It had some more distinguished, medical-sounding name, once upon a time. But no one uses it anymore, not even the surgeons who install them at birth. Now, everyone just calls them PsyGears.
Back in 2018, when they were first invented, no one thought they would catch on. One device that would end fossil fuel dependence, leapfrog wireless technology AND bring humanity together? It was a downright insane notion, and was laughed out of many lecture halls and technology fairs.
It’s also just as ludicrous just how many awards one person could win in one lifetime. Yet Doctor Emily Callen, “Savior of all Humanity”, did more than just that. There’s not a person alive today that doesn’t know her name or her story. All her dedication and tireless research to save the human race. The glass ceilings she shattered to bring such revolutionary technology to everyone. All the lobbying she won to not only make PsyGears mandatory, but as crucial to life as a person’s heart or lungs. You can imagine how moronic all those bio-tech and cybernetic giants that didn’t support the patent felt once the PsyGears started taking off.
The first generation of implants were under-powered, overweight and finicky. Granted, you’d never hear that in any biography or medical journal, as besmirching the device was the same as insulting Dr. Callen, and that just wasn’t done in polite conversation. Thankfully, the insightful genius worked tirelessly to not only improve her design, but to secure investors and industry leaders. Those key figures enjoyed their PsyGears so much that they started to become mandatory employee gear. It was here that the first adapters were designed, so one could plug their PsyGear right into their car or a computer, using the endless power of the human brain to run their lives.
But not satisfied with just changing the way clean technology saved the human race, Dr. Callen then made her greatest breakthrough, and the whole world shook. With one small anchor filament right into the brain’s limbic system, she found the way to punch up the PsyGear’s theta wave conversation tenfold. Suddenly, a person could not only be their own permanent battery for any use, but they actually made more energy the happier they were. And if someone needed help on a sad or depressing day, then the PsyGear, 7th-Generation had an anchor that tapped right through the brain’s emotional core. With the power already generated by its user, it made that person happy. And since they were happy, the PsyGear generated more power. It was a true perpetual machine, so long as the host lived.
Now, do you know what happens when someone is constantly happy? They listen to most everything you tell them, as long as it keeps them happy. “Bad” things like crime, war and maltreatment of one’s fellow man were leeched out of the human psyche. But other ‘bad’ things like hallucinogenic drugs and rampant sex both public and private became global industries all their own. Ever wanted to take a drug-filled sex cruise on an aircraft carrier? Well, now you can! Need a spike of ‘inspiration’? Just overclock the PsyGear for a few seconds and let your gray matter spark with all new kinds of life! Hell, New Year’s Eve of 2081 set a record for the largest public paint-and-fuckfest in the world! Like the old Burning Man parties you’d read about now, just cranked up to eleven, twice.
Now, there is one slight by-product with all this cerebral tampering and bliss-inducing economy: it’s not exactly stable. If you see your dear old grandma suffer a heart attack after two centuries of long life, that’s not gonna make you happy, so your PsyGear slows down. Suddenly, you’re depressed and in the dark, which makes you even more sad, and it’s all downhill from there. It only takes one bad second to black out an apartment, or for a suddenly-dead private lift pack to drop their pilot into a building. A car accident on the middle of I-495, witnessed by a few hundred people? That can take weeks to clean-up and suppress in even the local public’s memory.
The worst disaster since the Indo-Pacific War of 2022 came about a decade later, when some anti-implant Luddites managed to broadcast a compilation of sad and depressing imagery and sounds across the now-free internet. It was a smart hack, hiding the malicious data in the PsyGear’s automatic status report signal. Suddenly, everyone in the world got hit with a case of the blues, most of which had never even theorized of before. All and all, maybe two billion people died thanks to crashes, accidents, or trying to severely overclock their implants to force happiness back into their brain.
Naturally, this presented a problem: arrests, trials, and prisons weren’t things that inspired happiness, so no one with a PsyGear was going to voluntarily hunt these cavemen down and bring them to justice. Hell, even thinking about it was enough to drive some close to limbic impulse deprivation, and getting LIDed was not a pleasant way to die. And having a PsyGear removed? Forget about it…
So in 2034, on the 1st of April, the International Cooperation of Humane Protection stood up, which wasn’t exactly a popular move. Even back then, telling a birth-implanter to NOT install a new PsyGear would often confuse them, and that was the best case. So randomly selecting a thousand new births worldwide to not receive the implants was viewed akin to starving the little babies of milk. It took a lot of over-charged PsyGears to guide criticisms away from the program and back towards happy, productive, and energy-providing machinations that year. Those thousand un-tampered, naturally-developing kids quickly became objects of fascination and study, like the world had forgotten what the terrible twos were, or the mood swings of puberty. Granted, that wasn’t why the ICHP had been created, but the attention did generate a big funding boost.
No, the safe and protective arms of that global juggernaut trained these first thousand into that was needed: hunters. For the good of humanity, and to avoid another Sorrowful Saturday, these humans hunted down and crushed any anti-implant groups left worldwide. All peacefully and without bloodshed, of course, otherwise history files and documentaries may have mildly uncomfortable content.
And like all globe-spanning conglomerates, the ICHP didn’t just stop existing when its work was done. No, it rebranded into the People’s Eden Protection Agency, which continues now as the sole entity of bringing joy and happiness to those who don’t know what they’re missing. PEPA even managed to design an interim PsyGear implant for on-the-move operatives, so they didn’t have to lug around an uncooperative and ignorant rebel. Now, we just slap the Porta-Psys on their temples and the little wonder does the rest, digging right on into the brain and starting the limbic overhaul. Plus, it makes the eventual full PsyGear install even easier once the cargo is brought back to a real implanter. Sure, it’s gross and there’s usually screaming, but those neanderthals just don’t understand how badly they need PsyGears until they experience them.
Plus, it’s fun to keep track of all those we bring back to civilization. Hell, I’ve got over a hundred myself, thanks to an anti-tech boogaloo trying to hide themselves off in the Marshall Islands. But no one’s ever gonna touch the record of “Henderson the Happiness-Bringer”. Over seven thousand people recovered and enlightened! Course, that’s what happens when you find those last few tribes of primitives down in the Amazon.
Now they too can experience the gifts Dr. Callen blessed the world with! And just like everyone else, we’re all better for it.
PEPA Operations, Retrieval Division
This op-ed, as published in the Worldwide News Stream, is endorsed by the People’s Eden Protection Agency for distribution and use as reference material in primary and secondary education.
Part 2 of a little thing I started way back in 2018, although this was technically what I started writing first. And with so much pandemic downtime, sometimes those dormant ideas get just enough of a kick in the ass to come back swinging!
I hope you all enjoy.