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The theory of Simulcast created by the mind of Edward James:
The powers of social media are undeniably evident. The anonymity of these human interaction platforms gave people the illusion of protection turning them into their brave selves. As people move across these stages they shed their onion skins and are open and safe enough to express their true thoughts and emotions. That person on that stage, their online persona is the purest form of that individual. If given physical form, that persona would be a better version of that person. Science backs this up as tests have clearly shown families enjoy people’s simulcast personas more than the real human thing. I believe these personas are more than just “Personas.” If crafted for domestic use, they could replace that individual and have a higher value. Especially if the original version of that self has passed.
With such abilities, the name “Persona” isn’t fitting instead think simulcast.
It was too hot for a visit.
I was sitting in my Bug, stuck in the morning rush, and listening to the radio. A heated argument blasted through my Bug’s speakers. “It’s gambling! You have a chance of getting anything from the best spaceship in the world to a new cushion. It’s all about chances, just like gambling.” I pressed the power button without thinking. If James was with me, he’d be ranting like some commentator. It was annoying, but it was rubbing off on me. It made the game start to sound fun. You’ve got a high color, I thought. Lest you’re some professional streamer, gaming won’t help with that. The Bug announced, “Tunnels ahead, Maam. Would you like me to autopilot?”
My phone rang, I spat out to the Bug. “Yeah, make it snappy.” I dug the phone out my pocket. It was father. How he kept convincing those suckers at the center to keep giving him calls was a mystery. Who knows? Maybe he had his other hand around the neck of nurse. He has a tight grip, I learned that trying to get out of a game of Chess. “Hey, Daddy. What’s going on?” The voice that came through was stressed and loud. “These people at the center are having a real attitude. They keep saying that my color is low or something.” Really? I had expected this to happen but not so soon. Father’s account had received multiple flags on: Laziness, rudeness, and annoyance. It was justified. He was a cancer-ridden man that couldn’t walk, Laziness flag. The food he was fed he couldn’t stomach. It led to constant problems, rudeness flag. The annoyance flag, I had no idea. “The people keep asking me to leave. Can you come deal with this?” The Bug stopped on an elevator pad. It lowered into the tunnels. “Yeah, I’ll be there soon.” I commanded, “Take me to the center.” The Bug responded with two beeps and changed course.
Entering the center, I am chewing on the fact that this was not part of my plans today so spotting the first uniformed creature I pretty much spat out the question: “Where’s my father?” I hadn’t checked everywhere but I didn’t need to. The Receptionist leaned back, “We here at St. Rosemary’s insist on a certain standard. Your father fell below that standard. He had to be removed.” The desk phone rang, she reached to answer. I threw it into the wall. People began to glance, “Where is he?” The Receptionist typed something on the computer. “He was bleeding, we had to remove him. He’s been taken to the replacement facility.” Bleeding? There was no way. I stormed out back into the Bug.
I am on the phone as fast as I am in the car. “James. This is an emergency.” I heard James doing something in the background of the call. “Yeah, yeah. What’s going on?” he says, clearly not giving me every iota of his attention. I heard gunfire behind him, is he playing games during something like this? “They took Father to the Replacement facility.” The Bug dashed down the highway, I held onto my seatbelt. The gunfire stopped, “Oh no. He can’t increase his score there.” I checked my phone again. “Well, I’m friends with Jamie Larsen. So, I’m going to try and get in touch.” The Bug drifted off the exit, coffee spilled onto the passenger seat. “Sarah just stop and think about it. You guys were just friends in High School. You can’t go to her house and feed off her stardom.” I was already down Woodbury Square by the time he finished the sentence.
James was typing something in the background. “Turns out, Jamie Larson is heading to a remembrance party in Gappa. All the stars are going to be there-“I slammed on the brakes. Jamie was standing in her driveway like a deer in the headlights. Pounds of luggage were thrown behind her from the scare. I ignored James as I dashed out the car towards Jamie. “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I pleaded, even though based on the look on her face, she didn’t seem to mind me almost killing her. “Don’t worry about it. Who are you again?” she said. I introduced myself, “Sarah Williams. We were in 10th grade science class together.” She faked a look of recognition. “Oh, yeah. Strawberry Sarah, right? It’s so good to see you.” From the front door, a cameraman walked out. It was rude but I took the chance. “Where are you going? I heard there was a sweet party in Gappa, were you invited?” I had her deadlocked. She could lie and act like she wasn’t hosting it but that would be reflected on her Simulcast. If she told the truth but didn’t invite me, it would be flagged as rudeness. “I’m actually hosting it. Want to come?” She screamed at the cameraman, “Ronald. Please get an invitation for my friend here.” Ronald slid his SimGlasses on and glared at me. “She’s got a low score.” Jamie snapped, “Now! Ronald!” Sneering, he stomped back into the house. Jamie stuffed me into a bear hug, squeezing me tightly. The whisper was as loud as a yell. “Stay away. There’s nothing for you there.” Ronald came back out with a golden envelope, I left the hug. “It's been amazing to talk, Strawberry Sarah.” I turned away and headed towards the Bug, “You too! Joking Jamie!”
The Bug’s door automatically slid open. I hopped inside and drove away. James was still on the phone. “Ronald was live streaming. You never let anyone call you names, why her?” This was my chance to save Father. I hung up, the question echoed in my head: Why her? And how far was I willing to go for this?
“I’m sorry, Ma'am. You aren’t approved to head to Gappa.” I looked around, the terminal was mostly empty. “Is the flight full?” He tapped his mouse before answering, “The entire plane has been rented out. You’d need permission from”. more typing, “Jamie Larson. But he flight is leaving in five.” “No!” I snapped at the attendant, he glared at me. People gave glances, I backed away.
“You’re driving to Gappa?” Jame’s voice was filled with surprise, the plane engines roared in the background. “Yeah. I can still make it.” Jame muttered something that didn’t include any words I know before saying, “Sarah. Don’t do this to yourself, the party is tomorrow.” I pulled into Buggy rentals. “Yeah, I’ll just rent a faster Bug.” Jame’s whispered, “Just Stop. You can’t make it.” I hung up, racing into the building. The attendant looked up from his magazine. “How may I help you?” he questioned happily. “I need a fast Bug. Very fast. Like from here to Gappa by tomorrow.” He nodded, gesturing for me to follow him. Outside, a Bug was elevated above us by hundreds of pincers beneath it. “It can get you to Gappa by tomorrow morning. No autopilot but only costs 756$ an hour.” It’d ruin my budget, put me in debt if it was slower than needed. But Father’s life was on the line. I gave him the card, got in the Bug, and raced towards Gappa.
It was 2:00 am, I was tired and sick of feeding off cold coffee to keep my eyes open. Driving long distances like this were often saved for the few remaining truckers who for some reason enjoyed that life. At 3:00 am, the Bug was running out of energy. I stopped at a place known as: The Pit Stop. I pulled up to an E-Charger, it rejected me. My score was too low. I kept trying until the owner came out. “Get outta here, Sorry sack! You’re driving away customers!” There didn’t seem to be anyone else nearby. “Please, Sir. I just need some help. It’s not working.” He pulled a knife, “Go. Now.” I backed up into the Bug. I drove till 5:00 am when the energy ran out.
I tried a BuddyRide but the card bounced. So, I sat for hours, trying to call over a ride. Each time, my score took a hit, driving more away. Degenerates like that deserve replacement, I remember them teaching in school. The people were educated, trained, and prepared to let me die. Honestly, I had no right to feel mad. I would have done the exact same. Finally, a traditional truck pulled up. A man leaned out the window, “Need a ride?”
At 7:00 pm, I was in Gappa. The gates of the party refused to open, my score was too low. The top of the gates was covered in electronic barbs forcing me to head around back and climb over the garden fence where I got lucky and landed softly and sloppily in the mud below. I brushed it off, dashing into the party being held in the courtyard. Dozens of social media figures were there, Ronald spotted me first. Jamie didn’t recognize me. “Who’s she?” I was in shock, people were snapping pictures and recording. “You know me. I’m Sarah, Strawberry Sarah, remember?” She was good, looking at the muddy disaster that was me she maintained a convincing look that combined disbelief, not a glimmer of recognition, a little bit of good hearted pity and an appropriate amount of curiosity. I unfolded the invitation, “Look! Look! You gave this to me.” I turned to Ronald, “You filmed it. Let me see, show it to them.” I inched closer, he fell backwards off a chair, I reached to catch him. “Freeze! Now!” Two security guards had their guns out. One was filming with his glasses, “Back away. Leave.” I refused, “She invited me! I’m supposed to be here.” Jamie commanded, “Get her out of here.” I pulled a kitchen knife off a table. “No. My father’s life is on the line because people like you.” I swept it over the crowd. “You think you judge us? My father was sick. He needed help. But you just cared about your image.” I went into total hysteria, “When did it come to this? When your image was worth more than your life? What did I do to deserve this?” Jamie wrapped me in a hug, “You’re right. I’m sorry.” She helped me put down the knife. “It’s okay. It’ll all be over soon.” I calmed down sobbing in her arms. A flash of metal, pain shot up my throat. I gasped for air, the world fading into darkness. Jamie stepped away clutching the bloody weapon. “People like you hold this society back. People like your father.” My legs turned to jelly, I fell backwards. “People like you deserve this.” Then there was nothing except her voice.
“You all deserve this.”