Damn, It’s a long way down.
I wonder how Mr. Tamazaki made this cliff; it must have taken him weeks for him to program this. What a genius he is. He has got to be one of the most talented Pixels in the programming field. I wonder if I could ever become as talented a Pixel as he is. I wonder if he learned architectural programming all by himself or he was taught by another Pixel at iLand University. But it’s tough to believe that there’s a Pixel on iLand who would be good enough to teach Tamazaki programming. He’s got every single detail about this cliff just right. The brick-red tint of the stones, the dimensions of the path on this cliff, even the slight humidity feels good. Actually it feels familiar. As if I’ve been to this cliff before. I feel slightly sad about this familiarity, I don’t know why.
“Next!” shouted Ms. Lauren.
Get ready, Kai. It’s your turn to jump.
* * *
A pop-up shows: “Eva Huffington is online now”
“How was Cliff Diving class at Recall Cliff? I saw photos on Facebook the other day! It looked like so much fun!”
“Yeah it was amazing. I had such an adrenaline rush when I jumped and also I got to see Mr. Tamazaki’s creation!”
“Isn’t he amazing? I heard he programmed the waters below the cliff too!”
“Yeah, I heard. Everything from that cliff felt so familiar.”
“Wasn’t it your first time there?”
“Yeah, but I felt like I may have been to a similar cliff before… Maybe a long time ago”
“What? Similar? What do you mean similar? Recall Cliff was an original design by Mr. Tamazaki. I wouldn’t think he hacked someone else’s designs. He would never do that.”
“I didn’t mean that. I mean it feels like I’ve been on the same cliff before.”
“What? No Way. I know for a fact that Recall Point is 100% Mr. Tamazaki’s creation. It was featured on The Architectural Programmer’s Journal and named the Top 100 Most Amazing Creations of iLand. Recall Point was definitely a unique design; I don’t think you’ll find the same cliff anywhere else in iLand. “
“No, Eva… Never mind. It’s not important. Hey I’m working on my Python XXII class assignment, catch you later in at Nancy’s Noodles?”
It’s a good thing I had an excuse to leave the conversation. I wonder what would’ve happened if Eva asked further. She would probably bombard me with more questions, and eventually post something on her Facebook wall. People will start talking about me. The Department of Security and Privacy will definitely suspect something of me. I will probably be sent to the Troubleshoot Center, and be tested. Then, I will probably be charged for Subconscious Dishonesty Level 1.5, and I will probably have to be forced to log off for twenty minutes.
What a nightmare.
A pop-up shows: “Eva has left the conversation”
* * *
Eva was sitting at the corner of the bar with Thierry and Nasri. It seemed like Nasri and Thierry were in a serious discussion. I can’t put together what their discussion was about.
“I don’t think it’s possible. He’s probably working on a new project and wants to be closed away from the public”, Nasri said.
“But Tamazaki has never done that before. I bet it has something to do with the recent news”, argued Thierry.
I walked towards the group, and sat down.
“Hi what would you like to order?” the waiter asked.
“I would like a Chicken Noodle Soup, a Zinc pill, and a Vitamin C pill”
“That’s all. How long would it take?”
“I’ll send you your pills in a minute, but 5 minutes for the 3-D printer to make your Chicken Noodle Soup and deliver to your chair”.
“Okay, thank you so much.”
The waiter walked away. Thierry and Nasri were still in a heated discussion.
“I’ve follow his activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, AND The iLanders Magazine. He has never gone offline on all those social media platforms for this long”, said Thierry.
“So, what are you guys talking about?
“Kai, did you notice anything when you were at Recall Cliff?”
Oh no. Did Eva tell them about how I said the Recall Cliff looked like “something I’ve seen before”? Did they though that Recall cliff looks familiar too?
“No, not anything in particular. Just that it was really well programmed. Tamazaki’s work is really something”.
“Tamazaki has gone offline for almost 5 months now. His fans are worried and his investors angry. His likes on all of his social media platforms have fallen sharply from 1.3 million to 1.1million within these 5 months, his investors have been losing BitCoins”, Thierry said.
“Also, recently, there’s been a trending conspiracy theory that Tamazaki is offline because he has either became a rogue hacker, or that he has left iLand”, says Eva.
“He could be working on a new project you know”, said Nasri.
The volume on the TV turns up. A journalist reports something on iNews.
“Recall Cliff has totally disappeared, and only an empty land is left. Investigators are suggesting that the disappearance have only occurred two days ago.”
A couple in cliff diving attire is being interviewed by the journalist.
“We came here on vacation and wanted to look at the magnificent Recall Cliff that Mr. Tamazaki created. We thought we were at the wrong place but we checked our GPS and it said we were at the exact co-ordinates. The entire cliff was just not there.”
“SEE! Something is awry. Tamazaki must be…”
Thierry, Eva and Nasri continued to discuss about Tamazaki. My food arrived to my seat, and I ate it in silence.
* * *
As I walked back home, I heard more passersbies talking about Tamazaki. It seemed like the news of Tamazaki’s disappearance was spreading, and the news will continue to trend for a while.
I walked past the financial district, and I saw a group of Pixels crowding at the Trading Market Center where a huge screen showed the rise and fall of socialites. Tamazaki’s name was in red with a downward triangle next to his name. It seemed like his ratings are going down by the second. I saw another group of Pixels across the street with banners that read “#FindTamazaki” and “PrayForTamazaki”. They had a booth with iTablets for Pixals to post a prayer on God’s Facebook page or tweet out a prayer on their Twitter accounts. I wonder God’s comment be.
Tamazaki, the missing of Recall Cliff, and the fact that the cliff was missing kept circling in my mind. Why would Tamazaki be offline for that long? Was Tamazaki the one who deleted Recall cliff? What would happen to the trading market if Tamazaki’s ratings continue to fall? Tamazaki’s life long reputation would just go to waste. So many Pixels in iLand tried to build their reputation in order to tap into the trading market. They pursued whatever talents they had in order to become successful; others who did not have any talent at all remained admirers of socialites. Tamazaki was very talented in architectural programming, which was a booming field. But also, he was one of the few who had the personality and charisma to match his talents. And yet, it seems like he is throwing it all away.
A guy on a hover board speed past me, then I realized I had walked past my apartment. Seemed like I was at the border of the city. A holographic board read:
Vivanda – 22 kilopixels ahead
Januvy Bay – 33 kilopixels ahead
Recall Cliff – 36 kilopixels ahead
If I import my hovercraft from my inventory, I can reach Recall Cliff in about 30 minutes.
* * *
I arrived at Recall Cliff after 32 minutes, and I saw nothing. The cliff was gone as reported by iNews. I walked around and examined the bare land. There were no rocks, no waves; just a quiet and still shore. I liked the peacefulness, so I sat there staring at the setting sun. I tried to remember where had I seen the vanished cliff before. I don’t remember any image vividly; I just felt a mild sadness.
As I left what used to be Recall Cliff, I felt something unusual on the ground; a moist patch of sand on the ground. As I examine it, it seems like the data of the ground is disintegrating; the sand quickly turns into mud that pulls my feet slightly. I pull my leg away, but the more I try, the more I am being pulled into the mud. Half of my body is now immersed in the mud, then my chest, my neck, and my eyes.
I see nothing now.
* * *
When I opened my eyes, a group of Pixels was crowding around me. I had never seen any of these Pixels before. There were old, and young, male and female. I looked closely to my far right, and I see a figure approaching me. It is Mr. Tamazaki.
“Don’t panic.” He said.
“We are not here to harm you.”
“Where am I?”
“You’re technically at the bottom of where Recall Cliff was.”
“Why am I here?”
“Because you still remember about where you came from.”
Everyone became silent, and so did I.
Where we ‘came from’ was never a topic that is openly discussed in iLand. Everyone indulged himself or herself with all the perfection that iLand provided us with, and after some time, we became so occupied with what iLand had to offer, that we stopped thinking about where we came from. Most people even forgot where they came from because where they came from was so chaotic that it brought up painful memories. It was just much happier for Pixels to focus on iLand.
“Do you remember about Velcrum”, Tamazaki asked me.
I don’t remember anything about Velcrum, but I felt a slight sense of anger in me. I don’t know why. I shook my head.
“Of course you don’t remember about Velcrum yet. iLand had become such a huge distraction for Pixels that you will need some time to remember your past vividly. But it won’t be difficult because you are some of the few Pixels who still remembered something from your past. That’s why the mud pulled you down. I programmed the ground to detect the motions and sensations of any Pixel who walked above it, and when a Pixel is detected to think/feel about anything other than iLand, the mud pulls the Pixel down.
“What are you planning to do with all these Pixels?”
“We’re going to rebel against iLand, and save our people.”
“Yes, our people; people who were our real family and friends; people that we saw with our eyes, talked to with our voices, touched with out hands, listened with our ears.”
“And what or who are we saving them from?”
“Velcrum. Velcrum is the organization that has been abusing our people from our past, and they are responsible for all the chaos that happened. We found out that iLand has been programming for Velcrum’s military machines, devices, tanks, jets, armory, everything. “
“But I don’t know anyone from this “past” that you say. I am here just because of a mere coincidence. I don’t want to be a part of this rebellion. I am just a college student in iLand, nothing else. “ I argued.
Tamazaki stops. He walks closer to where I am, and examines my face.
“When you were at Recall Cliff, you felt like you’ve been there before. That is because you have been somewhere similar to Recall Cliff. I built Recall Cliff based on the cliff back where we came from. It was a way for me to remember about my past.”
He paused, and he looked around the room, and then continued.
“You are here in this room not only because of your own choices, but also every choice made by your real family, your real friends, and the countless generations of people before that. Their lives are the reason for your being. How did you think you ended up here in iLand? You thought you made it here in iLand because of some tests that showed you were a highly qualified Pixel? You did not “make it” here because you were more capable than others who did not pass the iLands Pixel applications. You are here because you were lucky enough to be the one who reaped the benefits of your people’s hardships. Our people gave us an opportunity to leave, and we took it with dignity but not gratitude. Our lives have been changed for the better, and we have had that privilege for more years than we deserved. Now that we’ve found a way to stop Velcrum, we cannot feed our ignorance anymore. “
I can start to recall some images that Tamazaki said; the tanks, the jets, and more importantly, some faint faces of Pixel-looking people.
Tamazaki stared at me, and said, “We are not Pixels; we are humans. And it’s time for us to go back to where we came from. Are you coming with us?”
2 thoughts on “Recall Cliff (iLand fiction)”
This is a really cool story! It was a very interesting read. I love the ideas you guys have come up with for iLand, they’re all so appropriate and relatable. So when I heard you guys present on iLand in class, it seemed more like a voluntary retreat sort of thing, where people nominate themselves and are chosen to participate based on their popularity on social media… that’s sort of how I imagined it! But I see here that you put a darker twist on the intentions of the organizers of iLand, which I definitely like. It makes me wonder whether people could be “born” into the system, and live through their avatars, never knowing that in reality they’re just sitting on a chair, consuming pills for nutrients, and that everything they see is all just virtual? That has got a very Matrix-y vibe, love it. I also want to say I sort of like this society the best because programmers hold all the power and they seem to be celebrities, which would work out really great for me!
I like how detailed your story is, especially the description about the cliff. The part about logging off for twenty minutes made me laugh because of how true it is in today’s society. If I am not in class I constantly checking my phone and twenty minutes would seem like a nightmare. I wonder how the group will go after Velcrum when all that brought them together was a slight memory about the past. They do not seem to have much information about their “enemy” either. I would love to read what happens next in this story, but the open ending definitely leaves room for imagination.
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