Kaos Presents: Life 2.0

Johnny walked up the steps to his apartment after a long day at work. He dragged his feet as he slowly worked his way up the building’s stairs, cursing the lack of an elevator the entire way. He finally reached his apartment and found a simple cardboard box addressed to him lying on the ground outside his door. He bent over, groaning as he did to pick it up, then headed into the apartment.

Once he got inside, he tossed his briefcase next to the computer and examined the box a bit more closely. It had a pretty simple label on it; his name and address but no return address. Just a company name: Kaos Corp.

He opened the box and found inside simply a CD case. Johnny smiled to himself, “Must be a new piece of beta software.” He read the label and it said “Life 2.0” His mind ran a bit, trying to figure out what it could be as he sat down to his very fancy computer.

The install process didn’t take that much time. Soon, he was staring at an intro. He brought over a pen and notepad and started to make notes. The intro was very well done in his opinion. It featured excellent graphics of people morphing into other people. Thin people morphed into big muscle people who then morphed into women, who then morphed into fat guys, and every variation that lied in between. He wrote some notes, praising the creators, then pressed the start button.

The next screen had in bold yellow at the top “Character Creator”. He saw two silhouetted figures, one male and one female. He clicked on one figure and it moved to the foreground while the other went to the background. The figure in the foreground rotated as a next button became highlighted. He clicked between the two to see how well it transitioned before he selected “Male” and pressed next.

The next screen offered him the choice of difficulty. He selected the hardest difficulty and pressed next. The third screen was by far the most interesting he had seen so far. At the top of the screen was a pull down box. Inside it were several professions ranging from waiter to politician to athlete; all walks of life and salaries were found within. He noticed as he switched from one profession to another, the various pull down boxes below that would light up with different traits and skills, each with a slider beneath them. He glanced over them, marveling at the apparent complexity of the system. As a waiter, he would have traits like patience, charisma, attitude, and others while a politician would have sliders for traits like morality, speech crafting, likeability and more.

He settled on an athlete. When he locked in that choice, a second box appeared underneath it. In that box, he had choices ranging from archer to weightlifter. While scrolling through the choices, he noticed that fewer of the pull down boxes changed as he went from sport to sport. He nodded to himself; it made a lot of sense how it was set up. All athletes share certain traits that make them athletes. He wrote a few notes praising the designer and pressed the random select button.

The system selected “Bodybuilder” as the athlete type. The cursor moved down to the slider area and a message saying “40 points available” appeared on his screen. His available traits were “Concentration”, “Coordination”, “Determination”, “Genetics”, “Lifestyle”, “Mental”, “Support”, and “Training”.

He had no real idea what he needed to put the points into. Each started at a base of 5 and went to a max of 25, so he could have maxed out two traits or spent his points evenly among all of his traits. But, when he went to spend points, he noticed some were linked to others. He would spend points in Concentration and the Determination and Mental stats would rise slightly. Genetics and Lifestyle seemed to be linked, Coordination and Training were linked, and Support and Lifestyle were. Again, Johnny was awed. He enjoyed the depth and complexity of the system.

He eventually settled on having his genetics close to max, followed by determination, concentration, training, coordination, lifestyle and support. He made sure to spend his points in a balanced way because he didn’t want to hurt himself in the long run.

After that was all completed, he pressed the save and continue button. The next screen that popped up asked him to smile. He saw his built in web cam light up, so he looked at it and smiled. A few seconds later, his face was staring back at him. The prompt asked if he wanted to retake the picture, which he declined to, and it continued.

The next page is what surprised him the most. He saw his face on top of what looked to be a wire frame model of a huge man. He watched as a progress bar appeared on the screen that said, “Analyzing racial and genetic features: Please wait”. As the bar progressed, he saw on the left side of the screen various tabs being filled in automatically. He saw his race, ethnic background, parents race and background and his grandparents background all fill in. He was quite surprised that the computer was completely right about his family tree.

After the progress bar was filled, a prompt appeared on the screen. “Auto adjust to fit trait selections? Yes – No”. He selected yes and watched as slight modifications were made to his family tree; both of his grandfathers’ race changed and one of his grandmothers’ changed, which in turn changed both of his parents and in turn changed him.

After that process was finished, the face on the wire frame altered itself. Johnny was very surprised and impressed by how good it looked when it finished. It still looked like him at the base, but the features were stronger, sharper and more masculine than normal. He also noticed thicker hair and a tougher demeanor. Then the wire frame began to fill in. It exploded with muscle right before his eyes. Almost faster than he could see it, the model changed into what he could only consider a dream.

The stats said the avatar was 6’2” and 250 lbs. He was in perfect contest shape from what he could tell. Clad in a blue singlet that clung to his body like a second skin, Johnny could see every muscle in sharp relief. From his thick neck to his boulder size shoulders, ham sized arms, barreled chest down to his tapered waist and his tree truck legs and bullish calves. The avatar was close to perfection and made Johnny feel glad he put a lot of points into genetics.

He pressed the save and continue button and was greeted by a EULA screen. It started with the words “By clicking continue, you agree to the “Terms and Limitations” that…”. Johnny skipped down to the end, like he did with almost every piece of software he owned and checked the “I agree” button and pressed Continue.

Suddenly, the power went out and plunged his world into darkness. When the power came back on, everything was completely different. His apartment was gone. He now stood in what seemed to be a jock’s apartment. No longer were there computers and books around, but instead he saw bodybuilding magazines, trophies, dumbbells and weights all over the place. For a moment, he thought something was wrong, but then he saw himself in the mirror and everything flashed.

He was Jonathan Armstrong, up and coming bodybuilder. He was getting ready to try and get his pro card for the 3rd time in a few weeks. Granted, everyone said he should’ve had it when he first stepped on stage, but he knew it was all politics. They couldn’t deny him this year though. He was completely ripped and bigger than ever. He had spent the entire year focused solely on getting huge with his weight lifting bud and partner. He and James were two of the most dedicated lifters at his gym and while James did more power lifting than body building, Jonathan couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

Jonathan began to go through his routine in front of the mirror. He had some problems with the rhythmic routine that his advisor made for him, but he was getting the hang of it. “When you look this good, who cares if you have two left feet,” he said to himself. He turned in the mirror, flexed his bicep, and then moved to the next pose. He watched himself carefully, dissecting every motion for any weakness.

He was quite satisfied with his physique. He was huge, strong and built. Bodybuilding and training was everything and he was quite happy with his life. He raised his right arm and flexed it one last time, watching the mound of muscle rise to an amazing peak. James came in behind him and wrapped his arm around his waist and squeezed his lover. No words were spoken between the two as Jonathan led the way to their bedroom.

Outside their door, a muscular man walked away from their apartment spinning a DVD on his finger. He chuckled to himself, “Another satisfied customer,” before he faded into nothingness.