Clara Hammond had just turned 21 years old. It just so happened that her birthday transpired during the week that the millennium changed. It was now the year 3000 and technology boomed. Many in small sects around the world championed for less technology, saying that it had gone too far and that there was no more privacy in this new world run by computer. Clara, however, loved all things “techy” and embraced each new discovery with open arms and excited eyes. Clara was ecstatic when her mother presented her with a gift certificate to play with the newest technology on the market, “Realest VR”.
The new company “Realest VR” was a video game creation company who had figured out how to gather information on the feelings of everyone in a player’s life and create fantastical journeys based upon those feelings and other aspects of that player's world. This had further incited feelings of distrust among those who do not favor technology. The company claimed that none of the information they gather is distributed to other sources, but they also violently refused disclose how they go about getting intimate thoughts from the people around those set to play the game.
It was a brisk spring morning when Clara made her trip to the inner city of LA, where the gaming center was located. She approached the building and marveled at how sleek and futuristic it looked, even for the time. The structure was tall with razor thin lines and made entirely of mirrored glass. Clara sat in front of the door for a moment staring at her reflection looking back at her. She supposed the architect was commenting on how inside this building you would be getting a metaphorically deeper reflection of oneself. Poetic design aside, the prospect of playing such a groundbreaking game excited Clara greatly. She had always had a talent for video games and trying the newest on the market was a perfect gift. She entered the building and approached the front desk. Inside the building was all black white or steel and smelled like a hospital, sterile and empty. The whole room was a empty, clinical void.
“Clara Hammond” said the woman at the front desk, in a tone almost too monotone to be natural, without looking up from her computer screen. “Welcome to Realest VR,” the woman said finally looking up, “we’re ready for you in room 506 on Floor 6, the elevator is just to your left”
“Thank you ma’am” replied Clara. Something about the woman left Clara uneasy but her eagerness outweighed any other feeling. Clara strode to the elevator and selected the necessary keys in order to be transported to the correct floor. She arrived at the sixth floor and began to walk down the hall. She dragged her hand along the smooth, cold wall of the hallway. The walls were a deep red and the floor a silver laminate. Each door was a light steel and had name plates on them depicting which player was scheduled to play in that room’s platforming.
Clara approached her given room quickly, ready to begin her journey. Clara had no reason to believe that this experience would be anything but lighthearted fun. As she got close to the door, it opened automatically to let her in. The room inside was dark except for several scattered LED indicators around the room.
“Hello?” called Clara brightly as she walked into the room. Suddenly the lights turned on and there was a pad in the center of the floor that simulated the players terrain. There was a suit with multiple data retrieval points to track where you were in the environment and a headset hanging from the ceiling above the track pad. Clara put all of these things on and began to play. A slight metallic taste, like breathing in the taste of a penny, invaded her lungs as she started to play but she decided to ignore it. The game began in the same room she was in with floating text saying that she had 30 minutes of free exploring before the storyline started. Four minutes into the game the screen went blank, a loud beep screamed through the headset and text popped up.
It read: THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING. YOU HAVE BEEN COLLECTED BY THE GAME. THE RIGHTS TO YOUR LIFE HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO THE REALEST VR LLC AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE USA.
Clara tried to escape the game by ripping of the mask and suit but the same message flashed on a panel in the door. She tried to pull open the door but her hand fell right through as if she was no longer a solid object. Clara tried to scream but made no sound.