Floyd 5.136 -- The MAC Series Book 1
An excerpt from the book:
1. Floyd 4.19
Was he awake or asleep?
Often, it seemed, the old man just couldn’t tell anymore.
Long ago his hearing had diminished to a low and unintelligible rumble. His vision had degenerated to the point where things that were more than a few inches away were just confusing swatches of color. He was so weak and stiff that even the slightest movements were nearly impossible.
Something was moving about in front of him.
The blurry object seemed to bustle about with purpose. Perhaps it was the young woman who took care of him.
Floyd watched with some amusement as the vague shape advanced towards him and slowly came into focus.
She was just in front of him now with her soft blue eyes and light brown hair. She kissed the tip of his nose and smiled.
The woman pulled away and once again became just a wandering splotch of color.
He nodded off.
Something pulled at his hands.
The old man swatted haphazardly at the annoyance, but to no avail. Someone wanted something of him.
He opened his eyes. Now there were many of them. One by one different faces appeared before him. With some effort he recognized each of them. He had, after all, known them for many thousands of years.
He stood, or did they lift him? It didn’t really matter. Floyd relished the brief sense of movement.
Now he was laid out in a soft and silky mound.
The young woman appeared in front of him again. Tears ran down her face.
This was the end, he knew.
The wispy threads that made up the mound where he laid slowly encircled and enveloped him.
He gasped and it was over.
Floyd reluctantly retreated from the dark and formidable vacancy of sleep. He couldn’t move or see yet, but his mind was already putting things in order.
Always an engineer, always battling chaos.
He squinted his eyes and forced them open. Nothing. It was absolutely dark.
Floyd felt young and vigorous again. He would, of course, be twenty-five years old once again when Mia finally extricated him from the gray cocoon that constrained him.
All was as he expected.
Floyd Bernal had been a human clone for thousands of years. For reasons that no one really understood, the astonishing mound of cottony material that encased him periodically duplicated his memories and body to produce yet another replica of Floyd.
He and a half dozen other clones had labored for many millennia to live in their small world over which they had little control.
Floyd 5 point something, he considered.
‘The Cotton,’ as they called it, always marked the various clones on the back of the right ear with a sort of model and serial number, although he and his companions preferred to call them ‘version’ and ‘sequence’ numbers.
His version number would certainly be 5, but his sequence number was still a mystery. Hopefully it would be low; .2 (the 2nd copy) or even .9 (the 9th) would be acceptable; but .200 (the 200th in the sequence) would not.
As the final Floyd version 4 clone, he had developed a reliable source of electricity and a small battery storage system. For this achievement, Floyd 4.19, at ninety-seven years old, had been called back to be reabsorbed and duplicated by the still very enigmatic mound of silvery threads. Although he had been cloned hundreds of times in the past, Floyd had only been reabsorbed on four occasions.
The centuries-long span between reabsorption and subsequent recloning seemed nearly instantaneous to him.
It reminded Floyd of when he was seven years old and the Emergency Room doctors in New Mexico sedate him to stitch up a gash on the bottom of his left foot. First, he was awake and counting backwards for the anesthesiologist in the chaotic hospital room; and then awake again, apparently hours later, with a heavily bandaged foot laid out on the old blue sofa in his grandmother's dimly lit house. No time had passed for him, but many hours had routinely drifted by for everyone else.
He could hear vague wisps of sound at the extreme edge of detection.
There! He heard it again.
It seemed to be the high, sweet voice of Mia singing, Floyd mused. She was repeating the same phrase of Blowin’ In The Wind over and over. He struggled to wiggle his tightly bound legs.
Mia stopped her song, “Hello? Can you hear me?”
• • •
Floyd’s strength waned as he waited. Mia’s short, plump fingers gently tugged at the fibrous matting that surrounded his head. After many minutes, she peeled the gray threads from his face. The silky swaddling rustled like dry autumn leaves as it separated from his ears and chin.
She stopped her work.
Floyd haltingly opened his eyes to the overpowering light and the attentive stare of Mia.
“Floyd! I had no idea who was in this cocoon.”
Mia cradled his face in her warm hands. She bend down and kissed the tip of his nose. “It’s always a privilege to see you again.”
This particular Mia clone was youngish, perhaps in her late twenties, with a round but not yet wrinkled face.
She adored him, Floyd knew, and this was a rare chance for the elfin woman to delight in assisting him.
“Can you talk yet?” she asked.
Floyd groaned feebly before he slowly shook his head.
“It’s OK. First; let me check your numbers. I know how important that is for you.” Mia carefully turned his head to the left and with exaggerated care, pried his right ear gently forward and brushed aside his wavy dark brown hair.
“Oh; I see.” An impish smile came to her face, “Welcome to you, Floyd 5.136.”
Mia eyebrows arched up and she continued her well-practiced speech, “I am Mia 10.8, tender of the Cotton and cocoons.” She continued in her protracted effort to free him.
Copyright S F Chapman, 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Floyd 5.126 -- The MAC Series Book 1
will be available worldwide on May 1st 2015
in paperback and as a Kindle eBook.