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I lay there in the Operation table, calmly awaiting them to cut open my skull.
Faces flashed before my eyes, colors twirling and twisting and bending into humanoid shapes. Memories of my limited childhood, I was almost sure of it. At that moment, I remembered an old Earth saying, quite appropriate really. It said a person’s life flashes before their eyes just before they die. I’d always loved old human superstitions even if they were a bit ridiculous. Well, when I say a bit. But… in a way, I suppose I am going to die. Or at least, what makes me me will die and what’s left of my physical remains shall live on.
Society has been plagued by many problems over the past few centuries and eventually, great minds like Nicholas Fort and Josh Campbell found a solution. They called the computer solution, and it has gone on for almost two hundred years.
I felt a sudden chill down my spine and knew Operation had begun. They’d given me anesthesia before the Operation, I was quite relived because I did not want to experience the feeling of your head literally splitting open. Society was kind, so we have been told. Society had been kind to us until the last second of our human lives.
Looking back on my life, there wasn’t much to see. Every second of every day, a child reaches thirteen and is Computerized. I’d grown up in a large urban area with several other kids, or “playmates,” as Society prefers. We’d been brought up doing absolutely nothing but play, or rather, they did. I found myself an extreme oddity among others since the day I’d been given the Senses. I never did anything with anyone, not even share an apple. I always wandered off on my own to find some dusty old library hidden away, left to rot.
They asked me why I read. I told them it was fun.
They said I was wasting my time. I told them they were.
Buried in the most secluded part of Society, lay the treasures of mankind. The path humans had taken and the developments that had followed.
They told me it was a waste of time.
They told me the Operation would bring me all the information I will ever need.
I told them I wouldn’t really know. I told them I would be dead by then.
“I swear to cooperate with Society; I swear to embrace Operation; I swear to honor Fort and Campbell…”
Those were the first words I’ve ever uttered, that anyone has ever uttered.
Now finally came the hour. Operation would be done. The chip would be placed. And I would be Computerized. Every piece of information to have ever existed would be downloaded and my soul would be deleted.
Most of Society had welcomed Operation with open arms.
But not me.
They treasured the idea of all-knowing, of working like a computer around the clock.
But not me.
I was a maverick from the day I’d been given the Senses. But eventually I came to fathom the reason for Operation.
Change was inevitable.
Adapt or die.
Time seemed meaningless in the endless hurl of my thoughts.
A click sounded and I had to make an effort to keep my eyes tightly shut.
“Operation successful. Chip implanted. Subject 201-102 about to be Computerized.” A mechanical voice rang out. If I was born a few centuries prior, I would have thought it was a robot that spoke, but I knew better. All Computerized humans sounded like that. I would sound like that.
“You may open your eyes now.”
I did, feeling a sudden hit of artificial light on my eyes.
I flinched and the man inspecting me frowned. “Subject still showing acute visionary senses,” he said, taking a note on his pad.
I sat up gingerly, feeling no change in myself. But, I thought bitterly, how would I know?
“Subject 201-102, I will now activate the chip. May I have your consent?”
I turned to look at the man, realizing that he was the first Computerized human I’ve ever seen. He looked, well, he looked human, nothing of the computer part stood out, except for the fact that he sounded like one of course. “Yes.” I felt the words slip out from my lips but had no memory of letting go of them.
He fiddled with a few of his instruments and finally, finally, stretched out his fingers to the big white button, which I knew could only mean one thing.
I was about to be Computerized. Right there. Right now.
His hand seemed to move in slow motion as if he sensed my apprehension and was enjoying it. Or maybe I was imagining things.
His fingers touched the button, and slowly, slowly pushed it down.
A tsunami of information came crashing into my skull. Every book I’ve ever read was now completely downloaded into my brain. I saw articles concerning the French Revolution, I saw Disney movies playing over and over again in my mind, I saw Nicholas Fort and Josh Campbell making their appeal to the general public. I saw so many things happening at the same time, it felt like an age but couldn’t be more than a few seconds.
“The idea,” Nicholas was saying, “is to build one’s own base of live, working, humans.”
“Imagine all the problems we can’t solve, that no one can solve,” Josh continued, “environmental, political, scientific even, well, they will be solved by hundreds of Computerized humans working together. Imagine all the information that has ever existed downloaded into a single human brain, imagine what that human being would be capable of doing.”
“We are willing to be the first Computerized humans, to prove our cause…”
Billions upon billions of texts, videos were jammed in my brain by the use of one small chip. At one time, I might have felt joy, with so many things I knew. But joy, like love, like sadness and all other human emotions had been erased from my database.
“Will you be able to operate at maximum efficiency?”
I looked up, and there he stood, the one that had made me into this. I did a scan and instantly his face appeared in front of my eyes.
“Subject 034-231.” A label read. “Date of birth: January 1st, 2619. Position: Low status, The Operator.”
“Yes.” I replied. This time, I was fully aware of saying the words.
What could have been a look of satisfaction spread slowly across his face and he pressed a red button on his collar.
“Subject 201-102 has been Computerized.”