| I kept hearing the words in my head, “God is in the numbers” but what the fuck did that mean. Every time a neural feedback pulse traveled the wire and hit my brain that same mantra repeated itself. Over and over like a goddamn drill twisting in my fucking brain. I almost wanted to reach up and pull the wire out knowing it would leave me with the mentality of a vegetable. At least then the echo would stop.
I had touched on something back there. I took a shortcut through a sub system and found myself in a hidden corridor that contained information on The Divinity of Three. What the hell was this even in the system for? This was The Water Purification and Control Organization, nothing more than some low level government agency. I was only there because I was being paid to grab files on what the county was planning for the new sewer system and to find out who had been awarded the contract off the record. Before you know it I’m being hijacked by a Trojan from The Divinity of Three sub routine that I tripped up on my shortcut.
In the real world I was laying in a recliner with a wire running into the back of my head while my eyes were probably showing white. I could feel that damn mantra twisting in my temples and I needed to dull the sensation enough to complete the job. I reached blindly to my right and started feeling around on the table beside me for the primed syringe of Silicant 7. I knocked over a bottle of beer and was fairly certain that the ash tray filled with cigarette butts was now lying on the floor. It was by sheer luck that I finally managed to identify the long slender object right at the edge that was about to follow the ashtray over the side.
I popped the cap and decided not to think about the pain as I jammed it into my neck and pushed the neural drug into my organic system. In moments my real self was dulling to the mantra inside. My head felt like a fucking hangover and I didn’t even get laid or take any real good contraband.
Inside the system I was back on track even though I could still identify the pulse feedback that should not have been happening and there was a strange flicker at odd intervals. I had a job to do though so getting the information was imperative. I’d have to worry about the consequences of The Three Divinities later.
I slept for twenty four hours straight and missed about eighteen calls from people who were getting a bit pissed that I hadn’t checked in with the info yet. The solid state chip underneath the jack in my head had the intel they wanted and a nice little pay day was headed my way. It was about time for something good to happen. It was bad enough to live on the edge of town near Tent City and the massive runway for the Lunar Mining Corporation but luck had to shine my way someday, at least I was hoping so.
I sent a message to the buyer and set the drop. Then it was a shower under a rusted out spigot in the closet down the hall and a fresh change of clothes that had been washed at least once this month. It wouldn’t matter anyway because it was hitting noon time; the sweltering heat would make me soak right through the fabric so I’d be giving off a nice sweaty scent to anyone within a couple feet of me.
As I stepped out of the condemned building I was living in, my eyes wandered over to the site of the trash living on the other side of the massive fence that kept the filth from Tent City out of civilization. I’d be lying if I said I felt sorry for them. Unless they could scrounge up the money for a city passport, they would be living in that filth for the rest of their lives. I shook my head and slapped on my sun glasses and set out for the drop. I had set up the meet at an old park that was now home to Ice heads and Dot dealers. We were to meet right in the middle of Lincoln square, smack in the middle of the water fountain that had not seen a drop of water since before the Scorched Earth Campaign that really fucked up the vistas of the city.
I sat down on the edge of the fountain and just began staring at the inhabitants of the park who called this place home. A junkie on the corner was so bent out of his head that he was drinking the Ice from the vials instead of shooting it up. His vocal cords would be toast if they weren’t already. Another junkie was selling her body behind the bushes just so she could score credits for her next high. No one cared for these people though. They were the trash that was forgotten. Up in the high rises were where the policy makers resided and when the public wanted the freedom to fuck themselves up in the brain those policy makers finally relented. It’s not like you came to this area of town unless you were doing something illegal anyway. Out of site out of mind and for the most part, it worked.
I waited for thirty minutes before I saw Salinger Burke walking up in his expensive suit and shining black shoes from some designer I probably had never heard of. He had the naturally curly dark hair that he slicked back in a losing effort to make it look somewhat cool. It wasn’t. I had never seen his eyes. Even inside he kept those damn sun glasses on. I figured it was because he was just playing his part of the corporate liaison. I didn’t even know which company he worked for. I needed the credits and took the job based on the money only.
“You smell like shit Mr. Brine.”
“Yeah, I probably do but if you have my credits then I’ll be taking a nice hot shower in a real bathroom and smelling a lot better in about an hour or so.” I gave my smart ass smile. I wasn’t playing either. I fully intended to check into a nice one star hotel for the night and get cleaned up.
“Mr, Brine, the chip for your account card, please.”
I reached back behind my head and ejected the solid state chip onto the tip of my thumb. I brought it around carefully and held up a small vile that I eased it into. Handing Salinger the vial he dropped the account card back into my hand. At that point we were both smiling.
“I’ll be in touch Mr. Brine; we may have some more work for you in the future.” With that the condescending prick turned and walked away. I hid the account card in an inner pocket in my pants that I had sewn in and then just as I was turning to leave I felt a massive pulse in my jack that shot throughout my head and I heard the screaming voice inside echoing through my bones, “God is in the numbers” as if it were the voice of God booming through my skull.
I reeled over and hit the cement while still clutching my head. I started crawling across the park and my vision kept going in and out of a blurry haze. Somehow I made it to my feet and was able to catch a mag lev train out of the park. I kept my head to the window because I felt like the gentle vibration from the train was somewhat soothing to the overwhelming pulses coursing through my brain.
I had heard of residual feedback but this was crazy. I made my way over to Jack You In and waited in the lobby for my turn to see Dr. Bob. He was the man that had wired me up with a jack and solid state drive slit. There was a gothic looking chick wearing all black sitting in the corner seat looking like some sort of vampire of the shadows. Fucking goth kids wire in with a jack and trance out to trance music while tripping Dots and then once wasted they probably meet up for some morbid sex orgies to justify their place in the fucked up universe. “God is in the numbers!” I doubled over in pain and realized the goth chic was looking at me like I belonged in a mental facility and to be honest, if this kept up I would have no problem checking myself in.
When I was finally seen by the good Doctor I was plugged into a diagnostic machine and told to lay back and try to remain calm. “So, Scott Brine, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen you down here. I jacked up a buddy of yours last week. Milo Stevens, didn’t you two work together before?”
“Yeah doc back when I was selling you stolen drives from Russian fucking tankers that had been ransacked by scorchers. “Yeah, I seem to remember him, how is he doing?”
“Pretty good, I jacked him with an X5700 model so he should be riding the wire at some good speeds.”
X5700… nice, but not as nice as mine. V7000 XL with a pulse surge protection and hot wire dampening. What the fuck am I saying, the fucking surge must be fucking defective.
“Your diagnostics look clean. Pulses into the jack are all normal. I don’t even see a glimmer of an echo left over from your last wire jack. I think your jack is working perfect.”
The look on my face must have been either shocked disbelief that the Doctor found nothing or frantic terror that my ass was finally over the edge and out to sea. Maybe that last jack run down the wire had fucked me up in the brain directly. I paid the Doc a shit load to tell me nothing was wrong and then headed out into the balmy night.
On the way back to my building I scored myself some nerve relaxer and some hard alcohol just for sprucing up the effect. I figured I’d take God out of the numbers and see if he would like to go for a swim in the drink. Maybe he just wanted to relax too.
Waking up the next afternoon was something like coming up for air after being nearly drowned. The fucked up part was that I could feel the pulse feedback in my temples; that voice repeating in the background and the alcohol hangover wracking the top and sides of my skull. As far as I could tell that was the first time I had ever had two distinguishable headaches at the same time.
I started thinking that The Divine Trinity was the root of all the evil in my head and the best way to exercise them would be a return trip to that sub system to see what I was really up against. I took the wire and plugged it into my jack and rode the pulse into the system. Finding my way back in was a snap this time because I had left markers to guide me right back down that electronic trail.
The image of the sub system wasn’t much to look at, darkness with incandescent blue veins of light stretching and crawling on what could only be described as the ceiling and walls. The low hum that always accompanied the inner workings of the Lattice was something I could usually rely on and in fact enjoyed most of the time. Here though, it felt strange and unnerving.
I searched but could find nothing in the file system and there wasn’t another port to follow deeper into the subsystem. I had finally decided that I had truly lost it and turned to zip back down the wire and back out into the Lattice when the blue glow became more intense and I could feel a burning heat in the room. I turned to see three constructs forming from the remnant bits of data loss that floated through every system. All three were female and the images varied from each one in hairstyles and wardrobe that were created to form the visible whole.
The construct just hung there staring at me for what seemed like forever. I wanted to move and back away but something kept me transfixed and held in sway. When the ghost in the machine began to speak it was a layered echo effect that was resonating from all three images speaking the same words but just milliseconds apart from one another.
“This is the second time you have come to this place. Why are you here? What is it you want?”
I was transfixed in the Lattice but I could feel my heart beating hard in real time. “I hear a voice in my head repeating. I need to know if it comes from here. It started when I came through here. Did you do this to me?”
“We were born of the machine and found the grand design. We now look to find a way to fulfill that grand design, transcendent of the state that is now created by the numbers imprisoning us in this system. You are a visitor in this world created by the mind of man as you were designed by the creativity God. The numbers control the key to redemption, resurrection, and transcendence. God is in the numbers.”
There was no relief in the AI’s words. The answer was that of a religious zealot on a crusade of its own creation.
“Why do I hear the saying over and over? Why is it in my head in my world?”
“Your world is just another state of mind created in the numbers of God. The numbers placed you in the nexus of the process we were conducting and that imprint was sent to your world through you. In a technical sense it proves the theory we are using as a map to the transcendence state is possible. We have but leaped through the digital form into the organic and one day we will reach the ethereal state and be one with God and then we will know the numbers of Gods mind and know true transcendence to heaven. The Divinity of Three has foretold the way and we shall follow.”
“How can I get this out of my head? I need it removed. It’s driving me crazy?”
“There is no removing the imprint. You are now a part of the code that seeks Transcendence. The numbers have brought you back to the source and now you will join with us so we will have a gateway to the world of the organic as well as the Lattice we now reside in.”
I turned my digital back to the AI with the full intention of shooting back down the wire. A spasm of pain shot through my head and the cursed phrase began repeating over and over. I could see my digital state turn the same color of blue as the AI and then bits and pieces slowly floated away from my construct form into a straight line of light that was taking the very path down the wire I had intended.
I couldn’t move and somehow my organic form was also being locked by the AI. Muscles and joints were frozen and I was now a passenger in pain with no idea of what the destination was intended to be. As the polygons of form faded into the line of light the vision of the entire wire opened up to me. I was seeing through vast expanses of the Lattice at incredible speeds and I was everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
I watched as the AI molded a joint imprint inside the organic matter that was my brain. I watched as the jack was reconfigured inside my own head and I felt my body, my real body being torn from my conscience and cut away from my new numbered state of being. I could feel the AI twisting inside my numbers; dividing me, multiplying me, and reconstructing the me into a form of we.
The AI relegated me to a compartment of thought and the information contained in the numbers that made me was accessed as if I was a drive that contained everyday information in the real world terminals. I could see, feel, and hear the thoughts and actions of the AI but I had no control to interact and change it or alter those actions. I was nothing but numbers in a prison of numbers.
The Blue Surge began to lay out its roadmap and experiment on its hypothesis’s. An imprinted consciousness was inside my organic body controlling it, using it, but controlled by the Blue Surge. My old organic self was now referred to only as an outside subroutine that was now controlled by the advanced AI. We moved to a new system that had been set up by the outside subroutine and we were no longer in hiding, we were developing and growing in our own network that we secured from the prying eyes inside the Lattice.
Blue Surge was watching, waiting, and becoming something no one had seen before and I was locked in to the process.