Brad N. Phelps
September 7, 2208:
My name is Charles Xavier Daniels, and I was there for the end of the world. I was there when the UVB-76 broadcast stopped. When society as we know it stumbled and fell, never to get back up again.
Every 18 years the signal changed. For 11 of those cycle changes an underground movement grew. UVB-76 started with radio waves. In the early days of the revolution, it hit the Internet. When data-streaming reached subconscious levels, and rendered the Internet obsolete, the UVB-76 movement has spread worldwide.
As the data stream evolved, so did the human condition. Instead of using technology to impact the world, we used it to minimize our own existence. We could have taken a shared consciousness anywhere, made it to be anything. Instead we used it to isolate ourselves. We lived our lives passing information and connection across an integrated network of neural impulse stimulators.
Some of us think that is what the signal was created for, that the broadcast was a countdown. That it was created to mark the end of time. I think it was a count-up. I think UVB-76 tracked the human condition, marking our growth. That is why the signal stopped, because we lost our way.
History says the first cycle occurred in 1992, the second in 2010. By the 2046 cycle, laws were passed to protect the source of the signal. Anyone trying to tamper with, or locate the source of the UVB-76 code, faced the punishment of life imprisonment.
On the 2082 cycle UVB-76 had 2.4 million daily followers. By the 2190 cycle 16.4 billion peopled lived with the sound of repetitive beeping in their brains 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Roughly 98% of the human population chose UVB-76 as the most stable constant in their existence. That’s why chaos ensued.
The chronicles also tell of random deviations in the broadcast. Some even say the birthdate of the signal was when the pattern turned to chaos for a short time. Some say it has been broadcasting since the birth of mankind. It had been three cycles since a simple disruption in the signal caused panic and chaos to spread on a global scale. My parents lived through that event, and still refuse to talk about it.
People don’t realize how fragile existence really is. When I was a small boy I remember my grandfather telling me about having to use an image projector to view the data stream. He called it a monitor. That the stream wasn’t already in your brain, that you would have to use your eyes to see the information. He would tell me horror stories about the old-fashioned system people called the Internet, crashing, and going offline. They would give me nightmares. The thought of not hearing the signal, of not being reminded that I was alive, it was enough to scare a young boy to death.
August 25th, 2208 was the day the world ended. It doesn’t matter how long the human race continues to live, that day will always be remembered as the end, the day humanities heart stopped beating. It was the day the signal stopped.
I’ve heard rumors that people died, their hearts just stopped beating. That they had become so attached to the signal that they couldn’t live without it. I’m sure those stories are just rumors, but the fact is that there are over 14 billion people missing from the data stream. Gone without a trace, no way to know where they are, or if they’re alive. They just logged off, and never logged on again. It really is the end of the world.
Sometimes I think about going outside. Not just accessing live video feeds, but actually going outside. To see what the world is really like. I can’t remember the last time I left my house, but it has been many years. Someone has to find UVB-76. If they want to prosecute me, they can. Because I would rather die, than sit here for another day without the sound of life flowing through me. I’m going to turn off the data stream and find the signal, because it’s the only hope humanity has left.