“Virtually Connected” by Derek Goggin, Northumberland

Love and Heartbreak September 7, 2011 23:52


as submitted for the “Connected” Contest

Daniel is ten today, double figures, digital. Today he gets to game properly. Until now he has used the computer games his parents bought him, and used the Wii games with the family but from now on the whole of the web is open to him. He will be allowed to game on line. He will meet other gamers or their avatars and pitch his skill against the world. Daniel king of the game was excited, and bored. Bored with the other birthday ceremonies, the presents, cards and hugs for thanks. It was getting late. While he was in the bath he could hear his father grunting and cursing, and suspected the computer was at last being installed in his bedroom.

He promised not to use the computer tonight, and wait until the weekend, a promise he had no intention of keeping. He went to bed the normal time but could or would not sleep. He waited until his parents had gone to bed, before putting on the headset and switching on the computer. He created an account, avatar, password, and profile then scanned the web for games. He won the first two games but was getting bored. The games were little different to what he normally played he craved something different. Jessica Rabbit felt the same. Jessica was aware of Virtuworld but had not joined. You could not join Virtuworld singularly you had to be part of a team or a pair. They Joined.

Daniel and Jessica made the classic error of opting to start afresh not as part of an established family. The originators tend to lose control of play. Daniel selected Scaffolder as his occupation, he was unsure what a scaffolder did but it sounded exciting. Jessica played safe with hairdresser. As a scaffolder the start of play was an area not highly prized for scoring. The credits and payment of both professions was not great but by pooling resources they managed to acquire a reasonable base or house, but with large leverage handicap. They normalised their arrangement with a marriage contract.

Hector applied to be Daniel’s elder brother, which was accepted. James and Jeremy applied to be Jessica’s elder brothers, she also accepted Emily and Julian as younger siblings. Harry and Eve elected themselves as Daniel’s parents Jessica opted for Ruth as her parent and by rejecting Robert elected for her father to be deceased. The contacts were less than harmonious. Daniel hated Hector although Jessica thought he was rather sweet. Daniel’s parents were controlling and restrictive. Jessica’s family was very relaxed in loyalty and malicious gossips.

Daniel and Jessica felt under threat, and resentful of their alloted families. They had a desire to insulate themselves from it. They had a child, although clearly they could not afford to forgo Jessica’s wages. The child was called Neil. They selected the child’s attributes and development speed. When Neil was two they selected Emma a bright and devoted daughter. The family was complete but expensive. Daniel had to take further employment to make ends meet. Jessica seemed tired all the time and becoming unsure of her abilities. Daniel was not there to encourage her. Hector was.

Jessica was so engrossed in Hector she missed Neil’s’ scheduled download skill. Daniel arrived home just in time to commence download before it was missed. Neil’s avatar stood up and closed its eyes to download motivation schedule. Jessica and Daniel argued for the first time. Both felt aggrieved but realised success and game score depended on their unity.

They watched fascinated as Neil and Emma closed their eyes to download a skill. It was strangely satisfying. Each download added more pressure on Daniel and Jessica to improve score rating. Daniel needed to improve his own skills to improve employability. This seemed a natural break for him to take from the game. He logged out of Virtuworld closed his eyes and commenced download.

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