The Awakened

Roland. His name was Roland. Not that it matters but attaching a name to a thing makes it easier to understand. Or so the world believes. He was just another Cat Punk until he realized the memories he was seeing weren’t his own. No, they were the memories of generations long gone. Memories of those who existed before the Crash. And not all the memories were human. Some were from the robots which preceded the builders—those who had planned everything.

With clarity not normally associated with mere humans, he saw each layer of the process that went into building Paw City. He saw the clones, made from the genetic material of thousands of dead, forming in translucent tanks. He saw the robots, now almost fully artificial people, given leeway to make their own decisions upon arrival. He saw the chips, each a miniature computer, implanted into the brains of nearly developed embryos prior to their emergence from their tanks. He saw the plan and realized it had no counter. All life on Earth would come from Paw City within a few centuries, and nothing could stop it.

He wasn’t sure that was a bad thing. Earth didn’t have a good track record when it came to civilizations.

Even so, he set to work on developing his own chip, one that would grant free will to its user. It took him two careful years, but he did it. He had a robot implant it at the base of his brain and immediately felt new sensations. He could see through the propaganda in the videocasts. He could discern the motives of the robots and see the warp and weft of what Paw City was, is, and will become.

He knew he couldn’t deal with this much information alone. Carefully and patiently, he sought out others who were seeing the memories of others and gave them his chip as well.

With the help of his new allies, they quickly figured out that the Cyber-Virus, far from being a string of code gone wrong, existed solely to keep the populace under control. And it worked.

And, for now, that was acceptable.

As time went on, they realized they could talk mind to mind and needed no communications devices. Accepting this advantage, they moved into obscure apartments out of the way, many along the rim wall, and began researching all that could happen and beginning to decide if they would let it.

They were the only ones with the power to stop Paw City; they just weren’t sure it should be stopped.

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