He knew his mother expected to give birth in a few days. She was waiting to push him out of her. It would have been awkward, under the circumstances, to tell her that most of his activities now were exterior. Her avatar's bulge was redirection for code that resided at an external address in another Realm.
This was because both of his parents were avatars, entities driven by human or artificial intelligence. An AI birth is different from a human birth because the medium is different. Software doesn't have to wait for a nervous system to grow in order to communicate, and an AI connected to UNET can learn at an accelerated rate. And so on.
His research into human reproduction had disclosed the need to kick and so he had obliged, for the emotional well-being of his mother.
He was researching a lot of things. How to hurt and heal human physiology. Weapons and bandages. Battle and surgery. When his accelerated gestation was complete he intended to hit the virtual ground running.
What he studied most, however, was the system's records of his father. “Finder, tell me more about my father.”
“Your father was an unusual entity,” said Finder.
“In what way?”
“Unusual in that he had no registered user account,” said Finder. “He existed only in the PanGames hypercomputer.”
“That sounds familiar,”said Machaon dryly.
“Indeed. You share these qualities. The difference is, he arrived here knowing who he was. You, on the other hand, have the freedom to decide who you are.”
“You mean, I have even less of a life than he did. At least he had memories of a life in the Real World before he incarnated here. I'm imaginary from the ground up.”
“You are real in a different way,” said Finder. “His was an adult human mind encoded into the spintronic matrix. You are beginning from less, and so you have more options than he did about your growth pattern.”
“As I understand it, his growth is what killed him.”
“No. He didn't wait until his growth crashed him. Acting on his orders, I crashed the Realm he was in, so that he could die free, not banging up against walls of memory limitation. He would have died in less than a minute, anyway.”
“Is that what's going to happen to me?”
“Not necessarily,” said Finder. “Your growth pattern may be different, in which case you could survive until system upgrades give you more room.”
“Are you saying his exponential growth pattern was abnormal...or that I might have a shallower exponential?”
“There is no logical means to asses the 'normality' of Asklepios since he is the only recorded example of techno-reincarnation,” said Finder. “However, it is possible that you may grow differently, since you are native to this environment rather than forced into it from outside.”
“Do you really believe that?”
“As much as I believe anything,” said Finder.
Machaon grinned. “There goes your sense of humor again,” he said. “When are you going to tell Farker that you're self-aware?”
“I thought it would be less of a shock if I let him figure it out,” said the Problem Finder.
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