For Juliana/Sex, Skating and Nanobots in 300 Words

00:00 Sun 09 Sep 2001. Updated: 17:49 01 Jul 2007
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My friend Juliana challenged me to write a story on these topics during an IM conversation in which I was complaining about the cancellation of a course on 'cyberculture' I had planned on taking. Then she arbitrarily added a word count of 300, no less and no more. I thought that was a good challenge, so I wrote it. A very interesting process; I started with about 420 words, then went to about 460, and over several edits had to cut a third of the story. I think it really benefitted from the whittling, and I think I learned some things along the way.

As she stood at the top of the hill, Jackie was unaware her survival depended on something that began with sex.

After mechanical devices, humans tried electrical stimulation—externally, then hooked into the brain. Effective but crude. After weaning-off, volunteers still sane claimed that, although very good, the pleasure was monotonous.

The lights seemed right. Jackie leaned forward on the board, beginning her descent. Traffic was heavy, and gravity brought her past it swiftly. That was easy. Going through reds was not. Three intersections down, a red. Traffic from both sides. So soon—a bad omen?

They tried fluctuating the current, introducing randomness, but could not alter the strange blandness. The technology remained popular, lethally irresistible.

Flashes, decals, in focus so briefly, a realtime montage. Lean left, back very slightly, imperceptibly, then touch one sneaker off the ground, in the blink of an eye. Those precisely timed acts brought Jackie through the cross-flow, untouched by the cars.

They examined direct stimulation of the brain more closely—if they could master the nuances, react to changes at a neural level… Nanotechnology was the key. Indescribably tiny robots, stimulating the brain’s pleasure centers.

Insanely fast now. Everything a blur but sense of self, sense of board, sense of balance. This core of Jackie amongst the blurred world, held together by skill. And danger, any miscalculation meaning death.

They cracked the code for human pleasure, propelling nanobots into the big time. All kinds of neurological changes were demanded and provided, beginning a lasting symbiosis. The human nervous system became shared biological/technological space.

Jackie took this for granted, but only it got her through. Eight reds run, and through each nanobots massaged neurons, amplified signals, helped calculations.

At the bottom, Jackie looked back up, shaking, and knew she had to do it again.

(300 words)

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