• Nitin Jerath

Lets Blow up the Internet

June 15, 2017

“Oh so you’re one of the ‘cry’s” She asked, her eyes becoming as wide as an owl’s.

“Yeah. One of the ‘cry’s.” She meant Cryonics. I had died less than a century ago when it wasn't possible to revive me, so I was frozen and preserved to be brought back later. Later being now. At least thats what the doctor told me. It felt like I resumed life in a dreamworld after dying. I couldn't tell the difference. But they had built a program to help me sink in. With controlled interactions with the outside world and other ‘mental repair’ sessions, I was being updated to the age in which our race had reached. 

This wasn't one of the controlled interactions of the ‘program’, by the way. I was never into that sort of a thing. I couldn't trust someone enough to give them the power of moulding me. So every once in a while I took a small walk. Didn't go too far as I didn't even trust myself either.  I was just trying to get the facts right. So, that's what I had been doing. I visited places, met the right people and made notes.

“Then how did you end up at a local bar? I’ve heard about the facility that monitors y’all that's round the corner. I don't see any weirdo observing you like you were some experiment rat.” I smiled. She knew the world for what it was. I had found a reliable resource for the day. “It’s just me.” signalling her to remain calm about it.

“Wow, this is so cool! I cant wait to tell— Oh right, sorry.” She made a childish expressing while ‘zipping up her lips’. “But this is really so exciting. Like Actually meeting one of you? Anyway, Tell me, do you remember how you died? or who you were?”

I didn’t.

Her lower lip raised slightly from the middle and her eyes dipped from the side, making her smile look sympathetic now.

“They’re saying it’s very important that all of it comes back to me through the program. Otherwise it might be self destructive” She nodded in agreement. “Thats because the last one was a complete whacko” She quickly scouted around for anyone who was showing interest. There was a man looking at her who signalled for another drink. “Be right back. I’ll tell you one thing that’s changed. People drink like pigs now.” She winked and left.

Was this the right time to try? Or was it way too early. No I had to. I can’t let the ‘program’ dictate who I was or wasn’t. It didn't feel right in the gut. And that's all I had. “So where was I?” She got a glass of something that looked like some radioactive chemical. I couldn't tell what it was— and kept it in front of me with a wide smile.

“I can’t. Can’t let them find out that I’ve been having fun.” I pushed the glass gently towards her with a polite smile. The truth was, I couldn't have anything other than what they gave me at the facility because my body just rejected it.

She seemed disappointed but then she smiled showing she understood. She sipped on the drink. The clock read 21:59. It was close to closing time. I had to hurry.

“So the whacko right?” She said, her voice almost a whisper. “Did they tell you anything about him?”

“Nope. Haven't heard about any yet. Though I do remember many from my time.” It had to be now. I couldn't wait any longer. “Um, listen. I need a small favour from you.” She straightened up a bit, her eyebrows slightly raised, trying to look alert.

“Can you just quickly run a picture of me over the internet and check if I get any hits?” It was done. Now the ball was in her court and I was just hoping that she hit it back.

Her expression vanished completely for a second but she regained control. She looked surprised. “You don't know?” “Of course you don’t" she said rolling her eyes. Realising I wasn't up for a suspense, she continued lowering her voice so I had to lean in to listen. “They took down the internet.”

“What the—?” 

The internet? Really?

I’d never had such a long conversation before. It was just me walking around the street making note of new advancements. I had made some assumptions about the world based on a mix of what I remembered the future as and what I saw. I was certainly somewhere else. I remembered the internet to be such a powerful tool that the whole world depended upon. I could not imagine a world without it.

She lightly touched my glass of water with her glass of whatever it was to bring me back to the present. She was looking at me with a mixture of curiosity and concern.

“Look, I’m not sure if I should go on about this. I mean, all these things happened one after the other over the course of the last few years and they just became a part of the world. Like everything else does, as unbelievable as it may sound. Plus, they have the program going for you anyway, no? I guess they’ll tell you everything when the time is right.”

I couldn't hide the disappointment but I had to understand. It was as crazy for her as it was for me. Well, not really. And oh, the program. I had to sneak back in before they realised my suite was empty. They had really pampered me for the last few months. I got a room big enough for a family of four equipped with everything that I could possibly need. But lately, I had had urges of going outside and just exploring a bit. Today had been quite explorative and I had enough to think about. The last few days I was just debating whether or not to ask people to look me up on Facebook but now I realised I wasn't looking at the bigger picture. I didn't expect a change so big in a world that looked more advanced but not so different at least by the looks of it.

She could tell my mind was in a frenzy and she looked like she was feeling guilty about it. I couldn't let her worry about this.

“Right, the program. I should really head back before I get into trouble. It really hurts the doctor when he finds out about something like this.”

“Yes of course. Do come back if you can. I’ll make you try some new age liquor.” she said with a  wide smile.

I smiled back. “Yes, I shall. And you have to tell me about the wacko too.” “The wacko.. yeah of course.” She seemed to be in a sort of a conflict. She tried to cover it up with her smile.

“Alright then.” We looked at each other and nodded goodbyes.

It was 22:20 and I was walking back along the outer wall of the facility. I’d been out for about 45 minutes. No internet. Wow. I never would've imagined this to be possible. I was curious about how the world was functioning now. What all had changed.

I reached a broken lamppost. This is where I had to cross the fence from. There was a slight opening underneath. It was funny. Considering how they took keeping me inside so seriously.

I entered. The facility looked like a retreat of some sort. The colours and architecture were quite unlike a Cryonics facility. Not that I’d seen any. My suite was in the northern side of the compound but close to the centre. I entered from the eastern side and jogged back. A guard walked passed me as I was nearing my suite and I wondered if he had gone in to check on me. But he didn't say anything so I figured it was alright. I was out on a jog, right?

I entered through the main door and went to have a glass of juice. Fresh grape juice which the machine reproduced there and then. It’s like a lot of the world had been decoded to the point where recoding it was quite simple. I could literally create anything here in my kitchen. But even so, considering the number of people at the bar, it was fairly crowded. Old habits die hard, i guess. I slid into my bed and cocooned myself in my soft blanket. The room temperature had already started to adjust as it was programmed to. It was time for a quick recap. Why would they take down the internet? did something go terribly wrong? or was it just a choice the masses made? But something had to trigger it and it had to trigger something. And what about the wacko? Yeah, what about the wacko? I don't know where to go from here. I have to let this slowly sink in.

The bed was suddenly so much cosier and the smell of the black rose in my window flowed through me.

Maybe it was just paranoia kicking in. I was too tired to keep thinking. I took a few deep breaths and I fell asleep.

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