Kellyn floated in the simulated zero-g stall. The 360 dome projection was a desert at dusk. Her ocular implants overlaid the sand gust blowing into her eyes, and the neural implant made it feel like her cornea was being scratched.
“Isolate eye discomfort and mute. Keep everything else the same.”
She felt herself lying down. Hands rubbing her eyes. And that’s when the light show started. Her eyelids were screens projected onto by darting red shooting stars. A palace of blue laser bricks and beams exploded into a feast of impressionist neutrino swarms.
The LSD had kicked in. And kicked in big.
But it wasn’t her physical brain that was experiencing the chemical chain reaction. It was a simulation of the moments that Southern Utah dusk in 2023 that Santiago Ramirez spent his life animating and describing and training neuro-sensation models to recreate.
Trash, Kellyn thought.
“Total trash!” She screamed. “End simulation. Rate it 2 stars. Filter out high-volume drug experience recreations from my algo.”
A crack in the dome open, and gravity spun back up as she walked forward.
Kellyn moved briskly through the dome pavilion. A smiling man she’d seen before whose name projected on her visual cortex as Jared waved from 20 feet closing the distance.
“Fuck off.” She barely noticed him break almost instantly into tears.
She felt herself getting pissed off and pushed her legs as fast as they’d go. When she go to The Railing, she collapsed her forehead into the Flass (faux glass that centers its project image on the stellar object of your attention as if the habitat weren’t rotating to produce gravity).
Below her was Earth. In more pixels than if her naked physical eyes were looking at it without even a face shield.
I’m so bored, Kellyn thought. She looked at the endless ocean below her and tried to remind herself it was rotating even though it looked static.
“You know ‘Fuck off’ ranked on The Feed, right?”
Kellyn didn’t look up. She knew who it was.”Jared’s the kind of asshole who’d pump something like that.”
“He didn’t even approve. He’s an all-caster. The emotion threshold triggered alerts before he could dock them. I came over here to stop you before you run into a kid.”
“All-casters are assholes. Whatever.” Kellyn kept looking down at the ocean.
“Haha, whatever? That’s gonna cost you dome-time. Also, what’s with your 2020s speech patterns? Fuck off. Asshole. Whatever. You’re becoming one of the recordings.”
Kellyn finally turned to her friend standing a foot away. “Oh, Ciela. I’m dying! All everyone cares about are the big, messy, obvious experiences. Drugs. Orgasms. God. Violence.” Kellyn grabbed Ciela and pressed their bodies together. Then let go and went back to looking at Earth.
“It’s what sells.” Ciela purred and then planted her face into the Flass.
Kellyn thought there you go with your 21st century Americana speak. Her visual cortex shone with color prompts that Ciela was done emoting, and it was time for Kellyn to be real.
Kellyn turned on full transmit. Whatever Ciela wanted to tune into, all of Kellyn’s recorded thoughts, pheromone excretions and sensations were now being transmitted.
Kellyn brought up the image they used as shorthand to describe the field of personal experience forensic-anthropology-entertainment they’d committed their lives to and the particular decade of the 2020s they’d ridiculously chosen with its lack profound lack of experiential detail but from the wealthiest and most tech-vanguard.
The image folded into a wrapped box with a bow. Ciela was too intently listening to pull the bow. So Kellyn let it unwrap through evaporation into a tear emoji. A tear emoji of a Ken barbie doll they’d dual-processed for scores of hours to signify the great quest for an anti-star.
An anti-star was someone who was a focal point of history without ever knowing it or anyone else for that matter.
Santiago Ramirez was so famous because he managed to never share a single word or clue of his recordings his entire life, despite having been one of the most prolific early recorders. After his first employer IPO’d while Santiago was still a teenager, Santiago isolated himself. The rage in the 30s was to spin up personal nodes whose code and hosting was disconnected from any corporate entity and display it like a statue in a courtyard.
While there were others who were prolific at recording themselves to themselves, none had such absolute devotion to such a small number of moments. Santiago’s life work was to process and re-process and remember and re-remember those moments after the sand got in his eye and the LSD trip started. An entire life obsessed with a few seconds in absolute privacy and no plan to publicize his life’s work. In fact, he’d deleted all the primary recordings, making, Shadhi, the archaeologist of their mirror remnants scattered across millions of poorly maintained database servers one of the most famous humans alive.
“Fuck Shadhi!” Kellyn blurted out with vocal chords. But Ciela was still locked in.
Kellyn took a breath and delved into a deep TIFS (text/image/feeling/sensation) transmission state.
They’re all chasing obscure self recreations or heavily recorded POIs. What about everyone who wasn’t self-involved and self-important enough to become president or CEO or a movie star. What about the people who’d never think to record themselves. The cautious ones who measured their words and actions for fear of controlling or manipulating someone else. The truly humble.
They’re the ones who’ve most inspired us, but we treat them like ghosts. If we dig deep enough into all the private documents, the diaries, the accidental video recordings… there needs to be someone. I guarantee you. There’s someone who changed the course of history without ever trying to or realizing it or being recognized for it, even today.
That’s who I want.
Finally, Kellyn relaxed. Ciela roused enough to respond.
Let’s find them.