Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
 
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Memoirs of the First Chip-Child

by Andrew Nash


Everything changes with age. History is altered, or lost altogether. Human perception shifts. That's how it was before the chips; and soon, that's how it will be again.

Looking back, I cannot believe what I have experienced. I will use my microchip-enhanced memory to travel back in time (or back in thought rather), to the first day of my life, 1/3/0. I think about this day often.

For those of you who remember the old Gregorian calendar, this was December 24th, 2012. I was the very first "Chip-Child." Experimental technology provided me with a nearly flawless memory of every sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste after a microchip was implanted in my brain. Most of you are well aware of what this entails, as you have had the chip implanted yourself.

But remember, I was the first (before the CHIP 6.0 regulations were put in place), and I received it as a newborn. I am writing this memoir to document some of my most treasured and terrifying memories, before my memory is affected by the global system failure, which has been resulting in acute memory loss. I am very limited on time, so I cannot record these experiences thoroughly. In a matter of hours, many of my memories will be lost.

Oddly enough, I was the first person to be chipped and am one of the last to still have a functional chip. I could not understand the significance of the disaster that preceded my birth, which has since been referred to as "the event." The world I came to know had been in this post-traumatic state from the moment of my first breath.

I remember awaking in an infant incubator. Shortly thereafter, a nurse reached down and picked me up. A small group of people surrounded me.

I looked out of the window and saw an overwhelming mass of protesters gathered around concrete barriers. The barriers were put in place to protect the experiment, which was very controversial. Heavily armed guards covered the perimeter. The noise was terrifying.

I had a band on my wrist that read: "Lucas Newchild CC00001."

The implant surgeon, Dr. Glenmore, had an empty and deviant look on his face as he peered down at me. "Welcome to the new world, Luke," he grumbled.

I wish I knew more about this man. He was an extremely evasive figure, driven by greed. He would end up with plenty of the new global currency soon enough, although it would ultimately cost him his life.

I remember looking at the people. They were chanting in near-unison, "No more lies! No more lies!"

I was screaming. I saw a woman in the distance being carried away, crying uncontrollably, with her arms extended. I believe that woman was my mother, and the chip implantation procedure was performed against her will (my mother was one of the few pregnant women in our colony at the time).

I never had much of a connection with the woman who I was told was my mother. She died a mysterious death shortly after I was born. Her death was labeled an accident, but I remember strongly doubting this claim. Unfortunately, most of my memories regarding her death have been erased, and I was too young at the time for my natural brain to form solid memories. But this event has never been entirely deleted from my chip, probably because it was so significant that my brain made many copies of the event. With the strong likelihood that my chip will soon fail, I will probably never know for sure.

Other memories are much clearer, especially those not related to the success of the program or those that had been formed well after my birth. Because of my superhuman memory, I could speak fluent English within a few months of my birth. This allowed me to become actively involved in the community at a very young age. As my natural brain matured, it boosted mental capacity outside of the chip. You see, I was programmed to think and behave a certain way, but have always possessed the ability to "think outside of the chip," and could sense when inaccurate data was uploaded to my brain. The inconsistencies were obvious at times and fortunately the technology didn't permit brain function without the mind being able to override uploaded data. My independent thoughts were often detected when my brain data was downloaded, but once again, the immature technology essentially failed to decrypt most of my personal thoughts. This would change in the years to come, but for the time being, I had free will.

Most of the planet had become uninhabitable. Natural disasters plagued the population. Devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis had destroyed much of the continental landmasses, eradicating a significant portion of humankind. Many of those who survived the initial disasters eventually succumbed to the inhospitable environment. I was born into the Global Station 1 colony. Our territory consisted of the inhabitable remnants of the former North American continent, along with several outlying islands.

Before "the event," our founders had organized the colony, originally designed as an attempt to survive the impending natural disasters. A portion of the population was recruited to join the colony based on their skills or knowledge. This was highly beneficial for the colony, as it meant we would be able to serve and protect ourselves. Of course, in the beginning, the most important characteristic that led to our initial survival of "the event" was our wealth. But money would eventually become useless. The advanced technological developments that we retained were implemented in a lawless society, resulting in the world that we have come to know.

In addition to our colony, two other recognized colonies were established (Global Station 2 and Global Station 3, we called them, although they had more impressive labels for themselves), along with various small pockets of civilization throughout the globe. As humankind moved forward, these civilizations and colonies eventually merged, leading to the formation of our modern Global Station.

The first decade of my life was interesting, to say the least. To some, I was a child star who represented what technology could offer civilization. To others, I was a freak.

These opinions led to both praise and condemnation. Once, as I was making my way into the Juvenile Learning Center (JLC), I was stopped by a middle-aged woman dressed in black. "You are a disgrace to me, my children, and everything," she scowled. "I hope this sick experiment reveals how truly disgusting this evil technology is!"

If the interface tech was still working, you could watch the images reconstructed from my Chip memory on the monitor. Instead, you have to imagine the scene, if you still know how...

At the time, I paid little attention to her. This was the first of many difficult confrontations. Eventually, I was no longer allowed to leave home without heavy protection. I became a miserable shut-in. My childhood was bland, robotic, and controlled. I was monitored every day and had very little interaction with the outside world.

The scientists who were responsible for monitoring me rotated every month, so I could not treat any of them like family. I became unruly and uncooperative; if I was to be treated as a freak or monster, I would behave like one. At times I would destroy equipment, alter my records, and create problems for the experiment.

My hostility became so pervasive that the experiment could no longer continue under these circumstances. The Prime Minister, along with several top scientists, transferred me to a highly secretive detention center.

In my cell, I was interviewed by a scientist with a sharp accent. "Hi Luke, it is a pleasure to meet you," he said.

"Hi," I replied.

"Luke," he said, "we have some tough decisions to make. You can no longer live at home due to your unruly behavior. However, we cannot release you into society or you will be torn apart by the populace. We have a proposal to share with you."

"Okay," I grunted.

He stood up and approached me, speaking less than a foot from my face. "Luke," he said, "The only viable option we have is to transform your identity. You will walk, talk, and act different. You will look different. Your name, identification, and personal records will be retained. We will provide you with a new name. You will undergo intensive surgery and will not physically resemble your current self at all. This is the only solution we have."

At first, I was furious. I yelled as loud as I could, "You are sick and twisted. You've already ruined my life and now you want to do this?"

He turned around and walked out of the room. As I sat in my cell, I later realized that this was the only realistic option I had and was thankful that they were willing to let me change my life.

In my early twenties, the altering of my identity was completed, through a combination of gene therapy and surgery. My hair grew in black, instead of blonde. My eye color was hazel, no longer brown. The pigment of my skin was darker, I was slightly taller, and my nose was thinner. I looked nothing like my old self.

Although I used my new identity in daily life, I refuse to acknowledge it in this memoir. I will always be Luke. The station doctored an intricate story concerning my death. Most of the population believed the official story, although the conspiracy theorists sniffed out some details that were contradictory or in conflict with official records. Fortunately, for my sake, these people were generally disregarded and their opinions were hardly ever respected.

The authorities had me under constant surveillance. If I threatened to reveal my identity in any way, or if my true identity was discovered, my life would end immediately. At first, I could not have any social interaction with others. I lived in a secluded region. Over time, as I became more familiar with my new identity, I was given permission to develop friendships and personal relationships. Once I was able to venture out more, which took me quite a while to become comfortable with, my social interaction increased.

After the Global Network Connection (GNC) was introduced in the year 32, I became heavily involved with this technology and made a decent living through it. The GNC allowed every user to connect to a global network via hardware implanted in the brain. A visible screen appeared in front of their face upon activation, and the user could mentally maneuver throughout the network. Although solar storms did damage the network connectivity in the year 37, the GNC overcame these glitches. I was able to work in a virtual office, without revealing much of my identity to strangers. I have some nice memories, looking back on these years. I was able to go through daily life as a somewhat normal person. Although there was constant surveillance, it didn't interfere with my life. I met my wife through the GNC. To this day, she has no idea that I am the Chip-Child.

In the year 44, the technology that had been used on me became available for public implementation. The years of testing, and my laboratory-ridden life, were being put to use. Money and control were the motives. People were promised a perfect world and a flawless, convenient life.

They fell for it.

The few who rejected the chip could not survive without the Global Station. Those who weren't chipped were outcasts, and due to the geographical layout of our continent and the Global Station, didn't have anywhere else to go.

A few island communities existed for a while, but they were wiped out.

You might wonder how society accepted this once-controversial technology. First, people were indoctrinated and warmed up to the idea of possessing a chip in their brain. A massive public campaign was undertaken to impose this procedure on the entire world. People were told they wouldn't need documents of any kind ever again. They wouldn't forget anything, ever. They would possess superhuman mental ability.

Eventually, with overwhelming public approval, the world changed forever as almost everyone was chipped. I will never forget how difficult it was to refrain from protesting the procedure, from speaking out. I didn't have a choice. One wrong move and I was gone. One of the most troubling experiences of my life was watching my family undergo the procedure.

The Global Station erupted in violence, crime, and chaos. People used their memory with ill intent and the consequences had an unimaginably damaging effect. Some positive change occurred, but the evil that this technology created far outweighed any benefits. You are probably familiar with much of what happened during the first couple of years after implementation. In the year 46, the first CHIP regulations were put in place. It took many years for these regulations to address the different issues properly, leading to the implementation of our current regulations, CHIP 6.0, in the year 65.

So here we are today, 5/2/76. Hackers who discovered a way to work around the system have infiltrated the global database and the system is in the process of becoming completely useless. News reports from different regions of the Global Station show a world gone mad. The government has asked for everyone to remain calm but is helpless and cannot do anything to prevent system failure. People are suffering from acute memory loss; some are even reported to have suffered a complete loss of identity. The rapid onset of this system failure is frightening. Within 24 hours, the entire world is predicted to suffer from significant memory loss after chip failure.

If you are reading this, you must have survived, with your mind somewhat intact. I hope I survive. This may be my last entry. I must go spend time with my family. The most important thing I have to say is that when...

I survived the system failure. I have a terrible headache but am very thankful to be alive and mostly intact. My family seems to be doing well. We are still alive! Looking at my last sentence before the memory loss, I have no idea what I was about to write. At this point, only God knows what I meant to say. I still remember some of my life, but have forgotten most of the details.

The Global Network Connection is down, so I have no idea how the rest of the world is doing. Honestly, this interruption of communications is relaxing. I told my wife I was the Chip-Child. She broke down crying and hasn't said much since. Those monitoring me must have lost their ability to end my life, as the technology was destroyed by the system failure. Tranquility seems to have swept across the land. The sun is welcoming and shining bright. For the first time in my life, I am hopeful that better days lie ahead.

THE END


© 2010 Andrew Nash

Bio: Andrew Nash is a freelance writer. You can see what he's been up to on his YouTube channel at: Andrew Nash's Channel.

E-mail: Andrew Nash

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