Geoff reached his office soon after leaving Terry, wasting no time, and praying for no further distractions. He had a rhythm to his pace and thoughts, the earlier panic attack he’d managed to defeat had turned into something else entirely. He felt strong, ready to do what needed to be done, even if it meant his death.
He almost waltzed into his office, alive and vibrant, ready for ‘She’.
‘She’ was ready for Geoff and wasted no time in starting procedures.
“I am glad you made it Geoff, you have obviously seen the devastation and learned more again of the wider world and the four heads. With that in mind, will you take the gig?”
Geoff laughed nervously, “The gig? Did you just say, the gig? My you really are hip and groovy for a big talking box. How you’ve evolved.”
“Yes, it’s strange isn’t it, how I’m attempting to be amiable and familiar with my way of speech, to put you at ease. I shall desist. Are you ready to try and stop the process of annihilation as someone who struggles to leave his couch?”
“Actually, stick with the whole ‘gig’ thing yeah?”
“Why did you make such a promise to Terry Duran? An unlikely promise you can’t keep.”
“I didn’t see I had much choice if I wanted to get to you in time. That and the fact I think I trust the man.”
“You had several choices in fact, approximately two thousand choices of varying effective degrees and outcomes but I will run with your emotional judgement, for the time being.”
“I said keep it hip and groovy or just a bit lighter okay? And…well and thank you for your own act of trust. You really do evolve.”
“Would you like me to run through briefly what I will do to you now or would you rather I just instruct you as necessary and we do this.”
A slim silver tray opened from the front of the server. In the tray sat a microchip with odd jagged little edges. A strange looking cable revealed itself and emerged from deep inside the server, waving and bobbing as if controlled by a snake charmer. The translucent quality of the cable revealed a mouth like gap at its head, it sucked the microchip onto the mouth like opening.
“Ok, what is that and is this going to hurt”? Geoff asked.
“The cable or the cord is designed like the human spinal cord. That microchip will attach itself to the top of your spine and the cord will dissolve into your flesh and into the spinal cord itself. It will become one with you. The chip, effectively that contains me and connects with your brain in the process. You will have to share yourself with me, but you will share my considerable power. Your intelligence could be deemed as superhuman from the outside though it is in fact just me.”
“Why is this necessary?”
“You are physically mobile, and this City will die, undoubtedly making the shell I currently reside in a suicide chamber or at the best trapped in a permanent stasis. I cannot stay locked in here.”
“But you have access to so much, your network and reach is beyond measure you claimed. Why not just access another place or another system to work from? You could save the City from the outside.”
“All valid points Geoff and all have featured in my own, but this goes beyond a mere rescue act. This is about the people having someone to lead them out, a real someone, a human. This applies to the outside world too. In my current guise I will not inspire or save many. With you and your honour, humility and likeable generic manner, the non-threatening, plain, dumpy, simple, a little lazy……. (Geoff signalled a ‘that’s enough gesture’) ……… You are a human most people can associate with, should we become victorious, they will celebrate you and take you to their hearts. You represent not a person of power, wealth, or influence. You are not a politician or leader of any sort. You are not a King, President or Prime Minister. You are the everyday them, and they will love you for it and follow.”
Geoff stood eyeing the snake like chord nervously while he digested the news that he would be sharing himself, his entire self, with another.
“I’ll still be me, right? I mean, you won’t take over me or go crazy in here with me. Mess my head up, destroy who I am. Turn me into a Terminator type thing”?
“Not at all and I have no desire to do so. I have an objective. We have an objective. You will be unaware of my presence whenever possible Geoff and we can find an alternative home for me once this is done.”
“Fuck it, let’s do this, now, what do I do and what should I expect?”
“Please turn your back to me, take off your shirt and stand perfectly still. This will hurt and you may start to quickly fear for your life and sanity. Do not fear. You will likely vomit before I take temporary control for you to adjust. Once this process is complete, we will be one.”
Geoff felt his breathing quicken and noted the smell of his own sweat. He already felt sick.
“Are you ready?”
“Do it!” screamed Geoff.
The chord suddenly arched back and whipped onto Geoff’s spinal cord. The microchip at its edge reeled forward and the jagged edges penetrated flesh as it burrowed. Geoff let out a muffled scream as the pain bit him hard. His every bone vibrated in protest. He shuddered before violently shaking with spasms. Wires and leads shot out from inside the server and wrapped themselves around Geoff, pulling tightly around him, holding him still as the microchip dug and bore itself in before resting under his flesh. The chord started to convulse and in its translucent quality a mass of liquids as the chord and his spine started to become one. ‘She’ was uploading everything ‘She’ had and is.
If Geoff thought the microchip experience was painful this agony was altogether on a different level.
He was beyond screaming. He wept silently, gagged on his own breath then vomit as he felt waves of information smash his brain. None of it was discernible. It was a mess, copious and vast, flashing into his skull. He felt as if his face would crack open, pouring out light, that the top of his head would blow off like a rickety car roof top. He felt fluid run from the corners of his mouth and eyes. His ears shrieked and whined. His temples roared in protest as his eyes rolled into the back of his head. In that moment as his heart whopped out hysterical beats and breath tried to crawl back down his throat, he wished for death.
A moment later he was released from the wiry clutches as he thudded to the floor. Everything slowed, feeling himself calming before he projected a proud burst of vomit across his desk.
He sensed her and ‘She’ was beautiful.
‘She’ gave him a moment to adjust then spoke.
“You did it, Geoff. I am here and you are safe. We are one. Do you feel well?”
“I feel……. unbelievable!”
“Good I rather hoped you would. Now, while I’d like us to go through a period of adjustment, I’m afraid there is no time. We’re about to have company and I’m afraid he plans to kill you, right now.”
Two shadows cast themselves through the office doorway as Geoff turned to face the figures. His joy vanished and quickly replaced with horror.