September 20, 2009

Logging out

He woke up to the loud and annoyed home system. It had started hurling abuses left and right, at an elevated voice. He had failed to wake up on its earlier wake up calls and pissed it off. It took him some time to calm him down and he asked for his mails, prioritized. He picked up the first. It was from Sarah, a pissed Sarah at that - even if he muted the mail, it would have been evident from the animated expressions she was making. It was her usual complaint - him not being able to give time to her, and a detailed tirade accompanying that. He disappointed her by giving no reply, no explanation. It wasn't that he didn't care about her. He had something else to take care of first.

He remembered the meme he had created to woo her. It wasn't a complicated one, but he was careful to leave no stone unturned and it took him two days to finally make it. He left it in her inbox and she traced it back to him. It was a game of memetic volley-ball made by the finest craftsman of memes and there was no looking back. He created more and soon, she was head over heels in love with him. He felt wonderful in thinking that he was able to make her feel wonderful. Until recently, when he started thinking what he did was manipulating her.

He opened his visuals and took a look at the charts. Some new kids on the block had hit high on the charts. Incredible speed and endurance. Some were able to hit the front pages in minutes and stay on there for months. It reminded him of himself in his heyday. He was responsible for creating one of the best in his time. That's how he had been employed at the G as early as when he was fourteen. He continued to make waves with his ideas and he enjoyed the adulation he garnered. Until he realized something was really wrong.

He realized it was wrong for people's fate to be decided by a bunch of algorithms. Wrong to disclose every idea, every thought that passed through one's mind. Wrong to be fed his next line of thought, something recommended for him depending on what his prior thoughts have been. He realized it was wrong to kill free will. And he did not want to be a part of such a crime anymore.

He had decided he had to stop it at any cost. But he could not do it alone. He needed people, an army. Thus, he began crafting feelers. It was a long, tedious process but he knew his patience would pay off. It did, and the few he found, he mentored them well. Slowly, but steadily, his army grew in size. It was gratifying, but he still had concerns. He was not getting any younger, and he needed someone else. Someone who could emulate and exceed him. Someone he could trust enough to pass the baton to.

The visuals beeped, snapping him out of his trance. He jumped in anticipation. He quickly sent a trace. His fingers tapped frantically trying to dissipate his excitement as he waited the seconds. Taiwan. More seconds as he ran the decryption, tested the signature. Positive. Rerun. Positive.

It was a kid, fourteen, just as he had been. And he had found him. It felt like discovering one's own son and finding out what a proud father he was.

Finally, he could log out.

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