Read Stand Against Infinity Online

Authors: Aaron K. Redshaw

Tags: #cyber, #singularity, #dystiopia

Stand Against Infinity

BOOK: Stand Against Infinity
8.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

Stand
Against Infinity

(Space
to Stand)

Prequel to The Last Place to Stand

 

Aaron
K. Redshaw

 

 

 

Stand Against Infinity

Copyright © 2015 by Aaron K. Redshaw

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved

This is a work of fiction. All the
characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are
either products of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously.

 

 

Dedication: For
those not content to leave well enough alone

 

 

 

Chapter 1

The technological wonder before H662 had
never grown old. The building, itself a monument to what the best
minds could create, stood at 65 floors of shiny, black, synthetic
concrete, and every one of them working for the highest goal of
mankind: to improve himself through technology.

“Good morning, H662,” said his foreman, his
balding head shining with just a skiff of white hair on both sides.
“How long have you been in?”

“Going on three hours, sir.” H662 ran his
fingers through his short, cropped, black hair. “I just barely beat
A1103 this time.”

“And the sun is not yet up. Excellent work,
excellent. You will certainly go places with that kind of work
ethic. Where is my son anyway?”

“At his welding station,” H662 said. His
foreman moved on to check on A1103. H662 focused again on putting
the thermal converter into place and sealing up the compartment.
Next, before running the final test, he turned to a screen and
checked his embedded chip to see if the numbers were in line with
the current standards. The chip sat just behind his right ear, and
he accessed its information hundreds of times per day. Much of it
just for his job.

After scanning the screen, he flipped the
switch and the testing began. He checked to make sure the pod did
not shake unduly as it was put through a simulated speed test.
After two minutes, he was done.

“Thirty-five,” he said to himself.
“Thirty-five today, and the sun is just clearing the horizon.”

He heard the sound of the workroom door. From
the narrow shoulders and his way of hunching over when he walked,
he could tell it was G1193, the new guy. He came in the back door
again, hoping the foreman would not see him. Didn’t he know there
was a camera every few feet in here? How did he expect to keep his
job if he kept this up?

H662 wondered at such people in an age where
technology was always making advances. Take these transport pods,
for instance. They were a work of art, driving at a speed up to 120
miles per hour and they never made a mistake. They never had an
accident either, something he had heard used to be a common
occurrence in the past.

Then there was the chip. It held an
encyclopedic range of information, always accessible, and able to
be modified by each person’s employer for job specific
requirements. Why wouldn’t someone want to help improve such
technology? By doing so he was improving mankind. His foreman often
quoted the company work ethic: “Don’t be part of the problem, be
part of the solution,” and H662 lived by that rule.

 

Chapter 2

He was finally going to do it. He had told
himself a hundred times that he would, but now it was really
happening. He was picking up his life and with it a new name:
Chavez. He had heard the name mentioned in some historical chip
index once and he liked the sound of it and so he picked it up,
like picking up a fallen apple.

There was only one problem. They would be
looking for him. The moment he didn’t show up to work that morning,
they would send out a team of guards to pick him up. He never
learned what they did with no shows at his job, but he suspected it
couldn’t be good. This society did not value a person until they
produced something. It was not that Chavez did not want to work. He
just didn’t want to work for
them
. It was as if they took
you in and made you one more cog in the machinery. He didn’t want
to be a cog anymore. He wanted to be alive. He wanted to make
decisions on his own. To do a thing because he had decided to do it
rather than because it had been decided for him.

Thank goodness he had not received a wife
yet. That would have been in only a few months since his 21st
birthday was just around the corner, and he would not want to carry
someone else into whatever trouble he might bring on himself. And
there would be trouble. How could there not be? He was about to
rebel against everything his world believed had worth. He would
therefore be thought worthless.

But Chavez had reasoned that if his worth was
only in what he could do, then as a baby he was worthless, and as
an old man he would die worthless, and he refused to believe that.
There had to be some other standard by which men might be
measured.

Chavez put on his pack, and looked around his
apartment, small, but neatly kept. He would miss it very little.
Since all property was owned by the government he did not feel much
attachment to it. Since everything in it was bought by the work he
now disdained, he felt little attachment for that as well. In his
pack were some bricks of processed carbohydrates, vitamins, and
water. Just what he needed to get on the road.

There was one problem with his plan, however.
He didn’t know where he was going.

 

Chapter 3

T-5529 had been playing in her room all
evening. After coming home from her job, her mother was working
again. This meant that she had to be quiet and do her learning
games. But those games were no fun. She liked make-believe games.
Games with her imaginary friend T82. She knew that was not a proper
name. Proper names had more numbers in them, but what could she do?
She was only four.

Her favorite game with T82 right now was “be
somewhere else.” She did not like it in her room. Not when she had
to stay there at night while her mom still worked. Didn’t her mom
just pick her up after her work? She sure was a busy woman. Always
making calls, always answering questions for other people, but not
for her.

She began with thinking up a place. She would
be in a garden. But not like where food is grown now inside a
building. This would be an outside garden, and it would get its
water from rain. This garden was green, and had all kinds of
growing things in it. And flowers. She had seen flowers once
growing through some cracks in the pavement, and she liked the way
they looked.

She and T82 would play in the garden. Some of
the green plants were so big that she could hide behind them, and
so could her friend. They would play hide and find. She would hide
and her friend would try to find her. First she crept up behind a
large bush that held leaves and flowers. She would hide quietly
behind it. A perfect place to hide. Here, no one could find her.
Not even her mother.

“T-5529?” She was startled by her mother’s
voice. “What are you doing?” She opened the door and looked in.

Should she tell her? “Playing hide and find,”
she said truthfully.

Her mom’s eyes narrowed, and a cross look
formed on her fair face. “Is that a make-believe game? Because that
sounds like a make-believe game.”

“Y-yes.”

“What have I told you about make-believe
games?”

“They don’t b-benef…“ she began.

“They don’t benefit anyone,” said her mother,
out of patience with her foolishness. “You should be either
improving your math score on your wallscreen, or listening to the
technology news feeds. Those will be usable skills when you get
older.”

“O-okay, mom,” she felt embarrassed now. But
then something stood up in her and she said what she felt. “But
those are not any fun.”

Now her mom’s eyes narrowed even more and her
face turned red right up to her blonde hair. “Fun? Fun? No one will
ever get anywhere by having fun. Our world will not be made a
better place because you had fun. Do you know that?”

She really did feel bad now. She didn’t like
feeling her mom’s stare when she was mad at her. “I will work on my
math scores.”

“Good,” said her mom. “That is something that
will matter when you get older.”

“Y-yes, mom.”

Her mom left and T-5529 turned to the
wallscreen and switched it on. All the while, her imaginary friend
stayed hidden behind a clump of flowers.

 

Chapter 4

It had been the end of a long and successful
day for H662. He loved his job, not for the work itself, but for
the feeling that he was helping society move forward into a
technological age of improvement. In fact, H662 had made several
improvements to the pods he made every day. These included a better
thermal conversion cycle for the drive system, new improved and
remounted intake, and a faster speed overall. These, and the long
hours of dedication put in by H662 made him one of the company’s
best.

His only competition was A1103, who always
arrived at nearly the same time in the morning, and put in as many
hours. The foreman’s son had brought his own innovation to the
company, with his tireless work. Sometimes when his father was
around him, H662 would sneak a look and saw great pride on his
foreman’s face.

That night H662 took one of the pods home
from work, realizing he was tired. It was last year’s model and a
bit cramped for his taste. When it reached his home, he stepped out
of the pod, and it sped off to pick someone else up who had called
for it. Here, before him, was his apartment.

He took the elevator until he reached his
floor and walked down the narrow hallway into his apartment. His
wife, U1472, stood just inside the door.

“Good evening,” she said.

“Good evening,” he said. “How was work?”

“Good, but I did have to talk to our daughter
about playing make-believe again. Could you talk to her?”

“I will do my best. Have you ordered dinner
yet?”

“I was just about to,” she moved toward the
console on the wall next to the table. “Would beef flavored carbo
packs be good for you tonight? I will get the associated vitamins
sent up as well.”

“Sure, sure. Sounds good.” He headed off to
see about his daughter.

 

Chapter 5

U2258 was an important man in an important
job. For years now, chips had been implanted behind the right ear
of citizens once they reached adolescence. Within the city, the
number of people who had the chip interface was nearly 100%. And
U2258 made sure the chip and the brain could communicate with each
other. This took a good deal of knowledge of neurology, signal
processing, and biofeedback engineering, so it would be accurate to
say that U2258 was smart. However, he did not act like it. In fact,
his slow methodical speech often gave strangers the impression that
he was slow on the uptake.

“U2258?” said his boss, a dark haired man
with a severe face. “I’d like you in on this new project.”

A pause as U2258 chose his words. “A new
project? Something besides active brain interfaces?”

“No, no. The same good work you’ve always
done. The technology is just different.”

“Hmm,” said U2258. “When do I get to hear
more?”

“We’ll have a meeting later this afternoon. I
know you’re always on time, but be sure you are this time.”

“Yes,” said U2258.

***

Later that afternoon, U2258 opened the door
to the conference room. Three others were in the room, including
his boss, so U2258 took a seat across from them.

“Is this the man?” asked a woman shaped like
a concrete block.

“He is,” said his boss.

“It is nice to finally meet you, U2258,” she
said. “We have heard about all the good work you are doing
here.”

“Thank you,” he said. She did not offer her
name, making U2258 just a little suspicious.

His boss began, “I have had you brought in on
this project because of all the work you have done on brain
interface technology in the past. You are the best we have.”

“Thank you,” said U2258, still confused about
his role, but interested to see this new project.

Another man, with a short, well-trimmed beard
and a high voice jumped in. “We have designed a new chip with new
capabilities that we believe will change the world.”

U2258 paused, assimilating all this. “In what
way?”

“In every way,” said the man.

Another pause, “I mean, what will it do?”

His boss took this up, “It will allow for
airwave communication. We call them feeds. A person wearing this
chip will have the ability to receive live communication from other
sources.”

Pause. “How will that affect the wearer?”
asked U2258.

“Not sure yet,” said the woman. “It has not
yet been tested. But that’s why we want you to set up the
interface. It will be the same work you have been doing, but more
advanced.”

BOOK: Stand Against Infinity
8.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Portable Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche
OvercomingtheNeed by Zenobia Renquist
Devil in the Delta by Rich Newman
Invasion from Uranus by Nick Pollotta
Christmas with her Boss by Marion Lennox
Flesh and Blood by Thomas H. Cook
Vagabond by Brewer, J.D.
Pickers 4: The Pick by Garth Owen
Nobody Bats a Thousand by Schmale, Steve