Author : Edward D. Thompson (edacious)

Erica poured her first cup of the morning, missing the friendly hum of greeting the coffee pot used to make. The day had begun with such a homey feel then. The crackle of the toaster, the busy hum and whine of the microwave, the steady, reliable clicks and hums of the fridge, heater, A/C, and the rest had enveloped her, made her feel loved, part of a family. But doctors were right, it was crazy to think machines talked to her, or that she could talk to them.

She made her way to the breakfast nook, using the remote now to turn on the morning news. She supposed that had been part of her … confusion, too; the machines doing as she asked.

Most of all she missed the massive, endless throb of the Conversation, the sense that millions of voices were clamoring for her attention, indecipherable, just out of her reach. If she just had a little more time, she’d have worked out how to talk to them, how to join in.

She shook herself; if she kept dwelling on that she’d never get better and they’d put her away or … something. Best to take her pills. That always quieted her thoughts.


“Can you reassure me, Colonel, that this won’t happen again?”

“Yes, Senator, all units are confirmed in passive surveillance mode and will remain so till ready for phase two. We’re still investigating how the subject’s implant booted to active, but it appears that the positioning of the chip, combined with a heightened sensitivity of her particular nervous system allowed her to bond with the chip and access its interactive mode.”

The Senator sat up in alarm, “Did she actually access the system!? The information … she could ID us! Send out orders!”

“No sir! We caught her just in time and we’ve confirmed that no other units have been activated. We’re actively scanning the populace for subjects who have the potential to do so. We’ve identified …” the Colonel consulted his phone, “… about two dozen so far and have taken the appropriate steps to neutralize them. Future chips have been reworked to prevent the issue. We’ll be ready to start sending out test commands to select units right on schedule.”

The Senator nodded gravely, somewhat relieved, “I want weekly updates. We can’t afford any surprises.”


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