By David Gurman
GT-40 roused himself from the cerebral rejuvenation capsule, flexing his telemuscle as he did so. The mindchatter was strong today; the satellites above were gearing up for the Big Connection. He plugged the nutrient conduit into the receptacle on his neck, making sure to fill it up as full as he could; he wanted to have plenty of energy for today. For this day was a monumental one in human history… in fact, it could mean the end of humanity and the beginning of something greater.
He exited his dwelling just as his neighbor, CLS-63, exited hers. A good morning to you! he greeted her via telemessage. She looked at him, smiled wanly, and replied with nothing.
What’s the matter? he telemessaged. Not excited for the Big Connection?
Well… yeah, but also kind of nervous.
Nervous? What for?
Well, once we’re tapped into everyone’s mindchatter, I don’t know what’ll happen. I feel like it’ll hurt, or something.
Nah, it won’t hurt. The MindWork promised it won’t. They wouldn’t go through with this if they weren’t absolutely sure.
They don’t know that. They can’t predict everything. They didn’t see the terrorist attacks on the relay satellites last year. They-
GT-40 interrupted. Keep it down! Do you want the monitors to hear you? You know damn well what happens to those who speak out against the MindWork. Besides, you know how much they’ve increased surveillance since then. There’s no chance at all that anything beyond their control is going to happen.
She sighed. Yes, I know. I’m sure everything will be fine. I know it will. I just can’t help being nervous.
GT-40 sent her a Good Vibes™ transmission. He felt her relax as soon as she received it. No need to worry, he telemessaged reassuringly. They know what they’re doing. Now let’s go. R-620 is set to make his speech soon. They’ll be broadcasting it on the public Teleceptor in the park.
They made their way to the TransMatter device on the corner of the street. Stepping inside, GT-40 sent a telemessage to the internal receptor of his intended destination. A second later, he stepped out of another TransMatter device, into the park. CLS-63 was soon to follow. A crowd of people had already gathered in front of the colossal Teleceptor. They made their way to the front for a better view.
It wasn’t long before the screen blipped on, showing the MindWork logo. A mindcheer rose from the crowd, which grew even louder and more intense when the logo faded to reveal the CEO of the MindWork, R-620.
He stood there for a moment, smiling, letting the applause continue. Then he raised his hand and the commotion ceased.
Thank you all for coming here today, he telemessaged to the crowd. Today is a very special day for the MindWork. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the mindchatter has been steadily on the increase. We’re proud to announce that as of this moment, 99.3% of all of humanity has now been successfully linked to the MindWork.
A huge cheer rang out again. R-620 let it continue for a bit before raising his hand once more.
This has been a long time coming. As you know, the MindWork had humble beginnings some 450 years ago, in the year 2477. My ancestors founded the company that would later become the MindWork Global Telebroadcasting Union. Back then, of course, the technology was nowhere near where it was today. It was ludicrously expensive, ridiculously complicated, and boasted a very limited range, as well as a meager selection of useful applications. But that company grew, and evolved, and brought us to where we are today, a post-human society, capable of doing virtually anything, all with the power of our minds. Dare I say it, we are close to touching the power of God!
He paused for a second, allowing that statement to sink in, before continuing on. The MindWork grew and grew. We transcended the need for a government long ago. When enough people are connected, as we are now, there is no need for a higher power to govern us, because now we ARE that higher power. We are all on the same wavelength, so to speak. But it was not always this way.
He paused again before continuing. In the past, there were many dissenters… those who illegally removed the MindWork transmitters from their bodies, and set out to sow destruction and panic amongst the good citizens of the world. After one of our satellites was attacked last year, we concentrated our efforts to eliminate this new threat. With the help of the world’s people, we tracked them all down, and imbued them with our newest innovation, which all of you carry now within your bloodstream: the special nanite particles that permit the transmission of the MindWork. And unlike our old transmitters, these cannot be removed.
He smiled. But why would you ever want to remove them? Think about it. We as humanity have accomplished so much since the creation of the MindWork. The end of all conflict, all strife, all sadness, all loneliness… being tapped into the MindWork creates limitless possibilities. You can send anything to anyone via the MindWork… thoughts, memories, emotions… why, we’ve even harnessed the ability to transmit ourselves through space. All thanks to the MindWork. And best of all, the MindWork will never fail, because it is powered by each and every one of you. Your literal lifeblood is what keeps it going, and as long as humanity exists, the MindWork will too.
We have come so far, he continued. Our vocal cords withered away centuries ago… we had no use for them, as mindchatter made speaking redundant. We eradicated mental illness, as thoughts and emotions can now be programmed directly via the MindWork. All we ask in return is that we let us monitor you, to ensure your safety and the safety of the MindWork as a whole. Is that not a reasonable request for all the benefits we provide?
But enough talk! This isn’t why you’ve come here today. You’ve come here to witness firsthand the birth of a new era. For when I push this button, he proclaimed, gesturing to a large red button on a console behind him, the relay satellites increase their power output, enabling every single person on earth to be simultaneously connected. And when that happens, we will truly have transcended humanity. We will have reached a new level of consciousness.
He made his way over to the console. Rejoice, good people of the world! And take your last breath as the simple humans you are. Because when I push this button, you will be born anew. You will be something much, much more than human. And with that, he pushed the button.
Nothing happened for a moment. Then, on the screen, R-620 noticeably grimaced. A large vein pulsed in his temple. Ahhhhh… he groaned. People in the crowd glanced at each other. GT-40 managed to catch snippets of the mindchatter flying about. It sounded nervous and uneasy.
R-620 clasped his head in his hands. Ahhhhhh! he cried with his mind. His mouth was wide open in a silent scream, and he would doubtlessly have been screaming for real if he still had the use of his vocal cords. But instead of sound, what came rushing out of his mouth (and nose and ears) was blood. His eyes bulged out of their sockets, and then burst. He continued to scream soundlessly within everyone’s mind for another five seconds before keeling over, out of the view of the Teleceptor’s pickup apparatus.
The crowd’s mindchatter exploded in a fury of panic. People began to run about, crashing into each other, trampling each other underfoot. GT-40 turned and began to flee as well, but suddenly stopped. Something was building inside his mind. He could feel it coming in from somewhere, like a colossal pipe with a torrent of water rushing out of it. It was the mindchatter of every single person in the world. Now that the button had been pushed, it was all coming through. Unmeasurable amounts of data and information were being broadcast directly into his brain.
When it hit, it felt like a star had exploded inside his brain. The pain was incredible. Every single thought, emotion, and conceivable form of stimulus was happening inside his head all at once. Blood gushed from his orifices. He saw CLS-63 collapse, her head nothing more than a gory mess. Before his eyes blew out, he saw that every single person in the park was experiencing the same fate. No one could handle the pure, concentrated, complete power of the MindWork. Then his eyeballs did blow out, and he saw no more.
In his last few moments of darkness, before the life slipped out of him, the sound and sensation in his head grew and grew. And just before his brain exploded in his skull, the feeling inside his head became something else. Something more powerful than he could ever comprehend. Something that he, and humanity as a whole, was too weak and primitive to hear. Something forbidden for the minds of mortal men.
In the final second of his life, he realized he was hearing the sound of God.