While Sluicing, there exist a few simple, incontrovertible rules you should follow. Tabitha didn’t which put her where He is today.
There are an almost infinite number of bodies in which persons may cogitate. The inhabited need only be willing. That is the first rule. It is also UA or Unfettered Access’ -- global behemoth and proprietor of the intra-neural nets’ -- ethical get-out clause. This didn’t stop the larger apportioned blame for the world’s woes being laid at their corporate feet. Then again, they brought it on themselves.
Sluicing is the means by which an individual or up to six may legally project themselves into the minds of others for an agreed-upon period or temporal “window”.
It led to a certain degree of harmony, at first. People granted the real-time ability to non-virtually “see through each other’s minds”. Tabitha was just a child when they ran that initial marketing campaign. Yet it also wrenched the lid off the top of a simmering world of madness in which those with no sane business being inside the minds of others were suddenly given free rein to wreak havoc and expand internal cacophonies into the outside world.
Things grew complicated when Crackers masterminded the means to exploit “gates”, the connection space matrices bordering the envelopes between minds. Volatile at the most basic of levels, these gates bowed under brute force attacks when seven Crackers simultaneously entered unwilling, unknowing Sluicers who thought they were themselves, even if they had been entered and taken control of. Known as “tailgating”, this would create an unconscious, exploitable synergy between the Sluicer and the Sluiced.
That was the second rule: no tailgating. Simple enough, or so she thought.
The final and by far most ominous rule, to be heeded on every Sluice, required the honouring of global timeshare agreements, allowing for a maximum of one hour’s Sluice inside any given brainspace. After this hour period, there would likely follow a two-way emotional overspill, massive sensory discord and, in the worst cases, unintelligible paralysis. You and the inhabited could, in essence, fuse at the basest and most chaotic of subliminal horizons.
An implicit albeit unofficial rule involved the healthy, regular return to yourself. This would provide the recommended dosage of ego-semblance needed in such a psychically fractious world.
That was Tabitha’s first mistake. She could Sluice with the best of them but even she had to admit that once you couldn’t remember the last time you felt like yourself something was seriously wrong. Despite this and unbeknownst to her, she’d been born a Prone. Prones were capable of withstanding an unspecified near limitless number of inhabitants. Had she been aware of them, it would never have been possible. She was simply wired that way. Crackers couldn’t attack her brain patterns or thoughts but she proved to be a remarkable vessel for the purpose of redirecting through and into past minds she herself had Sluiced.
It was only in peeling back her eyes, to stay awake, from the sleep-inducing reading of an obscure, New Delhi University journal anything but simply titled Fragmentary Bilocation and Sluicing: the Potential for Unconscious Infinite Matrices within Genealogical Singularities, that Tabitha realised the hypothetical human anomaly it described matched her very real self.
All this time, she had been expanding her horizons: living as children, those with physical impedances, alternate genders, the elderly, soldiers, sailors, emergency service personnel and front-line peace activists. But never once had she imagined herself as lived through, by Sluicers, against her will. Yet the hallmarks were all there.
She decided to fight back. By reverse-engineering the New Delhi research, she found there existed a signature for each incurring inhabitant, much like her own unique teleological handle. The result was Tabitha wound up catastrophically breaking the first rule, illegally crashing into their unsuspecting minds. The effects were disastrous at first, for them. She questioned herself then came to the decision to feel much better about it. The rule of law should and would be simple. If you broke into her mind she could return the favour, trash your mind and not feel bad about it.
Once utterly and diametrically opposed to tailgating, when Tabitha actually did something strange had already started to happen. She realised she had done so without trying, via synchronous, projected multi-faceted elements of her personality, all crammed into the cortices of these prior insurgents inside her brain.
Spreading herself indeterminately thin, having escaped the wrath of the third rule only because of her Prone condition, she realised she’d broken the unwritten rule when it grew clear she could no longer remember her name. As it turned out, being Prone rendered the third, official rule less than moot; such individuals could spend as much time in other's minds as they liked.
There were all kinds of Sluicers: meek, powerful, big and small. But now she found herself faced with a conundrum. It turned out that one prior, interloping Cracker carried a unique handle beneath levels of encryption that only her condition had allowed her to surmount. And why not, she asked herself, for at a certain point the only entertainment worthy of the name for those in such positions could only be the kind of power mere money cannot buy.
She might consider staying a while, she thought, realising that He was unaware of her presence and control. Then came the recognition that she could stay inside Him for as long as she liked. She looked up, through His eyes looking down at the platinum shaver pinched between thumb and forefinger, the dolloped artisan foam circling the copper plug hole beneath a plush, filigree iron-wrought bathroom mirror.
Tabitha spent far longer than the recommended hour, looking through His eyes Staring back at her. In her mind, she raised her hand and saw this reflected vessel do the same. Her newfound-self peered back with a face as recognisable as an Everyman would be nondescript. It was the leader of the free world.
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