Nick was cycling in his apartment in the city. The view of the city widened before his eyes. His hologram avatar was in full action just as much as he was. A team effort, as he loved to repeat. Seeing his avatar body in the virtual space in front of him motivated him deeply. He liked to follow the movements of his muscles, the action of the fibres that lengthen and shorten. He was obsessed with his body, and the avatar allowed him to explore it to the fullest. He almost tasted the chemical composition of the sweat he saw reproduced on his avatar. He loved to see all the big and small changes in his body since he was little.
His avatar was his best friend all along, like a brother. Each received an avatar even before birth and scientific research had shown that it allowed regulating emotional, social and intellectual development. For example, they were avoiding loneliness, the sense of exclusion, the fear of acting alone. He had had his share of sociability in adolescence and continued to participate in vintage face-to-face meetings. The romantics of face-to-face encounters with no apparent use had never really disappeared.
Nick had developed a special relationship with his avatar throughout his childhood. Her mother had died in childbirth. The presence of his father in his life had always been accessory, considering that he had a lover, who had never loved and accepted him. At home, he would have felt entirely alone if his avatar hadn’t been there. It was he who was beside him all the time, when he slept and when he cried. The avatar accompanied Nick in the significant feats of his online life. Accumulating points, going through new levels, new games. The avatar registered everything.
Each child, already during the first weeks of pregnancy, was given an avatar that adapted and modelled according to the data of the owner’s body, character and actions, always remaining available at all times. In this way, it was possible to check and record data on nutrition, health data and school and professional information and everything necessary and useless, including files, photos and videos, becoming a virtual living archive that can be consulted and always available.
Unlike the other babies, Nick had never been able to view all the pre-birth data and different basic settings of his avatar. Access to the control panel of his avatar was impossible without the maternal authorization received. Nick could do various things with his avatar, such as interact with him, ask to view documents and data about him but he could not transform it, make it disappear or deactivate it for a few seconds or entire periods.
His case was now on the handicap list, and he had received particular attention in his schooling for it. He, like others, had started at a disadvantage in his life. When he was little, the thing that made him sadder was the impossibility of being able to transform his avatar, an activity that other children did all the time, having fun embodying characters from the world of cartoons, heroes or animals. Over time, he had grown accustomed to her diversity, looking with envy and then with acceptance who had full control of their avatar. His avatar had always been present to him, and for this, he was happy. Even if he had access to the settings, he probably would never have turned it off.
Sometimes he thought that maybe it was because of his handicap that his father had turned away from him. He would never have control over his son; he would never know Nick’s world to the full. The prohibition of access to the avatar, due to the death of his wife, had deprived him of his virtual paternity. The new partner had three boys and lives with her was much more fun than a son condemned to real society and banished from the vibrancy of the virtual world.
Nick lived alone today. He had established himself thanks to a job as a computer technician in a large company. Many things of his past life had been erased but not his avatar who remained by his side and which he had learned to enhance despite the limitations. He had taken courses to accept himself and had met other people like him. Several virtual groups had long supported and encouraged him to live his life to the full, despite the limitations.
Then one day, Nick had met the woman of his life. Her name was Rebecca, and she was an artist, sensitive and attentive to others. They both considered themselves lucky to be together. Their avatars had socialized too. Four of them were always together, ready to have fun and share passions, interests and even lots of data. They exchanged photos, videos, souvenirs and much more in a few seconds in an open and positive sharing. Their life was the most beautiful sight for both of them to share. Over time, a tremendous and intense relationship of love was created between them. After some time they decided to move in together, and she had moved in with him.
Rebecca loved sharing but was also very respectful of the limits of privacy. He never asked to share data on where he was or on previous relationships. She trusted him and wanted to grow their relationship. After some thought, they decided to delete both data in prior relationships and never talk about it again. Rebecca introduced Nick to her entire family and their respective avatars. A fun community that loved to share. It did him right to live the summer break with them, taking advantage of the sea and the countryside.
After the holidays they went back to town to resume work activities, Nick in his IT office and Rebecca in her creative communication atelier.
- “Nick are you there? Can you show me the video of you as a child with the dog once more? It is too funny. I offer it to my colleague. Authorize the sending of data “.
- “Ok,” Nick replied without thinking much.
Rebecca always had little desire to share. He didn’t share much of himself with his colleagues. She, unlike him, was still attentive and interested in collecting all the details and data in order not to lose anything about their relationship. Everything was stored in Rebecca’s connected avatar. This attitude was also due to his work as a creative atelier. He used the data to create artistic works that also had some success.
After a year of living together, they decided to bond with marriage. About a week before the wedding celebration, Nick was called to go to the virtual avatar database office. He didn’t know what it was and so he decided not to go there alone but to be accompanied by Rebecca. He thought it was related to the marriage bureaucracy.
- “Welcome, we have summoned you to inform you of something new. We can give full access to Nick’s avatar settings despite the unexpected death of his mother in childbirth. “
- “What?” They both shouted.
- “Yes, congratulations.
The secretary of the office explained that new technologies, developed thanks to interplanetary navigation, had made it possible to recover the access data of a large majority of people with the same problem. The technology on communication between Earth and Mars had made it possible to develop new forms of information management. For Nick, it was the best gift he could get. An authentic tribute to the new life he expected to live with Rebecca. For this, Nick decided to wait until the wedding day to know the access data. It was going to be the best day of his life.
The expected day had arrived. Nick was excited about the wedding, celebrated with a virtual authority and with many friends, curious people and followers connected at the same time to share the ceremony. Many had sent their hologram avatar to go through the process and be there and show their affection. After the ritual and the emotion, it entailed, this afternoon was the time to know the access data for Nick’s avatar settings. Rebecca had created a special moment within the ceremony. It would be the week’s event on common digital resources. For Nick, it was an opportunity to restore his well-being, cure his handicap and finally be happy. He could have had full and autonomous control of his avatar, change settings and start a new course in his virtual life. He could finally be happy and feel like everyone else. A dream that could have come true, he told Rebecca
The control panel had appeared on the virtual giant screen. Nick types in the numbers Rebecca read to him one by one from the specific document received from the avatar office. Tears flowed from his face for the emotion of the moment. Rebecca was equally profoundly moved.
On the first try, the codes don’t work. To the second, either. The panic began to spread on social networks and among those present. Rebecca and Nick were upset. They looked at each other with fear. Agency staff, who were connected with the others, reacted immediately.
After a few moments of waiting, the avatar of the President of the Office arrived and informed all those present with the following statement:
- “The avatar attributed to Nick is the avatar of the twin brother who died in embryo and undeveloped. The moment of assignment in pregnancy is delicate and unique. The presence of the avatar brother was not identified. We apologize for the inconvenience”.
Nick saw his past and his future crumble before him. Not only did he not have access to pre-birth data and would never receive his avatar’s settings management data, but he also discovered that his avatar had never been intended for him, but for an embryo, he didn’t know about. Not even exist. His was an imposter avatar. Rebecca tried to console Nick, but he was now closed in a world condemned to isolation and exclusion. The authorities deactivated the avatar, and together Nick’s entire virtual life was destroyed.