Wednesday, March 13, 2024

States of Change Chapter 38: Centennial (Colorado)


States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.

The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 

Fifty independent States have forged unique societies from 

revolutionary technology and ideology

"Clear skies, rocky trails, and a good friend, what else in life do you need!"

"Ten minutes to take a break. Whew, Bierstadt may be the shortest fourteener in Colorado, but it really kicked my ass."

"You just need to get out more, Flow. The climbing group is doing a double summit next week to celebrate Centennial Day, if you want to join in."

"Maybe, Pecka, but I just want lay back on this boulder and take in the moment right now, okay."

"Sure. Want a date roll? Made 'em myself"

"I'm good. Maybe later. Damn, the view is nice up here. I know the toughness of the trail is supposed to enhance it at some level, still the VR stream version was just as scenic."

"Really, I can't see how the experience could even be close. You got to let your whole body feel the world around you. VR has turned everyone into screen junkies. I don't regret one bit cutting the vamp cord, seven years and counting."

"Not everyone can make an IRL living, ya know. Frankly, I don't know how you scrape gardening and doing errands with only a pedal bike for transport."

"I do just fine. Every day more commerce is returning to grass roots neighbor labor. AI wrangling in your Augment seems like a true waste of time to me. Is there really any reason to tune out of reality? Life is too short as is."

"I get your drift, but without VR, I would have missed the Antarctic Eclipse back in January. What an incredible experience, and next week the Europa landing will be cast live, even if it is in old-school 4K-360. We humans can't be everywhere all at once, so why not let tech bring it to you said, to make our all too short lives better?"

"Well, maybe because it takes you out of real world life for one. The point of seeing an eclipse live, maybe once in a lifetime is that it is rare. My grandma said the one back in 2024 was phenomenal, corona aglow above Austin, flocks of birds stirred by the sudden darkness, people by the droves gathered in a mini mayhem of shared living. Now if I dialed up a throw-back sim to watch it myself that would just ruin the gestalt of the experience and whispered memory that is mine."

"C'mon Pecka, you read your epic novels, even if they are tree-books. A story is a story, printed or cast in interactive VR, doesn't matter, it engages the mind in an experience of imagination. It provides an escape from the mundane, no matter how briefly. It makes life worth living."

"Really, you're comparing your Antarctic video games to the depth of Jane Austen's writing?"

"Why not? Your novel is just language tech casting the vision of someone else into your evolved imagination goggles. Our ancient hominid ancestors would have thought a written story as much devil's work as the modern Christian Scientists, shunning all tech"

"Well, the ChriSci crowd is a bit bonkers leaning on their prayers instead of modern medicine, especially when their children are at any are still around trumps my senses. Still, virtual spaces seem like..."

A handful of dusty pebbles rains down upon Pecka.

"..hey, what the funk?"

"Sorry, grandad told me whenever a real world Voldemort is named, you should throw something at the person who dared mentioned them."

"You jerk," Pecka laughs while picking up a handful of the summit scree.

"Now wait, wait," Flow laughs while standing. "I spoke no evil. Don't turn this into World War IV!"

Pecka throws the stones up high showering them both with the earthen grit.

"Well then I guess nuclear winter will be countering climate change today," she chuckles. "Ok, c'mon let's check out the north side of the summit. I thought I saw a snow drift over that way. Maybe a Middle Earth tale is waiting for us there."

"Sounds good."

Shouldering their day packs they head down the from the summit via a side trail to explore.

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