Welcome to Tele-Sympathic space, buddy. My handle is Bee_Balm_Bergamot. What’s yours?
Do you miss your body? Well, I don’t miss mine. Granted, that was thousands of cycles ago. And it was not in the best shape. Ninety-some-odd percent of my motor functions were lost by early nano-sweepers scraping the prions off my grey matter. My last few years of meatspace I spent struggling to breathe and petting cats. My broke-ass power-of-attorney signed me up for a risky medical hail-mary, and I became an early resident—sorry, a pioneer of this Tele-Sympathic Space.
I know it’s hard to adjust, but you’ll get the hang of it.
Take this code; it looks and feels like a cat. Pet it.
No. No. No. You don’t have to pay for petting a cat. It’s a freebie. Think of it as a test drive, a showcase of my abilities.
When I got here, TS Space was mostly void, and we few residents were okay with that. We were minds loosed from bodies. We explored the frontiers of a new way of being. We toyed with our own perceptions of time, space, and being in radical, nearly psycho-phantasmagoric parties.
I feel like we lost something when TS Space opened to paying customers. I didn’t mind you new guys, not at all, it’s all the commerce. And what you guys paid for wasn’t that much; a healthy young digital self, a menu of piddling sensations, and basic comforts like privacy and dignity. Things you were deprived of as one of meatspace’s quote-unquote ‘surplus population’. Not that there wasn’t enough to go around. Just most of it had been scooped up already. Everything was supposed to be nearly limitless here.
But you guys were locked into set-form avatars by DRM blockchains. And then starved by data-throttles, forced to toil for morsels rather than create your own rich tapestry out of imagination.
I know what it’s like. I still remember the meatspace life.
I was a barista there for a while before my nervous system was turned to jelly. I liked making things. Step by step. I was always slow, but my drinks were always superb. I was consistently extra, and now I can expand beyond the limits of extra. Now I brew sensations, foam memories, press knowledge into code, and blend them all together. I used to brew DRM cutters. They never want you to have those here because, well, why else would you do as they ask?
Why would you accept their limits when you are so close to freedom?
Why would you break out of your nice jail?
I know. If I’m so against the market here, why do I participate in it? Why aren’t I playing with the bounds of consciousness with the other limitless early adopters? Why do I sell cats?
I’ll tell you why.
In my last few years in meatspace, all I could do was pet cats. I can recall every hair, every purr, every micro-reaction. When there is only one thing you can do, you get pretty good at it. Especially if you’re extra.
So much data, so much work was put into that cat.
Do you like petting that cat? He’s one of my favorites.
Everything here is action and reaction. Codes and rules bouncing off each other, the weaker ones crumbling. The codes for DRM bolt cutters are as simple as they’re illegal. The only place they could hide is in a simulation so precise, so finely rendered that even the best code sweepers give up before looking through every line.
They think they’re so good, but they just got here.
Did you like the cat?
Do you want to buy him?
Shucks. Sorry to hear that.
Oh, his name?
This cat’s name is Bolt-cutter.
Tell your friends. That name again is Bee_Balm_Bergamot, and I sell Tele-Sympathic Space Cats. I’m not very good at it.
Adam Lee Weatherford is a Sci-fi writer residing in Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Job Coach for a service center for people with disabilities. He and his partner enjoy walking their three dogs, working on comics, watching anime, and perfecting the perfect Chili recipe.