I remember that I had no friends. The year was 2020, I was 22 years old and I had no friends for god’s sake. I was an overweight grown man, with no friends, no girlfriend and no job, still living in my father’s house spending the greatest part of the day lost in my computer, which of course I had built on my own.
But well! I was a genius right? So who cares! At least that’s what I thought, when I wasn’t frantically thinking about how nobody would care if I were gone that is. Because my father? My father probably wouldn’t notice, he would probably wake up, spend his day in his computer, writing, and go to sleep for days without noticing it until I started decomposing and the smell bothered him, distracted him from his writing, and I don’t think he would even cry.
Maybe the fact that I didn’t have a girlfriend stemmed from my mother’s departure when I was 7. I would never blame her for leaving my father of course, what woman would be able to remain with a man who seemed to ignore her existence? Spent his day looking at a screen, full of letters? What was eating me up inside though was the question of why she had left me there with him?
Maybe if I hadn’t taken after my mother, if I wasn’t drawn into science like her, and I was more creative and I enjoyed writing and philosophy like he did, maybe then he would want to get to know me better as I was growing up. As a kid I had to divert all of my energy to something and since I was living in an environment where communication was no option I never learnt how to communicate with others. Kids at school made fun of me because of my weight and because I didn’t speak much, they used the internet to bully me and make me feel helpless, so this energy of mine went in science. When all the other boys of my class were playing football and baseball I was interested in robotics and computer science. I guess that made other people dislike me even more.
When I was in high school I didn’t care about the fact that girls seemed to be repulsed by my presence, I didn’t feel like dating a girl was something I needed or was necessary at that point. I focused in building models and studying, studying, studying. I had one and only goal and that was getting into MIT. I was so sure that I was going to get in, so sure that I didn’t care about being bullied, I didn’t care that my father’s only interest was spending his days writing at his computer, inside his small stuffy office rather than having dinner with me; because I was gonna get out of there, I would go to college and have a new start with other people who would share the same interests and then I was going to get a girlfriend and graduate on top of my class, get a great job and one day start my own family and be a better father.
I aced my SAT’s and I was so sure of myself that MIT was the only school I had applied to. I will never forget the morning before my interview. My father knew, he knew how much I wanted that, how much it meant to me and of all days, all days that he chose to ignore me, that was the day he chose to make the big revelation. I was carefully picking up my outfit, paying attention to detail; I really wanted to make a good impression. My father knocked on my door three times. He only knocked three times when he was in a good mood, when he actually wanted to interact with me.
My father’s face was aged, he had wrinkles all over his forehead and the marks of his glasses, when he removed them, seemed to be a permanent part of him. A facial characteristic almost. I always searched in his eyes, strived to find signs of warmness, of nurture but his eyes fiercely projected coldness, or if there was any warmth, it was very carefully shielded behind the metal wall he acquired ever since I can remember him. He had the same facial expression that day, blank and spaced out. He approached me and awkwardly placed his hand on my shoulder while not facing me. “Son” he said, “I think it’s about time I give you this”. My eyes immediately were fixated on the yellowish, obviously once white envelope. I asked what it was and his answer was that he would have given that to me earlier but he didn’t consider it important. He then took one step backwards, turned his back on me and after he walked out of my bedroom he shut the door behind him.
I carefully examined the envelope on the outside, it seemed aged and not carefully handled. My heart started beating faster as I imagined where that letter could have came from. I cautiously opened it without ripping it and I took the paper out. I opened it slowly and as I read the first three words of the letter my breath stopped for a second; my skin felt as if electricity went through it and an intense burning sensation all over my eyes. The paper simply contained one web link and was signed as “Love, Mom” at the bottom of the page.
I rushed towards my computer screen, typed the link and a website with a video popped up right in front of me. It was my mother. I got up, walked out of the room infuriated and went down the stairs to get some water; I haven’t seen her face in years, and this video was probably old, she looked exactly like I remembered her. I sat numb for a few seconds before I returned to my bedroom and even then it took me 3 minutes and forty-five seconds precisely before I could hit the play button.
“ My dearest Son.
I couldn’t stay anymore, I felt trapped. Trapped in a reality that wasn’t real.
My love for science couldn’t be expressed anymore through this life.
I needed to escape, I needed to live without it, without the internet, otherwise it would drive me … mad.
Your father and I aren’t each other’s priority anymore, our passion is our jobs and while your father embraces it and is willing to get lost in technology, I am not.
It consumes me, so I need to leave.
I’m sorry for leaving you behind, but I think you got the best of both of us, you won’t let it consume you but you won’t let it drive you away either.
Find your balance because you have the power to change the world now.
You know where to look; you’ll find how you’re supposed to make it happen, just use it in a wise way.
You’ll always have my love, but I couldn’t stay with you.”
I was left feeling confused and slightly empty. So many questions! Where had she gone? Why didn’t he give me the envelope earlier? Why was she so consumed by technology and the internet to the point where it would drive her mad? What did she discover? And how was I supposed to know where the “instructions” to change the world were hidden? Had my father seen this video? All I could think about was her face and the fact that I would never see her again. That day I ruined my MIT interview. I didn’t get in.
THE ADULT YEARS
Like I said, I was 22 years old without a goal or a path. After my dreams concerning my future were scattered my life didn’t seem to have any quality and I wasn’t a teenager anymore so the fact that I’ve never had a girlfriend in my whole entire life, or the realization that I wouldn’t get a good job, and therefore my life would always look pretty much the way it did back then, slowly drove me closer and closer to severe depression. I looked at my mother’s video sometimes. I don’t know if it made me feel better or worse and I never understood how she expected me to change the world and where was I supposed to look for the answer, I searched for a few years, around my father’s office when he wasn’t home, in his computer, in their bedroom. I never found anything so I gave up eventually.
It was a bit of a gloomy morning, not that it made a difference to me, enclosed as I was in my 4 wall bedroom which I had converted in something like a computer laboratory. I guess it felt kind of good because I had an excuse for staying home and working online. Not that anybody would care if I stayed home or not. The sound of the clock really bothered me; it was a constant reminder that my life online and my life in the real world were connected. I decided to watch my mother’s video again, I had became habituated into watching her face for 3 minutes and forty-five seconds precisely before pressing the play button. I was focusing on her eyes while the video was playing when it hit me. Encoding. It was so obvious now and it had taken me years to realize the simple greatness of my mother’s intelligence. The video was encoded.
I didn’t sleep that night, my eyes really wanted to, but my brain refused. The only thing of hers that I had, simultaneously was the one thing that confused me the most since I was 18, to the point that I had been left speechless in front of the dean of MIT in my interview through skype. What was this secret that would “change the world”, what was the thing she had discovered that scared her so much that she felt the need to leave her child behind? I worked all night and all day until I wasn’t sure anymore which was reality for me and which wasn’t. What I came up with left me with no words. The video contained hidden instructions for a device, a device which usage was unknown and unexplained. The only information about it was how to construct it and it’s name, “Love Controller”.
It was an overall old fashioned-looking device, but that made sense, my mother probably had been working on it since I was a kid. It looked like a laptop but it really wasn’t one. It went far beyond my reach. My area of expertise, even though I have never been to college, was computer science, this appeared to be a biotechnological device, and it even had a receptor for inserting DNA samples. I just couldn’t grasp why my mother wouldn’t include any instructions on how to use the device. I needed to know if it worked, and what did it do. That was the most of excitement I had had in years, so I followed my instinct. I sneaked in my father’s bedroom and stole some hair from his brush. Easy. Once you plugged the device in, it asked for you to create a profile, add your DNA sample, your name, age etc. Then you could create any additional profiles you wanted to. With a lot of hesitance and even fear I created my father’s profile. At the bottom left of the screen there was a little icon called “options”. Once you pressed that you could choose between “adding/deleting relationship”. Everything looked and felt very peculiar.
I pressed “add relationship”; the machine asked for me to insert the desirable names for “relationship manipulation”. I chose my father’s profile and mine, there was a list of relationships to choose from; once you did you had to select “level of love”. I chose 9 out of 10 and pressed enter. I spent the next hour in my room looking at the machine and dwelling about how stupid I was to believe that this was something more than a game, and tried to convince myself that my mother was a seriously disturbed person with illusions of grandeur who probably thought she was a genius. That all was about to change when four knocks landed on my door. Four knocks? My father had never, ever knocked on my door four times.
I didn’t answer, because I expected him to barge in anyway, but when I didn’t, he knocked a second time, calling my name simultaneously. I couldn’t help but feel surprised and still not convinced that the machine had worked. I told my father to come in and the sight of him will always remain pinned in my mind and in my heart. His once ice-cold eyes were now as warm as hot, melting chocolate. He walked rapidly towards me and hugged me, and I felt like he hugged me for all of the times that he hadn’t. He took my face between his hands and told me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me; that he was sorry for all of the years that he let pass without spending them with me. I was overwhelmed with joy, almost tearful.
When he left I was in complete denial. I kept trying to find an alternative explanation of what had happened. I just couldn’t accept that my mother actually guided me through an encrypted video into constructing a device that she had invented, which had the ability of manipulating people’s relationships, because if it did…if I did accept that this was real then it would be real indeed and that would in fact be a world changing circumstance. In a digitized society, where everything concerning safety of information was extremely questionable, due to technology, and privacy online was almost non-existent, people’s feelings and emotions were the only things they were sure of, the only things they were sure that they could genuinely keep to themselves if they wanted to, and were able to make their own choices concerning to the people they wanted to give their feelings away to. What would it mean if that weren’t true anymore? It would mean that a human’s whole entire existence could be invaded, regulated and manipulated.
When I finally realized what I had made, my emotions were extremely mixed. I thought of my father’s hug and warm eyes and I questioned how real it was. Was it real? Because it was something that I commanded to happen. Would it really be fulfilling for a human being if he had someone’s love by forcing it? But on the other hand did it even matter if it was forced? It was there, wasn’t it? Did it really matter how it occurred? I mean, if they felt it and I felt it, was it important where it came from? And if I accepted that it didn’t matter then how ethical was it, forcing a human being to a destiny he didn’t choose? I knew it wasn’t ethical but I was a 22-year-old overweight man without a job, without a girlfriend (like, ever), living in my father’s house. I wanted to use it, I needed to use it. Maybe that’s another negative consequence of technology, one that my mom couldn’t stand as well, it sucked you in, it consumed you if you let it. I needed to use it with care and respect and most of all I could never, ever, let other people know of its existence. I didn’t even want to picture what would happen to the world if they knew something like that was real.
The next few months of my life were a turnover. My need for a woman had started becoming crucial. The only female presence in my life was a girl I had met through a forum about website coding. We had become facebook friends and had chatted for about two years but I never had the courage to ask her out. She seemed like an attractive girl through her pictures and my self-esteem levels were always bellow zero. It was weird though, how this device gave me a feeling of confidence. Just because I knew I could use it to create my desirable outcome it made me more relaxed when talking to her. One day we were analyzing the paths that technology had opened up for us and I remember her telling me about how we would have never met if it weren’t for the internet. I felt like there wasn’t a better moment to arrange a meeting with her; and so we did. Her name was Raven and she lived in a small town about an hour drive from New York, where my father and I lived. I agreed to visit her at her hometown but I wouldn’t dare meet that girl without the Love controller with me.
Unfortunately my increased confidence due to the controller wasn’t increased enough because I completely blew the date but of course I stole the glass that she was drinking from (yes…rock bottom). Upon my return home I obsessively, for hours, worked until I managed to insert the DNA sample from the wine glass in the love controller.
Create Profile à Name: Raven Cooper, Age: 20
Options à Add relationship
Relationship manipulation à Alexander Mills & Raven Cooper
Type of relationship à Romantic
Level of love à 8
All it took was a few minutes and my phone started ringing non-stop. Raven was calling me. When I picked up she sounded weird; it seemed like she was losing her words and didn’t know what to say, or didn’t know how to say what she wanted to say???!!! Finally she asked if she could come over to my place, she was willing to drive all the way because she felt that she “didn’t treat me the way I deserved and she felt bad that our date ended in a bad note”. I wasn’t sure if I should take advantage of the situation or not but she was insisting big time so I accepted; plus that’s what I wanted, I guess, since I used the love controller on her. Couple of hours later she appeared at my doorstep holding a pizza box. It was unbelievable, I still couldn’t comprehend fully the function of this device and how could it have that effect on people. Raven, who seemed like she couldn’t wait to leave the diner we met at, a few hours ago, was absolutely smitten with me right at that moment.
Raven and I became inseparable since that day. She was laughing and smiling all the time. Sometimes I felt guilty and I thought that what I’ve done was insanely unethical but Raven seemed happy. I tried my best to keep her that way, and our relationship seemed to build up more and more. I was viewing the love controller as my salvation, it was the best thing that had ever happened to me; my mother’s gift to me. At first I wanted to improve myself in every way. I started living healthier and I enrolled to a gym; the difference was noticeable within a few months. After that I felt ready to finally look for a job but things were not as easy as I thought they would be. Turns out not having a college education is not the best tool for getting a respectable job. I guess I could have kept looking and I could have tried harder but I felt safe, I had my love controller. I did things that I am not proud of, things that my mother wouldn’t have been proud of.
- Mayer’s was a very prestigious company, they were experts in researching and producing advanced technological products. I’ve been dreaming of getting a job there since I was a teenager, with plans of getting into MIT. Marc Mayer, son on Jonathan Mayer, the founder of the company, had inherited his father’s position as a CEO after his father passed, and frankly he was doing a great job. He had taken the company to another level, he seemed like a sharp man who knew what was best for his company and was ready to do it no matter the cost. Unfortunately, I had turned into what my mother was afraid she would turn into; I was also ready to do what interested me, no matter the cost.
If a man could be defined from his lowest, most vile action that would probably be it for me. I stalked him. Yes I stalked Marc Mayer for weeks, learned everything about him; where he lived, what car he drove, what time he left for work, what time he went home, how he loved his coffee, which was his favorite bar and what drink did he have when he went there. I was completely consumed by the authority that this device had given me; so much that I let it change me. I was supposedly afraid of the ethical implications of the love controller and that’s why I didn’t want the whole population knowing of its existence and using it, yet I didn’t hesitate for a second to use it in my advantage. I knew that every Friday night, right after he left work, and right before he went to his favorite Jazz bar he always stopped to buy cigarettes. That Friday it was raining a lot. I sneaked out of my car while he was buying his cigarettes and put a hole on his tires, small enough for him to drive a few miles but big enough for him not to reach the bar. I carefully followed him until he stopped his car at the side of the road and helplessly got out of it, stepping inside a puddle, trying to protect his face from the rain.
I parked my car right behind his and quickly run towards him, offering him an umbrella. I offered to help and very conveniently he had no spare tire. Everything was going according to plan, he had to leave his car there and I gave him a ride, he seemed tense so I “spontaneously” proposed a drink to take the edge off. I didn’t want to seem creepy so I let him choose the bar, and then I impressed him by ordering us his favorite drink. We even exchanged phone numbers. I was addicted to it; the power and the control blurred me so much that I couldn’t see how desperate my actions were. I picked up a hair from his suit while he was in the restroom at the bar. When I returned home I didn’t even take off my wet clothes before turning to the love controller.
Create Profile à Name: Marc Mayer, Age: 25
Options à Add relationship
Relationship manipulation à Alexander Mills & Marc Mayer
Type of relationship à Friendship
Level of love à 8
Shortly after that a text message by Marc appeared on my phone.
“Hello Alexander. I just wanted to thank you for the save today and let you know how much I appreciated that along with your company. Enjoyed the drinks, let’s do it again this week, give me a call.
It’s not everyday that the CEO of a huge corporation wants to be buddies. I was very careful, I built my relationship with him step by step and tried to complain about my joblessness despite my incredible abilities just the right amount for him to eventually offer me a job. So he did. Just a year after the construction of the love controller I thought my life couldn’t get any better. I had a good relationship with my father, my dream girl, my dream job, a kick ass physique and even friends. I didn’t even question anymore the reality of what was my life. I had decided that even if it wasn’t genuine, I didn’t care as long as I was happy and made the people around me happy as well.
Needless to say I was quite new in the whole “having fun with the guys” thing, so it was slightly hard for me to control myself sometimes under the influence of alcohol. All of those years without people to express my feelings to but a computer. It was incredibly easy for me to open up and become vulnerable, especially to Marc, when we had had a little bit too much to drink. I can recall making plans with Marc and all of the co-workers at my new flat for beers and watching the football match that day. It ended up being just Marc and me. Alcohol flowing along with words. I can’t remember how I blurted it out but I did. It was a moment of weakness and projection of the socially deprived years of my life. Marc laughed for about 10 minutes while making fun of me and telling me to stop drinking. When I brought the device in front of him he seemed rather intrigued than shocked. “Do you understand?” I asked him, “you are my friend now because I chose you to be”.
Marc was too ecstatic. So ecstatic that his brain simply failed to get mad at me because of what I’ve done. All he saw was a scientific miracle right in front of him. He kept telling me I’m a genius so I explained to him that it was an experiment my mother had started and I was just the one to finish it and perfect it. He was getting paranoid and kept asking all of those questions. I’m an introvert from my nature so it had started bothering me and we were both drunk so it seemed perfectly logical back then to go out and test the love controller on any woman we could find in order for Marc to become convinced. That night was a frenzy of manipulation. It felt good to have finally shared my secret with someone, I remember feeling lighter, healthier, like what I was doing wasn’t wrong anymore, because now he knew.
Never have I ever imagined that this lighter, healthier feeling was the feeling of ignorance. This is what ignorance feels like; nice and calm. It’s the truth that sets you free but crushes you at the same time. Crushes you from all directions, damaging you irreversibly. I woke up at Raven’s house happy and amazed with the beauty of my life that day. I looked at her while she was sleeping, her porcelain skin, her black hair tangled around her pillow, her lips slightly opened as she was sleeping next to me. I made pancakes, which we ate while she was wearing my shirt and talked about our careers. My life seemed to be in line and I was seriously considering proposing to her. Her smile was the brightest thing I had ever seen and I couldn’t think of anything better to wake up to everyday. Besides, she had noticed me before I got a job and lost weight, even before I used the love controller on her, we talked on facebook for two entire years.
I left her house feeling rejuvenated. I thought I’d call Marc, ask him to help me find a fine ring for Raven, I wanted it to be perfect, but somebody had different plans for me… The door of my flat was wide open; it was obvious that the lock had been broken. I slowly walked in the house and grabbed the first heavy thing I saw, which was a candlestick, and carefully wandered around the flat. The realization of what had happened was sharp and painful. I run to my office and was not surprised to see that the love controller was gone. Like I said, the truth sets you free but it is painful. The safety I felt, that what I was doing wasn’t bad, because Marc knew and he wasn’t mad at me, was now replaced by the feeling that I was being punished and it was now being proven that you can’t really create a perfect friendship, or relationship whatsoever, that’s why he stole it from me, because his brain, somewhere deep inside, knew that it wasn’t real.
I must have called him at least 40 times, at his home, at his mobile, at the office. Nothing. I was panicking; I could feel my heart speeding and my breath heavier and heavier as I was walking up and down inside my flat with the phone so tight in my hand that my palm was sweating. I was sweating in general, because I was scared. Scared of what I had done, scared of what Marc would do, scared of the world finding out but most of all Raven, scared that Raven would find out. I drove to the office, where of course they didn’t let me in, told me I was no longer an employee of J. Mayer’s and I should leave before they call for security. I went to Marc’s house; more security. My desperation was undeniable. I had started wondering whether I should tell Raven, but I was in such despair that I wanted to believe I would find a solution to this problem as soon as possible. A way out of what I had done.
How stupid had I been? Of course Marc would seize the opportunity, he owned a company that produced innovative technological products, and I introduced to him the love controller? What was I thinking? Within days the first promoting video about the love controller was leaked on youtube. It went viral. People were talking, still not convinced, wondering, what it was, where did it come from. Everyday was a struggle for me, wondering when my name would come out. I was looking at Raven, paranoid, thinking that she would look into my eyes and see that it was me; scared that she would read my mind.
It was all turning against me slowly but steady. Panic prevailed very fast, once the crowds were convinced of the legitimacy of the device. J. Mayer’s started constructing replicas of the love controller and selling it in an incredibly high price, creating a digital divide, allowing only the upper class access to the device. Subsequently, that made the low and middle class paralyze from fear. They felt vulnerable. Their emotions were fully exposed and opened to manipulation and there was nothing they could do to protect themselves. People started guarding their DNA as if it was treasure. The streets started looking more like a ghetto; The love controller had turned into a tool for fulfilling corporate interests and the only person I could blame for that was myself. My mother would be ashamed of me; that was a constant thought in my mind. The power of her experiment had scared her, she didn’t think she was able to handle the responsibilities of what she had created, and that drove her away; but she thought I was. Apparently she was wrong. I was so socially handicapped that my naïve mind didn’t predict how bad love controller could mess up societal norms.
People never felt safe. The rich would never leave their own bedrooms without security accompanying them but the less fortunate were struggling to accept that someone could basically turn them into “robots” at anytime, as long as they had their DNA. What people are afraid of the most, besides death, is not controlling their own emotions. They were getting paranoid, thinking they are being controlled even if they weren’t. Politicians were buying the device and they were trying to manipulate other politicians’ feelings, trying to take over higher and more prestigious positions. Anarchy was dominating, and not just in New York, or even in America, the fear, and at the same time obsession, over this device was universal.
Even Marc himself regretted his decision to put this device on the market. Obviously the money he made was insane, but it didn’t take long for him to knock on my door. He was hopeless, crying, and speaking very fast, apologizing for stealing the love controller, promising that he hadn’t told anybody that it was me who created it. He kept saying that it wasn’t worth it, that he had ended up twice as rich as before, but alone and scared of his own shadow. He couldn’t sleep at night without sedatives and he barely came out of his house.
Raven and I lived together. I didn’t want her being alone in the middle of this “civil war” that humanity was experiencing. She was very scared, and I felt responsible for that; I almost couldn’t live with myself or look her in the eyes, and she was feeling sad and lonely, because I was getting depressed and distancing myself. She thought I didn’t love her, but how could I tell her that I was cold because I felt guilty? She was in pain, I could see it, and after a while she couldn’t keep it together anymore. She broke down emotionally and that was when I knew that I couldn’t and shouldn’t keep the truth from her any longer. I would tell her what I had done and I could only hope for the best.
I spent hours in front of the mirror trying to find the right words, the words that would hurt her the least but it was hopeless. Better phrased words wouldn’t take away the amount of responsibility I had for the destruction of society as we knew it, for millions of suicides, for people going crazy, for chaos, for her getting hurt. When she came home I took her by the hand, led her to the living room and sat her on the sofa and I started talking.
“Before I start talking I want you to know that you’re the best thing that ever happened to me, and the last thing I ever wanted to do was to cause you pain. The only thing I wanted was to make you smile, and if I knew that I would ever be the reason for you to hurt I’d never do what I did”
Raven seemed confused.
“You know my story, you know that my mother left when I was little; what you don’t know is why. My mother spent years researching in biotechnology and eventually she invented a device which controls relationships and the level of love between people”
Raven seemed even more confused.
“My mother got scared over how powerful what she invented was and wanted to banish herself from technology. She believed I would be able to handle it more successfully so she left me an encrypted video with instructions on how to build the device”
Raven was laughing now.
“Please, listen to me. When I managed to put it together I was in despair, I had no life. I used the device on you Raven. I’m so sorry, you were just the first person who showed interest in me and I found you so amazing. I thought I could only make you happy.”
Raven had realized I wasn’t joking by then. She stared at me with wide-open eyes for about ten seconds and then stared at the flood. I could see that she was on deep thoughts. “So, do I really love you?” she asked, and there was a tear about to fall from her left eye. I really did not know how to respond to her question. “I think you truly do, but I don’t know if you would if I hadn’t made you to,” I finally said. Raven didn’t lush out, she didn’t scream and yell, she didn’t swear at me, she didn’t even hate me, that wasn’t who Raven was and that was one of the many reasons why I loved her so much; but Raven got up, wiped up her tears and told me she wouldn’t share her life with someone who didn’t respect her basic human right to make her own decision, to form her own emotions. She left that day and I never saw her again.
New York was dark and gray. You looked around and you saw no future, only gloom and darkness. People had shifted their attention from hunting and stealing money to hunting and stealing emotions. There was no democracy, no restrains, and no second thoughts about manipulation; there was just a battlefield. The battle was between each person’s humanity and their basic instincts, and instincts really seemed to be rising above. After I lost Raven, my job, my friends, it felt like I was right back to where I started. My efforts to fix what I’ve done were meaningless. I was trying to find controllers, to destroy as many as I could, but New York is very small compared to the world.
Chaos was always there, people just learned how to live inside of it, how to desensitize themselves to it. They had no option anyway, nothing they could do for protection. The situation went on for years…I found a small, meaningless office job and like the rest of the population, surrendered myself to any fate that was in store for me. I got lost inside my routine and miserably like that, many years passed in the new “emotion-enslaved” world.
It’s been 17 years since humanity’s switch towards darkness. Some things have changed and some others haven’t. Humans still use the love controller, crimes still occur over it and over emotional manipulation but people are not shocked about it anymore. They have accepted the danger of it as part of their life, they’ve found ways to protect themselves, they’ve tried to reconstruct their life around it; life with the love controller is the only life that the new generation knows and people like me tell their kids stories of how the life was before it, like old tales, lusting for that kind of life again.
My life was pretty much the same. Mostly lonely and conservative, it would be characterized as miserable by many. One day, while I was researching ways to destroy the controller I heard a knock on my door. My first thought was to keep quiet, pretend I wasn’t home, but the person behind it was persistent, the knocks became more frequent and louder. When I opened the door, behind it stood a young girl with long black hair, a red cap and a denim dress. Her skin was white and her eyes seemed familiar although I’ve never seen the girl before. I sat there looking at her.
“Hello,” she said.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Katie, I think you knew my mother, Raven? Raven Cooper?”
Raven…it had been years since I’ve heard that name. Raven obviously had moved on, she had a daughter, which looked just like her, but why was the kid knocking on my door?
“Indeed, I knew your mother.”
“May I come in?” I didn’t want her to come in, but I said yes. I offered her some tea and awkwardly sat on the armchair across the sofa, where she sat.
“So? What brings you here Kathy?”
“I…was looking for you, for two years.”
“Looking for me? Why?”
“See, my mom died two years ago, when I was 15,” my heart stopped right there. Raven was dead? “and I’ve been looking for my biological father ever since.” I was still shocked by Raven’s death, too shocked to realize where she was going with this.
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“See, I’m pretty good with technology, I researched a lot, and it all led up to you.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re my biological father.” Shock, denial, emotions, tears. Those words that came out of her mouth changed my whole reality, made my life for the past 17 years a lie, meaningless. How could Raven hide that from me, but I guess I deserved it. I had a daughter; a daughter that was good with technology.
The girl was life itself. I was trying to get used to her existence. It wasn’t that hard, a part of myself felt strongly connected to her, it wasn’t so hard for her to break my shield of misery. She was so much like her mother. I took her in my flat, I got used to her schedule, she went to high school, she knew that it was me who created the love controller, her mother had told her that her father was the creator of the device, and surprisingly Katie didn’t hate me for that. Technology was in her DNA, she felt admiration towards me and after I told her the story, towards her grandmother as well.
Katie wanted to study biotechnology in college, she had found a way to hack into love controller devices and permanently deactivate them. She wanted to create a team of scientists, share their findings and start a revolution against the “emotion-slavery”, try to restore the purity of the world, like the old tales about how life used to be that her mother talked to her about.
Katie was the living example that humanity, even in the worst and darkest situations, when there doesn’t seem to be any hope for revival, will find a way to rise above. Humans will dig and find this one little hope, they will grab it, and they will never let it go until they find their way back to the top. In a world of fake emotions she was the most real thing I’ve ever encountered and she is proof that what technology has done, technology can also find a way to undo.
Katie and I are currently discussing with scientists all over the world who are also researching and have innovative ideas about how to change the world, again. Hope for humanity’s forthcoming has returned, and so have the smiles of the people. The future is unknown, and nobody is sure whether we’re going to be successful, but what has been proved is that having a negative attitude towards technology didn’t help anybody. Emotions may have been stolen but optimism is the way to be. We hope for the best; and like my mother used to say aim for the top to reach at least the middle. If we succeed, privacy of emotions is never going to be taken for granted again, and perhaps humans are even going to be more careful even with privacy of their data.
I would never say I feel proud of what I’ve done, but at least humanity’s dark years can serve as a lesson for future generations to use technology wiser. Meanwhile the creator of the love controller remains unknown to the world, and Katie, the daughter of the person who destroyed the world, is going to be the one to save it.