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The human brain’s not that hard to hack. They sell happiness in brown bottles.

  • Brian

 

2 Hours Later - Candy - The Sugar Lab

“I don’t remember anything.” says Omicron. He’s gray. In shock.

I think. “Is that normal? Do you usually remember what you do on the blue pills?”

He thinks. “I don’t know. Maybe? I know I look at my phone. Do I do anything else?”

I look around the room. No one seems to know.

We are shitty, shitty, friends.

Omicron is crying quietly. “You need to call the police. I need to go to jail.”

I shake my head. “There are no police. They’re all dead or hiding.” We tried 911, but no one answered.

Five mini-nukes hit our city. Army base, city hall, two police precincts, and a data centre. The rest of the country is in similar shape. Government, army, police, and data centres all blown to hell. Someone made a major move on Old Money. Even with the Optimals cutting the bombing short, I don’t think he’s coming back from this.

God damn. What’s happening? I look at my phone. People are posting like crazy on Leviathan. It’s safe enough. Leviathan will beat all tracking and spyware. As long as you don’t post your name or picture, you can say whatever you want, and it can’t be tracked back to you in real life.

Most people are horrified by the bombings, but a substantial minority are celebrating. Looks like the work camps and breeding restrictions have been cancelled. Free speech is also back, if anonymously.

No death toll yet. No response from government. No police activity. Hospitals are still open, if you can afford them. We can’t. I look over at Isaiah. He’s helping the Chatbot Doctor inspect Omicron.

There’s a lot of hysteria about radiation, but I ignore that. People are slowly starting to post about Optimals. I guess that cat’s out of the bag. The Optimal Experiment was obviously paying internet providers to suppress chatter about it. That ended with Leviathan. He has no concept of bribes.

I’m reading any post I can find about Optimals. I’m having a hard time concentrating. Too many different worries. I put down my phone. Grab some paper, make a messy list.

  1. What do I do with Omicron? Is he safe to be around? Is it safe to take him off the drugs? Will that hurt him? I think the Optimals stopped the purge. Did the other Optimals kill as well?
  2. Are the nukes done? There’s at least 2 groups with drone-nukes now - Optimals and Purgers. Maybe. Maybe the Purgers are all dead. Maybe more than 2 groups have drone-nukes. Who would they use them on? Old Money’s fucked - are there other targets? The Darkness? How would you find her? Us? You hardly need a nuke to take us out. A couple whiskey bottles would do it.
  3. What do I do about Delta? There doesn’t seem to be any authorities to report his murder to. Do I just bury him in the garden?
  4. Who else did we lose? Half the club ran when I released Leviathan. Are they hiding? Please let them be hiding. Can I look for them? Or will that put them in more danger?
  5. Maybe The Darkness is at Optimal Headquarters? Do they have headquarters? Fuck. I can’t imagine that bitch sitting still.
  6. Did I cause this? The Purgers used Levithan to control their drones. Obviously, they already had a plan in place. Did they need Leviathan? Shit. Delta was rebuilding Leviathan.
  7. It’s starting again. Old Money was the champion of the status quo. The gatekeeper to the future. Last time we snuck past him we got The God Machine. What’s going to happen this time?

I look at my list. It’s overwhelming. I don’t have time to be overwhelmed. Start with number one. What do we do with Omicron?

Isaiah and ChatDoc have wrapped Omicron in a blanket.

“We’ll monitor you, but I advise you stop taking the Optimal drugs.” says ChatDoc.

“No shit.” says Omicron. “I’m never taking that shit again.”

His phone chimes. “Excuse me, I have to go to work.” He fishes a blue pill out of his pocket.

“What! Shit!” Isaiah grabs for the pill. Too slow. Omicron pops it back, looks at his phone. Grunts. Goes upstairs.

I feel I have enough problems without following him. God damn. I head to the stairs.

I meet him coming down. I back up, get out of his way. He’s dragging a heavy load wrapped in a bed sheet.

There’s a moment of silence as he drags Delta through the club. A poor man’s proto-apocalyptic funeral.

I follow them out of the club. After a block, we’re joined by a woman dragging another sheet wrapped body. After few more blocks, we’re joined by three more couples.

We trudge down the street. Get to a main intersection and stop, wait for the light to change. There’s absolutely no traffic. As we wait, I look down the side street. There’s a bunch of people waiting for the light on the street parallel to us. They’re all dragging bodies. I look down the other side street. Same.

How long is this fucking light? Why don’t we just go? There’s no one out but fucking murderers. Fucking non-jaywalking murderers. I should just go ahead without them.

I’m shaking. The light changes. They plod ahead. I watch them go. I need to follow them. I must bear witness. I go back to the club.

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Doctor Zero

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