The World In Mind: a short story by: GF Willmetts.

July 3, 2022 | By | Reply More

I think I ought to tell you all how it happened. Not just you but everyone in the world. Sorry you can’t blot out my mind’s voice back then. It wasn’t our fault. In short, we had been part of an experimental drug program and one of the ingredients hit us with a side-effect. Our mind voices or mindspeak could be heard by everyone else not the standard telepathic way between ourselves. I did ask how I could be heard across the world. They weren’t sure but think our mind voices bounce in and out of brains across the world. Like some big echo. Not sure if I believe that but they are groping as much as ourselves on the exact process.

Of course, we didn’t know what was happening at the time. Yes, we were aware we could talk telepathically between ourselves at first. Quite a novelty being able to have tete-a-tetes between ourselves. It was when the scientific team were asking us about something we hadn’t discussed with them that we realised we were being ‘heard’. Not just by them but everyone. We thought they had deliberately made us telepathic and had taken the same drug themselves. They hadn’t. They could just eavesdrop. As could everyone else. All right. So we accepted that at first and just assumed it was a local effect and, y’know, it would wear off. After all, it was a drug. They all wear off. Right?

That’s when the problems started. Think. What’s the first thing you do when you get to an ATM, you recite the PIN number in your head. Some of you mutter it to yourself. Thing is everyone heard the numbers. Luckily a lot of people didn’t know what it was or remembered or wrote it down. Fortunately, some of the others were doing the same thing so there was an extended number. We heard later some people made a few pounds and other currency on various lotteries. People like numbers. They really do, just not good with maths with them. Without the debit or credit card, the PIN was useless alone but it became apparent that we couldn’t think aloud our numbers anymore.

What we thought individually didn’t need thought words. We were public to everyone. Whoever thought telepathy would be so public? We also didn’t realise how long our thoughts were public knowledge and how the name of the experimental drug, EXPLT-47, became public knowledge.

We also became instant media celebrities. The Net was fastest, followed by the TV and newspapers. They didn’t even have to ask us. We were public domain. The fastest ever. Not just locally but world-wide. Language was no barrier. Giving away our PIN numbers was the least of our worries. A lot of our social chat was public knowledge. Soon as we started to wonder what else we might have inadvertently thought, it would automatically get out. Everything, including our private lives. The voyeurs and pundits were having a field day.

I scribbled on a piece of paper: DON’T THINK ALOUD. The six of us looked wide-eyed. I knew it was an impossible task. I scribbled again: DON’T USE YOUR MIND VOICE. I twiddled my fingers then wrote again: YOU DIDN’T HEAR THESE MESSAGES. SAME DIFFERENCE.

That made them all look around for notepads. Not surprising as we had a way round not being heard. Thing was, how to change our PINs? Someone was bound to hear. Again, I wrote, realising I was becoming either the group guru or a real smart aleck: WE HAVE THE CARDS. DO IT ON MACHINE. DON’T THINK ALOUD THE NUMBERS.

Of course, that would never be perfect but we needed quick solutions. It was a viable solution but we weren’t super-human and a lot of private stuff got out. Oh, a lot about the tests as well but at least the company knew it wasn’t our fault but did restrict what they told us. Well, at least until the drug wore off. Did I say what it was a cure for? Does it matter? It certainly can’t be marketed in this state.

The World In Mind

The World In Mind

We could hardly be seven day wonders as we were literally in people’s minds all the time. We thought we could get away from it in our sleep but then we had no control of the mindspeak. The stress of living that way was slowly getting to us and reflected in our dreams…nightmares. That frightened half the world awake to our voices in any one period. The best they could offer were tranquillisers. What had started a bizarre joke was souring quickly. Stress and the world stresses with you. We couldn’t turn it off and neither could the rest of the world who were listening in. At least we were spared publishers wanting to write our life stories. After all, everyone was living it with us.

The biggest crisis was once we had a few close calls from people wanting to kill us. Company security and police got in the way of most of them but Sally’s scream at one attempt scared everyone as it carried over to mindspeak, petrifying everyone. It made world news and a polite warning that things would be even more nightmarish if any of us were killed. Of course, we weren’t sure about what would happen. For all we knew, it might be one less voice but no one would want to try that and it might spare our lives.

We did become a five day wonder as our mindspeak voices faded to a whisper and finally gone. We had our privacy back. The world was finally shut out. A big sigh of relief for everyone. Of course, the company kept us on and at their base. There were still tests to be carried out and a new set of guinea pigs. The active part of the drug that they thought caused the mindspeak was crucial to the cure and was heavily patented and there was a need for a solution. There was a need to either reduce the dosage or find out what in us reacted to it. More tests to see if we were a factor or it would affect everyone the same day. They didn’t say, but there was a certain anxiety about that. Getting volunteers who just didn’t wasn’t a kick out of it was a lot tougher.

Me? A touch off boredom and wanting to know what was going on when they restricted what they told us. A late night hack into their computer and cross-checking the use of the ingredient and it was already in other drugs on the market. No wonder they thought it was safe but less sure now. Think about it. If it happened again, everyone would know and liability would mean everyone would know and no claiming it was an accident.

What were they evaluating? How big a dose? How many people? How many lawsuits? We were a test trail. Not quite the same thing.

I went back to the test lounge and the television was on. It was too late. Mindspeak was already happening again but not from the new batch of test subjects. There was going to be hell for a lot of people with a lack of privacy for the next five days. Thing is, we couldn’t hear in. Should we tell them that and risk them asking us to try the drug again to see if it would restore our own mindspeak?

Been there. Done that. Do we really want to go through that particular hell again? That’s what I thought and I’m keeping that to myself.

© GF Willmetts 2022

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Category: Scifi, Short fiction


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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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