The alarm was set to the same time every morning: 5:30 a.m. The routine was always the same: wake up, put the coffee pot on, place the English muffins in the toaster, brush teeth, put on a sweater, gather the coffee and breakfast, pick up the newspaper on the front porch, and sit down in a rocking chair to start the day. This was Myron Holden’s daily routine. He was a man of tradition, an old soul. He believed in meeting with friends to catch up, and picking up the landline phone to make a call when he couldn’t make it. He preferred reading over watching television. He enjoyed listening to ball games on the radio, as opposed to playing them in video games. And he believed writing a handwritten letter was always better than an email. These things helped keep him happy. They also helped keep him sane. However, Myron hadn’t always used to be like this.
Myron has no natural hyper-abilities. He is very intelligent.
The previous twenty years saw Myron traveling constantly, powering through many sleepless nights, and working non-stop. He was one of the premiere philosophical minds of the late 21st and the early 22nd century. His books on society, the human condition and the emergence of hyper-abilities helped frame the rhetoric concerning the need for equal rights for powered individuals, along with the responsibility of a powered individual in relation to their role in society. Both hyper-humans and meta-humans, along with normal people, all agreed his philosophical narrative was imperative to continuing the acceptance and integration of all people everywhere.
This naturally led to his work on the discovery of extraterrestrial life, and the expansion of discovery into deep space in relation to humanity. As mankind learned more and experienced more in the stars, Myron helped coax the unwilling minds to open up towards the ideas of what interstellar expansion could present, as well as helped reign in the radically free minds that wished to disregard the current human condition for that of technological and biological advancements. Myron’s work helped keep progress at a comfortable and steady pace from a moral standpoint. At least it seemed that way to the public, as world governments decided to do whatever they wanted to do anyway.
When Myron seemed like he couldn’t get any more famous and influential in the academic world, and he was at the top of the list of worldly intellects, that was when Knox Hyde came calling. Initially, he tried to get Myron to volunteer for the controversial INTEL program. However, once Myron realized INTEL’s success depended on unsolicited intrusion into the minds of citizens and tampering with their brains, it only took five minutes for him to decide he wanted no part of it. It was utterly unethical and completely immoral. Knox was not one to take no for an answer, though, so he devised a way to force the brilliant philosopher to participate.
One day, while Myron was touring for his new book, “The Power of the Human Spirit: Mankind In the Wake of Powered People”, he was approached by a young, attractive woman. She presented her copy of the book to be signed and shook his hand in a long, lingering fashion. Then, she began speaking very freely and suggestively to Myron. Normally, a single man would welcome such advances. However, Myron was not one to take chances with strangers just for a hot date, so he politely signed her book while ignoring her advances, and sent her on her way. However, the woman was not there for a date. She was there for his fingerprints, and she got them.
Knox then set out to frame and disgrace the philosopher. He tasked his top operative, codename: The Magenta Lynx, to steal some hacking technology from the IT department at University of Washington, where Myron served as a tenured faculty member. The hacker tech was being used to increase the school’s cyber security. The Lynx directed a team of technicians to install the tech on Myron’s home computer, and set it up to connect with Homeland Security’s director of powered beings upon being powered up. Thus, when Myron returned from one of his book tours and turned his computer on, he would instantly be implicated as not only a thief, but also a dangerous hacker and cyber-terrorist. It didn’t help that his fingerprints were found at the scene of the robbery. Whether or not people believed the story didn’t matter, as Knox and the Lynx had used Myron’s unwavering routine to set him up perfectly. Even people who knew and trusted Myron could not deny the timeline of events, as the criminal activity matched up exactly with where he would be and the times he would be there, as it pertained to his behavior after a book tour – i.e. a late night flight back into town, the same car service from the airport to the university, a couple of hours in his office, then going to his car, which he left in the faculty parking lot during tours, and heading home to turn on his computer and work for a few hours, before going to sleep. It was clockwork, and it was damning. It was not long before Knox and his team were at Myron’s front door with an arrest warrant. But he wasn’t taken to prison; he was taken to a government lab facility.
From that day forth, the philosopher belonged to Knox. They immediately implanted an intellicap into his brain, and began plotting its functionality. They made him read his own books and all of his own notes. They forced him to engage in debates regarding all things philosophical, from Socrates to modern day ethics. They even made him write an entirely new book on the role of advanced intelligence since the Stone Age. All the while, the intellicap was capturing massive amounts of data and transferring it to the INTEL servers.
Finally, when they analyzed every bit of information they extracted, they updated the intellicap and planted the new model into his brain. Alas, the same results occurred in Myron as they did in Patient Zero – he was no longer able to access the parts of his mind which allowed him to be brilliant. He knew he had written the books before him and had mastered the works of previous great philosophers, but he simply could not grasp the content he was reading. His brain could not function properly to do so, and it was because the intellicap was inhibiting his brain. Another brilliant mind was tamed and caged, expanding the functionality and range of possibilities for Knox’s devious device.
Having served his purpose, Myron was released from Knox’s custody. He returned home a broken man. He was a shell of his former self, and knew he could not resume the life he once led. Knox would not let him. So, he reluctantly resigned from the university, retired as a writer and a speaker, and began living out his days alone at home. He grew incredibly adverse to technology. Whenever he could, he avoided using anything modern. Myron began pulling away from the world as much as he could. He preferred a landline phone instead of a smartphone. He preferred writing letters by hand over email, and he preferred meeting people to talk instead of texting. His days became as simple as possible. Coffee, English muffins, the paper and his rocking chair every morning brought him solace. Myron grew content to live the rest of his days as simply as he could, knowing he could never return to the brilliant man he once was.