The year is 2718. Following the great catastrophes of the previous decade, mankind is headed towards extinction. No longer able to sustain a biological reality, humanity built virtual worlds from the dreams of its surviving members. To integrate man’s irrational desires with the facticity of his turbulent and all-to-often destructive past, a semi-autonomous intelligence was created to guide each dreamer towards a critical point where he or she could die in peace. Over the numerous trials, several notable cases are recounted from the agent’s logs.
I’m on a sailboat with an old man in his late 50’s out on the open sea. We’ve been hounded for days by a pack of sharks that seek to pull us into the dark depths from behind. Yet, we never see these hunters for when we turn to meet them head-on, they appear as harmless pools of fish which we caught and ate. When I asked my fearful companion as to whom his enemies in life were, he responded, my friends, for they always in secret tried to outdo me in my endeavors. I subsequently transformed myself into his image. As we sat back-to-back, both fish and shark were no more but we began to starve. Realizing his error, he turned towards me and then dove into the sea.
I awaken aboard a space telescope orbiting a planet. My co-astronaut is a scientist taking scrupulous photos of distant galaxies yet all of the photos that lined the walls appeared blank. I ask him what he’s looking for and he responds, hope. I take a closer look at the planet from a nearby window and I could hardly make out its features. Ashen clouds blotted out most of the oceans but after several orbits, the planet was undeniably Earth. Have you given whilst indicating the blank plates? He replies, I am looking for hope but I do not believe it can be found. I then produce a snapshot of a young woman, an estranged daughter I suppose. Find your hope in her, not in distant realms. He took a moment to ponder his situation and then gazed back upon Earth, perhaps the first in the longest time. The planet appeared less gloomy than before.
Upon a busy suspension bridge overlooking a great river stood a young woman in her early 30’s. She leans too far over the railings and plummets into the river. No one else along walking along the bridge seemed to take notice. The scene then repeats itself but with a different person. I conjecture that the real dreamer is hidden amongst the many faces that pass this bridge, wishing both to maintain anonymity and to be discovered. Respecting such conditions, I start saving each person over the next hundred or so iterations. After the last person was saved, I was greeted by a collective voice of those whom I saved, “thank you for caring”.