“…this is a bright beautiful piece that reminds me of extravagant ornamentation lighting found in a baroque styled venue that is hosting a late night black tie masquerade event.”
Brower leaned against the dense, mahogany bar peering through the tiny eye slits of the Columbian Art Deco mask. The gold, black, and silver masquerade pattern accentuated his chiseled features and creamy skin. He raised his caramel hand; his meaty fingers embracing the chilled, empty glass. The ice clinked as he gently shook it at the bartender.
“Another scotch, sir?” The skinny, colligate asked. Swiping his slender, pale fingers through his slick-back blonde hair.
“Yes. Make it neat this time.” He replied.
Brower grabbed the fresh drink and turned his attention back to the open ballroom. The creamy porcelain walls, columns, and arched doorways were trimmed intricately in gold which was set-off by heavy, crimson drapes flowing from the tall ceilings down to the parquet floor like a velvet royal gown. Along the ceiling in the center of the room were several massive chandeliers covered in an assortment of bright, yellow-gold tubing, each donning ruby, red five star bottoms. Brower took notice of one of the glass candelabras, noting the dust specs and a tiny, pearl-sized drop of water hanging on, as if it were a spy eavesdropping the gala affair.
The room was packed full of figures donning black-tie suits and formal gowns all masked by ornate disguises covering their faces. No one could truly know what prominent figure was behind each mask. Brower scanned the guest list upon arrival and already pegged each of the wealthiest and most elite filling the expansive room. This was the premiere launch of Walt Bosley’s latest advancement in social media technology, Specter Alpha VR. Brower walked along the perimeter circling the crowd growing in the center. He stopped at each easel examining the black and white photos of people masked in strange electronic goggles. Each blown up image purposely focused on the device the people were wearing and the excited expressions on each steely, screened face.
Brower felt a presence join him. “So…Any thoughts?” A British brogue hanging in the crisp air.
“I think they look cheated.” Brower replied.
The masked man chuckled. “Cheated, my dear chap. Why ever would you say such?”
“Because what they are seeing…what they’re experiencing…isn’t real. I can’t quite remember when exactly it was that the world so willingly forfeit reality to escape to a virtual simulation. Can you tell me…what truly is a world where a person can program the setting, people, places, and time? Who should have such divinity to draft this forgery and forgo…Hmm…what the world naturally conveys from all the uncontained energy of the universe? That is what and where we were meant to live. It is both our focused and spontaneous energy fueling all that continually unfolds around us. Your device, well, it threatens that…it prompts, yet another extinction in a world that frankly has never been ours. We are and have always simply been…observers.”
“Ah. A realist, I see. I know your kind, though these days they are few and far between. You, pragmatists run in tight circles beneath the meditations and rants of fading ‘Affirmist Alliance” who hold on to a past that “we create that which we manifest in our thoughts…” I’ve given tangibility to a farce that has plagued this world for centuries.” The masked man scoffed.
“You realists really think you can just manifest your “desired” future from mortal thoughts!” He continued. Laughing and sipping his wine, the cloaked man proceeded.
“It’s a desperate world to live in where the interpretation of suffering, isolation, homelessness, and brokenness are supposed to generate an energy line that feeds the universe with gratitude so that those suffering receive something greater…in what…ten, twenty years, perhaps, a lifetime later? You all have some ‘beauty’ you see in everything that’s continually rotting away…You’ve yet to embrace the work being done to alleviate all that plagues man. Your kind, still…you grasp at a cruel world that’s quickly dissipating into the virtual utopia which lies at the very center of what Specter Alpha VR provides to all. A virtual paradise that has eradicated nearly all global terrorism, poverty, loneliness, and terminal illness.” The man so calm and reserved, sipped the fermented, plum liquid from his glass.
Brower stiffened. “You speak as though those in the world and all hers’ who’ve yet to embrace this digital propaganda have already been forsaken. There’s been no decline in any of the things you’ve suggested. Perhaps, a distraction, but nothing near a cure. Yes, I am a realist, and yes, probably one of the few who remain. But, I believe in a coming Reformation. As they say, history will always repeat itself. Mr. Bosley, it makes no difference to me the time, or the technological advancements we may have achieved. I will always hold on to the truth, the power, and the beauty of what authority this world continues to maintain over mankind. I hold onto to the fortitude our real thoughts hold to truly bringing forth universal remedies for man’s long sought after peace.”
Brower finished, swallowing the last gulp of scotch. He felt the addictive sense of pride and control consume him as the warm drink meandered through his body. “And, with that I must say goodnight.”
He left the media mogul standing alone, mouth agape beneath the full-faced, white-ceramic, Venetian mask; at both being recognized and having been defeated by a masked stranger. The list of those who dared to stand-up to Bosley were few and far between, yet Brower, found the confrontation effortless.
Walter Bosley started like many others in the digital empire. He began creating makeshift computers, in the garages of his American friends deep in the suburbs of the Silicon Valley. At the center of their wired world, an endless labyrinth of red, blue, and yellow lines each meticulously networking their way into a central device, stemming from the towering motherboard standing erect amidst various tools, workbenches, and hanging ten-speeds lining the plywood walls; each programmer had vowed to protect to their dying day. He was one that truly devoted himself to science, as if the gift of rationalizing, fact-checking, and analysis had crowned him at birth. He’d spent a childhood pitched back and forth across the Atlantic; between his American mother and British father, hiding beneath the tedious work of creating the latest up and coming programs within the digital realm. It was no secret the prodigal child had been one of the most elite mathematicians and coders the world had ever seen, however he held secrets beneath his intelligence; he’d learned to code and mask emotions just as easily as the illegal programs he and his cohorts were creating within the depths of a cyberspace void of any true human interference.
He’d spent much of his pubescent years working on encryptions within the Dark-net helping secure the top Black-market sites that distributed drugs, weapons, and a slew of literature revolving around a new political forum of Esoteric-Idealism. Many believed he’d actually been the original administrator of the “Tussah Passage,” still neither Interpol or the FBI could ever trace anything back to him. His breakthrough moment, post grad-school at the age of 23, was the formative blueprint for Specter Alpha VR. Bosley met with every top, elite social site ruling the internet in the mid-2000s. Here he stood five years later, the special guest of one of the most formative and prestigious galas hosted in NYC to promote and spark attention specifically to his VR program. The Global Alliance of Virtual Freedom, GAVF, a leading insurgency to the movement that had already accumulated into a global force.
Brower made his way from the grand ballroom to the foyer, noticing a tall, blonde figure standing in the same spot he’d been in earlier that evening. Something more than her beautiful features caught his attention; he’d swore she gestured him over, as he headed toward her he felt his body overcome by an intense heat and pressure begin to hurl him forward against his will. Everything moved in slow-motion as tiny fragments of parquet, glass, fabric, bone, dust, and flesh pelted him while his body drifted through a glowing space darkening amid the shattering bulbs of the ballroom. Sound fell void, absorbed in the black-hole of heat and light from the blast. The pace of everything happening, quickened once his body hit solid ground. Instantly, Brower placed his hands against his ringing ears, he began breathing techniques 4-7-8. He pulled in breath counting to 4, then held it 7, and exhaled 8—repeating this process several times before his nerves and shock slowly faded into a rational reality.
“Holy shit.” He said aloud. “Guess not everyone’s a fan.”
He stood instantly, his muscular frame bowed under the anesthesia of adrenaline. Brower’s keen senses became even more alert in the midst of the falling wreckage as he stood among the havoc and wreckage.