Author : Nick Gonzales

“You heard they finally nailed teleportation?”


“Yeah, just yesterday.”

“For real?”

“Fo rizzle.”

I turn to look at Billiam, his eyes lit up expectantly as he leans towards me across the table. His face is twisted into his characteristic grin of childlike excitement. An off-putting grin, but not without some charm. You’d think he had just told me we had finally put another man on the moon.

Today, Billiam’s hair is fluorescent green, with streaks of pink, symmetrically arranged into eight spikes. Mine is the same color, but I did mine in the sink.

“No, I mean, like, for _real_?”

“Of course for real. Teleported a small little mouse all the way from New York to Atlantis,” he beams.

I can actually feel my hopes fall.

“What do you mean ‘of course’?” I sigh. “Atlantis?”

“What? What’s wrong with Atlantis?”

A female white Bengal tiger slowly trots by the table, followed by a small pack of screaming children. The smallest, a girl of probably about four years, dives forward and grabs the rare cat by its tail until it pauses, allowing her to jump astride it in a practiced motion. Kicking her heels into its side wildly, the girl hoots as the cat resumes its walk. A quick check of Wikipedia informs me that the Panthera tigris is an apex predator and obligate carnivore, native to East and South Asia. I don’t believe San Diego is located within either region… but it gets hard to tell sometimes.

The sky darkens momentarily as a dragon flies overhead. Or maybe it was a plane.

“Hey, Robin.” Billiam calls me back to the conversation.

“Sorry, what?”

“I said what’s wrong with Atlantis?”

“Um, Atlantis isn’t a real place…”

I’m 65% sure that Billiam is a hologram.

Officially, there are no sentient holographic images yet. Officially. But the problem with an obligatory collective conscious web is the lack of filterization. The Resonance is beyond this sort of control. The holos were introduced at least a year ago.

Billiam scoffs and falls back into his grin. “What do you mean not a real place? Didn’t we go there last year for Spring Break?”

“Well, yeah.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“Come on, man. We all know Atlantis is no more real than that tiger. The island nation belonging to Poseidon that sunk into the ocean eleven thousand years ago. The Atlantic Ocean, I might add.”

“Quoting Wikipedia again?”

“Paraphrasing. Please.”

“You know, I don’t get you sometimes. So much reliance on the Resonance, and yet you doubt it so.”

My problem is not with the holos. I’ve been to Atlantis, that digital paradise twelve miles off the coast of California, with its attractive native population, perfect weather, and exotic architecture.

But is anyone building anything real anymore? What is the benefit in building something when it can all be programmed into the collective consciousness? Are there any real hairstylists anymore? Actual pet shops?

It is easy to become paranoid, growing up in a society raised on science fiction. But this isn’t the Matrix. The world is still real so far, I was alive before the Resonance was activated.

But I wonder what all of the physical scientists are doing now that computer science has taken over the world? What does it even mean when you teleport a living creature to a place that doesn’t exist?

I have been to Atlantis, I realize with a start. What does that mean?

“You there, Robin?”

I’m 65% sure that Billiam is a hologram.

And what is the benefit in being human in this digital age?

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