Whew, took quite a while to get something new out. University is definitely becoming quite the struggle.

Main question of this story – “utopian dystopia?”

(Version 4 of the story)

A law had been all it took to alter time forever. As Orion, the self-learning, limitless and infinitely-growing simulation of all human history was perfected—its connection became law. In lieu of all warring, civil unrest, and the recurrent collapse of society, borne from the inexperience and division of humanity in a divided world, a need for experience through simulation had been called. Our individuality threatened to bring self-destruction. We had become too closed off, too trapped within prisons of our own make; echoes of inner beliefs reflected upon us; shared between those like-minded. As Orion was freed on the divided world, with anything imaginable now liveable, all with the means would now experience everything. Every war, every emotion, every belief, and every state of being. A veritable final effort to adjoin us as one people. 

It was a form of existence desired by many. Erected upon a pedestal; the ideal utopia. Those who resisted or lacked permittance were quickly invited to the unity and summarily brought under the fold. A great crusade spanning the 24th century. A war between those enlightened, and those who chose to meander in the depths of closed minds. For the first time in human history, all stood united. United through common experience and understanding. And so an eternal era of peace and exploration bloomed from the shadows of war.

For a time we shot towards the heavens, grasping ever higher, utilizing a cornucopia of unity and experience to make dreams reality. Yet, unintended alterations went unseen as we embraced warmth. In a world of everlasting love, peace, and exploration, we were too jaded to discern the horizons of possibility diminishing to us. We stood oblivious to shortening lifespans, dividing perspectives, and the permeating numbness of life which slowly intensified over the generations. 

Ultimately, it was too late to bring a change.

And within such a future, 1”078 drifted through a dark void, skin icing to quartz as air tore from forgotten lungs. Slowly, as petals of frigid glass flaked from her flesh, separating into the starry abyss, frigid limbs were curled inwards—the experience all too familiar. The suffocating, beyond cold expanse of darkness and light insistently pressing inwards from every direction. 

This proved another stretch of boredom before a midday meet. And not just any boredom, but a depressing disconnect from the simple act of functioning hour by hour, moment by moment—permeating every action taken and thought passed. An annunciator towards the pointless perceivance of existence. Yet the void proved comforting, relaxing even; a favorite location of hers through recent years. It transfixed a state of thought, of reflection and of peace. It was understood this state normally would send one to Minasrith, yet the experience was not here; a disconnect ever present, carrying through all of the great imitation. A herald of truth which now held her continually on the brink. A gasping lingering divide, strewn but a footfall from its embrace; the proximity only enhancing her comfort.

And in such a state, a faint beep finally notified of the approaching meeting, her mind quickly wandering over the various commands in stride, pondering Minasrith. Rejecting the drawing option after a brief pause, a disconnect request was mentally sent, the brilliant cascade of stars fading into the darkness as a consciousness was roused. 

Blinded by real light, her eyes quickly adjusted, the seamless ceiling of a cubic chamber sharpening to focus. She hastily stood and paced from the room, eager to get some footing in the real world. Concern quickly crept across her otherwise white-marble complexion. Predictably, it was becoming harder to keep track of time after resurfacing, the material continually slipping between cold, physical fingers. Each step she took now came with a measurable degree of effort. A deeply felt experiential sensation between thought and footfall, making every second spent in reality near-unbearable. Yet 1”078 was strong, stronger than most, her eight a testament to this. A concrete and even number, rarely used in names nowadays. She gave the struggle little mind. Moving through a number of identical austere white chambers, she came out on a patio. 

A car was already parked and waiting at its far end, the side of which seamlessly separated from its fuselage. She sat inside as a feminine voice resounded through the vehicle’s interior. “Ah, 1”078, I barely even noticed you leaving. You’re sure spending time within Orion recently!” the disembodied voice exclaimed, stating that which was inherently obvious.

“42’764 is already waiting at K. Plaza 301, I’ll drive you over with haste. As it’s always important to interact with physicals, I stress that 773-10, 46102 and 70’0’031 are also present at the designated plaza. They are at most 10 years your junior, and I would highly recommend introducing yourself.” She ignored the caretaker’s ramblings, staring out the window over the unending expanse of white stretching horizon to horizon. It proved an unchanging and grotesquely familiar marble-sea landscape, save the occasional chrome tower flowing from which, cascading towards the stars. Presented with such a familiar, seamless sight, she wandered deep into thought. The white expanse meshing into a sea of undulating neglect.

Unfortunately, Orion could not maintain unity. Through its use, an unexpected and new-age divide had steadily entwined the foundations of society. There were now four problematic divisions of humanity. The rambling caretaker fell into one, namely a former individual, fallen prey to Orion’s simulating potential. Before the caretaker left it would have fallen into another category, specifically those who denied reality, locking themselves within a simulation they were deeply adjoined with. Then there were those who retained the will to move between Orion and reality. 1”078 is an example of this.

Finally, there were those who chose Miasrith. Once one did, they were nothing. Those who did walked of their own volition towards the final simulation, never to return. Most chose this. Supposedly one could live forever, yet in a world of eternal life and experience, the darkness was preferred. 1”078 was only 26 now, ancient among others, and even now she suffered the ever-present pull of Minasrith—its black depths of possibility grating against reason.

Minasrith had been disconnected from Orion simulations since its creation. “A necessary divide to remain human” as an ancient institution cited. Only time would tell if it was the correct choice. Yet, an effective choice it had proven, prompting a vital question which now edged existence. Does the one who has experienced all of life prefer death?

She groaned internally as the caretaker continued reciting the ‘importance’ of interaction; its unceasing monologue an ever present annoyance, grounding one to the slog of reality. It would probably be wise to listen, caretaker experience vital in the threatened continuation of physical life. But they were incredibly zealous and agreeably… boring.

Abruptly the door smoothly slid open, drawing 1”078’s attention. An austere white platform, strewn with chairs revealed beyond which, suspended above the seamless landscape. A vast assortment of individuals lounged among the fixtures. They all wore typical white jumpsuits, clearly opting to simulate what one wanted to see in others opposed to what actually was. Then she saw him. 42’764 casually seated at one of the outer benches, glancing her way, the caretaker no doubt notifying her arrival. She exited the vehicle and briskly walked over, feet clinking on the glasslike surface, the unblemished white material reflecting nothing of substance.

She sat on the identical chair across him, lifting a hand in silent greeting. He gave a visible nod, pulling up their usual order. Within a second, two identical beverages raised between them, the mechanism retracting as they took their drinks. 

“Happy birthday Eight,” 42’764 stated, raising his drink past expressionless features for a toast. For once this gave 1”078 pause. It had been her birthday the last time they met.

“Has it really been a year already?” She quietly muttered, poking at her drink as he continued.

“Haven’t seen you as of late—thought you had finally found a place in the mix, 27 now right?” 

The large number took her back. It was a shocking age to be alive.

“You know I would never find something I could get lost in,” she replied, still a bit shaken. “Nothing… calms me as much as I would like.” 

“Well, that’s as reassuring as ever. Know what, I believe I’m in the same boat,” he said between sips.

42’764 was only around 22. Equally as ancient and equally as lost, it was the one thing which kept these two meeting, at least when they rarely did.

“I’ve been thinking,” he finally broke the silence. “Minasrith has been looking mysterious lately.” he said, finally showing some positive emotion as a slight smirk graced his face.

“64!” she hissed, grasping her cup tightly. “Don’t say that in such a crowded pavilion!”

“But it’s true. I’m finally done,” he continued, ignoring her concern. “My birthdays too far off, and well, I think this is perfect. I’m going tomorrow morning and was wondering if you wanted to join me?” and with those words a shocking numbness spread through 1”078. Her surroundings blurred to irrelevance as she leaned across the table, whispering in a low, shaking voice.

“I… I just can’t,” she replied. “Please, please don’t go. I just… you’re the only one left. First 93, then 42… I just can’t.” she pleaded, the cup collapsing in her grasp. He leaned across the table. 

“Is that really what you want, or is that what the caretakers have been telling you, what’s to stay here for?” he whispered. “Just think about it,” and he stood, walking from the pavilion. “I’ll be waiting for a bit,” he called back as if an afterthought, before disappearing behind a row of cars. She sat there, tightly gripping the crumpled cup. It was hard to grasp the emotions she should be feeling as the paper ridges dug into her palms, even harder than it had been this morning. 1”078 couldn’t shed a tear, couldn’t even frown past the thuds of a slowly beating heart. 

Like this, she methodically flowed through the day’s remaining hours, weather controlled rain falling haplessly against her patio. Cold, silent, the barrage of pearl white pellets impacting the deck’s pavement, joining the rivulets cascading from which. She watched them fade from sight in wonder, each droplet alive for fleeting seconds. Striking down, losing individuality as they joined the frenzied cascade. 1”078 had been sitting there for hours, able to remain outside Orion for the first time in memory. The pearl white moon gazing far overhead through rain drenched glass, its light spilling over, illuminating each droplet striking the pavement with vivid clarity. A beautiful collage of white, accented by the oppressive and mysterious darkness of the night beyond. One would like to believe she was thinking about 42’764. Perhaps wishing him well, wherever he was going. Yet, she had been thinking about nothing but Minasrith. 

His sharp words repeatedly dug deep into her mind; things he never would have said a few years prior. Years past, they used to sit within the darkness-trimmed expanse of Minasrith, watching over all those who came to walk. Talking, joking at times about these subjects’ insistence to seek the unknown from such a wonderful and brilliant world. Yet now, he would be one of those innumerable people. Indistinguishable and doomed—torn to a place shrouded in mystery.

The roof above began to twist and bend as 1”078 remained. Rivulets of rain shining through clear glass. The surface cascading and warping, darkened streams flowing like water across a chrome ceiling. And like this it became morning, as the white sun rose, as the white world illuminated. 1”078 paced to her chambers and entered Orion.

Selecting the blackened connection query with deeper intent, her surroundings once again fading to darkness. What greeted her was a white expanse, cutting cross horizon to horizon. Save the lone direction a black wall stretched outwards, its bounds encompassing well past the fringes of one’s meager vision.

There he was, standing a dozen feet before her. It was now that 1”078 realized she knew her answer before he even asked. Perhaps another moon, another sun, and she would’ve suggested the same. It was only a matter of time, like it had always been, before 1”078 preferred the darkness over such a complete and pointless existence. I know these things.

Walking up behind him, she placed a hand on his shoulder. As 42’764 looked back, an unexpected and genuine smile bloomed across his face. The contagious emotion soon had both of them smiling in delight, quickly devolving into joyous laughter. The musical sound echoing out over a featureless white landscape, fading amongst the unending plane. And hand in hand, 42’764 and 1”078 laughed, walking towards the dark wall, and embraced death.

Categories: Short Stories


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *