After He Turned It On

Submitted into Contest #137 in response to: Write about a character who gets called an Einstein ironically.... view prompt

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Science Fiction Mystery Fiction

"Long time no see, Mr. Vence. Is there anyone I can hook you up with?" A well-mannered gentleman approached Kennis.

"What a coincidence, Eck. I didn't expect to meet you here. Sure, if it's no trouble. I'm right now feeling a little lonely,” answered Kennis. He looked at the other man: Eck Vincennes, from Strasbourg, was a classic self-made man who was extremely concerned with appearance, even on the beach.

"It's all right, Kennis. It won't happen again like last time."

With that, a third man – a stocky man with prominent cheekbones – came up and began, as if arranged, introducing himself. "My name is Vexen Cenni and I'm the owner of a chemical factory in southern Sweden..." Kennis swore he saw it, but he rubbed his eyes and chose to ignore it. Beside him, Eck looked cool and ingratiating. Vexen Cenni babbled on: "...My monthly salary is..." Kennis had never seen anyone so brusque before and thus had to smile awkwardly. But here it came again. Kennis could no longer choose to overlook it. He tilted his head to reflect this to Eck.

But then he got so fucking shocked that he trembled helplessly, his Adam`s apple vibrating up and down at the highest frequency possible. He saw that he was the only normal person left at the cocktail party. The rest seem to have all stalled in a scene, as the pixel blocks that made up their body parts twitched in their own unordered way, from one frame to another. He didn't know what was going on. But the situation was only getting worse over time. He saw that one of Eck's legs was more than ten meters off his noumenon. It was clear that Eck was trying to free himself, but to no avail. Mistakes piled up. He suddenly remembered that the doctor had said that the only remedy for such a situation was to destroy the chip implanted in the back of his head.

But damn, tragedy struck at Kennis C. Vence, too. He was out of control, before he heard the back of his head smash hard onto the stair railing. The more miserable aspect was that he could no longer sense anything, especially pain. He tried to target the location of the host, because usually only the host would know the password to exit the virtual social space. Then he saw it. Venice's head was on the staircase leading to the second floor, but the rest of his body was scattered throughout the banquet hall.

Napoo. This meant that Venice C. Kenns' volition had collapsed.

This was the biggest virtual social space identity disorder accident that happened in 2016, commonly known as The Delete Key Affair. Users provided justified identity information, before their soul was assigned to each space for entertainment. But the problem with AI was that it disrupted everything, being also the activity`s biggest highlight. A quarry worker could go in and become a billionaire. The consequences of identity duplication had not yet been fully controlled and removed by humans.

In other words, anything could happen.

Kennis despaired the fact that if everyone could just get their act together and work together properly, the problem could be solved...and yet... he saw the head of Kenne C. Vicens, who had been introduced to him last time with the same but much smaller error having happened, hanging from a crystal chandelier. Fuck.

After all, human beings belonged to chaos. He tried to lock on the limb closest to the exit, but his eyes kept rolling up and down. Then, after his eyeballs had been through this bizarre manipulation, he saw it. The hideous face of Ceci N. Venksen, the hostess, dangling from the ceiling, and her mouth that was trying to speak for the brain. It turned out she had now broken into online control permissions. Even though Kennis's eyes were spinning independently, he was able to make out a few words. "Call...Ke...Nen..." He thought for five seconds and then understood.

Kenen, Kenne's big brother, who was also invited, had gotten kicked out because his soul was on standby for too long. He must still have retained access, because the records cannot be deleted. He could most possibly save everyone before all of them would be forced to wither away in the grand information flow. But why was the calling mission delegated to him? With not a spare second to think it over, Kennis dialed Kenen's phone, all the while trying to avoid all kinds of flying pieces of meat. He was running out of time himself. But clearly it wasn't Kenen C. Vicens on the other end.

"Good afternoon, Kennis. What's the matter? Einstein?"

"You...Is that...Who… Ke… "

“Oh no, no, no, Kenen's not here. He's dead, babe. I killed him."

"Wh…at..."

"The virtual social space must end, Kennis. Humanity is dying anyway, but technology must not be the cause." Kennis finally recognized the voice. The Most Wanted of 2016. Though he was ashamed to admit it, Kennis actually felt a little giddy at the opportunity to meet this famous criminal.

He tried to talk, but his phonetic function was immediately taken away. "Listen to me. If I send in one more visitor with the same letter structure, you're all screwed. And you'll be the last one to die. I'm sorry, Kennis. I know you're innocent. But so is my son." Kennis knew.

Darren Piketty's son had been forced by some gang into the most dangerous room in the entire virtual social space. Wilcoxon Piketty didn't make it out. But it happens. It was a rich man's pastime. Kennis found it hard to believe that the people around him who looked so much like gentlemen were actually no other than primitive beasts. And how was he any better?

But suddenly, Kennis no longer cared whether he could make it or not. All around him the signals began to weaken, and disorderly movement began to turn negative. The souls darkened and then disappeared forever. Kennis felt the remaining dark parts of himself begin to disintegrate and crumble, but he had never felt more real. The real him was nothing. He was just a janitor in a rich man's mansion who had been lucky enough to be twice given access to the social queues of the rich. The phone was still on the line. "Now, go to hell." Darren's staccato voice was cut abruptly and the door opened again. But he had never expected to see such a man walk in.

He laughed and was later rescued. Anyone but this guy, he thought. To this day, in 2005, we are still glad to live in a society that has eliminated virtual social spaces.

March 18, 2022 22:15

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