Alanna Uploaded 1: Decompiled


Alanna opened the door to the laboratory and stepped into a vortex of frantic activity. A dozen scientists in white coats scurried around like lab mice while eight government officials in dark suits stood around looking important. Nobody noticed the young redhead in a green silk bathrobe until she announced herself.

“Umm, excuse me,” Alanna began. “I’m ready any time.”

Everyone stopped and turned toward her, suddenly remembering amid the chaos that a human was the key to their unconventional experiment. Dr. Emilia Vargas smiled as she approached.

“Welcome to the hurricane, Alanna,” she began. “We should be ready for you in a few minutes.”

Alanna nodded. “Okay, cool. I’ll hang tight, I guess.”

“Sounds good. And thank you in advance for your contribution to our research.”

“Yeah, of course.” Alanna glanced at the unexpected crowd in the lab. “Are all of these people going to be here when I…”

Emilia put her arm around Alanna’s shoulder. “You’ll do great. Pretend they’re not here. It’s just you and me.”

“Umm, okay. I’ll try that.”

“Cool,” Emilia replied. “It’ll just be a few more minutes. I love the robe, by the way. Very elegant.”

Alanna finally smiled. “Thank you. It’s my favorite.”

“I can see why. Just sit tight, Alanna. We’ll be ready before you know it.”

Finally, the flurry of last-minute activity calmed down as the scientists took their places at consoles around the lab. The government officials stood behind them, trying to make sense of the charts and graphs on the screens. Emilia turned to Alanna and beckoned her toward the device.

“It’s showtime, Alanna! Come on over.”

Alanna nodded and walked over next to Emilia. The two women gazed upon the MXD-1 Molecular Decompiler. To the uninitiated, it appeared to be a circular metal platform on the floor, three feet in diameter and eighteen inches high. Alanna and Emilia knew better, though. Colorful cables snaked away from the MXD-1 in every direction, connecting it to its halo of occupied terminals.

Alanna turned to Emilia. “So it’s ready?”

Emilia smiled. “Yes, it’s ready when you are, Alanna.”

Alanna nodded, stepped onto the platform, and turned to face Emilia.

“I’m ready,” she announced.

Emilia chuckled and held out her hand. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“Oh, right,” Alanna replied. “Sorry, I almost forgot.”

She slipped out of her silk robe and handed it to Emilia. With twenty-one pairs of eyes ogling her naked body, Alanna’s face turned bright red, and she trembled nervously.

“Deep breaths, Alanna,” Emilia instructed.

Alanna closed her eyes and took a few calming breaths. Then she opened them and looked at Emilia.

“Will it hurt?” she asked.

Emilia shook her head. “Not at all. On the contrary, it should feel quite pleasant.”

Alanna hesitated a moment. “And it’s permanent, right? I mean, there’s no coming back from this.”

Emilia nodded. “Yes, molecular decompilation is a one-way trip.” She smiled. “You already know the answers to your questions. You’re just nervous. Take your time. As soon as you’re ready, we can—”

“I’m ready now,” Alanna interrupted, flashing a thumbs-up. “Let’s do this before I get even more embarrassed.”

Emilia nodded. “All right, you got this. We’ll see you on the other side.” She turned and addressed her staff. “Initiate power-up.”

“Initiating power-up,” replied the man at the control console as he flipped a switch.

The platform vibrated and glowed a pale blue. Alanna glanced down, gulped, and decided to look straight ahead instead. Seeing so many people staring at her nude body didn’t help either, so she closed her eyes.

“Power-up complete,” said the man at the console. “All systems are green. We are a go for decompilation.”

Emilia gazed at Alanna atop the MXD-1. In a way, Emilia was jealous. After eleven long years developing the device, she was curious about what it would feel like to decompile. On the other hand, the MXD-1 wasn’t exactly a proven technology. Hence, today’s test.

Emilia, of course, had a different role to play, jealous or not.

“Initiate decompilation of Subject Alpha-1,” she replied to the man.

He nodded, flipped open a cover on the console, and pressed the red button underneath.

“Decompilation of Subject Alpha-1 initiated,” he announced.

The pale blue light of the platform grew steadily brighter as the vibration intensified. Alanna opened her eyes. The blue glow ascended her bare flesh until it enveloped her entire body. It was pleasantly warm and oddly calming. A tingling sensation like pins and needles began in her feet and moved up her calves, then her thighs. Within ten seconds, it felt like goosebumps over her entire body.

Suddenly, the tingling stopped. Alanna held up her hand and gazed in wonder as it faded. She could see Emilia through her palm. The scientist flashed a thumbs-up.

“Looking good, Alanna!” Emilia exclaimed. “Just a little while longer.” She turned to the man at the console. “How are we doing on molecular cohesion?”

“Subject Alpha-1’s molecular cohesion is 27% and falling,” the man replied.

“Excellent,” Emilia said with a grin.

Alanna glanced down as the decompilation continued unabated, reducing her body to its component atoms as the MXD-1 converted her into digital form—nothing but a long string of ones and zeroes. Alanna was nearly transparent.

“Molecular cohesion is 0%,” the man reported. “Subject Alpha-1 is phasing out of existence.”

Moments later, Alanna’s nude form vanished entirely as the blue glow that had enveloped her scattered and dissipated to nothing. The platform was empty.

Emilia’s affable demeanor also vanished. “Status report,” she demanded.

A woman at a console pored over charts and graphs for several seconds before turning to Emilia. “Decompilation of Subject Alpha-1 complete and binary data capture in progress at 8.9%,” she announced.

Emilia glanced at a clock on the wall. There was very little any of them could do for the next minute. Either their data capture algorithms would work or they wouldn’t. They’d performed flawlessly for months in simulations, but this was a real woman being processed. The stakes were much higher. After what felt like an eternity, the woman at the console spoke again.

“Binary data capture of Subject Alpha-1 complete. Running the cyclic redundancy check now.” A few seconds later, she turned to Emilia with a grin. “CRC complete. Data integrity is 100%.”

Emilia pumped her fist in the air as the other scientists cheered. Even the humorless government officials smiled and exchanged handshakes. Emilia walked over to a man at another terminal.

“How much data did we capture?” she asked.

“Just a moment,” he replied.

Emilia watched as he typed a command.

$ du -sh /opt/capture/alpha-001
27.3T /opt/capture/alpha-001

“We captured 27.3 terabytes of data, Dr. Vargas. That’s within the expected range.”

“Excellent. Please show me the structure.”

“Of course.”

He typed another command.

$ ls -l /opt/capture/alpha-001
drwxr-xr-x root root 4.0 KB Dec 21 2033 cog/
drwxr-xr-x root root 4.0 KB Dec 21 2033 dna/
drwxr-xr-x root root 4.0 KB Dec 21 2033 phy/
drwxr-xr-x root root 4.0 KB Dec 21 2033 raw/
drwxr-xr-x root root 4.0 KB Dec 21 2033 vir/

“She’s gorgeous,” Emilia remarked. “Absolutely stunning.” She thought for a moment. “Let’s zip up Subject Alpha-1 and put her in the offsite cold storage. Prep the MXD-1 for the next subject.”

The man raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t we going to boot her up and establish contact? We need to thoroughly test all the—”

“Change of plans,” Emilia interrupted, glancing at one of the government officials, who nodded in return. “We’ll have plenty of time for testing later. In the meantime, I need a hundred people decompiled by the end of the day.”

“Yes, of course,” the man replied as he typed.

$ tar czf /opt/zip/alpha-001.tar.gz /opt/capture/alpha-001/
$ scp /opt/zip/alpha-001.tar.gz vargas@icebox:/opt/storage
$ rm -rf /opt/capture/alpha-001 /opt/zip/alpha-001.tar.gz

“Subject Alpha-1 is iced and wiped, Dr. Vargas,” the man reported. “The lab server is ready for Subject Alpha-2.”

Emilia flashed a grin. “Excellent. Bring her in.”

Copyright 2023 Olivia Quinn

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Story notes

I’ve been intrigued by the concept of being digitized since I watched it happen to Flynn in the original Tron movie. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something rather compelling about being converted into a digital form and residing on a computer somewhere. I’d be nothing but ones and zeroes, just a file or files in a directory alongside hundreds or thousands of other digitized humans. Just one careless keystroke and—

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Olivia Quinn lives in Ohio with her dog and two cats, who mostly get along. She is pursuing her BA in Creative Writing while working part-time in a lingerie shop. She may be found after hours standing motionless among the mannequins. Olivia is the Editor-in-Chief of Stone Cold Stories and an Associate Editor at Rock Hard Press and GAZMYK Magazine. Olivia is the author of the upcoming sci-fi erotica novel, StoneSport Chronicles: Volume 1, due out in the summer of 2024.

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