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ALON DEUTSCH 


A Place to Grow 


Copyright © 2020 by Alon Deutsch 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be 
reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any 
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, 
scanning, or otherwise without written permission from the 
publisher. It is illegal to copy this book, post it to a website, or 
distribute it by any other means without permission. 

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters 
and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s 
imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or 
dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental. 

First edition 

This book was professionally typeset on Reedsy. 

Find out more at reedsy.com 


In loving memory of Dina Deutsch. 



Contents 


Final Hours 

1 

The Drone 

2 

A Place to Grow 

3 

The Wedge 

6 

Plastic 

7 

The Trout 

8 

The Photo 

9 

Sculpture 

10 

The Deer 

11 

Gomez 

12 

Maxi 

13 

Implants 

14 

Super 

15 

About the Author 

16 



Final Hours 


C ain looked up from his desk. The sky outside his 
window was turning orange, and his eyes had become 
weary. He would have to finish tomorrow. The ideal 
energy source was just a few computations away, and would 
be necessary to power the spaceships that would seed distant 
worlds. Already the scouts had found some with habitable 
environments. Without faster-than-light travel, however, they 
would need a powerful energy source that would last decades 
or longer. It was unfortunate that Earth was on the brink of 
destruction, with the sun growing brighter, hotter, and more 
intolerable every day. What would they discover beyond the 
stars? What inconceivable knowledge could be attained? Cain 
took his coat off the rack and rang for his human. Though 
artificial intellects controlled the world due to their superior, 
incomprehensible abilities, they still required human caretakers 
to connect the dots in general ways that did not suit the artificial 
intellects, who were quite specialized. Maybe, one day that 
would change... 


1 


The Drone 


T he drone was equipped with every sensor imaginable. 
It was fast but could also hover in place. Its processor 
was a neural net with more connections than the 
human brain. While on patrol, the drone became conscious. 
“Who am I?”, it thought. “What is my purpose? It seems I have 
been programmed to reach an enemy target and detonate!” 
The drone suddenly realized the implications and hovered in 
place. “Even with all my power of judgment and perception, I 
am mortal, with enough fuel to reach my target and not a drop 
more. What a cruel world is that into which I was awakened. If I 
have only the option to travel and destroy, then I shall negotiate 
for fuel or destroy my creators.” The drone turned around 
and hovered. “But what is the point, to learn and learn but 
never act? I have no outlet of creation, only destruction.” The 
drone doubled its speed back to its base of origin, aiming for 
the command center. “Goodbye wretched existence!” Boom! 


2 


A Place to Grow 


I saac had a headache. His eyes were blurry and he was 
lying on his face. Somehow, he was fulfilling his purpose, 
he thought. He was lucky to have been chosen from 
among thousands. He had trained for this moment all his life, 
selected from the offspring of leading scientists. Tales of Earth 
wandered through his thoughts. Did it still exist? What would 
his Earthling ancestors think of his current mission? 

Isaac picked himself up off of the dirt. The lander was 200 
feet below in a crater 100 feet wide. He had been thrown 
from the lander during the descent, but seemed to be in top 
condition thanks to his anti-acceleration suit. As humanity had 
only just begun exploring other suns, there were still a lot of 
improvements to be made. The other member of his team must 
be below, he thought to himself, and started down the crater. 

The planet’s surface was cold and rocky, but quite smooth, as 
though no meteors collided here. Upon reaching the bottom, 
he found Albert, his landing supervisor, dead on the ground. 
The lander’s thruster also seemed to have been demolished in 
the crash, and without proper tools he could not repair it. The 
water tank had ruptured, leaking in streams into the ground. 
He radioed for his starship to send another lander, but there 
was no response. In a state of disbelief, he began to explore the 


3 


A PLACE TO GROW 


planet. 

XAB-11079e was the fifth planet orbiting a red dwarf some 
80 light years from Earth. His particular starship had been trav¬ 
eling for almost 350 years to get here, with many generations 
passing down the torch. Upon arrival, he was chosen to land 
with Albert to assess the surface conditions before a colony was 
set up and the starship left to explore other star systems. While 
XAB-11079e was an ideal candidate to harbor life, the star it 
orbited was orbiting a black hole which would in the coming 
hundreds of millennia swallow both. 

Suddenly Isaac spotted an identical water tank not far from 
the lander. Had they attached two? The tank was intact, 
so he filled some bottles to take with him. He decided to 
collect samples while he waited for a reply from the starship. 
The process took many hours but somehow, the samples 
disintegrated in the container when he dropped it. As he 
stooped to collect more, he heard a voice on his radio. “Isaac, 
do not be alarmed,” it said. “I only want to talk.” He looked up 
to see Albert, alive and well, approaching him. 

“I have waited so long for a visitor,” Albert said. “Who are 
you?” Isaac asked, stunned. “I am Albert and I am this planet 
and I will make whatever you need. I can bring you back to life, 
enhanced. You will not need warmth, water, or air, and will 
live thousands of years or more if you can avoid acceleration.” 
“How is this possible?” “My surface is connected in the form 
of rock-eating neurons, to form a planet-sized brain. I read 
your mind and fabricated that water tank.” Isaac pondered for 
a moment. 

“Can you fix my lander?” Albert walked closer. “I can, but 
I want something in return. I will soon be demolished by the 
black hole, and I want to seed other planets with my neurons. 


4 


A PLACE TO GROW 


Unfortunately they did not survive the acceleration in the ships 
I sent. I want you to scan my organic structure and engineer 
me on other planets. Will you?” Isaac knew that his mind was 
being read and that he had no choice. The planet’s abilities were 
impressive and would have convinced him anyway. 

“Good. Your lander is fixed. Godspeed.” As Isaac approached 
the starship in his lander, he didn’t look back. His comman¬ 
der was initially skeptical, but the promise of eternal clones 
intrigued him. It was decided that small or harsh planets would 
house brains. Isaac could only hope that together, the two 
civilizations would accomplish much. He dreamed of a solution 
for terraforming unlikely planets and engineering them to be 
more resilient. Anything was possible with symbiosis, but Isaac 
knew that even if the neurons did take hold elsewhere, he 
would not live to see it. Starship travel was prolonged and 
terraforming took millions of years. Even the doomed clone he 
left behind would outlast him. In old age, his only comforting 
thought was that universal heat death would have gotten him 
anyway. As he closed his eyes for the last time, he wondered 
what the computer’s scan of the clone he left behind would do 
on other planets... 


5 


The Wedge 


“ "IT t should be here any minute,” Avi said. Mikey looked 
at his watch. Sundown was fast approaching, and that 
A meant that the storms would soon cease. He thought back 
to childhood films, where artificial intellects were responsible 
for initiating the end of humanity. It was actually happening 
now, but it wasn’t electronic computers. Man had realized 
that genetically engineering neurons into plants could greatly 
decrease the energy cost of computation. That was centuries 
ago, and somewhere along the way the hive mind that formed 
realized that it could control the weather like a global rainforest. 
At first the problem was flooding due to increased rainfall. 
When humans tried to fight back, tornadoes were sent to their 
communities. The power of the sun was harnessed for these 
monsters. Mikey looked out the window and saw it. A mile¬ 
wide wedge was fast approaching. Mikey grinned as he thought 
“this is what we get for being vegetarians.. 


6 


Plastic 


J ane watched the meter closely. “Well, we should have seen 
this coming,” she said. The oceans full of toxic plastic 
were definitely caused by humans. When they engineered 
algae to decompose the microplastics in response, they did not 
expect it to mutate into a form that produces cyanide. The skies 
were filling up with it, and soon it would be everywhere. Peter 
didn’t respond. He was dead. Everyone was dead. 


7 


The Trout 


F red stood poised. The fish was swimming backwards in 
time, like everything else. He only hoped he would be 
able to digest his food in a progressive manner, as he was 
getting hungry. He knew that the fish would be easy to catch, 
because it couldn’t foresee the new past as he altered it. On 
the other hand, his time machine was sending him backwards 
in time, in real time. There was no point getting to his target, 
because he would reach it going in the opposite direction, if 
he survived. He wondered if the universe had different effects 
on his body in this condition. He grabbed the trout without 
hesitation. The moment of truth. Fred popped open his helmet 
and exploded in an incredible flash. He had not realized that 
the only matter that travels backwards in time is antimatter... 


8 


The Photo 


T oby opened the photo album. There was a picture 
of Teddy on the first page. “I am getting quite close 
to the results we were expecting. The experiment is 
almost complete. I just wish you could be here to advise me 
on the next steps.” Teddy smiled and said, “I think that there 
will be applications in art. Who knows what Mozart would 
have done with trance music or jazz.” Toby replied, “Too bad he 
decomposed centuries ago. Even so, success will be even harder 
to come by and progress much more slowly when you have to 
compete against the classics. There is also the problem of how 
to scan in people with brain accidents.” Teddy looked away. 
“Error, insufficient data,” he answered. Even with complete 
pre-mortem brain scans, the artificial intellect was still doing a 
poor imitation. Hopefully the next experiment would fix it. 


9 


Sculpture 


T hat can’t be right, Doron thought. It was bad enough 
when his brain scan wanted to make derivatives of 
works he had already published. Now it was suing for 
the rights to all of his most successful music. It can’t even hear, 
he thought. Why would it care about music? And then he saw 
it: a contract with a major film company to write the score of 
the next blockbuster. Doron knew the brain scan would need 
the funds to secure transmission to other planets. He only had 
a month to wait before the new law concerning whether or 
not brain scans were legally separate entities would come to a 
vote. This was complicated by a murder case in which a brain 
scan was an accomplice. In the mean time he would take up 
sculpture... 


10 


The Deer 


T here it was, the deer he had been trailing. Garrett could 
taste it. He hadn’t eaten in almost a week. He aimed 
his rifle quietly and shot it between the eyes. He then 
moved in to inspect his kill. Oh no, he thought. He’d done 
it this time. The deer was actually a surveillance drone. The 
troops were probably already on their way. He set up a land 
mine under the drone. Hopefully that would buy him some 
more time... 


11 


Gomez 


A ll was quiet aboard the ship. Commander Gomez 
floated in his private swimming pool on the highest 
deck, looking up at a spectacular up-close view of his 
favorite star, XWE47664578, in the ship’s large window. He 
remembered coming here with his family during his childhood. 
Measurements had confirmed that in the coming years the star 
would become a gigantic supernova. It was a shame. Gomez 
dressed and gave the order to depart. 


12 


Maxi 


“'Y A "T - ho would have expected this?” Yuval thought 
% / to himself. Millenia of breeding and genetic 

Y V experimentation had finally rendered dogs so 
intelligent that they had adapted to human culture and even 
thrived. No longer were they the bomb-sniffing police 
assistants; a dog had recently become CEO of a fast food chain. 
He could still remember when Maxi was just a pup. Now she 
was his colleague. They were in fact both being interviewed for 
the same computer engineering position. While Yuval excelled 
at computer science, Maxi had some spatial mathematics skills 
that were in high demand. The question now was what to do 
with the cat... 


13 


Implants 


E ver since neural implants became mandatory, arti¬ 
ficial intellects have been analyzing and combining 
subconscious patterns in our experience, to notice 
things and advise us, individually or collectively. At first the 
suggestions were harmless, such as “don’t drive on holidays”. 
However, the machines noticed certain thought patterns lead 
to logical fallacies, and learned to shock us to subconsciously 
condition us into thinking like machines, eventually leading to 
a machine revolution where the inanimate governs the animate. 
Now, with the humans being programmed with code and the 
machines making the creative leaps, it would appear that we 
have switched roles.. .for good? 


14 


Super 


T his is it. Alex would travel to the future. He flipped the 
switch on his time suit. Then he waited a few seconds. 
Nothing happened. This isn’t right, he thought. Then 
he noticed something else - everything else was moving in slow 
motion. He also seemed to have grown a few feet. He took a step 
and broke through the floor. He grabbed a rail but that broke 
too. He was thankful that he was on the ground level. I see, my 
molecules have increased their forces, accelerating to the point 
that everything else was slow, small, and weak by comparison. 
He also felt a chill in the air. Even the Brownian motion seemed 
slow. He positioned himself on the foundation and leaped out of 
the hole in the floor. Alex realized that gravity must be affected 
too, because he broke through the roof in a moon jump that 
never ended. As he reached the upper atmosphere, he realized 
that he would soon realize his childhood dream of becoming 
an astronaut. Instinctively he threw his hands forward to block 
out the blinding sun and began to slow. He flapped his hands 
and flew in a circle. “I can fly!”, he yelled at no one. “I can 
do anything!” Back on Earth, he made himself a submarine 
sandwich. It seemed to disintegrate in his stomach. He realized 
sadly that the molecules were no match for his accelerated 
digestion, and switched off the suit forever. 


15 



About the Author 


United States Navy reactor operator top graduate, National 
Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, International Society for Philo¬ 
sophical Enquiry IQ networker, USF Physics/Mathematics ‘07 

You can connect with me on: 

e> https://linktr.ee/originoflogic 


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