Pit of Victory

Contributor: E.S. Wynn
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Already, you know that you are destined to win.

It’s real. You smile as the thought trickles through the meaty elements of your heavily augmented mind, carries you like light to the edge of the pit. Your victory has already been decreed by the seraphim of Solomon’s high holy financial cabinet. Ten corporations are backing you in this fight. The networks have all laid bets on you. 97% of remote-wielding couch-jockeys with subscriptions to the VR feed of the upcoming fight have cast the votes that prove even the mass of the public has laid odds in your favor.

Already, millions of jobs have been staked on your fate. Already, the nanoprinter factories in the industrial districts of China, Nigeria and India are stenciling your name into the overpriced athletic shoes that will flood the reactive social ad-feeds of every high school student in the world the instant you land the first punch, swell in budget bid and keyword spread as you bathe yourself in your opponent's blood. You are the name on every social comment feed, every pair of recorded Vidvoice lips. You are the one who will bring the next splash of hollow gratification to the masses, herald the next tide of cheap, glossy merchandise to wash through the marketplace. You are the messiah who holds the teat of an economy fed by your violence, your hollow successes.

It comes as a surprise to everyone when your opponent lands the first punch, dislocates your jaw with a single crack from his steel-plated knuckles. Three factories file bankruptcy, retool and suck up acres of social ad-space in the same instant that teeth splinter and break. Money flies from betting rings as the blood flies from your mouth, and then he is on you, hurling hydraulic fists at you, cracking open bone and steel with effortless aggression. Conglomerates collapse and are gutted with the same speed and efficacy that your opponent drops you, rips into the meaty elements of your mind and tears them free. In the space of a breath, it is over. Hundreds of accounts sputter brokenly, as hopelessly ruined as your flesh, your armored body. The crowd of subscribers roar with the fury of the fresh kill, the unexpected turn of events. The corporations backing you scatter before bill collectors like roaches, fleas, gather themselves and hide behind the walls of bankruptcy before they are swallowed utterly.

Like a monolithic icon of commerce, your opponent stands above you, victorious, and as the moment of interest passes, he finds himself alone again, no longer the star in the center of the world’s eye. Like a child with a broken doll, he drops you, lets you fall to the floor like refuse, and as the bots patrolling the pit gather your fragments and push you into the nano-recycler for reconstitution into something useful, the world moves on, finds a new messiah to hold the teat of a new economy, one as violent and momentary as you were, as your opponent now is.

As the countless others that have come before you were.

As the countless others that will come after will be.

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E.S. Wynn swims in the mind of the machine
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