A Science fiction story by Dr L.Prakash
Six Thousand Billion Jackpot
Even in death, Hugo Drax proved his genius because he left behind an unusual will and idea for a program that broke all viewer-ship records among reality shows in the last ten years. After all, six thousand billion New Euros was not a small amount! A third of the countries on earth did not have this much of assets. And the lucky nineteen year old man, who won the championship, would inherit everything; with conditions of course! But the conditions were confidential and only the winner would be told at the appropriate moment.
“No Krishna! I absolutely forbid you to make a fool of yourself by participating in this stupid competition!”
“But mother Ming, look at the prize; six thousand billion New Euros!”
“You can never win it. You will only end up loosing life or limb in your efforts. And then you are only nineteen”
“Precisely mother Ming. Mr. Drax had stipulated it clearly in his will. All participants should be between nineteen and twenty years. And I fit the bill”
“Don’t kid yourself Krishna. There would be a stampede and deluge of participants. I doubt if you would ever be able to get the hotline, and register, leave alone participate in the screening tests!”
“But that is what I am telling you mother, I have already cleared the preliminary and the next two rounds. I am now a part of the lucky hundred, who will enter the elimination rounds. The top ten amongst us would participate in the final round, and one lucky winner would win the six thousand billion jackpot!”
“Oh Krishna! It is not that I don’t want you to achieve success in life. I am frightfully worried about the risks. I don’t want any harm to come to you!”
“You fuss unnecessarily mother Ming! Of the million participants, only six hundred have died and a thousand maimed until now. I promise you, there is no risk. I will take good care of myself.
Ladies and gentlemen! This is your own Maddox with your most favorite program – The Six thousand billion jackpot.
We now have twelve contestants for the final. They have all crossed through grueling physical tasks and proved their worth.
It would not be incorrect to say that these dozen young men, represent the finest among nineteen year olds on our whole planet!
Today the competition is mental and psychological. Each contestant as you see is in a separate room with a qualified psychologist. They will be administered a battery of tests. They will be analyzed and evaluated.
You have seen their brawns, now is the time to see how much brains they possess. Stay tuned, and I Maddox will take you through the greatest show on earth.
VERY LOUD APPLAUSE – STANDING OVATION.
“You cannot be serious Mr. Drax, many people through generations have tried for immortality, but none have been able to achieve it so far!”
“I don’t desire immortality doctor! I desire a rebirth. Aren’t you the greatest neurosurgeon in the world? Dr. Ochner, I am certain that you would be able to assemble a team which would give me a new body!”
“A new body Mr. Hugo Drax? I don’t understand you. What exactly do you mean by rebirth and a new body?”
“Well Dr. Ochner! Let me explain………..”
“Mother Ming! I have proved your apprehensions wrong. I am finally in the final round. Just the three of us. I am so close to the six thousand billion jackpot”
“Son Krishna Ming! Why then don’t I see a smile on your face? What bothers you?”
“Nothing in particular. It is a small thing really”
“Everything was fair and above board during the physicals. A few tests and feats were dangerous, life threatening even, but it was a fair contest. The twelve who made to the finals deserved to be there!”
“And now son Krishna Ming! Has something changed?”
“Yes mother Ming! One of the chaps who did not make to the final was more intelligent than me!”
“How do you know?”
“I met the others in the socializing sessions. I can tell when the other guy is brainier than me. Better vocabulary, more languages, better logic and more creativity”
“You can’t fool your mother Ming. Come blurt it out; what else?”
“Mother Ming! I have a feeling that the three least intelligent among the twelve have made it to the final”
“If you are worried, opt out”
“What? Remember the prize! Six thousand billion New Euros!”
“Well Mr. Hugo Drax! All of us are here. Sixteen of us. Best in neuronics, computers, psychology, neuroscience, neurosurgery, and psychiatry.
“Let me ask you a question first. Who are you?”
Drax’s question produced a babble of voices and heated discussions erupted. Hugo Drax acted as an empire and moderated the discussion. When the final conclusion approached the answer he wanted, he started slowly.
“We are all only the sum total of our memories. Take away all your memories and you are not you!”
A murmur of assent ran through the crowd. Drax continued
“You are not what you were born as. Human cells die. New cells are born. Some cells die within days. Some take a little longer. In seven years, almost every cell in your body is replaced with new cells. It is only your memory bank in the brain that keeps you as you!”
“Yes Mr. Hugo Drax! You have put it succinctly. But what does this have to do with all of us being here?”
“You gentlemen will help me take a rebirth. And you all will be handsomely paid for that!”
Ladies and gentleman! This is your own Maddox and you are watching your favorite program “Six Thousand Billion Jackpot”
We have with us three finalists. Three brave, three intelligent and three very lucky man. Give them a big hand.
The one to my left is Harry Thomas. The one next to me on the right is Krishna Ming and the tall young man next to him is Gerald Hu. Give them a big round of applause.
Ladies and gentlemen! As I have told you earlier, this is a unique show and a unique competition. We have tested these young man for their physical and mental characters. Here are the three best young men of this world.
Now we plan to find out about their emotional quotient. We will find out who will be a better lover. We will find out who is a better tiger in bed.
VERY LOUD APPLAUSE.
Camera pans from left to right catching the faces of the three blushing youth.
Surveying the crowd with his cold blue eyes, Hugo Drax asked in his soft voice
“And how much memory space would the computer chips require to store all that is in the human mind?”
Once again the room broke out into a babble of discussion. After an hour of arguments and counter arguments, the neuro-physician acting as the spokesman of the group said
“About fourteen thousand to eighteen thousand terabytes. Of course it depends on the persons age, IQ, experience and other things, but I would say that eighteen thousand terabytes would be enough”
“Well doctor! My brain with all its ideas, thoughts, experiences and most importantly all memories; could they be stored in eighteen thousand terabytes?”
“In your case Mr. Drax, I would take a safe estimate and say twenty thousand terabytes!”
Mr. Drax turned his attention to the computer expert and said
“Can you make such a computer? Make two, always better to have a back up. I am eighty three now and the metastases has spread all over. Doctors give me less than a year to live. Is the time enough to transfer all my memories into electronic format?”
“Krishna Ming! Pull out of the contest immediately”
“Mother Ming! Don’t shout. What is the emergency? You have pulled me out of the competition citing an emergency. The audience is getting mad. I have to get back”
“Krishna Ming! I will not allow you to prostitute yourself. My son is no gigolo!”
“Mother Ming! You overreact! Don’t worry. Bye! I cant talk to you. We will be on air in another five minutes bye!”
Ladies and gentleman! You are simply not going to believe this. I am your own Maddox and we are in the final of the world’s greatest show. Six Thousand Billion Jackpot!
We now find out who is the best lover among the three
Curtains part and three breathtaking young girls walk in daintily, ramp model like.
The one to the left is Miss World, the one in the middle is the current Miss Universe and the one to the right is Miss Asia Pacific
The only scientific and practical way to find out who among the three young man is the best lover, is by allowing each of the beauties to honeymoon with each contestant.
At the end of it all, the three delectable damsels will cast their vote as to who is the best lover.
And the young man who is adjudged the best lover among the three will get the six thousand billion jackpot. But I Maddox am jealous even of the looser. Look at them smashing babes!
“My Hugo Drax! What your propose is possible, but it is not going to be easy”
“Oh I will extend all co-operation. For the next six months I would do nothing but sit with the machines, feeding every tendril of my memory, every bit of my thought, every single idea and every fleck of emotion. I will give it one hundred percent. I will give the whole of myself to the machine. Every single of the eighteen thousand terabytes”
“Mr. Drax! It is not you who I am worried about. It is the recipient”
“Why do you say so Dr. Ochner?”
“I seriously doubt if you would be able to find a young man willing to allow a brain wipe, undergo hypnosis, get his mind cleaned of all his memories and than accept yours in lieu!”
“Here you are mistaken Mr. Ochner! You can find anything on this earth if you pay enough. By the last audited results my assets are worth is excess of six thousand billion New Euros!”
“But Mr. Drax………”
“Krishna Ming! You have won the competition. The whole world is jealous of you. And yet you don’t feel any happiness. What is wrong?”
“I don’t know mother Ming. You can call it my intuition. Something is not quite right somewhere. Tomorrow I go to the vault, where the testament will be read to me. The last will and testament of Hugo Drax, making me the sole inheritor of six thousand billion New Euros”
“But Mother Ming! I have a gut feeling that the legacy will be attached with a string which will become my noose!”
“Let me get this correctly Mr. Ochner!”
“Please go ahead Mr. Krishna Ming!”
“You want me to undergo a retrograde hypnosis, amnesic therapy protocol, brain wipe and then reimplantation with Mr. Hugo Drax’s memories?”
“Yes! You are intelligent enough!”
“That is why they chose the three least intelligent among the twelve? Mr. Drax wanted a young body and a stud for girls didn’t he?”
“You don’t seem to look at it correctly. Do you know how many zeros are these in six thousand billion?”
“But at the end, I would no longer be me! I would become Hugo Drax”
“No Mr. Krishna. We are not we anyway as all our cells change in seven years. And it will be you, your body, your face, your brain………”
“Can you give me three months and a little advance? Say a billion Euros? If I don’t return, you give the prize to the second guy”
“I will have to discuss with the trustees. Mr. Krishna, you realize that this is certainly an unusual request.
Hugo Drax (though the body belonged to Krishna Ming) looked at his watch as he briskly got into the all glass elevator that led to his three hundred and fourteenth floor penthouse office of Skysat. The program had increased the company ratings dramatically and he was now worth nine thousand billions New Euros!
His cute secretary came with appointment list and he recollected the fun he had with her three days ago. She had a round box above her pad. Capsular time message from the bank – she explained. He saw the label. From Hugo Drax to Hugo Drax. Dated some three months before his death. He did not remember sending himself a message. Nevertheless he was curious as he hastily stripped the seals.
It was in his own personal code. Go to 623/64 sector C-34 Downtown. Matter is urgent. Life and death rather!
His gravohoover carried him to section C-34, a relatively seedy and rough locality, which he did not remember visiting earlier. The place was full of illegal modification clinics, abortion houses, mutant repairs and illegal cloning laboratories. 623/64 was a dingy archway with a huge oak door and a brass knocker. Hugo Drax knocked on it!
The door was opened by a six feet negro with a wide smile displaying his pearly teeth. The negro looked at his watch and said
“Just in time sir! Please follow me!”
Just in time for what? Hugo Drax wondered as he followed the giant. He had taken just two steps when two more negros, taller and bulkier, silently appeared from both sides and caught him in a tight grip. He started struggling and shouting when one of them said with a smile.
“Please don’t struggle. And even if you do, it would make no difference. We have your written consent; it was you who had told us that you may change. You may even struggle to escape. We were to take no notice and proceed exactly as advised!”
“Consent? Proceed?” Hugo Drax asked in a strangled voice.
“Consent for a total brain wipe, hypnotic regression, amnesia protocol and emotion clean up. Proceed with reimplanting Mr. Krishna Ming’s memories. You told us that with the old neuronal pathways, it would be quite easy. Now please don’t get agitated. This sedative injection will make your fall gradually asleep!”
“Mother Ming! You are the most intelligent mother in the whole world”
“Oh Krishna! How relieved I am. We took such a great risk. What would have happened if the old man had refused to let go of you? Would I have not lost my son for ever?”
“I had given precise instructions to the Negros at the clinic, Mother Ming! Nothing could have gone wrong, after all it was your idea! Please change the topic to something pleasant!”
“That reminds me Krishna Ming! I still don’t approve of your two day honeymoons with three different girls. Almost portrayed you as a gigolo!”
Krishna gave a smile and a wink
“But Mother Ming! It was a great great fun!”
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