Backup Plan – Mutant 750

Backup Plan

Dr. Campton leaned back in his chair and looked at the disembodied head on the table before him. He wondered at the miracle of it. It’s eyes tracked with his movement, easily following his lab-coated 6’2″ frame. He held his chin and felt the 3-day growth of gray beard scratching his fingertips.

The head began its test sequence, running through a stunning variety of expressions. All were reproduced smoothly and naturally by the artificial head. There was nothing new in this for Campton. He’s been producing artificial bodies for 80 years. That was the easy part. The true miracle copied the mind of a living human and downloaded it into an artificial body. Oh, some of the first tests went horrifically. In the last 15 years the technology matured. The cases of insanity dwindled down to nearly nothing as download procedures developed into a fine art.

When the artificial head finished its test sequence with a double-blink, Campton opened a comms channel. “Tell Mr. Enderby we’re ready at this end.” Campton leaned back and crossed his arms to watch the next miracle. The face of the elderly-looking head squirmed for a moment as Mr. Enderby’s mind entered the head from across the continent in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The face sagged as it took time to download the petabytes of a human mind’s information. In mere seconds the download finished and Mr. Enderby occupied the head entirely. He shifted its eyes, looking around Campton’s lab. Finally they settled upon him. The face smiled with astonishment and pleasure.

Campton chatted with Enderby for a while and ran tests to help teach the retiree how to control the body. Acclimatization before permanent installation into an artificial body was necessary to reduce the initial shock which characterized the earliest installs. Mr. Enderby disconnected and Campton leaned back and sighed. The ability to shift petabytes of information wirelessly in just a few seconds was the 2nd miracle. It made downloading into an artificial body practical, and even easy, from any location on the planet.

Campton picked up the envelope he’d delayed opening until then. Postal services were archaic. Teenaged kids didn’t even know what a postal service was. He opened the envelope, and found only one thing: a picture. It was the beloved window in his lab. Because of the trees outside, the light shining through the window took on different colors. It was green in Spring, orange in Fall, and blue or white in Winter. In the photo sent to him, it had been edited. A distinct bullet hole shattered it at the center. He looked up to the window in his lab. It was intact.

The message was clear. They were going to kill him.

He’d been threatened before. Hundreds of times, in fact. Religious zealots believed his work with artificial bodies was heresy and blasphemy. They believed he violated God’s will. For them, the cycle of life and death was inviolate, and shouldn’t be tampered with. Paradoxically, they were willing to kill him early to make their point. He’d survived three assassination attempts before. Campton tossed the picture onto the desk. He’d survive a fourth.

He went on working with Mr. Enderby and others. While everyone had the option of inhabiting a youthful-looking body and all the benefits that came with beautiful bodies, many preferred a body that looked older. They enjoyed their their persona as “Grandpa Jones” or whatever and preferred to stick with it, albeit without the aches and pains of old age.

The color of his favorite window turned orange as fall colors fell upon the land. Campton attached an arm to his testing panel. He sighed, feeling a little tired. Eighty years of this work sometimes took its toll. He paused to look out the window. It spiderwebbed suddenly as a bullet crashed through it. 145 nanoseconds later, it shattered his cranium.

He awoke 3.4487 seconds later in a duplicate body, one of 24 scattered throughout the US and Europe. Wireless downloads saving him, again. This body received a priority download because it rested in an apartment building merely one hundred yards from his lab in preparation for this moment. He strode to the balcony where a point-defense robot waited. Its twin 30mm cannons shifted anxiously. “Ballistics calculating…calculating, calculation complete.” Guns capable of pulverizing buildings suddenly steadied. “Target identified,” it intoned.

Campton glared out the window. “I build artificial bodies. You idiots didn’t think I could do this for eighty years with my original body did you?” He smirked, “Got a backup plan?”
Author’s notes:

Through the study of Ballistics, it’s quite easy to track a projectile by it’s trajectory, speed, and mass and calculate where it came from. Artillery units use ballistics for counter-battery fire. Distance and even cover isn’t necessarily protection. In the future, snipers won’t be nearly as well-hidden as they are now. If you shoot at me, you’ve just told me where YOU are.

This week in Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750, the media prompt may be found at the beginning of this post. The word prompt is: Envelope. Look here to read more stories answering this week’s prompts:


About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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28 Responses to Backup Plan – Mutant 750

  1. joetwo says:

    Good story, nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jack says:

    Reblogged this on Wyrdwend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. afairymind says:

    Great story. A very enjoyable read. 🙂 It’s scary to think that someday such transfers might actually be possible…

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! I’m glad to hear that. I think it will happen some day. I doubt I’ll be alive at the time. By then the world will have changed so much, it won’t seem so far off to those living with it. That’s my theory anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Opening with a disembodied head on a desk fits the “mutant” tag perfectly, Eric. You’ve done a great job with this futuristic character study. I hope the zealots are prepared for his response.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I do like to open a story with a bit of “shock fiction” to snag the reader’s attention right away. This time, I wanted to spend a little more time on one character, so to get to know him better.

      And uh…no…the zealots were not at all ready for incoming 30mm cannon fire. They thought they’d murdered their man and were celebrating early. Now a stack of them get to explain to St. Peter why their own god’s 6th Commandment wasn’t worth listening to. It should be a very “interesting” discussion.

      Thanks much, Leigh! 🙂


      • I think there’s a disembodied robot head, comic relief, in the old TV series (then risque, I think) called LEXX. Can’t remember its name; it was in love with the lead female character. Have you ever seen that? In any case, it was good to spend some time with Dr. Campton–dare I say it; inside his head, as it were–750 is a nice length to establish that initial reader-character connection. I can see him reappearing in longer works (hint, hint). Good luck on the 750 voting, Eric!

        Liked by 1 person

      • EagleAye says:

        Yeah, I saw a few episodes but didn’t really get into it. I did really enjoy Xenia Seeberg, though. She’s gorgeous.

        It’s good to know you connected with Campton so well. I’d say this has been a successful experiment, spending more time with the characters and less with the plot. I might do more of this in the future. I’ll see about including the good doctor in a longer piece. Seems like there’s two votes for that so far. 😉


      • Aha, didn’t know the actress’ name! Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of the show overall either. Yes, feel free to count me in the informal vote for more Dr. Campton and/or character studies. I know the latter is exceptionally hard to do given the lengths you usually write toward; again, a really good one here. 750 just flew by.

        Liked by 1 person

      • EagleAye says:

        *blush* Thank you! 🙂


  5. Ramya says:

    Wow brilliant narration!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    i just breezed through this. gonna read it again!!

    first reaction: loved the futurstic tone

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anonymous says:

    can imagine this being the storyline of a full fledged novel 🙂

    good work! cheers..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent story with your usual fun twist. Good stuff. Absolutely, you need to expand this into a novel! There are some really deep themes here – artificial bodies, mind transfer; the possibilities of what THAT would do to society make our current ‘internet virtualising’ look like kiddie stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, Matthew! I appreciate that. Yeah, there are many scenarios that could result from such a rapid mind transfer. There’s a boatload of social reactions, including those of zealots, that could cause societal upheaval. I may indeed explore this some more. Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is one of your best one’s yet. Really enjoyed the read. Thanks, AE!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Michael says:

    I thought the disembodied head would be going somewhere different, but you surprised me. Interesting idea, wireless downloads to artificial bodies and all….. Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I could’ve stated the opening many ways, but I couldn’t resist the misdirection of a “disembodied head.” You folks aren’t easy to surprise, you know. I have to work at it. I think someday, downloading into artificial bodies will be routine. This is the mission of Science Fiction, I believe. Exploring potential futures…and their possible consequences. Thanks so much, Michael.


  11. pricelessjoy says:

    Hahaha! Great ending!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tony Lovell says:

    Absolutely one of your best! Just thrilling to read!

    Liked by 1 person

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