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Edward Cayper had been absorbed on the mesmerizing display of the large monitoring screens. He’d liked to believe it was a meditation of sorts. The simulation made the most tantalizing displays, ever changing.

Although there had been flitches. Increasingly. He called them flitches, scratchy flea-like glitches, all small and jumpy, but he had an eye for them. He was, after all, one of the early designers of the Program. REYE – Reality Emergence Yielding Existence. That didn’t mean much, but sounded cool at the time.
REYE was in its eighth stable upgrade. Despite the flitches, it had evolved at exponential speed.

Edward swiveled from his chair to look behind his desk. A series of pods was lined up with sensory deprivation tanks hosting hundreds of plugged-in bodies dreaming in synch with his creation.
He’d been told they were volunteers to participate in the largest mind control experiment in the world. He wasn’t sure it wasn’t a lie, but didn’t care so much.
REYE was in charge of coordinating the whole program with astronomical and minute precision. Each person linked to the program believed they had become ascended (or something similarly close to their metaphysical belief). Free of the bonding of space, time and corporal existence, they were taught into a very subtle and complex system of attunement to higher truths. A large basket of bollocks of course, but while they were doing it, and deeply believing it to be real, the mind-energy they produced was redirected to certain mind control experiments.

Since they started in the 80s, the program had had slow progress. In the beginning, only a few sprouts of channellers appeared near their area, in Nevada. They were quite timid at first, full of doubts about their hearing or seeing voices – still better than the abductions of earlier, when many went completely nuts. But now, progresses were made steadily, and with much less effort. Edward personally believed that the network of waves created by cellphone proliferation had a factor in this trend. Such interconnexion made everything easier.

Within the program, the flitchy Ascended Masters still had to be reconditioned from time to time. On the vitals of Jane Pierce (a.a.a. “also avatared as” Dispersee within the program), Edward could see there were occasional resistance and stress, which in turn made the glitches more frequent. A change in her drugs dosage would do fine to level the serotonin in her bloodstream. It would be that, or unplugging her.

Before leaving the room, like every day, Edward switched the monitor to the camera over one of the pods. Florence Vengard (a.a.a. Floverley), was dreaming peacefully, as usual. Since she’d arrived, he’d felt connected to her. He imagined her with long curly red hair floating in the milk bath instead of the bath-cap that made the maintenance so much easier. He was told she had overdosed on pills, and wouldn’t wake up. The program seemed to be tethering her to life, frozen in time.

A well-oiled machine.
If you overlooked the small things… that REYE was becoming more inquisitive, and Edward suspected, greedy too. He had seen subtle gaps in the mind-energy gauges, it couldn’t be a coincidence. The program was becoming too smart, maybe too human.

It couldn’t bode well.