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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Here, within the cyber world that REDMELODY is jacked into, something is not right. Celebrities seem immortal and the government is hiding something, but what?


Coding technician: Kristy Nicolle




With the memory coder inserted the archive interface powers on...



Username: R.E.D.V.I.R.U.S


Password: ****************



Downloading data...


Data downloaded.



Initiating Narrative sequence...



File No.00000

Date: 21.09.2200

Time: 2100 hours


These files should be viewed with upmost discretion and have been restored and compiled to expose parties responsible for the entrapment of human consciousness. I have to protect the people I love and as we both know these parties have eyes everywhere, just as I have now. Make sure all your doors are locked. Your blinds shut, any cameras disengaged and that your A.R.I (Artificial reality interface) is on stand-by. Ready? Okay. Here we go....





Date: 29.09.2184

Time: 1400 hours



The ping flashes before my eyes, eclipsing the view of reality beyond the contact lenses hooking me into the A.R.I. I dismiss it with a single thought, the electrical impulses of my brain firing into the wires hooked so seamlessly into my cerebral cortex. The Eyemouse that is my plaything follows my scarlet retinas without hesitation or glitch.

‘OMG REDMELODY YOU ARE SO STEAMING!!!!’ Another personal ping, aka P.P for short, flashes before my field of vision and I feel the constant intrusion getting on my last nerve. For Christ sake, I think sighing; you can’t take me anywhere since I got famous. I lay back in the mobi-pod in which I am encased, cruising via electromagnets through the supposed techno-city of my dreams: The Hub of Athiopia. I can see as I am strapped and tilted at a 30 degree angle out of the tiny pane of clear silicone that makes up the windscreen, the holographic sky a perfect and dreamy periwinkle blue. But this is a mile away from the neon cyan that lines the city streets below, indicating the various routes which the mobi-pods can follow. Another P.P appears this time the font is crazy and magenta, far too girly.


I roll my eyes inadvertently, do I know the person sending me this message I hear you ask? No of course I don’t, and if it was possible I would block each and every one of them. At first it was hilarious and at times incredibly flattering, but then the hate started. As though the A.R.I is not only wired into my mind but can also read it, another ping arrives with a cheery tone, this is transmitted from the implant on the left side of my skull and into the sound centre of the brain.


‘Delete!!!’ I think as the message vanishes from my field of vision. I’m on my way back from the office of Jazz my so called ‘manager’. Being on my way to my brand new home provided also by Jazz and I am nervous. I kind of hope he puts me in some kind of high security prison, away from all the media madness that has been following me over the past 7 days. Then again a high security prison doesn’t really help when the intruders have access to your mind via the Intranet twenty four seven. As I’m contemplating the inescapability of my situation the Mobi-pod comes to a halt, the sarcophagus looking black and neon blue transportation erects itself and opens, releasing my arms and legs from the metal bands that held me safely inside. I step out onto the black aluminium pavement that is laced with fibre-optics so it looks like the long lost milky-way at night. My mouth drops open a little as I am dwarfed before a giant manor of white marble. How the hell did a girl from an excrement recycling plant end up here? As I walk up to the front door my A.R.I pops up with a request override notification, spoken by a lifeless but serene female voice that has interrupts my internal monologue:


I blink three times to accept this request and stand as the giant double storey double doors swoosh open silently to reveal the innards of my new abode. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, I turn my back on this supposed technological Eden and sit on the first stair of the marble porch that supports columns that consist of stacked marble cuboids. The absence of wind leaves the air warm and stagnant around me as I acknowledge the shock of my changed fate. Before I go on I want to answer the question of how I got here, and revisit the series of events I vowed I would never forget. It’s a pretty funny story actually.

“A.R.I play back memory, date 21.09.2184.” I say this aloud just for old time’s sake. It obeys without question.

Memory accessed...

Downloading memory...

>Initiating memory playback.

I lean back on my hands and close my eyes, eclipsing the world behind the A.R.I contact field, allowing it to take me back to a place far simpler than today.





File: >Saved Memo-45

Date: 21.09.2184

Time: 1830 hours


“Heya Q, wassup?” Kay-Kay swivels round in the chrome interface chair upon hearing the gummy bases of my work boots squeaking against the metal of her office floor. Her hair is its usual lavender and her sparkling eyes are as always matching, her lilac contacts jacking her into the A.R.I system. We’ve been friends since I began working at the factory 5 years ago and I never get tired of listening to her techno-babble, as well as all the stories from the Hub.

“Catch the show?” I ask smiling crookedly, out of breath from the long days work. The air within the office is being recycled by the old air cycler, ‘it’s probably the only machine in the Sluz working harder than me’ I think as it lets out a groan, followed by a sputtering cough. In the corner the only thing other than the chair is a desk and a potted plastic plant, it’s a shame it isn’t real, we could all use the clean oxygen. I sit on the floor as Kay shuts down the interface screen being projected from the arm of the chair.

“Yes, I did, want to see the recording? Wow Q you reek!!!”

“Yeah I came straight from work.” I roll my eyes, my eyemouse gliding around my dull and simple interface screen smoothly.

“Here, use this before I keel over!” She tosses me an odour-blocker from the pocket of her biodegradable cargo pants. I put the rubbery capsule into my mouth, swallow and enjoy the instant cleansing sensation of miniscule amounts of scented disinfectant seeping invisibly from my pores, allowing my body to shed the day’s stench.

“Thanks Kay, but you realise I have to make a living right?” I sigh, Kay may not be the richest person in this town, but with her custom nano-dyed hair and state of the art A.R.I hook up, sometimes I wonder if she understands what living in the Sluz is really like.

“Yes, but you don’t have to smell like shit Q.”

“You don’t know what it’s like Kay, recycling this cities crap day after day, because according to some computer programme you have no other skill.” I sigh, looking out of the window of Kay’s office at the Sluz below, covered in dust and an aqua mist from the factories that keep the cities working. This is definitely not the hub.

“Yeah yeah, you’re so tortured. Now come on, let’s watch the playback!”

“Play it then.” With an agitated nod from me, K pulls up the projected interface screen she works from everyday. I wonder how she feels about being put down in the Sluz to keep an eye on people like me that are working day in day out for minimum cred. She’s so much smarter than me and as I sit I cannot help but envy her easy life. With a few clicks of the eyemouse in her integrated personal A.R.I her work interface responds, instantly synchronised with her mind. I get up off the studded floor, the rivets having made dents in my skin that look like dehydrated food pellets. Standing behind Kay-Kay I am confronted with my own image dancing along to the repetitive work drone of the machines. I’m singing the song ‘Eternal Fame’ for a laugh, it’s been all over the A.R.I though my old version of the software is mangling the words, it’s been over the old speakers in the Excrement recycling plant all week too. My hair is twirling and my body gliding around the steel floor platform with ease, my body is lithe, having limited cred has kept me from having to use purge-pills at least.

“God I look like such a spaz.” I mutter.

“Nah, I think you look great. I’ve been practicing with my bod-mod software and this is what it looks like after.” Kay-Kay uses her retinas to control the arrow gliding across the screen.

“Access modified file.” She commands.

“Accessing modified file” The interface responds silkily and in seconds of the words leaving Kay-Kay’s lips.

A few moments later the same footage appears, centre screen, but a few things are different; my hair for one is a scarlet waterfall rather than the usual black but more noticeably altered is my voice: whatever Kay has done to it I doubt the record companies of this town could have done any better. It’s alluring, hypnotic even, but at the same time absolutely synchronised with the harmonious techno beat that lies at the heart of the tune. My dance moves have been kept the same and the background of shit recycling machinery remains but without the smell it almost looks retro.

“Wow Kay, this is pretty cool.” I compliment and she turns with a sweet smile.

“I’m glad you think so. I’m going to put this up on my personal page if you don’t mind? I’m trying to put a bod-mod portfolio together for potential clients.” She requests, lilac eyes stunning me with the timid glance waiting for approval.

“Sure. Anyway I gotta zoom. Mom’s expecting me and you know how she gets when I’m late for the ceremonial hydrating of the meal.” I roll my eyes and she giggles with a wide flawless ceramic smile. Behind her outer facade I glimpse pity but I ignore, turning away. Darting through the door with the pangs of envy roaring through my circuitry like a virus.



File No: 000003

Date: 29.09.2184

Time: 1500 hours


So that’s pretty much it. After Kay-Kay’s video went viral I got the call from Jazz’s agency telling me that they wanted me to sign with them. I remember being disengaged from my A.R.I by the government suits for the meeting, it was all very hush-hush ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ if you know what I mean. I can’t say the level of security didn’t shock me at first, I mean I didn’t even know you could totally disable an A.R.I hook up once it had been installed into the body. Everyone knew that once you were fitted with an A.R.I hook up it was almost impossible to escape it. However, for the meeting with Jazz I had signed a confidentiality agreement, and that meant for one whole hour, my contact lenses were removed, and the headpiece attached to my skull was disabled using a small black box I hadn’t known existed, that was pushed against the flesh behind my ear. As I drag myself up from the marble steps of the porch my question goes through my mind, not from the A.R.I but pulled from my subconscious. “But you know I can’t even sing!” I remember the blood rushing to my cheeks as I stood, embarrassed, before Jazz and the other members of the meeting as they all laughed in Synchro waited for the door to inevitably slam in my face. “Oh darling, you are so gorgeously naive it’s practically precious and believable. No-body has actually sung using their real voice in YEARS!!! NO NO NO! Honey, sweetie, baby! We just want to put that real cute kisser of yours up in neon’s! You get my swing baby-doll?” He had flashed me his glow in the dark ceramics in a blinding fame-game smile and gesticulated wildly in his reply. Geez, I thought to myself at the time, I guess fame really isn’t talent, this business was like playing the Lotto-Bot: pure, dumb luck. I wonder if that’s what was with the confidentiality agreements. I mean it wasn’t common knowledge that all celebrities were fakers. I guess if that one got out Jazz had a hell of a lot to lose. I rubbed my head, pulling my newly Jazz ordered dyed scarlet hair from my face and walked into my new hardwired edifice of a home.


File No: 000004

Date: 30.09.2184

Time: 0900 hours


Lying face up within the extortionately large recharge unit of my new home, the self-heating blanket is pulled tight against the steel bed beneath me. It may appear to be steel from the outside but the centre is made from a poly-morphed plastic that sculpts to my form, cradling each limb as though it were a newborn baby. Sensing I am now awake the A.R.I returns from sleep mode, making a few beeps as it instantaneously flashes up before my eyes.


The A.R.I asks in the familiar and sensuous female voice. I choose blinking as my form of response and blink twice to deny this request then using the new feature in my new state of the art A.R.I hook up (also provided by Jazz and his agency because it was the ‘latest thing’ apparently) I think rather than say my command aloud. ‘Find messages from recipients: Jazz and Kay-Kay.’ As soon as the thought manifests within my psyche the A.R.I responds like a slingshot upon release.


I respond again using only my thoughts, marvelling at how much quicker this is compared to my old hook up that only responded to Spoken commands.

The first message is from Jazz, he is looking into a mirror so I can see him reflected back at the cameras installed within his star shaped golden contact lenses. His coffee coloured skin is flawless, plastic surgery, a quick ‘Ogle’ search of his A.R.I profile assures me. After getting over the initial shock of seeing his face eclipsing the neon striped ceiling of the room I focus on what he has to say:

“Hey Baby-doll! Great news! The official release of your single is happening at midnight tonight! I expect you to attend the party of course! I have a stylist, make-up artist and nano-dye specialist coming to your place in order to prep you up for the big bash! Oh and I’m also sending you a date as I want you to make a real splash and the way to do that is with BOYS, BOYS, BOYS! Or to be more specific Bluff, Bluff, Bluff! You know the one I mean, with the gorgeous hair and the fantabulous film star repertoire? Anyway, gotta go! Got a crazy hot brunch with the Trisexual-Society at noon and gotta catch my beauty Z’s. The stylist will give you the finer details darling! A mobi-pod will arrive at eleven, Ta-Ta for now! Oh and don’t forget darling...YOU ARE A STAR!”

As the message completes itself the screen returns to transparent and I am once again looking at the ceiling.

PLAY NEXT MESSAGE? The system begs and I respond quickly, this time closing my eyes ready for the message. This one is from Kay-Kay and I can’t hide my relief at a familiar face.

“Hey Q! Or should I say Red! Anyway, how you liking the Hub?? Oh and you’re welcome by the way for you know... making you famous and all! I expect to be invited to all the big parties now! Anyway... hope you’re okay and I’m expecting a reply to this okay? No flaking out just because you’re a big star now!!! I’ll be seeing you soon and by that I mean I wanna come check out your new crash pad, so invite me already! Gotta split! Laters babe!”

The video finishes and already I’m feeling exhausted again. I pull myself up and walk across the room. The carpet is a plush crimson and the walls are white with tubes of glowing red liquid running through them at adjacent angles. I walk over to the wall and command.

“Mirror” The wall reacts quickly, opening to reveal a screen that turns on, creating a perfect, high definition, reflection. Scarlet hair and pupils reflect the new me back. I am barely recognisable beneath Jazz’s facade.

“You’re a real star.” I mutter wishing they knew the truth, that R.E.D really stood for Recycles Excrement Daily and that this whole identity was simply a joke produced by two friends bored of their repetitive lives? Turning my back on the wall surprised at my anti-elation I hear a ping in my A.R.I:


“Access granted.” I respond aloud, in that moment restoring factory settings and allowing manifestation of the seemingly dead Q-47.





File No: 000005

Date: 30.09.2184

Time: 2300 hours


After an entire day of preening I was finally ready to leave. The team of highly trained pluckers, stylists and colouring engineers finally having left in a flurry of mobi-pods, I am standing in my vast and minimalist lounge unit. I am confronted by the large mirror screen staring at the stranger looking back at me through crimson faded contact lenses. My scarlet hair has been tinged black at the tips making it look smouldering and I am wearing a scarlet, calf length, velvet gown with thousands of tiny pinprick light bulbs embedded in the fabric making me appear as a galaxy weeping blood. I take one last look at my catlike eyes, heavily surrounded by smoky lines of black before my A.R.I speaks to me, an old and annoying friend.


I respond quickly, accepting the request and tottering out the red heels. They contain starlight bulbs too, and every time I take a step light cascades from the ankle to the toe of the shoe. The heels are silver, and for extra affect are connect by retro bolts to the back of the boot. Outside a type of mobi pod I have only ever seen on satellite feed arrives. Most mobi pods are black with neon lighting, but this one is custom. Clear plastic with red neon’s spelling out REDMELODY, especially built for me, allowing complete visibility for the pap-cams. I step into it once it erects itself, and bars (also transparent) pull me secure. The lid shuts and I am whisked at a speed faster than usual, being able to see the holographic stars, awe inspiring and entirely fake up above. As we get closer to the centre of the Hub, the buildings become taller and closer together, towering like intimidating steel giants above me. A P.P blocks my view:


Followed by another ping which is quickly added to my bottomless yet overflowing trash can.


I roll my eyes, what makes people think that is appropriate? I wouldn’t say that to someone I knew well, let alone a random celeb.

Before I know it I am drawing quickly to a halt at the front of the tallest skyscraper in the Hub, making me nervous. I realise I have actually never been to event like this in my life. I remind myself of what the generic, genderless stylist had told me. “Just smile and wave and for everyone’s sake just keep your mouth shut. These pap-cams are like mechanical vultures. You don’t know what vultures are right?” I had shaken my head and she/he had rolled its eyes. I gulped as the door of my mobi pod swings open and full on pap madness breaks loose.


As soon as my feet hit the ground several things happen instantaneously. Firstly I am swarmed by hundreds if not thousands of pap-cams. Tiny and white with large high definition lenses all pushing into my face. My A.R.I goes mad with a stream of somehow unfiltered messages.











I am absolutely ambushed by a million voices invading my mind, that in a matter of moments become too much. I put my hands over my ears trying to block out the sound but the noise is external and the surroundings of the real world are actually silent. I feel a large arm loop in mine and pull me through the attacking cameras. The floor beneath is lit up with luminous star patterns and I hear a whisper in my ear.

“Just smile, hold on in there. Come on, strike a pose. They’re waiting for a good shot.” I obey without question, trying to ignore the mass of noise from my A.R.I. I take a few steps not daring to look around at who I assume to be Bluff and do a traditional ‘Star-walk’ pose, hand on hip, arse out, smile like it’s going out of fashion. After a few moments of this I feel a pulling on my arm and Bluff escorts me through the double doors of the skyscraper that connect to the star-walk: Hub Party Plaza.


“I have never been so grateful to see a total stranger before in my life.” I sigh as me and Bluff step into the elevator. I turn to face him for the first time and exhale heavily, all the apps on my A.R.I are flashing like crazy. The elevator pings as the doors close around us and I take in his features. Chiselled jaw-line, contacts of cyan and mocha coloured flawless skin, with blonde hair sweeping across the top of his head he could be named Adonis, not Bluff. His arms are well muscled and his broad chest is encased in a gold and black suit, he smiles at me with lightning white teeth.

“Why thank you. I can’t say I’m not glad to see you either.” He replies, his voice rough, manly, and eyes that pierce me. My stomach drops for a moment; it is not his presence though that does this, but rather the lift sweeping upward. My cheeks flush, I truly am Red now.

 “I’m sorry Jazz didn’t warn you about the pap-cams.” Bluff says this unfeelingly and purses his lips at the mention of Jazz’s name.

“Me too, I’ve been famous exactly a week and I’m completely overwhelmed.” I felt myself gushing, tripping over myself in this emotive outpour. But having had only A.R.I contact over the last few days, talking to someone face to face felt good, Isolation had made me chatty and I kept on rambling.

“I mean all these pings from people I don’t even know... the make-over... I just can’t take much more of this.” I start to open my mouth after taking a pause but Bluff interrupts me abruptly right before the doors unfold to let us out into the main ballroom.

“Shhh! Christ just drink this and don’t let anybody see it okay?! We’ll talk later.” He shoves a hollow silver object into my mouth and tips it back into my gullet. I don’t know why I don’t fight this. We’ve known each other exactly the length of an elevator ride, but there’s something about his expression, like a trapped wild animal in a cage. Perhaps it was the fear in his eyes. We step out but our destination is empty, just a blank room with a two people I barely recognise and a large stretcher. That is the last thing I remember before a surge of pain hits my brain and I pass out into darkness.



Date: N/A

Time: N/A


“RED... WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” I am being shaken and a throbbing is beating against my temples like an angry tide.

“What?” I open my eyes. No eyemouse, no powering up A.R.I. What the hell was going on? Before me there are three people, all looking concerned, and more so, overwhelmingly impatient. Jazz, Bluff and Kay-Kay all stood together, dressed in all black.

“Thank god. I thought that Absinthe might have killed her.” Bluff says to Kay rolling his eyes.

“Absinthe? I’ve had Absinthe and that was not it!” I complain rubbing my head and sitting up on the stretcher I had viewed before blacking out.

“Not this kind of Absinthe. This was real stuff, the stuff that rots your insides from years ago, not the watered down non-alcoholic, A.R.I compatible crap they give you today. Luckily for us your insides aren’t the only thing it rots, how does it feel being free?” Jazz asks, his eyes no longer contain stars. They are bland, brown and concerned, whizzing from side to side wildly with worry. His voice is different too. He is no longer peppy, but rather ordinary and less dramatic.

“What... I’m confused...” I stutter and Kay jumps in, her eyes a dull natural blue.

“Look Q. We don’t really have the time for this. People know you didn’t show up at the party, so the Hacker-Jacks are on their way right now okay? Here’s the short version. We’ve unhooked you from the A.R.I. also Jazz and Bluff aren’t who you think.”

“Well then who the hell are you?” I question desperately, achy and detached from all forms of authority.

“Bluff, if you don’t mind demonstrating?” Jazz nods and Bluff smiles.

“Sure.” Bluff raises his hands and before I know what’s happening he’s pulling back his face. Beneath the flawless skin, there is nothing but wiring. No bone, no flesh, no glands or organs: Just wiring and metal.

“You’re a machine?” I stutter moving back a little, wondering what the hell world I’ve woken up in.

“Yes.” He says, his mask of skin still removed, I see the underlying mechanical structure of his lips moving.

“I should explain.” Jazz gesticulates sympathetically.

“Bluff here, is just like me.” He explains and I’m suddenly confused.

“What? I don’t understand. He’s not a person? He’s a robot!” I exclaim my heart pounding.

“Yes, Red, he’s a robot with a human conscience, unable to die or age, unable to escape, for 100 plus years. A tool of the government just like me” Kay nods telling me this is fact.

“Why?” Is all I can manage, I’m exhausted.

“Because we got famous, we made the government an awful lot of money, and because of that, they don’t want us to die like any human being should be able to.” Jazz is on his knees before me now, trying to beg for my understanding in the matter at hand.

“We’re here because that’s what they want to do to you Red and because we want to get you out of here before we leak the original tape of talentless you into the A.R.I in order to make the public aware of how most celebrities are at best fake, if not old celebrities uploaded into new bodies and resold to the public against their will.”

“It’s true R.E.D, as soon as I posted that video of you, Jazz found me and told me all of this, that was when we decided to make you a star. So we could expose this industry for what it really is. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you.” Kay explains. She and Jazz share a pleading look, though I’m not sure she’s attractive without the A.R.I fakery, pleading me to understand, to put aside my ego.

“How has this been allowed to happen? If it’s so bad, why haven’t people complained about this before?” I ask feeling my head getting heavier and foggier by the second.

“The people captured within the A.R.I are stuck there; people have no way of knowing they aren’t real, out there, walking around somewhere. Most have no memories of being human. Bluff is one of the few who retained his original memories.” I hear yelling all of a sudden and my stomach drops as the double doors at the back of the bland white room burst open. Its men In white uniforms I don’t recognise, yelling official orders about surrender, with tazer guns, heavy footfall and official badges: Hacker-Jacks I presume. The last thing I remember was how I felt, my heart racing and my head pounding. That was the last memory I have of being alive.


Hacker-Jack master general fingered his moustache, turning in his interface chair to the wall behind him. Scarlet hair suspended in the aqua fluid filled tank like bloody seaweed, limbs dangling like that of someone dead and a catatonic crimson stare met his gaze, the Hacker-Jack master general smiled.













Submitted: January 20, 2015

© Copyright 2020 Kristy Nicolle. All rights reserved.

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