I watched the rain form tiny droplets on the window. The wind howled, forcing the water against the pane in great waves. The T.V. in the background droned on, two politicians going head to head, intentionally misrepresenting each other for votes. Canned cheers and clapping were piped in, along with fake Tweets scrolling across the bottom. I didn’t have to look to know they were there. They were always there.
I thought really hard. Off. Turn off. The chip I’d placed in my arm with a do-it-yourself kit sent the signal to the T.V, throwing the room into blissful silence. The lights were out, and I reveled in the quiet half-light, enjoying the first peace I’d had in nearly a week. The silence was eerie, and was soon filled with the rush of thoughts I’d drowned out with the noise of the world outside.
I wanted to be more. I wanted to be better. I wanted to be more than human, if this was what human was. The two dullards arguing on the television set, putting on a good show for the masses who adored and decried their every move—I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t take it that the highest job in the land, the office most deserving of dignity and respect was being offered on a plate to two people I wouldn’t trust to sweep the floor. I couldn’t stand going to work and hearing people tell me that vaccines were giving their kids autism, firstly, as if it was some horrible disease to be caught, and secondly, as if it were true even though that corrupt abuse of science had been recanted a dozen times.
People would literally believe anything. That’s what the world had come to.
In some ways, maybe I wasn’t any better than they were. Certainly they would think me outlandish if they knew that beneath my phoenix tattoo there was a tiny microchip that could turn the television off and on with a determined thought. Such a stupid little thing, like somehow it could make me a cyborg overnight and give me super powers. But it was my rebellion. I was tired of feeling powerless, like a boat tossed around by rolling waves. That chip gave me something that others didn’t have. Besides my one-fifty IQ and a whole basket of neuroses, that is.
Trouble was, I wanted more. I’d tasted the forbidden fruit and now the possibilities had opened up before me. Rumors on the Dark Net of a man-machine interface had me excited, even though they must be fiction. Video games and movies made me imagine a world where we could be better, where we could reach our maximum potential. Or maybe just fuck up the world trying. But it had to be better than arguing on the Internet with thugs from the Left and Right who all wanted the same thing in the end: total control of thought and direction. The groupthink made me crazy, and I’d stepped back from every clique I’d ever been a part of, needing the silence of my own personal space to know that the things they were arguing for were the very definition of insanity, brought about by an authoritarian need to crush dissent.
I’d even let my hair dye wash out, hating its association with people who’d abused the idea of saving the world. But the idea of enhancing myself, of augmenting myself, stayed in my mind like a tiny seed. What if I could be my purest, truest self? What would that look like? Would I wear combat boots up to my knees and a long, black coat? Or maybe I’d be beautiful and irresistible, pulling the attention of every man and woman I met. Would I have machine replacements for my arms and legs? A cure for my chronic fatigue? What about some help for my failing memory? Peace for my anxiety? A body that felt like it really fit my ever-changing gender identity?
Would the people I loved turn away from me?