Sleeping Sickness

February 14, 2021

It had been three days now, and the symptoms showed no signs of abating. There were many strange elements to the situation, like seeing the world when no one else was about. But a total lack of sleep could have dire consequences, and she was not sure she’d be able to explore this new life for long. She wasn’t even sure what her mental state would be in another few days, if this kept up, nor even if they were currently ‘normal’.

It was her own fault in many ways. She’d waited, even after the first noticable effects. She’d wanted to observe, from a professional point of view, what the virus was doing, and find out how the hell it had got into her.

That was the academic stance. But she was also a business person, and knew an opportunity when it presented itself. She’d discounted the idea that this virus, the one keeping her permanently awake, was a bioweapon. She believed she was Patient Zero, the place where the virus had crossed to humans for the first time. And whether she managed to come up with a believable hypothesis of its origins, let alone an antidote, she would surely make a name for herself.

She was settling on the idea that it had arrived via the sleep tracker implanted in her arm. The correlation was too striking to ignore. The implant was definitely a potential entryway, what with its wireless connection to her PC. So was it irony or inevitabillity that meant sleep had been the first casualty?

She was the network manager of a large IT department, so she could picture pathways involved. But her knowledge of biology was much slimmer, so until she shared her secret with someone else she couldn’t know if it was even possible for a virus to spread from a computer to a human. Then again, since she’d had a chip implanted in her body, was she ‘just’ a human any more? Had the line been blurred?

The virus had first infected her PC, and stopped it from going to sleep when she left it alone. So far, so humdrum. The fitness software which communicated with the implant had been running when the virus hit, and soon her subdermal chip had got very warm. Perhaps its firmware had crashed, or been corrupted. That was three days ago. Since then, the tracker had recorded no sleep – perhaps it was no longer able to – and her body, having long been submitting its activity to the implant, seemed now to be following the chip’s lead.