by Savannah Jade

Jason Zuckerberg’s head spun while teleporting from his Meta college classroom to his 981-acre estate in the Metaverse to meet a few friends to explore the latest gaming theme parks.

Normally, the switch from one place in the Metaverse to another was instantaneous and rarely caused disorientation. But the past few weeks, Jason’s QuestChip device somehow slowed to an Intel Core i9 processing speed, which was laughable considering he just updated his systems days ago. It was most likely a spambot operating in the background affecting his gigahertz. He sent in a request a few hours ago, but for now, he’d have to deal with the nausea of teleporting.

His eyes squinted before adjusting to the iridescent shimmer when spawning into the gallery room he agreed to meet his friends in. Hundreds of NFTs covered the walls from Pak, Beeple, Mad Dog Jones, and even Hackatao’s Imagine 2.0 piece. The Zuckerberg family didn’t particularly want Imagine 2.0 as much as some other art fanatics, but they agreed it would be disrespectful to offer Hackatao the opportunity to build The Sandbox Metaverse without purchasing any of his original works. It was only $900K anyways, and the investment proved lucrative, seeing as Hackatao is now one of the main contributors to the Twelve Seas and Islands Metaverse. The desert must’ve been too dry for his greedy taste.

In the center of the room, four men, much older than Jason, in lavish suits holding champagne stood huddled in a circle with his grandfather. Probably talking about the data storage space crisis. To his right, Nisha and Timmy were directing the hologram to showcase all of the stats on Zuckerberg-owned gaming parks. Numbers in neon blues, purples, reds, and greens shone back at them, highlighting their incandescent faces. Even from a distance, Jason could make out the amounts of the parks reflecting on his friend Timmy’s forehead as he scrolled through them like slots in those old gambling systems his grandfather used to tell them about. 

$260,773… $153,406… $454,988… 

If he didn’t know any better, he’d think the AI hologram was trying to auction him off as a new host like all the other devices his grandfather sold in here. He walked over to them.

“Siri, take us to Opulentland in Restoria,” Timmy said.

Nisha rolled her eyes. “Timmy, I told you yesterday a million times that you need Ethereum to buy land and shit in Restoria, not Tether.” 

“That’s stupid. I’m not supporting your blood crypto that’s funding a cyberwar for—” Timmy jumped. “Jay! When’d you get here? Listen, my parents stopped investing in Ethereum, and Nisha here is saying that some real estate won’t even take Tether anymore. It’s literally the most stable crypto on the market! Tell her. Tell her that doesn’t make any sense.”

“I don’t know anything about that,” he lied. 

“Bullshit! Nisha, don’t you even—” 

Both of his friends’ voices faded out as a flash of maroon light struck his vision. He took a step back from the shock, then froze until the dizziness subsided. An instinctual part of his mind already summoned the command panel, sifting through various malfunction errors of his QuestChip. It appeared that a few malware bots had gotten through his firewall. He copied the issue and forwarded it to his grandfather. 

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Author Bio

Savannah Jade, author of Began with a Rose, originates from all over Southern California as she’s moved over 20+ times due to a wanderlust spirit and an inability to commit to anything other than dogs and books. When she’s not writing or reminding Koda that he’s a good boy, Savannah enjoys studying evolutionary psychology, attending stand-up comedy shows, and eating enough Cold Stone ice cream to be able to afford paying the company’s rent. Her current works in progress include a YA Fantasy novel and a poetry novella illustrating indigenous peoples’ experiences. For more, visit her website or Instagram.