February 13th Prompt

What is a current news story that interests you? Set that story far in the future, on another planet, or in an alternate universe.

Dulcich sat on a bench near Ocean Park. It was Thursday, January 16th, 2673.

He had a term paper due the next day, but wasn’t worried. He had plenty of time.

The class was Alternative Histories and Religions. The topic he had to write was about ancient social media sites popular among humans in the Golden Age of Empty Engagement.

After watching the waves break on an isolated shore for 6 seconds, Dulcich exited his simulation chamber and started throwing some buzzwords rapid style into his Cognitive Arkin Predictor (CAP). The technology was a bit dated, but he enjoyed the archaic feel of audibly shouting the cues as opposed to the newer model which was based on a CAP with telekinetic capabilities.

“Zoomers! Depression! Virtue signaling! Fake news! Dance party! China counter surveillance!”

He had taken some key terms from an older physical manuscript called a textbook. The new holobook publishers had partnered with anti-cheating software companies to ensure students didn’t plagiarize ideas using the CAP, but some old textbooks were so randomized that the text strayed outside the algorithm which would be flagged by the Academic Law Enforcement (ALE).

Dulcich didn’t have 100% assurance from the black market vendor who had sold him the textbook, but he would take his chances. The older model of the CAP combined with the textbook meant for a much smaller chance of ALE busting him back to a 30th year student. He had almost made it to 100 simulated years of higher education; getting pushed back would be a minor setback, but an irritating one that should be avoidable.

The CAP projected an initial snippet. The paper only had to be one page, which was excessive, but Paul the PB (professor bot) was old school and had pull with ALE as a former officer. Dulcich couldn’t risk pushing back as he had already been through two ALE investigations. A third infraction meant an automatic summons before the ALE board, which would almost certainly result in the long fall back to the embarrassing 30 year undergraduate status.

“Archives seached: 1.7 trillion. Results: 1 billion+.

Suggested Title: Dopamine Darlings: A Cross Medium Analysis of the Lost Generation of Gradual Addicts.

Excerpt (Playful Scholarly Version): The one about a lack of reliable sources. Speaking lies until apathy kicks in.Videoing a genuine reaction in a moment of emotional manipulation.

Dulcich thought it was a good start. He would graduate yet.

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