It was time to die.