Excerpt: Hibi – Human Brainwave Interface Device

I am writing a novel and a collection of stories that serve as a sequel and adjuncts to my Aligned Worlds series. However, I don’t intend on publishing either, but will instead send them free to my few very dedicated readers.

The novel, Trinity’s Redemption, manages to be the prequel to Hard as Roxx, and the sequel to both Roxx and If A Robot Play The Blues Do It Still Be Funky. How’s that for ambitious? 🙂 It begins with my lead character’s early life, skims past the events of Hard As Roxx, and ends in the post-Roxx period, just before the events of Robot Blues. I think it will be a gas, but I’m not sure, because this is the first novel I haven’t plotted in advance.

Trusting in the Muse for this one.

Here’s an excerpt where my main character explains how a Hibi worked for a hearing-impaired woman and her husband.


I knew her Hibi was augmenting everything she saw with available information. If she looked at a tree, the Hibi would offer information about the tree and the bird she spotted nesting there. She’d learn to filter the information so that it only showed up when she wondered about it. Later, her brain would teach her to ignore all of the info she didn’t care about. For now, however, her mind was abuzz with data. She peeked up at a pair of white-haired joggers and then looked back down. “Should I be able to hear their thoughts?”

“You aren’t. Those are … verbal messages they’re sending each other. Some of these people have early prototypes. Mom kept them pretty local.”

“Uh-huh.” She was still bent over, hands on knees, staring at the soft pavement.

“We’ve told people how to set the protocols to private so others don’t overhear your conversations. I guess they’ve gotten so used to no one’s having a Hibi that they’re careless.” The couple stopped, smiled at me, and waved.

“Hello Mr. Uwazie.”

“Hi, Trint,” he said.

His wife smiled, signed, and mouthed silent words to me. I looked to my friend, who looked confused, but answered, “My name’s Krista. I’m living with the Sandahls for a while.”

“Yeah, she’s my girlfriend, but she’s ‘in,’ so she doesn’t want anyone to know.”

“I’m not in! I’m so not!”

Mrs. Uwazie clapped and said, both signing and through silently mouthed words that my Hibi let me hear, “I am so happy for you both. I remember my first girlfriend. She never would admit we were together in public.”

“Yah, isn’t that so annoying?” asked Krista.

The three of us were about to enter a long-winded chat on dating etiquette, I could tell, but Mr. Uwazie tapped his wrist. It was a silly old-fashioned gesture, since I knew his timekeeper was implanted in his head. All he had to do was think, “I wonder what the time is,” and his Hibi would tell him it was ten past noon.

“We have to get home and changed, Stella.”

Mrs. Uwazie nodded, though her back had been to him.

“Oh, okay,” said Krista. “Another time then. It was so nice meeting you both.”

We said our goodbyes and Krista and I moved on. I waited for Krista’s inquiry. She didn’t disappoint. “Trint, how come Mrs. Uwazie had a robot voice? I mean, it’s a nice voice, really nice, but she sounds like the elevator in our building.”

“She doesn’t have a voice,” I answered. “She only has about five percent hearing, and she had her vocal chords frozen in a medibot accident some years back.”


We walked along for another five minutes, speaking to this person and that, while my friend looked increasingly puzzled.



“How come I could hear her if she can’t talk?”

Oh my god, that question felt so good.

I’d been waiting to explain this all to her for weeks. In a breathy rush, I answered, gesturing as though I was simultaneously hand-tossing pizza. “Because your Hibi can hear her Hibi, and it sent you what she was thinking via some subaural neural messages that your Hibi routed to your speech center. You must like the elevator voice, since that’s the one it picked to be Mrs. Uwazie’s. It could have picked any.”

I smiled, because this confirmed Krista wasn’t a narcissist. In tests, they often heard people’s subaural speech in their own voices, because they were so self-enamored.

Her eyes brightened. “So I can hear deaf people now?”

“If they have a Hibi. They can hear you too, sort of. Her Hibi translates your speech into signals in her brain. She used to be able to hear, so it’s easy for her. But it can also read sign language and decode that into speech too.”


“Yeah. Mom said the Hibi can even decode for people who never heard speech. I haven’t studied the mechanism, so I can’t explain it, but somehow it teaches her brain speech as though she’d always been able to hear it.”

“Jesus Applesauce.”

“Deafness? Cured.” I wiped a tear, suddenly feeling overwhelmed by emotion. “By my little mommy.”

Krista sniffled too, but said, “She’s taller than I am, Trint.”

“I know. But she’s my mommy, so she’s little because I say so.”

“What was Mr. Uwazie’s accent? It was so pretty.”

I grinned. “Not accent. He was speaking Igbo. So were you. He’s never learned English and refuses to on principle.”

“His Hibi doesn’t work?”

“The man won’t learn the language of the country he lives in. You think he’s gonna accept a brain implant?”

“Good point.” She took a step and froze. “Wait. How were they talking then?”

“She can hear him now, and he reads her lips perfectly. Old school. But Mom says he reminds her of her grandfather, so she integrated a Hibi’s receptor into his hearing aids. It creates an artificial voice that he can hear. I’m not even sure he understands that his wife hasn’t really suddenly learned to talk.”

“Is he … senile?” she asked.

“Him? No. He’s just sort of a go-with-the-flow kinda dude.”

“Like me!” claimed Krista. She walked and stopped again, causing me to bump into her.

“Dude,” I said, rubbing my nose.

“How many languages do I speak now?”

“All of them. Well, all of them with an integratable dictionary and morphology, so, about 300-ish.”

“Holy shit.” Her eyes were wide. “I was going to major in linguistics. What the hell am I supposed to do now?”

I shrugged. “Help Mom improve the Hibi’s translation routines?”

“Hell yeah, I will,” she said. With that, she grinned, kissed me, and we both took off running toward the nearest subway station. I had a lot to show her.