Recreated in His Image
Dr. Mamund flips through the patient's chart while taking a drag from his Jasmine Light.
"You know," he comments, exhaling the blue smoke into the surgery, "It's a pity to destroy art like this."
His nurse seems distracted, likely watching something subjectively in his visual field from the net.
"Nurse! Can you join me for a moment?"
The Nurse snaps his attention back, "Sorry. Watching the match."
"Cameroon is going down to Japan 2 3. What we got?"
"It's a damn shame, it's one of Asundra's sharks. Beautiful work. A natural bred shark too. His Italian parents were both Asundra originals."
"She's the one who first engineered the exoskeleton crab claw onto a human arm. Right? We studied her work in Gene Art Expression when I was an undergraduate. "
"Exactly. These sharks were earlier works and for my money the best shark remap in the world. Her work will be mimicked for centuries. True genius is rare in this world. Ah well, we are all slaves to fashion, eh?" He shakes his head a little sadly, walks over to the Happy-sunshine-surgeon and turns it on, and turning to the Nurse says, "Send him in."
The nurse saunters toward the door, but turning his head calls back, "Japan scored."
The man ushered in is a typical shark. Large barrel chest, short stocky, two sets of fleshy caudal fins along his sides, and a small gorgeous dorsal fin protruding from his back. His face is classic Italian—dark complexion, with thick black hair. Only his incisors are shark-like, and shine fiercely when he smiles. The man is a work of art. Dr. Mamund bites his lip. He is about to destroy it.
"Mr. Caetani please sit down we just need to go over some things before we start to make sure you understand the procedure and see if you have any questions. All right?" The Doctor puts his cigarette out and the air is automatically reinonized and cleared.
The shark-man nods nervously.
"I understand you want to go back completely to an ancestral human look?"
"Yes. I want to honor what we came from. I'm a Mormon now and . . . well the old style body means something."
The doctor cannot help himself, it's not on his list of questions, but by damn he has some integrity left, and every once in a while he just has to say what is on his mind.
"Your parents were engineered by the gene artist Asundra, right? You were bred from their sperm and egg right?"
The man shifts uncomfortably then says almost to himself, "Yes. My mother even carried me in her body until twenty weeks. She believed it helped her bond to me in ways that can't be had by an entirely in vitro pregnancy."
"And you are sure you want to take this away and . . ."
The man glares angrily, "Look. I've thought a lot about this. I've got a right to make a choice. Right? This is a matter of faith. I want to look like God. OK? Got it? I want to go old school humstyle."
The Doctor shrugs, "Of course. Shall we continue? You've made arrangements to go online-virtual for the two weeks it will take, correct? You don't want to pop back into reality while this is going on. It will be messy, painful, and affect every system in your body so you want to be somewhere else."
The man sighs, "Yes, my wife and I are taking our consciousness on an extended Sci-Fi mystery excursion slated to last the whole two weeks."
"You may want to go as an ancestral human in the Sim—to start adjusting to having that kind of body. It's very different."
The man looks away, "Yes we thought of that too. Both my wife and I are going human form. My wife is thinking of making a change too, she's feline, and this will give her a chance to explore the decision. She's not a Mormon. Yet. But she's thinking about it."
"Ok, then. Let me tell you what's going to happen. We are going to take off the fins mechanically; it makes the cellular rewrite easier. Then the nans are going to move into your cells and manipulate your DNA. We will snip out Asundra's work and replace it with straight up old-style human code, you've picked out the kind of genes you want, right? . . . yes, I see you have . . . good. Then the developmental code readers are going to take over and you are going to be remade—essentially a new skeletal and muscular structure and some minimal neurological rewiring. It's all automatic and rather boring mechanically. The risks are minimal, and you've been briefed and signed a release form I see . . . but you should be aware that some things might be surprising. Especially with artists like Asundra who were very nuanced and meticulous in their art.
"Ok yeah. I've been through all this with the counselor. I'm ready."
The doctor sighs. Defeated
"Ok, let's do it. If you will take off your robe and lie down on the operating table and go deep virtual we will get started."
The man climbs onto the operating table and lays down on his stomach, his large dorsal fin sticking into the air. As he relaxes visibly, the Doctor reads the man's state, subjectively he has gone deep virtual.
The Doctor walks over to the Happy-sunshine-surgeon and taps a button on the screen. The machine goes to work immediately, dropping a shield over the prostrate man. The sound of saws cutting flesh follows within seconds, then the wet splashing of someone being lowered into an evo-rewrite chamber.
Dr. Mamund sits down in a recliner, lights a cigarette, and clicks the game into his visual field. Cameroon has scored again! This was anyone's game.