Some days, I like to leave the mask back at home. Just walking among the rest of the human population, part of their culture. For a few hours, they don't look away in fearful respect, and I don't get the weight of shame on my shoulders when I see one of the survivors of the neurovirus.
Today is not one of those days. I pull the cloak over, covering most of my upper face and the mark of shame in my forearm. The uniform always reminds me that we've turned into real monks. I turn the mask on. Facial features are lost, my eyelids closed, eyesight replaced with a HUD even better than the glasses they use nowadays. My skin turns into a dark shade of green. A white string of seemingly random characters shows up across my forehead. The shame.
The sign of anonymous left behind on meatspace, still trying to earn our way into the real hivemind. Tripfags until we can evolve.
It wasn't always like this, I remind myself. Before the neurovirus meme was unleashed on the populace, most of anonymous were composed of meat, only a few of us crazy enough to upload themselves into a higher level of understanding. Only a few of us crazy enough to decimate humanity, crippling their progress with an irrational fear of technology. The Internet of yore is nothing but automated spam and some dedicated sysadmins. Most are uploaded anyway, but still keep at their regular tasks. Something as usual as breathing, they just can't stop it.
Clearing up my mind, I step into the relatively busy streets. It's nothing like before of course, with the collapse of modern civilization and economy and all that. But if you look hard enough, you can see that humankind still works hard to be the dominant species, even under the looming shadow of higher intelligences of what they used to call their own.
I don't bump into anyone. I understand their uneasy respect. We still wield the power of whatever technology the hivemind hands us down, and they need it.