Joe stared at the black screen of his phone. He was on his couch at home, feeling bathed in the invisible pink light emitting from above his ceiling. His drone had not followed him inside.
Joe thought about his eye hack. Watch had sent him the alert addressing what he saw in the park, shortly after he saw it. Watch could be able to see everything that Joe saw.
Joe brought up his texting app. He began typing.
“Can you see this?”
Joe stared at what he wrote.
Buzz. The alert appeared overlayed above Joe’s drafted text.
“Yes +4; I can 444 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”
Joe impulsively dropped his phone onto the couch cushion as though there had been an undesirable insect upon it. He immediately felt foolish afterwards at having performed such an action. He pictured Watch laughing.
First two-way contact with an insider. Joe had questions.
He backspaced his previous draft. “Why is texting safe?” he typed. And he waited.
“Different watchers +4; don’t ask 444 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”
Joe so wished to ask.
Instead, he typed something else. “I assume you know of my communication with Claire (nofatebutwhatwemake), were we meant to connect?”
Joe waited for a moment. No alerts. Joe got up and poured filtered water from his fridge into a glass. Buzz.
“Friends +4; are good 444 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”
Joe felt annoyed at the response. He suspected that Watch was being vague on purpose. But he respected his silence. Watch was a “friend” too.
“What else?” Joe mused. Watch seemed forthcoming with answers, at least the ones available to be revealed.
“Are the watchers controlling the events of my life?”
Joe felt his body flush with a light sweat as he waited. Buzz.
“No +4; not completely 444 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”
Joe again thought of the phrase “social experiment”. Buzz.
“You +4; were selected 444 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”
Joe swiped away the alert and typed.
Buzz. A text from Claire.
“how are you!”
Joe realized he had forgotten to text her back. He also felt immense relief for the validation of safe texting. He typed a response to her, “I see invisible drones!”
Joe continued to wonder about the dynamic of there being multiple types of watchers. Texts were a common item for things to be surveiled. Watch did imply that they were still being watched, but… by others? Could these be agencies establishing rules of engagement? No stepping on eachother’s toes?
Buzz. Watch interrupted his train of thought.
“Mute +4; always works 444 [Ok] [Go to Stats app]”
Watch had not answered his last text draft. He did mention the settings though. Another question on Joe’s mind. Joe had been “selected”… to receive the settings update? But Watch had answered what Joe had always wondered about: he could indeed keep Mute checked and indefinitely place his head within the sand.
But Joe was not about to do that.
Buzz. Claire had texted back. “what? how???”
Joe wrote back updating her with a more elaborate reply of all the events that had occured, including the eye hack.
He then brought up the Stats app and unchecked the Mute setting. He tried unchecking the Widen setting. No change. He mentally prepared himself for whatever would happen next.