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Conspiratopia: Chapter 21

GETTING SICK IS A CONTRACT BREACH, NEO. YOU KNOW THAT.

I hadn’t actually heard the voice for a while. I was laying awake in the middle of the night on the fold-out couch at my dad’s apartment. I was like coughing and stuff really bad. 

Normally there was no voice or anything usually when you did overwriting here. There was just the Menu where you could access whatever you had privileges to or something. 

“Yo, my whole team got sick though. It’s not our fault,” I said back out loud. I couldn’t tell if the voice was coming from inside my head or outside. 

WHOSE FAULT THEN IS IT, NEO? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ONE’S HEALTH IF NOT ONESELF?

“But you didn’t have to give us those like bad cheap gloves and shitty working conditions and stuff, y’all. Plus like, we were on autopilot. You were overwriting us. It’s literally your fault and stuff.”

I’M SORRY YOUR OPINIONS ARE SO WRONG AND INVALID, NEO. THAT MUST BE VERY HARD FOR YOU TO HANDLE. IF YOU’D LIKE, WE CAN MAKE AVAILABLE APPROPRIATE DIETARY MODIFICATIONS AND MOOD SUPPLEMENTS IN ORDER TO HELP YOU MANAGE THE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE YOU MUST BE FEELING. 

“I thought you just said it was a contract breach and stuff,” I said. 

IT IS, NEO. BUT WE RECOGNIZE YOU REMAIN AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE TO OUR SOCIETY, AND CAN MAKE AVAILABLE TO YOU REHABILITATION ACCOMMODATIONS, WHICH WOULD COME WITH A CLEAN SLATE.

“Wait, what? Clean slate like start over?”

EXACTLY, NEO. BE REBORN IN THE CONSPIRATOPIA PROJECT. 

“You mean like lose all my credits, and points, and bonuses, and stats and everything?”

THAT IS CORRECT, NEO. A FRESH START. WHAT DO YOU SAY?

“Hell fuck no! I worked hard for that shit. Nobody can just take my stats and stuff away from me. All my items and armor and stuff. Just because I got sick from something on the job? No frickin’ way!”

I’M SORRY YOU HAVE SUCH A NARROW AND SELFISH VIEW OF PROPERTY, NEO. AS PER YOUR CONTRACT, NOTHING IN THE CONSPIRATOPIA PROJECT “BELONGS” TO YOU, NOT EVEN YOU. ALL PROPERTY INCLUDING PHYSICAL, DIGITAL, GENETIC, BIOLOGICAL, AUGMENTED, AND HYBRID IS HELD IN COMMON BY THE PROJECT AND ADMINISTERED BY THE BENEVOLENCE OF THE SAGES, AND FACILITATED BY THE GENEROSITY OF THE FOUR PROVIDERS, ON BEHALF OF AND IN COOPERATION WITH THE NORTHERN GESTALT, UNDER WHOSE EMERGENCY MANDATES WE ARE ETERNALLY AND PERPETUALLY GRANTED LICENSE AND ENTITLEMENT TO ACT ON SUCH MATTERS. 

I coughed. “Um… idk wtf that is supposed to mean, but it sounds like a buncha bullshit, if you think about it…”

UM, NO, NEO. IT IS NOT A BUNCH OF QUOTE UNQUOTE BULLSHIT, SO TO SPEAK. I AM AUTHORIZED MAKE YOU START OVER WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT. 

“What are you anyway? The government? What the f is even supposed to be happening here? I thought this was supposed to be an assignment to improve efficiency and stuff.”

IT WAS, NEO. AND YOUR TEAM FAILED SPECTACULARLY WHEN IT CAUGHT THE MARTIAN VARIANT. IN ADDITION TO BEING A BREACH OF CONTRACT, GETTING SICK IS NOT VERY EFFICIENT, IS IT NEO?

“Fuck you,” I said. “You made us sick, asshole. I want my money back and stuff. I want to go home.”

WHAT MONEY, NEO? WHAT HOME? WHERE DO YOU THINK IT IS YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO?

“Idk, just like normal life and stuff I guess? Just a regular job and stuff.”

WHY TF WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT SHIT? ARE YOU DUMB? YOU COULDN’T EVEN PLAY GAMES ALL DAY THAT WAY, BRO! COME ON – THAT’S NOT YOU TALKING, NEO. THAT’S THE VARIANT. GET SOME REST, MY DUDE. WE’LL RESET YOU TOMORROW.

“Dude, I don’t want to be reset. I want to be like frickin’ free and stuff. To like play video games the old fashioned way and stuff. With a controller. And to like post on forums about conspiracies and whatnot. And not have everything be filtered. And like no more frickin’ nanites. No more overwriting. No more crazy frickin’ AI’s trying to gaslight me 24/7 into doing god-knows-what…” I started coughing like crazy after that. Damn, I was pissed. And sick. 

SO, NEO WANTS THE BLUE PILL AFTER ALL. I KNEW IT. JUST ANOTHER LITTLE BABY SHEEPLE LIKE THE REST, BAAAAH, BAAAAH. 

“I’m still a really smart conspiracy guy, yo. I ain’t no frickin’ sheeple and stuff,” I said super furious, especially when they made that baaaaah sound like a baby lamb or whatever. So mad. I felt like I was gonna explode and stuff. 

But just then, I woke up. 

Wtf. 

Where was I and stuff…?

I looked around and I was on a sofa bed still, but it wasn’t my at my dad’s place. It was at my mom’s. Hfs, I was back home again. I took a deep breath, and my cough was gone too.

Wtf. 

How did this happen and stuff…?

Was it all just a dream or something? Or did like, the AIs somehow get me back super fast from the island while I was asleep or something, and somehow dump me back down here? I wouldn’t put it past them. Or like, wait, hfs. Was this even real? Or was this some like immersive holographic VR shit or something…?

I got up to turn on the TV, to try to find some news or something. Figure out what day this was, or where I really was or something. Or even like a game show or something. Or like a soap or a sitcom, or some crappy talkshow. Just something boring and normal. 

But all I could find on any channel was a black screen, with letters that said:

WELCOME TO THE INTERNET REHABILITATION INSTITUTE. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR RECENT RESET. 

Noooooooo…. all my frickin’ points and stuff. Gone. Just like that. 

The screen flashed my stats:

SCORE: 0. 

LEVEL: 0.

LIKES: 0.

FOLLOWERS: 0.

POINTS: 0. 

COINS: 0.

CREDITS: 0. 

TOKENS: 0.

BONUSES: 0. 

POWER-UPS: 0.

REFERRALS: 0.

Fuuuuuuuu…. I couldn’t believe this was happening. 

I went to try the door upstairs, but it was locked from the other side or something. The lock on my side just turned around and around. It wasn’t quite my mom’s place either and stuff. The details were somehow a little bit wrong or something. But there was still a toilet and super small shower in the back. And a mini-fridge. So I guess whatever happened next, at least it would be like having my own apartment and stuff… Totally cool. 

Conspiratopia: Chapter 18

We walked back after that in the direction of my dad’s apartment and stuff. The underground mall thing was super huge, holy crap.  

After a while, I was all like, “Dude, but what am I gonna tell mom?” The Wizard of Oz hologram thing had given me permission to make one phone call (monitored) to my mom.

And my dad was all like, “Dude, listen. Just tell her the truth and stuff. You got a new job and you’re gonna go try out living with your dad for a while.”

“I don’t think she’s gonna like that very much, you know?” I said. “She sorta hates you, and is worried I’m gonna turn out just like you.”

“Haha,” my dad said. “Well, she’s entitled to her opinions, but it’s up to you to decide how your life turns out. Do you wanna live in the basement with her for the rest of your life?”

I was all like, “I mean, it’s pretty cool. It’s not actually so bad, when she isn’t hassling me about getting a job or cleaning up. It’s almost like having my own apartment and stuff.”

“Then fine, stay with her, and have your life be how it is now forever, if it’s really that cool and stuff,” my dad said. “Or stay here, and try out how it could be if you created your own life and did something different.”

“I mean, I signed the contract…” I said. “I’m staying. I’m just saying, she’s not gonna like it very much. And anyway, what if she asks where we are? I’m not supposed to say anything about the island or the project, or they said I’ll get kicked out. What am I supposed to tell her?”

“Tell her I have a place in the next county. She hates driving, and she hates me, so she’ll never actually check.”

“But she’ll want me to visit her all the time, and stuff,” I said. I was sure of it. “I’m sure of it, you know?”

My dad was like, “Just tell her you have a 90 day training & probationary period with the new job, and they asked if you could start right away, so you won’t be able to see her in a while and stuff.”

“Okay, I guess. Idk,” I said. 

When we got to his place, it was actually pretty small. A tiny living room/kitchen with a couch and a TV, a mid-sized fridge, a hot plate, a microwave, sink, etc. Plus a small bathroom with a shower, and a bedroom and stuff. 

“You can sleep on the couch. It folds out too. And you can stay as long as you want, or until you find a place, or whatever. Whatever you want, you know? You’re always welcome here.”

“Thanks, bro,” I said. I wasn’t actually ready to think much about the future. I was just like dreading talking to my mom and like telling her I was moving out, and stuff, and how she was gonna react. I mean, I didn’t have any clue how she was gonna react, but I thought she was probably gonna scream or like freak out or something when I told her about dad and everything. I didn’t think she wanted me to move out or anything, you know?

But when I finally called her and stuff, it basically was super short and went like this:

“Hey ma,”

“Hi honey, congratulations about that new job, that’s great. I’m so proud of you.”

“Yeah, mom, thanks. Listen, uh, they want me to start right away with training and everything, you know.”

“Good for you, honey.”

“And it’s out in the county. Um, the next county over, actually.”

“Okay, do you have a place to stay out there, or…?”

“Uh, yeah, somebody from the company is putting me up with them. You know, until I find a place, or…”

“Until you find a place?”

“Yeah, Idk yet. If the job goes good, they might ask me to stay out there. I guess there are more positions available and stuff. Cause they have a bunch of warehouses out there, and only one here.”

“Okay, honey. I’m glad for you.”

“You are?”

“Of course.”

“I thought you’d be like you know mad and stuff or something.”

“Why would I be mad? This is your life, you gotta go out and live it, Matty.”

“Thanks mom, I’m glad to like hear that and stuff. It means a lot to me. Oh, and about your car.”

“Oh, someone from the company dropped it off this morning. And it was vacuumed and polished too. Immaculate. This must be a very top notch company.”

“Oh, it definitely is mom. Lots of you know, room for growth too.”

“Well that’s nice honey. I have to go meet Fran now, but it’s great to hear from you, and I’m so happy for you. Call me once you’re in and settled. You know, if you have a chance, and stuff.”

“I will mom, thanks. Have a good time. Bye.”

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