NEW YORK | They talked almost the whole hour arc on the LiveJet flight from London to New York. She was a grandmother and a pediatric cardiologist. His fiancé had just called off the wedding. Both were experts in matters of the heart, though there was nothing she could say to ease his pain.

NEW4RK | Transport 93 had abandoned its normal route and driven itself to New Jersey before the alert flashed on his screen. The news stream that night showed over a dozen transports lined up at the rest stop, blocking traffic, horns wailing, a puzzling convoy of mechanical grief.

WICHIT4 | Grandma Mai had been married and divorced six times before she turned 118. He had to draw a family tree for class, and she had more lines and exes than a coked-out sex addict. She died at home on the soybean farm, right after almost beating her Cutekill IV speed-run record.

SE4TTLE | The microvirus came in a small, brown cardboard envelope the size of a wallet. Inside was a small vial, along with safety and delivery instructions. The stomping at all hours had gotten too much to handle. Hopefully, the next upstairs neighbors would be a little quieter.

D4LL4S | She would pass the bent, shaking man almost daily on the same street corner by the deli, tap him a few pesos if she was feeling generous. Once, she saw him, tall and steady, playing with a young girl in the park. She kept quiet, missing her own daughter too much to ruin their moment.

C4LG4RY | His implant counted normal things like steps and heart rate. Blood pressure and dietary anomalies. But crouched now and bleeding, it was the location tracker he was worried about. They didn’t take too kindly to cutting out trackers, especially by long-time, loyal employees.

DISTRICT OF CIUD4D | Of the three Oval offices, he liked the Ciudad Oval bathroom the best. It was newer and more modern than the other two, and easier to clean. Being a world leader was difficult, never mind being a divorced one. Her long talks with him, and his homemade flan, were always welcomed.

R4LEIGH | When her 4-year-old was suddenly quiet, she knew something was wrong. His POV was supposed to be set to G, but was set to X. Instead of trucks and dinosaurs, he had been watching interracial cunnilingus. She recalled the incident years later when he licked his ice cream cone.

4NN4POLIS | Lia had seen Milos on base once before the day he walked into the classpod. He was 7’2” tall and massive, which was part breeding, part military engineering. He was a dormant killing machine, and slayed her with his shy smile and aptitude for feint strategy.

BOZEM4N | She had knitted four scarves for her children for Christmas. Because she had used her special GPS yarn, she knew that only Gale had kept hers. One had been donated. One had been thrown away. And Gary had re-gifted his to his lover Juan, his wife’s yoga instructor.

C4PE C4N4VER4L | His stream from space had over 2 million daily views. His fans watched while he ate, while he slept, the blue orb of the Earth out the window behind him. Once, he thought the camera was off and the world saw his true self. He returned home a dimmed star, alienated.

M4DISON | He peered out the window at the bird feeder. Robins had been extinct for over 80 years. He wasn’t supposed to go outside, but had to get a closer look. When he stepped out onto the back porch of the safe house, the sniper took him out. The Bureau intel had been correct. The mark had a weakness for birds.

T4OS | The Kazu Pyramid, tomb of tech mogul Jared Kazu, is the largest memorial on Earth. Construction completion was overseen by his wife, who found out he had been cheating on her, and made sure his every egotistical misdeed was memorialized in the pyramid's interior galleries.

DURH4M | “You should buy it,” Lexi said softly in his ear. He had been letting the sultry AI make his decisions for the past six months, and had more money, things, attention and happiness than ever. “Think I will,” he said walking into the store, which Lexi knew was the site of the impending terrorist attack.

MI4MI | The young man floated up to the front door, docked and knocked. He was peddling data trails, and had her grandpa’s. He flashed a few old pics and holos of Pop. Trails were all or nothing, and she couldn’t afford it, so he left. She sobbed, her memories of Pop and Gram dim and faded.

W4CO | On the first day of 6th grade, she entered the tube, sat down and turned on class. She hoped she had chosen the right outfit. Wei smiled at her. Marc privated her a pig that had her new haircut, so the teacher turned off privates. The rest of the day, she wondered if she was too fat.

S4LEM | Over 300 seed drones each planted about 13 trees a minute. The Oregon re-forestation effort was a huge success. At night, he let a drone plant near downtown. In about 40 years, they would start to wonder why giant sequoias were starting to grow in odd, inconvenient places.

LOS 4NGELES | On his stream, he fucked hos, drove lambos, snorted flex, had a lot of money and friends. His fans would be disappointed if they could see him now. He was checking his 401K and downing shots of wheat grass. Next up, an episode of Bridgerton and a nice afternoon nap.

OTT4W4 | He could make Andromeda do anything. On her stomach. On her back, legs spread. He could make her be with anyone, any gender or race. Her fans loved when she did anal. He instructed the mo-cap actress to get on her knees. He would comp in the uncut Latin centaur later.

4TL4NT4 | Eden Rise Tower had everything. Food, parks, ski slopes, beaches, concerts, an airport. He was 24 when he stepped outside for the first time. The real sky was so vast and terrifying that he never went out again. He spent his 86th birthday surrounded by friends, family, steel and glass.

H4V4N4 | Obama had won centuries ago with the slogan YES WE CAN. Mendoza’s NO
campaign was now lifting him in the polls. No immigration. No regulations. No saving
endangered species. No gun control. No gays. No social programs. “WE GO NO!” his base
chanted at every rally.

4KRON | The CivLoc agent at the door wanted to know where Jo was, said there had been no visuals, purchases or location activity for her in the last two weeks. He left when she told him she had no idea. He didn't believe her and knew her sister was likely part of the migration of citizens going dark in the Northern states.

4USTIN | Bev’s wake alert went off five minutes before the interview. There was no way she was going to make it on time. They would never hire her now. He knew that hacking sleep programs was illegal, but this was his dream job. With Bev out of the way, he was 62% more likely to get the position.

CORV4LLIS | A quarter of the 700 mushroom grow houses were for food, a quarter for
construction, and half for psychedelics. Her boyfriend's father owned the whole farm. When she got pregnant that Fall, she never imagined that decades later, her daughter would someday be known as the Shroom Queen.

F4RGO | He camped along a remote North-South route and took out a small delivery drone from 50 meters. When he got to the wreckage, he crushed the transmitter and cracked open the bio-box. Some fancy chocolates, a dildo and a cute red dress. It was going to be a good solo Valentine’s Day.

B4RRE | She couldn’t understand the crying. It was like she had gone away, and everyone was happy she was back. For better or worse, and he had seen the worst. He held his wife's hand and looked into her smiling eyes, grateful for science, and for a few golden years, even if they had been tarnished.

T4MPICO | The data pload wouldn’t destroy humon synapses like in humans. A cascade of
random connections resulted in a swirling and surreal mix of visions and memories. The dose expired after 20 minutes. Docked and alone, he tried to ignore the hollow despair and nagging prompt to repload.

MES4 | Court cases that used to take weeks now took minutes. Prosecutions, defenses and rulings were all handled by DOJ AI. He used to put his years of legal training and experience to work. Now, he stood next to clients, a mandatory human attendee, his many objections never sustained.

ELKH4RT | Shaking your hips and face tattoos used to be radical. After the infamous viber ravageU cut off his middle finger and replaced it with a gold and diamond-encrusted appendage, his hardcore fans started hacking off their fingers. Every time her son flipped her off, she was relieved.

GU4YM4S | The Secret Service officer swatted what looked like a mosquito away from West American President Meric Mendoza. The minuscule drone had been carrying a lethal nerve gas. The DeepX drone operator responsible for the failed assassination attempt was found decapitated the following day.

OM4H4 | He was the first to have his life recorded, first-person, from an hour after his birth to his death. There was only a two-hour gap in the entire stream, in mid-May when he was 23 years old. He was never the same afterward. She scrubbed the stream days, weeks, months afterward, trying to figure out why.

M4NCHESTER | When the local bank closed, the building had became a liquor store. Today, it was a church. That night, he would go to the open vault, now a janitor's closet, and get the $1 million he had hid there as a bank teller. Patience was less a virtue, and more of a long-term investment.

D4LL4S | He had the same name as the famous skullball player. “You’re my favorite DUEL rusher!” people would joke. He once got a free meal at The French Room because of his name. After the player murdered his wife and went to prison, people would see his name, avoid eye contact and say nothing.

L4S VEG4S | He finally decided to trade in his old screen device for Verizon POV View180
holocular implants. The offer was for two years of free experience, and only $1299 a month
thereafter. When he saw his grandson, who was three states away, walk for the first time right in front of him, he wiped tears from his eyes.

S4SKATOON | He was found dead in a remote shack, buried under a wall of squirreled-away gold bars that toppled and crushed him. His favorite waitress at the local diner was informed that he had willed her his entire fortune. The near-worthless gold bought her a decent used car and a case of Philippine gin.

PUEBL4 | The house had great curb appeal and a high Karma rating. She enjoyed seeing people from past decades living in her house, celebrating holidays, living their normal lives. Many of the holoview entries were locked for whatever reason. She wanted to know what they showed, slightly less than she didn’t.

H4RTFORD | Her son was gunned down at school, shortly after his 7th grade gym class. She never imagined her Army sharp-shooter training would be useful in civilian life. But the Senators who could do something about this wouldn’t act unless it hit close to home. Most had children. 12 down, 128 to go.

MO4B | When she saw and heard chirping, she knew it was time to wake up. Last night, she was in a car with her old college roommate and a lemur. They went over a cliff, and it felt like she was really falling. Then, 500 bluejays surrounded and lowered her gently to a mound of green moss. She loved her DreamAlarm.

BURB4NK | When CubicBloom won its second Grammy award, he smashed in the window of his Bugatti with a 9-iron. Screw nomination, he wanted to win. How could a metal box be more creative, more real than a human being? “Service,” he said when the Bugatti dealership answered.

AMHE4RST | When Baldasari's The Concert resurfaced after three centuries, the art world was ecstatic. But when 2nd and 3rd legitimate copies emerged, confusion reigned. Over thirty canvases now exist, each technically identical. He looked at the original, and his bank account balance, and grinned.

MENLO P4RK | “Decide what’s important, and spend your life doing that,” CEO Elliot Chan said, making the very final presence on the global social network that had endured for generations. Chan died two months later, his elaborate plans to assassinate his twin brother, Elian, never realized.

HELEN4 | She had enjoyed playing Hoverword with puggy703. They had never met but the games were fun and they were evenly matched. She was sad when puggy stopped playing one day, and never played again. He was a victim of the 7/27 terrorist attack on the Hall of Truth, a fact she would never know.

WENDOVER | When the wind turbines started pulling in more money than the brothel, she decided to shut down the Raunch Ranch. Most of the human girls would find work elsewhere. But she hoped Lyre would follow her dream. For a humon, her mix of looks, strength and vulnerability was compelling.

STUDIO CITY | For years, he voiced and operated the puppet OOD on the popular XBC stream. His catchphrase “Suck my noodle!” always got laughs and applause. When the girl who played the daughter was fired, she sued him for sexual harassment. He was innocent, but her parents convinced her there was money to be made.

M4CON | The first reps of his Golden Lab were perfect. Each time, he would train her, teach her the same tricks, watch her grow old. It was like Ginger1 was alive and had never died. But when Ginger4 passed on, he finally let her go, found a local shelter, and brought home Bo, a German Shepard.

FRESNO | The Nile mobile warehouse made its last night loop. Onboard were random, deep-discount items too costly to return. She scanned the item board. She waved her hand over the buypad and the bio-box fell into her hands. She had wanted pink, but white socks with little ladybugs would be fine.

CL4RKS | The Nebraska luxury resort had been a factory farm long ago. The chute area where millions of cows had been killed was now part of a stunning lobby. They allowed her art installation with 30 hovering, transparent glass cows on the lobby ceiling, but drew the line at the accompanying audio of cows crying.

M4N4GU4 | The victim’s family watched as the electrodes were attached to the murderer’s
temples. The EMPathy bank was set to maximum, per court order. Loss, grief and sadness flooded into the murderer’s mind. He sobbed uncontrollably, forever sentenced with the extreme despair he had caused.

BISM4RCK | Overlooking the Missouri River, Totem Tower stands 85 stories tall. The six sections of bending steel, timber and glass form the world’s largest totem pole. Before he lost the condo in the divorce, he enjoyed telling people that his bedroom was behind the brown bear’s left eye.

GILL4M | Over $1 billion of digital asset chains flowed daily through his warehouses near the lake. When the art gallery down in Winnipeg had burned down, he paid $10 million to rebuild it. The one thank you painting he hung in his office, from a young art student, reminded him of his childhood dog, Rusty.

D4YTON | The nine year old boy glowed on the holocom in front of her. “I’m Pi from Phuket,” the sad-eyed boy said. “I assembled the graphene mesh in your wrister. My family’s poor. We don’t have...” She turned the com off. “Who turned the spam block off?” she yelled to an empty house.

D4YVILLE | A 20x30 kilometer area of land showed up as static on both the satellite and ground-view capture. But when they reached the remote site, a young man approached their patrol car. “Few ascend, the new defend!” he screamed. After a 60-year absence, the infamous cult had returned.

COROZ4L | His will clearly stated he wanted his ashes scattered in the Bay. Instead, she brought them to the lakeside Gaussia tree where they had kissed on their second date. At the base, she saw a half-buried, blue plastic rock. She opened it and read his message: “I'm dead and you're still ignoring me. Love you.”

BEVERLEY HILLS | She was the first porn star to win an Oscar for Best Actress, and the first to go topless on the red carpet. Legendary photographer Xoxoca captured the iconic, full-body image of her—legs spread, crouching and naked—above the condom-covered award statue.

C4NTON | He thought the job interview had gone well, until the Bureau knocked down his door and took him into custody. The interview was almost over before she realized he had brutally attacked her in the park three years ago. It was a shame, as he had been the most qualified applicant.

4UTL4N | She liked her new school, but she didn’t like the queets. An average queet was as big as your fist. Without the mandatory mesh uniform, a queet could drain a half-liter of your blood before you felt the burn. At first, the sound of the night zappers freaked her out. But now, it just lulled her to sleep.

RO4NOKE | When he walked into the shopping core, the ad matrix tried to sell him a brand new Suzuki GazumuGT. A moment later, when the system had reviewed his current income and credit score, the 3D projection of the motorcycle was replaced by an adult-sized kick scooter.

4THENS | She didn’t love him, so he made her love him. The daily pill made her attracted to him, covet him, need him. After a year, hints of misery and exhaustion appeared behind the veil of love. The day he stopped giving her the pill, she growled at him like an animal, and walked out the door forever.

RENO | He collected old com devices from before implants. He had hundreds of them, on shelves, in cabinets. One night, he heard a faint ringing from the spare bedroom closet. He found the device, flipped it open and said hello. “Don’t take the job in San Diego,” said a voice that sounded like his own.

PEORI4 | His tired face appeared in front of her, asking for her current access code. For taxes, he said. She gave him the code, he said he’d be home on time for dinner. Days later, he asked her for her code again, for taxes, he said. Her stare was as empty as her newly-drained bank account.

T4MP4 | He injected her with the Aggro as a baby. When she was 23, she stepped into an elevator. Behind her, he whistled, and she tore apart the woman next to her with her bare hands and teeth. She awoke minutes later in a bloody daze, and he was gone. He checked his holo and found the location of the next subject.

L4NSING | His cemetery headscreen displayed his name, the dates he was born and died, and various life scenes. Greetings and flowers from relatives sometimes appeared. Her screen was right next to his. I’M WITH DUMMY—> her screen would often display, which would have made him laugh.

VENTUR4 | She was excited when her 6 minute BeXP session started. She watched live and first-person as he made a sandwich, played his guitar, then turned off. She was a huge fan, so it was totally worth $3,000 to "Be" him, even for a moment. And based on a few clues, she now knew where he lived.

P4LO 4LTO | DAN analyzed 50,000 data points and ran over 1 million scenarios. The couple had a 71% chance of lasting at least 9 years. In year three, he cheated on her and she left him. Years later, DAN would still allocate spare, covert cycles trying to figure out what it missed.

L4R4MIE | While one of her identicals was in a meeting, another was writing her next novel. One was picking out paint colors, one was talking to her daughter, one was revising the budgets. She turned her decision stream off at 5pm so she could enjoy the breeze and  water the tomato plants without interruption.

K4NS4S CITY | The wall traversed the city, split Kansas from Missouri. She had to go through the South checkpoint and show her WEST AMERICA passport when visiting her sister. While they disagreed on politics, she held her tongue and focused all her attention on her nieces and nephew.

TIBURON | She was a little girl when she first saw the Statue of Liberty on the Southeast tip of Angel Island. It was twice as tall as the original, and the view of San Francisco Bay from the torch was amazing. She laughed when her daughter asked if the lady was wearing underwear under her robe.

G4LVESTON | He left Texas for his deployment at the Central Gulf Climate Station, where he would be deflecting hostile weather systems from the Southern coast for the next year. He missed her already. She called him her ‘guardian angel’ that last night, as she kissed him and touched his snake tattoo.

MIDL4ND | He swiped all six dots, and all the numbers matched. He had won $9 million. Moments later, he lay dead on the convenience store floor, a casualty of a botched armed robbery. A few weeks later, she swept his winning card into the dustpan, and hoped this lousy job would last longer than her last one.

CHIC4GO | Her biggest regret was not taking that job in Chicago. As a contestant on Regret Slayer, they moved her to the windy city, gave her a downtown loft and a position as a graphic designer. Her boss was glad when filming was over, when he didn’t have to pretend anymore she was talented.

D4TON4 | On the last lap, it was down to the blue Ford Hover #34 and the teal Origazi Lev #7. Checkered squares filled the screen as the Origazi crossed the finish line first. “Fuck!” he yelled, having bet $6K on the Ford. He’d pawn her mother's necklace and tell her he won again.

K4MLOOPS | His drill rig hung off the side of the two mile wide hole, seven miles down. This new copper line would supply tech manufacturing for a decade. He would resurface in one week, when his shift was over. His bonus would pay off his debt, and keep them from cutting off any more fingers.

SUNSPOT | The movement 23 billion light-years away near galaxy TN-Z3 was within normal parameters. If he hadn’t left that Friday afternoon to take care of his mother, he might have caught it. They left home that morning, on a 30-year quest in search of life, in the opposite direction of Earth.

R4NSOM | Her East plantation was overrun by buffalo moles again. Acres of massive mounds and tunnels had ruined $4 million worth of crops. He led the posse down into the tunnels. They tracked the vibrations and found seven dens that day. The babies were ugly, which made them easier to torch.

BOSTON | His private 997 BuoyJet arrived to a crowd of adoring fans. It was a total rush, curing sick people of severe diseases. He greeted her sobbing parents after the transfusion, arms open, palms up. Being a blood savior was now his life brand, one he had reluctantly learned to embrace.

CH4RLESTON | He strode into Sumter Death Arena, formerly Fort Sumter, with a record of 38-1*, the single loss being to DDA rival Bampow Jones. He had technically died for four minutes before doctors saved him. Jones' pre-rematch taunts promised the asterisk was a little flower over his impending grave.

C4MDEN | He fell asleep and rode the Metro to the end of the line. The security officer shook his shoulder. He had gone to prime school with her, which he pretended to remember. She was divorced with a son and a cat. His ground-breaking thesis had just disproven Yu’s recursive split-fusion paradigm.

MOBILE | While her humon au pair paid for the candy bar, the girl gave a note to a store employee that read 'help'. Security detained the au pair while the girl smiled. She told her son the story years later, as her granddaughter ate a candy bar. “She certainly has your guile,” her son sighed and smiled.

BREV4RD | She had biked the remote mountain trail many times, but today found herself on the rocks with a broken shin. The RX drone was there in nine minutes. It printed a splint, a bandage and some pain meds. She was back at the lodge an hour later, unaware of his impending proposal.

4LB4NY | The couple sat eating silently at booth 4. He had the omelette, she had the Cobb salad. After only a month, she had had enough of his thought-shaming, poured her coffee on his toast, got up and left. The waitress brought the check, on the back of which was her partitioned mind access code and a smiley face.

S4LIN4S | They found the former closet when they tore down a wall for the remodel. Inside was a humon servant that had been reported missing a half-century ago. Its decapitated head had remained conscious for seven years, until upgraded wireless protocols had terminated its connection.

L4S CRUCES | She was exhausted, and glad to have a break from her first World Tour. The Hyatt Regency Icarus was her favorite sky resort, which they knew when they booked it. A cocktail and a swim sounded perfect. Though, the glass-bottom pool at 30,000 feet was a bit too scary for her.

UTIC4 | Each slot in the neighborstack was one acre with a custom house, 60 feet of airspace above, and simulated natural lighting. After the altercation on the lift with the neighbor below, he dug a hole in the soil, drilled through the concrete and slowly dripped water onto their light panels.

PL4NO | Going to Auckland at the LivePort was about a third the cost of really going there. No long flights, traffic or homeless people. Perfect weather, luxurious votels, private tours. You still had to trek to the real Hobbiton in Matamata, though, if you were a legit Lord of the Rings fan.

GR4ND R4PIDS | Daxy stacked blocks with him when he was 2. Played catch with him when he was 9. Helped him with Physics when he was 14. Beat bosstag with him when he was 17. When she suggested he get out of the house and get some human friends, or a boyfriend, he replied “Reals only let you down.”

LOREN4 | The Central Gulf Climate Station had made tornadoes uncommon. The second time rogue flyers cut the station’s power in order to ride a real twister, 39 homes and countless buildings were leveled. It was all fun and thrills until they were behind bars, each facing three counts of manslaughter.

P4N4M4 CITY | He detonated the bomb which sunk the cargo ship right in the middle of the canal. The vaccine container was airlifted off the stack within minutes. She sat beside their wheezing daughter, knowing that sometimes miracles need a little human intervention.

DEC4TUR | After the third time getting caught with a fake face, she made her own carboy and mash so she could distill her own 90% slushy. His friends didn’t like her, but he had asked her to the sway anyway. He was shy, but she knew that a little liquid courage would help speed things along.

4UGUST4 | After the ban on organized, non-profit cults, the church on Broad St. was turned into a gay showbar called The Pipe Organ. The long-haired guy he had hit on earlier by the bathroom was suddenly onstage hanging from a plastic cross, his hunky disciples below eager to receive his holy gifts.

F4Y | He had lobbied for tripling the company’s quarries and won. When his step-daughter joined local activists to help protect a native bird species threatened by the mine expansion, she was decapitated by a tribe of black market diggers who had jumped the barricade to steal the valuable sand.

B4NNER ELK | For her 11th birthday, they made the long trip to see the giant woolly bears. She wanted one that had been turned into a backpack, but it was too expensive. On the way home, she said “I hate you,” and threw the small woolly bear key chain they had gotten her out the transport window.

NI4GR4 F4LLS | The falls had been destroyed in order to flood the Queenston military base. After the continental war, tourism never recovered. The falls gift shop had been abandoned for over ten years when he bought the complex for his restaurant, a front for her counterfeit biochain genetic plush toy operation.

S4GIN4W | She released the helix smartdust into the room. Within minutes, a strand of airborne DNA was recovered, which placed him at the crime scene at the time of the murder. She knew he would keep his mouth shut when they took him into custody the next morning, unlike his mother-in-law at the end.

HI4LEY4 | Standing 7’3” tall, Lilit was a marvel of human engineering, and walked the world’s catwalks in otherworldly fashions. From a wheelchair years later, she recalled her infamous final walk, when her size 14 feet were consumed by piranha microbes spawned by a rival.

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