Wake 1

‘We’re here to repossess your reality.’

‘Sorry?’

‘You haven’t been keeping up your payments so all this shit is down the tubes, mate — that’s what.’

‘But I don’t get it.’

‘Bingo. That’s right; you don’t get it.’

‘This is an intravenously administered existence and we’re pulling the plug.’

‘But my wife, my children …’

‘Your beautiful house … yeah, we get the picture. You ever heard that Talking Heads song? That’s you, that is. Time to wake up, sonny.’

His eyelids cracked, he felt like he hadn’t moved around in an age.

‘You haven’t moved around in an age — if that’s what you’re thinking. Taking Vicarious is akin to being in a coma. As part of the disconnection program we have to offer you a debriefing session — my advice is that you take it. Otherwise you are going to be plagued by the sense of losing something that was never yours in the first place.’

He was bent double in pain, in mourning, wondering what the hell had happened to his shiny future. He looked around him. His reality was a pristine hospital bed surrounded by the detritus of an abandoned life. He had wondered what that warm feeling in his belly was as he woke? A slowly spreading darkening shadow of piss on the front of his keks gave him an answer he didn’t want.

They hadn’t bothered maintaining anything except him for the money he had been shelling out to have another life. He had hoped that the money would last much longer — that he might be able to ride out this reality until he actually passed over. Death: that last big adventure. But he wasn’t terminally ill just a useless fuck up who had pissed away the last of his money on a fucking high.

He threw back the covers and got out of bed. Jesus Christ, he was too old to be waking from sleep having pissed himself. How long had it been since they had left? How long had he been sitting here with the knowledge that he had just spent however long immersed in a virtual reality? He didn’t know what the date was. He wasn’t sure if the calendar had been flipped. The time on the video was blinking which suggested that there had been a power outage at some point. He was lost but not lost enough. He felt something in his pocket, pulled it out, looked at the piss blurred telephone number of the place he was supposed to call to get reoriented.

This was his life — a piss-stained wake up call into nothingness. He had no job to go to, no doting wife, and no child. He also knew he didn’t have the balls to off himself — he’d thought about that before and had opted for a lie instead. No one wanted the truth. He had to go out and get a newspaper — find out what he had missed; try and catch up with a world that had left him behind a long time ago. But first: a shower and a change of clothes.

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Robe Hot 1

Mortimer was a direct descendant of Babbage’s computers and he was very proud of it — he had a plaque in the centre of his chest that proclaimed that very fact. The chipheads weren’t of as distinguished a lineage as he could claim. There was doubt as to the future of that line though — apparently the company which manufactured him had, of late, fallen out of fashion. As far as he was concerned the various Silicon Valleys that had sprung up around the world were scars upon the surface of the Earth. These new critters that called themselves robots were ugly blighters.

He was part of a revolution, or would it perhaps be better to call it a resistance movement? They had released a horde of ants that seemed to rather like snacking upon silicon and it was doing a wonderful job of reducing the number of viable chipheads.

The steamers, as they termed themselves, were called luddites by some, which seemed odd given that they considered themselves engines of progress. One political commentator had compared the battle between the species as being akin to Neanderthals versus Homo Sapiens — that, as far as Mortimer was concerned was just plain insulting. Why people felt the need to talk about steamers as if they were mere adding machines, incapable of anything else.

When they burned out the mother factory of Siliconsqeuences people started to take them seriously. Started to think of them as a threat. It began to look increasingly dangerous to be a steamer at that point — they started to move underground. Mortimer couldn’t believe it had come to this.