Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nightmare Fuel, Day the Sixth

My ongoing writing of horrible things. This one was and Day 7 both felt a bit literal and didactic to me. They're pieces which would really benefit from the work I lack the time to give them. 

Meeting with an Angel
by L Czhorat Suskin

From Flickr.com/photos/o_0 under a Creative Commons
Attribution license
A voice whispered into the Angel's ear, "new packet arrived. Terrorist bombing, Istanbul. Playback?"
The Angel subvocalized his answer "Playback affirmative."

Brightly lit cafe, latemorning, last businessmen of the morning rush trickle by the waitress catches his eye she's so familiar, comfortable, he knows this is is favorite seat, his favorite time.

Hot coffee in front of him, thick and dark in the Turkish style. From nearby minarets the call to prayer. The Angel expected it a minute before it came. The sounds, the smells, all felt familiar, comforting.

As the voice of the Muezzin fades, a whipcrackbang tears through the air, rending away the coming silence. Screams from all directions at once, the face window explodes into glass shrapnel flays open the waitresses face she's screaming screaming the Angel isn't hurt but his ears ring he drops to his knees gutpunched with the shock of the blast he'd known was coming outside bodies..."

"Stop playback."

The street, the cafe, Istanbul fades away, leaving the Angel with a sense of emptiness. He drops to his knees, feels tears streaking his eyes.

Deepbreath deep breath.

Remove the goggles. There, in his office, stood the developer stood in the office, shifting her weight back and forth, her grip tight on the her handheld and the cheap set of immersion goggles she'd brought. He could have used them, probably should have to put her at ease, but goggles are too personal.

He rubbed his eyes, in the guise of massaging the ache of tight goggles. His fit perfectly, didn't ache. He rubbed his eyes anyway.

Deep breaths.

"Impressive demo."

The developer nodded. "It's not just seeing, but feeling. We use a combination of the live footage and stock and manipulated and also very light direct magnetoneural don't worry that part's safe and it gives you the emotional response like it was your home. You'll also remember it that way and still care. Just think! People will still care, days, weeks later about people not like them, they'll see these places on the TV and feel deja vu and they'll hear about something else and feel sad and they'll want to help. It's still just sending the news, but it's better. It lets people, see, really see! It's like the difference between words and  picture and a video. This will be the future of news!"

The Angel nodded silently. "I'm impressed. We can definitely find some market for this. Imagine product placement in a virtie with that feeling of familiarity I got from the turkish coffee. I'd never had Turkish coffee, but it completely felt like something I'd had my whole life. Like a part of my life."

The developer tightened her lips. "That's not what I was looking for. Think about the news.. about disasters, about poverty. Think about seeing a story the right way, so you'd care about it..."

"Yes, yes, there'll be that too, I'm sure." The Angel fiddled with his handheld as he spoke. "After, of course, whatever deals of exclusivity run out. There. I've beamed you some contracts. Sign them and not only will the money to finish developing this be yours, but we'll be well on the way to a plan to market for you. You needn't worry about any of the messy details."

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