On another note, it's been brought to my attention that the font/background color on this blog is not complimentary to everyone's eyes. From now on the PDF will be included in the post so if you would prefer to read that way just click the title below. I hope you enjoy and as always thoughts are welcome. Until next week. Cheers!
Word Count: 1031
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 13 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes
Since the tools for brain hacking became readily available in 2025 it’s become increasingly harder to tell whether you’re in control, or someone else’s fleshy puppet. I’ve had to watch some of the best men and women—most of them friends—who ever set foot on this rotten planet turned to remote controlled zombies. Not me though, I’ve been fighting the hackers since I was old enough to talk.
I, J. Holsten, survive in the real world, eyes open and unhacked, to fight for the free people, until death so endeth my service. I, am a PeaceFighter. It’s my first memory, my Pa was a PeaceFighter too, I’ll never forget the way he smiled that day when I finished my oath.
Nobody ever calls me J. Holsten anymore—come to think of it nobody ever did—I’m honestly not really sure what the J. even stood for after all this time. Jeremy. Jon. Joseph. Yea, I think that was the one, Joseph. Whatever it was, the only name I’ve known for years is Snow Cat.
I was a pale kid. There wasn’t much sunlight in the underground technology labs, and I may as well have lived in them for the first half of my life. They called me Snow Cat ‘cause I was white as the snow and about as quiet and friendly as a pissy cat. I always thought it was a stupid name, but they say you don’t get to choose your nickname.
I never learned as much as I should’ve in the labs though, I quit too soon. After they killed Pa. But it was enough to get by. An angry teenager with a little bit of knowledge and a thirst for revenge; I learned everything else I needed to know when the work started. Even now, I wonder how it happened, how being a PeaceFighter went from the illustrious grand dream it was when I was a boy, to being a hired gun. At least I was killing for the right reasons, the real reasons.
Watching is one of the things that we do the best, you have to look for the details, the subtle differences in hacked humans. Being a good spotter is the only way to save what’s left of the people. Because of the recent developments in nano-technology you can’t even see the device anymore. Not like in the good old days when it was a very obvious black box jammed into the back of someone’s neck and skull. Even the tattoos were easier to spot, normally being on the neck or face. At first the world just wondered where this new microchip face tattoo fad was coming from, the internet’s social outlets blew up for almost a year. The only problem for us was when a bunch of unhacked idiots started getting the tattoos, but we still managed to find the right targets. At least the best of us did.
Now though, seeing the device is a thing of the past. It’s basically dust. The world’s smallest computers designed to attach themselves to the nerve receptors in the human brain and spinal cord. Drugs are the number one source of transmission to unhacked hosts. Once the devices attach themselves, somewhere a bunch of evil, pimply-faced, mad fucking scientists take control of the host and it’s bye-bye real world.
We only have one way of restoring brain function to a hacked mind and it’s still rudimentary, at best. Essentially, the only way we currently know how is to re-hack the mind and try to program it back to its pre-hack state. I know, sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to me too. That’s why I don’t bring anyone back.
Research has been done on the few victims who survive and attempted reversal to the initial hacking, many can’t speak, some just scream. I watch one man scratch his eyes clean out of his head. That was the last time I ever watched a debriefing, it’s not my department. I’m just the clean-up man, the PeaceFighter.
There was one person—a girl, don’t remember her name anymore—that survived with almost complete brain function. When asked the obvious, What did it feel like being hacked, she took a long while to fully answer.
“Magical.” It was the only word she said before she quit speaking for the rest of her short life. They found her hanging in her room not one whole month after she was un-hacked.
I’ve seen it all at this point I think. Each day that comes and goes I watch, looking for the tell-tale twitch, unusual stumble to an otherwise normal gait, or trickle of blood from eyes or nose. People were said to be in a fantasy dream state when hacked, having no knowledge of their actions in the real world. True puppets with their consciousnesses preserved in a suspended state which allows their mind to still carry out the actions of walking to the programmed destinations and carrying out the programmed actions. Whatever the hacker wants really.
I heard the saying that knowledge can be a gift and a curse, I think I agree. Sometimes I wish I didn’t know about the hackers. Didn’t live in and understand so much about the real world that it led me to be a PeaceFighter on a quest for a vengeance I know will probably never come. Oh well. There’s not much left for me in this world except to fight at this point. An angel of God sent to show mercy to the infected devils whose brains will never be again.
Every time I pull the trigger I hope that makes the world one bullet closer to a cure that doesn’t involve death. I secretly still hold onto J. Holsten’s dream of being a PeaceFighter, the wholesome warrior of the free people, just like his Pa.
But right now I guess it’s time to for the real man, the Snow Cat, to get going. The bottom of this pair is worn to shit and these past few days my sneakers have been sticking to the ground every few steps. I think I’ll go grab a new pair before the killing starts.