The Voice, by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

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                           - 17 -

"Paul Fitzgerald," he said, scratching a full days growth
of beard. "Well. We'll see if it's you."

The guard wasn't pleased with this casual identification,
of course. Security personnel liked everything neat, tidy
and up-to-date in their bloodshot, angst-ridden universe of
constant suspicion. But today it would have to do.

"You're lucky Massachusetts logged on to the
international criminal data base back in '97," he said,
feeding my driver's license into a nearby computer which
scanned my image. "Terrorists can pass themselves off as
almost anyone."

"Some people consider all Massachusetts' drivers to be
terrorists," I replied, attempting to mask my sarcasm with a
smile as the computer screen next to him blinked on and off
like the latest 3-D video game. "What is that?" I asked.

The guard lifted his goggles from his eyes and turned to
the screen.

"The ultimate in surveillance," he said proudly of the
screen as it divided and subdivided into hundreds of
separate locations within the building as if seen with a
thousand sets of eyes. "With this, I have a positive ID on
everyone that's entered this building all day and exactly
what they're doing."

"So where do you hide the cameras?" I asked.

The guard smirked as he stamped my hand with a luminous
green ink. "For your own protection, that must remain a
secret. Welcome to Transitron."

I hated the security that constantly ate away at personal
liberties and privacy. I hated police cars in my rear view
mirror, searches at the ball park and body scans at the
airport. But what I hated most was being told that stealing
my freedom as a human being was all for my own protection.
Modern life was a constant inquisition and nobody much
minded. In fact few people seemed to care about the constant
surveillance or the implications for what it meant. But I
did. Sooner than later every human being on the face of the
planet would be catalogued, profiled and labeled according
to race, color and blood type, then stored in a huge
computer memory according to DNA profile. Chips would be
implanted to monitor the heart and liver function of the
diseased or disabled and soon the public would cry for more.
Sexual dysfunction and criminal behavior would be chipped
out of existence and a brave new world of perpetually
orgasmic, electronically regulated people would be born. The
public's desire for more and better electronics would
eventually replace the desire to grow and mature and I knew
that one day soon, clever, thinking machines would outpace
the people they were made to serve and the natural evolution
of life as we knew it would end. I wondered how I would
think when that day came. I wondered what I would do when I
realized a silicon chip could think and feel every emotion I
had ever had, emulate my every joy, experience my every
thought. But as I watched my digitized face appear on a
thousand tiny facets of the video wall behind the guard, all
I could feel was rage. And the screen seemed to flicker in
response almost as if it sensed my anger.