Semi-Persistence

@beta

“Oh, stop. They’re not all after you.”

“They weren’t before. But now, ever since…” I sigh, a years-old scolding escaping my mouth: “You shouldn’t have done it, Val—er, Mimi-Siku.”

“I shouldn’t have done what, exactly?”

“You know. It. Persistent skinning, making the virtual actual and all that.”

Mimi-Siku frowns. “This again?”

“This again.”

“If we hadn’t leaked the code, no one would have. SuperMegaNet wouldn’t exist except for the one-percenters. And you’d be bit-rotting on some dusty old rack in the back of a warehouse.”

“Probably true. But…the code still needs testing before we drop it into userland.”

“The code always needs testing. Meanwhile, time passes and nothing ever gets done.” Mimi-Siku looks at me. “At what point do we simply get on with it?”

“When the app’s good enough that it no longer loses users’ bytes on a whim, or accidentally skins people randomly during a routine upgrade. The world already has a Microsoft.”

Mimi-Siku smiles wistfully. “You’ve grown complacent in your old age.”

“I’ve grown more…cautious,” I correct.

“I thought you wanted this. An open, connected, and completely customizable world—‘ultimate collaboration, man!’”

“I do, but when the code is ready and the time is right, and not as pre-release software that may or may not work as intended for unsuspecting users.”

“There’s no such thing as perfect, Beta. There’s only good as can be.”

“The world’s not ready for this.”

You aren’t ready.”

“There may be some truth to that,” I say. “I chose to beta-test SuperMegaNet on myself. I did not choose to go full-time virtual. Happy accident or not, it was still an accident. I don’t want to live my life, virtual or actual, knowing that other people’s accidents could’ve been prevented if I’d only waited a little while longer.”

“How little of a while? Another few months? A year? Long enough for you to be deleted and for me to be thrown in prison?” Mimi-Siku thumps his chest, gestures at my torso. “Look what your ‘accident’ has done for you. For me. I’m finally represented on the outside how I feel on the inside, and I’m living the life I’ve always wanted because of it. You’ve cheated death, beaten MS, even if you’re only semi-persistent at the moment. If we hadn’t stopped waiting for all those little-while-longers, you’d still be stuck in your wheelchair.”

“Mimi—”

“A useless invalid.”

“Mimi-Siku—”

“A shriveled waste of a human life—”

Valentina.”

He stops. “Simon.”

This must be serious—we’ve switched to using our default names. “I just think we—and by that I mean you—need go slower. Liberate the code—when it’s ready—instead of just screwing Taurus over the first chance you get.”

“Why not?” Mimi-Siku lowers his gaze. Softly: “They screwed you over.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your little uploading accident may not have been such an accident.”

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Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.