• Published 11th Dec 2017
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Pony-Me™ - TheMajorTechie



What happens when you realize that your life is a simulation? Well, you put the headset back on.

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If you never open the door.

The usual solemn whispers fell over the population as one by one, people once again shuffled into the central City Hall building. Many of the people hadn't eaten for the past day and a half, if not longer.

Lisa and Timothy weaved between the various figures through the crowd, making their way towards the stage in anticipation for the briefcased men and women to appear. Minutes passed, and soon the crowd grew hushed as the heavy-coated man entered the stage, briefcase and all.

"Citizens of Snowbush." he declared loudly in his usual gruff voice, "As we wait for Miss Daalmans to arrive, you are allowed to speak amongst yourselves as you please..."

Immediately, the crowd began to delve into a ruckus of conversation, before being abruptly cut off by the heavy-coated man's voice once more.

"...after I deliver some important news on the status of your connection."

The crowd silenced instantly, as all eyes collectively turned to the man as they awaited for his speech.

"It has been recently discovered that your settlement isn't, in fact, the only one plagued with an outage." the man began again, "Resources are currently being stretched thin across three other cities, and we will not be able to supply rations as reliably as we hoped."

As the man exited the stage, the populace began to slowly, but ever so noticeably, grow into a panic. Hysteria was now freely flung about on the possibility of famine, and some considerations even as far as cannibalism were soon mentioned.

The sound of a door opening was all it took to silence them once more. The room appeared to darken bit by bit as Melina Daalmans entered, donning the usual briefcase identical to those of her colleagues.

She turned, nodding slightly at some unseen figure to the side, and stepped up to the microphone, briefcase still by her side.

"Ahem." she began, "To those of whom it may concern; our team has come to notice that your city is not, in fact, the only disconnected node. Due to this, we now have split our team across all four nodes, reducing the availability and efficiency of our responses."

She took a moment to unclasp her briefcase just enough to pull a small, thin device from within, tapping momentarily as a projection screen lowered behind her, emanating an ear-piercingly loud, metallic screech as the machinery came to life for the first time in decades.

Slowly, an image began to form on the tarp, taking on the form of a hastily-created, yet professionally synthesized, slideshow.

The woman took another moment for the image to sharpen before beginning.

"As all of you must've known by now, we are currently short in supply on multiple areas ranging from nutritional support to societal management officers."

"Societal management officers?" Timothy whispered to Lisa, "Any idea what that means?"

Lisa shook her head. "Not really, but it must be some form of government that runs here," she replied, "but besides that, I hardly know what she's talking about either."

"-ery many other choices," the woman continued, "as such, we have recently been interrogating and hiring civilians as volunteers to help sustain each disconnected node."

She turned to her left, nodding yet again as three people joined the woman on stage.

"These three civilians are the first of many to join our team, and will oversee the production and distribution of food in this city."

A hand raised from the crowd, belonging to an elderly man.

"But what of the other cities?" he shakily asked, "What if there are none qualified for the position?"

The woman nodded approvingly of the question, turning her gaze once again to the larger crowd around the man. "In the case of which there are no civilians with the proper experience or qualifications of a designated task, others will be brought in from surroundings nodes to take up the job."

The crowd murmured amongst themselves, before a series of hands began raising all across the room, each one a willful volunteer.

Smiling, the woman continued to speak, taking time to mentally count the number of hands raised.

"I see that the problem of nutrition won't be a problem in your node then." she said as she turned back to her device, tapping vigorously on its display.

She turned back to the crowd, then to the device. The room once again fell into a thick silence as the populace awaited for additional information.

Finally, the woman looked back up, clearing her throat.

"Are there any of you who have government or leadership experience?" she asked loudly through the microphone, her voice reverberating through the room.

Lisa's eyes widened as she raised her hand.

The woman's eyes scanned the room, clearly upset by the miniscule number of hands raised.

Timothy turned to his friend, staring up at the hand raised high in the air. "Twilight! he whispered, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

The girl nodded. "It's for the better, Spike."

"You," the woman said sternly, pointing a finger at Lisa, "What experience do you have?"

Lisa opened her mouth to reply, and with that, a whole new set of doors were opened to her.

There was a greater world to see out there.

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