Guerrilla Minds

Guerrilla Minds

A Story by GwenLark
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What happens when a brain implant starts to fail?

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Rem packed her large, unsightly grey school satchel with her classroom tablet, three individually-designed stylus’ and her SmartGlasses, just in case.

Her implant was in desperate need of updating but she didn’t have the credits to do it yet, so her SmartGlasses would help her function if she came across any problems.

It wasn’t just Rem - who came from an averagely wealthy family - who was struggling to buy the new 28z update, everyone she knew was in the same boat. Only the mega-rich would be able to access all the new data that came as standard with the soon-to-be released brain implant software upgrade.

Rem reached for her lunch, most likely ham and cheese sandwiches lay in wait inside the brown paper bag.

Her mother floated into the kitchen with a quiet reserve, her jet black hair grazing the small of her back shifted from side to side as she handed Rem the phone she had left in her room.

Rem stared at it for a beat, trying to place what it was before remembering. Her implant was a 25n series, it was quickly rendered obsolete a year ago, but the family couldn’t afford a replacement just yet.

Rem’s intelligence was waining, she hadn’t been able to download the new ‘Logic’ app to her brain implant, citing its incompatibility with such archaic software, such as the kind taking up residency in Rem’s frontal lobe, as the problem.

Her father luckily worked for a company that paid for his brain’s updates and her brother, Mica, was only two and was still too young to be affected by updates to adult and teen-level implants.

Rem’s mother, however, was a mystery. Her implant seemed to always remain updated, even when the family had no credits.

This caused a great amount of tension between Rem and her mother, Eryn. Rem unleashed a hellish attitude towards her whenever she was reminded of Eryn’s haughty intelligence or problem-solving skills.

How could a mere housewife justify updating her own implant when her own daughter is dropping grade after grade in nearly all of her subjects? Rem thought.

She viewed her as selfish and cold.

Rem and Eryn’s relationship became strained after Rem’s 15th birthday, around when her implant began to glitch.

Eryn reminded her that the bi-annual versions of ‘Logic’ were creeping further and further out of affordability and Rem would need to ‘work extra hard’ to compensate for the absence of her age group’s latest intelligence, logic and problem-solving upgrade.

With exam time fast approaching, Rem’s blood pressure was high and her serotonin was low, or so her SmartGlasses were telling her.

She had been working ‘extra hard’, but it wasn’t doing any good. Her brain wasn’t taking in any new information that she needed, it wasn’t even retaining old information well anymore. It wasn’t helping her think of solutions to her questions and worries, and worst of all, her ability to work simple implant tech, like her classroom tablet and her SmartGlasses, was beginning to falter.

If Rem didn’t get an upgrade soon, she would be no better than a vegetable, using up air.

She didn’t know of a time when implants didn’t exist. The current government brought them into public use decades ago. All babies born in the developed world have one attached to their brain stem a few days after they turn four. The brain can do the basics, such as infantile learning and memory retention until that age, after that the implant does all the work. Allowing them to retain information, download skills and abilities, most things nature could never compete with. The age band apps are always ‘recommended downloading’ for every school year. But only around 20 of the 55 16-year-olds in Rem’s class were actually able to keep up-to-date with all the new upgrades.

The majority of teens were now slowing down, mentally and physically. Rem had always prided herself on her intelligence, the 25n had been wonderfully compatible with her brain’s natural functions and she enjoyed a year or two at the top of the class, but now, with an outdated chip in her skull, she was in danger of being kept behind a year. It was mortifying.

Rem snatched the phone out of Eryn’s hand without a word. Eryn moved her lips to say something but dejectedly resigned. Thinking better of it.

Rem headed for the door and reluctantly pulled on an ugly pair of black Automatic Lace-ups. They were ancient. Automatic Lace-ups were for kids that were just getting used to their first implant and couldn’t tie their own laces yet. But Rem needed them, she was forgetting how tie a basic knot, a pang of self hatred rippled through her chest.

Holes were appearing in her memory and fundamental knowledge was beginning to elude her.

She turned to the hallway mirror as the shoes pulled together to fit the shape of her feet. News bulletins filtered down the right-hand side, rotating every few seconds and holograms of Rem’s calendar appeared and reappeared on the left.

Paying no attention to the calendar and even less attention to the headlines, she swung her satchel over her shoulder and purposefully slammed the heavy door behind her on the way out.

She kept thinking about the new update. She had seen the adverts flash up on her SmartGlasses for weeks. Her implant and her tech weren’t even blocking pop-ups anymore, it was beyond a joke.

Rem walked to the local high school a few streets away, dreaming of all the new capabilities and advancements the 28z had in store. She imagined how easy and successful her life would be if she could access all the latest skills and knowledge.

It wasn’t fair.

Her dad, Nico, always had the newest updates. Hos job as a banker required him to be on his psychological A-game at all times. He was so clever.

He was able to update his implant whenever a new upgrade was available, he never went without. She was always in awe of him, she looked up to him so much.

Rem felt awful that he might feel ashamed of her. His daughter, obsolete.

She definitely felt ashamed of herself.

Another pang.

When Rem reached the school gates, she saw hundreds of bodies, in and around the school grounds. Some kids in her class were so behind in their upgrades that their parents had started walking them to and from school because they were getting lost. At least she wasn’t that bad, yet.

The klaxon sounded. A shrill sign that classes were about to begin.

Rem trudged her way through the sea of people, most talking about the new update. She couldn’t bare it.

Then, just as the klaxon stopped there was a huge electrical surge.

Electricity flooded the crowd, forcing everyone to the ground.

Between the screams and the distinct odour of singed hair, Rem pushed herself up from her stomach onto her knees.

Dazed, she looked around groggily. She evaluated her injuries by giving herself a pat down, nothing seemed amiss, other than a throbbing headache.

Rem put all her energy into standing up, which she managed shakily. She tried accessing her first aid app from her implant looking for a headache cure, but the menu didn’t flash up into her vision.

She tried again.

Nothing happened.

She blinked in confusion, her implant was glitching again. She started to panic. What if it would should her whole body down?!

Rem’s eyes darted from side to side, waiting for the worst to happen, but instead she saw other students shouting and cursing about their lack of implant activity.

It was happening to everyone!

No one could access their apps and they didn’t know what to do.

Rem knew she had to get back home. She would be safe there, her dad would know what to do. He always knew what to do. His ‘Logic’ app was top of the line.

The students were really beginning to lose it. Even some of the teachers were flapping and babbling in a blind panic.

Rem was freaking out, she made a break for the gates and ran.

Street after street. Corner after corner. Waiting for a pulse of familiarity.

She didn’t feel one.

She didn’t know where she was.

She didn’t know what was going on.

Rem, feeling hot tears nip at her eyes, began to shout in a last ditch attempt for safety.

“MUM! MUM! MUUUM!”

She kept screaming. She didn’t know what else to do.

Rem could have been shouting for hours, she couldn’t remember how to tell time. That’s when she saw a recognisable woman with the same icy eyes and jet black hair as Rem emerge from a side street.

Eryn was carrying Mica in her arms, his happy cooing in stark contrast to the strained face of his mother.

“Rem!” she ran to her, “What are you doing?!”

“I can’t remember where we live! My implant is broken! Everyone at school’s implant implant was broken!” Rem blubbered.

“It’s OK, sweetheart,” Eryn embraced her oldest with her free arm. “I know what to do.”

Eryn ushered her back to their home through strange, suburban streets that were completely foreign to Rem.

Finally, gently guided behind a door, she was apparently home.

Eryn set Mica down in a playpen in the living room and attended to Rem.

Rem was still sobbing, confused and scared. Eryn persuaded her to take two unmarked pills and chase them with a gulp of water.

Rem was almost immediately unconscious.

Eryn draped her with a blanket on the sofa, climbed the stairs and gingerly opened the door to her husband’s home office.

He was sitting in his chair, his head in his hands, weeping.

“What am I doing here?! What do those say?!” he jaggedly pointed at his desk where sat a few paper business cards bearing his own name.

Eryn simply hugged him and allowed him to cry into her chest. From her pocket, she produced two of the same pills she issued to Rem.

“Here, Nico,” she spoke softly. “Take these. They’ll make it better.”

Without argument, Nico popped the pills in his mouth and swallowed them dry and, just like Rem, he was suddenly slumped, sleeping where he sat.

Eryn made her way to check on Rem, tapping a number into an analogue phone, she looked around, happy that her family were all safe and accounted for, and pressed ‘Dial’.

“Hello?” a cagey voice answered.

“It’s done.” Eryn spoke efficiently. “All implants in this area have been disabled. The electrical waves worked.”

“Good.” The gruff voice was yet to sound eased. “Soon, everyone will look to us as heroes, everyone in the organisation. The heroes that ended the government’s oppression.”

Eryn gave a wry smile. “Yes.” She looked down at her sleeping daughter, tracks of tears still staining her face. “Do you know when the formula for fighting the effects of the implants will come?”

“All I’ve been told is ‘soon’. How many in your family were dependent?”

“Two. My husband was a continuous updater and my daughter has had 12 years of implant dependency. But I started weaning her after I joined the organisation.”

“What versions?”

“My husband had a 28y and my daughter had a 25n.”

“A 25n? That’s quite outdated, that shouldn’t be a problem. Your husband will be trickier, but I’m hopeful. Did either of them know you had an unaltered brain?”

There was a pause.

“No,they believed I was a continuous updater.” Eryn sighed. “It caused a lot of problems between us.” She gently brushed a lock of Rem’s raven-black hair behind her ear.

“They’ll be relying on you now. I’ll be in touch. Good luck.”

The line went dead.

© 2018 GwenLark


Author's Note

GwenLark
Ignore spelling and grammar.
Please let me know what you think.

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Featured Review

This is one of the best syfy pieces I've read here. I'm not a fan of this genre, so it takes something special to keep my attention thru a longer story like this. You are very creative in coming up with this storyline, plus dozens of details to support this silly imaginary wing-ding of a fantasy. Good job of spieling technical details just enuf, but not too much, not making our eyes glaze over, by moving on to a more "human" interest aspect, mixing up technical & humanistic concerns, well-balanced thru-out. I am in awe of your imagination (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

2 Years Ago

This is so kind of you! Thank you so much!



Reviews

This is one of the best syfy pieces I've read here. I'm not a fan of this genre, so it takes something special to keep my attention thru a longer story like this. You are very creative in coming up with this storyline, plus dozens of details to support this silly imaginary wing-ding of a fantasy. Good job of spieling technical details just enuf, but not too much, not making our eyes glaze over, by moving on to a more "human" interest aspect, mixing up technical & humanistic concerns, well-balanced thru-out. I am in awe of your imagination (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

2 Years Ago

This is so kind of you! Thank you so much!
A very interesting story. Great scifi. It reads well and held my interest. And I like the aspect of overdependence on tech.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

3 Years Ago

Thanks so much for reading!
You are a wonderful story teller Gwen. The story had the feel of real life and true situation. Thank you for sharing the excellent story.
Coyote

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

3 Years Ago

That means so much. Thank you!
Coyote Poetry

3 Years Ago

You are Gwen.
this is a good story,believable,real life stuff

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

GwenLark

3 Years Ago

Thank you very much
 wordman

3 Years Ago

my pleasure

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320 Views
4 Reviews
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Added on June 3, 2018
Last Updated on June 3, 2018
Tags: guerrilla minds, brain, implant, brain implant, chip, learning, apps, logic

Author

GwenLark
GwenLark

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom



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Just exploring my boundaries. I love writing and I love reading other's creations. more..

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