It’s the future, now. Robots have been pumping out goods for a long time now, drowning the Earth in a sea of free opiates and so I left for a haven of hard-working individuals on the Moon. After spending nearly a decade in lunar ecstasy, I made my first return trip to Earth through a private shuttle company. A divine glitch in my craft’s autopilot sent me careening through the buoy of a Goliath digital space billboard, sending my ship hurling off course and away from the Earth with only a high-pitched ring coming from the onboard speaker due to my radio antennae being broken off.
In order to drown out the terrible noise, I had to talk over it. Primordial babble at first, but over time words emerged. Eventually, I was speaking a densely packed language, endlessly interplaying thoughts to fight against the awful ring. My wordplay went on for a long time, until I ran out. Every bit of information I had was tied to every other one. The speaker still rang and I had nothing to say.
I sat fashioning a system to help me eat (for my bones had started to weaken in the absence of gravity) and I found myself speaking to the objects in my ship. I spent a long time in lonely space going through the minds of these characters as if they were alone on the ship like I had been. What linguistic melody would they have made and what harmony would they find in my experiences? I began putting more objects in the mind of others. What would the food tube think of what the window thought and why would it think that?
More objects familiarized with each other and focus on the individual systems began to fade away. I began to scan the codices of word each object had for experiences it would consider most important – like a virtual spider crawling over web servers ranking pages for a search engine. As my muscles weakened and I went mute, this became a mental process, as every atom in the ship became aware of what every other atom would think, and the perpetual ring of the onboard speaker bothered me no more.
There was the brightest light, then a sound like a jet taking off and a volcanic splash. For all I knew I was dead. I was greeted by a doctor and a soldier as I woke up in a sterile hospital room. They explained to me that as my situation became apparent to the public, those on the terrestrial and celestial bodies began to tune in to the shuttle’s outgoing radio frequency.
At first the fanatical, existential rants of a man lost in space entertained the public like a Christian being eaten by lions but after going through my grievance process, many were still enamored. Through the expansive diatribe in the start of my odyssey, others were able to trace my every last thought as they became more schizophrenic. By breaking myself down into primal bits and experiences, others were able to rebuild me in their minds. A fully formed person coexisting in the minds of so many people created a form of social consciousness. Over time, the thoughts that resonated most with the people were culled and formed into a gospel. I was read a book, not of my creation but of my words.
I had been a solitary ship of fools and the world had traced my course down to the every change in the wind and every drop of water. From my beliefs of personal re-perspectiving, a new digital world devoid of individual experience was modeled and individuals shed their Earthly skin to be rebuilt in the virtual word. For what good is a time-constrained individual's experience when a computer-person is capable of seeing everything at once? Even as I talk about listening to someone read my book that I didn’t write, this new world looms over me.
Not for much longer, however. After I finish dictating this letter, the officers in charge of receiving me and I will be joining the scientists who calculated where I landed and the rest of mankind not on, but inline. Inline, where downloaded individuals rush through the perspectives of others. In doing so, they create a new mental offspring for the rest of mankind to investigate until some final pattern is realized.
Apparently only the people of distant and untouched tribes are left on the planet non-downloaded. Maybe someday they’ll migrate and wonder what happened to the people who populated this now empty empire of homes and skyscrapers.
© Copyright 2016 Liam Cooper. All rights reserved.
Book / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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