I clutch my wrist so hard; my knuckles are white in agony as I maneuver around a sea of students. I don't want them to notice that I do not have the SINC, but they already know that I am not one of them. Everyone knows. I quicken my pace to my first class. My scuffed black shoes open and close from the soles, forming a lip at my toes. I hope my shoes will survive the year. If they don't, I have no idea where I will get another pair.
Everyone's hair shines in the bright incandescent lights of the classroom hallway. I push past a girl whose bright red hair has blue highlights that sparkle as they cascade behind her slim shoulders. Everyone is strikingly beautiful and is a walking work of art. My cloth clothes are no match for their silicon shirts, pants and dresses, each projecting images of their choice. I let go of my wrist for a split second to adjust the collar of my old white shirt from exposing my shoulder. My hand marks make bright red imprints on my wrist. Nervous that they might notice, I clasp my wrist again to hide it. It's old habit.
I look over to see a group forming in the hallway. They are watching Jeremy, one of the most popular guys in school. His father is filthy rich and Jeremy loves to be the center of attention. He is bragging about the latest micro-chip he bought. The newest fad for today, is to have your black belt in Karate.
Kiratee?" A quizzical girl asked phonetically.
"It's pronounced kəˈrɑːti" replied the know it all jock. He explains eagerly how it is Japanese and gives a brief synopsis of its origins. His know it all attitude goes unnoticed to the girl. Everyone is so self-absorbed, manners don't matter.
I edge my way into my classroom, trying to ignore all of the stories. Tiny droplets of their knowledge trickle into my hungry ears. The information is impressive, amazing even.
Dad says my brother and I are anomalies. We are functioning in a world where others are SINCing and we are studying hard to achieve half of the marks of our peers. "One day the actual mind will prevail again", he preaches to us, convinced, "The chip will meet its Waterloo."
I met mine when I was enrolled in the Elite School. I remember Dad's eyes glistening like a fallen general leading his soldiers into a battle he knows they will lose. He bestows upon us a speech that he believes can inspire us enough to trudge through the trenches and lead us into battle. Or at least, get our high school diplomas.
As I try to sit down, two girls block my way. They are bickering in a bragging competition. Their mood shirts reflect the current emotion they are both feeling. One girl is bright red and the other girl's dress is white.
"So then I decided that I would just learn every Saint's name... in order of course! It took four or five seconds!" This fifteen year old girl exclaims. Her friend dressed in white looks bored. Memorizing history is outdated.
"Cyborg." I mutter as I shove past her. This slang has become an expletive; a slur. She ignores me, as does virtually everyone at The Elite School.
"All of the saints! Allllll of thhhheee... ." The beautiful girl's lip begins to quiver. She stutters relentlessly as her body goes into shock. Her pale skin begins to turn a reddish brown. "... .sssssaintsss". The girls red dress quickly darkens into black.
"You're skizzing!" They squeal with delight. Skizzing is a term that the SINCed kids refer to as a system malfunction, depending upon the degree of malfunction can actually cause physical harm.
"Someone needs to upgrade!" The other girl taunts as she begins to seizure and a nurse comes to her aid.
"Move out of the way!" The nurse instructs. She is escorted into the dark room of the nurse's office. Nurses are actually computer engineers who specializes in the SINC. Unfortunately, it is a regular occurrence, but to someone who is not "connected", its sheer terror to watch.