Vail Henry

World One

Kat tried to be honest. She changed her emotional animation toward worried with a subset of shy. Her voice quieted by ten percent, face tilting down to catch the blueish shadows of the limbo park in which she stood. Generic and disjointed from the rest of TruWrld2, it was the only place where she could see Tennan in spite of their different home regions.
“I think of all those apartments on all those floors in all those buildings. Those people, they never see anybody—”
“They see people every day. I’m seeing you now.”
Kat shifted. “Yes, Tennan. But in person.”
Tennan stepped closer to her and halted. He gazed at her, eyes nuanced with gemstone colors and deliberate wrinkles. He took in her digital form. He loved her. He would try to never meet her. “Kitty-Cat, I don’t know how to be more personal. I am here with you in as much entirety as I can muster.”
Kat laughed. “‘Muster!’ At least you're not using auto-speak!”
Every part of Kat's life has been taken over by digital worlds and simulated experiences. Then she meets Eva, a political renegade on the fringe of society. Drawn to technology but craving human connection, Kat mistrusts Eva's attempts to lure her away from VR worlds and other sims. Worse, she suspects that the programmer Sodi is playing at more than one game. Kat can flee through dingy places and digital paradises, but will it be far enough to escape the worst of what technology created? If she can survive in any world, which will it be? Can digital worlds connect with physical lives enough to get her back?
375 printed pages
Original publication



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