Xat is standing beside a candy dispenser. though it's not required, the glass is still on it so everyone can see the inner machinations like in olden times. very retro, very very retro. Xat even knocks on the glass when the candy starts to slide off but is stuck on the ring. that always seemed to work in the past. learn from your ancients.
Xat: damn thing stole my mack! some things never change.
a kid conveniently enters the scene to add warmth to the lab manager getting colder and colder by the day.
Xat: see that, kid? work your whole life to earn enough for a candybar, and the government takes your hard-earned paycheck. you can't win. not in the end. they getcha. eventually they getcha. best to learn that now before your moldable mind gets hardened with the wetness of ecstasy.
the kid starts to cry, dribbling his tears onto his paper mack. Xat breathes a sigh of relief.
Xat: good sign, all is not lost. i'll punch this thing more on my lunch break, i'm sure by then someone will have made me lazily angry. i promise to get you your candybar.
Xat internally scans the itinerary for the day with his cyber eyes. he was a beautiful baby, one of the first to be born naturally with the cyber eyes already fitted. the government took great pride in this and paraded Xat around like the fucking Gerber baby. his poor parents couldn't refuse, they were poor. authority quickly equalled force to Xat's young mind and has engendered ever since.
Xat (speaking to himself): and now i have the money, prestige, and force of my own to take down my precious government. and most importantly, i have their next Gerber baby.
Ferm: hello? HELLO!!! Earth to Xat!
Xat: oh, i guess i wasn't speaking to myself.
Ferm: you were speaking to yourself, it's just i was here so i heard you speaking to me. we've prepped Tob for today's tests: soothing music, chamomile tea, cheese. he's in the greenhouse.
Ferm: our computers are running a simulation on all possible combinations of six different-colored buttons. still haven't come up with the right one. could take all year. or it could happen tomorrow. time is fast or slow but it marches on either way. mind you ours aren't the government computers.
Xat: they're cheaper but that doesn't mean they're worse. had to cut costs somewhere or i would have had to fire my entire staff. i'm willing to do a filler recap episode if it means having another season.
Ferm: and you must maintain your extravagant lifestyle. i don't mind, you spill some of that over into my mouth. quickie tonight? i enjoy being with you rather than having the exercise bot stretch my legs. i swear that bot's jealous of me, she intentionally hits my kneecap.
Xat: it was awesome enough when they fitted machines with human emotions but even awesomer when they gave them sexes.
Ferm: and sex.
a ballleaper crashes into a nearby government building, killing everyone on board and in the building. the fire bots quickly put out the flames but the smoke remains.
Xat: my schedule's pretty open, nohting important going on. how about a longie?
Ferm smiles, pushes her finger on Xat's forehead and walks away.
Xat: yes, enlightened as always. enlightenment always. my third eye is not present yet, not like our friend's.
Xat enters the facility room to the soundrops of
THIS, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
raining down on Tob's head. Tob would put his hands over his ears if he could find them.
Tob: make it stop! change the soundcloud!
Tob: i appreciate the light mist the atmosphere in here maintains for me, but the music is way off! soothing my alien ass.
Xat: it has a beat.
Tob: it sounds too futuristic. i hate the future. i prefer the classics, i learn more from them, learn where we all came from.
Xat: you hate your future. i hear ya, you want something else to hear. easily solved. i'll pipe some Corgan into the ear if you promise to do something for me.
Tob: a preemptive fuck you to start things off, sir, i've heard about you. you're sadistic the other way. no thank you. i don't know which moneyed boredom is worse, you or the gubmint.
Xat: it's true where's basically doing the same things to do, uh, through you.
Tob: that's not a better correction.
Xat: truth is, i just happen to have more money than the government so i won and won you. it's a golden pissing contest. for the first time in Earth history one person has more money than the government.
Xat: necessary. there has to be some counter, some otherness to the government's benevolent rule. thank god for independent thinkers, thinkers independently wealthy who filled my dad's coffers and built me as the ultimate weapon against. i love that word "independent."
Tob: when i supergoogle that word there's a list of only one entry: O'Reilly. i clicked but then i deleted the horror.
Xat: love that word "against." it must be an adversarial competition, not a decaying monolith, otherwise where's the identity, you're only real against the backdrop of your enemy's faulty assumptions about you.
Tob: for now you're more my opponent than my enemy, until you start torturing me.
Xat: i think of it as an enhanced way to get to the truth faster, and i paid to have my thoughts worth more. let's get this over with, i have a hot date.
Tob: you've read my mind, in the colloquial sense, not the actual sci-fi-reality sense.
Xat sticks a hard black stick with an exposed face of silver cyberchips into the top side of Tob's wet white square which is more and more stretched to a rectangle. Xat touches all around Tob's shape, tracing Tob's outline with his fingers, pointing his points with his points.
Xat: don't take this the wrong way, but my friend, you are one exquisite blockhead.
Tob: not your friend, but i am the savant without the idiot. i've lived too long.
Xat: you've seen things. you know things. that's what we're counting on. i never noticed your face before now that i'm upclose. only saw you on the screens. i love that long stringy graying hair you have, touching it you'd think it was strangely human, the hair of a strange human, very rock-star sage, very wizened wise hippie finally feeling the effects of all that pot.
Tob: again i say there are worse of your human tropes to emulate than hippie. i'm proud of that.
Xat: and do you have a third eye on your forehead? am i that blind to what's happening around me?
Tob: could be. either it's influenza or affluenza. either way, it's hard to not only care about yourself when you live only in your one human body. my third comes and goes, it grows when it wants to, when i start seeing things differently.
Xat: may it always stay open. stay open.
Xat sticks another stick into Tob's mouth.
Tob (mumbling): this one hurts.
Xat: it hurts you more than it hurts me. this is for progress, we all must bear the brunt, we all must share the pain and sacrifice. unlike my colleague Ferm's soft motherly methods, this won't be a benign computer simulation hooked up to wires. now that the implants are firmly into you, i can connect with my cyber brain directly into your mainframe and see which patterns of your buttons are more likely than not to find something. it's not a naked this one didn't work, try the next number, i'm processing large groups of numbers at a time.
Tob: yeah, and when that group is not producing results, i get a shock in my mouth.
Xat: it's a vibrant way to let us both know that's not the path we should be on, to quickly veer to this path of color combos, all in the name of efficiency.
Tob: an electric way. waste not, want not. this is such a waste. you humans wasted so much irrecoverable potential. i do not want this.
Xat: a classic. come on, buddy, you can do this. are you sensing anything?
Tob: oh, aw, AHHHHHHHHH, THIS FUCKING PAIN PAINS MY HURT!!! i wish my Spidey sense was real so i could end this.
Xat: you can't end this, only i can. where is the ore? where is the ore?
Tob: somewhere out there in the galaxy. processing. i have something, i think, in the Unknown Galaxy, a star system with three rocks, one of them is yielding results even after three rounds of false-positive tests.
Xat: good, good, what is it?
Xat laughs internally but only outwardly shows his tired smile to the misting greenhouse room. he makes a call completely inside his cyber brain without having to move a digit or a muscle.
Xat: this is gonna take awhile, have to gather certain people who are on vacation golfing on the moon and whatnot, coordinate schedules, it's a pain, you know how it is.
Tob: no i do not. i know pain. what are these hellish sticks in me called?
Xat: listen, i'm tired of this bullshit. it's time for all of us to work. we have to protect our home and all this glorious technology. time to stand up and not just coast. this is a glorious time to be alive, the future is now, and we all will have a future as long as we see what's in front of us.
Tob: no idea what you're babbling on about. please regale me with a work story, anything to distract me from being stuck immovably in this all-encompassing cast of torturous terror.
Xat: i'll take the newayz sticks slightly out of you for the moment, not all the way out but some so your mind is clear for my story. this experience made me who i am today.
Tob: then it wasn't a good thing. all experiences shape an individual, good ones, bad ones, big ones, little ones, especially the ones which don't happen.
Xat: no, it wasn't good, it wasn't good for him. i was one of the only humans left who still manned a suicide-prevention hotline...
TO BE CONTINUED...