Seeing Double

User Error is no longer User Error. Or at least he’s not at the moment. At the moment, he’s a kid in a cryo pod, waking up to unimaginable cold and stiffness, and the only thing that he can bring to mind when he asks himself who he is is an image of a transparent purple Game Boy Color being taken apart. He–or rather, the kid–is taking it apart. His vision is tunneled like he’s stuck in this kid’s POV, and he watches as the kid improvises with the tools at his disposal. Within seconds, the portable’s cyber innards are exposed, wires and speakers and metal contacts disconnected from the familiar plastic buttons that usually push them. Divorced from the rest of the system, the screen looks sleek beyond its years, thin and smooth and with a ribbon cable at the bottom that connects it to the rest of the hardware. The kid is careful not to sever any connections as he spreads the Game Boy’s disparate components as far as he can stretch them. The tiny portable assumes the dimensions of a chunky old PC, with its screen way up there, speakers stretched to there and there, controls yanked way far down. The kid pulls out two Game Boy cartridges–Pokémon Red and Blue. He takes them apart with a speed that lets you know he’s done this before. When they’re both open, he swaps the cases so that Red appears to be Blue and Blue appears to be Red. He closes them back up and pops in Red-Which-Is-Now-Blue. The screen lights up, blindingly bright, and the speakers let out that trademark Nintendo “DING!”

User’s back. Rather, he’s back in the present tense, back in the POV of this kid who must escape. Understood memories come back to him slowly as he pulls wires from his body and steals a doctor’s overcoat. Across the room is where his parents were back when he saw them awake, trying to free him before being blasted by that sciencey dude. But the details are fuzzy now. Were they really blasted, or did they just disappear? It’s hard to say. Waking up from cryo sleep is like swimming up from a great depth, from darkness so complete that the light at the surface seems like a mirage.

The Kid User gets the distinct impression that he’s going to be blasted by sciencey dudes if he doesn’t escape post haste. He rifles through the room and finds what looks to be one of those cool blaster dealies with a business end that’s all business. He goes back over to the two pods across the room from his own, where his parents once were but no longer are. Maybe they’re not dead. Maybe they escaped. But to where? Where was there to hide on a plane, even one as massive as this? They’d always find you in the end.

Kid User stops at a mirror before leaving the room. He’s a kid, but he looks cool for a kid. The back and sides of his head are shaved, with the cut on his right side going all the way up to the top of his hair line, where it makes a sharp, angled line all the way to the back of his hair. The rest of the hair on the top of his head is long, cut into what could be a mohawk, but he has it swooped over to the left side of his head. He has a scar on his left cheekbone he can’t place the origin of, and a scar that cuts through his right eyebrow. The overcoat he stole hangs loose on him, like a cloak. He looks down and finds that he’s wearing a Space Jam shirt and jeans. On his feet are fresh Adidas with the tongues sticking proudly up. Kid User nods at himself in the mirror, says “Let’s do this,” and exits the room, blaster at the ready.

When he opens the door, the sight he sees is enough to actually draw the breath from his body. He doesn’t know whether to shoot or run or stand perfectly still.


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