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The Non-Conformity Chronicles

Chapter 9 - Invisible Friends

"Ly on the ground face down and look at what is moving. There is an entire world of small insects, small animals, and even smaller life forms. Pick up a bit of the soil and place it under a microscope. There is an entire world there that we don't notice, pay attention to, or think about. Why don't we? Our daily concerns keep us occupied somewhere else. The daily concerns of those small life forms don't interact with our mental or social world. They exist all around us anyway. Imagine what it would be like to be an ant when a bird dropped in for a visit? It would seem like an incomprehensible, mysterious, mystical visitation with horrifying dimensions. Since the reality of being a bird is incomprehensible to an ant, the ant would quickly forget or ignore the experience because there would be no context from which it could relate.

To us, the invisible worlds around us are pretty much the same sort of thing. That doesn't mean that they don't exist. In fact, they are very populated. Through the evolution of Spiritual Faculties, the invisible becomes visible and the unknown becomes known. Perception of the existence of an expanded reality offers opportunity for observation, communication, and interaction. Perception replaces superstition, myth, and denial. " - From The Non-Conformist Training Manual

         Something was very . . . very wrong! Five year old Albert was watching intently, and listening, while his teacher, school administrator and district Psycho were huddled in the front of the room and talking in low anxious voices while periodically glancing at him. Their voices were too low to be heard by the human ear, but Albert had an advantage. He could hear thoughts and sense intent with his mind. This was something he didn't dare reveal because to do so would get him sent to 'reprogramming'.

         He had seen other children get sent to reprogramming, mostly for arguing with a teacher, asking too many questions, or showing initiative and independence. When they returned, they would be much more quiet and obedient, but they also wet themselves from time to time and soiled their pants when they got excited.

         The teachers and authorities were concerned, and confused, by the results of Albert's genetic profile test. It didn't make any sense that he could be a latent non-conformist because all of his psych profiles and personal history were perfect. What they didn't know is that Albert had help. Albert saw things that others didn't and had since his birth. The 'others', the invisible people that he could see, hear and talk to. They were his friends, his constant companions and his guardians.

         During the long series of psych evaluations that assessed his psychological gullibility and unquestioning conformity to the expectations of society, they were the ones that told him which answers were expected. They were the ones that explained to him at an early age that he must not tell his parents, peers and siblings what he saw, what he knew and what he thought.

         It was a lonely experience, being a child and needing contact, nurturing, acceptance, guidance and understanding from parents, peers and siblings that could not see the reality that his eyes revealed. Once, he tried to reach out with his mind to see if anyone else was out there. He was sitting at his desk at school pretending to be absorbed in his COMM terminal while he focused his mind outward, "Can anyone hear me?"

         A girl sitting a few seats away turned and looked at him. When he met her pale blue eyes, a knowingness was exchanged. Later when he tried to approach her during a recreation break, she just muttered quietly under her breath, "Stay away from me!" She was acutely aware that every detail of their actions and interactions were being watched and analyzed by human Psychos and the Central Accountant's behavioral conformity algorithms.

         The conversation was interrupted when Albert's parents arrived. They were all escorted to the principal's office where there were brief hushed conversations. Then a nurse walked in and took DNA samples from Albert's parents. His parents took him and left after exchanging grim looks with the school officials.

         "Is something wrong?" Albert asked. "No." They replied. "Tomorrow we all have to go see a genetic surgeon for a consultation." The trip home was quiet and the evening was routine. The family routine was the same every day. There was dinner, from the same rotating menu plan that they had always used. Then there was the scheduled one hour and fifteen minutes of family interaction time that began and ended exactly on time. Then there was the personal hygiene protocol that was followed precisely the same and at the same time each day. Finally, it was lights out at 9:00 PM sharp.

         Albert followed his routine as he always had. At 9:00 PM, his invisible friends showed up . . . all of them! "Albert, you have to leave right now!"

         "But where can I go, and how can I get there? I'm still a little kid."

         "We will help you, but you have to very quietly get out of bed and get dressed right now." Albert did as requested. They then directed him to go to his father's home office work station. At 5 years old, Albert could read proficiently and use the Central Accounting information retrieval systems to get information on whatever he was interested in. It had its limitations partly because his clearance level was only "beta".

         Most children only had an "alpha" clearance, but he was in an accelerated learning group. Different clearance levels were given different information. The idea was that higher clearance levels were given more accurate and truthful versions of the same history than lower levels. He wondered how high a clearance he would need to get historical information that matched his memory of the events in question.

         Albert could remember other lives that he had lived in other places and times. The memories would come up either when there was a triggering stimuli from his current experience or when he intentionally focused his mind to remember. He had once entered a reverse look up query into the online dictionary, "Memory of previous lives lived?" The response was, "Reincarnation - A mythical belief held by some religions and philosophies in the pre-revolution cultures. The Central Accountant has determined that reincarnation does not exist and that there is no life or awareness after the death of the physical body."

         The next day, his teachers questioned him about the query. He told them that he had simply asked a question and that he now knew the correct answer. They stared at him for some time but finally accepted his answer at face value. It was a close call.

         He had to climb to get into the chair at his father's work station. Once in place, he sat up on his knees to access the keyboard and monitor. "You are going to need warm clothing and shoes," he was told. "Access the 3D printer program and start printing a new set of warm hiking shoes, clothes and a backpack." As he made the selections and stored them in the print buffer, the 3D printer began heating up. "Now while the printer is manufacturing these items for you, we need to give you some additional instructions."

         They showed him which buttons to push and what to type at the command prompts. They put the workstation into terminal mode, then typed in the commands to access the root directory of Central Accounting Administration. He had rudimentary programming skills, so he had a general idea of what he was doing but didn't understand the details. Fortunately, his invisible friends did. The hacking took several hours and was concluded when three new files were produced for the 3D printer. The new files were loaded in just as it finished making his new shoes, clothing and backpack.

         The printer then proceeded to make a Central Accounting Access card, an ID badge and a headband containing an invisible bar code. "With these, you can go anywhere with no questions asked," he was told. "Now, while the printer is doing its job, grab a few snacks and a water bottle for your backpack."

         Albert had been up all night and dawn was approaching. He was getting very tired and sleepy and it was only an hour till his parents would arise and start their standard morning routine. "You have to get out of the house now," he was told. He slipped on his new shoes and stuffed his backpack with snacks, water, a portable terminal, a few personal items and his new ID and access cards. Then he quietly slipped out the front door and started walking toward the nearest tube transit terminal in the cold pre-dawn air.

         By the time he got to the terminal, he was so tired and sleepy that he could hardly stand. He managed to crawl into the shuttle and seal the door. Normally, the rider uses verbal input to specify a destination. In this case, he was directed to enter the destination code manually. His destination was not on the selection list. He slid his card through the terminal reader and typed in the destination code. The shuttle hesitated for an unusually long time then started moving. He sunk into his seat and fell sound asleep as the shuttle accelerated to supersonic speeds.

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