Algorithms rampantly compile, the hum of an entire data centre at Sector 11 a couple of miles away at Manhattan’s branch of Stark Industries feverishly reverberating against sound dampening foam - the sound scarcely lingers in the background to employees who tread through distant corridors, the majority of whom don’t have the clearance to breech that particular haven of information storage. The space is ambiently sombre, lights cast low with the soft glow of the flashing bulbs embedded within a plethora of server racks which line the room in immaculately neat rows. Petabytes of data and software housed within those units on a multitude of virtual servers, host hardware diligently functioning in their prolonged up-time as CPUs fire on all cylinders, every ounce of resources available diverted to one task alone.
Tanned fingers are brought up to the black tie which is still wrapped around the futurist’s neck like a tightening noose, tugging at it to rid him of the coiled tension that threatens to suffocate him. The expansive chamber’s air conditioning system constantly pipes through cool streams to hinder the equipment from overheating, but it’s a wonderful reprieve against heated skin, the man dragging his fatigued self along to seat himself at a terminal in the middle of this technological sanctuary. He displays the photo which is circulating all over the city, a quick glance cast towards an update regarding percentages of processes completed.
Facial recognition technology had come a long way over the last few decades, Euclidean and projective geometry playing key roles in comprehensively breaking down and reconstructing facets of the human face - a feat which improved as milestones in advancements in the field rapidly progress, the focus shifting from 2D composition to 3D for a heightened degree of accuracy. The engineer could manually override the process and begin his own unique brand of investigation, but it’s a rare moment in which he allows himself to have a few minutes of scarce downtime, his breath regulating to a slowed rhythm as he maintains his hardened gaze over the image, the surrounding drone in the atmosphere bringing some comfort even if in terms of pride in his personal hallmarks of innovation.
Notifications begin to unravel as millions of lines of code terminate at finalised methods, bypassing loops and procedures to bring with them statistics more devastating than the last. 2,359,217 potential partial matches are found in New York alone from numerous outlets of identification (recent generations really shouldn’t be so keen to hand out personal information online), the jaw dropping number aggressively jumping when considering other states in the country. Skin texture analysis teeters on being complete, its outcome bringing the former number down to 1,801,764. And yet Stark knows that the effort is inherently inconclusive, the result far outweighing the required manpower to execute a cohesive search and inquiry of those unsuspecting civilians.
Frustration cloys at the futurist’s currently present stream of consciousness, his line of vision momentarily dipping downwards in thought and clocking onto a crimson stain having seeped into the white fabric of his shirt (was he bleeding?) Internal biological processes weren’t transmitting any signals of injury or penetration to his flesh, a quirk of his chin and a further look indicating that remnants of splashed wine are to blame (again, not his). There’s a minor heave as the engineer leans back within the chair in resignation, considering someone whom he had abruptly bumped into during the chaotic aftermath of the assassination who could have been the culprit. A finger idly scratches at the blotch with little success, lips pursing in displeasure (he had always liked the crispness of this particular shirt…).
The results are unsatisfactory but Stark’s musings staunchly remain with the fragments of the image nonetheless, an overbearing need to resolve this infringing puzzle, inspecting each and every pixel to delve into the extensive list of contacts he had personally - the inventor has his unwarranted suspicions, but it’s a feeling clawing in his gut at best, the billionaire muttering to himself amidst a scowl.
Imagine being able to read minds and finding out how Bucky feels about you.
Word count: 605
Warnings: None :)
Telekinesis was something that you knew like the back of
your hand and that was something not many people could say. But this, this was
new. Every time you went on a mission or even down to the corner store, your
mind was shot at with random floods of thoughts that were completely unrelated
to what you were focusing on before. The first time it happened was merely a
week ago when you were shopping for some groceries. You were wondering whether
you should buy the six pack of eggs or the twelve pack when all of a sudden your
mind was bombarded with thought about cat food. Then as the days went by it
started happening more frequently. You didn’t understand what was really going
on until you and the team had gone off to take down a Hydra base. You and Steve
were sneaking down an empty hallway looking for the data centre when all of a
sudden you visualized pointing your gun at Steve. It was strange and what was even
more bizarre was that you weren’t looking from your own eyes, but from a
slightly higher angle. Not a second after you received that thought, you heard
a creak from the balcony above you and knew exactly what had happened. You hadn’t
told the team about your development as you were still learning the ropes of it
all and wanted to make sure it was a permanent thing. You were still trying to
control it and sometimes you received thoughts when you weren’t aiming to do so
and other times you didn’t even realise that you had just read someone’s mind.
After an exhausting mission, the team had headed straight to
bed hoping to be refreshed by morning. You on the other hand were feeling
slightly peckish. Taking a shower and changing into a pair of boxer briefs and
an oversized shirt, you headed towards the kitchen. As you turned the corner of
the hallway which lead to the kitchen, your eyes landed on the only other
person occupying the kitchen space. Bucky. After the whole thing with the
Sokovia Accords went down, he had joined the team. The two of you had never
spoken much, in fact it seemed as if he was just ignoring you. Only once were the
two of you paired up together during a mission and you managed to get the job
done, saying about five words to each other at the most.
“Hey,” you said as your bare feet touched the cold tiled
floor of the kitchen. Even though you two hardly spoke, you still exchanged one
syllable greetings from time to time.
“Hey,” he responded, glancing over his shoulder before
turning away once more.
You decided to get a bag of popcorn from the pantry and a
glass of water. Fetching the popcorn, you went over to the cabinet which held
the glasses which was situated on the wall above Bucky.
“Sorry, can I get a glass?” You asked politely, causing him
to move to slightly to the right so you could manage to reach up and grab one.
“God, you smell good.”
“What?” You turned to face him, not sure if you heard right.
“What?” Bucky responded, a slightly confused look taking
place on his features.
“You just said something.”
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did.”
“No I didn’t,” he said more firmly.
“I’m pretty sure I heard you say I smelt good.”
He was taken aback as he gawked at you, “I-I didn’t say
that.” He stammered, speechless as to what just happened.
“Yeah you-” You stopped mid-sentence, realisation striking
Power is indeed somewhere else, somewhere other than in the institutions, but it’s not hidden for all that. Or if it is, it’s hidden like [Edgar Allen Poe’s] “purloined letter”. No one sees it because everyone has it in plain sight, all the time - in the form of a high voltage line, a freeway, a traffic circle, a supermarket, or a computer program. And if it is, it’s hidden like a sewage system, an undersea cable, a fiber optic line running the length of a railway, or a data centre in the middle of a forest. Power is the very organisation of this world, this engineered, configured, purposed world. That is the secret, and it’s that there isn’t one.