Author : Samuel Stapleton

I stared at our instructor, unsure if I’d heard him correctly.

“You want me to what?”

He sighed and stepped back.

“Everyone here believes that any human that loses contact with Interface3 would suffer irreversible neurological and physical damage, yes?”

We all nodded.

“Your parents sent you to this camp in order that we might show you otherwise. But I can’t explain any of the context until you believe me instead of the indoctrination you’ve been fed. So here we are, as far from civilization as we can get in the Eastern United States – the Appalachian mountains. And I want you,” He pointed to me again, “To blow out my Interface.”

He held the small silver emitter out to me again. A micro-emp wand. I stood frozen and barely managed to stutter out a garbled message of resistance.

“Uh, no…er, you can’t…I’m not, it’s not…” I stopped stumbling after a moment and went silent.

He shrugged and touched the wand to the back of his ear as we watched in utter disbelief. He grinned and hit the trigger. There was a quiet buzz and then a snap. Our instructor dropped like a sack of bricks. His pale blue eyes stared up at me from the ground, unmoving. His free hand twitched a few times. One of the girls started screaming. I was about to link with my (s)implant and call for emergency services when he coughed.

“Oh shit.” I heard someone say. “He’s up.”

Awkwardly our instructor regained his feet, grimacing violently as he did so.

“Alright. That was a little showy of me – and I paid for it. But, as you can see I’m under no real duress.”

I still didn’t understand.

“Great, but what was the point? 3Com will read that your device went out and soon rescue will be on the way to pick up your body. Except you’re not dead.”

“Now you’re asking good questions. Quickly, we don’t have much time.”

Our little group went from dumbfounded, to curious, to outraged in about two seconds flat. I heard at least five voices all shouting out questions over mine.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Are we a part of a conspiracy?”

“Do our parents really know about this?”

“How are you not dead?”

“Why can’t I contact emergency services?”

“What have you done?”

He remained silent.

“Tell us something.” I demanded.

“Okay.” He said. “Let’s have a little test. I’m going for a run. Whoever can’t keep up, will become the body for ES to find.” Without another word, he took off.

I maxed out my Interface3, (s)implant, and bioclothing. If he truly had destroyed his interface we should have caught up with him immediately. But he outpaced us for the next two minutes. We caught up to him after he stopped, in the middle of a clearing in the woods.

“All these advancements but the greatest secret of them all is the one you’re never told.” He said as we approached.

“They’re using the biotech to keep you healthy, but reliant on them. To keep you mentally advancing, but only in one direction. To cure you of symptoms, but not the ailments. To keep you complacent, but below them. They’re under your skin, in your heads, using your genetic information – and there’s only one thing you can do about it.” Our instructor said.

Nobody replied. Until the quiet boy who caught up last spoke.

“Hand me that emitter.”