Adrian was alone. He woke up one morning, huddled in some foliage that he had managed to gather around him to keep out the chilling cold of the night. He had no recollection of the previous day, no knowledge of who he was, or even what he was.
Adrian sat up. He looked at the barren views. No plants, no animals, no nothing. All he could see was the desolate landscape out into the distance; into eternity. He gazed into the early morning sky. The stars were still visible and so was the moon. He looked up, trying to think, trying to understand, but this was to no avail. He couldn’t think and he certainly couldn’t ever understand.
The only break from the emptiness was the little copse where he had spent the night. It consisted of a dozen trees and some long grass. He was hungry, but had no food. He tried gnawing at the tree bark but some hidden instinct soon told him it was not good. So he chewed at the only other available sustenance, the long succulent grass.
After some time his throat was dry. He needed some liquid. There was none. No food and no water.
He went back to his little comfort spot between the trees and curled up into the foliage again. His eyes closed and he began to die.
As he slept, Adrian didn’t dream. He was not capable of dreams, in the same way that he was not capable of thoughts; at least, not the kind of thoughts that we understand. He slept soundly, with death being his only future. This gave him no sorrows. He wasn’t capable of having sorrows either.
As he became weaker and dehydrated his sleep grew deeper, almost comatose. The end was near.
Then, as sweet as an opening of a Beethoven Symphony, as gentle as a light breeze on fallen leaves, he heard something pleasantly entering his consciousness through his deep sleep. It was a light trickling sound. It came from nearby. He opened his eyes, sat up and looked around. Very slowly and steadily he came to his feet. The trickling sound grew louder.
Adrian was very weak but something told him that he must get to the source of this sound. He staggered a few paces and saw a stream of running water. Through the dark barren landscape, flowing towards him, came a long pathway of cool clear rippling water. He instinctively put his hand in. It was very cold. He drank thirstily. It felt good.
Although still quite weak from lack of food, he began to walk in the direction of the flowing water. He had no idea why he must follow the stream. He looked back from some distance at the small clump of trees where he had spent the night. It left no meaning to him. He must follow the water.
As the day came to its’ conclusion and the night sky began to reveal a mass of bright sparkling stars, Adrian began to feel cold again. He realised that the dark seemed to be concurrent with cold. This night he had no trees or foliage to keep him warm. He sat down by a large rock, with only the sound of the stream in his ears and the cold infertile landscape before his eyes. Again he lay, shivering, and began to die.
The next morning, at daybreak, Adrian peered through bleary eyes at the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. Ahead of him, next to the stream, was another group of trees and bushes, similar to the ones from the previous day. One of the trees had small round fruits hanging in little bunches. They were red and very appealing. Adrian took one from the tree and inspected it before popping it into his mouth. He didn’t know why it should go into his mouth. It was instinctive.
As he slowly sucked on the small cherry he enjoyed the tangy taste, and quickly popped in a few more. It was so good that he began to chew vigorously, until a sharp pain surged through his lower jaw. Something had broken off inside his mouth. It was hard and he spat it out quickly, along with the mouthful of cherries.
Now, with a piercing pain in one side of his mouth, he slowly took some more cherries, this time being careful not to bite hard on the stones inside. Those he spat out.
Adrian now felt good. He continued on his journey along the side of the stream. As he walked the days turned gradually into weeks and the routine of always finding an orchard to eat from and to huddle down into against the dark cold nights became his way of life.
But the environment was gradually changing. One day the stream became wider and he saw other creatures moving in the water. On closer inspection he saw that some of them were quite big. He tried to catch them with his bare hands but they were far too difficult to grasp. That night he made a net by weaving the grass together and fastening it to a long stick.
The following morning he went back into the river, with his homemade net. It was easy to catch one of the bigger fish as they were so abundant. He feasted hungrily on the constantly flapping fish.
After his feast he sat looking at his surroundings. He began to marvel at the night sky with its’ billions of stars and the moon, which was always changing shape. The hills in the distance were no longer grey and barren. He saw forests and grassland. He looked with awe as a bird flew by and landed on a nearby tree. Such beauty he had never seen before.
Adrian lived many years in his world of survival and discovery. He travelled thousands of miles through barren wasteland, deserts, forests and huge areas of rich savannah. Always there was a morsel of food, or a drink of water to keep him going. He never questioned it. It was simply his way of life.
Gradually, as time drifted on he began to age. He was no longer jumping out in the morning to wash and feed with vigor and anticipation of the new day. He was crawling out of his hole slowly, with aching limbs and remaining tiredness in his head. He was becoming old.
One day, as he was bathing in the river, he was suddenly confronted with another human being. This was just as had always been the case with his new discoveries; they simply appeared from one second to the next. Like him, it was naked, but with a different shaped body. They never spoke, but smiled at each other.
That night they huddled together against the cold. They quickly learned that it was warmer together than separate. Adrian gradually started to become younger again. He found that his aches and pains were receding and he could catch fish again as he had years before.
Eventually Adrian and Evelyn learned that they could share their food and chores. Adrian was much more successful at fishing and gathering the heavy foliage for their nest. Evelyn had learned how to cut the fish into little strips and dry in the sunshine. It tasted much better that way.
One day Evelyn became very sick. She had enormous pains in her stomach and screamed each time the pains became bad. Adrian looked at her without emotion. He just watched her in agony as she writhed on the grass. He was helpless.
With one final scream and huge sigh Adrian watched as a screeching little wriggling baby came out from between Evelyn’s legs. Instinctively he took the baby, wiped the skin clean and handed him to his mother. That night there were three of them huddled into the nest.
Yorick246 sat at his computer. His parents had hardly seen him since he was given the latest version of “SCHOEPFUNG”, a simulated reality software that was all the rage with the kids at the moment.
His father had concern that Yorick was becoming too infatuated with it and not giving enough time to his normal studies. He decided to visit him in his chamber and try to understand what it was about this software that made it so compelling.
He pressed the autoslide button outside Yorick’s chamber and entered.
“Hey Yorick, I’m just checking that you are still alive. You’ve buried yourself in here for the last week. I will need to check your vitamin D levels if you carry on like this. What’s the new package like?”
“Hi Dad. Don’t worry, I am soon finished. This new SimRel package is awesome. Look, I can show you a fast replay of what I have achieved so far.”
YorickC, his father, watched the large screen to see what his intelligent young fifteen year old had been playing with for the last week.
“Son, this is really impressive. You seem to have taken the software to its limit.”
“I know Dad, but to be honest some of it has been hit and miss guesswork. Twice I nearly lost Adrian, because I didn’t plug in sustenance early enough. He very nearly timed out due to lack of water and food. I just managed to plug it in time to keep him going.”
“Well, he certainly looks fine now. I see that he has a little family too.”
“That was the hardest part Dad. I didn’t realise that I had to generate a woman in order to keep the species going. As we don’t have to do that anymore it slipped my mind. I am using the package for primitive creation, which needs to have all the basics put in. Still, it’s interesting to see how mankind used to be. I nearly lost him due to that too. Adrian became old before I could replace him, so I had to do a quick rejuvenation on him to make him young again.”
“Well I think you’ve done a great job Yorick. We should show your Mum. She will be proud.”
“There’s just one thing Dad. I know that my allowance is all used up for this month, but I would really like to develop this a bit further. To do that, I need the add-on package, which will cost another eighty Pay Units. Can I have an advance on next month Dad, please?”
Yorick’s father was quite hesitant. The extra Pay Units were not the problem, but he was a little concerned that his son was becoming too immersed in only one thing. He knew that it was not healthy to obsess about one toy.
“I tell you what Yorick. If you will agree to have a day out with me and Mum, I will let you have the add-on tomorrow, when you can continue with this. Today we can go to the Funcentre for skiing in the morning and then play Virtual Paintballing in the afternoon. How’s that?”
“Ok Dad”, Yorick said smiling. “Although virtual reality is only interesting to you old fogies these days, I guess I could come with you, as long as you don’t tell any of my friends”
YorickC looked at his son with pride. “Deal”, he said ruffling his hair.
“So what is this new add-on package all about that you want?”
“It’s really exciting. It has a number of enhancements, but the one I want is called Will4. It will allow me to give my creations a free will of their own. That way the whole thing can develop in ways that I haven’t programmed. They will have the ability to do their own things. “
“It all sounds a bit funny to me. It means you lose some level of control over them.”
“That’s exactly the point Dad. I don’t want to be programming every little detail. The whole point of simulated reality I to get as close as you can to reality, not just some simple robots.”
“Ok. I get it now. By the way, what do you call these characters in your program, er reality world?”
“Well, he is called Adrian and his woman is Evelyn. I haven’t named the baby yet.”
“That’s a bit of a mouthful Yorick. Can I suggest a small modification? How about Adam and Eve, it’s simpler, and you could call the baby after your Mum, Cain235.”
“Ok Dad. Adam and Eve it is with little Cain. I can’t wait to see what they do when I give them a free will.”