Virago: Part the Seventh — Nostalgia

First chapter:  Fire & Rain

Previous chapter:  Arthur

Kelsey adored the 1980s. People nowadays were too focused on things of the present and future. But she was obsessed with the past, even though it had been many decades since the 1980s had lived and died.

Kelsey understood why people back in the 2010’s used to be nostalgic for the 1980s. Kids growing up in the 1980s had a wild, distinct flavour about them that never really compared with any other decade before or since. Cell phones were nonexistent, and you just saw people when you saw them. Unless you called them up at home.

Mobile phones were practically obsolete nowadays. Only those with deep nostalgia still took pains to acquire them. It didn’t matter if you had a phone or a Network implant. You could connect to people either way. But if you had a Network implant, you could multitask at a higher volume. It connected the user with any of the technology inside their home, or any nearby that wasn’t password protected. Mobile phones, app walls, iris functions, neural communications, vocal cues. All of these and more were accessible with a Network implant. Obviously, the more personal something was, the more likely it would be password-protected. These passwords included characters from Greek and Mandarin languages, numbers, and symbols, and were difficult to hack. Only the user knew them and was in control of them. The passwords would be changed every week. They could be altered more often if requested by the user.

Technology moved fast. But people didn’t always care to keep up with it. Even with fancy application walls which showed movies, games, and social media, many were still content with mostly using them for films. Some of Kelsey’s friends didn’t even have any app walls. They only had computer panels and Network implants. And they were perfectly content.

In the 1980s, you carried around Polaroid cameras if you wanted to instantly photograph a memory. Now, you could use your Network implant to manipulate your iris functions in order to capture exactly what you were looking at. If you wanted to, you could transmit those snapshots onto any nearby computer panels or app walls for others to see.

Gone were the days when you had to phone people up in order to hear their voices. With neural communication and vocal cues, you could either think or speak something, and if you interacted with your Network implant correctly, you could transmit it to someone else. The person you sent the transmission to would immediately be notified that they had an incoming neural communication, which they chose to accept or reject. If accepted, they would hear the other person’s voice in their head. They could have a real-time conversation that way, or just respond to the messages whenever they felt like it. It was one of the closest things to telepathy. A viewable version of the transmission was also available to view at any screen the receiving person had access to.

Kelsey loved The Breakfast Club because it showed how much fun a group of kids could still have without any technology around. Getting to know each other face to face, creating art, performing makeovers, and causing a ruckus. Friends rarely did that with each other now. If you could do it in real life, odds were that you could do it on a screen somewhere.

Many things had gotten worse, though. If you wanted a college degree, it was a lot more difficult to obtain than it was a hundred years ago. Due to a lapse in university students half a century ago, many schools were forced to close their doors. Due to this, other schools decided to change their policies. They would only take on students with a vast amount of motivation, dedication, and intellect. Not to mention a nice chunk of cash. Tests for getting into a university were only available once a year. If you flunked the tests, you had to wait another year before you could retake it. You could only retake the test twice. If you failed all three times, you had to find a job that didn’t require a degree. High schools, on the other hand, were lax with their schoolwork. They had to be. Parents insisting that their precious children were being given “too much work” had gradually caused the coursework to be altered. But in the absence of homework and essays, and in the abundance of technology, kids were content to just let their minds wander about with their Network implants on their app walls. Sometimes it was hard to tell if a child was paying attention in class or privately watching a movie by manipulating their iris functions. School teachers didn’t expect a lot anymore, but university professors expected everything and more.

With everything handed to them through technology, kids and adults alike had become less imaginative. There weren’t a lot of religious fighting anymore because people had gotten tired of believing in things they couldn’t see. Churches remained to aid the impoverished and still, insist upon the existence of worlds you couldn’t touch. But people drifted in and out of these leisurely, like going to a museum or an art show.

And with all of this, androids still hadn’t taken over the world. Kelsey sometimes pestered Arthur about when it might happen. Scientists were keeping a tight leash on artificial intelligence. But when Arthur would lapse into a monolog about how dedicated the scientific community is to understanding and embracing everything about humans, without having to worry about AI posing a threat to their way of life, Kelsey couldn’t help but roll her eyes.

And zap his knee components just to fuck with him. It was amusing to see his legs spasm for no visible reason. Sometimes, she was almost certain that Arthur knew about Kelsey’s abilities. But it just didn’t compute to him.

She could almost hear Arthur’s monotone voice in her head as she absentmindedly watched John Bender escape from the storage closet: “There is no scientific evidence to support it.”

Next chapter:  forthcoming

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