The Artificial Mirage
Publication: Aug. 2013
by: T. Warwick
Length : 210 print pages
Genre: Science Fiction / Adventure
A relentless pursuit from Vietnam to Saudi Arabia in which augmented reality distorts the nature of attachment and desire. In a world where augmented reality blurs the line between the real and the computer generated, Charlie cherishes the reality of Lauren.... His life as a young American banker in Vietnam seems idyllic until a series of events precipitate her disappearance. When her trail leads to Saudi Arabia, he must navigate a criminal underworld. The stakes grow higher as it becomes apparent that reality isn’t what it once was.
Dawn was approaching as they walked along the narrow cobblestone streets of a replica of Dubrovnik in one of the new residential zones on the periphery of District 12. He watched a woman with short blue hair in corduroys and a man’s dress shirt ambling along, lost in thought, with snippets of the Rubaiyat scripted on transparent panes of glass hovering around her. Beyond her, a young couple clung to one another on a faux wooden bench encapsulated in intimacy with their AR profiles turned off and secured by an impenetrable firewall with its logo twirling above them. The coast was far away, but Lauren’s hair was blowing in the AR wind that was programmed in the district to add effect. She squinted as she brushed away her hair and looked up at him with her trademark imploring eyes. “I love you,” she mouthed. A corner of his mouth tried to smile at her, and she beamed back with a look of absolute attention.
He needed to sit down and think for a moment. Everything would be just fine if he could just come up with a definite purpose and a plan for getting to it. They walked under a highway overpass. The long, wide street ahead was bereft of traffic all the way to the hazy horizon. He shut down Lauren and watched her dissolve. A taxi scooter with its green AR beacon floating above it turned a corner and approached. He waved the driver down and flicked him his GPS destination as he hopped on the back. There was a flurry of corporate logos and street lights and signs and arrows indicating the way to a restaurant or lounge. He felt calm as he looked up at the stillness of the plants and the laundry cascading off the sides of the balconies lining the narrow streets and wide boulevards. Above was only darkness; there were no stars and no moon.