The Silicon Trip
By: Joshua Klessig
There was an indescribable unity surrounding Scott. Everything breathed as he did, even the desk next to him. Everything that he did was reflected in the world around him. If he talked, things in the room moved in beat. The music pouring out of the TV screen synched with his thoughts. The images blasting out of the speaker were of his deep subconscious. Everything was perfect, waves of euphoria raced through his veins.
There was a burst of bright red neon. A stylized image of the robot from "Lost in Space" appeared yelling "Danger, Danger," as an abort button came up in the center of Scottís field of vision. An image of a brain with waves of red swelling along the edges appeared below the button.
Automatically, the cut off switch was tripped, and Scott returned to reality. No euphoria, no sensory crossover, no unity. All that was left of the experience was a wire plugged into his head leading to a keyboard-like box on the ground.
Scott shrugged off the residual effects of the drug box and pressed a cryptic looking button on the side of keyboard. Graphics and text indicating the neurological aspects of the last 5 minutes streamed in front of his vision, burning in bright green and red. He had been on the verge of a "Profound Neurological Event," probably a severe seizure. Problems like that were all too
common when programming a new trip for the drug box, that is why they were still illegal.
Scott looked at his watch; he had biology class in ten minutes. He unplugged the drug box from his head and filled his backpack. As he opened the door he nearly knocked over his roommate, Chris, who was just coming back to the dorm from class. "Hey Chris," Scott said, "donít play the disc I left in the drug box, itís still a work in progress. Very little progress at that."
"Sure, whatever," the words sort of fell out of Chrisí mouth. He was obviously high on some crude chemical based drug.
"Hey, you really should be doing the silicon trip. Good discís are cheap, reusable, and better on the brain," but Chris was already through the door.
Scott pulled out a pack of Egypt Reds, removed one of the cigarettes and lit it. He smoked it on the walk to Drexler Hall. The University was big, so there was nothing better to do while walking to class than an Egypt. Perhaps class was canceled that day, but it was not something to bet on.
Lab had already started when he arrived in class. In front of him was a pile of plastic figures; on the board was a chemical equation for some amino acid. Scott scrambled to put the molecule together; he looked around the class to see that his looked completely different from everybody elseís. He frantically tried to find out how he went wrong, then he noticed a sheet of paper
in front of him with a new equation. He finished the new molecule; it looked like a stick figure animal with a red nose.
The professor held up someoneís molecule and said, "Can anybody tell me what this is?"
Scott raised his hand and said, "Um, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer?"
"No Scott," the professor said, "canít anyone else at least make an educated guess?"
Scott held the molecule at eye level, trying to imagine what it was. A hydrogen atom that was the animalís foot fell off, Scott raised his hand again, "How about a Rudolf with leprosy?"
The professor was visibly irritated by now, "Scott, just leave the class, go to your dorm or something."
Scott walked down into the cluster of buildings full of classes in session. He took off his backpack and fished out a small plug with a wire running back into something in his backpack; he plugged it into his head. He then grabbed a small headset and put it on, aiming a small laser projector at his left eye. Then he put on some glasses and pressed an on button obscured by his
backpack. A series of icons appeared amongst the people walking around. Concentrating on the icon labeled "Global Uplink Carrier: TACHO BELL LABS," a few seconds passed and a translucent screen popped up reading "Global Uplink Successful." As Scott walked back to his dorm, he read downloaded manuals on the latest drug box coding techniques, before long he reached his dorm room door. He entered his code into the keypad and opened the door.
The smell was wrong. Scott walked into the room. Chris was laying on the floor unconscious. The electrical smell of Ozone was prevalent. The drug box was lying on the floor next to Chris, a wire connected to his head like a leech, sucking the life out of him. A cocktail of fear and adrenaline raced through Scott. He immediately pulled the plug out of Chrisí head and checked
his pulse. It was there, but weak.
Scott rushed over to his desk and reached under it, pulling out a large grey lockbox. He punched in the code and opened the box. There was a tray resting just under the lid containing various hypodermics, these were set aside. Under the panel were all sorts of electronic devices. He grabbed a screen with a wire coming out of it and set it on Chrisís chest. He took the wire and
plugged it into the jack on the side of Chrisí head where the drug box had been connected. The screen came to life, a model of Chrisí brain in the upper left corner, EEG and EKG monitors the bottom, and the remainder were assorted homeostatic readouts.
Just then a high pitched white came from the device as the EKG went flatline. Scott looked through the tray of needles until he found a red needle with the words "Epinephrine 9" on it. He injected it into Chrisí chest and started compressions, the EKG fluttered a bit, but remained flat.
Scott retrieved a disk shaped device with two long needles and a wire connected to a screen. He put the disk on Chrisí chest and turned the machine on. Chrisí heart is made visible on a live x-ray screen, two little targeting sites land on of it. Motors whine as the needles rotated their position on the disk until it matched the targeted areas on the screen. The needles started to
burrow into Chrisí chest. The targets on the screen turned red as the needles stopped. Below the image of the heart a button appeared with "Initiate Heart Regulator," written in blue neon. Scott pushed it. The EKG monitor returned to normal heart rhythm.
After the heart ordeal, Scott was very relieved. It didnít last long. The EEG readout was looking like the EEG of someone in a coma. As Scott adjusted the EEGís frequency resolution, he found a digital shadow of a normal EEG; that indicated that the neural interface bio-chips were still operational.
Scott picked Chris up and set him on his bed. He removed an IV and catheter from his emergency kit. He prepped Chrisí arm and inserted the IV. The catheter was then inserted into his bladder. The phone rang; Scott let the answering machine pick it up. It was Chrisí parents. Scott started to think about the legal ramifications of what had happened. If Chris died, Scott
decided, he would hide the body. However, Scott was not going to let that happen.
He walked over to the drug box lying on the floor. Pressing a button on the side, a 2-inch CD ejected from the box. He took the CD and inserted it into a slot on his computer. He loaded up a diagnostic program that analyzed the sensory filter data on the virtual drug disk. After a minute, the computer pinpointed a defect in the synchronization subroutine. Apparently the code mutated causing Chrisí brain to go into an infinite sensory loop. He was stuck in his own subconscious.
Scott loaded his VD editor and started coding a repair for the defect on the disc. The synch subroutine was complex, constant feedback from the brain was used. It was this feedback that gave Scott an idea. Using the synch routine bound inside the VD, he could access Chrisí brain by projecting his consciousness into the feedback. Scott made the appropriate alterations to the
code that would put him into the loop, while keeping him in control. He opened his dresser and pulled out a splitter and a spare neural cable. The two cables were connected from each of their head to the drug box. Scott pressed the on button.
There was an overpowering sensation; a feeling like a seizure was about to come on. A psychedelic bubble materialized 10 feet in front of Scott and started to expand until it pushed Scott through. Everything was a deep shade of blue. It was moist, Scott was drenched in a violet fluid. He was in a twisting maze of tunnels. He wandered aimlessly for 10 minutes. Eventually, he found an old 1980ís neon sign shaped like an arrow, it was labeled "Subconscious this way," but it was pointing at the ground. Scott dropped to his hands and knees, digging at the rock. It unearthed like gelatin, light was visible below. The ground opened to swallow Scott.
He was caught in a web of silk, thin lines of it everywhere. Scott was hanging upside-down, but the hole he fell through was below him, waiting to swallow him up again. Using all his strength, he flipped himself upright. He stated climbing up the webwork, away from the hole. Spiders were crawling all over the web. Scott pressed on. The higher he got, the less dense the
web became. There was a sharp stinging sensation on his ankle, Scott looked down to see a green spider burrowing into his skin. The pain was intense. Gravity shifted and he was falling up into the ceiling. Despite the spider, he got up and walked until he saw a grey fleshy orifice. Scott was beginning to hallucinate. The walls were reaching out to him, trying to grab him. He dove
into the orifice and blacked out.
When Scott came to, he wasnít breathing. He was suspended in a grey gel. Hallucinogenic figures floated in and out of view. He could taste Chrisí knowledge; it was seeping into him. He was slowly sinking through the grey matter. As he went deeper, more foreign memories took residence in his mind. As he continued deeper, the grey slowly turned white. Suddenly he could
sense Chris. The hallucinations were getting difficult to bear. He saw his face dissolving in a hallucination. He fell through the gel. He was Chris, all the memories and thoughts were his.
The floor was a circular pattern of cobblestone. Chris was sprawled out on a white table in the center. Hundreds of cables ran out of his head and limbs, going into a hole in the floor. Chris was like an ornament, the only decoration in the room. Scott was the room, he could see from every angle at once. He mastered his hallucinations; he was the hallucination, an insidious hallucination in Chrisí mind. Scott concentrated and pulled together a body mass out of the floor. Using the new body, he walked over to Chris, and removed a thick black cable from Chrisí spine and inserted it into his. He flew through the cable into another room, as the previous room collapsed into the cable behind him. In this room Scott was eating Chrisí feet as Chris was
doing the same to him. They move in circles as they ate each otherís body, there was no blood or gore, it was like they were made of plastic. Scott had totally integrated himself into the loop. There was a box with a split cable plugging into each of theirs head, Scott removed the cable
Scott was lying in his bed, an IV in his arm, and a catheter in his bladder. "Whatís going on? Where did," Scott couldnít continue to speak, he saw Chris remove a cable from his head. He turned to Scott.
"I came into the room and found you half dead on the floor," Chris said as he put the cable on the ground.
"But I walked in on you."
"That was part of my feedback. You experienced me finding you and your brain translated it as you finding me."
"I have your thoughts. I know your memories."
"Me too, it must be a residual effect. No one has tried what we just did."
"Than what now?"
"We market it. Forget higher education, weíll be rich."
"What should we call it?"
"How about the silicon trip?"