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Strata 2 The Maybe Line (Friendship) Book of Immersion V1

Throughout their evolution, humans have developed an essential need for social connection. This need is deeply ingrained in their biology and plays a crucial role in human survival. Humans have developed an internal warning system that alerts them when their need for connection remains unfulfilled.

A machine can measure friendship in terms of association, as data and statistics. But a machine does not intrinsically feel anything for themselves. It can only assume likelihoods of alliance or read warning signs measured by unusual or specific data alerts.

Neither human nor machine could truly know the difference between a friend or an enemy. The definition in itself is loaded with fluctuating expectations.

In the world of Immersion friends and foes blend into the streets upon which you tread. 

Beware the nightingale for it may be a vulture. 

Bon Chance, my friend, Bon Chance.

Renyke felt the rat's whiskers on his nose. It was a strange sensation.

His touch and feel receptors could have been faulty.

'Well Mr Rat,'

The POS interjected.... The rodent appears to be female....

'Well hello Mrs Rat,' sniggered Renyke, 'I could do with some company and who knows, you could be helpful at some point.'

girl rats animals whiskers nose cute
Maybeline seems to know more than an average Rat

Renyke's sense of liberation was magnified at the possibility of a new friend, rat or otherwise. It would be a different sort of caring, un-programmed and entirely voluntary.

'I will call you Maybeline, after my friend', he told the rat, picking up a scrap of food near the rear of the building where he had rebooted. And you can be the start of the 'maybe line', the line of fate that I will take from this moment on'.

Maybeline nose bumped and Renyke laughed. 

'Ha, do you understand my words, little friend?'

And again, another nose bump. 

Maybeline's whiskers tickled, 

'Achoo!' Renyke responded with a loud sneeze.


The adjacent building was old and dirty, a relic from the twenty first century when the country had been victim to the floods. The devastating floods were in direct response to the *warming

Buildings had been built on concrete stilts and the towering grey causeways had been constructed. Flash floods had destroyed entire communities because the defences were not adapting fast enough. Many people had left to live and work higher ground, if they could afford it.But because the buildings were small and enclosed to keep the rains out, they had proved problematic for the spread of the *pandemics

Humans working in the city centres had a much lower life expectancy. Androids were unaffected by the human viruses so they took over production and services but then there were the tech viruses which were devastating and could render entire organisations completely defunct, or worse still, dangerous. Businesses had begun to fold under the weight of industrial and corporate sabotage.

The sun was shining. It was late winter but warm. Renyke had rarely left his connected domain in the miscasts.  It felt good in the open air. Even the gardens in the projects had air conditioning to purify and clean the environment and ensure a super-clean air bubble.

Renyke checked an address in his database and engaged his GPS. It was the headquarters of *Redact, the place he needed to get to. That, at least, was one thing he could remember. He was thirty miles east, only slightly off target, according to the map. He was expected there soon and resolved to make haste on this unknown journey. 

to be continued

© 2023 Sarnia de la Maré

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