control

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
preface
this short story is set a few years in the future when america has split into regions based on voting patterns. subsequent elections after 2016 have divided america beyond repair so the union separated but people are now global citizens. country borders aren’t an issue, people can move freely throughout the world. the main character is the governor of the boston province (ma-me) who has a target on his head for the way he runs his province.
politics aside, the story takes influence from the medical experimentation and the future of expertise and work lecture. the medical experimentation seen in the story resembles the misinformed consent/non-consent as seen in the us offshore trials in guatemala and india (video). the story’s conflict is driven by a policy in debate on how to go about improving work efficiency while keeping the human employed (five minutes with hamid ekbia and bonnie nardi). the current research is to replace human limbs with robotic counterparts to reduce fatigue and control bodily needs like hunger by a brain stem implant via the neuro link to the prosthetic limb. this implant also allows those in power to control their workers actions.

Submitted: December 11, 2018

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Submitted: December 11, 2018

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Preface

This short story is set a few years in the future when America has split into regions based on voting patterns. Subsequent elections after 2016 have divided america beyond repair so the union separated but people are now global citizens. Country borders aren’t an issue, people can move freely throughout the world. The main character is the governor of the Boston province (MA-ME) who has a target on his head for the way he runs his province.

Politics aside, the story takes influence from the medical experimentation and the future of expertise and work lecture. The medical experimentation seen in the story resembles the misinformed consent/non-consent as seen in the US offshore trials in Guatemala and India (video). The story’s conflict is driven by a policy in debate on how to go about improving work efficiency while keeping the human employed (Five Minutes with Hamid Ekbia and Bonnie Nardi). The current research is to replace human limbs with robotic counterparts to reduce fatigue and control bodily needs like hunger by a brain stem implant via the neuro link to the prosthetic limb. This implant also allows those in power to control their workers actions.

Control

The child lay tucked comfortably in the bed as he listened to his father’s stories. “Though we are divided we are stronger than ever. Everyone around the globe working to better humanity, as it should be.” The father gestered his hand abroad sweeping down to tickle the young boy over the covers. “Heehehe stahp.” the boy laughed tried to shimmy away from the tummy attack. “Oh Gabriel, you messed up your blankets.” The father sighed covering the boy again, finishing with a peck on the forehead.

“Daddy? Do you think I could be a leader one day? My whole year at school thinks I’d be great at it!” “You’re Mr. Bossypants aren’t ya.” the dad poked at his son’s side again. “You can be whatever you want. You’ll just have to work hard at it. Give everything 100% ok?” He held up his hand for a high-five. A tiny hand peaked out of the blanket and slapped the outstretched bigger one with all its strength. “Oof that hurt!” The dad shook his hand trying to alleviate the sting. “100%.” the son replied.

“Always.” The father responded leaving the room.  

***

“You did do everything to 100%...”

The door opened making him sit up straight in his chair. “Theo, honey.” His wife put her hand on his shoulder. He reached up returning the affection. She took a phone out of her pocket and handed it to him, “Your meeting. There’s a quiet room next door. I’ll stay with him.” she finished. Theo stood from his chair pulling his wife in for a kiss on the cheek. He answered the phone, a slight pause to let the person on the other end speak. “Yes, it was quite a miracle he survived that.” Theo responded as he exited the ICU room. “Yes, he’s the next candidate…” his voice trailed off as he walked further away. As he left she seamlessly took his place beside her son’s bed. She went to grab his hand but quickly realized she was on the wrong side. The bandages on his left shoulder started to seep blood. “Did I save them?” Gabriel’s voice was raspy as he tried to speak. “NOOO!” He jolted up as he was now fully awake. He moved as best he could with the 18G IV stuck in his arm. “Mom?” She knew he wanted the answer to his question. One she knew she couldn’t deliver without consequence. All she could muster was a slight head shake. “How could they let this happen! We are supposed to be better than this.” Gabriel tried to get out of bed, but the wires connected to his chest stopped him. “Sit, sweetie. Please relax.” She was helping him back into bed as best she could. She couldn’t stand to see her baby crying. To see the ramifications of what he lost, who he lost, written all over his face. “I didn’t want this to happen…”

2 fatalities, 2 injuries including Governor Gabriel Davis and Lt. Governor Jack Washington, No word yet on the condition of those who survived. Political activists are calling this deliberate bombing a call to war. This aggression could be in response to Governor Davis’ disapproval of the East Coast Union deal; the bill that is said to increase manufacturing productivity by giving workers the ability to protect their limbs...

Gabriel listened to the noise from the TV in front of him as the news squawked on. She could see the lines in his forehead become more prominent as his eyebrows converged to the bridge of his nose. “Mute.” She said, turning the sound off the television. She was on the correct side now, she could hold his hand through the pain. He was still her baby, no matter how old he was. “Your father took the press call and the UN meeting. Don’t worry about that.” she reassured him. He let his back relax, hitting the pillow with his head, as he did, the nurse walked in to change the bandages. “Just relax, sweetie. Everything will be alright.” she said as the nurse started to unwrap the bandage and medicine packages.

***

Before the nurse changed his morphine bag Gabriel felt a slight prick in his left arm, “What did you jusssgimmmeee…” He couldn’t even finish his sentence, he was out like a light...

 

“You should really invest in some security, you hear what’s going on in the midwest, it’s crazy.” Everette said.  “Eh, I can take care of myself, whatever happens, pretty sure I can handle it.” Gabriel replied. “Sure. Well, I don’t play that game.” She pat the silent bodyguard next to her on the chest. The man smirked at the light hearted gesture. Gabriel was about as big as his colleague’s guard and probably knew as much self defense, so honestly he didn’t  see the need for anyone else. “So we’re waiting for Jack and Theodore, yes?” Everette asked. “Just Jack, Theo said he couldn’t attend, something came up,” Gabriel responded. BEEP.  BEEP. Vroom.Gabriel clicked on the car and opened the door for the guard and his protectee. “Wait! Hold the door!” a male voice huffed. “I told you we’d leave you if you were late.” Gabriel laughed. He rounded the car, expecting to drive, but was stopped by the guard. “Let me sir, it is part of my job.” Gabriel didn’t argue, just handed the man the keys and went back around to ride shotgun. As the car started moving, the radio turned on:

“I’ve seen people. People come outta there without their limbs man! I’ve seen them they go in completely fine. They say the company is to help train engineers to work on the machines but that just ain’t true man. I’ve seen them. I know the government is mutilating people man, they’re probably eating people man. Bunch of fucking cannibals man.”

“Okaaay thank you John from Somerville. Who is our next caller.”  

The guys on the radio prattled on. “Huh, people are crazy. Oh! Speaking of, I neglected to congratulate you on your second term in a timely manner. So, congrats Gabe, you deserve it.”

“Haha for the amount of work I signed up for or the re-election?” Gabriel joked. “All seriousness, thanks Jack. I’m glad you’re my lieutenant.”  “Awe, how sweet. I wish me and my lieutenant were so cordial.” Everette commented. “Don’t be fooled, we actually hate each other.” Gabe giggled. “Yeah, it’s awful, he gets nothing done.” Jack added. “This press conference is going to be a mess, people tend to not like change.” Everette said changing the subject. “Well, you’re good change, our provinces have never had a problem, they shouldn’t…”SKIIIIIIIRT  

The car slid as one of the tires blew out. The brakes were applied, the right side of the car went up in flames, the explosion forceful enough to throw the car off the Harvard Bridge into the water below. SPLOOSH! “Come on Jack, get up!” Everette screamed as the car started to fill up with water. She was immediately pulled to the front by her bodyguard. “Swim!” He commanded as he shoved her out the broken window. “Nnnggg,” Gabriel grunted. “Come on sir.” the guard said holding out his hand. “No, you go I got him.” Gabe nodded to the back seat where Jack sat, still unconscious. Before he could argue the guard was pulled out of the car by a third party. Gabriel was in shock. Rescuers must’ve already been on the scene. “Come on kid wake up.” Gabe slapped Jack’s face. “Come on, come on, come on.” Gabriel kept slapping Jack’s face as he undid the man’s seatbelt. The car was nearly submerged, in another few seconds it would. WOOSH! Gabe saw blood following him as the blast pushed him away from the car wreck. The pain was excruciating, in his last moment awake he could’ve sworn he saw someone next to Jack, holding what was left of his arm as the car went down.

***

The lab had several sterile rooms with at least two people in each, both strapped to an examination table, locked down by the limbs they had left. The extremity wound rotting from medical rejection. People couldn’t move even if they tried. Some screaming “help” others complacent in their situation, clearly they had given up. She walked the lab floor as if this was normal. Only concerning herself with those who had full mobility. “What are you feeding him? He has to be able to keep his muscle mass if we’re going to do this.” She asked her husband. “It’ll do that, don’t worry, it’s something new in the lab we’re testing. Should help stimulate brain activity and muscle growth even in a sedentary state.” Theo stated as he hooked up the feeding tube. “Perfect.” She whispered glancing at an unconscious Gabriel.

... Union Tech Subject #118-2L Name: Gabriel Davis…

“Neural Connectivity Test 1, index finger… middle finger… Dexterity Test1… all the correct synapsis are going off!” The engineer administering the tests exclaimed. “It works! He’s a perfect match!”

“Good, wake him up.” With some clicks on a keyboard Gabriel’s eyes shot open. “Hey, sweetie.” she laid a gentle hand on her son’s face, he said nothing back, only a blank stare on his face. “Can you mimic what I do?” she asked stepping back an arms length. She moved her arm in simple motions. Up, down from the hips out, front back and articulations from the elbow. Next she handed her son an egg, as he picked it up from her hand the egg cracked spilling yolk all over the floor. “As expected.” She said motioning for someone to come in and clean the mess. “I guess you’ll just have to use your other hand to hold delicate things for now.” she said leaving the lab room, Gabriel shortly behind her.

***

It had been weeks since he had been in the hospital. Days since he woke up ‘whole again’ as his mother put it. He had missed so much during the time he was out, doing a press conference was not what he wanted to do right now. But it had to be done, he was back as acting governor and should act as such.  

“Gooooood morning Boston province and all those around it! Joining us  here today is a very special guest. Our own beloved Governor Gabriel Davis. Gabriel waved with his right hand as the camera panned over to him. “Also joining us is our secondary UN representative and former governor Theodore Davis, and Governor of the New York province Everette Wilson. We first want to thank secondary UN ambassador Davis for stepping up to the plate when Governor Davis…” the reporter droned on, about the accident, about the state of the province, about the police report, about the lack of indictment about everything that made Gabriel numb. “I am very proud of my son, he always puts a 100% of himself into whatever he does, I’m sure he will be, no already is, back to work and ready to help his people through this trying time.” Theodore answered one of the reporter’s questions. As it stands Gabriel has undergone two massive surgeries to repair his injuries and bring him back to full mobility. What we will reveal shortly is actually a prime example of what the East Coast Union deal is capable of. And so far the process has been smooth and recovery has been short. Right, son?” Theodore answered another question. Gabriel stared at the camera unblinking. “I’m healthy and back to work. “How do you plan on handling the new tension between us and the DC province, the police have released that this was a clear attack. Those in congress say the reason could be anywhere from your stance on global citizenship to de-unification.”

“That’s a valid opinion, the historical location of DC would have some influence on their representatives views on de-unification…” Gabriel answered the question very diplomatically, trying not to stir the pot any more than it already had been. He gave thorough responses to every question, no deflections, no vagueness. “Good Job!” Gabriel’s father jostled his son’s shoulders as they left the tv set. “The wolves have left, it’s time to go hunting.”

***

Theodore said those word knowing what they’d do to his son. But it had to be done. Silent tears ran down his cheeks as he watched his son become a man he did not know. They were standing in his son’s childhood room, where Gabriel stayed as he recovered. “They did this to us, so it’s only fair that we return the favor, shame you had to be the one to do it.” Theo said as he watched his son’s calculating moves instinctively tearing up the floorboards revealing an enclave filled with various weapons. It was easy to track down the DC province Governor. The region had similar schedules, and Theo was in the position to blatantly ask for a schedule. Meetings are the best excuse. Gabe methodically picked weapons for the job. Nothing big. Just quick and precise. Once suited up and ready to go, Gabriel stood in front of his father. “They want to start a coup, it would’ve worked if I hadn’t had to cancel on that day. Woulda gotten all three of us. Putting that ass kissing prick in office. All they want is for us to conform to what they want. You do right by your constituents.” Theo rubbed his son’s forearm. The one he could feel. “Don’t let those DC fat cats control you.” He pointed to his son’s chest. “Control us.” He looked into his son’s eyes, there was nothing behind them. “You need this as much as Boston does.” Theo said as Gabriel walked passed him without saying a word.

***

“It is the way the world worked, we moved away from full scale war to silent coups and assassinations. That’s how you gain control if diplomacy is off the table. Those in charge think this is a better system, eliminating the need for people to fight battles they don’t approve of. But it also keeps those without fear in power. No one wants to live a life with the increased chance of being hunted. Is that really a bad thing?” Gabriel was listening to a podcast as he road down 95 on his motorcycle.

Was it revenge? Was it retaliation? Was it the right thing? Gabriel convinced himself there was only one way to keep peace. Though it didn’t feel like it was his own thoughts doing the convincing. There was always a constant buzzing coming from the transdermal implant on his head. Buzzing that sounded close to words mixing with his own thoughts if he paid close enough attention. He had a plan of action, it might take some pushing but he was sure he could reach an agreement. EEEEEEEEE the buzzing turned into a sharp ringing. Gabriel winced pulling over his bike to regain concentration. As the ringing grew louder and louder, Gabe’s vision pinholed into blackness.

***

It was a silent drive. The hum of the radio contributing to the ambient noise. “EYAAAAAHHH!!” without warning the driver was taken through the roof and thrown into the road. The car’s automation kicked in immediately stopping forward momentum launching the intruder into the middle of the highway. With his newly found abilities the intruder rolled absorbing the impact then dug his fingers into the concrete stopping him a few feet from the car. He walks up to the now stopped car rifle at the ready.

“No-No-No p-p-please d-don’t hurt me,” the man inside the car quivered. It was too late, the intruder jumped on the hood of the car to get an executioner’s shot. BANG!  A flash of light and a blunt force knocked him off the hood of the car.

The two went down to the ground. The light from the flash bang disoriented the intruder enough to not fully realize what was going on. There was so much noise, from the screeching of car tires to the people screaming as they ran away from the altercation. He couldn’t see or breathe. The mask had to come off. “It’s a shame my partner couldn’t finish the job. At least now I don’t have to split the check.” The intruder was faced by an unknown assailant. “Thank you!” the man still in the car shouted. He only got a middle finger in return. “What the hell is going on?” Gabriel questioned as he got the constricting mask off. The assailant fired shots with his glock 19 as Gabe instinctively put up his left arm, it flailing out into a shield to block the barrage of bullets. The man moved closer to gabe still firing his gun. He was close enough that Gabe was able to grab the gun and crush it with his left hand. He blocked the man’s attempted at getting the glock from his shoulder holster, kicking him to the ground. “Stay down!” Gabe commanded. He turned his focus to the cowering governor in the roofless SUV. A ringing spiked in Gabe’s ear, forcing him to swing around, grabbing the assailant by the neck. The assailant started thrashing around as his toes left the ground. Clawing at Gabriel’s bionic arm, to no avail. “The wolves -gasp- have come home -gasp- it’s time to eat.” With those words Gabriel dropped the assailant. He landed on the concrete breathing heavily, trying to stay alive.

***

The ringing in Gabriel’s ear stopped. He could hear his own thoughts again. There was nothing… no one saying ‘you have to, you must’. He looked down at the man he had nearly killed, then to the man he was going to kill. “What do you mean, ‘shame your partner couldn’t finish the job’ who hired you?” Gabriel squatted down to the man’s level. Gabriel pushed the man, with his right hand, to sit upright against the highway divider. “Hey, Hey. Answer the question.” Gabe slapped the guy a little to try to keep him awake. All the guy could must was a pointed finger toward the mangled SUV. “Up!” Gabriel demanded as he closed the gap between him and the car. “Get up Governor Nelson, you tried to have me killed, you’re lucky I’m still using pleasantries.”

Nelson put his hands up, “I-I d-din’t I swear! Y-your father said he’d talk to you to get you to cooperate. I didn’t think he meant this” Nelson gestured to the disaster on the road in front of him. “Cooperate on what?” Gabriel’s voice was harsh, not intentionally directed to Nelson. “The-the east coast union deal, it would line our pockets, we wouldn’t have to work for the rest of our lives. And you’re proof that it works.” Nelson gestured to Gabriel’s arm. “You’d purposefully disfigure people for a couple of bucks.” Gabriel stood up. “That’s-that’s all I’m worth to them...”

***

There was a knock on the door, apparently Gabriel didn’t have a key. Theodore got up and opened the door. “Did you complete the task?” He asked Gabriel as he stepped aside to answer the door. Gabriel casually walked into the house, closing the door behind him. “Did you complete the task?” Theodore’s tone was much more demanding this time. They were still in the foyer of the house, close enough to the door that it was feet behind Theodore. Gabriel slammed his father to the back of the door with enough force to crack the wood. Theodore coughed expelling a tiny drop of blood as he could feel his ribs crack.  “The wolves -gasp- have come home -gasp- it’s time to eat.” Theodore coughed out. “It’s already been done Dad.” Gabriel said. Theodore winced as his ribs cracked further with the pressure Gabriel put on them. “I had too.” Theodore said. Gabriel let up as soon as his father started speaking. “You were hindering progress. You never could handle the power. I was trying to make things easier for you. Let you control them. See yourself. The program is a success.” Theodore continued. “You call this a success, you must’ve not seen the failures. I saw people die rejecting the prosthetic, people are unable to work because YOU mutilated them. You mutilated me. You did this on purpose… to your own child. Why?” Theodore saw his son holding back tears. “I know what’s best for you.” he said. Gabriel dropped his father to the floor. “You know what’s best for you. You’re fired. I’m shutting the lab down. Take yourself to the hospital.” Gabriel said as he walked out of the house.

 


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