Monday, 8 September 2014

Story September 8 - GiGo - A cautionary tale of Education... #amwriting

The warning light comes up on the screen, warning us that GiGo has logged in again...
“Her again?” Jackson looks over at me, “Doesn’t she learn?”
“Not looking like it,” I sigh, “Let’s wait a second and see what she does.”

A half minute passes and we watch her log on to the Daily news channel.
“Here we go...” Jackson highlights her ID and his finger hovers over the “Disconnect” Button.
“Don’t you think you should all be doing something worthwhile?” The message comes up with her name attached, “There’s a thousand things that we could be doing, right now, that would be meaningful.”
Jacksons reflexes are good, less than a hundredth of a second, but by then ten thousand people on the screamers channel have already put a response down and typed it, the post get deleted, but it’s already got out there.
“Damn freedom of speech,” Jackson grins, “If we were in Russia, we could have just sent someone around to take care of her by now...”
“Why we’ve still got a job,” I smile, “Let me try the next one...”
“Alright, but remember she’s unpredictable...”
“I’m on it...”

It’s another two minutes before the message comes in.
“You need to look outside the window, at the world that’s out there...”
I hit delete, only four thousand people saw it this time, but four thousand people are now looking out of their window...

Four Thousand too many...

Jackson grins and hovers over the delete button, the icon shows that GiGo is typing, typing again, more typing... Jackson raises his hands in dismay at the ongoing icon... And that’s when she sends it...

“They can see all of us here...”

Jackson brings his hand down and deletes, very slow, twenty thousand saw that...

“They know that none of us are asking the right questions...”

Jackson taps again, the speed of the second response caught him off guard, fifty thousand saw that...

“They know that as long as we stay looking at these screens...”

I stab my finger down at the same time as Jackson, the double delete sets off the warning on the channel that we’re there and within a tenth of a second, the channel is empty.
“Shit...” I look down, “Sorry man, jumped the gun, just thought she was going to send another one.”
“So did I.” He shrugs, “No harm done, we just watch for the next channel spike...”
I reach over to disconnect the channel completely and see that she’s still logged in.
“Hello...” The message reads.
“Start the track...” I murmur to Jackson, “Looks like we got a live one today.”
“Hello.” I type back.
“It got quiet didn’t it?”
“It always does,” I pause for a second and then type, “Why are you doing this?”
“I could ask the same question of you.”
“We’re just doing a job.”
“No, if it was just a job, you’d have some opinion on it, so why?”
“I asked first.”
“I have kids, two of them, nearly old enough for their first implant.”
“Exciting times...”
“They’re not getting the implant,” There’s a pause again, “I’m going to make sure that they don’t get involved in the world that you built.”
“What’s wrong with the world we built?”
“You asked the question, and you are the answer.”
“Yeah, you, here you are trying to stop me talking sense to the world, when if you let me be, you’d soon find that I’d be just another voice in the masses.”
“But maybe the words would stick.”
“Would that be so bad?”
“Do you have kids?”
“Are you a kid?”
“I’m 19, retire next month.”
“I’m 50, never retiring, can you do voice comms on your rig or don’t they let you do that?”
“Hold on...”

I look over at Jackson and he nods, preparing the conversion signal to throw down the line. I flip the channel to speaker and bring my microphone closer.
“Alright, you’re on the air.”
“You sound young.” The voice is female, a low rasping to her voice suggests that she’s spent some time with illegal substances as well as breaking internet laws. “How long have you been doing this?”
“Three years,” I say, “Came up straight from school.”
“You were the last year then.”
“Yeah, they went to direct link the year after me.”
“Ever have any thoughts on that?”
“Thoughts about what?”
“That you got to learn the things that you wanted to learn, rather than having it downloaded straight into your head to save time?”
“No,” I shrug, “I could have done with the extra time, downloads are much easier.”
“Easier to be sure, but you won’t be really learning anything except what the downloader wanted you to, will you?”
“Isn’t that the point?”
“What if they’re only giving you what you need to be a productive member of their society.”
“Better productive than unproductive,” I say, “And speaking of unproductive, what do you do for a job, and why do you do this?”
“I still do the garbage every day,” The voice sounds bitter, “That’s what you get if you weren’t born into the high life, Garbage, papers, or groceries.”
“I’m quite looking forwards to my paper round,” I smile, “got to be better than sitting down for fourteen hours a day looking for malcontents...”
“You have no idea what a malcontent is, it’s just a word that they put on your hit list to look for.”
“Suppose you’re going to educate me?”
“In a way, tell me, is your partner there now?”
“He is.”
“And have you managed to trace my location?”

Jackson looks up at me and his eyes go wide. “She’s...”
There’s a flash of electricity and he slumps to the ground.  I turn to see an old woman standing in the doorway pointing a taser at me.
“Smarter than you?” She asks, her voice in my ear and in front of me at the same time.
“Sneakier would be my thought,” I look at her and smile, “So what happens now?”
“Well, your strike team will be landing any second now,” She nods, “Then they take me away and turn me into a soccer mom looking after kids like a good girl should...”
“Was it worth it?”
“You miss my intention,” She nods and slots a data chip into the top console, “I’m not here to save myself, I’m here to pass on the information that I have to the next generation.”
“And you think you can do it from here?”
“I think you’re going to do it for me.” She nods
“And why would...”

She twists the switch and I see Jackson go rigid a second before the surge sends me into convulsions.  I come around to see her still stood there, my brain alive with the infodump she’s put in my head, thousands of images, millions maybe.  A world outside, a world where people could choose to be what they wanted, not what others want them to be.

Her World...

I look up and see her nod.
“You never knew what you missed,” She looks at me, “Because they never told you, just like they’re never going to tell all those children out there getting their livelihoods pumped into them at the speed of light.”
I hear the door at the front of the station smash open and the running sound of booted feet.  She looks up at me and there’s a glimmer of fear in her eyes. 
“Remember,” she says as the boots get louder, “Garbage In, Garbage Out, If you don’t know anything but Garbage, you can never talk anything but.  You have the information now, get it to all those who don’t have it, continue what I started here, please...?”
The door behind her smashes open and ten men in Watch uniforms grab her.  Their leader, a tall sergeant with a penal obedience implant on the side of his head, looks at me and I nod with the state approved thumbs up signal, indicating that all is well.  He looks at Jackson and starts towards him.
“Authorised twenty minute power nap,” I look up at the sergeant, “Leave him.”
The sergeant nods and snaps to attention with a crisp salute, then motions for his men to go. I watch them leave and Jackson stirs on his desk, looking up at me with the wide eyes of someone who just saw the world for the first time.

“What did she do to us?”
“She was willing to have her eyes closed so that we could open ours,” I nod, engaging the station lockdown and pulling up the all channels tab on the screen.  I change my handle to GiGo and start uploading the file to the mainframe.

“Let’s go open everyone elses...”