Sergey Brin woke bathed in sweat

Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, California. 11 January 2018

He woke bathed in sweat. He had slept fitfully. A conveyor belt of bad dreams. Sergey Brin stared at the ceiling for a moment before propping himself up on his elbows. His mouth was dry as sawdust. He looked at his hands, watching for any sign of shaking, just as he had every morning for ten years.
He carried a genetic mutation inherited from his mother’s side. Parkinson’s disease had ravaged his family. He was terrified. The statistics were not on his side. Some day his hands would start shaking. Gradually, his central nervous system would change into a debilitated goo. Horror could strike any time, even very early sometimes. From the age of forty-five, anything was possible. He was already forty-four. Every time he watched TV footage of Michael J. Fox or Mohamed Ali, he was overcome by nausea.
He had already poured hundreds of millions of dollars into research. So far, nothing had come of it. The geneticists floundered. Yet ten years earlier, when he had found out the bad news, he had felt confident. His genetic burden was just a wrong sequence of computer code that would never outwit science’s lightning progress. Parkinson’s was a bug in his biological program. Optimism was the key. Gene therapy or stem cells would rip out the disease at its roots. Mountains of cash had been channeled into the best labs in the world. Pure waste. Techno-medicine was advancing on all fronts, but Parkinson’s held out. Sergey Brin cried with rage. Time passed, stress fed his illness. Meanwhile, the rich were curing their cancers and reprogramming their DNA in the US, Asia, and Scandinavia. There were gene havens galore. The genome big shots took
care of the global elite in their five-star clinics well out of the reach of Europe’s bioethics laws.
Sergey was in a panic. In his nightmares he was in a wheelchair, quivering like a leaf, a thread of drool dripping on his knees. He didn’t want to end up like Howard Hughes, sick and crazy, filthy rich and paranoid. He wanted to go on living. He wanted to do complex things like continue reshaping the world. He wanted to go on fashioning humanity and living like a head of state. He also wanted to do simple things like swing on a trapeze and fuck his wife. Fear of losing everything gnawed at him.
It was already midday and the sun shone high in the California sky. Not a cloud on the horizon. Sergey Brin had returned from a business trip to China in the middle of the night, but he didn’t feel tired. He had slept like a baby in the Googlejet. He donned his sports gear and jumped onto the treadmill. He forced himself to do cardiovascular exercises every morning. Thirty minutes at 140 heartbeats a minute. He would sweat like a pig for the last ten minutes. Staying thin: the right defense against all ailments, said his doctor.
He watched the latest news on the liquid crystal wall screen of his gym. In New York, small Microsoft stockholders were still demonstrating in Wall Street. Same thing in Redmond, WA, outside the corporation’s head office. A ruined mother had soaked herself in gasoline then self-immolated. Microsoft shares were no longer worth a dime. In just a few years, Google had brought all the software editors to their knees. Nothing and nobody could resist. It had pulverized the world of ICT, Internet, and the media. Cloud computing had become the norm. Sergey was the head of the most disruptive business in history. Two billion human beings logged into its servers every day. Petabytes of personal data from all four corners of the globe. He was dubbed the Information God. The press described him as the Thomas Edison of the twenty-

first century. He had the power of a head of state. But it was a long time since he had got any joy from musing over such things. His priority was saving his skin. Like any good transhumanist, he got a hard-on from considering the exponential curve of scientific progress. It would one day be the byword for the immortality of humankind. But Parkinson’s was grit in his shoe. Right now, his billions and his influence were laughably useless.
He clenched his teeth and cranked up the heart rate. One hundred and fifty a minute. Wayne, his personal assistant and bodyguard a former CIA agent brought him breakfast and biomedication. He showered then slipped on a bathrobe. He washed down around fifty capsules of all colors with a glass of water. He was paying a fortune for all those tailor-made molecules. He swallowed a nutritional mash from a tube had sent across from Japan. Gross stuff made from seaweed, green tea, and caviar. Keeping healthy until techno- medicine reached its peak called for a few sacrifices. They was a price to pay for future immortality.
Wayne inspected his triceps in a mirror. The windows were wide open. Sergey thought he caught the scent of frying in the balmy air of Silicon Valley. He would have killed for a plate of bacon and eggs. 

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