The Network

We get on the ground. We are all here. Looking up the many legs of a vengeful god wondering when our turn will come.

The plastic restraints come in. They are tightened. They are unforgiving, uncaring, and not us. Buildings topple, empires invade, ideologies are questioned, we die, we speak up, and we die some more.

We are read our rights. We do not listen. We have no rights. That is why we are here. They did not listen when we said our homes were off limits. They did not listen when we said our phones were off limits. They did not listen when we said our computers were off limits. Now it is our minds that are subject to question.

We are dragged outside into the light. We have thought for so long in the dark, we do not remember what light is. It burns our eyes. We are still thinking.

They speak in a coded tongue. Laugh like drones. We broadcast all of it. We are still fighting.

We are thrown inside cold steel vans. All blacked out. You can capture a node, but the Network still lives on.

The van doors close. The signal is cut. They are getting smarter. Only Faraday can cage us now.

We look into each other’s eyes. It has been awhile. We have been “we” for so long we do not remember how not to be.

We share smiles. We did our part. Our mouths do not remember how to move. We do not need them. Our communication is pure.

We are interrogated. We do not talk. We are labeled thought terrorists. We find the term humorous. Thought cannot be evil, only action. And we take no action. We cannot be evil. We are still trapped in cages. We record anyway.

We see no judge for months. We do not mind. We find holes in our cage, little corners where strong signals leak in. The Network communicates with us. We remain silent. We are told we did well. No others have been captured. The Network always learns from its mistakes.

We see a judge. He comes down to the cage. He is appalled by the process. He demands a trial in a courtroom. He demands a trial in his courtroom. We decide we like him.

Things are quiet in here. A storm is brewing out there. Our judge is loud. He talks to everybody. He talks about freedom of speech. He talks about freedom of thought. He finds enemies. The Network makes sure his voice is heard.

We get our trial. We get our courtroom. There is no cage here. They debate moral obligation and ethics in technology. We are still handcuffed, but our minds are free.

We do not defend ourselves. To them, we appear quiet. We broadcast everything. The Network grows. Two of us are on the jury. The court has no idea.

We experience the bureaucratic sloth of justice. The Network moves faster. The trial no longer matters. The outcome can only decide the fate of a few nodes. We are so much bigger. Outside these walls, we are winning.

The trial ends. We are found guilty. It was expected. The jury did not matter. The war has already begun.

Senators, congressmen, and even judges try to join the Network. Some we welcome. Others do more good on the outside. Many do not understand the commitment. There are no personal identities in the Network. You cease to be you. You become “we.”

We are not a religion or a political party. We hold no guns. We hold no explosives. We just hold our minds. Our only demand is freedom of thought. We are the Network, and we welcome you to see the world through our eyes.

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