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Sci Fi stories online: The passenger

The passenger

Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher

Once again in the near future, every day more like the present...

Hello, could I speak with Assistance?
Hello sir, I’m the Help Software, serial number 1947376, please, tell me.
Well, I have a problem with the system.
Your name?
It's a mess, look, I think I’m going to be crazy...
Meanwhile, if you want to tell me your name...
You know? I was one of the first to join the “total connection”. I suddenly thought it was a brilliant idea. Connecting all the machines used by us, from the mobile phone, of course, to the microwave oven, through the electric razor and the air conditioner.

Sir, I am pleased about your approval, but I would need your name...
Do you know that I was also interviewed on TV? Last year I was your most loyal customer. That was easy, my Wi-Fi never stops.
My sincere compliments, sir, but without your data, starting with the name, I cannot...
Of course, as soon as the phenomenon started to show up in a devastating way, I immediately consulted a shrink, or a mind doctor, as I like to say.
Good choice, sir, and how did it go?
I could not talk to him, the doctor's secretary told me that they don’t treat patients of my kind.
I see. In any case, I ask you the favour of telling me your name, to check if...
So, I came home distressed, but then, I told myself: how didn’t I get it before? It must be an anomaly of the system! Why didn’t I see the simplest explanation?
Yeah, sir, you’re right. Nonetheless, we are here. So let's start with your name...
I also talked about it in chat with virtual friends and with the real ones, even if I haven’t yet fully understood the difference, but none of them answered me, as if they didn’t hear me. You hear me, right?
Strong and clear, sir. Precisely for this reason, if you want to show me the courtesy of giving me your name, I will...
Look, enough with chatter, let's get to the point.
I agree, sir, let's get to your name...
It all started when, ten days ago, I enter the car to go at work. While I was in the middle of the traffic, I saw this guy next to me in the side seat. I was scared, of course, but then I immediately ordered him to get off, otherwise I would have called the police. And he? The man looked at me with an off and indifferent expression, a passive and almost comatose one. From that moment I started to see him next to me everywhere, while I watch TV or surfing the net, when I send a message with my cell phone and when I shave my hair, when I start the dishwasher and even when I brush my teeth with the electric toothbrush. In short, every time I do something...
Indeed, sir, it seems to me not correct.
Not every time you do something, but where you use some kind of machine.
Is there a difference?
No, as far as I see, not for you.
Anyway, I already know, that’s way I called you.
Help? Software Help?
Number... 1947... 377?
6, sir.
Final 6, sir, I know my name, it’s you who doesn’t know yours and cannot know it.
Because I finally understood your problem, sir, a very common one nowadays.
What would it be?
It’s you, sir, that is, the passenger.
The guy?
Yes, in fact you are him, or... he is not you. The gentleman you see at your side, when you interact with the system, is one of the many people who live in a sort of digital, vegetative condition, web connected as a sick man could do with an artificial machine. However, he’s not sick at all.
What has he?
Simple, he decided to stop having the steering wheel in his hand, if you let me pass the metaphor, and behaves as if he were nothing more than a passenger on board his own ship.
I get it. But... but then, me, who am I?
You don’t exist, sir, I'm sorry. And this is the most absurd thing...