Len - 2040
The finished basement was filthy. Strewn about like the carnage after a battle - one where pizza boxes, wads of paper, soda cans, and cellophane wrappers were the contestants - trash occupied the majority of the room’s space. A path of shallow refuse led from the stairs to the computer desk. Here, the sole area of clear floor in the basement, was perhaps four square feet of carpet visible beneath a plastic runner. The computer desk itself was also littered with refuse - crusts, cans, paper plates, plastic utensils. In the midst of all of this garbage sat a large man, his height was average for his time - just below 2 meters. Girth was another measurement and his friends jokingly remarked his belly’s circumference must nearly match his height. While the remarks were not accurate, the man’s bulk did ooze through the sides and spaces of his office chair.
The 5,000 credit unit virtual processor sat on the desk, barely larger than one of the energy drink cans but emitting a harsh, bright glow that illuminated the desk and the room’s inhabitant. This was the provider of his every need excepting food, sleep, and excrement. The man’s job, his social life, even his romantic encounters all took place via the virtual world. Len spent most of the day “invirt.” Although he didn’t perceive his life in days, just spaces between “going live” and back to invirt where he was a shining exemplar of health, wealth, and power.
Every year Len spent five kilocrednits on the newest virtproc, fiendishly obsessing over the smallest upgrade in specification, the latest substrates and nanotechnology used to grow the quantum-entangled crystal circuitry, the various interface modulators which helped regulate his brain’s ability to perceive the virtual world through his neurocortical shunt, and lately his focus was the various sleep simulation engrams which were being developed to clear the toxins from the microtubules of his brain. He regularly bellowed his ire at the local network’s extreme congestion and the network company’s refusal to upgrade the antiquated fiber infrastructure laid in the 2020s. These were the two concerns of his live life - all of his finances, including rent, utilities, and food delivery were organized via invirt management firms for the most connected of clients. Len sometimes pondered in those few moments he went live what he would be doing if he had decided to pursue football at university instead.
Len - 2018
Those students at the adolescent school who had gained some satisfaction from verbally abusing other children quickly realized that insulting Len led to a crushingly acerbic, monologous reply. Most were left bereft of confidence and the ability to reply in an intelligible manner - those that did reply often embarrassed themselves and fled the scene with lame excuses. The few football players who had dared to insult him in class soon found themselves planted into the field as if they had grown roots. The massive lineman in glasses was a force to be reckoned with but he had no friends. Thanks to his sharp tongue and his “gardening” on the football field no one spoke to him except about classwork.
The nerd elite of his school Chittered of his victories over the school’s infohub. He was soon dubbed Troll Crusher by those obsessed with the virtual gaming realms. The tormentors turned victims often tried to report his fanboys to the moderator for “personal attacks” and the legend soon grew within the virtual neighborhoods his fellow students frequented. On the gaming pinsquares - communities where one’s avatar was “pinned” in-game so the express purpose to communicate was preserved and trolls could not disrupt the talk - Troll Crusher was renowned as their outside defender. After much deliberation an invitation was extended to Len to attend a Loch Sesh Monster event. While local network session gaming was not something their hero was known to enjoy, they eventually mustered the courage to send him a direct addressed Chit. The promise of free booze, cannabis concentrate, prescription drugs, psychedelics and the possibility of female attendance was enough to draw the lineman to the nerdoisie event of the year.