The gripping conclusion to last week’s post: Data Dealer.
Penelope gulped visibly. Initially she had felt committed to a level 1 wipe, but now confronted with the reality of it actually happening, she was wavering.
As though the woman could sense Penelope’s hesitation, she remained silent.
“I guess…” Penelope started and then took a shaky breath. “I guess I might want option 1.” There she had said it.
Penelope’s mind instantly flashed back to the dumb, idiotic photo she had taken of her bare breasts at age 13. Goaded on by the popular boys and her friends, Penelope had done it. Lifted her shirt, pointed the selfie cam down, tilted slightly to the left, click. Review, giggle, small hesitation, then she hit the share button. The whole transaction had taken less than a minute. She was still living with the consequences, years later. And yes, she would give anything to have this wiped out, even if it also meant erasing her entire virtual identity.
“Who will I become?” Penelope asked.
“What do you mean?” The gaze of the woman’s gray eyes was piercing and harsh in the glow of the bulbs.
“If you erase my virtual existence, who am I?”
“That depends,” replied the woman. “We have an add-on option, but it is costly. We can do a wipe and rewrite.”
“A rewrite?” Penelope’s heart hammered. “A way to change history?”
All those horrible posts about her breasts. The downward thumbs, the altered images of her body. Years of torture gone… with a rewrite?
“Yes. Suppose you posted a bad picture, a questionable Tweet, or inflammatory post that resulted in catastrophe. We can rewrite the history. Though it requires us to go into other people’s accounts and tamper with their comments, feeds, profiles, etc. so it is costly,” the woman reiterated. She paused before continuing.
“There are some privacy considerations. And naturally we can’t change peoples’ memories of what happened, only alter the virtual record of it. Someone might still think one thing, but their profile and feed would show something else.
“Plus, you would have to create the rewrite with one of our illusion specialists.”
“I’ll do it,” Penelope blurted out before she lost her nerve. She had already paid a high cost for her carelessness and would pay anything to correct it.
“Follow me,” the woman said. She turned and waved her arm at the wall. Out of nothing, a door slid open and the two women walked through.