A short, humorous story.
|I brought back Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, brought back not just his body but also his brilliant mind complete with vivid memories of his short tempestuous life. How I did it, you ask, or more accurately you doubt that I did it at all and think me a trickster of some sort, a charlatan, a latter day Barnum. I am none of these I assure you. |
As to the body, cloning technology made that possible. I purchased a lock of Mozart’s hair on eBay and once I had access to his DNA the rest was just test tubes and waiting for the body to reach maturity. I don’t want to understate. It was complex and time consuming recreating the body, but it pales in comparison to capturing Mozart’s intellect.
And how did I do that? It does not seem believable. How can I explain a technology that never existed before? It would be like trying to explain how a television works to Daniel Boone, but I’ll try anyway. You probably know about EMFs, electromagnetic fields, the radiant energy that shines from all kinds of electrical stuff. And you probably know that the brain uses electrical signals to shuttle around and remember information. When a person dies, electronically, it’s like hitting the off switch on your stereo. But the EMF field of the brain continues to resonate, slowly losing strength like an old tube radio, getting weaker; it is true, but there if one can detect it.
And that was my crowning achievement, that dark night in Austria, when my probe reached a few feet into Mozart’s grave and began picking up that faint, hundreds of year’s old electrical signal. An hour later I walked out of the cemetery with the contents of his mind on the hard drive of my laptop. After that it was just a matter of assembling components, etching the brainwaves on my hard drive into Wolfgang’s new gray matter.
Originally, I had planned to let the body age until it reached a biological maturity which matched the age of Mozart at his death, 36. But I must admit that as I waited for the body to age, I was impatient, like a child with a new electric train set, wanting to snap the track together into a perfect whole and see the choo-choo run round it. The body matured while I kept the brain in a coma-like state so that the being would not imprint an identity of its own. When the body fully matured, and I had a perfect specimen, healthy, vibrant, it took much self-restraint to hold back. And in the end, I couldn’t.
When the body had developed to a chronological age of 28, I just couldn’t wait and went ahead and infused the brain cortex with Mozart’s brain pathways and memories. And so it all really began. A few hours later he emerged from lethargy slowly, bewildered, muscles stiff, much like a patient emerging from a coma and at first that was what I told him, that he had been in a coma, which was true, though I failed to mention how long it had been since he had lapsed into darkness.
His first words came out in guttural formal German which I had anticipated and prepared for by becoming fluent in his native language in anticipation of the moment. I had also prepared myself for some questions which would be difficult such as, how long he had been in the coma, the fate of his loved ones, and how he ended up across the ocean from his homeland and who I was. I knew from extensive reading that Mozart had both an effervescent and confrontational nature and I expected to be challenged by him. And I was. I answered him honestly, gave him the exact date, broke the news that his wife and child were long dead, and explained as best I could my process which had revitalized him.
He found what I told him disturbing, shocking, and it threw him into a downturn and then a depression I had not anticipated. For days he vegetated, refused to talk to me, sulked in bed, and wouldn’t eat. And then he slipped back into the coma from which he emerged and for a few panicky days, I thought I had lost him for good. But he awoke groggily after a week of unconsciousness and when he was alert enough, I went to him and made him a promise. I would revitalize his wife and child just as I had brought him back. He took heart at this and immediately began to improve.
To stimulate his re-emergence into life, I had to set the stage. There were musical instruments placed throughout the house, music paper and pens for composing, books, paintings and photos. In a matter of days, he was playing and then writing music and as his stamina grew, he spent most of his days engaged in musical activity.
He was astounded when I cranked up the system and his music began playing from the speakers. I explained to him the concept of recorded music, how it was done, and he spent a good month of two just going through my music collection, first listening to classical music, then gradually moving on to other forms, jazz, blues, rock, even country and rap.
The sound of the electric guitar fascinated him and he asked to have one, so I went out and bought him a Paul Reed Smith and a bank of Marshall Amps. In a matter of weeks, he became an excellent guitarist, playing along with classic rock songs, improvising his own riffs, and, finally, he began to write his own rock songs, complete with mind numbing guitar solos. By then, he had stopped playing all other instruments and had devoted himself entirely to the electric guitar.
His appetite for technology was astounding. He tirelessly immersed himself in it all, photography, television, and computers. Just months after he awakened, he was composing music on the computer, recording multi-track compositions, taking his own digital photos, surfing the internet, catching up on centuries of lost time.
I had carefully kept him isolated at my large estate, insulating him from the world, but finally he demanded to go out and see the new world for himself. Riding in a car terrified him at first. The first time I took him out on the interstate, his eyes were as wide as a child on a carnival ride, but it was only a short time until he was behind the wheel himself. Perhaps the thing that amazed him most was air travel and at first he would stand in slack-jawed wonder and watch jets pass overhead.
It was about a year after I brought him back that we boarded an international flight to go back to his homeland and gather the materials we would need to restore his family to life. In Austria, he glowed with happiness remembering places from his former life, anticipating continuing with even more bravado in a brave new age.
It wasn’t easy, but we finally gathered the genetic material we needed and captured the long lost brain signals of his wife and child. We winged home and threw ourselves into the regenerative process, and just a few months later, the Mozart family was reunited in an outpouring of emotion.
There was only one fly in our ointment. Because many of the procedures I had carried out were considered unethical, or downright illegal, he could not reclaim his status as a musical genius. He had to start over and rebuild his reputation from scratch, assuming a new identity. But the loss of his former self did not seem to bother him much, excited as he was about new possibilities.
He cast about for musicians, playing and recording on the net with a few he found worthy. Before long, he formed the first all-internet band, Amadeus, and began giving free live cyber concerts to anyone who would listen. He let fans download his new music free. Word spread rapidly through chat rooms and emailings. In less than a year, Amadeus became one of the most downloaded groups on the internet. Big recording companies offered generous contracts. Wolfgang and Amadeus released their first commercial recording, and it went straight to number one. Shortly after, Wolfgang and his wife and daughter departed my home for a nationwide concert tour.
That was six years ago. In the meantime, Mozart has become a musical superstar, a guitar god, a rock star. He had pretty much taken it all in stride, accustomed to fame by his former existence. We also have continued to bring people back from the past and the make-up of his band now reads like a who’s who of musical legends. Beethoven is on piano, Bach on the rock organ. Hayden has chosen to become a drummer and Tchaikovsky lays down a funky bass beat.
Wolfgang has become as proficient at reanimation as I, perhaps more so. He continued to revitalize people, some of them musicians, some of them just his relatives or friends. He brought back dozens of dead people; though I strictly advised him against it because of the dangers should he get caught. But his ego was too big to heed my warnings. In the end, it was his reckless use of my process that allowed the whole thing to become public knowledge.
The government prosecuted us for grave robbing and Wolfgang and I went to jail. We probably would have spent many years in prison if not for the giant tidal wave that struck the west coast and killed tens of thousands. In the aftermath of that tragedy, the cry went up from the mournful survivors to use my process to return their loved ones to life. It was a powerful bargaining chip and, in the end, I negotiated our release in exchange for the secrets of my system.
That was years ago. I’m no longer viewed as a criminal. In fact, I’ve become somewhat of a living legend, renowned as the man who conquered death. The biggest change is that people no longer have to fear the grim reaper. Death has become fixable. Even old age no longer exists. When most people hit middle age, they just have a new body cloned and have the contents of their brain transferred into it and discard their old body. Out on the streets these days, you would be hard pressed to find a body over forty years old. It is conceivable that humans, in effect, are now immortal, and can live as long as they want; shedding their old bodies like a snake sheds its skin.
In truth, the whole process has gotten a little boring to me. I’ve moved on to other things, new challenges. Just recently I managed to prove that every human who ever lived still resonates, even though no trace of their bodies survives. Potentially, every human could be restored, a complete family of mankind brought together again. Of course, space on our little planet is rapidly running out, and with death no longer depleting the numbers, the next big project will be to colonize another planet or face a standing room only type crisis.
Wolfgang and I continue to be the best of friends. Just last evening he dropped by with his granddaughter, a lovely child prodigy of five who can already play all of her grandpa’s sonatas. She treated us by playing a new composition of her own and I saw Wolfgang’s eyes well up with tears from the sheer beauty of it. It was a wonderful moment, one I’m sure I will remember for thousands of years.