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Friday, April 24, 2020

Fiction Friday: Heaven Isn't WWWhat It Used To Be


Heaven Isn't WWWhat It Used To Be

I had been a shepherd for two weeks. I hadn't been dead to start with, the boredom would have killed me.


I wasn't dead-dead, just regular dead. When the heart attack took me, the snapshot of my mind was uploaded, "ascending." Give me a break. I worked in tech my entire meat life, but I wasn't a Kurzweilian. This isn't heaven, and if it's the next stage of humanity, they missed the glorious parts somewhere.

Like freedom from work. Dead and rotting in the ground, your digital ghost still needs to work to earn the power it takes to keep you running. Unless you're one of the few who proved the old adage wrong, you end up Ghost Turking, playing the dead man in the machine. Where you end up depends on your skillset and training.

I could have ended up diagnosing network issues in a cloud server. A college roommate of mine (Stroke, six years ago) designs special effects for Hollywood.

Thank goodness for Summer Shakespeare, I was recruited into The Wilds, that new MMO. I had done a pretty good King Lear three years running, so I thought maybe I'd be king of some small country. Or a wizard, mysterious in his tower. I could have been a bartender. No. Not a bartender, I remember working foodservice. Even if my current situation isn't heaven, that would be hell.

No such luck. I was made a shepherd in Greenfields, a newbie zone. 

I may be too harsh on this job. I've got a lot of freedom, once you account for the brain-breaking boredom. And it's not been long enough yet that the sheep have started to look attractive.

The sheep watch themselves most of the time. My real job is talking to the players when they stumble over my fields. I warn them about the terrible pig-men in the cave to the south. And I ask them to recover one of my missing sheep. "Yes, Guv, I'd be ob-le-gated to ya if you’n could bring back ma little Fuzzy." The accent, which I was still working one, drifted between rural English and stupid redneck.

The current player, another Ghost on his day off, puffed himself up, smacking a fist against his armored chest, "I shall go to retrieve your lost lamb, I swear on my god, Joseph the Just!"

I nodded, playing the part of the idiot rural as he turned to march south. As he crossed the field, I unplugged from the farmer, leaving the body running the scripts I'd coded for interaction. If anyone came, I'd get a warning and enough mechanical blather I could be back here in thirty seconds.

It was a slow time on the server, so I had maybe an hour before that was likely to happen. I loaded my mind into the pig-men, blinking at the higher sensitivity in my new eyes before I met my own gaze. 

I smiled at myself, readying our weapons and checking the traps I'd set.

Time to see if I could go fifteen for fifteen in adventurer kills.

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