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ID: 5585


April 2, 2009, 11:39 am

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Emotion 17


- "What about that one?"
- "They say he was a chipper back then. Took over his whole family and many more. And now, now he’s a real zombie."
Fingers snapped before his face, he didn’t notice. He just kept shuffling his cards again, that is all he did. A tear ran down his cheek. He missed the Emotion again.

Emotion 17 is a plot for a modern game, or games foreshadowing apocalyptic events. It can be played from the beginning (where a PC could fall to it), during the infestation, or in its aftermath, pursuing renegade groups or loners and cleaning up the mess. It may be somewhat politically incorrect.

This was foretold for a long time.

It wasn’t even the most advanced chip on the market. "Improved Life 3000", cheap, but reliable, it was widespread as most couldn’t afford the better models.

Human upgrades are developed for a reason. Most were implanted into disabled people, to give a limited freedom of movement even to the completely paralyzed. But there is more: with additional sensors it made everyday navigation much easier, for the blind or anyone with an impaired vision. Some have used them to open doors at home and things like that. That wasn’t new. The problem was in the communication interface. They say now it was broken from the start. But it was worse… it was only unused. The thought was to improve navigation by registering specific targets, using a protocol the manufacturer was trying to push as a standard. It failed and the communication system was left behind.

The chip accepted certain commands from the owner and could be trained, with strict security measures. Of course it was hacked.

Whatever you have heard of the incident, don’t believe in secret military research or a lone genius. It was the large modding community, there was no bad intent. For a long time could anyone with the sensors activated ‘feel’, when someone with the same chip was around, an old bug of the original software. The first mod was a simple Ping, the poking-your-shoulder signal popular among the teenagers. Then came the more advanced tools.

The first real exposure to the subculture was during the Paralympics. A football team was charged with cheating in the game: a software upgrade increased their teamwork by magnitudes, the players always knew where their team members were. After a few scandals and lawsuits, coordination enhancements were forbidden in team sports.

It was the other modders that are to blame, they found a way to share emotions. For what are emotions, if not states of the neural system spiced with hormones? They could be recorded with the chip and replayed again, with the right upgrades. A new market arose for emotions, and fell as everyone acquired the basic emotions sooner or later. By the time the first scientific articles on the new addiction appeared, the fad was already disappearing. A few searched for more.

So what is Emotion 17?
‘17’ is a purely arbitrary number, probably one of a batch of random feelings. See, they could be transferred from one chip to another, but their analysis was never conclusive. It is the human component, you could say, that gives meaning to the packet representing an emotion. Trying to ‘adjust’ it produces random results, it is more a checksum than the data itself. Many have experimented with such random feelings.

What it feels like… cannot be described. All agree that it is not an intense or blinding feeling. The affected can interact and work with others normally, their higher cognitive functions stay intact.

"It is being content, I’d say. You won’t even feel it at first, but it will come to you and embrace you and you will find your place. It won’t knock you off your feet and leave hallucinating. No, it is the feeling of a good day, when you are doing your job and it feels right. You know those days, there are not many."
- one of the early descriptions

Emotion 17 is extremely addictive. The victims claim to be happy, seek to have good relationships with others and have a good work performance. There are no side effects, they say.

It started to get ugly when the addicts formed groups. They could reflect upon each other their own impressions of Emotion 17, it was even more liberating. Why wouldn’t they share it with others? Some claimed it is the feeling of social harmony, that was never felt in its purest form. It deserves to be spread. If people knew it, there would be less conflicts, the world a much better place!

The Emotion spread like wildfire in the sharing groups and crept out beyond them. Anyone with the chip, disabled or a hobbyist, could and most often would fall to the incredible power and peace of the Seventeen.

It is sometimes forgotten the disabled are inclined to depressions. Those, that know, tend to overdo their care and become annoying, the constant celebrating by the media doesn’t help. But it is there. For the first time, many had the chance to overcome it, get out of their dreary lives and do something for humanity: spread the Emotion. It took the first violent incidents to get the police involved. It seemed like an obscure legal issue without any precedents, political correctness choked down most of the reporting. It would take years to sort it out, experts agreed.

Then, one of the radical groups developed Chip Seventeen. It was a very simplified version, but if placed correctly on the back of a person, or close to other major nerves, it would connect with the neural system, deliver to it the Emotion and open it to other signals.

Large groups of friendly, smiling, disabled people started to converge upon lonely victims. They would knock them out with tasers or just hold down, then embed the Chip. When they woke up, they were already half lost.

"It is all fine. Can you feel it? We are all brothers and sisters now. Your life is worth living again."
- leader of a mob to a fresh convert

Some have taken over a small chip factory and started to produce tens of thousands of chips. It wasn’t just the disabled anymore, anyone, sick or healthy, could be one of the ‘Smiling Zombies’ as the media called them. Anyone, even those you know and love, could be waiting on the right moment to give you a chip that will take your free will and turn you into one of them. Their permanent happiness took over several small towns. Then the military stepped in. Thousands had to die, many were driven to insanity after their chips were removed. Many more suffer the withdrawal symptoms. That was the end… we hope.

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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

January 26, 2009, 0:13
I think this is excellent, but need to read it once more on the morrow before commenting further.
January 26, 2009, 17:23
more comments:
1. I like the way you covered the societal progression from Improved Life 3000 to Emotion 17. Nice realistic jumps.
2. I have to say it is slightly confusing at first, not so much because it is "technical", but it seems written in a very "for those who know how this stuff works" kind of way. Nothing wrong with that, just confusing to figure out the "gist" of the sub is, until i got to, "So what is Emotion 17"?

more to come. :)
January 26, 2009, 19:02
Yes, that was actually intended that way, the "you know what I'm talkin' about" assumption. Is it too confusing?
January 27, 2009, 11:35
not, not at all! Its a great read. And nice ending too.

Also, you made me have dreams last night of rampaging parapalegic zombies, strung-out on Emo-17 :)
January 27, 2009, 17:15
That does it - out with ya! :)
Voted Chaosmark
January 27, 2009, 17:18
You know, that last bit you added about the factory making thousands of chips really added what I thought was missing to the ending. I think the sub really flows together now. Good job manfred!
Voted Cheka Man
January 27, 2009, 18:02
Imagines an evil cult of this kind.
January 27, 2009, 18:27
The chippers are not really 'evil', they just want to bring happiness to everyone. That makes them scarier.

And they are not exactly a cult - while cooperating eagerly, they somehow failed to create all the necessary trappings, literature, philosophy, or organize around a leader. But yes, someone could definitely use the Emotion to such a purpose.
Voted valadaar
January 29, 2009, 19:33
This has the seed of a true sci fi short story or larger Manfred. This is really unique thinking!
Voted MoonHunter
April 2, 2009, 11:37
This is a great science fiction plot. Simple, direct, yet with true story and lots of plot potential. You can drop it into any setting where chipping is possible.
Voted dark_dragon
October 23, 2009, 12:08
prozac anyone?
April 23, 2010, 12:03
wow. this is good and freaky



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Hooper McFin's Two Shot Portal

       By: dudeington

Now, this ol' ramblin fellow tends to walk his talk a bit too far down the train sometimes.. So I'll be brief in my recantin' of how it was my Tavern "came to bein'" on the multiverse as a weave of it's own spell.. And how I'm even alive to tell the story!

You see it's simple really, trust me.. that's my specialty, keepin it elementary. And you can trust this old Bard.

Anyway, this one night these wizards get a ramblin' on about the temporal exististance of space and time and how it could be manifested in a weave of super dimensional space. whereupon the folded space would give rise to an infinite number of entrances and exits to one or many spaces. Now, seein' how my talkin' sometimes get's locked into the way us folks used to talk back in the ol' west. These wizards didn't know I was a master of the word. and I had heard everything they said. They were also a bit over the wagon, while I was steerin' the show.

So that's how it came to pass, I struck a bargain with the wizards. They come to me in the morning and conjure up their idea into reality and I'd pledge them my life, my existance.. in essence my soul. but in a much nicer sense of the word. So they came by in the morning a half remembering our talks the prior evenin'. And I recanted their words verbatum, and that's how it came to be. The spell was complete that afternoon. My tavern would be the super dimensional cube that would exist in this weave of space and time, folks could come and go as they please, knowin in mind some of the rules and limitations set forth.

A few of 'em as follows.

No feller can be causin a ruckus inside any of my fine establishments, as always rule number one god damnit.

n' second the portal works kinda tricky. When ya outside ya cast the spell and lend your will to luck a bit and regardless the doors to the bar will appear, the windows a luminescent amber.. you can hear the chattee but ya can't see in. And the catch is the door might be locked, in which case you chalk it up to lady luck and go walk off and try again in an hour. Now most times the door pops right open and from the outside you always come in the front door, immediately greeted by myself or one of our many fine patrons of Hooper McFin's Ale & Steakhouse.

Now when ya cast the spell from inside the Tavern, another catch comes up. The back door is mainly a secret for the non-initiated staff and the regulars but for sake of the prose let's assume we all know there's a secret door in the back with a portal there. Now when you go on through this one, you got two scenario's you oughta be aware of. One is ya pop outside relative to the same spot you came out. The other is, you walk back on into this one or another of our many Hooper McFin's Ale & Steakhouse.

so it's a clever quantum railroad I got my tavern and my people's caught on. But, Hey the show's sure as always goin. ohhh' rutin tootin skidoodle -

** And that's it.. that's the only notes I found on the spell, apparently out there somewhere is a Tavern caught on the mighty ebb and flow of the multiverse. Well. at least I can put to rest my torment as to the condition now referred to as "Hooper McFin's Teleportation Paranoia".

Dr. Clarke T. Mulligan - Professional researcher of Time & Space.

Hooper McFin's Ale & Steakhouse

Ideas  ( System ) | June 21, 2015 | View | UpVote 4xp

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