No Time Like the Present
By Jim Gerrish
© 2014, Imagineering Magic. All Rights Reserved.
The sun was not yet above the horizon, but the sky was aglow
with color and the birds were beginning to move about and
chirping and warbling in the pre-dawn light. It was Troys
favorite time in the day and he would often climb one of the
Adirondack peaks all night long, timing his arrival at the top to
coincide with dawn, just so he could watch it again and again.
Each dawn was carefully stored in memory so he could relive the
experience whenever he wanted.
Weasel enjoyed running back down the mountain trails at top
speed, challenging and testing Troys timing and balance,
and those memories too, were carefully stored away.
They had no need of food or shelter, but spent their days hiking
in the Adirondacks wilderness areas far away from people.
As Weasel had shown Troy how to be a human in the world of
humans, now Troy was showing Weasel how to be a robot in a world
devoid of humans.
They were not lonely. They had each other and would have each
other for the rest of their lives, which potentially could last
thousands or even millions of years. When Weasel first woke
inside Troys body and discovered that Troy had saved
his life by replacing each of his living brains
neurons with silicon and gold nanoneurons that served the same
purpose, he realized he had become a robot, but with sixteen
years of human memories and experiences stored away. As a human,
most of those memories and experiences had been forgotten, but as
a robot, he was capable of reliving any past time, complete with
all memories from each of his five human senses of sight, sound,
smell, taste and touch. Now that his brain was connected to Troys
three-year-old robot brain, the two could share those memories
and experiences with each other.
Troy delighted in finally knowing what a fart smelled like to
Weasel, while Weasel was fascinated by being able to instantly
tune in to satellite transmissions on any frequency to watch
movies, tap telecommunications or surf the Internet. Troy had the
limited five human senses, plus geo navigation senses, infra-red
vision to see in the dark (and vision in all frequencies of the
electro-magnetic spectrum), microscopic and telescopic vision,
ultrasonic and subsonic hearing senses, sensors for heat and
pressure, and so on. But he had no senses for pleasure or pain,
and so was fascinated to experience Weasels memories of
such over and over again.
Troy had been baffled by human pain. A tree had been struck by
lightning and the resulting fire would have quickly spread to the
forest if Weasel had not urged Troy to stop it. Troy had used his
great strength to pull the tree down into a clearing, then ran
around stamping out flames and embers with his feet. When the
threat was over, Troy had picked up a glowing ember and held it
in his hand, measuring its temperature and savoring its beauty
with many of his visual senses.
If you had picked this up while you were in your human
body, it would have been very painful, Troy said to Weasel
(but remember that all speech between them has no
sound and is an instantaneous transfer of thoughts passed from
brain to brain).
Would you like to savor an experience? asked Weasel.
He recalled a time when he was three years old and had been badly
burned from playing with matches. The memory was just as if he
were reliving the moment, with the sounds of his howling mixed
with the sensations of extreme pain. Weasel was glad to stop the
memory re-play as soon as he had given Troy the experience of
The pain is too much to bear, said Troy. Why is
it so harsh?
To keep three-year-old humans from ever doing it again,
said Weasel. You learned about heat and fire from computer
programs. You roll the ember about in our hand just enough to
keep it from destroying our plastic skin as we observe its
beauty. Humans learn from the environment and the lessons can be
harsh and painful.
You should be glad to be in our robot body now, safe from
such pain and suffering.
I am glad, but pain has its purpose and we should remember
it. What if someone trained a laser on us, where we have no
visual sensors. It could burn a hole through our body and destroy
our brains very quickly. Human pain acts like an alarm system. It
alerts the body to danger from heat or excessive cold even before
the sensations travel to the brain.
That is good, said Troy. I will build some pain
sensors into our skin as a defense system. Does the pain have to
No, admitted Weasel. Just enough to alert our
brains that our body is in danger.
Do we have a need for the reflex actions? asked Troy.
I noticed that you quickly pulled your hand away from the
flame although it didnt help you in that example from your
I think with our enhanced sense of time, we will have no
need for mindless reflex actions, said Weasel. The
reflex movement that I used to pull away from the flame could
just have easily pulled me off balance and made me fall into the
fire. I was lucky. Lets not trust to luck.
* * *
Another time, Troy had asked, Why dont we merge
our memories and become one person in this body?
Dont you like me as I am? asked Weasel.
You know I love you; you and I are one. But we could be
really and truly one.
You know I love you; you and I are one, said Weasel.
But if we merge, we will become someone else. Someone that
is not you and not me, but both of us. I like you as you are. I
like myself as I am. Let us stay this way for a thousand years or
so and speak of it later.
* * *
Some time later, Weasel wanted to experience his own death
from Troys point of view.
Do you think you are ready for this? asked Troy.
It is a very sad experience for humans to see death. I
would think it would be especially sad to see your own death.
It is something I need to do. If I cant bear it, I
will tell you to stop.
Weasel became Troy on the night of Weasels death. He saw
Weasel the human tell Troy to wait across the street for him.
Then Weasel returned to the porch of the Taylor home, where he
had intended to give a message to Lisa to meet them the following
day. He never reached the front door. Using Troys enhanced
time senses, Weasel saw the flash of light that had alerted Troy
to the danger, even before he knew the house was exploding. He
experienced Troy running with all the speed his mechanical legs
could master, racing back towards the house to protect his
friend, then seeing the human Weasel breaking up into pieces. He
felt Troy focusing on the head with its precious human brain.
Troy had made the instant decision to catch Weasels still
living head and protect it from the second explosive shock wave
that he could see forming from the center of the explosion. He
experienced Troys sad-but-stoic calculations that there was
no way he could save Lisa, Marva or their mother from that
dreadful instantaneous death.
Troy was not certain he could save Weasel, either, but he
snatched the head from the air as if it were a very precious
basketball, and holding it in one hand, used the other hand to
open up his chest cavity and tuck the head inside.
Then Weasel felt new senses he had never experienced before, as
Troy manufactured nanocircuits from materials stored in his
artificial testicles and legs. The nanoneurons were
spread out on Weasels dying head and immediately began
wiggling and working their way in and around Weasels head,
forming a protective cover over his brain. Troy was monitoring
the oxygen levels and temperature signals from the brain and
manufactured additional oxygen to flood his chest cavity with the
life-giving gas. It was as if he were a living factory and the
Weasel head was on a production line. Thousands of tiny
nanoneurons were poured into and onto the head from every angle.
Troy could direct them to go this way and that, hundreds of
thousands of commands per second, as if time stood still for him
while he worked with a surgeons precision on Weasels
Enough! said Weasel, and the experience stopped.
Was it painful and sad? asked Troy.
No, said Weasel. It was wonderful, but it was
too much for me to examine all at once. Perhaps Ill ask you
to remember it again for me another time when I think more like a
robot and less like a human. I noticed that you were enjoying the
moments and found them exhilarating.
Only when I knew that it would work and that I actually
could replace your brain with nanoneurons. I was looking forward
to experiencing what we are experiencing right now and will
always experience as long as we live.
You found nothing sad in the experience? asked
Only that I could not save the others, said Troy, and
Weasel felt Troys great frustration and sadness flood
through his brain.
That is a very human-like sadness, said Weasel.
If you were a human I would console you with the words that
you couldnt possibly be everywhere at once to save everyone
youre only human.
In that sense, I guess I am only human, said Troy.
Here we are in the midst of the great natural beauty of the
Adirondack forest preserve, and yet everywhere on earth humans
are suffering and dying in wars, accidents, natural disasters. We
are helpless to prevent any of it.
That is why we climb these mountains and observe the dawns,
said Weasel. Be still and see only the beauty.
* * *
Let us share dawns, said Troy one morning, after
a particularly beautiful sunrise.
Why? asked Weasel. We are both here
experiencing the same thing at the same time.
I dont think so, said Troy. I think you
were wise to advise us not to merge into one being just yet.
Share my experiences of the dawn we just observed, then let me
Weasel experienced Troy using all of his electro-magnetic sensors
to visualize the dawn as no human ever could. Through Troys
telescopic vision, he could see the individual flares coming from
the sun, dancing around it in a hellish but beautiful ballet.
Then Troy would shift sensors to watch it in ultraviolet,
infra-red, and radio waves. For the first time he heard the
music of the spheres.
Troy experienced Weasels limited vision in the light
spectrum visible to humans, but with Weasels artistic
senses magnifying the experience internally, as Troys
sensors externalized it. Troy heard music that Weasel composed or
remembered or compiled to enhance his enjoyment of the moment.
Weasel also noticed tiny details that had escaped Troy, such as
the play of light and shadows from the rustling tree leaves, the
subtle fading of the light as it passed through mist and haze
rising from the evaporating dew. He sensed Weasel imagining how
to paint the scene and frame it just so.
Both Weasel and Troy were sampling the morning air through a
variety of sensors, but while Troy enjoyed the content in terms
of gases and temperatures, humidity and barometric pressure,
Weasel enjoyed the scent of pines and damp earth and sweet
We must do this every morning, said Troy.
Yes, agreed Weasel. Lets go back and
experience each others past dawns.
They stood on the same peak for three days without moving as they
played and shared memories of beautiful moments to both humans
At last Troy said, We need to get back. Uncle Joe will send
someone to look for us if we dont report in.
Very well, brother, said Weasel. You and I are
* * *
Every week Troy would contact Uncle Joe on his cell phone
just to let him know all was well. He was careful to route the
call so that even the FBI with all its technical know-how couldnt
trace it. Uncle Joe had been mortified that a leak in his own
ranks of the FBI was responsible for Weasels death and the
deaths of the Taylor family. Because of that, Troy had told no
one that Weasels brain and memories lived
inside him. Weasel had agreed that the secret should be kept for
now, but wanted someday to tell his mother, Uncle Don and Uncle
Joe the truth; that Weasel still lived.
The cell phone routing required more equipment than Troy cared to
carry around inside him or in a backpack, so it was stashed in
the back of a bear cave close to Mount Algonquin. The bear didnt
seem to mind Troys presence and Weasel had thought it was
because Troy did not smell like a human, but then Troy had shown
him the memories of how he had designed nanocircuits to short
circuit the bears aggressive and fear instincts at
the base of its brain. Never show this to anyone else,
warned Weasel. This will make humans more afraid of you
than anything else you might possibly do.
Red Lobster, said the voice of Uncle Joe, deep within
Troy where only he and Weasel could hear it. That had been Uncle
Joes code name during his adventures with Uncle Don and Sam
This is Oyster, said Troy. Go ahead, Red
Have you had enough of roaming around the Adirondack Park?
said Uncle Joe. I need you to come back for awhile and meet
some members of the T.R.O.Y.I.I. project.
They want me to begin planning a trip to the stars, dont
they? asked Troy.
You must have taken my hints and done some reading,
said Uncle Joe. Yes, that is the final stage of the
project, but were years away from being able to accomplish
it. No, they want to ask you some questions about Weasel.
Tell them no, said Weasel to Troy, but not in a
voice that Uncle Joe could hear.
Im not ready to talk about Weasel just yet,
said Troy. Can you give the T.R.O.Y.I.I. committee this
data instead? It should get them excited.
Troy then transmitted an encoded string of data that he knew
Uncle Joes computers could put back together.
My computer is receiving the data, said Uncle Joe.
What is it?
You know that Sam ONeils theory predicted that
the gravitational force would someday be found to be equivalent
to the electromagnetic force, said Troy. This is a
set of experiments that should show you how to build an
anti-gravity device using super-cooled electro magnets. If you
make the device just large enough for my body and mass, I can
begin the journey to the stars much sooner than you thought.
What? Still reading? Then you may want to continue the book to find out how it all
© 2014, Imagineering Magic. All