Apoplexy, A Science Fiction Story
September 17, 2009
Apoplexy, by Adrian Perez
It is on the hands of giants the blood of followers falls deeply to the earth. Alex wrestled with that phrase his father told him when he was first going to the academy. It did not make any sense to him then, but for different reasons. One of them being the communal repartee that he had entered into with the Powerists.
He didn’t know what to expect when he first got to the campus. He flitted through the teleporter and arrived in a garden city that he had never before seen. In his dome in Northern Ohio, there was just the orange tint of sunlight. This place looked positively illuminated. And in a way, that his mind had not been able to imagine, if only for the poor sustenance it had received earlier.
The Powerists invited Alex to their dome out of the blue. He assumed that they were watching people’s behavior on the net. Scanning transaction and statements in the social tedium, looking for meaning. So something Alex did must have been relevant.
They were all wired to the brim with Sensory, so for all he knew he may have farted in just the right way to attract their interests.
What he knew of the Powerists is they are a cult, and that they believe that they can summon forth powers and control machines with simple training and minimal connectivity. The founder of the Powerists, Ian Smith, started tinkering in his garage before the Atmospheric Ripple, and he and other willing colleagues had entered into the first Advice Circle. This rudimentary Advice Circle was just a bunch of cellphones which were wired constantly together. They also had a function that would detect specific words in speech. So using these phones and a bracelet that would stimulate your arm in accordance with the person who was addressing you, you could enter into what would be called Rhapsodic Communication.
Ian initially imagined the device as a way to on-load strengths and off-load weaknesses. The pool of experimenters each took tests to see what each was good at. So that they would align in a complimentary fashion. They balanced around a list of virtues. Creativity, love of learning, wisdom, prudence, love, gratitude, teamwork, spirituality, forgiveness, modesty, self-control, curiosity, open-mindedness, appreciation of beauty, integrity, kindness, social intelligence, enthusiasm, bravery, hopefulness, persistence, and leadership.
The experiment was a success, but it had unintended consequences. Personal problems were solved tremendously quickly. If your anxiety increased for whatever reason, it would open your mic’ and people could hear and see your situation. Participants would talk about what was happening and the problems got solved with intense rapidity. Then, one month into the experiment, the participants started to speak with uncontrollable mumbling. And the objective, unconnected researchers who had been assigned to monitor them, went to pull the plug on the system.
This sent almost all of them into shock and the majority of them would have died, except if it wasn’t for the rapid action of Alex’s father who realized that they were going into shock because the system was off, and plugged them back together immediately.
Weeks later the Atmospheric Ripple happened and Alex’s father was forced to leave the project to find safe haven for his family. Events asked of people that their lives change, and Alex’s father never returned to the group. So now twenty years later, Alex was the one returning by invitation of the first Advice Circle.