5 - The Game

When playing is real

As they walked down the dim blue walkway Arin wondered what was behind the dull gray doors. She looked at Asher and gave him a practiced smile. “What did you do at work today?” she inquired. 

“I played the Commander.” Asher said, “No, I was The Commander. The weapons were amazing! I took out the Intruders and became the hero of the game.”

“You’ve been playing games all of your life, Asher.” Arin said, “What was so different?”

“That’s just it.” Asher explained. “I wasn’t playing the game. I was in the game.”

“How could you be in the game?” Arin asked sarcastically. 

“Nanodots injected under my skin worked with my chip to create amazing sensations. I could feel my sword, my wounds, and I could heal. It was so real!” he said. “More real than reality.” 

“So who did you play against?” said Arin. “Were Joc and Justin in the game?” 

“The opponents were like real people who seemed to feel every dice and slice, but I didn’t recognize them.” Asher explained. “I don’t know where they came from, but does it really matter?” 

“What do you mean?” Asked Arin.

“It’s all part of the game, I mean job.” Said Asher. “We will learn in the next few weeks how to recognize certain sensations that tell us when we need to check the machines and make sure everything is working efficiently.” He said with a big grin. “Otherwise we just play.” 

“Doesn’t anyone watch you or check to make sure you are doing your job while you are playing? It seems like the fun and pleasures could take over.” Questioned Arin.

“We have Supervisors. When we get really good at reacting to the nanodots, we might advance to Supervisors. That’s why the suits are different colors for different levels of workers. In fact, we even compete to see who is doing the best job so we can move up. So, we really stay on top of our game, I mean job.” Explained Asher.

Asher pulled Arin close and brushed her hair away from her face. His warm lips touched hers. She loved the taste of his lips but knew she couldn’t get too close. She wasn’t like him. She didn’t have the brain chip that made all of this possible. She wore an Exosuit that mimicked some of the enhancements, so she got by if she didn’t get too close to anyone. If Asher or anyone noticed the suit or her deficiencies, she wasn’t sure what would happen. She supposed she would be turned over to the ECC Protective Service. Fear chilled her body just thinking about it.

“Next year I’ll be there too.” Arin lied. “I wonder if I will even see you.” 

“We are here together now. That’s all that matters.” Asher said as he pulled her close.

He wondered if he was in love with Arin. She was so smart. He admired that about her. She could be so cold and aloof at times. But that kiss! He had never felt so alive. Maybe it was worth it if he could just get close enough to feel her warmth and connect with her mouth again. His heart was beating faster just thinking about it. 

The science: The science: We are not able to effectively interface the brain with a computer chip as the Enhanced Computer Chip (ECC) did in the story, although experiments are being done on animals with a chip in the brain as well as some experimentation with humans. 

“It is conceivable that within the next 20–30 years, neuralnanorobotics may be developed to enable a safe, secure, instantaneous, real-time interface between the human brain and biological and non-biological computing systems, empowering brain-to-brain interfaces (BTBI), brain-computer interfaces (BCI), and, in particular, sophisticated brain/cloud interfaces (B/CI). Such human B/CI systems may dramatically alter human/machine communications, carrying the promise of significant human cognitive enhancement (Kurzweil, 2014Swan, 2016).” Human Brain/Cloud Interface

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From the author: I always wanted to see like other people. For years I thought I would write a story about the protagonist having enhanced senses but realized I could better write about a protagonist who wanted enhancements. I can feel that desire. I hope the feeling comes through in the story. Without emotions, a story feels vacant.

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