Koale stepped over the thick wires that snaked about on the VR Center's glass floors as he exited the cylindrical elevator. Three hundred floors beneath the glass bottom of the elevator, blue light pulsed from a metal core that was hooked to the thousands of enclosed cubicles. A chip was gripped in his hand, containing the information the System needed. Sprawled before him was a countless number of cubicles, assistants moving about to help people into the circuits of the System after entering their private cubical.
A fair assistant was already approaching him. He handed her the chip, and the etchings on her cold hand emmited a blue light before her almost-real female voice sounded as she gave the chip back. "Come right this way, Koale Elyot, 1061." Her mechanical legs matched his relaxed pace, and he knew that her programming made her say the next words.
"How is your day so far, M. Elyot?" The assistant asked, her tone a tad less sunny as it could've been if she were real.
"Stressed. Swamped in work. I'm always glad that the System is free to use on Stress Relief Day," Koale responded, the first words he had spoken today.
"We are glad to help you relax."
Koale looked into other cubicles, bored as he saw assistants attach various wires or whatnot onto the other citizens of the city. The floor was held up with tall, translucent pillars that pale blue electricity ran through, creating an open and bright area. Precise rows of cubicles
The cameras in her eyes noting his lack of interest, the assistant asked, despite already knowing his response, "How many times have you attended these?"
"Every year since the System was created. I was reluctant at first, but I don't know how I could survive a year without it." Koale followed the assistant as she rounded the corner of one row and led him to the cubicle marked 161. "This is your room." Her hands broke apart into cubes that transformed into a key—the movement reminded him of ants swarming into their anthill. She unlocked the door and led him inside.
Knowing the process, he lay down onto the reclined chair and let her hook him to the System. Smooth metal bits dug into the skin of his forehead and throat. Something much like a headset was placed around his ears, and the assistant slipped another metal bit down his white shirt.
"You can close your eyes and begin, Koale."
He obeyed, and his vision went black. His conscious receded into the back of his mind in a flash of colors before he felt himself floating. A whirlwind of colors encircled his mind, and the inactivity transformed into the scene of a modest cottage that overlooked a valley of horses. He knew where he wanted to be. Not knowing what he wore or looked like, ignoring the sense of physical emptiness that always came along with his usage of VR, and holding a serrated blade in his hand, he walked up the stone path to the cottage.
The best things about VR was that anyone could experience things that only ever happened hundreds of years ago. Where snowcapped mountains existed. Where rainforests were in abundance. Where oasises flourished in deserts. Where water was common and clean. As soon as he thought about his desires of a natural world, the scenes began to shift.
NO. He refocused on the current situation. He wanted revenge on the woman who had stolen his work, his plans for reinventing the natural world. The woman who had taken credit in the time where credit was everything—how much space you get, how much money you earn, how much data you're allowed.
He shoved open the door when he reached it, and the woman was already there, also holding a long blade.
"GO TO HELL!" He swung himself at the woman, his anger released in waves of force that sent the woman tumbling backwards. The woman got up with incredible speed and attacked him. And he was losing ground as the woman hit the blade out of his hands.
He was supposed to win. That's what the System promised. What the f-
And then he froze.
He couldn't move. A line of black shot through his vision, and the woman seemed to move in frames. One moment, her hand was drawn back, and another—
He seemed to be viewing himself from outside his body. His head wasn't part of his own body anymore. He felt a pain surrounding his neck, and he screamed. Or tried to. He couldn't move. And the woman turned to face him, knife bloody and lifted.
And continuously, he felt himself die.
The Director was frantic. His fingers glided in the air, tapping blue holographic keys. There was a malfunction in the System. Something went wrong. A WARNING window appeared, and a model of the bug appeared. It looked similar to an ant, except cilia like protrusions extended from the head and a stinger. It was multiplying in the system. The number of bugs was climbing quickly until hit 30,000 and stopped. There were 30,000 cubicles.
The man's fingers slowed to a stop as he turned to look at the diagram of the working cubicles. The thousands of blue squares were red. His transmitter rang, and he lifted it to his ears without checking the caller ID.
"A bug has infected System 2. Every cubicle has shutdown," came the voice of the second System's Director.
"What about the citizens?" His own voice seemed hollow. There was no way they were going to...
"The digiters looked into it." The other Director's voice fell. "Something went wrong with the System in the last few frames. Whatever the citizen's last few frames were... they're being repeated."
"Did you guys find a way to fix this?" His fingers returned to setting up the malware countersystem to shut down the VRs and the system. It wouldn't get rid of the bug, so the gear used to stimulate the virtual realities couldn't be removed, but it should stop any sensations and prevent any brain damage to the citizens.
"..." The mouthpiece to the second Director's transmitter seemed to be muffled for a moment, and he could sense the urgency on the other end.
"Director 2?" He paused again and clicked the button to turn on the countersystem. "I don't recognize the bug."
"Whatever you do... Don't turn on the countersystem!"
The first Director froze. "Wh...Why not?"
"We did all those procedures, but when we checked the brain scans of the citizens..." There was a painful strain in Director 2's voice.
His own voice was hushed when he asked, "What is it?"
"They're brain dead."
The Director glanced up at the grid of red squares. Dread trickled into his stomach, and with a shout of frustration, he smashed his hand at the hologram, his fist hitting the glass table below it. The table shattered, and the System began to shut down.
Probably a cliche ending, but I didn't know where I was going with it. xD