Sunday, May 7, 2017

Beyond the Glasses

At first, no one thought that the current form of VR and bulky devices worn over the head or as glasses were anything but prototypes for the scaled down version of what the fictional nanobots could erect and destroy inside the eye itself. It was considered science fiction and many futurists resisted the idea of using the liquid monsters to connect a person's core. In fact, any mention of the molecular machinery of any type had to be carefully worded and was regulated to the more serious realm of medicine and neuroscience. The idea that an LCD screen could form as easily as an eyelid and recede just as quickly with, well within the blink of an eye, was scoffed at and venomously disregarded as futuristic geek speak or worse, monster strong AI.
Regardless, Sophie poured the liquid into her eye before Bailey could tell her anything more about what was inside the Visine bottle and finished the phrase “Bottoms up” before Bailey had a chance to inhale.
“How many drops did you put in??? WTF S0ph, I’M not even sure what that’s going to do! “Dammit”!
“Relax, Bay, I’m dying anyway for Chrissakes, what the hell do you think this will do? _Really. Really kill me?
Bailey didn’t have time to consider Sophie’s logic before she noticed the thin membrane-like silk was forming over the sclera of S0phie’s eye.
“What the?? What the... Oh, this is COOL!!” Sophie jumped up from Bailey’s toilet where she was being, “worked on” and flew in front of the bathroom mirror.
“Don’t touch” Sophie’s fingers had immediately gone up to her bottom lid to open the eye wider. She slapped Baileys protesting hand away and used both of her own hands as if inserting a contact lens.
She jumped away from the mirror just as quickly and shook her head back in forth, stopping and staring at the ceiling, then the floor, to the left then right, widening her eyes, then finally shut them for a moment.
Bailey helped her back to the safety of the toilet.
“I can see it.” Sophie stumbled and steadied herself by holding onto bailey's forehead and the toilet paper, knocking the roll off of its dowel and nearly pushing Bailey into the tub. Bailey crouched and grabbed at S0phie's shoulders to steady her as well as herself.
As they both stabilized Bay drew closer into S0phie, tightened her grip on her shoulders as she focused on the thin veil that was now encompassing Sophie's entire Left eye.
“It’s the monitor”. It’s backwards” Bailey said the words half in disbelief and in total awe while trying to grasp how or even why it was actually working.
“I’m on the grid Bailey, I’m there.
Bailey lost her grip on S0phie’s knees and plopped onto the bathroom floor.
"what do see?" "What's going on?" "Is there sound?" Do you have access to your avi??" Bailey was at Sophie's knees like a little kid rummaging through presents under the tree, but Sophie remained silent and her face grew serious as all expression slid down into a sort of motionless blank.
Bay let her hands slide down Sophie's legs as she plopped back down onto her bottom and she remained there wedged between Sophie, toilet, and tub for an excruciating thirty seconds or so until she saw a tear start to form in Sophie's right eye. Bailey eased up a bit and put her hand on Sophie's knee when she noticed Sophie's frozen look abruptly animate with the quivering of her lower lip.
Sophie put her own hand on Bailey's and said, "I'm alright Bay, it's just that I've been sick for so long that I~"  Bailey started to rub the side of Sophie's leg as she tried to articulate what had just happened to her.  The silk membrane in Sophie's eyes began to dissipate and the blueish light that seemed to be coming from just under that spider web thin substance faded back into the reflection of her eyes. Sophie wiped the tears from her face,  wiped her nose with her hand a bit and continued "I just forgot what it was like to be able to fly."

Flowers and Light

"Up is down, down is ground and sky is where I look."
Sophie mouthed the words in her mind as she stared out at the afternoon like sky. She wanted to get up, she had been wanting to get up for as long as she could remember. It didn’t seem as strange to her as she thought it should. She knew she was on the grid in After Life and part of her was still struggling to understand why she couldn’t wake up from this dream state.
She struggled to recall how she had conjured up the login screen where she felt herself getting to this point, but could not get beyond the stage of remembering the white prompt on the dark gray screen. She concentrated on the blueish haze of what she knew was a virtual atmosphere and followed the line of sight and light that outlined the tops of the flowers in the meadow she had been laying in. She repeated the poem “Up is down, down is ground and sky is where I look.”
Silence in a digital world is deafening, Sophie thought, and at that moment an ambient sound file began to play and she smiled at the reassuring soft din of chirping birds and crickets. She knew it was a sound file because she herself had created it back in 2008 when she first came across a loop sound and play seamless ambient script in the OS scripting Library. Sophie closed her eyes and stretched her hands behind her head as she lay back down into the grass, more satisfied than scared now. 
The light began to fade in and out and played across her closed eyelids as if the digital world she knew she was in was reading her very thoughts and had all of a sudden written a line of code for clouds and atmosphere.

Shadows are such unpredictable creatures. They creep over a surface in exactly the same manner that light does, only they appear to lend depth to every crack and crevice of a subject, immediately rendering whatever they come in contact with somewhat more so than what the brightest light could ever illuminate; Or, they completely obscure it into a corner of ambient nothingness.
Sophie's thoughts were like that now. She was nowhere near the light or the darkness, but somewhere closer to the in-between gray of a shadowy corner. A faint memory kept teasing her in the form of a craving, but she could not recall which sense fit the feeling, or how to use such things as smell, taste, touch etc, to express herself. She could not recall how long she had been laying in the tall grass of the meadow she was in, or if the afternoon like sky had been morning at one point, but she knew for a fact that she could smell absolutely nothing, and she thought, above all else, that THAT, was extremely odd.

The Death Of Sophie Sautereau

Aire Xaris logged into her Afterlife account on main grid and rezzed at the Welcome Center that she, Ruz, Sophie, and Slater had built together three years earlier only to find a barrage of IM’s flooding her Client. It took a long time for her avatar to load and she began the tedious process of clicking away all the message boxes and inventory offers off of her screen.
Aire, which was actually an acronym for animated intelligence representing entity, was being operated by a real person named Beatrice Fontaine who controlled all of Aire’s actions and mannerisms with a click of a mouse. Aire was motionless when Beatrice came to an Instant message from Ruz which had been saved from the previous night. Beatrice, on the other hand, had gasped, dropped the mouse and was now shaking uncontrollably as Aire blinked and put her hand up to her waist as if to say, What’s your problem?
Bea had actually created that animation herself and slipped the line of script into Aire’s AO, (animation overrider), when she first logged onto the Grid. Bea had always been a little bit proud of it, but now she looked at her three dimensional self as if the avatar she had always been in control of was somehow mocking her with a scripted animation that made Aire seem like she had a mind of her own. She found it all a bit unnerving and blocked Aire out by maximizing the Blue IM box labeled Hey it’s me Ruz, Sophie has passed away.

Beatrice slipped on her glasses and began reading the in world messages of After life Grid.

-- After Life Instant message logging enabled --
Ruz Saxsondale [2011/05/02 18:04] Aire I’m sorry to have to tell you
Sophie passed away on April 23. I don’t know all the details yet.
After Life user Aire Xaris is not online: message will be delivered later
Ruz Saxondale [2011/05/02 18:06] Slater and I are at her Sim now. We’ll be here for a while
After Life user Aire Xaris is not online: message will be delivered later
[2011/05/02 18:04] After Life: APP AGENT has offered to teleport you to their location:
Join me in Argenteuil - General Parcel_PG_Light
Ruz logged in as Bea was reading his saved IM’s.
[2011/05/02 18:06] After Life: APP AGENT: Your Freind Ruz Saxsondale has logged in
[2011/05/03 13:39] Ruz Saxondale: Hey!
[2011/05/03 13:39] Ruz Saxondale: I don’t know if you got my notecard last night, but S0phie passed away.
[2011/05/03 13:39] Aire Xaris: HEY!, Yea, What?????
Bea hadn’t even gotten to Ruz’s notecard at that point, and she noted it’s placement on her client screen as she could see a part of Aire partially from behind the opaque IM box, sway the other hip and hand to lean a bit more visible
[2011/05/03 13:40] Ruz Saxondale: Her brother actually sent me an e-mail with a link to her obit. I don’t have many details, just that it was sudden, and they found her like two days later.
[2011/05/03 13:40] Ruz Saxondale: She passed away while she was online
[2011/05/03 13:40] Aire Xaris: Omg
[2011/05/03 13:42] Ruz Saxondale: Aire ~ you alright?
[2011/05/06 21:09] Ruz Saxondale: Sophie died on the 21st
[2011/05/06 21:10] Ruz Saxondale: I was the last one to talk to her
[2011/05/06 21:10] Aire Xaris: omg :(
[2011/05/06 21:10] Ruz Saxondale: she died on her computer
[2011/05/06 21:10] Ruz Saxondale: computer
[2011/05/06 21:10] Aire Xaris: How?
[2011/05/06 21:10] Ruz Saxondale: She tried reaching for the phone
[2011/05/06 21:10] Ruz Saxondale: That’s how they found her
[2011/05/06 21:10] Ruz Saxondale: Two days later
[2011/05/06 21:11] Ruz Saxondale: Saturday
[2011/05/06 21:11] Ruz Saxondale: 23
[2011/05/06 21:11] Ruz Saxondale: Her mom and brother tried to contact her, they were going to a party for Alex I think
[2011/05/06 21:12] Ruz Saxondale: They were all supposed to go
[2011/05/06 21:12] Ruz Saxondale: Sophie never came
[2011/05/06 21:12] Ruz Saxondale: They called her
[2011/05/06 21:12] Ruz Saxondale: Finally they called Police
[2011/05/06 21:12] Ruz Saxondale: Still they couldn’t find her
[2011/05/06 21:12] Ruz Saxondale: they broke the door down and found her on her computer, trying to reach the phone
[2011/05/06 21:13] Ruz Saxondale: She was complaining about the kids outside playing basketball
[2011/05/06 21:13] Ruz Saxondale: She was saying something about closing her window
[2011/05/06 21:13] Ruz Saxondale: But I logged out and I
[2011/05/06 21:13] Ruz Saxondale: well I told her I would be back on later and
[2011/05/06 21:14] Aire Xaris: Ruz?
[2011/05/06 21:14] Ruz Saxondale: I never got back on that night
[2011/05/06 21:14] Ruz Saxondale: what?
[2011/05/06 21:14] Aire Xaris: How did she die??????
[2011/05/06 21:14] Ruz Saxondale: Unknown
[2011/05/06 21:14] Ruz Saxondale: We are the ONLY ones who know this
[2011/05/06 21:15] Aire Xaris: ...Are you sure about that?

“Monday mornings are for assholes”. Beatrice was in her bedroom standing in front of the bureau reading the bumper sticker at the top of her mirror as she applied her lipstick, smacked her lips, then refocussed on the mirror and her freshly painted reflection. She shut off her Laptop, curler Iron and alarm clock all in a turn of one heel as she put on her other shoe, earring then looped her pocketbook over her shoulder and grabbed her coffee.
The T usually was good about getting into the station a couple of minutes early, but Beatrice never got the hang of Monday mornings and as usual, she was late getting up. She arrived at NEW Worldz conference center only three minutes late, which to Bea, was practically the same thing as being exactly on time, but the speaker still shot her and three others from her department a stale look as they fiddled at the door with name tags and itineraries.
“In and out of consciousness was a sort of side effect to the medication that the project coordinators research team indicated would be a clear sign that a subject was part of the test group. Mostly the way these people would speak to one another was through their respective creations, in media art. Scripting objects became a way to leave messages to one another that spontaneously became their real manual on how to develop and we are still not 100% sure how these people are crossing over”.
The fifty-something man in a pinstriped grayish suite and obnoxious yellow tie that had moments earlier shot Bea a less than enthusiastic look as she hurried into the room was now fidgeting with his glasses and continued to read the report he had been emailed in a voice that she immediately recognized as Dorchester/ Irish.
“It was a joke at first, some gamer thought of a way to encrypt cheat hints into the LSL, (Linden Lab scripting language), and avatars would attach them to their mesh as either huds, (Heads Up Devices), or AO’s, (animation over riders), and this “hidden script” would teleport them to the information that they needed to either buy a key to use trial software or give code from hacked files and the Like”.
Finbar O’Leary took off his glasses and tossed the paper he was reading from down on the conference table as he and his secretary, who was nervously standing over him feeding him more paper, scrambled through his own documents for the next sheet to read from. The whole room, in turn, started adjusting their glasses and rummaging through their syllabuses when O’Leary boomed “You’ll not be finding any of dis or da Like in dose information packets, deese are from a fluttering of “Oh Shite” type e-mails that came into me dis mornin, so you’s can be going back to adjusting and situating yourselves like, while the Johnny come lately’s finish up with asking you’s what else dey missed and being disruptive gob Shites.
Finbar pushed the documents aside and stood up in front of the whiteboard that had been ushered in by his anorexic looking secretary and three very nervous looking interns. “Look,” Finbar said as he flipped his glasses onto his head and dotted the whiteboard with a sharpie. “We started dis project with the express idea that loved ones would be saving digital mementos like of their dearly departed! Never once did anyone of you I.T people or your band of misfit scripting geniuses and source code minions ever bring up the subject of hackers getting a hold of our little grid here and using it to steal our clients identities nor did any of you raise the possibility that our in-game currency could be tied into their Pay pal or BitCoin accounts and the like, through third party viewers.” Finbar drew a small story line on the board as he spoke and filled with circles, arrows and repeated angry dots as he addressed the now confused and somewhat half panic-stricken assembly.
“We’ll be shutting down and taking the grid offline for so-called scheduled maintenance and our support team will be putting out a Cover Blog and sending e-mails about a possible security breach until all the Jira reports can be sorted out and gone through.” Finbar pulled his chair back out and stood behind it holding the back as he continued to address the now completely silenced room. He looked over the back of the chair for a second and then raised his hand up as if he had already formulated a plan and continued.
“You’ll all be tasked in each of your departments with a set of assignments given to you by your respective supervisors and all of your departments will be working directly with deese boys from da Fcc and dose MIT so and so’s dat are running around out dare with their untucked shirts and clipboards.” Finbar motioned towards the reflected blur of white shirted and gray slacked geeks scrambling and reassembling outside the conference room looking more like a pack of meerkats than computer scientists as they darted their heads up and down checking each other’s clipboards, unpacked boxes and set up Laptops strewn onto portable long tables usually reserved for catered events in the conference room.
Beatrice was shot another stale look from both Fingar and his almost opaque secretary as her cell at that very moment abruptly buzzed and violently vibrated across the aluminum chair next to hers. She immediately regretted setting it down upon the free space as she noticed that the whole room was now looking at her. She frantically snatched it up and pushed the mute on the side of the phone with her thumb as she half looked at the message that popped onto her screen and then snapped to attention and brought the phone back up close to her face. She dropped everything that had been in her other hand as she stared down at the four words and just froze.
Aire it’s me Soph

First Parallel Prompt

The sound of the Charney boys playing basketball on the road seeped into the slightly cracked window of Sophie Sautereau’s bedroom. What began as a faint echo of a plastic ball against pavement slowly progressed into a fragmented dance of light, shadow, and sound arguing over a moment across her windowsill.
The sound itself was bent somehow as if it were coming from the front of the house, and all Sophie could think was, Thank God their mother had listened to her plea to get the boys to move that damn hoop from under her bedroom window and over onto George Leven which was on the other side of Sophie’s house and where a small patch of woods would muffle the sound a bit. She thought further and imagined that if she could get up and close the window, she wouldn’t be able to hear them at all.
That very thought hung in her mind like the distant echo of young boys playing on the next street over, and like a ball bouncing violently on the road, it became a faint refraction of the day’s last light and shadow, moving further and further across the front lawn and into darker more quieter corners of the afternoon.
The sense of sound became an exaggerated thought and morphed itself into a metaphor. She envisioned the basketball being bounced against the road, while she strained to hear its familiar reverberating “ting” travel away from her window and off into the distance. Sophie imagined that the boys must have stopped shooting hoops, and were walking down the road dribbling the ball as they meandered away from the front of her house. She was positive she hadn’t gotten up to close the window, so logically the boys must be walking away, the direction of sound dictated that logic.
The cacophony of boys at play and a ball bouncing billowed in her mind until the sound itself meshed into a vision of shadow and light fighting for dominance up on her window sill. She concentrated on the swirl of sound and light until it became something more familiar to her, and the violent dance settled into focus from that blur into a shorter more orderly and controlled beat like the pulsating prompt on a blank computer screen.
All Sophie could see was that black screen and short white line pulsating. The thought of a bouncing basketball had almost disappeared from her consciousness and she began to recognize that she must be half asleep and that was why she knew she must not have shut the window. There was a moment of panic in her as if she were experiencing some kind of anxiety attack as she could almost hear herself say without physically mouthing the words, "Why can’t I see or move my body if I’m awake now?" 
 She now had the ability to see where she was but was somehow stuck on the bridge between her subconscious and reality. Sophie continued to hear the disembodied voice as if she was in two minds and she thought;  Why do I know that? Where the hell am I???
She turned back towards the pulsing command prompt on the blank screen and noticed that she seemed to be moving towards it. As it got closer and brighter she noticed that her surroundings had become a large screen that eased into a lighter gray color. She was comforted by the screen now becoming lighter and lighter as if the fight between light and darkness she had envisioned earlier as sound, had found its way into a more controlled resolute interface she immediately recognized.
The spark must have found the connector she thought, and again, she was confused as to how she knew that. She felt herself mesh with the screen and became enveloped by its light as it brightened and warmed her like a favorite blanket.
She found solace in the thought that she must be coming out of this dream state and that she must have turned over and physically pulled her blanket around her. This weird in-between state that she was in, in her mind, must be some sort of an altered state of consciousness brought on by the medication her doctor had prescribed which was exasperated by the unfamiliarity of the boy’s hoop being moved. Sophie likened this weird relief to being lost in an unfamiliar town, speeding along the backroads until you see that familiar green interstate sign, this was her chance now to get back up on the highway she thought.
That thought itself seemed somehow distant to her as if it wasn’t completely her own, yet somehow still extremely familiar and very much like something, she would say.
The sound of the basketball suddenly crashed violently into that moment, and again her fractured attention was directed towards her bedroom window. The echo of a bouncing basketball was less bent, and more distinct now as if it were directly under her window and became louder. Sophie thought I’m back! I’m in my bed, I’m reaching for the phone, I’m calling the Charney boys mother and they are going to stop bouncing that damn ball under my bedroom window Gawd dammit!
God dammit....
She repeated that word a couple of times until she realized that the word was not being spoken in her mind, but actually typed across a computer screen.The prompt all of a sudden returned to the gray screen and was pulsating even brighter this time.
Slowly the screen began to roll up, getting stuck for a second, then resuming upward like a curtain being pulled. The familiar picture of an avatar sitting on a bed of brilliantly colored cupcakes became distinguished and resolute as she panned backward. She began to realize that she had not physically moved backward in order to see the screen, but that she was, in fact, the screen itself. Over to the left bottom of her thoughts was a cell with the word LOGIN and without being fully aware of how she did it she pushed on it.
The next sound she heard had once again become a morphed sense that she experienced as a feeling. It was a distinct and separate sense she knew to be the wrong one to feel but again reminded her that she was in an altered state of consciousness. Sophie was confused as to how both sound and vision, were being accompanied by the awareness of a warm rushing wind exploding across her entire being while she was in her bed and under the covers.
It was the familiar Woosh sound of her avatar teleporting while in game and all she could think was... I did get up. It was me that closed the window.

Saturday Morning Album

Ruz rezzed on the object named Don't F'ing sit here couch wearing his bunny slippers

Slater, Ruz and Aire, making a splash in their "Special Saturday morning gear"

Ruz, Aire & Sophie 

Pink Pony Posse invades Black Horse Country

Ruz & Sophie, Gull Gallery, Amante Island, second Life

waiting for Slater to rez, Gull gallery 

Raise your hand if you're an idiot! Ruz & Aire Amante island

Ruz, Sophie, Aire, Slater

We are so going to win that dance competition!

Invisible Roller coaster ride required special head gear

Air, Slater and Sophie

Aire takes forum post and creates curtains out of it in Gimp

sorry about your car Ruz

Hot air balloon ride

Paris, Saturday morning tour

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