They say that fifty percent of all humans are trapped in the Matrix. Not trapped in the, they can’t get out, kind of way. Just in the, they don’t want to leave, kind of way.
The Matrix is virtual world, they say it was named from an old movie but it’s really from something even older than that. A sci-fi television show, one of the first, the Matrix was an artificial, alien after-life. Instead of dying and going on, the aliens would be uploaded to the Matrix. Preserved for all of time and could even be returned to life from it.
The Matrix we have is a little like that I think. At some point in at least half of all people’s lives they decide they don’t like the world as it is. So they sell up all of their belongings, get the required augmentation added and have their consciousness uploaded. It’s a slow process converting a human brain to digital, I imagine in the early days the people who didn’t want it could have thought of it as dying.
Dying, but in a way where you could still see your family on weekends. And you always go what you think heaven would be.
Half seems like it would be a lot. It is, but what I mean is, it’s actually not. A rough census of the human inter-planetary empire puts the population at about eight hundred trillion. So that still leaves four hundred trillion people, still using at least one body.
Walking around on the surface of planets, moons and asteroids. Floating through space in orbiting platforms, mining rigs and hyperspace transit rings. Piloting ships to new worlds, holiday planets and into the side of a transit ring.
I yelled at the grey wall of The Crux in front of me. No-one nearby could hear me, I was staying out of the voice lobbies of the common citizen. I’m sure there was another one or two augmented officers in upper orbit who were quite amused by my history of the Matrix but had thought it best to not reply.
From my AR view outside I could see what was unfolding.
The Transit ring itself was big enough to send a small moon across the galaxy but for commercial flights there were a couple hundred smaller ones attached to the side. Each with the ability to connect to similar rings on this side of Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.
We can squeeze the fabric of space to travel billions of lightyears in seconds, but we couldn’t stop some people from damaging the pinnacle of scientific exploration.
At least a dozen housing units were between me and my designated departure ring. At least one of them had not lined themselves up correctly and had plowed through the ring as it was turned on. My access to the alerts dashboard of the transit system had given me that much information. And I could see the carnage that was left behind.
Debris was blooming out from the impact like a slow bubble of metal and plastic. There were automated clean-up units already floating out from the ring to begin recycling. One of the terms and conditions of a hyperspace ticket was transfer of ownership in the event of accidents like this. Makes it easier than trying to differentiate between items that may or may not have been altered by torn space.
I kind of hope that the person who crashed died on impact. If they want to be brought back they likely won’t remember what happened unless they were using mental relay. But even so, if they were alive to get pulled through a degrading wormhole with the front of the ship torn off…
There were stories about testing human only hyperspace transmission that I hope are untrue. Without a polarized shell would be bad enough, bending and stretching for what feels like eternity. But unfolding space is chaotic in strongest meaning of the word. It can tear and bulge but theoretically it could create separate plains of space-time outside our own, normally with nothing in them except for what was in the wormhole at the time.
Not that this kind of travel was regularly dangerous. A fully engaged wormhole is as safe to move though as any other region of space, especially when there is another ring on the other side anchoring the connection. There’s never been any reports of malfunctions or even incorrect destinations. Just the occasional customer error, like damaged polarizers or crashes like this.
I should have bought a better class of ticket it will take a while for them to repair this ring. But a hundred credits more still wasn’t worth it, even if it did mean I could choose my transit ring, change the departure time, get a tune up, a meal and accommodation on the other side.
Yeah for a hundred credits in the outer planets I could probably buy an asteroid to live on with the robots to make it nice. Plus I hate transit ring food and I do all my own repairs.
The line started to move to another ring. I checked my AR for messages, the transit ring automation had moved my departure ring.