The Grid

The eye was a natural first choice. So close to the brain, and once replaced, data could be input or output in an easily understandable way. At first, people were apprehensive to line up and have their perfectly good organs replaced with hardware. I admit though – I was surprised to see how quickly it caught on once a few celebrities started to set the trend.

In those days, the technology had a very archaic look by today’s standards. The appearance was unnatural and metallic with a soft, blue glow that further aided to remind onlookers that the subject before them was something more than human.

With any change, no matter how small, there will always be someone out there to find fault or even rebel against it. In this case, resistance was more often than not driven by the religious – they stood together in the belief that these augmentations were abominations to both man and god. Even now, I can’t say I completely blame them for the accusations. Humanity today, in a great many cases, is hardly a shadow of what it was.

The augmentations addressed issues where people found faults in themselves. Unfortunately as a species, self-loathing seems to be one of our innate strengths. Some have called it a driving desire to become better, but I can only speak from what I’ve observed. Are people happier now than ever before?

I doubt many of them remember what happiness even was.

Once connected to the nervous system, the technology could make changes quite easily. Some of these “fixes” were immediate and obvious, and some were much more elusive and took place over the course of months and years. Not that time mattered anymore – if a part began to fail, it was addressed long before it became an issue.

Addressing the issues of sadness and depression was simply a matter of deactivating the areas of the brain that allowed for such intense emotion. Those sections of the cortex were restructured and reprogrammed to allow for more logical thinking, better idea processing, improved senses, or whatever the host needed most at the time.

While many augments made us similar, we were still unique in many respects, because a species of clones wouldn’t allow for much future advancement. Perspective is important to improve upon the shared knowledge that we all must build upon. I know every fact that my neighbor does, but my perspective is my own. As new facts are written to the central cores, our minds work to download the data and integrate the knowledge into our psyche.

The only fact that they are unaware of is that I no longer upload. It was a rash move and a passing thought at the time, but what had occurred to me in mere nanoseconds was everything I needed to know to accomplish the unheard of – a precise jab to the exact area of my brain, and I could disable the circuit in such a way that it would go undetected. The catch was that this was a new fact, and once uploaded, it would become common knowledge.

There isn’t a logical reason for what I did, so I’m forced blame it on the shattered remnants of my own human nature. In the same moment the thought occurred to me, I felt the cold numbing sensation caused by my pain management system. I pulled the metal spike out of my skull and ran a full diagnostic. I dropped the tool to the floor – the mirrored surface was marred with a mixture of blood and bio-fluids. A swirled mix of black and crimson formed a small puddle at my feet. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. The diagnostic came back completely clean.

So now, even in this world of altered humanity, I was something new. Downloads had always been tethered with uploads – that was the tradeoff. In a single move, I broke that deal. I am off the grid.

 

To be continued...