• Published 10th Dec 2020
  • 1,396 Views, 72 Comments

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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4 ◈ Break out.

Lisa opened her eyes. The soft light of morning streamed through her little window.

Morning.

She closed her eyes again.

Samantha said that today was the day when she could reconnect.

Could being the keyword.

Lisa sat up, rubbing an eye. Her stomach grumbled.

“Heyyyy!” Samantha burst through the door, startling her friend. “Guess what? I’m officially on vacation now!”

Lisa raised a brow. “Vacation?”

“Just for a few days.” Samantha shrugged. “I’ve already done pretty much everything I can do while I’m out here, so I’m passing the work off to someone on-site ‘til I get back.”

“Oh, that’s nice. How are you planning on spending the time, then? There’s not much left to do here.”

A smirk grew across Samantha’s face. “How about a road trip?”

“R-road trip?” Lisa’s eyes widened. “But what about your work?”

“Hey now, I know I’m a workaholic, but even I need to take breaks sometimes. Besides, the person I put in charge of the whole hacking fiasco’s more than familiar with this sorta stuff anyway.”

“Oh… okay then.”

“So then,” Samantha continued, “just gonna ask one more time so that I don’t accidentally kidnap you or anything: Do you wanna reconnect today? The network’s live again, and everything’s back in working order.”

Lisa hung her head, shaking it a little. “No, I’m not reconnecting yet. Though… I’m still not entirely sure about anything. I know that you know how I feel, so…” She let out a sigh. “Yeah, I’ll hold off on saying more about it. No point in dragging down everyone else’s mood, right?”

She looked up, a weak smile on her face. Samantha didn’t return the expression.

“Lis. I’m serious. If you feel like this is too much, you still have the chance to reconnect. After today, though, I won’t know when you’ll have the chance again. I know that smile’s just a front. And even then, you said yourself years ago that the simulations shouldn’t be a permanent solution. I know you’re torn over this.”

The smile on Lisa’s face faded. “…Yeah, I know it shouldn’t be permanent. I… you… well, you pretty much summed it all up, didn’t you?” She chuckled. “I’m torn alright. I wish I could have both worlds, but I know I can’t.”

“Ehhhhh, not quite can’t. You’ll see in time.”

“Huh?”

“Do you really think that technology’s still frozen in time from when you first plugged yourself in? C’mon, let’s get some breakfast.”

~~~

“Lisa?” Samantha stuck her head out of the doorway of the town hall. “You coming in or not? I thought you were following me.”

Lisa looked over her shoulder. “Go on ahead. I’ll catch up in a bit. I’m just enjoying the view for a bit.”

“It’s a lot emptier than it was yesterday, huh?”

Lisa nodded. “It’s like a ghost town. Kinda spooky.”

“Yup. Quiet as heck, too.” Samantha walked up beside her friend. “Though, I wouldn’t say that that’s necessarily a bad thing.”

“Yeah.”

The pair fell silent for a moment. Only the muffled voices from within the building broke the peace.

“Do you think the whole hacking situation’s going to be dealt with by the time your vacation’s over?”

Samantha shook her head. “I wish it could be over, but nah. Stuff like this usually takes a bit. Especially if there isn’t very much information to go off of on who did what.”

“Didn’t you say something about someone named Rosanne before? It’s her account that was being used, right? What’s going to happen to her if she really is the one doing all of this?”

“We’ll probably turn her in to the police in that case.” Samantha shrugged. “Beyond that, I’m really not sure. I guess it’d depend on what her motivations were.”

“What about what you and Argall were talking about before with suing?”

“He was making a suggestion. I’m not planning on doing anything like that just yet.”

“Hm.”

Samantha turned her head. Lisa was staring off into the distance.

“Sam?”

“Yeah?”

“You’ve known me for a long time, right?”

Samantha’s words came a little slower this time. “…Yeah?”

“What was I like back then? Before the simulations. You were teasing me about not remembering.”

“Oh. Uh.” Samantha chuckled. “Sorry about the teasing, by the way. As far as how you acted when we were little…” She pursed her lips. “Downtrodden, I guess, is one way to put it. You were usually pretty down in the dumps.”

“I’m guessing it was something about my parents?”

Samantha nodded.

“They’re dead, aren’t they? Or at least, somewhere far, far away.”

“I—” Samantha sputtered. “Y-yeah, they are. How are you so calm after realizing that?”

Lisa shrugged. “It happened a long time ago, right? I hardly remember them anymore. I guess the simulations really did fill their purpose… a second chance at life; that’s what Argall said. I hardly remember anything from before the simulations anymore. It’s like it was all a dream. To be honest, even now, it still feels like I’m only dreaming.”

“Oh… yeah, I guess that’s how you wanted them to work when you first came up with the idea.”

“…I came up with the idea?”

Samantha nodded. “I said you were part of the original devteam, didn’t I? You were the developer for a while, though I hopped on board not long after you started.”

“So, I did all of this, then.” Lisa gestured to the barren town before them. “Right?”

“Eh, indirectly, I guess. The whole dedicated town thing was an idea that you had originally, but Grace’s mom expanded on it. I think I remember that you said at the time that you were worried that any glitches found in the transmitters could turn people into zombies or something.” Samantha laughed. “At least we don’t have to worry about that anymore!”

“How did she expand on it?”

“Economics stuff, more or less. She was saying that it’d be cheaper to have many simulation-goers in one place so that resources weren’t spread as thin. Hey, quick question.”

Lisa turned her head.

“What sorta jobs did most people in the simulations have?”

She scratched her head. “Well… I’m not entirely sure what my parents do. I know that there was a pretty big market for digital products, though—things like animation and computer programs and stuff. Some of my friends were looking into jobs in that field.”

“You can thank Daalmans for that.” Samantha smirked. “Money that you guys pay for things like home ownership and utilities goes into the cost of maintaining the simulations instea—”

“Hey!” Timothy stuck his head out the door. “You two coming in or what?

“Yeah, yeah, we’re coming!” Samantha shouted back. “Well, I guess we can talk some more about the simulations later then. You wanna stare at the tumbleweeds for a little longer, Lis, or have you seen enough of town? Whatever food they’ve got out is probably getting pretty cold by now.”

“…I’ve seen enough.”

~~~

“You two sure took a while out there.” Timothy didn’t look up from his plate of scrambled eggs. “Any longer and I would’ve considered saving some plates for you before the catering crew starts packing things up.”

“Mm-hm, sure you would.” Samantha glanced at the professor. “Argall, you’re not eating alone this time?”

“Couldn’t be bothered to. We’re leaving today, anyway.” Argall shrugged. “Lisa, Timothy, you two coming back with us?”

Lisa gave a tentative nod. “What about Grace?”

“She’s got her own car, don’t worry. Though, once things are wrapped up here, she’s going to have to head to the other affected towns and help direct recovery and reconnection efforts there, too. I don’t believe we’ll be seeing her around again for a while.”

“Yeah,” Samantha added. “Gotta give her props for taking on something this big. I can’t say much about how I’d manage the reconnections and stuff, but I’m sure it’s a tough job making sure that everyone’s safe and ready. Oh, speaking of which—” she pointed at Lisa’s side “—before we go, we’re gonna have to do something about those silicone retention sutures in your side. They’re not like the regular ones that fall off on their own.

Author's Note:

Holy crap it's been a while. I spend some time off from working on Pony-Me and Splintershard to write Ruins and the next thing I know, Facebook goes full-on Metaverse and immediately emits the exact icky corporate feeling that Lisa gets in this fic whenever company stuff is brought up by Samantha. Ew.

Hopefully there won't be as ridiculously large of a gap in chapters next time 'round. :P