Techno Weenie in Cyber City


It was the day of the annual science fair at Tech High. Entombed within the school gym was an assortment of projects that foretold the wealth of a coming generation, from Neil “Nan0b1te” Hubort’s new A.I. framework to Rogerto “Rewr1table” Muckerson’s skip-resistant optical drive. All such projects were not without their appeal to physical aestheticism. The digital lighting scattered reflections that lit up their sleek designs. Such a display can be likened to that of a tight-fitting sequin dress. It was definitely an inventive time for technology and its modulators.

Reverberations of whirring mechanical apparatuses mingled with sounds of the local deep house/funk artist “Serial Porter.” Crowds encompassed one of the fair’s events. Two teams of students had prepped their decks with the latest software and hardware in order to compete in the mouse race. A “mouse” is an analogue device that converts hand movement into digital input for the computer to then process as an on screen “cursor” (See Appendix A). Students were attempting to see whose cursor could move the fastest. It was one of the more favored events as it epitomized, in one act, the connexion between man and machine. But even the mouse race couldn’t hold the crowd’s attention from what was about to happen next.

Serial Porter’s “Shift over Control” disappeared into a wall of scilence. As Donnie the “Digital DJ” began to hypothesis test in order to find the ROOT cause, the double doors to the gymnasium burst open. The unlicensed shareware version of Raw Dump’s glitch release “Megabyte My Hard Drive” flooded throughout the room, accompanied by a blast of sunshine. Everyone’s eyes needed time to adjust to the intense natural light they had deprived themselves of all day. As silhouettes came into focus, three figures were made recognizable.

Ricky “t-R!ckst3r” Palloy was the tallest and most slender of them all. He was sporting a sleek studded leather jacket and jean pants, with boots to match. The highlights of his wavy auburn hair swayed in the backlight. Even though he was a total tech geek, he was known to be one of the second-tier bullies of the school. His temper was almost as quick as his navigation of directory trees. The “t” in his “handle” (an online pseudonym used to identify the avatar of otherwise anonymous users [See Appendix B]) was short for Terminator.

“Looks like someone typed in the wrong IP address,” observed Franklin, attempting to remark below the hearing range of Ricky. Unfortunately, Ricky began to waltz in his direction, “Numerals are my game, Frankie!” Luckily for Franklin, principal Boggwater slid in between the two coolest kids in the school, “Alright that’s enough, this is totally uncyvilized of you.” Ricky smirked away the principal’s remark, “I’ll catch you some other time when your firewall isn’t around to protect you.” With that, he tossed the tail of his jacket toward all behind him and swam away on waves of tension.

Franklin’s heart had gone from 50 to 90 hertz in only a microsecond! “Boy, I sure am glad he logged off before he could upload his fist into my interface.” “Don’t lose a packet over him,” assured principal Boggwater, “He’s just a corrupt file.” “Hey Prince, I don’t think anyone’s ever told me the history of Tech High, where all this is taking place. I’d like to know a little bit about our history.” Just then, Franklin’s gang started to crowd around, interested in what the principal had to say.

Felicia was Franklin’s right hand man, except for the fact that she was a woman. She sported a sleek pair of shades that not only protected her eyes from harmful rays of the sun, but was also collecting a database of information at all times to which she would spend her nights organizing and labeling. Cordello was Franklin’s long time friend as well. He wasn’t as close as Felicia but he was also not a girl so that kinda made sense. His interest was more in culinary arts and he never really was into technology all that much. He mainly followed the gang around hoping to one day discover something that might enhance the food industry. With his lack of tech knowledge, however, he’d have to wait until someone stumbled upon it for him. He could make a bomb ass pizza though. Franklin gazed at his two friends in appreciation for their love and support of him. All of the sudden, the principal began to respond.

“Well, you see Franklin, our history goes a ways back. It all gets very complex. If you’ve ever tried to debug a .tao file then you’d know how intricate it can be. To give you the short of it though, your great great-grandfather started this school. He got tired of all the funding and reverence going to art students. So he created a haven for tech geeks like us. Unfortunately, due to local legislation that was enacted in 1954, we have to give equal treatment to all walks of student life, not to mention-” “Like those stupid art students?” Felicia quickly shouted. Principal Boggwater stumbled over such an interruption, “W-well, yes. We have to treat everyone with equal respect.” Principal Boggwater closed his sentence with a wink and the students nodded in acknowledgement. He continued, “But we still hold traditional standards out of respect for the foundations of this school. We’re still very much pro-tech.”

It was about this time that Franklin noticed everyone closing up shop, “Come on guys, let’s head to the home page.” As he said these words, he recalled the anarchy symbol on his fanny pack and began to experience a surge of animosity toward principal Boggwater.

They all mounted their rollerblades and left the school without further ado. “Where should we go now?” Felicia Morse coded into Franklin’s audio-retinal converter. Franklin hadn’t considered the thought. He was only following the path where he was hard-driven. Seeing as high school would be over soon and college an ever-impending reality, maybe Franklin should consider things more realistically these days.

Where am I really going? With my Tech High years coming to an end, it seems I need to reallocate my goals. Things were so much simpler when it was just me and the gang learning the difference between a cd-rom and floppy diskette. Now I feel like the transition means the difference from local access and the internet. They passed a bagel shop. I’ll figure something out. I don’t really wanna work for my dad’s software company. I hope he understands. I love my family. ~All is death~

“Huh?” inquired Franklin aloud. “We’re almost at your house,” said Felicia. Franklin figured now was as good a time to stop as any. He rolled into the driveway. His mom was just getting out of the car and waiting with a handful of grocery bags, “Hey kids. You guys hungry?” They all crowded around her, their salivated lips glistening in the summer sun. She saw the forwardness of their actions and became very afraid. Franklin’s mother had encountered nothing like this before. She felt the pressing meaninglessness of her existence. “Well come on it, there’s plenty for everyone.”

Dinner that night had left Franklin considering many things. He had barely talked through the whole meal and wasn’t sure if there was anything he even wanted to say. As he was about to make his way to his bedroom, he remembered that he hadn’t even shown his friends to the door. “I raised you better than this,” chided his mother. “Sorry mom.” Franklin began to show them outside.

Once outside, they began to inquire about what had been bothering Franklin. Of course, Felicia was the first to begin the trend, “Franklin, what was that all about in there? You barely even touched your food. The least you could’ve done was Print a ‘Hello World’ for us.” Franklin shrugged it off with a lighthearted smile, “Maybe I’m just tired from all the excitement today. I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.”

Later that night, Franklin sat awake in bed. There’s just all these if-then statements running around in my mind, how things could have turned out had I chosen a different path. Where is my life going? Unable to sleep, he rose himself from his bed and started up his vanilla deck. It was the deck he used for basic surfing, without all the flair. Sitting at his computer, going through the old routines, he began to entertain certain trains of thought. Maybe all I need is something new, a change. Maybe I need to shake things up. All manner of ideas and thoughts began to race through his head. He felt alive. He felt rejuvenated. Though his mind was full that night, sleep found him easy and he anticipated the next day at school.