A Post Opp's Devolution: Part 1 - Support

By Jonathan Roseland

This was the third time she had looked at him in a confined journey together of only four floors.

Jason was nervous, it had been a while since he had been alone and physically this close to a woman actually wearing a skirt. More than being nervous he was irritated that he wasn't able to login to his Link to escape this awkward moment.

Maybe she's a prostitute? So anachronistic of her! He thought to himself.

Her eyes almost met his as he looked at the elevator buttons, he nervously glanced towards the corner of the elevator to avoid eye contact. Only a few more floors to go to Support.

Could they design this elevator to go slower! Maybe I should say something to her? Like "Hello, nice weather today..." No that's a boring conversation topic! Should I ask her if she works in building? Obviously not, besides it's creepy to ask a stranger where she works...

She had Latina features; jet black hair, piercing dark eyes, creamy skin, and her hips had a nice width to them. She looked like she was in a hurry, tapping her foot on the floor as they finally arrived at Jason's floor, the Support offices. She walked out of the elevator first, as she did she passed within a meter of Jason and he caught her rare scent...

He felt something profound change deep within his body, close up he could see how vibrant her skin was and how the curvature of her shoulders flowed into her breasts. Intoxicating!

Just slightly his body recoiled further into the corner of the elevator. He caught his breath and emerged from the elevator.

Wearing the skirt, Jason couldn't help but notice that her hips had this awesome rhythm to them as she walked. The skirt was so tight that he could clearly make out both perky buttocks, Jason's mouth fell open a bit as his hand went under his collar. She had a really confident stride, as she walked towards the lobby opposite Support.

At this moment a larger woman, wearing black trousers and a grey-collared shirt and simple lettering reading "Moderator" emerged from Support, catching Jason in the middle of gawking at the mesmerizing skirt. For a moment her face contorted in disgust at Jason - the Moderator caught me violating her privacy! Jason swallowed nervously as he entered Support.

Jason walked into a meeting room completely devoid of personality, where about a dozen other very bored "Post Opps" sat on hard plastic chairs, colored a tint of lime green that belonged more in a reggae music video than a government office. A few of the Post Opps were reading old-fashioned printed books or magazines, but most were just staring blankly around the room, none of them were socializing.

I should explain the etymology of that phrase; Post Opp. It's a politically incorrect name for a hybrid male-bodied human. Once upon a time, a rude comedian had compared men who chose the infinite novelty and digital godhood of post-singularity hybrid lifestyle to transsexuals and the mean nickname, Post Opp, stuck like glue. Depending upon which statistical source was being referenced, 50% - 60% of the male population were Post Opps.

A moderator entered the conference room, the woman who had caught Jason being so inappropriate in the lobby - Shit! She wasn't very overweight, more than anything she was squarish; she sat with her legs together and her shoulders squared up, her hair was short and spiked straight up, even her shoes were squarish. She gestured to the Post Opp sitting to the left of Jason, who had very thin forearms and looked Indian or maybe middle eastern.

"Andrew, how did we do this week?" She asked with a tone hinting at her boredom and apathy about her duty.
Andrew's posture worsened as he leaned forward and his shoulders rose slightly.
"Uhm, not very good..." he mumbled with just a hint of an accent.
"Yeah...?" the moderator pressed him.
He started rubbing one of his twig-like forearms nervously, "I kind of fucked up... I got the new sim game Core Seven as soon as it came out and I guess I forgot to ask the vendor to set playtime limiters on my game license. So I've just been gaming and getting mined.."

"Getting mined" refers to renting your cognitive powers by hour to the highest bidder. Basically you go unconscious while a company uses your grey matter's quantum computing power to make money. Could be an asteroid mining firm searching for precious metals, a health care data analytics agency mapping the individual genomes of insurance customers, a hedge fund doing warp-frequency trades, or an investment firm mining the blockchain. That's how most of these pitiful Post Opps afford for their rent, Link bandwidth, diet of soylent, sim games, and of course Support payments. I don't fuck with it. Great way to become a fucking zombie that can't even enjoy a good sim sexing any more!

"Andrew, what were the benchmarks we set for you last month?" The Moderator continued.
"Three hours of hiking, three hours of professional skill development, two hours of job searching and..." he seemed to search for words, "two hours with my biological family unit."
"The benchmark we set was ten hours weekly unlinked."
"Well, I gamed with my brother in Hyderabad for while!"
"Andrew this is the 5th week this quarter that we've failed to meet the benchmarks you choose when we started." She said sternly, "You know what that means..."
"No! I can do better!" He protested at the highest energy level Jason had seen out of him the past few months they had been in Support together.
"I'm having your Link deactivated." She cut him off. "You've shown zero progress towards becoming a productive, socially integrated hybrid citizen. We have no other choice."
He let out a final protest "How am I supposed to develop toward integration without my Link!"
"That's something that your post-expulsion counselor can discuss with you."
There was no more fight left in him. His shoulders came further together as his slump continued in the plastic chair, his head dropped, he shoved his hands into his jacket pockets, and he seemed to stare longingly at nothingness through the linoleum floor.

Some of these Post Opps are real fucking losers!

Is mining an equal opportunity employment option? Absolutely not, due to something called precognitive aptitude, certain Post Opp's can make drastically more money than others being mined. Back in 2011 a researcher conducted a bizarre experiment, he attached 26 human subjects to biofeedback monitoring, placed them in front of computer screens in sensory deprived environments and showed them at random various images, some illiciting strong emotional responses but most not... A house, a car, a frog, a naked man being beaten in prison, a politician giving a speech, a kitten, a trail in the woods, the New York skyline, an anthill, a dead baby, etc You get the idea.
Where the experiment got really interesting was that they observed that the body would start showing minor physiological reactions before being shown the most emotionally shocking images, as much as 5 second prior to being shown the image. The really eerie part about this is that the images were generated completely at random.
After showing hundreds of subjects many thousands of images, the data couldn't lie, the deviation from random chance was too high, the mind knew what was coming before the computer knew.
The research made headlines world wide for confirming what we've known for thousands of years and what science has denied for hundreds of years; that human beings have an uncanny ability to predict the future.
Then the researcher got a little perverse and started showing pornographic images at random to the human subjects of the experiment - a red sports car, a buxom blond giving a blow job, a running back catching a pass, a disembodied victim of Ted Bundy, etc. This caused the 'presentiment' accuracy of the biological predictions to jump a few more points even higher above random chance. The mind's sexual arousal mechanism, stimulated by the porn, statistically was demonstrated as the most prophetic human agency.
Further research repeated the experiments but used a pre-ordered sequence of evocative images and found that humans were even better at predicting the future when it was already set in stone - or bytes as the case was.
The most precognitive minds could predict any given event occurring or not occurring within 5 seconds, with accuracy up to 10% better than completely random chance. A fascinating discovery with shockingly little utility to anyone, except hedge fund managers who made or lost millions of dollars daily in high frequency trading based upon minuscule movements in the value of stocks and currencies.
Since images of porn and violence were the best predictive vehicles, and financial instruments only move in two directions, up or down in value the imagery could be tied to future outcomes of the movement of the market.
This is how warp frequency trading was born, based upon a tale-tale biological signs like blood pressure increasing by a few degrees, hedge funds would enter or exit positions with tens of millions of dollars and profit by a few fractions of a percentage point in 5 seconds or less. Thus was minted a new generation of precognitive millionaires.

It was Jason's turn...
"I spent ten hours aerobic gaming at the LARPing arcade, I walked my dog daily, other than that just a lot of hands of SuperSimPoker."
"So you are staying physically active, that's good, however, we have a growing concern about your online poker addiction Jason."
Online poker addiction! I pay your rent bitch! Support payments were not a flat fee but a percentage of one's income. Jason was something of a statistical savant and had developed amazing intuition over decades playing poker. While the average Post Opp's support payment could buy a meal at a fancy restaurant, his was equivalent to a government administrative employee's monthly salary, plus a 12% "privilege" surcharge because he was a straight, white male - doesn't seem like much a privilege! It would be even more but he managed to hide a lot of his income through his little side business staking lesser poker players and consulting on hands held by those not as talented as him with the digitized cards.
The Moderator pressed him, "We'd really like to see you develop a skill set that makes you more organizationally valuable."
"Yes, that why I spent 35 hours in the past three months attending public speaking classes..."
"Have you done any public speaking work to demonstrate proof of social integration?" Bitch they couldn't afford me!
"No. It's honestly a very competitive market for public speakers..."
She continued "Your sentence requires you spend time weekly doing ethics reconditioning..."
"I well I actually watched a 4-hour documentary series about a 20th-century advertising tycoon who is regarded as the father of modern, narcissistic consumer culture. Does that count?"
"For this week, yes."

She continued to probe Jason for details about his progress towards becoming a socially integrated Post Opp punctuated with pithy pieces of advice that he nodded with fake acquiescence too. Jason glanced at the clock, only a painful 30 minutes had elapsed, only three more hours to go and Jason could reactivate his Link and escape back into a digitized opium trip. Whatever it takes to get my Link reactivated!

The rest of the Support session passed uneventfully, Andrew's outburst and expulsion was the most progress, negative or positive that any of the Post Opps had made since last week. As he stood up Jason's legs ached as the blood rushed back into them after hours of sitting in the uncomfortable, 3D-printed chairs.

As they shuffled out the door he heard his name, "Jason!" uttered with a sharp yet cold tone from the square moderator. She gestured for him to return to one of lime green plastic thrones of poor circulationWhy is she giving me trouble? I'm practically the star student here! His throat dropped into his stomach as he settled uncomfortably into the seat next to the moderator.

She lowered her voice just slightly, "I didn't want to confront you in front of the whole group but you need to be careful about not violating the privacy of citizens around you. If what I observed today in the lobby is something you do frequently it will lead to citations which can lead to expulsion from your Support program. You know what that means. I'm going to set your Link to temporarily monitor your sexual arousal biosigns and cross-reference for hashtags in your immediate geo area indicating that you might be violating the privacy of citizens around you."

Jason smirked at "sexual arousal," the skirt in the elevator was the last time in a long time that he'd been even remotely aroused by anything not comprised of bits and pixels. No problem lady! He nodded in acknowledgment which she didn't even notice as her attention was now completely redirected to the glowing screen of the tablet in her lap.

A few moments later Jason was in a state of extreme time dilation, leaning against a linoleum counter in the lobby intently staring at tiny flashing verification light on the blockchain transaction. The slowest 15 seconds of every week was the time it took to verify his electronic funds' transfer to Support to clear so his Link could be reactivated. Serotonin flooded his mind as the green verified payment icon popped up on the screen, aftershocks of feel-good neurotransmitters followed as notifications began loading from his Link and popping up in his peripheral vision; new Instant Messages, new 3-D Prontograms, new emails, new micro episodes of his favorite Youtube shows, and a new installment of his favorite interactive adult program, Sutra Samurai SwordXxx, had been published...

After a half-day of living in black and white. Life was now back in color.

Next Chapter: Post Opp's Devolution: Part 2 - Temp Job Offer


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