Saturday, April 6, 2013

F: Foreshadower



This is part of a continuous story, so start HERE at A.

Foreshadower

The story of the foreshadower begins with a young man named O’Cyrus McMillan.  He lived in the Pemdas colony on the outskirts of the Federation, where he owned and operated a factory that produced the hottest fashion accessories of the time.  Glow-in-the-dark girdles were his largest seller.  For some reason, the rich women of the Federation liked it when their undergarments shone through their outer layers of clothing.

This accessory alone paid the bills and then some, but he never felt secure in his fortune.  He personally thought his product was hideous, and he often felt guilty for contributing to the degradation of good taste.  He wanted to add something good to the world, something more meaningful than a garment that, even after being removed, left one’s skin with an unsettling afterglow.

He thought for a long while about what people might actually find useful.  It wasn’t until he sat alone at a bar, studying the foam in his beer glass that he found himself wishing he had a device that could show him his future.  Then he could know if he ever found a worthwhile idea.  He could avoid the dead ends.  If only such a device existed, because people would pay a great deal of money to see what lay ahead.

The revelation hit O’Cyrus so hard that he broke the bar’s record for competitive beer spitting.  If that product didn’t yet exist, he would make it.  Not only would people be able to improve their own lives, he would be able to improve his own in the process.  He would be rich, and he could avoid any harm that might await him.

There remained only one problem.  He didn’t know how to make anything that could see into the future.  Still, a complete lack of engineering knowledge couldn’t be allowed to stop him.

After several months of drunken fraternity parties at the local engineering school, O’Cyrus had a group of business partners who would help him with his project.  The students built the device, and O’Cyrus McMillan funded the effort.

Soon the prototype was ready.  The tiny chip would be implanted into the brain, where it would input data collected from forward in the wearer’s personal time stream.  The prototype could only look a couple of minutes into the future, but surely the range would improve as they worked to perfect the technology.

The prototype was installed in the minds of 100 test subjects, including O’Cyrus.  The first time he saw an image from his near future appear over top the present moment in his mind, he felt both disoriented and elated.  Each time he saw a future image come to life in his present, he was validated.  It worked.

Then he saw a close up image of himself stepping on a piece of glass.  He kept a vigilant eye out for the offending shard of glass, but somehow, he trod on it anyway.  The stinging flesh angered him, but he knew this was hardly a massive failure.  Merely an inconvenience.

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there.  Each time he foresaw something bad happening, his efforts to avoid it only seemed to make it come true.  Frustration turned to despair as he realized his brilliant gadget was taking into account its own existence when it foretold the future.  It predicted what he would do to avoid his fate, therefore guaranteeing that he would live the moment as he saw it.

So, a few months later when he saw himself committing suicide by jumping off the roof of his factory, he didn’t question it.  He walked up the stairs and onto the roof.

Just before stepping off the edge and into the arms of death, he thought to himself, This whole thing was a terrible idea.

Within a year, 99 of the original 100 were dead.  All suicides. 

Only George, test subject 100, could stand the reality of seeing his inevitable future, and the only thing that saved him was a deep seated, abrasive cynicism.  George had always understood the inevitability of the ills that befell him.  He predicted gloom and doom before the foreshadower was installed, and with it, he still did.  Except now he knew exactly when to expect it.


Proceed to entry G.

11 comments:

  1. What a great concept! I love the idea that the machines themselves are what created the inevitable futures.

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  2. Saved by a bad attitude. How ironic.

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  3. Good Post. I like the glow-in-the-dark girdles, haahaa! Knowing our future would not be good, even though, we all want to know.

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  4. I might actually wear one of it glowed in the dark!

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  5. Just shows you shouldn't mess about with the space time continuum! This is a clever little story.

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  6. This is really good! You're a good writer. But I have to be honest: The ending is not quite right. With all respect I think it has to something else that George realizes. Mary atMary A to Z

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  7. So much in this section made me giggle - PEMDAS, "...he often felt guilty for contributing to the degradation of good taste." And this bit, "The revelation hit O’Cyrus so hard that he broke the bar’s record for competitive beer spitting." HAH! *Very* Douglas Adams-esque! LOVE! :-D
    Some Dark Romantic

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  8. Great writing. Ironically the cynic lives and drunken fraternity parties prove good for something.

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  9. Glow in the dark girdles....I'm gonna see a silly imagine of that all day.

    A-Z

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  10. I absolutely love your sense of humor. Glow in the dark girdles, competetive beer spitting- just love it.

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