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Ficiton Fridays: The Ghost and Its King

The Ghost and Its KingThe Ghost and Its King

By Mark A. Rayner

Initially, I was gob-smacked. I just didn’t know what to do when The Ghost appeared.

Then again, I can’t use the datasphere, so how could I know how to react? I’m sure you have heard other people say they can’t use it, when really they have no excuse, except so-called moral ones: the neo-Luddites, the Resisters. But I was part of that other group. Yes, the ones you pity as much as you fear. I am non-eactive.

It’s not that I’m against the implants I need enter the datasphere; it’s that my body won’t accept them.

My doctor says that someday science will crack the problem, but I suspect it will never happen. There are so few of us that carry the gene, and those of us that do will make sure that we don’t pass it to our kids. I know I double-checked when Elena and I had Toby. He doesn’t carry it, so he will be normal.

Imagine that you never experienced the datasphere. As if reality was all there was to experience. Flat, boring, reality. So it was a shock, when the Ghost just walked through the door to my office at the university. A real shock.

He was tall, with wild, long hair, but he had a friendly face that looked vaguely familiar. I could almost place him, it was on the tip of my tongue… Anyway, I wasn’t frightened by him. More bemused. Yeah, I was definitely bemused. But then in my experience, long-haired characters can’t walk through solid objects. Oh, and he was wearing a suit of armor that added to the incongruity of it all.

He smiled at me broadly as he sat down in my reading chair, and said, “oh shit. I’ve forgotten my freakin’ armet.”

Read the rest of this story…>

Originally published in Neometropolis, September 2004.
Photo, with thanks, by Wili Hybrid.

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