by Jake Cake
Peleg works the land after the fall of a dystopian cyber-age.
As the sun dropped in the West, pouring its last amber glow benevolently across the newly ploughed fields, Peleg looked down at his hands which he no longer recognised. Dry, calloused, cracked and rough, with ingrained dirt, these were the hands which used to glide over holographic keyboards. The only scar on either of his hands then was where the implant was inserted. His fingernails were cut short, instead of worn short as they were now, and manicured to make the right impression as an executive operator high up in rank and altitude in the worldwide communications headquarters. How quickly life had changed for the entire world, how quickly the dreams of mankind came to nothing. Peleg shone from the day he first arrived at school, and it wasn't long before his unusual intelligence and ability was noticed by those who could put him to greater use. As he grew in stature and understanding of the new cyber-age, Peleg was selected to be among the elite of human minds and was posted at the new central hub of the worldwide web. It was in development stage, and even the very building where Peleg was to work was not completed yet. Already it was by far the tallest man-made structure ever built, but it's contrived height at over 3000 feet was merely symbolic of its purpose in bringing into reality the desire of an ancient instinct within mankind - to dominate not only earthbound nature, but to rule all things in the known universe through the power of a united and perfected human race. Within the tower walls was not only the pinnacle of modern computer technology, but also it was the temple of a new religion for a new age - where the deity is man himself. It was the perfect union of science and the spiritual. Every man, woman and child were already connected to the global net by means of various implants installed at birth. Now all thoughts and wills could be united through virtual telepathy and a new initiative called "Mind Guidance". The purpose of which to identify rogue elements which were not in unity with "The Great Plan" for mankind - a final evolutionary, technological step into godhood: Transhumanism. Minds could be changed and re-educated through automatic downloading of understanding and acceptance of The Great Plan. For the good of humanity and its destiny, every contrary thought in every individual could be ironed out, and every soul conformed. Everything now ran from a computer programme. Everything could be controlled and regulated. Not a single thought occurred without an electronic trail. Whatever mankind could imagine had become achievable. The world was approaching a unity of one language and a single-minded understanding.
Nobody thought it was possible, but the system got hacked. A virus took the system apart in an hour. Communication stopped. Implants no longer received or transmitted messages. The media stopped. Trains stopped, planes stopped, driverless cars stopped, the factories ground to a halt and computers froze forever.