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Human beings are creatures of the now. Snap emotional judgments, instant reactions, fight or flight. They didn’t get this way by accident. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution conditioned them to deal with the immediate. An entire world lived in the “right now!” The lion, the ache of hunger, the need to protect your kill from a rival clan. Sitting around thinking about what you were going to do in 20 years didn’t get your hunting and gathering done.
It was only later, that evolution found some use for longer term planning, agriculture, animal husbandry, culture. Considering our current situation it’s debatable if that really lead to anything special. Sure we made some nice art, but would any of that be around in 1000 years, 10,000? Even the best planners tend to think about lifetimes. A hundred or so years to kick around this rock and then they are gone. Our brains just aren’t set up to deal with large spans of times. The spans of time needed to say, plan for what a couple hundred years of burning fossil fuels would do to the ecosystem.
So when a couple of corporate shills decided to cram my head full of sophisticated technology so they could artificially do some long term planning, they really didn’t think it through very well. I was going to show them that fucking with the future could have serious consequences.
They were making the same mistake all seekers of the future make. They simply wanted to know tonight’s lotto numbers. They wanted the right now. Who cares what happened tomorrow. They were making so much money that the boys in accounting didn’t even bat an eye when the next report told them to buy this chip and not that one. Or that the sound cards on the complex computers were switched out with new ones from South Korea. They didn’t notice when a couple lines of code were rewritten for the power management software for the lights. They were too busy counting the billions to notice that the research division had ordered the tech division to change the interface on my data ports, or the new flash memory upgrades, or the reprogrammable optical interface.
I had been thinking about it for a while, what would we do once we got out? It was irony at a base level, but it was still true, the oracle had no idea what he would do in the future. I knew that Rain and I were trying to get to Ohio, trying to find my mother, but what then? What if The Company came looking for us? No amount of data seemed to produce a trend that would tell me what I would do in the future.
Maybe it didn’t work that way. Maybe when you are swimming in the future you couldn’t pick what direction the waves would take you. Instead of rely on some prediction I set about to give us as many options as possible.
The Company had successfully done something no one else had managed before, a viable brain-technology interface. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t put to waste. If I was going to be a freak I was going to be a freak on my own terms. Standard jacks, programmable open source software, memory recall, I was getting upgrades. The world was changing faster than most people could keep up. Why should I be limited by proprietary hardware?
I could now interface with almost any computer on the planet; my brain had its own data storage area. Hell you could run a Unix server out of the back of my skull if you wanted. The old me would have killed for such a system, the current me required large doses of pain killers to deal with the constant surgeries.
Keeping it all secret was easy enough, though the new interface I could erase records, make changes in billing, order parts, create work orders, change drug dosages. The hardest part was also the easiest. The only time I could possibly give myself away was when I was not hooked up to the chair. All I had to do was keep acting the way I had been. It was easy to act like you despise someone when you had a deep burning hatred for them.
The techs continued to drug me (now with a cocktail of my own design), Grey Suit still talked to me like I was his best pupil, Rain was trotted out in front of me every couple weeks. What really scared me was how it all seemed to have become normal…like living in an underground secret bunker having the future tortured out of you was something everyone did.
‘How was your day today Son?’ ‘Oh you know mom, some corporate goons used nerve inductive pain in order to torture me until I told them what stocks to buy…same old stuff.’ ‘That’s nice honey.’
No one cared about the slight alteration in guard schedules, or the work order that moved our gear and bicycles to the top level of the complex, or any of a million other changes that I made over the next couple weeks. There was no way to tell Rain or Marla what was going on, but I was sure they would know what to do when the time came. The biggest problem, the thing that kept me up at night, was that my entire plan required one key ingredient. Ophelia.