“The Underground Secret”

Olga Bromberg

All rights reserved by the author

 

 

                                                                          Sept. 5, 2056

      Dear Vanessa,             

I haven’t seen you in so long. I can’t believe things happened this way. This is not the way I wanted things to turn out. I wanted our child to live in a world of security and filled with love, not hidden from the outside world. I wanted you to be close to my arms and to live in our beautiful house upstate. Everything has changed since that moment I uncovered that awful secret… Sometimes I wish that we had just accepted the new policy and we would have had a much better life than we can ever have now. Sitting here in this cold, dark prison is getting worse every moment and the pain of not being able to see you grows stronger…

                                                                        Your beloved husband,

                                                                        Bob

 

“Hey… buddy!! What are you doing?,” said a man laying on the other end of the cold, dark wall.

“Just writing a letter”, replied Bob, in a very low, somber voice.

“Oh.. yeah? to who?.. your wife again” You know you never told me how you got yourself into jail,” said the irritated man when we noticed Bob wasn’t paying him any attention.  Bob folded the piece of paper and placed it in an envelope provided by one of the prison guard on duty at the time. He then put the envelope under his bed, next to the previous letter he had written several days before.

“I try not to think about it that much. It has caused so much heartache. I am here because I uncovered a big conspiracy 5 years ago that would have totally changed our lives.”

*  *  *  *  *

            “Good Morning New York City… it is a beautiful Monday morning on this 18th of November 2051!! I will hand it over to Chuck who will fill you in on today’s cold forecast…” A loud clap turned off the radio indicating it was 6:30 in the morning.  Bob put his hand on his face, covering the glare of light shining from his bedroom window.

“Honey, are you awake?… its time to get up to go to work,” said a sleepy voice, on the other side of the bed. 

“Yes, I know. I just don’t want to go. I hate this job. Why does Miller have to give everyone such a hard time about everything? Doesn’t he have a wife and kids of his own? He knows how hard it is to go to work when your wife is 7 months pregnant and needs to be taken care of.  He can’t even let me leave work an hour earlier so I can come and help you,” said Bob.

“ I know, but Miller is your boss and you have to do as he says or he’ll fire you and we will not have enough money to take care of this baby,” said Vanessa as she painfully struggled to get up from the bed.

Bob got up and helped her to the bathroom. After she got out, he went in too and started getting ready for work. He put on his navy suit, combed his dark wavy hair back, and rushed to the kitchen to grab some food to eat on the way to the office.  The office was a twenty-minute walk from the house so he didn’t need a car to drive there. He left it for his wife, in case she needed it to go to the store or visit him, since she could barely walk.

“Bye, honey,” Bob said as he rushed out the door and into the busy New York streets.

“Another long day at work, filled with self righteous, know-it-all people. I would much rather travel the world or become a photographer like I always wanted. There are plenty of people living out their dreams instead of sitting behind a huge desk filling out insurance papers for others,” Bob thought as he entered through the revolving door and into the spacious lobby.

“Can I please see your ID, sir?” the police officer said at the reception desk. Bob scrambled to find the ID somewhere in his pant pocket. He then handed the ID to him and a short, loud sound signaled him to go through.

“Where have you been? It is 7:10 am...don’t you know you have to be in your office by 7:00. We have an important meeting to attend to today, Bob. How long will I tolerate you being late? I can hire other people who would be willing to do your job and put in the effort that you are not,” said Miller as Bob pulled out his chair to sit down.

He picked up a picture standing on his desk. It was his all time favorite, where he and Vanessa first met in the park. “ I’m sorry, sir, it will not happen again… about the meeting. I didn’t receive any information as to what it is going to be about,” said Bob.

“ Yes, I know. This is because we are trying to keep it quiet for now until we figure out if we are going to participate in this project,” said Miller in an almost whispered voice. He walked over to the door and closed it and the blinds.  Bob wasn’t sure what was going on but remained in his seat, eager to find out the details.

“ We were offered a part in a very special project that will include the entire firm. Other firms across New York City are also contemplating being part of this project.  I don’t know much about it myself and how it will be implemented if we should decide to proceed, but in my opinion, I believe that this would significantly increase productivity and efficiency in the firm,” Miller said as he looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was listening at the door.

“So what is this project that you are keeping secret?” said Bob in a hesitant voice.

“Well, my bosses have been talking about implanting microchips into all of the employees. It’s a relatively new technology.  It has been studied for over 50 years but now it has been perfected.

Miller suddenly stopped and looked at Bob.“ Now… if you mention this to anyone, I will make sure you never see the light of day again. I will put you to work for more hours and reduce your paycheck,” he said as he neared the door and opened the blinds.  “ The meeting is in ten minutes so you better be on time!!”

“ Oh great,” Bob thought as he stood up to head over to the meeting. What have they come up with now?”

 

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen. My name is Michael Murray and I am the Chairman of the Board. I have just been promoted so I assume that most of you do not know me.  It has come to our attention that a new technological device has been approved for use. It is called a Verichip and it is a small chip about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted into the forearm of people. It could contain all of your personal information, such as your medical records and driver’s license information.”

“How would this information be accessed?” said a frantic woman at the end of the table.

“Well, there is a scanner that would be used. The chip would be placed under the scanner and could have its own identification and serial number,” answered Murray in a strong, deep voice.

Bob sat quietly, leaning his chin in the palm of his hand. He couldn’t believe what was happening.

“No disrespect sir, but this is a completely ludicrous idea!” yelled another woman. “It seems that anyone can access our personal information!!” Tensions were high and everyone was yelling over each other trying to figure out how this new microchip would change their lives.

“I have decided that this firm will go along with this project within the next couple of weeks,” Murray said in a stern voice, over the heightened panic in the room. “ Now listen to me all of you!! This is how things are going to be from here on out. In the next coming weeks, all of you are going to be implanted with the chips and additional information will be added to them pertinent to keeping this firm at its best and eliminating the people that want this firm to fail. If all of you agree to be on my side on this new development, I will make sure that all of you will get raises this coming spring.” With this, Murray concluded the meeting and walked out of the room. 

Walking back home from work was not the same. It was not filled with happiness, knowing that the day was finally over and he was going home like it always did, but of worry and anxiety about the microchips that were to be implanted into everyone’s arms in the coming days.

“Hi honey. Where are you? I am home and I have some news I need to talk to you about.”

“I am in the bedroom. I have some news to tell you too,” Vanessa said as Bob walked toward the direction of her voice.

“ My Boss’s boss has involved our firm in a major project. They are going to implant some type of microchips into out forearms, which will serve as our ID and will contain our medical records and other very personal information. This is a disaster.”

“How did the others feel about it?” asked Vanessa.

“They were very distraught about it. They were against the idea at first but then he said that he would give them raises if they acted as though they were ok with the idea so others would not be worried,” Bob said tearfully.

“Oh my God, this is awful. But Bob, this is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about too. My boss called me this morning after you left and said that they are also going to start this new system in the office. So, I will have to be implanted after I give birth and take time off for maternity leave. To make matters worse, when I called our doctor to schedule an appointment, the doctor told me that hospitals have started implanting babies as well to keep track of their medical records and as a means of preventing child kidnapping. This means that when I give birth, our baby will have this chip inserted inside of it shortly after. I’m worried what this would mean for us and our baby, Bob. This cannot be good. How can we have all of our personal information downloaded on this chip and injected into our arm for all to see? I know they said that no one other than them would be able to access it, but in this day and age, with all of this technology, anything is possible.” Vanessa was more worried than Bob wanted her to be. The doctor had told them before that she could not be stressed or she might go into premature labor. Just then, Vanessa cried out in pain….

*  *  *  *  *

“ Wow, I can’t believe this,” said the old man, getting up from his cold and hard bed. “ I remember all of the controversy about those microchips five years ago. Everyone was making a big deal about it,” the old man continued. “ I actually thought it was a neat idea. I mean it is convenient. You don’t have to carry around a wallet or credit cards. That’s really cool.”

“No, it was not cool at all. This was a conspiracy. It was bigger than just convenience and efficiency like Murray said,” answered Bob, sounding irritated by the old man.

“So… what happened to your wife? Was she ok?”

Yes, she was ok. We went to the doctor and he just said she had high blood pressure from being stressed. It wasn’t as bad as we thought.

“Ok, that’s good. But what is this conspiracy you keep talking about?”

“ A few weeks later, Miller arranged appointments for all of us to get implanted. I got my microchip implanted December 6th. It didn’t really hurt but I didn’t like it. But a few days later everything changed….

*  *  *  *  *

Three weeks had passed since all of the workers were implanted with the microchip. Bob was walking to work, shuffling his feet as usual. Two blocks from his office building, Bob noticed four people standing around a trashcan in the alley, talking amongst themselves. As he began walking past them, however, he heard a hoarse, but low voice call him over. He turned around and noticed that it was one of the guys from the alley. He told him that there was nothing to be afraid of and that they just wanted to talk to him.

“Hello, my name is John. These are my friends. We have been watching you for several weeks but don’t be afraid,” he said as he motioned closer to Bob. “ We know that you are part of a firm that decided to use microchips to store people’s personal information. We have also heard that you were against it but your boss’ boss threatened those that were not going to comply with this new policy,” John continued. “ Well, some of those people that were in the board meeting with you have joined with us. “

“What are you people?” Bob asked in a horrified voice. “And how is it that you are able to find out so much information about me?”

“For now, all you need to know is that we are not the enemy. The microchip that is in your hand is very dangerous. They told you it was to have a more convenient way of keeping worker’s information, but there is a deeper plan going on here that you do not yet see,” John told Bob.

“Well, what is it?” asked Bob.

“You will find out all of this, but we must gain your trust first and you ours. Therefore, if you truly want to know more, you and your wife need to discuss this and meet us here tomorrow night at 1:00am. If you do not come, then we will not make contact with you again. Do you understand Bob?”

“Yes I do. I will talk to my wife about this but for now I have to go.”…..

“Bob, it is so nice of you to come on time for a change. There is a load of paperwork sitting on your desk that needs immediate attention.” Miller walked up to the desk and placed his hand on the high pile of papers. He looked at Bob for a minute then got up.  “Please get to it right now. That is what I am paying you for,” Miller told Bob just outside his office.

“What an asshole,” thought Bob to himself just when Miller turned his back on him to walk away.  He then proceeded to his desk to work on the paperwork so he could go home and talk to his wife about what had happened on his way to work.

 

As he was walking back, he passed the alley but did not see anyone lurking there.  “Honey, are you home?” said Bob in an almost whisper before he barely got one foot in the door. “I have a way to solve all of our problems. I met four very nice people in the alley as I was going to work this morning. They told me that they know about the microchips and that there is some type of cover-up that is taking place to cover some kind of huge conspiracy. If we want to learn more then we have to meet them in the alley tomorrow, and they will give us more details. I think we should go and at least hear their story out. What do you think, honey?”

“I think this is crazy! What are you doing talking to some crazy, homeless guys in the dirty alleys? Do you want to get yourself killed or something?” Vanessa yelled as she heard about his whereabouts.

“No, honey, we should give it a try. Really, it will be fine.” Bob motioned to Vanessa and gave her a hug.

“Ok, we’ll go and see what they have to say,” Vanessa replied…….

 

“Well, hello Bob and his beautiful wife, Vanessa. It is so nice of you to join us. But before we tell you all that we know about the microchips and why we are living like this, you need to go with us underground right away so the policemen do not see us,” John said and started walking toward a dark gray wall filled with graffiti. The door had a staircase that led down the stairs and into a large area. When they walked in, they were shocked to see the number of people that have been hiding there.  “You will meet our leader in just a moment but in the meantime let me introduce you to some of the people here. This is Ali, Betty, Matt, Joey, Ross, Rachel,..” John said looking at Bob and Vanessa. “ Oh. Here comes our leader.”

As Bob and Vanessa turned around, they were both shocked to see that their leader was the one and only Miller. They looked at each other and then back at him.

“Hello Bob. I am so glad that you could come. I know that you are very shocked to see me and I want to explain all of this to you,” Miller told Bob in a compassionate voice, something that he has never heard from him.

“I have been so hard on you all of this time because I wanted to drive you out of the job. You were always the best worker and I wanted you to not be part of this project. Murray had told me his secret plans to collect everyone’s bank PIN numbers and use them to access their files and steal money from them. He has friends in other firms, and they are also doing this to their workers.  He threatened me repeatedly and it seemed like there was nothing I could do until a few people approached me and we started this underground society.  Everyone here has had their microchips removed by one of the medics here so no one can have access to them. Now it is as if we don’t exist. This is the sacrifice we have made for “freedom” and privacy. So, the question is… Do you want to make the sacrifice?” asked Miller. Bob and Vanessa looked at each other and said “yes.”

 

*        *  *  *  *

“ I can’t believe this… how could he do that to everyone?” shrieked the old man. My wife worked for a firm too. This would have happened to us!” he continued.

“How did you end up in jail though?” questioned the old man.

“I made a terrible mistake and got caught by the police 3 months later. I didn’t even get to see my wife give birth to our first child… they interrogated me to give them the names of others like me but, I refused and they put me in jail because I kept information from them. Murray also played a part in this and made them give me a harsh sentence-20 years

Murray did make me an offe, though. He said that he would let me see my family if, and only if, I get the implant inserted back. He arranged to meet with me today to discuss it. Actually, here he comes now.

“So, are you going to get the implant or not?” said the old man.

“I…” Bob started to say but, Murray interrupted him.

“Are you read to talk, Bob?” Murray said. The prison guard on duty let him out of the cell and they went to have that talk.

 

 

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