Blind Control

Alan was sure he was awake, but he couldn’t seem to open his eyes. In fact, he couldn’t seem to move at all. It wasn’t like dreaming, because you could still feel emotions.

Here, there was nothing.

Maybe I’m in a coma, he thought. The operation … he remembered getting onto the table. Maybe something had gone wrong.

A thought of remembered panic was all that he could muster.

Seconds, minutes passed of silent, weightless nothing. He had no idea how many, until his eyes seemed to open without command. He was no longer in the operating theatre; instead, he lay on a metal-framed bed, covered in a green blanket and white sheets. Dima stood at the foot of the bed, talking to Saulius; Audrius and another white-coat stood on either side of him, talking to each other in Russian. Occasionally, Audrius would check his hand-held, and note something down.

It all seemed slightly hazy and muted, like watching an old, low definition film.

After shaking Dima’s hand, Saulius left the room. Dima wandered over and began talking to Audrius. He could hear their stern Russian voices talking, but when Alan tried to speak, the words seemed to echo only in his own head.

With the detached thought of horror, he watched his arm move and scratch at an itch he couldn’t feel on a leg that was somehow disconnected.

Audrius and the other doctor left, at which point Dima came over and sat down on the mattress, creating a huge dent on the bed beneath his bulk.

Dima’s mouth opened to speak, and out came a torrent of Russian directed at Alan.

With what would have been stunned astonishment, Alan heard his own voice speaking Russian back. After a few minutes, Dima switched to English.

“They say you are there, Alan, somewhere. I hope you are listening carefully.”

For once Alan saw true mirth on Dima’s face, which made it look all the more sinister, like a sick clown without makeup.

“Having trouble moving?” Dima laughed, gloatingly, shoulders shaking. “Audrius does not know if you feel emotion, but he says maybe, so I think, perhaps you feel powerless to know. Well, I hope you do. Perhaps you wonder what has happened. Well, you are now, as they say, a figment of the imagination. You are in the prison of a mind that is no longer yours, but ours. It is the new, improved Alan, your knowledge and memory, but mixed with Saulius’s, shall we say, love of the Federation. A big improvement, I should say. You were … annoying.”

Reaching into his coat pocket, he took out a cigar, and lit it, puffing the thick, blue smoke satisfactorily into the air, seemingly unconcerned that he was in a hospital.

“The perfect spy, no? You, but not you, which is … how did you say in your car? Something like, ‘it’s not good for the human race, but it’s good for us’. But of course, now it’s definitely not good for you, but very, very good for us.”

Smoke rose as he flicked a speck of ash to the floor.

“That’s right; we were listening in your car … and in your office, in your house – everywhere. We spent a very long time watching you, learning you … even before your trip to Cuba with your wife.”

He leaned forward, the stubble on his fat face smiling with genuine satisfaction.

“Ah yes, your wonderful wife Annette, poor woman. You see, if you know someone, it is easy to control them. It can take many years, but the FSB taught me a lot about patience. All you need is a way into the head, the lever that moves them. So, for you it was three things: your wife, power and control.”

The smile broadened.

“Of course, it was … not good for Annette, but everything you did after we infected her proved we had made the right decision. All we had to do was steer you in the right direction, feeding your fears about cyberization, your desire for power, your selfishness.”

Taking a deep puff from the cigar again, he fell silent for a few seconds, thinking.

“It is funny. I feel … regret that it is over. But, I am sure I will be able to move on. I wish I could say I will miss you, but I won’t. You are weak, and pitiful. But before I do, some advice: the man is blind because he sees only what he wants. Perhaps you will remember in the next life.”

He got up and began to walk out the room. As he reached the door, he stopped and turned.

“And just so you know, we didn’t need to imprison your consciousness. That was my request. Let’s say we are not different with our love for power, except perhaps that I am more successful.”

With that, he left, black shoes clicking on the floor, fading into the distance. Alan watched emotionlessly as his hand reached out for his mobile on the bedside table, and dialled Sean’s number.

“Hi, this is Sean McManus, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you,” said the voicemail.

“Sean, it’s Alan,” he heard himself say. “Just wanted to let you know I’ll be back in the office in the next few days. It looks like this transference thing is a no-go, but don’t worry, I’m fine. Had a lot of time to think things over, and I’ve decided you’re right. I’ll get an Interface. And maybe I should think about cyberization options for Annette, and myself. I’m being an old fool. Anyway, I’ll speak to you when I get back to the UK. Bye.”

Alan wanted to cry, but instead his eyes closed, and he was trapped in the darkness of his alien mind.

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  1. […] Blind Control It seemed a lifetime away, but that was how he always remembered her: freckled skin, thinning, auburn-dyed hair, and a red lipstick smile full of life. Not like now. Did she dream in her cryonics chamber, he wondered – not for the first … […]

  2. […] claims regarding the defeat, or cure, of ageing fascinate me. In my most recent short story, “Blind Control“, I explored the idea of someone obsessed with the idea of extending his life, but I’ve […]

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June 30, 2008