Author : James McGrath

I began by stealing money.

Hacking mindchips isn’t new; thousands across the planets survive by stealing bank details, logins, passwords, and rerouting what they find. Making it disappear, to pop-up elsewhere without the slightest of trails.

It was challenging at first, but I grew tired of repetition; of safety. I took to the streets, found the wealthy and vulnerable at ATMs and planted ideas. I’d hack them not to take information, but to implant it: the idea of a random act of kindness. Occasionally it’d work and they’d drop hard cash in my hands, but usually they’d dismiss it as mad ponderings of their subconscious. You can only transfer information, what people do with it is their choice.

I was no longer looking through data-logs in a chip; I was using the chip to hack minds. They’d brought back the injection for this very crime.

One night, as I walked to my apartment, I passed a woman in the hallway whose fragile smile moved me. I hacked her right there: Julia Harvey, JH22450802-GB; her name and ID number – the means to hack her remotely. I took nothing more.

Hours later I travelled her head: traversing feelings and exploring memories. To think she was unaware of my presence as I became the person who knew her most intimately of all.

She worked in retail which she hated and lived alone, as men came and went but never stayed long. She kept terriers, Bobby and Dylan, who she’d trained to yap when she played the guitar. She was wonderful and the more I learnt the more her tragic perfection captured me.

Julia was lonely, perhaps as lonely as I.

Her sadness infected me. She was lovely, why should she cry so much? Why should someone so beautiful, kind and funny, be so unlucky with people? Everyone should care about her. Everyone should want her to be happy.

She contemplated suicide, once even arranging a row of pills by a bottle of water. She thought of how her last feeling was that of sadness and how she longed to die happy. Then she cleared the table. Besides, she joked with herself, who would feed the dogs?


I want to talk to Julia. I want that more than anything in the world, but she doesn’t know me. She prizes hard work and determination. She picks tall, good-looking boyfriends. She loathes criminals. Nothing I could put in her head could possibly make her feel for me. I wouldn’t want it to. I’d want it to be real.

But I know how to make her happy.

You know when you go see a movie or an advert plays? How it connects to your mindchip and makes your brain release the slush that heightens your feelings?

I’m going to make it gush. It’ll flood her with bliss, smother her in euphoria. The shock of it will kill her but she’ll only feel elation. Her last thought will be the ecstasy of that moment.

When you manipulate someone’s brain it logs it. When I suggested to those people to give me money, they had no idea a crime had been committed and that’s why I’m alive today. When I give Julia her desire, when the building fills with her screams of pleasure, they’ll find it was me.

I’m going with her.

I’m going to activate it simultaneously so that as it hits her, it hits me too. As she feels the greatest feeling of her life, I share in it. In mere seconds, we’re going to both get what we deserve in a wave of rapture.

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