The isolation chamber was activated and the outside world began to vanish.
At the flip of a switch the lights went out and the whole world receded, leaving me floating, like a fly in amber, alone in the perfect silence.
The doctor’s at the project had had no idea when I began the treatments two years ago that my genetic predisposition toward psionics would become so overdeveloped. Every mind on earth is open to me now, and I know of no way to close myself from them.
They told me, when we began, that I would be a soldier, that through their enhancements my talents would allow me to serve my country. After all, with a mind reader on your side, no one in the world could keep secrets, we’d know all, and through that knowledge have an insurmountable advantage against our rivals. Tactics in battle, lies told at the negotiating table, locations of troop reserves, nothing could be hidden, I’d know the thoughts of the world.
The thoughts of a world are, however, useless to me. I don’t have any idea what a given person is thinking, it’s all lost in the cacophony. Close to seven billion voices all screaming at once, and I can’t make out the words to any specific one. And the over stimulation leaves me incapable of thought of my own.
So the project was suspended. Not only was my ability to read minds useless for the project’s purposes, but my life was constant, thoughtless agony. So they closed down the lab and transferred me to a private facility where I’d be “boxed” in a total sensory immersion isolation chamber, a prisoner in a coffin sized cell, unable to see another human face, or hear a voice, or sense a thought again for the rest of my, God willing, short life.
There in the darkness, I closed my eyes, at last free from the barrage of thoughts, and allowed myself to drift into the first peaceful sleep I’d had in months.