Kid Error Meets a Garbage Can Man

Kid Error is the name he decides on. User Error can’t remember what the name of this alternate body he’s now stuck in is, so that’s what he’ll go with until he learns otherwise. It hits him that he’s just a bunch of wiggly little molecules all bonding together and doing their thing in the shape of whatever form he’s in now, and it’s really tripping him out. He wishes he could show Sanford his new digs, but Sanford’s back down there, in the tunnels, alone, probably wondering why User Error won’t wake up. He can tell Sanford’s trying to wake him, because every once in a while an image flashes in front of him, Sanford’s face, giant, with wide eyes and a frown, telling User not to die on him. User wants to go back to his old body just to tell Sanny D it’s gonna be okay, but he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to come back to this body, and he’s still got unfinished business he needs to take care of.

He doesn’t know where the sciencey dude that’s been keeping him in cryo sleep is, but he knows that when he finds him, he’s gonna blast him. He’s never fired a gun before, and this blaster looks super futuristic-like, but he’s pretty sure it’s just a point-and-shoot situation. He leaves the room he’s been kept in, blaster in hand, stolen sciencey overcoat on, and he looks both ways. There are more sciencey dudes wandering the halls, but they’re far enough away that they don’t see Kid Error. He puts his back to the wall like the action dudes he’s seen on faded old VHS tapes, but he stops when he realizes it’s super inefficient and slow-going, so he crouches a little and walks quietly instead.

More flashes, this time of his parents’ faces. He wouldn’t quite recognize them as User, but as Kid Error, he knows who they are. It’s like he has all of the memories of User but is being patched with a firmware update that adds in all of Kid’s memories. But it’s slow, like a crappy Windows 95 PC. It’s going one file at a time.

With the Sanford flashes and the parental flashes, it’s hard for Kid Error to focus on what he has to do. He keeps going anyway, down this hall that seems to go on forever, until he can hear the sounds of people coming from the direction he’s heading in. When he gets to the end, there are double doors that stretch from floor to ceiling, with frosted glass that refuses to show you what’s on the other side. Kid takes another step, and the doors open automatic-style.

In front of him are thousands and thousands of people, in a giant open room that makes the biggest tunnel in the underground look like a claustrophobic drainpipe. He opens his mouth, but he can’t breathe, like a sewer fish that accidentally flopped out of the water and now doesn’t know what in the frak to do. There are scattered shops leading to a huge bazaar where all the biz is going down, restaurants with posters that just say “EAT” on them, and bands playing in every corner of the warehouse-room, all of the sound coming together into one symphony of crazy. All the people are wearing relatively normal clothes. A little futurey, but recognizable. Kid decides his baggy overcoat would give him away, so he tosses it into a garbage can and starts to walk away. A voice coming from behind stops him:

“What in the world was that for?”

Kid turns around. It’s the garbage can. It has wheels at the bottom and a plastic garbage bag sticking out at the top, but Kid now notices that it also has a face.

“That was very rude. I don’t just toss things into your head, do I?”

“Oh, I’m… Shiz, I’m sorry, man. I thought you were a garbage can.”

If Kid didn’t know any better, he’d say that the garbage can’s getting all choked up.

“I was a garbage can. But I’m not anymore. How’d you like it if I called you a fetus, human boy?”

“I’m sorry, really. I’m new here.”

“New?”

Shit.

“Uh, I mean, I don’t come around here that much. Just, uh… play video games in my room?”

“A homebody, eh? Well you’ve a lot to learn about manners, human boy. I’ve been around for 400 years, and…”

“Wait, did you say 400? Like 4-0-0?”

“Yes. Are you deaf?”

“So you’ve been on this plane thingy for 400 years?”

“Of course, as has everyone else. You’re a strange child, human boy.”

Kid Error’s stomach drops.

“What year is it?”

“2400, of course. Wait, you’re not committing time crime, are you?”

The garbage can man looks for an authority to shout for.

“Time criminal! Time–”

Kid Error kicks the can man and tells him to shut it. He does.

“Okay, okay, so I’m not from here. But please don’t tell anyone. I need some help.”

Can Man looks around.

“The punishment for facilitating time crime is–”

“I’m not a time criminal, whatever that is, okay? Sheez. I’m originally from the underground. I live in the tunnels. Sorta.”

“Tunnels? Underground?”

“Yeah. Look, listen, it’s not important. What’s important is that you help me get out of here. Show me what’s what. Can you do that?”

“Well, I…”

“Look, you’re a good dude. I can tell. I’m sorry I called you a garbage can, but can you give a weirdo human boy a hand?”

“I don’t have hands. Nor would I want any, what with their gangly-looking fing–”

“You know what I mean. You gonna help me or not?”

Can Man look around again, then turns back to Kid Error.

“Come with me.”

Kid Error follows after Can Man, and the two of them roll/walk away.

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.