As I mentioned yesterday, the world we live in needs some explaining before I can get started on telling you more about myself. Not if you live here of course, as anyone reading this probably is. I’m amusing myself, and perhaps procrastinating a little on telling you the personal stuff, by pretending that my audience is from another world, or another time. I may not even have an audience at all.
I’m going to tell you a little about reclaimers. Pretty cool tech. Reclaimers have solved the garbage problem. Or at least they will once all the old garbage dumps have been completely mined for material. They break everything down into useful molecules and work in tandem with your in-home matter printer. I have an all-in-one for the kitchen, it just seemed a better use of space than having a separate food reclaimer and maker. It’s not very good, but store-bought is still better than anything I can print at home. With the industrial ones, they say you can’t tell the difference between a printed chicken and an actual dead bird chicken. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never tried ‘real’ chicken, it seems cruel.
Reclaimers do more than just break down leftover chicken bones. Even the simplest domestic reclaimer analyze and store everything you put in there. If you need it back, you can just print it. The better the printer, the better the reproduction, so you can also upload the schematics to the N•Viron network to have the item printed professionally. Costs a few more Arpies, especially if you have it delivered, but it’s worth it to have every molecule exactly as it was.
Reclaimers sort of ruined old money, though. Well, the N•Viron did too actually. You could load your paper money into a reclaimer, and then the cash amount is added to your bank account, minus the fee, along with a few thousand Arpies. You’d be able to spend Arpies to reprint the money, but if you had a scrappy printer it wouldn’t look right. You’d be out the money, and the Arpies, if you couldn’t use it. Most stores stopped taking paper money altogether. We all switched to Arpies, even the businesses. The only people who use old money now are the Discons.
Sometimes you’ll see a Discon trying to casually walk out of a grocery store with a bagful, or an item or two stuffed into their clothing. Everyone in and around the store is alerted, of course, because we can earn Arpies for stepping in. I rarely feel confident doing so. You do get a nice little stipend if you go through the licensing process, but I’m not sure I want the responsibility that comes with being an armed citizen. I don’t want to have to kill people, or get the everscrap kicked out of me. I bumped into a guy and knocked him down by accident as he was leaving a clothing store once. I didn’t realize at first that he was Discon because he was so well dressed. The clothes were from the store. He’d thrown his own clothes into a reclaimer. I think he assumed we would have to let him keep stolen clothes since he didn’t have anything else to wear, but we would all have been fined several hundreds of thousands of Arpies if we let him go. The store printed his clothes back out, in perfect detail. Their printer is designed to print out orders for in store pickup. We all got a few thousand Arpies for doing our civic duty. I even bought a shirt! Real fabric is so much better than avatar clothing.
I just realized that I should explain the ‘scrap’ slang. Sometimes home reclaimers can’t break something down enough. It’s useless, hence scrap. Scrapyards specialise in heavy-duty reclaiming these days. Sometimes even they can’t break it down completely, though. The ever-scrap is usually hyper-dense and completely useless. Although some research is being done into using its density to generate power, somehow. I think it has a tiny gravitational pull, and they can harness that somehow? Not sure. It’s pretty much useless.
Arpies, or R.P.s as they used to be called, or Reward Points, became a universally accepted currency not long after the N•Viron took off. As I mentioned before, the dollar fell out of fashion after Reclaimers hit the market. Being able to destroy and print money easily in your own home sort of ruins the perceived value of it. You could earn Arpies for everything with the N•Viron, not just reclaiming paper money and coins. Games, household activities, and public services all let you earn tens or thousands of Reward Points. You could even pick up a few hundred for running the N•Viron tutorial! Even products and services would give you Reward Points for trying them out, and you can buy Arpies with dollars, if you can find any. All you can get a hold of now is grubby torn and ratty old scrap, and the Discons hoard it like treasure. If you could ever find a mint condition copper penny even, it’d probably be worth a few thousand Arpies, but good luck trying to confiscate them from the Discons.
We use Arpies for everything now. Fines are paid with Arpies automatically, which I believe has a greater impact than paying with paper and metal token ever did. You’ve spent time and effort earning your Arpies, your Reward Points, and then because of one mistake, you can almost all of it taken away from you. Of course, if you’re about to do something illegal, the N•Viron warns you, so it’s always going to be a deliberate act of civil disobedience to ignore the warning and proceed anyway. So far I’ve only had to pay a fine once. As a child, I was curious about what was behind the “staff only, no trespassing” door in a restaurant, and pretended to trip so I could accidentally stumble through. I had to do a lot of community service to work that one off, but since I was a kid, the community went easy on me.
My least favorite thing to spend my Arpies on is medical expenses. You think you’re fine, then ‘boom’, you get a notification that your breathing is raspy, or your wrist hurts, and you need to go get it checked. The Arpies cost gets higher if you ignore it, and you get a discount if you schedule it immediately. I should probably explain something. Since the N•Viron can stimulate your nerves directly, it can also limit how much pain you feel. Most of the time you don’t notice the aches and pain. Unless it’s sudden and unexpected, like a bee sting. The system responds fairly quickly though, especially if you already saw evidence of bees. So we often have to be told if we’re actually in pain or not.
It’s the same with depression. An immediately upsetting event would make us feel sad, but the permanent ache of depression that afflicts so many Discons is mostly gone. We still feel bad when it’s appropriate, like if we don’t help out with something, even when the Arpies are good. Stuff like that can bother you for a bit. For me, it’s usually my dishes or cleaning up local dog mess. It’s easy enough to do, it’s just gross. We should make Discons do it. The dog poop anyway. It’s probably from their own dogs, and it’s not like they do anything else.
Quite a few of the old medications have been bypassed since the human body can now be stimulated to correct imbalances of the various biochemicals and other processes. Your body can make extra cartilage or just burn fat faster. As a result, we live longer, feel happier and generally get more out of life. Genetically I’m predisposed towards depression, but the N•Viron makes me feel normal. Whole. Human.