“You should come” he said. “It is really fun!” Without thinking, she gave the automatic response which she had grown accustomed to and which was supposed to mean definite acceptance but was commonly used now as an indefinite answer; “Sure”.
After her definite indefinite answer was out there, she thought to herself that it may actually be fun and interesting. Anyway she enjoyed almost all forms of art. Suddenly she turned to him and asked “Wait, it is not a poetry thing, right?”
His facial expression gave away the response she was dreading. “Why?”
“I fucking hate poetry.”
“It is more like spoken word most of the time but people can make music or share any other forms of art too.” You didn’t need to be a master of reading people to understand he was just prevaricating. He and his friends had seemed nice enough in the half hour since they’d met so she decided to take the bait figuring that in worst case scenario she could leave early.
Poem after poem was spoken. She felt inclined to share. Not a poem but a thought. A thought she had to vent out without offending anyone or risking being caught.
“I have something to share!” She calmly said and stood up. “It is not a poem though. I will be venting and I hope you will feel free to leave if it gets boring.”
The faces in the small crowd smiled at her as she had noticed them do with other first timers who were encouraged to share no matter what. However those sharing could easily be shut down once they started if it was offensive to the hosts, or if the hosts simply didn’t like them.
“I work with quite a few odd ones due to my...” she couldn’t say part in the possible revolution. Frustrated at herself for not thinking ahead she found a non-lie: “...side project."
“I have been observing them for quite a while and even have become sort of friends with a few to the point that they feel comfortable enough to confide in me.” She saw a couple of smiles turn upside down.
“These people have a major flaw in their logic which causes them to live their lives in a certain way and then completely burn out. We all have an end game. We all have one point that we want to reach in our lives,be it becoming the ruler of the universe or having your own vegetable garden. There is an ultimate goal, no matter how unreachable, that we thrive for. I have understood that for the odd ones there is a common goal; their endgame is to be pure. Their thought process suggests that the ability to be and stay pure is the best possible existence and that if they were pure they would no longer want.”
“They are confused about why I am...” Dammit! She almost said rebelling against the system. She had to be more careful. “... unhappy sometimes.”Phew.
“The ones that are against becoming complete tech with their whole being, end up going through the conversion when the depressing realization that they will never become pure sinks in. It is, for some people, becoming the new suicide. Minus death obviously. Or perhaps the new giving up and becoming an addict like in those old movies.”
One of those frowning faced people stood up. Had she taken it too far? Was there a possibility that she said something that would have outed her as an Ohm member?
“You cannot compare the complete upgrade with harmful addiction.” the unsatisfied audience member stated and continued while walking out: “Complete conversion helps people do better. Addiction is death!”
She stood in silence while people argued amongst themselves without listening to each other. As far as she could hear, they were mostly in agreement with the only difference being their choice of words.
* * *
She sat down next to Uncle. He was still out. “I know Uncle...” she said, “I know that you don’t understand why I am here. Centuries I have been operating on human bodies. Trying to fix them according to the latest medical procedures found. Centuries I thought one day I would get to work with the research team instead of being a regular doctor. Nobody dies anymore. Nobody retires. How could I ever move up? I will not get any smarter than I am and the people in those positions will not get any stupider.I am stuck, pure and all, as an ordinary doctor. You have no idea yet but now you are stuck being pure and useless. If this movement of ours takes centuries to begin, you will live the pure and useless life for centuries. How long will your sanity last?”
She was startled by a grunt coming from the uncle. For a moment she was afraid that the uncle was awake and simply faking being out cold, hearing everything she says. She checked the EEG signals. Deep in REM. Phew.
“That was a deep sigh.”
She turned to face Arsinoe at the door.
“Came to check up on your favourite patient?”
She looked at Arsinoe compiling what to say. They were both pure women working for Ohm, they should have been able to confide in each other. Maybe all it would take was the first step. Maybe she could just take that step now.
“Can you imagine, Arsinoe, with a lot more odd ones like uncle converted into pures, how much psychological and sociological research we could do? For centuries we would be able to gather data and have new findings. I can’t even come up with a solid hypothesis of what the results would be. It would be mindblowing for everyone.”
Arsinoe walked inside the room and sat on the side of uncle’s bed.
“And what use would that be for Ohm?”
She was taken aback by the response and angrily she said: “There is more to life than Ohm!”
“For you maybe, and for me and for other pures. But there is no life for complete techs and there is no future for odd people. So really, Ohm is the only thing that matters for anyone who’s not pure.”
She tried to object “But this kind of research can...”
“This kind of research can drain our resources and cause us to be spotted due to a number of random pure ones starting to exist out of nowhere and a number of odd ones ending their existence around the same time. I knew you were STEM but I never doubted your intentions here before. Is this why you are here? To run tests on the members?”
“No, it was just an idea.”
“I highly suggest you get rid of that idea until Ohm has won. And while we are at it, stop taking unnecessary risks.”
She was surprised at that remark.
Arsinoe stood up from uncle’s bed and started walking towards the door. As she moved beyond the threshold, she started speaking:
“Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Not even you.”