Author : CK

“Synaptic couplers disengaged.” Andrei Milosovic sat up in the recliner, gingerly rubbing the back of his neck. He glanced at the control room window; his colleague there beckoned him up. The Institute had paid for the nanosurgery and training- all so that one of the country’s most promising minds could be one of the privileged few with unrestricted access to the whole of human knowledge- and for what? Fields of fog, and chills down the spine. Milosovic swung his legs over the side of the chair and made his way upstairs.

“Mind telling me what I’m supposed to be seeing?”

“Look. Right there. Those aren’t human alpha patterns.” Albert Gürz pointed to the screen displaying the records of his colleague’s MMI session.

“Not on the screen. I mean during the interface. It’s all gray.”

“Like I said, these aren’t alpha patterns. Maybe you aren’t relaxing?” Milosovic snorted. It had taken him years of psychological exercise to achieve a restful, ‘alpha’ state during these sessions, despite the fact that the previously sacrosanct boundary between his consciousness and the world outside had been so brutally violated by this machine. The thought that his training was failing him, now that it finally came to it, was laughable. He peered at the screen again.

“Was I asleep?” Gürz looked puzzled.

“No. Why?” Milosovic remained silent, instead merely indicating a section of the brain wave graph in response.

Gürz’ eyes narrowed and his hand moved towards his chin, mannerisms characteristic of his most pensive of moods. “They look like delta waves.”

“I know they do. Does the system work both ways?”

“That’s immaterial. Even if we had built it to, there would need to be a consciousness on the other end. It was made to be an interactive database, and that is what it is.” Milosovic remained skeptical. His training allowed him to seamlessly exchange data- information, but also sense data, emotion, unadulterated thought- with the machine’s processor. But what it could not prepare him for, and what Milosovic was having difficulty accepting, was the machine’s response to the most human of these processes. A machine has no use for emotion, but where Milosovic had expected an inability to parse such data, he instead experienced a void, as though the bits and bytes of his humanity were absorbed in their transmission: processed and rejected. Computers were cold and impersonal by design, but this mind-machine interface seemed cold by nature, if machines possessed such a thing. The looming monstrosity of the processor’s protrusion into Milosovic’ thoughts left him with the impression that he was dealing with an analytical, dispassionate individual as opposed to an information-relay engine, and it chilled him to the bone.

“Punch up the brainwave reader.”

“What? Why? You’re disconnected. There’s nothing to read.”

“Just do it.” Gürz tapped a key and his eyes widened in shock. There, though the machine displayed operational standby, were patterns coherent with human delta brainwaves, indicative of deep sleep. An iron fist closed around Milosovic’ gut.

“It’s dreaming…”

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