The commercial that had been playing under the ticker expanded to fill the rest of the screen. The subliminal images and hidden audio cues played with G’s sense of time, blocking out the rest of the world.
A lens flare morphs into an afternoon sun as the camera pans down to a group of people celebrating a birthday around a white picnic table in an All-American backyard. Near the head of the table stands a not-so-elderly man looking down at the candle-filled cake in front of him, ablaze with the light of sixty years. Around him, younger faces cheer and smile, singing the last verse of a traditional song. The man bends slightly, a flash of a grimace from the pain in his back. He purses his lips, tries to blow, but nothing happens.
The camera zooms unnaturally fast and enters the man’s chest to show a simulation of his beleaguered heart beating irregularly, struggling to deal with the flow of blood. It shakes violently, shivers like a drenched animal, and finally gives out. Muffled screams are heard from camera left and as the image moves, so too do the voices, jumping from speaker to speaker. The image presses in on the screen, slicing through the man’s internals shown in family-friendly reds and whites until finally settling around a segmented bone where a black microchip is emitting an ominous red light. Suddenly, streaks of blue electricity shoot out from the chip, grabbing at the spinal cord like an open hand. A voice cries out that he’s breathing again. Everyone sounds so relieved. The camera pulls back to reveal the man on the ground, his family around him, his eyes peering out towards the viewer as if he can see them.
“Thank you, Guardian Angel.”
A fast wipe replaces the family with flashy graphics, mimicry of transistors and circuit boards, until finally fading to black. A thin line appears.
An Angel was watching over this man. Who is watching over you?
G smirked, hit the mute button on the remote, and let the music fill the room again. Lower on the screen, another message appeared.
Introducing the Guardian Angel biochip. New technology by Vinestead International.
“Fucking GA chip,” said G, placing the electrode on his neck. His fingers traced over the embedded inhibitor chip and he wondered whether he’d ever have the guts to have it removed after it had been so painful to put in. One thing was for sure, he’d be six feet in the ground before any Vinestead product found its way into his body.
- Guardian Angel (aka GA chip, aka Georgia chip) by Vinestead International
- Avenging Angel (military grade) by Vinestead International
- Ayudante (military grade) by MoA
- Eclipse Gen Y by Interstellar Industries
- ICE by I.C.E-1
- iMerse Jackport by Black Star Circle
- Margate by Margate Open Source Biochip Program (MOSBP)
- Perion-Katsumi by Perion Synthetics and Katsumi Enterprises
- Syzygy by Interstellar Industries
- Zenith Zero by Interstellar Industries
The original Guardian Angel biochip was invented by Kenneth Barnes in the mid-90s. It remained an optional piece of medical equipment until the passage of the Guardian Angel Bill in 2004, which required all newborn and naturalized citizens to be chipped.
Alternative biochips have been available since the early 2000s.
Rick checked his sliver again. In the abbreviated headline, he read the words GA BILL and PASSED.
Bonnie let out a long sigh. “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a gradual submission to assumed authority, a slow shuffle backward in the evolution of liberty. Now we have nothing to look forward to except generations of chipped children. And eventually, complete loss of basic freedoms.”