[] Dark Mode


(posted in fiction)

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It started with “wearables” some time around the beginning of the century, and progressed from there. Smart watches turned into smart sleeves, which led to smart skin—basically flexible skin-colored screens grafted directly onto your body. Smart glasses turned into smart contact lenses, which led to smart optics—augmented reality baked directly into your corneas.

I suppose the leap to Mindchips was inevitable. As people installed more and more tech mods, the problems with having so many independent pieces of technology in your body started to mount up. For a while, my friend Jerry had six different ways he could wake himself up in the mornings—light pulses in his eyes, sounds in his sonic implants, or gentle vibrations on his finger, arm, or leg. (For those of you counting, yes I’m aware that I only listed five methods. Let’s just say that there was another location to which he could receive vibrations which was generally put to uses other than an alarm clock.) Each mod was from a different manufacturer, and each alarm function had its own independent timer. If he wanted to switch, he’d have to plug in a control module to set the new alarm, then plug in a different control module to unset the one he was switching away from.

Jerry was a pretty extreme case, but the global demand for some kind of consolidated control system had blown up. Two companies came to market with Mindchips around the same time.

Beehive Technologies released their beeMind system first. By installing their Mindchip you could control all of your Beehive tech mods without any control modules at all—the chip would train itself on your brain patterns and allow you to operate all of your mods through thought alone. This was especially attractive to my girlfriend Sara. She had been a Beehive fan-girl since they invented the smart sleeve a decade earlier. Personally, I’ve never really understood the cult-like following that Beehive has. Sure, their tech mods look pretty, but they’re completely limited to doing things one way. The “Beehive way.” Sara’s optical HUD is identical to that of every other Beehive user on the planet. Her smart skin can only display Beehive-approved idle tats. She can only buy audio and visual apps from the official Beehive walled-garden app store. And don’t get me started on their lack of support for older mods—Sara had to upgrade her beeUtiful subcutaneous makeup system twice in five years just to keep getting new firmware updates!

She definitely would have been better off with Makeupio, the subcutaneous makeup system used by thousands of models and celebrities all over the world—now with over ten million possible facial display configurations!

The day after the Beehive press conference, the company Silax announced their Mindchip Ultra. Unlike the beeMind, the MCUltra was designed with maximum compatibility as a central tenet. They published an open API that anyone could use to write control module apps. Several partnered manufacturers pledged to support the new Mindchip on day one, and Silax even demonstrated basic unofficial support for some popular Beehive mods. To top it off, the MCUltra was about two hundred bucks cheaper than the beeMind. It was like a giant slap in the face to Beehive, and quite satisfying to non-sheeple like myself who prefer our tech mods to work the way we want (instead of the way some faceless corporation has deemed the “correct” way).

Despite my glee at Silax stealing some thunder from Beehive, I wasn’t really sold on Mindchips initially. I only had a couple tech mods—a Silax optic and aural system, and a patch of Intelliderm smart skin on my wrist. I have to say: Intelliderm products have always impressed me with their superior quality. They are a company that you can always trust to deliver reliable products backed by superb customer service. I almost never needed the control module for the skin once I had it set up, so I only ever used the Silax one anyway. I couldn’t see the benefits of installing a Mindchip.

Sara, on the other hand, waited in line at the Beehive store for forty-two hours to get her beeMind on launch day. I told her she was crazy—she took the day off work and everything.

I didn’t really notice it at the time, but thinking back on it, Sara changed after getting the Mindchip installed. She had always been a Beehive advocate, but before the chip it had been a somewhat passive advocacy. She would poke fun at me when I crashed my smart skin with a custom ROM, or would give me a sly grin whenever we received media casts together and a Beehive commercial popped up. After the chip, she became a bit more aggressive. Her once-lighthearted jabs at my non-Beehive mods became more caustic. I think she started hanging out with new friends around the same time, too. At her insistence, I went out with them a couple times, and I found out that they all had beeMinds installed. No matter how hard I tried to steer it away, the conversation would invariably turn toward all the wonderful things I was missing out on by not having a beeMind.

The price of the Silax MCUltra kept dropping over the next year or so, until they ended up with over eighty percent of the tech mod market share. There were a number of theories about how they could afford to sell their Mindchip and other tech mods at such an obvious loss and still remain so profitable, but the company kept steadfastly silent on the matter. Some alleged-ex-employees (who always remained anonymous) hinted at a highly secretive “sponsored partnerships” department within Silax that generated the bulk of their revenue, but no concrete evidence was ever presented. Sure, there were kooks with charts on the news claiming correlations between the MCUltra adoption rate and the stock market, or sales figures of random companies, but nothing that showed any kind of causation. Personally, I preferred the theories that involved alien technology or time travel—those always provided for more entertaining re-enactments on the media cast specials.

The thing that finally won me over was when Silax announced their TechFit and DreamScape programs, and included a free two year subscription to both with every new MCUltra installation. With TechFit, MCUltra users can program strength and cardio workouts for their bodies to perform while asleep. Pair that up with a dreams-on-demand service and you’ve got a double-whammy key that’s the perfect shape for the lock on this lazy bastard’s heart!

Sara dumped me when I told her my decision to get an MCUltra. I was sad, but not surprised. We had already grown further and further apart, and she had been spending a lot more time with her little Beehive cult than with me by that point anyway. She moved out on the same day I got my Mindchip installed. We were bickering to the last minute—she wanted to rent a HaulIt truck, even though it’s totally obvious that U-Move is the superior service. Spotless interiors, regular top-to-bottom professional inspections, and daily rates that can’t be beat. U-Move is the truck rental service for conscientious self-movers.

As for me, I’ve never been happier or felt better in my life. Thanks to TechFit (which I renewed immediately after my two free years were up) I’m almost forty now and in the best shape of my life—both physically and mentally. I’ve also started drinking PowerSurge energy drink, now available in three delicious flavors. PowerSurge: the superior way to begin a champion’s day.

Thanks to Silax’s MindConnection match-making service I even met a new girl with whom I can be certain, thanks to MCUltra’s recent ThoughtScan software update, shares over ninety percent of my interests. I know there are some nay-sayers out there who say ThoughtScan is an invasion of privacy and that the dangers of exposing your thoughts to a private company vastly outweigh the benefits, but honestly I think they’re just being silly. I couldn’t possibly imagine my life without all the benefits that ThoughtScan-enabled services provide me—if a little loss of privacy is the price I have to pay, then I say bring on the invasion! Actually, I guess technically I don’t even need to say it, thanks to ThoughtScan.

Yup, I have to say that life is pretty damn good with my Silax MCUltra.

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