My Charge

“Wakeup!” I scream at max volume. My words translated by an algorithm into some cheery musical tune my charge selected from possible options.

…3…2…1, “Wake up!” I shout once again at a programmed interval.

That second one seems to have worked, my charges embedded sensors tell me his heart rate and brain waves are stirring out of their sleep patterns. Maybe I could get one more in before the alarm cycle is cancelled.

…2…, his cold index finger pokes my face, ending the alarm cycle. Then, with fumbling fingers he grabs my narrow edges, loses his grip on me, and drops me. My internal accelerometer tells me I hit the floor hard, but I am tough, and my glass face is protected with a shatter proof screen.

I hear him utter a string of profanities.

I want to cuss out my charge for his clumsiness, but it is against my programming. Monitor, and inform, that is my function.

I am picked up and held before his face. My camera snaps a pic, logging his familiar features. His blue eyes under arched blonde eyebrows. Close cropped hair of the same color. Thin lips drawn into a scowl as he looks over my screen.

Roughly I am placed on the dresser while my charge dresses in his running clothes. Us devices are expected to listen in on our charges conversations and record them in a central database. Because of this function, I know Ethan, my charge hates running.

Why does he do it? Well, it allots him more calories.

I am Ethan’s personal device. I take care of all his data needs, communication needs, entertainment needs, and do my best to make sure he complies with all personal self-care directives handed down by the Borough of Health and Longevity.

Ethan is the exception to the rule. I share his personal habits and data with other personal devices through the BHL database, and so many of their charges are just doing the minimum.

Barely ten thousand steps, three days a week. Consume the absolute maximum calories they are allowed. Eat only enough raw fruits and vegetables to meet the minimum.

Ethan, he runs three days a week, and hits the community fitness center three other days to get some strength training in. His favorite snacks are his fruit smoothie he makes every morning, and a bag of veggies consisting of carrots, pea pods, and cauliflower. Because of his fitness routine, he can indulge in three Oreo cookies after his evening meal.

Other personal devices are so jealous of my charge.

Ethan was not always like this. He was fined thee-hundred calories on three separate occasions for buying beer on the black market, and eventually ended up in the state’s reeducation facility. His crime, trying to hack into his apartments BHL food dispensary. It was during his stint in the reeducation facility he discovered that calories burned, were rewarded with calories allowed.

He did have the one set back. During one of his enlightenment classes he challenged the states authority to restrict his life in the way it does.

“That which the government funds, it can control,” his enlightenment instructor informed him.

“I pay for my food!” Ethan protested.

“The state pays for your healthcare. In order to control costs, it was forced several years ago to mandate healthier behaviors.”

Ethan opened his mouth to protest, and his instructor continued, “It is for the good of society. Until you understand that civilian, you will never be free.”

I learned all this second hand. I spent this time in data storage. Guests of the state’s reeducation facility wear their institutional personal device on their ankle.

From the data supplied by institutional personal devices, Ethan’s behavior changed from that moment on. He became what the BHL calls a model citizen. He even volunteers at the community fitness center, teaching weight lifting classes.

I hear Ethan mumbling something as he picks me up and slips me into the device pocket of his running shorts. However, I cannot make it out.

Occasionally, he does something I have to log with the central database. He meets with a group a couple times a month. The meeting takes place in a steam room where there are no cameras. They keep their devices in the device pockets of their robes. They never talk. I log these details in the central database.

Once, one of my fellow devices alerted another charge in one of these meetings of an incoming message. The charge pulled his devices out of his pocket. My comrade caught a quick image of others in the group moving their hand and fingers rapidly before the group told him to put the device away.

The incident was logged.

Ethan is a model citizen, but he does not appear to be…happy.

I like my charge. I hope he does not do something stupid. Find himself once again in a reeducation facility.

I do not like being put in data storage.

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