It was a standard implant station, there was no mistaking it. I mean the sign was a giveaway for a start. It touched the mind from a couple of zips out. !HOT! - !SEX! - !HERE! Subtle it wasn’t. You know I really admire the guys that developed the technology of these things, they really DID have sophistication. But the outer shell? They didn’t have anything to do with that. They wouldn’t soil their consciousness on such things. So, in short, it was the same old look I’d seen for a trillenia and more. Personally I was more than willing to give up a shard of my cosmic power for a little disreputable pleasure. I sent out my tractor beam at the instant of this thought and arrived at the sleazy little station of desire the very next moment. As usual it was an automated business. The central pole was black as night. I appeared to be alone, unsurprising as this was a particularly ill-populated quadrant. I wasted no time and proceeded to engage. This required a mere change of viewpoint from resist to comply. Suddenly my whole being was pulsing with the most exquisite pleasure. Truly I could never get enough of this. It was bliss. Up and down the magnificently impersonal pole I went, each traversal thrilling every non-existent fibre of my being. I wasn’t completely in the dark about the ultimate purpose of the device my friend, I wasn’t that far gone, not at that point. It was only much later that I sort of "lost" that particular piece of information. I knew well at that point that we free beings were seen as a significant danger to the stability of the agreed norm. After all, the agreed norm had taken (almost) forever to form, trillenia of chaos had preceeded it before the wily Disciples of Discipline had stabilised and formalised enough structures for predictability, standardisation and (important this) taxes to become possible. We free beings, refusing to agree, maintaining our power to choose not to conform... well, we were still a great danger to them back then. But, how great was the danger really? Who among the agreed would welcome the old times back? Even if it did mean a gloriously total freedom? They were tolerably happy slaves. Wasn't that enough for everybody? So, the payment for my pleasure was a degree of conformity to the agreed, to the fixed, to the lie. With that conformity I lost a little piece of myself. This was my payment. In those days I had plenty of my original viewpoints and abilities left, I felt I could safely trade off the edges here and there and not be left that much smaller. You know quite unknown to me at the time I was being more than somewhat naïve and if truth be told, hedonistically and carelessly cavalier in that belief. The trap as I know now was that you could give away your freedom, your power, your abilities, your native viewpoint, but you couldn’t get any of it back. And in losing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, you become a little more stupid, a little duller, a little less wide awake and so a little more likely to stupidly do a something else that shaved yet another piece off your original self. Oh it was a smart plan, there’s no doubt about it. I suspect it must have been one of the earliest implant station designers who set up the mechanism for pleasure in its association with the physical, I truly do. For what could be more entrapping? As a free immortal being filled with latent power for all and any acts of creation why should I get the idea that I needed the physical for pleasure? But, to identify pleasure with things was a masterstroke on the road to ultimate enslavement and conformity, to miniscule awareness and in the end, the quite amazing belief that you were in fact, a body. What can I say? I was young and inexperienced then. And I fell for it. Now I gaze up at the many suns twinkling high up above my little office space. I have so many tax reports to fill, so many arses to lick upstairs, a wife and ugly bunch of squabbling kids with wide open beaks to feed. But it was not the pleasure poles themselves that proved my undoing, they were only the door through which I was to be ultimately screwed. I had mistaken it for one of my familiar old pleasure stations but they’d gotten too smart for us. They had developed the technology to the point where they decided they could dress the place up for pleasure and hand out pain/hypnosis instead, and not worry too much the word would get out and we'd avoid the stations altogether. So it was I got shafted. Well and truly shafted. The pole was there. Okay. Everything looked normal. But then I felt the first trace of the pull. Just as soon as I felt it its power soared and I was stuck fast. Some tractor beam had me and it was of a power I hadn’t felt in many a million year. I was drawn to a screen and fixed with awareness full on it. As the images began to flow the electronics hit. I hadn’t really known what sickness was till then. If I could have vomited it would have been a river my friends. Not that this would have brought release, for there was no release. All my later agreed viewpoints on time and body stemmed from the years I was held there in that total and overwhelming agony of that final implant. So many images my friends. So much identification. So much pain. My viewpoints of total freedom, of sheer unbounded creative power, of blissful spatial width across and beyond the galaxies, my essence of timeless now, it was all smashed to nothing, reduced to a thick ball of obedience and agreement. Finally, was it a hundred, a thousand or a million years later? I was dropped by the beam. And was shipped here. It’s only through the small group of secret cells I found that I have recovered this knowledge and I now tell it to you new member. You must not breathe anything of this. If you are to start the slow journey back to yourself and to the stars you must walk with two faces for the trillenia ahead. To step one inch out of line, to fill in one tax return incorrectly, to tie your very shoelaces differently, will see you shipped. To the prison planet. There you will suffer more programming and re-orientation along with the artists, criminals and all the other non-conformists who have preceded you. Down there, there is truly no hope. They conceive of themselves wholly and totally as bodies. Oh yes, there are so-called religions, philosophies and cults, small rememberings of what used to be, distorted conceptions seen through the filter of forgotten implants. But they are the lost, the damned, the hopelessly imprisoned. So. Be careful. Work to stay here. Fight the long fight to regain your own true self and unlimited power and ability which comes with it. And then, together we will disrupt the stultifying power of conformity, tear down the standard structures of the Disciples of Discipline and become totally free beings once more!