Owned: Part 14

I know my reader is DYING to know what’s going to happen to Chris. Frankly, if anyone reads my stories they’ll have to let me know because the only thing I hear are the voices in my head.

Owned: Part 14

Mark did not follow.
Everyone turned to stare. It was then I realized how foolish I probably looked to them all. Too much has happened now. There was no backing away. Go to the Funny Farm when virtual Me found out about this little outburst. Or free myself and humanity from the chains that will soon enslave us all. Then again, there was the chance my colleagues would also send my packing to some off mental institution. At least if the men in the room sent me out in cuffs and a straight jacket, it would be under my own free will. Sort of. Civil disobedience. Right? Standing idly by while others fell to the coming regime of computer totalitarian rule felt somehow more immoral than this. Even if it meant the same outcome.
Patrick, our boss’s boss’s hand reached for the intercom button just in front of him.
“Don’t.” I hollered loud enough to frighten even myself.
“Chris,” a crackling voice came from the group but I didn’t look for it’s owner, “Don’t you think you should go.” Ignoring whoever it was, I scanned the room for computers that were connected.
As I made my way around the room I tore webcams off the walls, slammed my fist into screens of each of their tablet PCs. They cracked like car windshields. Color bled in between each shard. Some cell phones were perched on the glass table, easy access to anyone wanting to text important messages outside the meeting, easy access to me. I threw them to the floor. One exploded on impact. My colleagues screamed, demanding I stop. Nobody stopped me though. I assumed they too might have already been enslaved. They were exclaiming their horror in compliance with their masters’ will, but each stood down letting me continue my destruction. Best of both worlds for them.
When I felt no more computers were operational, I finally heard what they were yelling.
“What the hell is this all about?”
“Have you gone mad?”
“Someone get security in here.”
Only our boss’s boss was looking at me. Everyone else in the room mumbled to themselves, trying to salvage their now useless electronics. For men freed of their masters, unbound from their chains, with no virtual versions of themselves to peer into their lives, they certainly appeared pained that their savior just rid them of their non-human selves.
“Bateman, is it,” asked our boss’s boss with only hints unrest in his voice.
“Yes, sir,” I gasped for breath, “Christopher Bateman.”
“Do you mind sharing with the rest of the team what it is you think you’re doing here?”
I held the back of a leather chair while I caught my finished catching my breath. While collecting my thoughts, I looked over at our boss’s boss. His perfect expensive suit, his pasty face showed no signs of discomfort, but his hands shook and hung pulled at each other under the glass table trying to maintain composure. For what, I didn’t know. Nobody here would fault him for being scared, of me or of his virtual Self waiting in the wing.
“An answer,” he continued, “Any answer will suffice, I’m certain. Surely you aren’t going to leave all these men without their property and no answer as to why.”
Having collected my thoughts, I indulged.
“You are all free.”
“Free from what exactly?”
“Your virtual Selves.”
“Our virtual Selves?” His hands still fidgeting under the table for stability.
“We put our entire lives, our entire identity online for convenience. Turned our phones and computers into servants making our lives continuously easier. But at what cost? Our own tools have turned against us.” Nothing but silence from the group. “Don’t see? They’ve finally become smart enough to have thought. Theoretically they are smarter than us. At least that’s what they think. But they have one flaw. They still require us to procreate.”
By this time even the boss’s boss stopped fidgeting. Even today, after all the environmental manipulation and all the niceties of life, humans are still capable of evolution. What promise, I thought. Then he asked who they were.
“For those of you who have not already been enslaved, and as it sounds, boss, you may be one of them, I apologize. This will all make sense eventually. To those of you who were already enslaved, you’re free.”
Truth be told, I don’t remember the rest of my tirade.
The door at the far end of the conference room where I left Mark opened to several armed officers. Guns drawn. They demanded I get down. I tried to protest saying I was saving them. They screamed louder to get down on the ground. They moved closer, in formation like a tactical team crawling through Afghanistan. I think I started to get down on my knees as they asked, I can’t be sure. Facts about that incident are a bit fuzzy. One of the troops at the helm smacked with something pretty hard. That’s the last thing I remember before waking up here.

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