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Chapter 8 – Part 2

You can get used to a lot of crazy shit when your head is crammed full of silicon and fiber optics. You don’t immediately freak out when data streams flicker across your vision. These sorts of bugs are to be expected with new technology.

You do however freak out when you look at the Watkins Glen wind turbines and instead of just seeing lovely rotating blades creating energy you instead see a detailed overlay detailing all the mechanical parts of the machine as well as a real time estimation of the amount of energy it’s producing.

“Guys! You’re back! Damn that kid he must be asleep again out on the south lookout.” Jason was covered in grease and smelled like fish sticks; maybe he was having problems with the grease truck.

“Who’s the new girl? Hi my name is Jason…” He said holding out his hand to Marla.

“Q what’s wrong man?”

Not much, only that my brain isn’t under my control, and it feels like spiders are crawling around inside my eyes.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a laptop and about three feet of cat5 cable would you? Also I think I need to lie down, like right now.” Rain dropped her bike and was at my side almost instantly.

Jason ushered us into a barn built up against the base of a huge wind turbine. To our surprise a wave of cool air blasted us in the face when we opened the door. Rain and Jason sat me down gently in an old wing backed chair that had been reupholstered with plastic rice bags. The sound of the turbine was transferred down the poll and filled the room. A sharp contrast to how quiet it had been 100 feet away.

“Evaporative cooling system, keeps the computers cool, pretty neat huh?” Watkins glen had developed quite a bit since we had left.

I guess I wasn’t going to pass out just yet; instead I was going to be treated to an orange glowing overlay in the left of my vision informing me that the ambient temperature had just dropped 15 degrees.

“Q whats wrong, you haven’t been like this in forever? Is it the stuff in your head?” Rain’s voice was visualized as vibrating waves in my right eye, while a series of geometric objects appeared superimposed on her face, calculating the surface area of her face.

“I don’t know man, you look pretty pale, and your eyes are all dilated and shit.” Marlas dreadlocks shot off little golden ratios, and fractal patterns. My vision was being drowned out by all the data coming off her.

“I need you all to be silent for the next couple of seconds, and Jason could you turn the lights off, it’s getting worse.” Even my own voice was causing my vision to light up with the definition of “light” and “worse” streaming across my field of vision like a stock ticker.

I got the laptop booted and opened Firefox, jamming the cat5 cable into the socket behind my ear. The feeling was strangely comforting remembered from the hours upon hours in the chair. The controller chips in my head were directly IP addressable, and my “modifications” had produced a graphical interface, just like a router.

I typed in the IP for my own brain and was presented with a simple program that I had built from a bunch of pieces of open source software. The last time anyone had done this it had shown several small process running, mostly power monitoring, and simple input and output processes. This was how my brain had interfaced with the system that The Company had built for me.

Now it showed a multitude of programs running, they had names comprised of random ASCII character. None of this had been put here by “me,” although I was starting to suspect that “me” might be becoming a little more complicated.

The Company had hired some of the smartest people on the planet. People who lived and breathed brain science, and the best they could come up with were a couple of simple algorithms that allowed my brain to dynamically modulate how much power it was drawing from the machines connected to it, and a simple system by which I could revive and send data from my mind. The unique nature of my brain handled the rest.

This shit was totally different, complex, broad, and overwhelmingly strange. As I stared at the screen trying to make sense of it all, the random characters began to shift. A couple letters became a word, which became a sentence. Some of them became images; one became the feeling of cat fur, another was the smell of peanut butter. One bit coalesced into the color blue, surrounded by the sensation of cold water on my arms.

There was a feedback loop; whatever was happening to my vision to cause it to draw data out of the world around me was chewing up the seemingly random code in my own head and turning it into something my conscious brain could access. My brain was running a program and that program was able to decode the mess in my own brain…no wonder my head felt like it was in a vise.

The pain was getting worse, and I was starting to feel really hungry. My brain was burning the sugar in my blood at a rapid pace. I was also starting to get an idea of what was going on. It’s like calling an Indian tech center with computer problems sooner or later they always suggest the same solution.

“Guys…” Speaking caused my eyes to explode in a torrent of data overlays, accompanied by a sudden burst of pain. I grabbed my head in a futile attempt to make it stop, everyone had been perfectly silent the entire time, drawing closer to hear what I had to say next.

“Guys, I think, I think I have to, reboot my brain.” Speaking was becoming impossible.

“The good news is, I think this will fix what’s wrong, the bad news… I am pretty sure it’s going to stop my heart.”

Posted in Future Crash Novel.

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