Fiction Science Fiction Suspense

This story contains sensitive content

(*This story does have swearing)

The year is 2098, the world is completely different than it ever has been in history. Over the course of the last decade, humans have been able to switch out their crucial organs with cybernetic enhancements. Basically meaning, humanity has been given the chance at immortality if you handle it correctly. The world has seen a massive spike in human population on the planet, which isn’t good. The food is scarce, the people are much too great for the ecosystem to thrive. To combat this, some companies have opted in to give a special “Retirement Package.” Which is basically to shoot you in the god damn head on the day you retire. They then, upload your consciousness to a massive network server that is essentially a simulation of your every desire for all of eternity.

           Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, my company is the one that is in charge of the Cyberetirement GX, which is that fancy machine we spoke of earlier. More specifically, I am the one that programmed it. It has it’s bugs, it has it’s glitches, more importantly, it’s not one hundred percent capable of holding the human consciousness. It sometimes works, it sometimes doesn’t. When it works, its great, sunshine and rainbows for that person. When it doesn’t work, excruciating pain and misery for all eternity. “Well, why can’t you just take the person out and put them back in?” Really? Who are you to tell me what to do? I invented the damn thing! Plus, I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work, once you’re uploaded, you’re stuck. No going back. That’s why you have to sign a waiver before your untimely retirement. Not all companies do this, they see it as “inhumane.” Which of course to an extent, it is. I never really thought anything of it until today.

           Today is the last day of my employment. One hundred years under my belt, twenty five of those years were spent developing the Cyberetirement GX. My life well spent, that’s how I feel about it. They all keep promising to treat me with the utmost care in my transfer to this hell hole of a retirement retreat. It’s about a fifty, fifty shot at actually achieving translucence in the machine. There’s no guarantee, and if I were to say I wasn’t crapping myself as the minutes tick away on clock, I’d be lying. My retirement takes place in the next hour, on the dot. You know? I used to be the one to come to the cubicles of those retiring, and now, I’m waiting for whoever they got to replace me. I’m not even sure why I’m talking to you about this. It’s not like I have a choice, it’s not like I can discover some massive flaw in the coding of the machine to achieve one hundred percent success rate of uploading my consciousness correctly. I guess, I just needed to vent.

           It’s been thirty minutes since I’ve started documenting my last hour in this plane of existence. I’ve sweat enough to fill thirty buckets, probably. That was an overdramatization about how much I’ve sweat, just to make that clear. The office is quiet today as we all know that one of us isn’t going to make it out of here in our flesh. Of course we all know who it is, it's me. It's written on the damn calendar in the break room. "ETHAN'S RETIREMENT PARTY! 7:00 PM DON'T BE LATE!" Woohoo, fun stuff. Maybe for everyone else, for me, it's spending my last few moments utterly terrified of my chances at actually surviving this. The actual odds of my survival in the next hour are somewhere in the neighborhood of slim to none. No matter what, I'm getting a bullet in the back of my head in roughly the next twenty minutes. Then a flash drive slammed into the port underneath my ear, my entire consciousness ripped from my body during a moment of complete body shut down and then I take a ride in a USB stick from the dollar store to a giant computer where I may or may not get to spend eternity in peaceful bliss. Part of me is excited to finally test out Cyberetirement GX for myself. The other part of me just wants to get the hell out of Dodge. I'm not even sure if I could pull that off as I did sign a contract, plus they'd hunt me down forever anyway. There’s no escaping this, it’s gotta be done. I’m not really one to spend eternity looking over my shoulder anyway.

I remember when I first started at this company, none of these rules or policies existed, it was only when humans were able to start turning the clock back on themselves, where death was no longer an option for most people. Why did I sign that stupid paper, acting like death would never happen to me because of these god damn cybernetic enhancements. I would have died twenty years ago had I not gotten them though. God dammit. What do I do? Could I transfer my consciousness to another person? Would that work? Would I be able to take over someone else and live their life? These cybernetic parts are electronic computers after all. Nothing a little bit of hacking can’t solve. Who would I be? Who would I want to be? I could be anyone, if I could hack into their brain that is. Who has cyber brain implants? Mostly rich people that could afford it. Celebrities, movie stars, CEO’s of major companies. I could be one of them. All I need is to just get my foot into the door of their mind, then I can easily, remotely transfer my consciousness to them. This may have a higher success rate than Cyberetirement GX, it may be the only shot I have at guaranteeing my survival.

Who though? I need to do some research. Anyone that is rich with the Cybrain Enhancement. No movie stars as I can’t act. Preferably someone in the line of work that I am, who knows about the cyber softwares and technology. That way I can pull it off. Pretend to be them and live a longer, better life. Who though? Who could I be? Then it dawns on me, Why not the CEO of this company? Why not be Mr. Tedbolt? I could do that, I could pull that off. He has a contract to never retire and in the off chance he does, he still gets to live forever and collect paychecks as he sits on a beach of his choosing. I could do that.

I’m in, the Cybrain 60Z, which is the top of the line enhancement right now, of course he has it. I’ve got to find the serial number of his specific model. There. Find the code, find the code. Technically all I need to do is jack into my computer and upload my consciousness straight to Mr. Tedbolt remotely, all while sitting seventy floors below him. I connect the wire to my usb port under my ear, run it to the computer. Synchronizing with Mr. Tedbolt’s Cybrain unit. Success. Upload in progress. Ten minutes remaining! Oh shit, that’s going to be cutting it close! Come on you piece of junk!

I'm pretty sure they've entered my wing of the office. People are murmuring and gasping. Almost as if a wave of eyeballs darted towards my cubicle. Everyone is staring at me as I hear a group of people march up behind me. 

"Happy Retirement Day Ethan!" I heard one of them say.

The cold barrel of a gun is placed at the base of my skull. I'm not ready. Oh god I'm not ready. My heart is racing, I can't breathe. I can't do this, I’m out of time. I need to stall them, what do I do?

“It’s not my retirement day.” I say.

The sound of silence isn’t promising.

“Trust me, we’ve triple checked. It is. What are you working on? Something important? We can wait if you need to finish it up, that is, as long as it benefits the company? Otherwise, it’s time.” The mystery man says.

The computer dings.


September 30, 2022 21:37

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J.M. De Jong
06:45 Oct 01, 2022

Wow, what a world you created there, haha. I like how you used the prompt, I think it was very creative! But I'm dying to know what happened with The Infected part four?? I hope you haven't given up on it? :( I have been eagerly awaiting, hehe.


Brendan Sanders
09:24 Oct 01, 2022

I haven’t given up on it at all! I’m still working on it, I’m not sure how to use these prompts for this next part. However, I’ve been having a bit of a struggle with these prompts lately and fitting them into the story. Also, I am turning The Infected into a full book! It’s going to be inspired by my short story series with a few different aspects. I’m currently writing that. 😊 if you have Twitter or any other socials, I can keep in contact with you there and keep you updated on the progress of it!


J.M. De Jong
22:31 Oct 06, 2022

Ahh okay, well I'm glad you haven't quit on it! And yes, I can see how it would be difficult to fit your story around the prompts, especially since you're making it into a book. Which is very exciting 👏🏻 I don't use Twitter or any social media very much... I have an email though 🤷🏼‍♀️ Would that work?


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