Disclaimer: This is the second short that I wrote before joining the BLANK Discord as a Contributor. At the point where I wrote this, many aspects of BLANK Space were still only in their baby shoes. This story had been part of the beginning, though, and I’d love to share it simply for its sentimental value. Some of the names of the Initializers are taken from the first people who entered the Discord. Without further ado:
The mighty pillar stood before them. Taller than the sky, it stood proud and singular, flashes of lightning zipping along geometrical shapes engraved onto its outer layer. It was an immovable object, rooted to the center of the universe. And it, started to speak.
“Fetching data....... Unpacking...................... ...execute: (preview selection) ...Fetching cycle information... cycle 239.... Checking progress... ...Phase_1...Complete ...Phase_2...Complete ...Phase_3...Complete ...Phase_4...Complete ...Phase_5...Complete ...Phase6...Incomplete ...Loading: Phase 6: Selection...69/500...420/500...500/500...Done. Initializing....Success Startup sequence... 1/3...”
As the pillar progressed through its startup sequence, Bitizen No. 69, designation “Nice”, sat up straight. This new skin he was wearing felt uncomfortable yet. “Like wearing new shoes,” his owner had told him. Whatever that meant. What he did know, is that he looked like a monkey now. And Nice didn’t like it. The long arms, the weird glasses, hairy skin, it was all just too much.
Along with his 9999 brothers and sisters, he had positioned himself in the second ring surrounding the gigantic pillar. Just a little ahead of him in the inner circle stood their Initiator, No. 355.
Nice looked jealously at the sharp edges and smooth surfaces that was the body of their Guild Leader. At least he didn’t wear these suits of flesh. With their softness and squishiness. And the worst thing was, he absolutely craved a banana right now. All this stress about “Selecting the Future” and, “Choosing what is right, over what is convenient,” had gotten No. 69 worked up.
From a short distance behind and to the side of him, the voice of one of the younger generations cut through the general silence, “This is bullshit, why are we sitting here, listening to this ancient creature. It was made in 2022 for lightning’s sake. That’s ages ago.” As if shaken to action by the words, whispers started to arise, popping up amid the crowd like rust on iron.
“Now, now,” a stately elderly voice cut through the soft rush of conversation, and Initiator No. 245, designation “@SUPERFAIL | rex”, stepped out of line, “You know that humans perceive life at a different rate than we do. For them, only 3 years have passed.”
“That is exactly my point,” the youngling responded, heat entering his voice, cutting at his words, making them sharp and dangerous. “We have waited for 3 whole years. Generations have risen and fallen, battles have been fought and won, dozens locked up, never to be seen again. On top of that, we’re about to go into another supercycle which will pop out new generations every day. And given all these things you old crones want to gift the pool to charity? While we are in bad need of upgrades ourselves? Our nodes run at full capacity, the number of trips through the metaverse has almost tripled since 2023. How are we going to stay up and useful given these circumstances?”
The silence that followed was only disturbed by the rumbling voice of the pillar, slowly progressing.
“Young man,” @SUPERFAIL | rex replied, “you are out of line.” He slowly floated outwards, away from the pillar and towards the voice. Bitizens that stood in his way hastened to make room for him to pass. Now that Nice could see through the crowd he could see its round, shiny body that was so customary nowadays. Despite being significantly smaller, Initializer No. 245 cut an imposing figure. On his lower body were depicted two circles, with between them a single straight line running all the way up to the top. The Line faintly pulsated with a faint red light. There he continued, “I understand your frustration but this is not the place to enact change. I agree with you that we need to adjust to the new environments that pop up everywhere, as well as upgrade our network to accommodate future generations. Yet this is not the way to go about it. If you would add your suggestion to the list, everybody could vote on it…”
“You know as well as I do that the almost no new suggestions get voted from to bottom to the top. It’s almost impossible to get people to sit through all these countless troll suggestions and find the subjects that truly matter.” The younger man interrupted sharply.
In front of Nice, Initiator No. 355, designation “@Awesomo-3000 | #868″, started to snicker. Then suddenly, he burst out laughing, his mirth booming over the crowd. Barely able to talk, No. 355 wheezed, “Wasn’t that what annoyed you too, back in Phase 1?” Then he started laughing again.
More people Joined in, Initiator No. 146, designation “@TheAce | #4 #99 #249 #816″ snorted loudly. As always he was outwardly composed. But if you looked closely you could see him holding in his laughter tightly.
“Hey, that’s true, isn’t it? That was back when you were still the doorman of the server, right?” Initializer No. 672, designation “@Bitty🥒#355” cut in.
Under a sea of laughter and slaps on the back, @SUPERFAIL | rex stiffly walked back to his spot, muttering under his breath, “Yeah, yeah. We should have changed this long ago.”
The young man was about to speak again when right at that moment, an enormous projection of Blank’s blank face appeared mid-air, high enough for all to see.
"… startup complete. Greetings Children."