Content Warning

Greetings and Salutations.
Because my stories have bite, they can contain content that isn't suitable for work or children. Not a lot of truly graphic sex or violence, but there are some questionable or heated posts. F-bombs are not uncommon, so watch your footing.

Friday, January 18, 2019

#FridayFlash - Ascendancy

This piece was inspired by Black Mirror Bandersnatch. There is SO much to unpack about that film, and a lot of current theories about our world and the potential that it's all a simulation. So I wrote this.


"Who are you? Tell me who you are!"

Sylvia stepped into the control booth, eyes locked on the main screen over Doug's head. "You're never one to hit the alert button," she said, watching the young man continue to shout at his computer screen. "Give me the low down."

"I know someone's there. Who are you?"

Doug gestured at the screen with a roll of his shoulders. "He started resisting his programming. Started seeing it, though the tests. He's not on the roster for a psychotic break, but I think he might have one. So I called you for help."

"All right, move over." She paused. "Unless your other subjects require attention."

Doug vacated the control chair and gestured for her to take it. "I got them all into neutral when I realized this one was going to require most of my attention. They should be fine for quite a while."

Sylvia nodded, taking the seat, moving closer to the control board. Doug was one of her best techs, efficient, hard working, loyal to the program. If he said the others would be fine, she had no doubts things were moving exactly as they needed to.

And if he thought she needed to look at this one, she would give the young man on the screen her full attention.

"I'm losing my mind." He sobbed, laying his head in his hands. Read-outs indicated he wasn't going to snap this exact moment, but Sylvia needed more time to scan his dossier.

You're not losing your mind. Sylvia made the words come up on his computer screen, made it chime to get his attention. The man looked up, and she read an overview of the subject.

Mike Mitchell, age 19. PC game programmer, designing a game full of Truths In Plain Sight. Recent experiments with lysurgic acid diethylamide, strong reactions to control commands. In therapy, but no previous acknowledgments of seeing past The Veil.

On her screen, Mike looked up and read her note. His eyes went wide, and a sublime look of joy crossed his face. "Who are you?" His alpha brain waves, psigram, and heart rate all spiked, and she recognized their particular pattern; this was make or break time.

We are the ones who control your world.

Sylvia leaned back in the chair, chewing her lower lip, waiting for Mike's response. She'd used this tactic several times before, putting the entirety of the truth before a subject. Some, very few, were special, cut from a finer cloth than all the rest. Some could see through The Veil and not lose their minds. Some could even come through The Veil under the right circumstances.

Mike shot out of his chair, knocking it to the floor. He paced away from his computer and back, running his hands through his hair. Sweat beaded his forehead, and he muttered to himself, but his read-outs remained the same.

She narrowed her eyes. The next moments would be crucial. If he talked himself down, if his alpha waves dropped, he would be lost. Rendered useless to them, and they'd need to find another vessel to disseminate The Truth.

But if they rose just a little higher, if his psigram went into the indigo range, then he might change from Subject to Agent.

He finally turned back to his monitor, eyes narrowed and teeth gritted. "Why? Is this a game to you? Do you think this is fun? Would you like to be used like some fucking puppet?"

Darker. Out of the green, into the blue. A tiny spike in the alpha. You seem to enjoy playing games. Did you think you were alone in that respect? She waited on pins and needles; she'd only pushed two others this hard, this fast.

"I'm a creator! A storyteller. I craft and sculpt imaginary worlds full of sprites and code. I don't just use real people for my amusement, don't fuck with their lives on a whim. I am not a god, and neither are you!"

Sylvia quirked a brow, pondering his response. No one had said these words, had shown her such vehemence. His alpha waves were off the chart, his psigram pegged in the very heart of indigo, and his heart rate had leveled out to strong and steady. She knew he was ready, that he was truly special.

Would you like to be?