This is @mariannewest’s prompt
I woke from a dream in which the chip, planted in the base of my skull, had been activated and instead of linking me into the Network my every movement and thought was controlled.
In the dream, I had tried to find a doctor to cut the thing out, but my every move had been anticipated.
In the end, I had tried to cut it out with a kitchen knife.
It was unsettling and my heart was thumping hard in my chest. My fingers went instinctively to my neck and I felt the small lump.
It was still there at least.
I checked the tips of my fingers. No blood. I closed my eyes again and tried to activate the chip. Connection to the Network usually took several days, and for some up to a month. It all depended on the individual the surgeon told me. It was important to try to access the Network every morning and evening. It helped the nerves in my brain wire correctly to the chip, apparently.
I couldn’t make the connection. Sighing, I swung my legs out of bed and rubbed my face, trying to wake myself up properly.
“Info,” I said loudly. The sound of the news filled my apartment as I stood up. “Coffee.”
I took a shower, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee greeted me as I towelled myself dry. In a few more days I would only have to think. I wouldn’t have to use my voice any more.
I had resisted the implant for years. But it was impossible to find work these days unless you had one. And all bank accounts were be closed to Anti-Chippers at the end of the month. Without that - and with no way to move my credits - I would lose my apartment too.
“Coffee is ready,” the apartment told me. “Just a friendly reminder that all voice-activated services will cease on the 30th of this month. I am Chip-Ready. Please sync me with your implant as soon as possible.”
I didn’t reply, just took the cup of coffee from the BeveragePod and moved over to the window. Outside the thick cloud bellowed around the building. It was dark. You couldn’t tell if it was day or night. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the sun. But, as the Info kept telling us, the new measures were working. The surface temperature had not increased for six months.
Far below, beneath the cloud, the sea churned. I remembered a time when you could walk around the city. As long as you wore UV protective clothing, of course. By that time, floods were commonplace and it was generally accepted that the ocean would become a permanent fixture of the city. The city had already begun relocating further inland and repurposing former office buildings as residences for those who were to be left behind (or subject to the Compulsory Relocation Orders - those people who were to be moved from the area where the new city was to be built).
I remember the protests about those CROs. They lasted for years.
People didn’t protest anymore. The Anti-Chippers claimed it was because the implant subdued people. It took away their desire to complain. The Government said it was because people were happier.
I wasn't really involved in the protests. I wasn't a real Anti-Chipper. I didn't ever have strong feelings about it. For a long time I couldn't afford to have a chip.
Now, I couldn't afford not to.
I finished my coffee and went back to the bathroom. As I brushed my teeth a felt a tingle in the back of my head. The toothbrush fell from my fingers and I closed my eyes and attempted to Connect.
Welcome to the Network
It was neither text nor a voice, that spoke to me. It was hard to explain. But it was more of a feeling.
Welcome to the new happier you.
I felt a feeling of wellbeing wash over me.
Everything was going to be alright, I thought, and smiled.
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