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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bait and Switch: A Science Fiction Story

Rod Elliot knew this was going to be like no day he had ever lived before. He asked himself: can it really be that today I'm going to meet my twin brother – the twin brother I've never seen before?

It had been an astonishing surprise. He had received an email with a link to a youtube.com video. When he clicked on the link, he saw a video showing a man named Lou who looked just Rod himself.

In the video Lou told the incredible story that Lou and Rod had been born as twins, but that Lou had been stolen from the hospital by a baby robber who took advantage of lax hospital security. Thirty years later the woman had confessed what happened, Lou said. Ever since then, Lou said, he had been searching to find the twin brother he had never seen. At first Rod refused to believe the story, but then he slowly realized it might be true.

What was also strange were the conditions Lou set for the two of them meeting. Lou said that he could only meet Rod if Rod wrote up a thirty-page story of his life. Lou said that he was involved with a scientist, who wanted to take advantage of the unique opportunity presented by two twins separated at birth. The scientist wanted to compare the life stories of Lou and Rod, to try and figure out how much of a person's interests and life choices are genetically determined.

So Rod wrote up his life story, and asked Lou by email where they could meet. Lou told Rod to come to an office on the 40th floor of an office building. At the appointed time, Rod rode the elevator up to the 40th floor, wondering how much like him Lou would turn out to be. 

The doors of the elevator opened, and Rod looked ahead. There ahead of him was a mirror image of himself.

You must be my twin brother,” said Rod. “It's great to see you!”

Rod, I've been waiting for this for so long,” said Lou. “Come into my office, so we can talk.”

Lou and Rod talked for nearly an hour. Eventually, Lou had a request.

Hey Rod, you know what would be cool?” said Lou. “Why don't you log into your Facebook account, and let me see your friends. Just so we can check whether we have similar types of friends.”

Rod did as Lou requested, and then Rod asked if Lou would do the same.

That won't be necessary,” said Lou coldly. “I think I have everything I need now.”

What do you mean?” asked Rod.

I have everything I need for the identity replacement,” said Lou.

The identity replacement?” said Rod.

Yes, I'm going to take over your life," said Lou. "I'm the new Rod Elliot. You didn't believe that story about me being your twin separated at birth, did you? No, my dear Rod, it's something much different. You see I am not one of your kind. I am a member of an alien race that has come to conquer your planet.”

An alien race?” asked Rod in a skeptical tone.

Yes,” said Lou. “We have the power to reorganize and transfigure the matter that makes up our bodies. We plan to conquer your world through a process of gradual replacement. Our plan is to replace more and more of your kind with our replacements. Then, once we control a sufficient number of levers of power in your society, our ships will arrive in force. We will be able to take over your planet, aided by the replacements we have put in place, who will act as a kind of fifth column, helping to undermine your defenses from within.”

But you couldn't possibly replace me,” said Rod. “People would be able to figure out that something was wrong. You don't speak like me, and you don't know the people I know.”

In this little sesssion here, you have given me all I need to replace you,” said Lou. “I have recorded our hour-long conversation, which will be enough for me to imitate your voice. You have given me a thirty-page biography of yourself, which I will memorize. When you logged into your Facebook account using my computer, your password was captured by a keystroke logger on my machine. So now I can find out all about all of your friends. By investigating their Facebook pages, I will learn all I need to know in order for me to seem knowledgeable about them. So I should be able to pass myself off as Rod Elliot with little difficulty. “

Rod finally started to look as if he believed the story. But then Lou smiled broadly.

Got you, dude!” said Lou. “You didn't believe any of that BS, did you? I was just pulling your leg.”

Sheesh, you almost had me going there,” said Rod, feeling relieved. “That was quite a tale.”

I have some work to do, so why don't we wrap this up,” said Lou. “Let's meet again next week. I'll walk you to the elevator.” 
Rod said goodbye, and walked into the elevator. He pressed the button for the lobby floor. But the elevator didn't move.

On the other side of the elevator doors, Lou pressed a special button above the regular Up/Down buttons. The left side of the elevator floor slid away, disappearing. Then the right side of the elevator floor slid away, disappearing. Lou heard a horrible shriek which dwindled away into silence. He didn't hear the crushing thud as Rod's body reached its final destination 40 floors below.

Lou took out a handheld device and pressed a button.

Tell the guys in the basement that another body has plunged into the basement body bin,” said Lou. “Have them take out the house keys and wallet, and bring them up to me on the 40th floor.”