Cold Shades

Cold Shades

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Houses:

Summary

A world overrun with holograms, robotics, and urban sprawl. A world without love and touch.
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Summary

A world overrun with holograms, robotics, and urban sprawl. A world without love and touch.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1.1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 04, 2017

Reads: 115

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 04, 2017

A A A

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Rebecca Brown, simply known as Becca, rarely left her home. There was no need to. All of the necessities of life were supplied right at her fingertips, her home providing her with everything she needed. Even her work could be done at home.  

At the moment, Becca was typing on her computer screen, but not in the archaic manner with her fingers. Instead, the computer monitor, which was almost paper thin, and attached to the wall, was reading the words she was thinking from a chip imbedded in her brain. Fresh words scrolled across the screen, as fast as she could think them. If she made an error, needing to delete something, all she had to do was clench her fist and say, “delete.” In this case, she told the program to “delete the third paragraph.” She had been composing an email to an irate customer in too much anger, and the third paragraph had been particularly volatile. There would be much deleting ahead.

It was hard to work with idiots day in and day out, and that was putting it lightly. It was overwhelming.

Her stomach grumbled, letting her know in no uncertain terms that it needed nourishment. A break was in order.

“Restaurants,” Becca said, causing the computer to project a list of local eateries. “Chinese,” she continued, realizing she hadn’t had one of her favorite meals in a while; sweet and sour pork. The computer narrowed her choices solely to those catering in Chinese food. “Mrs. Yang’s” she said. Projecting straight out of the computer screen and right into her living room was a Chinese waitress, wearing a long red dress of silk, her black hair curled into a bun. Though only an illusion, the likeness of a real person was impeccable.

Holograms over the years had made such leaps and bounds that most people applauded the technological advancements as modern marvels. And yet, they were a different type of hologram than the old images which were formed by beams of light making 3D images. These holograms were extra lifelike. For such holograms may as well not have been called such. The very illusions Becca saw before here were produced from the chip in her head, causing her brain and her eyes to visualize it all. It’s not to say that the paper thin computer upon her wall didn’t help with producing such images. The chip within Becca’s brain, which was a small computer in and of itself, sent a signal to the computer upon the wall, and thus both computers collaborated together to form said illusion.

As things were, not everyone was pleased with such technology. Some hated it. But though there were a few Socrates’ and Platos’ still in the world who didn’t approve of it, they harping on the analogy of the cave with its shadows and illusions, such luddites had always been a rare breed.

“Welcome to Mrs. Yang’s,” the waitress said, “a house of the finest Chinese cuisine to satisfy you and your families’ appetites. Would you like to try our special today?”

“What’s today’s special?” asked Becca.

“Today’s special is twice-cooked pork, fried-cheese wontons, and three egg rolls, plus a drink, all for six-ninety five,” said the waitress as a perfect 3D image of the food appeared before her.

Tempting price, but Becca didn’t care for twice-cooked pork. “No,” she said.

“Would you like to see our menu?”

“Yes.”

“Let me know when you’re ready to order.”

Illusions of smorgasboards of delicious foods, followed by descriptions of each one, popped up into her living room in crystal clear precision, as though they could be grabbed. Such realism further satiated her hunger. Becca browsed, not bothering to say another word to the waitress until she ordered. It would be pointless to do so anyway, as the waitress, being a recorded person, could only respond to certain words and phrases. It was a normal tactic done by all restaurant management; video record a person, then program that image and voice into the computer, in which they would respond to certain phrases and words. There was no use asking how she was doing. She wasn’t fine, sad, angry, or flustered; she just was as is. It would be pointless telling her that her red dress laced with etchings of golden dragons was appreciated. It wouldn’t affect her in any way. She was only the shell of the waitress recorded for customers to see, not the actual person.

After looking over it all, the appetizers, entrees, dinners, and side dishes, Becca was still confident about her previous decision. “I would like the sweet and sour pork with a side of ham fried rice,” said Becca.

“Anything to drink?”

“No.”

“Will that be all?”

“Yes.”

“Your total comes to seven twenty-five,” said the waitress. “Are you ready for us to scan your chip?”

“Go for it!” Becca assented.

A laser reader came out from her computer, scanning the chip implanted in her brain. “Ms. Rebecca Brown, age thirty-one, of 4213 Willington Dr. Las Angeles, California,” said the waitress. “Is this correct?”

“Yes,” said Rebecca.

“Is there anything else?” asked the hologram waitress.

“No.”

“Thank you for ordering from Mrs. Yangs,” the image said with a bow. “Your food will be arriving shortly.”

Becca didn’t immediately return to work, opting to sprawl across her couch instead. Besides, she couldn’t concentrate anyway, being as hungry as she was. She was sure that it was her hunger that was causing her to be short with the customer.

As she waited for her food, she thought of how much of a nuisance it was ordering out. Sure, it was convenient, but it came with a price, and that price was more than money. She was certain that she would be dreaming of Mrs. Yang’s off and on, just as she dreamed about some of her other favorite restaurants. It wasn’t uncommon for these companies to hack into the chip when one was asleep to send images into it, causing customers to dream. It was the most effective form of advertising ever.

Originally, there had been laws passed against this, as the courts had deemed it as an infringement upon peoples’ privacy, but the ruling didn’t hold up long. Corporations made the argument that they weren’t actually ‘prying into peoples’ thoughts,’ but rather were ‘only broadcasting their products.’ While this had still seemed invasive, in the end money and corporate interests won out against lawmakers and legislatures against it. Bribery was a surefire way to get politicians on the side of the corporations.

Besides, it wasn’t like many people cared about the advertisements in their sleep anyway. Society was bombarded by advertisements on a daily basis. At this very moment, Becca was wearing a t-shirt that screened images of the latest products on it, from a very narrow and flexible computerized screen that picked up satellite signals. Even the legging of her pants had a thin vertical screen running down them, with ever-changing words advertising the newest game released or the latest movie out. This had cut down greatly on the price of clothing, making it very inexpensive. As for the advertisements transferred as dreams into peoples’ sleep, most corporations were smart enough to know not to overdo it. Usually the dreams were subtle, sometimes to the point that people could hardly remember them; only the subliminal message remained.

Growing tired of just lounging upon her couch, Becca decided to experience a movie from her computer. Televisions were a thing of the past, computers having completely taken over, just as they had with everything else. And like everything else, the computer program for the movie worked to send a signal to her chip, enabling her to be engulfed in the movie.

Cars in a high speed chased rushed past her, the sounds of bullets blazing by and tires burning rubber assaulting her ears. Sometimes she found herself enveloped in a fiery explosion, to see the hero walk out of it towards her, so life-like that she felt she could reach out and touch him. Or she was soaring with a jet above the snowy Swiss Alps, her favorite scene as it showed a time before they were almost all covered in housing developments.

Everything was so-lifelike while experiencing a movie that one had to not get carried away. Becca remembered back to when she was experiencing one of her favorite films, a movie about brave adventurers looking for hidden treasure in an ancient, crumbling temple. She had grown so excited during the scenes in which the travelers were jumping from one crumbling platform to another over a chasm that she tried to jump with them, only to break her right leg on her table. Needless to say, she had spent the rest of the day in the hospital, being attended to by robotic nurses. Becca learned to sit still during a movie.  

‘Your food is here,’ said a pleasant computer automated voice over her speaker. Becca ordered the film to shut down, plunging her back into her boring living room.

At her door was a Delivery Bot. The robot was constructed simplistic enough, being built more like a car, and able to hold numerous orders in its interior, which was always heated by a heat lamp. Like an average car, it hovered. A large metal neck jutted out from the front, ending in what looked like a pair of oversized binoculars for vision. It held a bag of food in one metallic hand, while the other hand was a card scanner, greedily outstretched, as hungry for the payment as Becca was for the food. Becca quickly paid him. No chit-chat, no time wasted. Just paying the machine and getting her food.

As the Delivery Bot flew off, Becca thought back to the history books she read, which told of a time that human delivery had caused too many problems with drivers because of their irresponsibility or their demanding of raises. Robots were the logical answer to the problem. And not just for restaurants, but for grocery stores too. Robots now delivered everything from fresh eggs, meats, and fish, to cereal and bread, to cleaners and soaps and so forth, meaning one never had to leave their home to go to go the grocery store either.

Though Becca had no need to go outside, she still liked to. While it was true that many people chose to stay inside, living in a state of eternal hibernation, she craved the fresh air. She decided that she would end her work day early and let the disgruntled customer wait, finish up her meal, take a break from her movie, and go outside. 


© Copyright 2017 Jonathan Scott Griffin. All rights reserved.

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