alternative futures: glitch

preface: this is a science fiction story, flash fiction style. it'll probably be two parts. it is my output from world we built collaboratively during the unleashing alternative futures workshop.

glitch

2101 - jamaica plain - parents

“MOM! I CAN’T GET OUT! THEY’RE REAL! IT’S NOT A…”

it was the last message we got from zi until after the war. we searched for his body for months. we lived with that terrible sinking, sickening feeling for days on end. occasionally me and my life partner would forget it (when we’d get news from one of the fronts), but it never actually went away.

i remember the day like it was yesterday. where i was, what i doing, who i was with, everything… every single, awful detail.


2067 - back bay (vr) - zi

“come on, yall, let’s gooooooo.”

i was impatient. my morning resource raid team was running late and the mine elevator was about to start its 10a descent.

it was just a game, but i was loving every minute of it. everyday, before and after school, i’d put on my holohelm, and meet up with some friends i’d made online. the game was called raganrokTX (an upgrade of a game my grandfather, lawrence, used to love) and it had created such a vibrant world that i just wanted to be in it as much as possible.

plus, the people i met there were amazing. it was the first time in my life where i felt like i could actually explore and be myself.

when i made my first character, i took a loooooot of liberties with the aesthetic. i was tall, dark, lean, and fast. at the time i was feeling more of my feminine energy so i chose the gender to be closer to that of a cis-woman. my garb was lightweight and familiar (the game had implemented a feature that allowed people to recall things they’d seen from memory and use those memories to design elements in the game world). it was one of those fabrics from nigeria i’d seen my mom hang on the walls from grandpa.

i played under that character for a few weeks, but realized that i didn’t actually know how to embody and enact my feminine energy that well. i was only 14 and we hadn’t totally gotten there in school yet.

people kept saying that i was acting weird when i do certain things in the world and i didn’t like that feeling. it also made it hard for people to trust me. one time i lost an epic piece of loot from a raid because the raid leader said i was acting strange by being so excited about a physical piece of armor that i hadn’t even read the history of properly. as a healer class, i guess it was silly of me to assume that i could use anything i found that seemed good without holding it carefully and sensing its past and future.

i hadn’t even thought of that for my character. all the other healers had just rolled their eyes. i was still learning, but i clearly wasn’t there yet.

it was a great experience and lesson, but i wanted to play a character that felt a little more believable.

so the character i was playing today was much closer to my current understanding of my identities. medium height, lighter in skin tone (but more milk chocolate than 80% dark), skinny, fast, smart, but not so athletic and a little more masculine than feminine… not much though.

i was bouncing around at the platform gate waiting for the rest of my raid team members to wake up, log on, and join me.

“come onnnnnnn,” i signaled through our team chat. “if we miss this elevator, we’re not going to be able to get down this morning at all…

see part 2

words / writing / post-processing
606w / 20min / 5min