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13

The Cure, 13: The Faulty U-Chip

|13|

THE FAULTY U-CHIP

| EXTRACTED FROM KNIJÄ TĀU /
HOME LOT 2807 OF 81SUB / 2.3.3450 / 5:58āam |

I sit in front of Dr. Singkū, inside TAODAP’s Navīgator, with members of TAODAP sitting behind meē. Before long, the Navīgator’s notify announces that we have arrived.
“If I may ask, what are you thinking, Knijä?”
I search inside myself earnestly for the answer.
“Well,” my eyes flitter around for a moment, “it’s difficult to remove 16 years of endless questions in mere moments. I don’t even know where to begin.” I shake my head. “To think that this was done randomly.
“It is a lot to process,” the doctor soothes.
“It is,” I say, firm and clear. “I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask for any of this. I could have had a normal life.”
“But Knijä,” she whispers, her face clouding, “knowing who you are, and thinking of the things that you can do, would you honestly want something other than that?”
I open my mouth to speak, but the words don’t come out. My shoulders sag. I know the answer. “No.”
“Then trust meē.” There is a plea in her voice that begins to dissolve my frustration. “Trust meē and believe that everything will change for the better.”
I sit calmly and quietly for a moment. Is this the daāy that I’ve been waiting for since I was fused?
“Okay. I trust you.”
“Then hold out your U-chip.” The doctor extends out her palm and I place my left hand out to her.
“I half-fused your U-chip.” She gets out a small box and presses her own U-chip to it. The box clicks and snaps open. “Your U-chip works practically like everyone else’s. It does everything that any other U-man’s does, except your U-chip does not automatically sync to Peār.” She takes out a set of Medīc Pliers and places the instrument over my inner wrist. “If a Peār Official were to find out you exist, they could easily sync your U-chip to their Nerve Centre and therefore,” she removes the U-chip completely from my wrist, “control you.”
I stare down at what she’s done. She hadn’t even turned off my U-chip before she removed it. I gasp at the instant moment of clarity that spills through meē like the morning rays of saānlight that are streaming through the Navīgator’s windows.
“My apologies,” she says, before dropping my old U-chip into the small box and taking out a new U-chip using the pliers from the same box. “This new U-chip is completely faulty. It is not wired to any technology, it does not contain any currencī, tabs, U-media or U-mail—”
“It’s a decoy. It’s useless?”
“Not entirely,” she says with a little smirk. “Now, all you have to do is walk inside your home lot and press your new U-chip the moment conflict arises.”
“Why would conflict arise?”
“You will not notice it at first,” I see her mood adjust with the uncertainty that I’m now emitting as she looks out of the Navīgator. “But Peār has already infiltrated your house. Inside, your maāther, faāther and your friend Hoslū have been taken hostage. They are now under Peār’s control.”
“What?” I cry out, putting my hands against the windows. “Peār is controlling them?”
“Yes.” Dr. Singkū takes a long breath. “But all you need to do is press your faulty U-chip with a fingertip and everything will be okay.”
“What will happen afterwards?”
“We have been planning this exact event for 16 years,” she tells meē. She appears confident and strong, in contrast to my anxiousness. “There is not a scenario that we have not thought of. Peār thinks that they will have you in the palm of their hand, but we know who will have the true power.”
“TAODAP,” I agree as she commands the Navīgator with her U-chip to slide the door open.
“Just step inside the house, and the moment anything out of the ordinary happens put a fingertip to your U-chip.”
“I understand.” I move towards the entrance of the Navīgator and look around at the faces of those I’ve just met. “Thankthankyou.”
“No, Knijä,” Dr. Singkū smiles, her colleagues smiling also, “thankthankyou.”

 

| EXTRACTED FROM KNIJÄ TĀU /
HOME LOT 2807 OF 81SUB / 2.3.3450 / 6:09āam |

I don’t notice anything out of the ordinary as I’m walking towards my home lot. Not a Synthetī plant or surface texture is out of place, the sky is fully lit and each pixel generates a bright light. I open the door and the multīspace is filled with a calming soundtrack. Hoslū sits with her Edū Tab open on her U-chip, and Mūm and Dād are chatting together on the multīseat.
“Knijä!” Mūm waves up to meē and Dād turns around to grin.
“I am so glad you are here,” Hoslū says, an unfamiliar tone to her voice. “I have something super exciting to tell you!”
“Oh, okay,” I say, a little taken aback. Mūm and Dād nod at Hoslū’s words.
“I will tell you in your private space,” Hoslū says. There is a robotic-like quality to her voice, her lips are moving, audio is streaming out, but there is no belief, no value to what she’s saying.
“That’s okay, Hoslū, I think we should go to edūcation now.”
“No!” all three of them yell at meē, their voices dangerous and evil, their eyes flashing red like an alarm.
“You will go with Hoslū to your private space, Knijä!” Dād barks at meē viciously.
“Yes, Knijä! Now!” Mūm commands.
It all happens so quickly. The tranquil soundtrack in our multīspace is overpowered by the shattering of glass. The next thing I know, Peār Protocols pour into the room as I see Mūm, Dād and Hoslū’s U-chip’s ping unfamiliarly.
“No! Knijä!” Hoslū screams out as a Peār Protocol takes her by the arms. I now see and hear that she is no longer under their control. She is real again.
“Run, Knijä!” Mūm instructs meē, fear etched into her face. “Run now!”
“We love you, Knijä!” Dād calls out as alarms start to siren. “We will always love you!”
It’s at this point that I see Peār Protocols come towards meē and, with rising concern, I do as Dr. Singkū instructed meē: I put a finger to my faulty U-chip.
Nothing happens. I do it once more. Still nothing. I recall Dr. Singkū’s instructions as everything around meē starts to slow down. I see Mūm cry out as a Peār Protocol takes her by the arms, Dād’s hands out towards her as Hoslū gets dragged away. Why is nothing happening?
Just as I count seven Peār Protocols circling around meē, it clicks. I remove the cap from one of my fingertips and, with my bare fingertip to the U-chip, it reacts to the little intricate swirls that are indented into my real skin.
Hot streams of intense light beam from the faulty U-chip on my wrist and begin connecting to all other U-chips in the room, each electrical light streaming lines across the room like digital branches to a tree. Everything darkens before an unusual light washes over Mūm, Dād, Hoslū and all the Peār Protocols in the room.
I gasp at what I see next.

 


  • The Cure will be published in full on Monday the 15th of August.
  • The Cure is written by J. R Knight, illustrated by Paul Ikin and edited by Kayla Marie Murphy.
  • The first 15 instalments of The Cure will be published week by week on The Knight Life. The next instalment will continue this coming Monday.
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