Chapter 3: Something Different

Silas stared at the console of his pod and scrolled through the day’s feeds. Animal Habitat #206. Church confessional #63. Circus Trapeze #12. He let out a huge sigh and practically blew off his ear piece as he threw the console to the floor. The console bounced several times, a dark silver box exposed against a white sea of gleaming tile. He walked to the edge of the window and looked out at the horizon.

His parents had left him alone again to attend another group uplink with their friends. Some kind of tutorial on the health benefits of organic chem-feeds. Organic? He wondered where they grew such things, and what the difference was. Most of the drugs that Zenith citizens took were often fed intravenously during uplink in order to heighten the experience. It was a feature that you could disable of course, but at this point, everyone was too hooked to deny it if prompted. He had recently went cold turkey without telling them and was no worse for wear, although most of the feeds that 16-year olds had access to only introduced mild anti-depressants and cortical activators, so there was no heavy dependence built. Yet, since he stopped allowing the chem-feeds, the visual stimulus lacked its usually verve.

He stared at the blinking lights of the transmission antennas, searching for something different. His friends at school had told him these insane stories about the Old City and he laughed at the thought. A world without feeds, where the streets were dirty, and the people were forbidden to uplink. There was nothing that he could imagine that would make him believe that. He had seen some feeds about early 20th century history, but most of those were filled with boring speeches from past presidents and rich businessman. It was fun to sit in the White House, but it was pretty much like being at home in Zenith, with older furniture and strange people who appeared even more wooden and disconnected.

The closest he ever got to the Old City was a glimpse at a blinking field of lights between the clouds one winter. The Santa Ana winds had knocked over a navigational turbine in their sector causing the saucer to bank slightly and he happened to be staring out the window, just like tonight. Ever since then he had wondered what it was like down there, or if it even existed at all. The name, Los Angeles, at that moment seemed to symbolize the heavenly fantasies of a bygone era.

His shoulders slumped as his mind slowly succumbed to the inevitable. He walked over to the discarded console and hooked himself back in. He again scrolled through the feeds one at a time….a life mundane could always be extended via mindless entertainment. He stopped at a feed called “CS #33”. Strange, he’d never seen this one before. Another night, another feed. Fuck it, he thought.

He selected the feed and everything went black.

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~ by artofpeace on July 2, 2008.

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