…..For a long while now you’ve heard the rumors, heard the voices of the image mongers among us; those who would make you believe we are living in a lie, that the world we exist in is nothing more than a vast illusion produced by the madness of the Envisioneers.
…..Let me tell you, it’s true… the world is crumbling around us, the machines have gone off-line and the truth stands revealed; and, believe me, it’s not pretty…
…..– The Last Broadcast of Barnabas J. Horn (RadioFree Alamut)
Sidroc-99 watched on as the last star blinked out. Darkness. Blindness. Night. They all huddled in the great darkness. Nothing of light remained. Each in his own way had turned toward another – touching, feeling, licking, remembering… The engines of creation were now silent, their image making production lines stilled and lifeless. Nothing of reality remained, nothing but this dark world filled with fear.
“What will we do now?” echoed a voice.
“Nothing.” a voice returned.
“But we must do something,” said a third voice, somewhere in the distance.
Sidroc-99 fidgeted. Like the others he had never known darkness before. His world had always been filled with light, with sounds, with signs – a world of images ceaselessly reproducing their semiovital forms, giving him and others a reason to be happy. Now that was all gone, all those things, objects for his eyes to feast on, a sensual realm of color and vibrancy. Gone! But where? Why? How could such a thing happen? Who or what was behind it?
He worked deep down in the hive where the fires churned. But one day they’d closed the doors, dispersed the hive-workers, saying it was too dangerous, too unstable, that we’d have to discover other sources of power, energy. But no one had found any. Did it exist? No one seemed to understand? Even the thinking machines that gave them their daily orders had no answer. Thoughts that had come so easily to his mind seemed dimmed and forgotten, as if the implants were no longer working, as if the connections to the vast oceanic Intelligence had vanished, left its post, disappeared into a void and left them alone with their doubts and non-knowledge.
He remembered tales of learning as a child, rumors that people had actually thought for themselves at one time. Solved problems, acted for themselves instead of relying on the Mind. But that was all rumor, and his Level IV Adapters had told him it was a myth, a legend for children. Nothing more. People had never thought for themselves. Thinking was something the machines did, not people.
His friend Sidroc-47 showed him a trick one day. He liked tricks. It showed him how to disconnect from the Mind. He liked that, made him feel strange; alone. Yet, it frightened him, too. What if he couldn’t ever reconnect, what would happen then? His friend smiled, “Don’t worry silly, there’s no way to disconnect forever?” It showed him the failsafe algorithm that would eventually reroute the nanoneurals and open the bi-valve connectors thinking it was a mere malfunction. “See, it will always reconnect you to the Hive.” Yet, he was not convinced. But he liked being alone, being free of the endless chatter of the hive. Made him feel different, and he’d never felt different before. It was a strange sensation. Made him feel special, as if he were the only one in the world who was alone with his own thoughts. But then he wondered if his thoughts were his own… and, it frightened him to the point that he never performed the trick again.
Now that everything was dark he knew it would only be a matter of time when everyone else would be alone, too. The hive would lose its connection to the Mind. What will happen to us then? – he thought.
He did not know… would anyone know?
– Steven Craig Hickman ©2016 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.
… a fragment of a story I’m working on….