Petronius Bix, PhD changed the future. He invented a machine that displaced time and space — it was the result of an orgasm. When he awoke nothing was familiar. He panicked and pressed the Displacement Switch a second time. When he awoke he was in the body of another man. “A third time must be the charm,” he thought, and pressed the button again. After the explosion, Bix was still inside the brain of another man and the future was changed forever. The machine no longer worked — Bix was stuck, imprisoned in an alien body and stranded in a world dominated by the Red City. Streets were drenched in blood.
How do you describe a fire in the brain. The man sat and stared at the monitor contemplating the events that put him in this situation. The world was incomprehensible. He no longer recognized himself. He had a wife, Margo, who was a total stranger. He had a son, Alec, who seemed to be from another planet. He recalled Petronius Bix, a man from another world — hero or villain in some cheap webisode that captivated a nation of drones. He wasn’t certain if Bix invented the drones or if he was a drone impersonating an actor on the web. Having forgotten his own name, the man was even more confused and unstable. In fact, he had no idea how he arrived at the current situation and thinking only made everything worse. “Pass the peas, please.” He heard the voice as if in a dream, far off and distorted like the call from an ancient CB-radio … important information no doubt, but what did it mean.
“Howard,” his wife addressed him … “Please – the peas.” The man automatically did as requested. Now, at least he knew his name, but he still felt like a ghost. He stared wide-eyed like a character on TV — everything appeared far away and blurry. Slowly the world fell into place and things & people became more distinguishable. He recognized Imelda-X and Styrene, his twin daughters. He wondered, “what happened to Alec — didn’t I have a son?” The girls were twelve. Imelda-X regularly had temper tantrums. Styrene was an introvert. Both girls had special phones, wireless connections, and lots of computer toys. Imelda-X was never satisfied. She expected everyone to do her bidding. Styrene lived in a game called “Me World” and never left her bedroom. Margo, his wife, owned a Virtual Corp that made Apps for teenage girls designed to make them more popular. Howard was a handy man — he fixed outdated equipment, dumb vacuum-cleaners and toasters. Margo derided him for his antiquarian views and habits. After all, she made money dealing with the latest technology while Howard scraped along like a feeb from another century. Howard knew it was a lie, but he loved his wife and family and couldn’t bare to tell them the truth.
Wars continued to rage. Mass murders were becoming more frequent. Battles in Congress were more contentious. Bloated egos ruled the roost and no one seemed to recognize the truth that was so clear to Howard. Imelda-X demanded plastic surgery to correct a flaw that made her face look slightly asymmetrical. Styrene wanted more virtual products to become a “Glammorha” in Me-World. Margo needed a “power wardrobe” to intimidate underlings in her virtual corp. Howard had to wash dishes in an old-timey restaurant to earn extra cash. He no longer wanted to work as a software engineer (he’d been trained at the Avatar Autonomics School, but he could no longer condone the practice of software sabotage). The family depended on him. Margo’s corporation was merely a virtual illusion — she produced nothing. Her whole world had become a complete fabrication. The money she earned never existed.
The streets were drenched in blood. He was watching a 3-D simulation on the wall screen that dominated the living room in his virtual, high-definition castle. He had to keep track of the blogs, pop-icons, talking-heads, and news-sters. He was a cop from another century, Adamine Krator — he knew that, now. Bodies were switched. His consciousness was transferred into the body of Petronius Bix … and he had the device wired into his hand. When he hit the button, he fell into the future. He had a new identity: a milquetoast named Howard with a virtual family. Adamine hated his new identity, but it was necessary. He was still a cop, but now he was working undercover. His job was to ferret out the lies and expose the underbelly of the Red City. (Read the whole saga starting with “The Secret” 07/16/2012)