Generation Dead

GENERATIONDEAD

GENERATION DEAD

By: Alex Claw

“Vanity killed the world!”

Harrow coughed and looked up from where he was sitting.

A man in rags shook his fists to the sky, directly overhead a drone moved in slow circles, like a shark in water. Harrow was surprised that the man was old, his beard and greasy hair streaked liberally with gray. It wasn’t the dye jobs the kids wore these days, mocking the world that didn’t have old people anymore, with their gray and white dyed hair.

Harrow pulled his coat closer around him as something more than the late fall air chilled him.

The Raggedy Man jumped off the bench and grabbed a passing woman by the arm.

“You’re what killed America!” he yelled. “You wear the face of a youth, but your soul is aged and decrepit!”

The woman slapped the man and then yanked herself out of his grip without so much as halting her stride. The Raggedy Man didn’t seem to care, instead his eyes locked onto another figure. Harrow.

“You!” the man cried, stepping forward. “How old are you? Forty? Fifty? Your face is that of a child, but there’s nothing innocent there! How soon before you die!”
The man laughed hysterically. Harrow coughed and the man’s eyes widened enormously.

There was a lone bleat of a siren and the cops were upon the Raggedy Man. Harrow didn’t even see where they had come from, but then again the new droids were faster than meatbags could ever be. The mechanical law enforcement officers threw the man onto the concrete ground.

The man’s face smacked against the stone and blood dribbled from the side of his mouth. His eyes were still locked upon Harrow’s, a wild and crazed grin on his face.
The droids yanked the man to his feet and dragged him toward a holding wagon that sat at the edge of the park. The park was zero tolerance when it came to disturbances. Harrow coughed and rose to his feet, pulling his coat around him again.

As he exited the park, he saw a droid walking up to him. Automatically Harrow stopped and pulled out his identification card, he held his hands palm outwards and kept them away from his pockets. The droid didn’t say anything, instead it took the card and access the the information encoded on it.

“Everything in order?” Harrow asked.

“Citizen Arnold Harrow, age forty-nine, apartment three-seven-three, District Ten. You have been monitored sitting in the park for twenty three minutes, not engaging in any activity. Your actions fall under the category of suspicious,” the droid said.

“I was just enjoying the park.” Harrow said. He coughed and cleared his throat.

“State your business here.”

“I was in the hospital,” Harrow said, pointing to the towering building bordering the park. Mercy Hospital, the only one still running in the city. “My son, he’s in there. I just came from visiting him.”

“Your explanation corresponds with the travel permit you submitted this morning. There was no mention of a twenty three minute detour to the park. This park has a zero tolerance for public mischief.”

“It was spur of the moment. I just wanted to enjoy the park one last time,” Harrow said.

“You are a Class Two citizen and are required to submit travel itineraries when leaving your district block. Failure to do so will result in a suspension of your travel permits, continual disregard for law and order will result in jail time and a reduction in your citizenship standing,” the droid said.

“I suppose it doesn’t really matter anymore,” Harrow said.

The droid stepped back, clearing enough room to draw it’s weapon. Harrow held his hands up before him, showing he was unarmed.

“It was a joke,” Harrow explained.

“Your terminal condition does not preclude you from adhering to the laws of the state,” the droid said.

A few tense seconds passed by where Harrow wondered if the droid was going to shoot him or arrest him. The moment passed and the faceless machine handed him back his card and then walked off. Harrow pocketed his card and quickly left the park,

He headed toward the transit hub. The wind howled and he looked out on the empty streets. Overhead the drones were rumbling across the skyline and occasionally he caught a glimpse of a droid patrolling the abandoned buildings outside of the downtown area. The buildings were still pristine and well maintained, the city having declared that once the emergency was over, they would be filled with bustling commerce once more.

He wondered if it was a requirement to be delusional when it came to holding public office. The downtown area was still a gleaming image of glass spires and maintained parks, everywhere else was anything but.

“Harrow, my man!” a voice called.

Harrow spun around, the voice was familiar and he felt his heart beating faster.

A figure walked toward him.

“Kit?” Harrow asked, then something clubbed him across his back.

#

Harrow’s head ached and he coughed.

“Awake?” a familiar voice asked.

His head was enveloped in a bag.

“What the hell is this, Kit?” Harrow demanded.

The bag was pulled off his head and Harrow coughed. He found his hands weren’t tied and used the back of his hand to wipe his mouth.

Kit sat lounging in a dining room chair before him, between them sat a small wooden table. Harrow looked around and saw that they were in a large warehouse, the distant skylights and darkness surrounding them meant it was a big one. They weren’t downtown nor were they anywhere near District Ten.

“How’s it going, old friend?” Kit asked, flashing a killer smile. He was long, lithe, and had his hair dyed a bright white, like some punk kid. In fact, Harrow saw, he was dressed like a kid. With his tweed jacket that must have been a hundred years old, the homespun trousers, and the scuffed oxfords on his feet.

Harrow wanted to laugh, instead he coughed.

“How the hell do you think it’s going?” he said. “What’s with the hair?”

Kit grinned again and ran his hand through his hair. It was shoulder length. “Got to blend in among the people,” he said.

“Among the kids, you mean. You’re nearly sixty, old boy, or do you suddenly have a taste for veal?”

Kit scoffed.

“Why the hell am I here?” Harrow demanded. “We parted ways eighteen years ago, old man.”

“And I lost my two best lieutenants,” Kit sighed. “Mia and you were great, I haven’t found anyone good at hacking like the two of you. The things you could make a computer do.”

“There aren’t much call for computer techs these days,” Harrow said. “Plus we wanted a life together.”

“The greatest attrition we suffered was not to death or imprisonment, it was to the lure of a domestic life. Of the old suburban dream, big houses, picket fences. Where are those now, old friend? Ruins.”

“We got tired of the killing, Kit. We got tired of being hunted and after the girls were born and after Seattle, we couldn’t look at ourselves in the mirror anymore and claim to be heroes. Our hands were stained with enough blood.”

“We’ve changed now, Harrow. The Organization has change since then.”

“Last I heard of you was on the state news. They said you’d bombed another political rally, killed hundreds.”

“Bullshit,” Kit said. He leaned forward to Harrow. “We don’t bomb anymore, Harrow. Not after Seattle. There are better ways to get attention now. We don’t want to destroy the infrastructure, we just want to replace the people who control it.”

Harrow coughed and sat back in his seat. “Well, save me the speeches, Kit. As you see, I don’t got long in this world. Unless you’re here with a cure for dying, I just want to die in peace,” he said.

“How long ago did you begin coughing?” Kit asked.

“A week ago,” Harrow answered. “I got another week before I’m history.” He shrugged. “I’ve made my peace.”

“And your son?” Kit asked.

Harrow’s lips tightened. “Nothing they can do for him,” he said. “I suppose it’s best. He’ll pass without ever knowing he’s dying. It’s better that way.”

“I heard about your wife and daughters. I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Shit happens. We can’t change that.”

“Such a bleak view of the world, Harrow.”

“We all got to grow up sometime,” Harrow said. “We may still look like we’re in our twenties, but we still change on the inside. The world’s full of death, didn’t you know?”

Kit laughed and snapped his fingers. A man came out of the darkness, dressed in black, and wearing full body armor. There was a pulse rifle strapped to his back and he carried a bottle and two glasses in his hands.

“Do you know what the kids call us these days?” Kit asked, unstoppering the bottle and pouring amber liquid into the two glasses. Harrow read the label of Glennfiddich.

“Tell me, you seem to have your ear to that crowd these days.” Harrow accepted the glass and inhaled the aroma. He sighed, the only alcohol that he’d had in the last ten years had been home brewed. There was something intoxicating about old world things, before the Great Dying and before anyone ever heard of Rejuv.

“Generation Dead.” Kit sipped his drink.

“It’s apt enough,” Harrow replied. “What’s the count now? Eighty million dead? Another twenty million in the next five years?”

“Pretty much.”

“Vanity killed the world.”

“What’s that?”

“Something this old crazy said in the park.”

“He’s right,” Kit said.

“So why am I here?” Harrow asked. “I’m sure it’s not to talk about the past or about me and my son dying, or even just to drink this scotch.”

“We’re still fighting, Harrow. The world is changing, but the government isn’t seeing it that way. Do you remember the Black Death?”

“Sorry, Kit. I’m not that old,” Harrow said.

“The Black Death killed a third of Europe, it crippled nations, but didn’t destroy them. Instead it brought about change. It brought about the Renaissance, my man. It laid the foundation for everything that we take for granted now.”

“Sure, Kit.”

“A hundred million of us took Rejuv when it first came out. A hundred million Americans, over a billion people across the world. We did it because we were promised that it would keep us young. It did, but only for so long.”

Harrow coughed. “Yeah, I know. Fucking peer pressure has led to my death thirty years later.”

“The governments of the world are trying hard to maintain control of their people, all this death, all these people dying, they’re looking at it like it’s a curse. It’s not, Harrow. This is our Black Death, the moment of change for the entire world. This over populated, marginalized world. No more drones in the sky, no more droid cops, no more walled districts. We can break the hold of the government and establish a better future for our children.”

“Mine are all dead or dying,” Harrow said. He coughed again. “It’s easy to make speeches when you’re not days away from dying, Kit. You’re the one percenter, you’re never going to grow old. Hell, you might live forever. The rest of us poor fucks, who thought we were going to live forever, die by the time we hit fifty.”

“The lottery of genetics.”

“Do you know how it feels to suddenly be told that you’ll be dead when you turn fifty? That you don’t have a natural lifespan? That your wife will die three years before you, that your children will be left orphans? But, hey, at least you’ll look like you did at your prime until the day you die.”

“People don’t know what they have until they realize how little time they have left,” Kit said.

“Fuck you, Kit. I wanted to grow old and play with my grandkids, but political activists and designer diseases killed that dream. So tell me, before my time runs out, what the fuck do you want with me?”

“I want your brain.”

Harrow laughed and coughed.

#

“They don’t make them like they used to,” Kit said. “Trust me, we tried making them ourselves, then we tried finding people to make them for us, but it seems all those folk who died, they knew how to make it.” Kit poured him another glass of scotch.

Harrow looked at the glass in his hand. “My brain, huh?” He coughed.

“Technically the Nintendo synaptic receiver/transmitter implants you had installed when you were a kid,” Kit said.

“I used to think I couldn’t live if I didn’t have three entertainment channels, two social platforms going, and a game running at the same time.” Harrow chuckled, sipping the drink. “We had to be so wired, we actually were wired to the Net.” Harrow twirled the liquid in his glass. “Now it’s just a chunk of molecular plastic and silicon in my head. There’s no more Net, there’s no more games, and there’s no more entertainment channels except those produced by the state.”

“Plus it’s now illegal to have them implanted.”

“Why do you want my brain?” Harrow asked.

“We’re going to bring back the Net.”

“Bullshit,” Harrow finished his drink.

“Honestly. We’re going to bring back the Net and with it the freedom that comes with shared information. People will now know what’s going on around the world, not spoon fed what the government wants. People will see how fragile the whole system is and how they can overthrow it and build a better future.”

Harrow nodded. “The Net’s been down for twenty years, Kit. It’s locked up tighter than a drum.”

“That’s where your brain comes in. The Net is still there, information is still being transferred, but the quantum lockouts installed by the government keep everyone out. We’re going to hack it and then crack the lockouts.”

“The best minds have been trying to do that for the last twenty years,” Harrow said.

“Using off the shelf computers. We got your brain.”

“I’ve been drinking a lot lately,” Harrow said, pouring himself another glass. “I don’t think there’s much to work with up there.”

“The implants are the next best thing to a quantum computer,” Kit said. “It works by using your brain as a processor. We’ve run simulations, we can do it.”

“I suppose you figure with my time running out, I’ll gladly sign up?” Harrow asked.

“We have other candidates we can approach,” Kit said and Harrow didn’t doubt him. Being on the run from the government for thirty years showed how resourceful he was. “I approached you first, out of friendship.”

Harrow laughed. “You’re planning to turn my brain into a computer, then use it to crack the lockouts, my guess that doesn’t bode well for my brain.”

“You’ll be turned into a vegetable.”

“Great. I see friendship goes a long way.”

“The way I hear it, the last days are painful. Organ failure, dementia, muscle spasms.”

“I know.” Harrow said coldly. “I lived through it with Mia.” Harrow cleared his throat. “We’ve been through a lot, Kit. Back in the day, fighting the good fight, all that shit. But that’s not who I am anymore. I’m dying, my family’s dead, why the hell should I care about the future? Mankind, at this point, can go fuck itself. I’m worm food in a week and what America does to itself after that isn’t my concern.

“Friendship isn’t enough for me to give over my brain to the most wanted man in America. You can’t take it from me due to my own lockouts. And I don’t really give a shit what happens to the world. So, tell me, old friend. How do I benefit from this? Fuck legacy, fuck the feeling of doing something good for the world before I die. It took everything good I ever had.”

“A simple trade, Harrow. Your life for the life of your son.”

The man in body armor arrived again, carrying a small case. He set it on the table and Kit slid it before Harrow.

“What are you talking about, Kit?” Harrow demanded.

Kit opened the case and Harrow looked down at what it contained.

Rejuv.

#

The next morning, Harrow sat in the cramped hospital room of his son, Dylan. A breathing machine hissed and whirred, at his side scanners, monitors, and various other machines beeped and chimed.

Harrow looked down at his son. Seventeen and he looked like a shriveled old man.

Kit wasn’t the only political activist, or terrorist, that wanted the government to fall. Over the last twenty five years, there had been a steady increase in attacks, biological, chemical, and good old fashion bombs, as the government tightened its control over the surviving population.

Amanda and Charlene, twins and his oldest, had been killed by a bomb planted by the Democratic Liberation Front. Apparently the intense belief in maintaining a democratic nation included bombing high schools and killing scores of innocent children. Mia had died from being too old, the Rejuv she had taken when she was a college student had finally come a calling. Harrow looked down at his sole surviving child, someone had decided to release a virus in the district they lived in. Only a dozen people had been afflicted, but one of those dozen had been Dylan.

Fifty years was long enough to live, compared to the fifteen his daughters experienced and the seventeen his own son had suffered through. Harrow wanted to trade every day of his nearly fifty years to allow his son another fifty of his own.

“Everything alright in here, Arnold?” a voice asked.

Harrow looked up and smiled. Doctor Cassandra Santiago stood at the door, she wasn’t a rejuv, but she was still young. Harrow guessed she was mid to late thirties. The difficult work of operating the sole hospital in the city and the long hours had carved their mark into her face, but Harrow thought she was beautiful. There was something he hadn’t realized he missed, the age lines, the crows feet, the mature shape of an adult woman’s face.

Every face he’d grown up with still looked like a child’s, like his son’s.

Harrow coughed. “Everything’s fine, Cassandra.”

“You look like hell, Arnold,” she said. Harrow smiled, she was the only one he’d ever known that called him Arnold.

“Yeah, rough night.”

“I smell alcohol,” she said.

“I ran into an old friend. We had a long discussion.”

Cassandra nodded and took out a tablet and begin inputting information. He wondered if it were his chart she was fiddling with. Technically he wasn’t her patient, after all there was no treatment for what he was suffering from therefore no need for hospitalization until the last days. Yet, she was a professional and didn’t let things slide.

“No change in Dylan,” Cassandra said.

“Still dying, huh?”

Cassandra frowned. “I have a colleague that says he’s seen something similar to what Dylan is suffering from. He’s across the country and, well you know how it is, it’s tough transmitting data that far away.”

Harrow looked at his son. “Do you remember the Net?”

Cassandra smiled briefly. “As a kid, I suppose. Didn’t really have access to it before it collapsed.”

“Do you think, if the Net were still up, you’d be able to figure out a cure for Dylan?” Harrow asked.

“Unknown. Sharing of information would be good, it would allow us to track the spread, to share information about possible treatment, and maybe slow it. A cure? I don’t know, there’s too many variables. The virus he was hit with is just too exotic, it’s a good thing it only afflicts very few people, otherwise we’d be seeing a widespread epidemic.”

“A black death,” Harrow said.

“The Bubonic plague was bacterial, not viral.”

“What about Rejuv?” Harrow asked.

“What about it?”

“It’s supposed to boost the immune system,” Harrow said.

“Well, true. Rejuv had the benefits of strengthening the immune system, boosting regeneration rates, along with keeping the host young. If not for the side effects, it would have been the greatest medical breakthrough ever. Due to your robust immune system you weren’t afflicted by the virus your son carried. You do have the genetic markers it affects, like a key into a lock, but your immune system fended it off.”

Harrow sat there for a moment, staring at his son.

“What if we had Rejuv,” Harrow said. “What if Dylan were injected with it?”

Cassandra raised an eyebrow. “I don’t see how, Arnold. Rejuv has been banned under penalty of death for the last twenty years. All stockpiles were destroyed and any held in personal possession have been rooted out.”

“Hypothetically.”

“Hypothetically… well, maybe it would help. There is reliable data from before the drug was banned that showed people who took Rejuv had no occurrences of cancer or viral infections. Bacterial infections, yes, but the recovery rate was extraordinary,” Cassandra said, then she paused, looking at Harrow. “I hear there are places in the world where they view Rejuv as a magic bullet for all their woes. They even still make batches of the stuff in homegrown pharmacies, a quasi Rejuv that causes more harm than good. That stuff is dangerous, Arnold. There’s a reason NATO has authority to seek out and destroy all of these places anywhere in the world. Rejuv is dangerous to the world.”

Harrow looked down at Dylan. “Like a key into a lock,” he muttered. “Almost like it was designed especially for him.”

Cassandra touched his arm. “Are you okay, Arnold?” she asked.

Harrow smiled. He lifted the bag that sat at his feet and pulled out an injector. Cassandra’s eyes widen as she saw the logo on it.

“No, Arnold. I won’t let you,” she hissed.

“You never had a chance to stop me, Cassandra.” Harrow said, he laid down the injector on the bed. It was empty.

“What did you do?” she gasped.

“Dylan would have been dead inside of a week after I died. When I die, the money I’m paying for this room would have dried up. He’d be tossed out.” Harrow rose and brushed back Dylan’s hair. His brow was cool to the touch. “He had a week to live, now he has thirty more to enjoy.”

“You don’t know if this will work,” Cassandra picked up the injector as if it were a live weapon. “You don’t know if the drug is still viable.”

“It’s the real stuff, Cassandra. I know it will work. He doesn’t gamble.”

“Where did you-“

“He’ll make a full recovery. Tell him I’m sorry for this, he’ll probably curse me for what I’ve done to him, but it’s thirty years he’s got now, instead of none.” Harrow blinked away tears. “Keep an eye out for him, will you?” Harrow bent down and kissed Dylan’s forehead. “I’m sorry for this, son.”
Cassandra looked at him confused. “What the hell is going on, Arnold?”

Harrow didn’t say anything. He walked out of the room.

“Harrow!”

#

There was a car waiting for him outside the hospital. Harrow knew he didn’t have to worry about travel itineraries or droids checking in on him, Kit would take care of it all. He got into the car and sat silently as it drove out of the downtown area and into the outskirts of the city.

The gleaming downtown towers were replaced by high walled district blocks that held people in protective zones, drones and droids crawled over the area, but the car he was in moved on without hassle. The districts were replaced with the old shopping malls, suburbs, and warehouses that were so common a generation ago. Now they were all ruins, crumbling relics of a world where everything seemed possible.

Until vanity killed it all.

Kit was waiting for him in a different warehouse. A team of technicians stood behind him, these were proper old people, where he had gathered them from, Harrow didn’t know. There was no doubt that he had been planning this for a long time.

“Harrow, my ma-“

Harrow punched Kit in the face. Surprise registered on Kit’s face and he fell backward onto the cement floor. Immediately the guards rushed in and grabbed Harrow, he felt the barrel of more than one pulse rifle shoved into his back.

“You infected him, you asshole.” Harrow said. “You infected my son, didn’t you? To bring this all fucking about. You don’t need god damn bombs when you can tailor up a virus to kill whomever you want!”

Kit rose to his feet, wiping the blood that seeped from his busted lip. “Yeah,” he said. “So does this mean we don’t get your permission to use your brain?”

Harrow snorted and coughed. “I’m not a fool, Kit. I know you’ve already hacked my lockouts, you could have snatched me up anytime and used me as your little computer.”

Kit nodded. “True. We try to be civilized when making deals. We have really changed, Harrow. We’re trying to set an example, not just cause chaos.”

“Fuck you. I also know I’m your last god damn chance at this. The Net we knew might not exist anymore, but information still gets around. The big bit of news is that if you don’t use it you lose it, isn’t that right? The synaptic implants, they degrade over time, if they aren’t used. The Net’s been down for twenty years and there aren’t many people out there who use their implants anymore.”

“Except for my best tech couple,” Kit said, smiling. “Mia and you had a local area network set up, am I right?”

Harrow laughed. “I’m still a tech junkie at heart, old man. There might not be a world of information out there, but there’s a trickle, with enough patience and hacking, you can get where you need to go.”

“We’re at an impasse, I think.”

“I’m still dying, there’s no changing that. You can still hack my lockouts easily enough.”

“So do we do this the hard way or the easy way?” Kit asked.

“You infected my son with a virus and then you’ve condemned him to live a short life looking like a freak,” Harrow said, angrily.

Kit laughed. “Do you think I would infect Dylan with something that we couldn’t cure? Or that I’d let him live a short life? I’ve always thought of you and Mia as family, Arnold. I’d never do anything to hurt your children. What you don’t know is that we have information. We can identify the one percenters. We know who can take the Rejuv and not die by the time they’re fifty.”

Harrow coughed. “You mean…”

“Your son is going to make a full recovery and if he avoids most dangers, he should live a very, very, very long life.”

Harrow slumped in the guard’s grips. “Fine. Use me.”

“You’re making the right choice here, Harrow.”

“You’re a monster, Kit. The worse thing you could have done is to threaten my kid’s life to get me to work for you, then make him one of you.”

“Don’t worry, Harrow. Dylan can decide what he wants out of life. I’m not that much of a monster as to force him to join the Organization. People have to find their own way and beliefs, but I suspect he’ll discover how much this world sucks and how we can help in making it better.” Kit smiled.

They lead Harrow to a large padded chair. It was enveloped in metal, computer screens, and wires. Harrow had to pause and admire the set up, they were using a lot of old tech, but the part of him that had salvaged old computers, built the network for Mia and him, was impressed.

“What’s going to happen?” Harrow asked.

“Once we get a connection to the government satellites, we’ll upload the programs, and after that the implants will take over. You’ll be unconscious through it all. No pain, no suffering, just sleep, and then you’ll expire.” Kit said.

Harrow nodded. If there was a way to die, that was as good as any. It beat organ failure and dementia.

“Hook me up.”

“Any last words?”

“Go fuck yourself, Kit.”

#

Kit stood before the bank of monitors and watched the progress. A decade of research, hunting down technicians, and painstakingly piecing together knowledge. A lot of which had been lost, but then that’s what the state wanted. They wanted an ignorant population. They wanted their power supreme.

“Connection made,” a tech said.

Kit looked at Harrow, his face was peaceful and calm. He hadn’t been lying when he said that it would be a peaceful death. They were only burning out his brain.

“Programs transmitting.”

“How long?”

“Don’t know, sir. An hour, a few min-“ the tech stopped, staring. “We’re through.”

“That was fast.”

“Secondaries are launching, we’re breaking through all the government lockouts. Third wave launching.”

“He’s burning up,” Kit said, looking down at Harrow.

“We’re redlining everything,” the tech said, then he smiled. “We’re done. The government’s been locked out. The satellites are ours.”
Kit smiled. “I can connect now?”

“Yes, sir,” the tech said.

Harrow had been right, those that didn’t use it lost it. He hadn’t been the only one who had been a slave to information in the old days. Kit activated his implants and began accessing the data from the satellites. He grinned, he had thought of just letting the implants degrade a long time ago, but then he realized that there would be a time when he would need them again.

Kit looked at the monitors, he had all the information in the world. He had access to the government databases, the world’s databases. Information and readings began flashing across his vision, the built in HUD activating. He could remote access anything and it would be transmitted visually.

Harrow gave a gasp and shuddered. Then lay utterly still.

“He’s expired, sir.”

Kit nodded. “Thank you, old friend.”

There was a beep and then an alarm began chiming.

“What is that?”

“There’s a program uploading, I don’t know where it’s from,” the tech ran to a computer. He stepped back and looked horrified. “Sir…”

Kit walked up to a monitor and saw a map displayed. It was the city. Slowly words crawled across the screen.

HERE I AM! COME AND GET ME!

Then an image of Kit’s wanted poster displayed itself.

“What is this?” Kit demanded, suddenly he felt his access to information cut off. It was an almost physical sensation. “What happened?”

“I…” the tech looked terrified. “The program identified your genetic code and then backtracked your implants, sir. It then hacked your implants and permanently locked out your receivers.”

“What does that mean?”

“You can’t access the information, but you’re still transmitting. You’re also locked out from the Net.”

“Transmitting what?”

“Your GPS location.”

“Shut it down!”

“We can’t, we have to remove the implants.”

Kit stared at Harrow and then at the monitors. He laughed.

“You sly fucker,” he said.

“Look at this, sir.”

“What now?” Kit asked. “Is it giving everyone a gun to shoot me with now?”

“No, sir. The program is now sending out a browser program to all television and computers, it’s also reprograming the modems to allow them access to the satellites and databases, along with downloading quantum lockouts to every computer.”

“Where?”

“Worldwide. It’s doing this to all the computers in the world. When it’s done, it’ll lockout every government from every computer, television, camera, drone, and droid. It’s using the government infrastructure to build a new internet, along with sending out diagrams and schematics on how to expand, upgrade, and build independent networks.”

“Harrow did this? Harrow did all of this?” Kit wondered.

“This is the work of years, sir. He must have been working on this for decades.”

“Waiting for a moment just like this,” Kit said. “God damn it, Harrow, you brilliant mother fucker.”

“What are we going to do now?” the tech asked.

“We get the fuck out of here, we find a way to stop my implants from transmitting my GPS location, and then we topple the government.” Kit snapped his fingers and the techs and guards began rushing.

He paused before Harrow’s body.

“You were right not to trust me, old friend. I’d have kept my hold on the information, I’d have used it to rule. Who else can bring about a new chapter in world history besides me? Vanity, Harrow, vanity. Rest easy, old man. You’ve probably saved the world.”

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