Some men in suits and sunglasses showed up on my doorstep one day. They took me to a secluded compound out in the wilderness, where they had me working long days in a lab, providing only occasional breaks for walks around the property trailed by armed escorts that kept their distance. There was this one big, old tree that I liked, out at the far corner of the fence line. I always passed by it on my walks. It was a great place to stop and rest and think. Somehow staring at the tree and its gnarled roots helped me focus my mind and sort out the problems I was working on.
In the few months that I had been working in the lab, I had helped create a system that would allow all the governments of the world to monitor everyone on Earth, wherever they were, whatever they were doing, twenty four hours a day. I had developed the system by reverse engineering software from an exterminating company that combined motion tracking with surveillance technology. The system gathered a database by marking, coding, and cataloging everything that moved. It had been designed to track cockroaches; now it would track humans. As far as implementation was concerned, there was little difference.
I had misgivings about my role on all of this, of course. I didn’t want to see everyone constantly monitored any more than anyone else did. But I felt better somehow, being involved. Someone was going to do this, and at least I could be there to make sure it was done right. Plus, being on the inside of the project had given me the chance to design a glitch into the software that would be accessible through a back door in the program. That way I could crash the whole thing if it started getting out of control. I just had to keep this glitch a secret, and pass it on to my successor, and they could pass it along to someone, and they would have to safeguard it though the generations, until it came time to bring the system down. I turned from the tree and nodded to the guards. I was ready to get back to work.