Big Brother

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Flash Fiction
Surveillance Screens Big Brother

With recent events surrounding Edward Snowden and Europe’s response to finding out about the US spying on them, of course I had a scene pop into my head about a big brother type society:

Due to Celestia’s discretion laws, the state holds the right to intrude on your privacy at will. The red text scrolled across the ticker screens. Aleya usually glossed over the all too common message, but today was different. Today she stared at the screens inlaid into the wall, clutching her bag closer against her ribcage. She alternated between brief pauses and shuffling along in a single file line with the rest of the commuters. The faint beeps from the scanner ahead bounced off the polyurethane walls, lending a cold and sterile atmosphere.

When it was her turn, she slowly extended her wrist out and hovered it over the scanner. It was a small counter with a glass top. A holographic image projected up from the glass, displaying her name and micronID picture. Except it wasn’t her. Today she was Eileen Samarn. And today, Eileen had someone to kill. She held her breath, waiting. It seemed like an eternity for the confirmation beep to sound and a holographic green check mark to pop up.

She did a mental leap of joy and the two soldiers standing guard nodded her through crisply. The usual grunts. They had that stern look their drill sergeants practically molded on their face. Aleya hurried through, her heels almost skidding across the floor. People broke out from their single file lineup past the checkpoint, milling through the lobby toward the elevator. They all seemed perfectly placed to be in her way. She weaved through them, almost every one of them distracted with their neural interfaces. It was easy to tell with the look on their face: the glazed over eyes of someone looking but not actually seeing.

“Wait, ma’am!” one of the soldiers shouted. She was almost to the elevator. She heard his wide strides tap against the ground. She knew she would appear suspicious if she ran. The lift was almost within reach. Her hand slipped into her bag. She kept walking—pretending not to hear him.

She pressed the elevator button and felt a grasp on her shoulder at the same time. It roughly jerked her around.

“I need you to come with me.”

“Is there a problem?” she asked, managing to raise her eyebrows in feigned surprised.

“CynaDyne sent us a notification saying your micronID has expired.”

She heard the elevator open up behind her. People shuffled past them, too involved in the digital world to notice their immediate surroundings. Plan A never works. A shame.

[Featured photo credit: _mixer_]

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