The Truthful Verse


The first thing they teach you at the Academy is the importance of responsible use of the Goggles.

The second thing they teach you is that they’ll kill you instantly if you breathe to a soul what the Goggles really do.

Then they hand them over to the fresh young recruits and let them see for themselves.

The Goggles are the single most powerful tool the Leite has at its disposal. The obvious parts are clever, but not overly so: a heads-up display overlaid on one’s vision, filters for infrared, sonar, night vision, motion tracking. No, the real genius is in a chip less than half a milimeter thick by one centimeter by one centimeter in the control box woven into the headstrap. This chip doesn’t contain anything but an interface to the most brilliant program ever created.

The program doesn’t run on hardware, it runs on space. The chip just converts your requests into the proper wave function for the program to execute under the three dimensions you and I are familiar with. Someone described it to me once as yelling at a canyon wall angled perfectly so that the echo came back reconfigured as the answer to a question. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but the first time I put on the Goggles, the how stopped mattering as much as the implications of the  omniscience I’d just slapped onto my face.

My first instant as an agent– the first moment of my life, as far as I am concerned– I saw the room full of recruits washed down to a cool blue, every lifesign in the room highlighted with white-hot precision. Every person in the room had a number glowing softly over his or her head. I was confused for a moment, before I noticed the subtitle in the lower left of my field of vision: ‘Lifetime Number of Sexual Partners.’ The room of nervous recruits giggled one by one as they donned their Goggles and saw the conquests and shames of their companions instantly laid bare.

The instructor quieted the tittering mass of youth.  “You’ll notice the Visual OmniDiscernment systems have highlighted your peers and revealed the number of sexual partners they have had. To those of you for whom this is an embarassment, you have my sympathy, but not my apology. Any shred of detail about your life that you believed to be private is no longer private, and as a matter of fact never was. Welcome to the world of the benevolent and omniscient dictators.

“If you will all look at the palm of your left hands you will discover the interface has been tied to YOU, uniquely. Your Goggles will not work for any other human being. I would now like you all to spend some time bonding with your Goggles; you will find it is the most intuitive piece of technology you have ever used. In a week’s time your Goggles will not only be your sixth sense but the first five as well. They are an extension of your self as truly as your hands are.

“You have half an hour to become comfortable with the Goggles. At 1530 hours you will report back to this room to begin your training in earnest. Do not leave the training grounds. Johnson, Lake, Freeman, Hevi. You may not leave this room. This disciplinary action is in response to your intention to disobey my last direct order. The rest of you are dismissed.”

Although the instructor had made it eminently clear what the Goggles were and what they did, he had understated their intuitive controls. Cool green symbols floated in front of my vision, seeming to be projected from the palm of my left hand. I realized just by moving my fingers I could select different options, request any information, directly message my fellow recruits, and introduce any filter over my vision.

I experimented. Having selected the ‘input text with subvocalizations’ option, I muttered– “Display emotional states of all targets in visual range.”

Immediately my vision blossomed with color. Unbidden, the Goggles had decided to display the emotional states as various colors with supertitles hovering over the recruits’ heads. Uneasy, Giddy, Mad With Power, Terrified, In Love the words blinked.

“Display the last lie spoken by all targets in visual range.”

Words again blinked into existence above every head. I wasn’t looking at her. I’m fine. We have to hang out sometime, man. I love you. I’ll be right back…

I no longer had to open my mouth. I barely had to think the words. “Display the IQ of all targets.”

140. 120. 133. 115. 143…

“Highlight all targets who exhibit sexual interest in me.”

That one was somewhat disappointing. Then I turned around and my heart skipped a beat: the gorgeous blonde, mere feet away, awash with a heavenly glow in the light of my Goggles’ visual identification system. I could get used to this.

A thought occurred to me. “Display the requests of all targets wearing Goggles.”

Immediately complicated graphs unfolded around me. I was momentarily overloaded with information. I shouldn’t have been– they were mostly predictable. All Targets’ Preferred Underwear Type. All Targets’ Favorite Foods. All Targets Sexually Interested In Me. Display All Targets Ranked By Sexual Promiscuity. Display All Targets’ Deepest Secret. Display All Targets’ Weight.

Dear God, I thought. Training had better give us some discipline. Or else…

And the instructor barked at us to return for training. There, we’d learn sixty thousand things. Though we didn’t know it at the time, self-control, discipline, and respect weren’t among them. Rather, we’d learn something useful.

We’d learn how to take apart and understand a human life in less than sixty seconds.


3 Responses to “The Truthful Verse”

  1. Sebatinsky Says:

    This is pretty freakin’ sweet. I approve. And I want to know more.

  2. Straw « Air Theremin Says:

    […] Also this. […]

  3. Burning Bridges « Air Theremin Says:

    […] Also this. […]

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