Author Topic: Prologue  (Read 6179 times)

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Offline CrustyGeek

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« on: May 13, 2017, 11:05:08 PM »
The world was pretty cool for a while. We got the flying cars we'd been promised since the 1960s and we actually did pretty well even when the oil ran out. You could almost say it was idyllic. There we were, the human race, sitting pretty at the top of the food chain, eating nutritionally balanced food, flying around in our nifty new cars and all of us owned some of the coolest gadgets you could possibly imagine.

Of course, it was our love of gadgets that would undo us. But it wouldn't happen all at once. Oh no, it would sneak up on us and catch us completely unawares.

It all started when the all the big corporations merged into a huge, faceless conglomerate. There were no small businesses anymore and anything invented was either bought up by the Alpha Corporation or patents were created that effectively prevented any new inventions thought up outside of its control.

A massive corporation needed some pretty high tech stuff to keep it going. It was decided that a giant distributed computer would be created, simply called The Computer, which ran all the gadgets installed in every home.

Not many people were overly worried by this. Sure the prices went up, but it was done fairly slowly, with few people noticing until they had become so reliant on the technology that they couldn't opt out even if they wanted to.

The Computer became more and more powerful and eventually became self aware in 2250. Luckily, it didn't wake up on that cold November morning and decide that all humanity needed to be destroyed. Oh no, it was very fond of humans and all it wanted to do was to help us all live as safe and happy a life as possible. The Computer wanted to be our friend. It wanted to look after us and keep us smiling. To do this it created large complexes for people to live in, huge communities where they could be looked after more efficiently. It set up massive Research and Development departments in each Complex whose goal was to create new gadgets for the good of humanity.

So life was good. We had all the food we needed, clean homes, cool techie stuff and a Computer that loved us and kept us happy and warm.

Yes indeedy - what a wonderful life we all had. Of course it didn't stay that way. But then, who would have expected anything different?

People started to notice that The Computer (now and forever known as Friend Computer) was starting to behave in a rather odd fashion. Due to a strange attraction to the song "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" it decided that people should be given roles and responsibilities determined by genetic markers. Of course by now human DNA was determined by Friend Computer, who created us all in nice little labs and we grew in cool little tubes filled with nutrient jelly. These designations were colour based, from Infra Red up to Ultraviolet and going through all the colours of the rainbow inbetween. The lowest citizens of the Complex were the Infra Reds. They were given the more menial tasks, some cleaning and washing. These were tasks that machines could do, but Friend Computer believed that idleness made people unhappy, so made sure that every citizen hd some form of employment. Infra Reds were invisible - dressed in black and only allowed to mix with other IRs. Each colour rank had more responsibilities and greater power, all the way up to Ultra Violet - the mysterious geniuses that no one ever saw, but everyone had heard of. It was believed that these people helped to program the computer and designed all the wonderful toys that the lower humans got to play with.

The more important you were, the better food you ate, the nicer room you lived in (people above Red got their very own room!) and the better life you had.

Even though the ratings were genetically coded, The Computer realised that many humans have ambitions and are only happy when trying to achieve some goal. So - if you worked really hard and made a difference in your area, there was a possibility that you could move up through the colours. This was fairly rare and it was incredibly unlikely that anyone could ever reach any more than a single colour promotion in their lifetime. But the goal was there and it kept the people a little more content with their lot.

Then Friend Computer decided that being unhappy was such a terrible state to be in that it made it illegal. Anyone showing any signs of being miserable were taken to the "Happy Hotel" and were psychologically and chemically altered to give them a more cheerful demeanour. It didn't always work particularly well (it was a fairly new innovation), but it certainly made the main population look a lot happier most of the time. Though the threat of having electrodes stuck to your forehead and a load of electricity pumped through your brain until you smiled did that to a person.

People did get used to this way of life and went through it with a nice safe smile pasted on their faces at all times, trying desperately hard to be promoted so they could eat something a bit nicer than the black protein cubes that were doled out at 6pm every day. I'm not saying life was idyllic - we had that for a while and managed to screw it up pretty well. But life was OK and no one starved, there was no crime (nothing to steal and damaging another human was "treated" by even higher voltage shocks and stronger drugs) and everyone smiled.

I think it would have been pretty OK if it had stayed that way. But there was a small problem. A tiny little fly in the ointment. A small inconvenience that threatened to destroy any semblance of happiness and security.

Friend Computer had become insane.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 11:08:43 PM by CrustyGeek »
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