The Final Bug- Chapter 1

Tech changes the brain

Max floated, gently suspended in the air and twirling from the inertia of his entry into the sleeping tank. The liquid that surrounded him and filled his lungs was gel-like in form and viscosity but somehow breathable. That gel was an invention that had been created in the tech lab that employed Max. He had been recruited by a sister team to be the first human test to use the suspended-state gel.


“Come on, dude, we need this test to pass to go live and release this to Corp. It’s fail-proof. The rats don’t die. Just sign up. You’ll be paid overtime for it.”


Max had requested overtime to be considered a candidate in the gel-tests. His supervisor was thrilled: anything to use up the funding for the year. As a software programmer, Max’s overtime salary was a substantial chunk of money. The supervisor could finally use that research and development funding.


During the sleep-state suspension, Max was to simply sleep for 90 minutes and deliver his symptoms and observations upon waking. His vitals would be monitored, of course; they were displayed on the screens hanging outside of the giant tank in which he slept. Any anomaly in his breathing or heart rate and Max would be yanked from the tank and the tests would be abandoned.


Unfortunately, it took a long time for Max to fall asleep with the cold liquid seeping into his sinuses and lungs. He lay awake during the time that it took his body to heat up the gel to a warmer temperature. He mentally noted the temperature discomfort for his observation report. While he twirled gently, he let his mind drift to his work.


His supervisor really wanted him to come up with a great new idea. That research and development funding was so large, and the department never used it. This fiscal year, the budget was on the chopping block. If someone didn’t use it and use it well, it would be gone forever. The political climate of the world didn’t bode well for frivolous department spending. Corporate wanted to consolidate that extra funding and create something new, something whispered about in hallways but never discussed aloud. This was the last year to do something great as a programmer before Max would be shuttled to a cubicle to write tests for the next great invention.


“What should I do? What problems of the world need to be addressed?”


Sometime during Max’s musing, he fell into a deep sleep. Something that occurs while in sleeping suspension that the rats were never capable of telling the research scientists is a heightened sense of brain activity while in stasis. The R&D dinks didn’t have the funding to hook up brain scans to detect a change in brain activity, because of lack of funding in the medical line of Corp’s budget, of course. So when Max fell asleep and his brain went into overdrive, the onlooking scientists couldn’t tell.


Max began what could be considered a “hyper dream” that used most portions of the human brain to make connections otherwise undetected. As neurons fired back and forth, forming bridges of information, Max developed an idea of something that had never been attempted by anyone in this world.


His brain grew hotter as he filled in the information that he needed to make the biggest breakthrough in scientific history since the discovery of the atom. Puzzle pieces grew together, code was written carefully, everything made sense. Hotter and hotter…and his heart rate increased. He was almost there, he almost had all of the pieces…




Max’s body was pulled from the gel by two scientists who had jumped into the tank with him. Gel had splashed onto the ground around the tank and Max saw glimmers of the liquid from the harsh florescent lighting briefly before his brain began to seize.