Wednesday, September 20, 2006


So today's the day. He's finally breaking.
Then that's our queue?
That's what they said.
Just pull the plug right? No explanation in his world?
None at all. Just let him out of here. It's over.

It was a normal day for Harry Carver. 28 years old, promising job, good home, a bright future. Everything was looking good.
His job: to maintain the cyber-reality programming. Every day he would walk into the office and make sure all the programs ran smoothly. Smoothly being, you couldn't tell you were in the real world; exactly what the customers wanted.
Routine checks here and there, and the day was a breeze. All the customers would walk in and out satisfied. Occasionally they would add new features or block out things that were unexplainable, but it was a fairly solid program. The Cyber-Reality couldn't be told from the real world.

On a normal day dozens of customers would walk in during one hour and sign on. They would be escorted to one of the many cyber chambers on the other side of the facility. Some people logged in for as long as 5 hours, which meant big money for the company. As long as the customer's happy right?

5 hours of virtual reality. 5 hours of your wildest dreams. There's no trace of the false 0101 world, only reality. And all of it for a small fee. You could do whatever you wanted in there. And it was all real, thanks to people like Mr. Carver.
People like him who worked in their small cubicles, tampering with the programming, making everything just right, day after day. It was a simple job, do it right, and life was a breeze.

That didn't bother him at first: people living in a false world for a fraction of their lives. It payed well to maintain the machines. That was what he'd studied for in college after all. He'd been doing this job for the past 5 years. Why should it bother him now?
Maybe the ethics side finally got the better of him. Maybe it was the constant bickering in the media about the morality of the thing. His whole company was caught in the midst of controversy. Maybe all of it added together and then maybe he just finally broke.

So it was a normal day. Normal, except for his intentions. He wanted people to start living in the real world. Why was he helping them live in a fake one? Why was he helping to make it even more real for them? Why was he allowing them to think a cyber-reality was a real reality?
It was 2:00; coffee break. Most of the other personnel left their stations. The white office was empty and the sun was shining through the window. He turned around and saw this world he lived in. The city could be seen for miles from the skyscraper. People didn't need to live in a fake world when there was a real one right in front of them. All he had to do was pull the plug and they would wake up.
But then he asked himself again, "Why?" To give the customers a reality check? But what's the use, someone would just turn it on again. And he would probably be fired after this anyway. So, "Why do it?" Why pull the plug?
He just called it a gut feeling; one he couldn't ignore.

The dozens of cyber-chambers shut off. He could imagine it now: all the customers sitting in their chairs, surrounded by nothing but blackness. That's what they were really doing the past 5 hours. Sitting in a chair, staring at the black wall.
Of course everyone would be in an uproar. Then an image would flash on his desk, telling him to fix it, now. But something in him didn't click. He just sat there, staring at the black screen of his monitor. Just sat there, staring.

Pull it, now.
Got it.

He woke up. He was sitting in a chair, staring at a black wall.

He's out. You think he remembers?
Remembers what? He's been in that cyber world for 5 days now.
You think he remembers why he's here?
No, I don't.
...So it's a success.
Just wait 'till we talk to him.

He was sitting in a chair, staring at a black wall. He didn't have the words to think the the thoughts he wanted. He didn't have the thoughts to carry out the action he desired. He just sat there, staring.

The door behind him opened. Light entered the room for the first time. A silhouette of a tall man appeared.
"Mr. Carver. Wake up."
He managed to get one word out of his mouth,"Where?"
"Do you remember anything Mr. Carver?"
"What is your job?"
"Take it slowly."
"Cyber-World Industries..."
"How long have you worked there?"
"5... 5 years."
"How old are you?"
"Are you sure of all this?"
The tall man waited. "Thanks for your answers. I'll be back for you."
Harry Carver sat in his chair, waiting. He blinked his eyes and thought of getting up. He managed to stand up from the chair, and turn his head towards the door. It was closed.
He breathed in and out. The simple process seemed quite alien to him.
The door opened again and light flooded his eyes.
The tall man was there.
"How old are you Mr. Carver?"
"I just answered this."
"I would like you to answer again."
"I see. Come with me, and everything will be all right."
Harry followed the man down a darkly lit corridor. The walls were somewhat curved and dark grey. The floor was made of steel grating.
They came to a stop.
"Right in here." He pointed into another room with another chair. The room was also small and all black. The chair was by itself and had more hightech equipment on it. Reluctantly, Harry took a seat and the door shut behind him, leaving the room filled with darkness.
"Your memory will come back to you in a moment, just relax."
It was as if nothing ever happened.
Two men in black suits were waiting as the door opened behind him. Harry stood up and faced them.
"So, when am I going to do the experiment?" Harry asked enthusiastically.
"You already did it. It's over," one of them responded.
"...What are you talking about? I just sat down and you guys said you were going to copy my--"
"If you'll check your watch, it's Friday. The experiment's been over."
"It is? Oh, well... how'd I do?"
"You preformed excellently."
Harry was still surprised. "Well, that's good."
"Come with us and you'll be escorted out of here."
He followed the two men towards the exit.

So it was a success.

I guess so.

And how ironic is it that the world you created for him was the world of your own? I bet you wanted to see if he would do the same thing in your situation.

Maybe. Who said that his cyber-reality had to be a fake enviroment?

Are you going to take action against Cyber-World?

That's for the bureaucrats to decide. We've done our part with the experiment. So now... It's up to them.

What about the subject? He still thinks he's in cyber reality?

He'll be fine. He probably doesn't even remember after that memory transplant.

So that covers it then. Cyber-World Industries does have a problem on their hands.

Yeah... and to think we just sent a mult-billion dollar corporation crashing.

If... you can prove it.

We just did.