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Mind Readers

There was a neural scientist who believed our memories were etched into the groves of our brain tissue. His theory was that so long as the right technology could be developed, the information or data stored in the human brain could be downloaded and converted into something that could be stored on an electronic medium. Such as a hard drive.
That idea eventually evolved into the first electro video neutral transcriber device. Simply put, it was a machine that could read the memories imprinted in neural tissue and convert it into digital video.  The one caveat though, was the design of the machine required the brain not to be encased in a skull. Which left technicians with only the degrading memories of cadavers to work with.
John Parson and Elliot Gould could never understand how the machine or its operating software worked. They were simple analysts, tasked with sifting through the memories of the deceased, hoping the long-gone moments might yield some valuable insight.
Human consciousness can't be wound up like a spool in a tape. The brain doesn't do any favors with the way it categorizes and stores experience. That meant John and Elliot had to spend thousands of hours of their own dwindling lifespans watching times past no matter how disgusting, irrelevant, or dull it might be.
"Wait, look there," John said, pointing at the screen.
Elliot shook his head, "What? Where?"
"On the northeast corner of the street," John replied pointing a finger at the frame.
Elliot shrugged.
"On the right," John sighed.
Elliot looked again. "Oh," he said with obvious disinterest. "I'm not sure that counts as ocular engagement."
"Just because he wasn't looking right at it doesn't mean he wasn't aware of it," rebutted John.
Elliot shrugged. "Sure, I guess."
John glared at his colleague for a moment. "Alright, what's up? You've really been out of it these last few days."
Elliot groaned and leaned back in his chair. "I'm sorry, man. I'm just not sure how much longer I can do this."
" I know this isn't always fun, but if we're not precise, then the whole thing will be for nothing," John explained firmly.
"I just can't help but wonder if this is all a big waste of time," Elliot said.
John was stunned. He looked around the room as if to make sure no one had heard his colleague's utterance.
"What do you mean?" John asked in an exacerbated whisper
"We've been watching every hour of this guy's boring ass life for two weeks now, and what has it told us?" Elliot shot back.
"You sound so ungrateful." Said, John. "Do you realize how few people have ever gotten to look into another person's mind? Right now, you're in a professional field that's about as small being an astronaut!"
Elliot sighed again. "I guess you're right."
"I know I'm right," said John. "Now, let's take 40 for lunch, and when we get back, we'll log our data for the day."
John's phone buzzed. He looked at the screen, and his eyes widened. "It's Wolfmann. He wants to meet with us."
Elliot looked shocked. "Seriously, Wolfmann wants to meet with us?"
John nodded, and a smile crept across his face. "See, I told you this would be worth it!"
Chad Wolfmann was the CEO of Neural Analytics, the company that employed John and Elliot. At 35, he was one of the youngest fortune 500 CEOs and, at the time, one of the most prolific. He'd been in the news most recently for sky diving into a board meeting. That's not to mention his well-known plans for one day colonizing the ocean floor.
When the two lowly analysts were called into his office, they were instantly awestruck. The neatly trimmed yet rugged executive was hanging upside down from a metal bar doing crunches in his office made entirely of glass. At his back was a waterfall that fed into roaring white rapids. According to Wolfmann the flow of water reminded him time stops for no man.
"Ah, the brain, boys!" Chad said mid crunch.
"Yes, that's us," John chuckled sheepishly.
Chad unhinged his feet from the bar and backflipped to the floor.
"I know you guys must be busy, so I'll be brief," he said as he immediately started what appeared to be Yoga.
"Of course," replied John.
"So, how's the project going?" Wolfmann asked.
Elliot and John exchanged a quick glance. "It's going great," Elliot chirped. "Just today, we logged 22 distinct and separate interactions the subject had with the Starbucks logo."
"And that's just over the course of five hours on one day. We estimate he'll probably see the logo at least 5 to 6 thousand more times before his expiration date."
Chad smiled "That's good to hear." he said warmly. "Well, I got good news for your two. Your part of the project is complete."
"Complete?" John repeated.
Chad transitioned into downward dog. "That's right. Thanks to your hard work, we were able to calibrate an AI that can record all the interactions this subject and future subjects had with the Starbucks logo. Good jobs, guys, you helped us innovate."
Elliot and John exchanged another nervous glance. "So what does that mean for us?" asked John.
Chad stood up. "That's a question for HR. Listen. This was a good talk, but I gotta get going. Time stands still for no man!"
John and Elliot were given their pink slips and sent home that very day. Later on, the now unemployed John was driving home, thinking of the best way to break the news to his wife. He wasn't so sure she'd find so much solace in his contribution to innovation.
He saw a liquor store and decided to stop in.  John knew whiskey was really the only way to alleviate the pain of unemployment. He got his bottle and was getting back in his car when the sensation of a thousand burning needles ripped across his left side. He dropped the bottle and gripped his chest.
"Oh shit," he groaned.
John's face flushed with blood and sweat broke across his brow. He gasped before dropping his bottle and falling down on the asphalt. He lay on the ground, struggling to breathe his heartbeat harder and harder as it struggled to find its rhythm. The pain began to subside as the darkness collected.
"I guess this is it."
Foam began to collect as the corners of his mouth, and his body began to spasm. He managed to roll himself over, and as he lay there gasping or breath, he looked up and saw the last sight he'd ever see, the Starbucks logo.


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