Another Day In The Metaverse
Kaaria and the search for a better life
"$400 down the drain again!" Kaaria sighed gutted.
She didn't want this.
She fought hard to prevent her tears from falling. It was the third time this was happening to her.
"Oh well, just another day in the metaverse..." She tried to reassure herself after giving it a sad thought.
What could she have done?
The link she had been sent by the hackers had turned out to be a celphis. That's what they called the links of those metazens that impersonated the activities of celebrities on the metaverse.
Was it a scam? Were the people charging for these links the same ones posing as the celebrities on the platform? Was this their business model? To create fake links with fake personalities to make money from unsuspecting customers?
The metaverse was not any different from the internet or real life for that matter. It just elevated the same stuff you went through in its predecessors she had come to conclude.
"Same shit, different toilets!" she sometimes burst out loud anytime something bad happened to her in the virtual world.
But she was determined to not give up. This was her only hope. Meeting a celebrity on the metaverse could help guarantee her the autograph she badly needed. She could then sell it as an NFT for about $500,000 and she could afford the surgery she needed in real life for both she and her mother.
If she was dead in real life, she would also be dead in the metaverse.
She had tried everything else and it had never seemed to work out.
The $1200 she had put in so far had seemed like a worthy venture each time. You need to put out first before you can reap any benefits. That was her personal philosophy. That money that she had lost so far was simply a failed investment to her. Stuff happens… But she remained hopeful. Soon, things were going to turn around.
Meeting a celebrity in real life to obtain an autograph was an impossibility for her. She tossed a little in her bed at the thought. At 350 kilograms, the real world was not a place for someone like her. Life had passed her by. She had spent over two decades of her life in a virtual world. First on the internet playing games, then on early versions of Web 3.0 before finally being sucked into the metaverse.
Her mother loathed her. She had called her pig and filthy. She frequently told her that she was ugly and was nothing but a disgusting blob of fat whose life was slowly trickling away. She always reminded her that she had wasted her life away. This hurt Kaaria to her core but she endured it. She had experienced this too many times before for it to truly break her.
Kaaria loathed her mother too. Not just for this, but for putting her in the predicament, to begin with. Wasn't she the one who fed her fast food for breakfast as a child? Wasn't she the one who ridiculed and belittled her so much in her life that she resulted in finding comfort in food? Even though she took personal responsibility for her life, she felt that her mother had a lot to do with her current situation.
But it wasn't time for self-pity. Years had passed with her on that road. It was time for action.
Her mother wasn't healthy either. So she, in the first place, didn't even have the right to call her names. But Karia was determined to get healthy again and to get her mother the help she needed too. Not because she really cared about her, but because she wanted to spite her. To rub it on her face.
She wanted to show her the kindness she had deprived her daughter- her only child- all these years. She wanted to do this one nice thing for her and then cut ties one last time. In her new life, she wanted to be surrounded with positive energy. And her mother had none of it!
The metaverse had offered some solutions to her predicament. In there she could be anyone she wanted to me. She could be a sexy 6" blonde with a thin waist and wide hips, she could be sexy, rounder and curvier too for those that preferred that. She could be anything! She could go anywhere she wanted and wear whatever she wanted. And she could work anywhere she wanted as whatever avatar she wanted. All while she remained bedridden in real life because of her weight.
Back home, she hadn't left her apartment in over six years. A robot usually helped her around her one-roomed cramped space. She didn't make enough money to live a good life. And most of what she made was spent on food anyway. It took a lot to sustain her big frame. Plus what was a big house for anyway, when she couldn't even leave her bed?
Delivery usually brought her the items she ordered online. They usually let themselves in as she was near immobile. Drones would drop others in by flying in from the window.
The food was junk of course. Greasy meats, deep-fried starches, milkshakes and fizzy drinks. She didn't enjoy anything else. She couldn't bring herself to. It didn't satisfy her taste buds. And neither physically nor emotionally.
She knew she needed to make the change at a personal level, but she also needed the mental energy to engage in the metaverse. But after she got her $500,000 and the surgery she needed, she would start life anew. That was the plan. This life she was living was just tentative she promised herself.
It was early morning. Kaaria stretched her hand and grabbed the VR headsets laying on the pillow next to her head. She hung them on her forehead and logged in.
It was just another day in the metaverse.
It was Friday and on that day she usually went to work at the data centre. She hated that job. All she did was sit down all day and help organise the personal data and contact the metazens who had disabled their product endorsement profiles.
The more metazens she got back on the endorsement platform, the cheaper the cost of upgrading her participation. It wasn't cheap to be a metazen. The tools you needed to navigate the system were expensive to purchase and maintain.
Sometimes if she managed to surpass her weekly target, she got paid a few cents worth of crypto by her employer. She let these assets accumulate so that she could sell them at a profit in a few years. Hopefully, she would be healthy enough to enjoy her tentative wealth by then. She did move them around from time to time depending on what asset was on the rise. Years on the metaverse had made her pretty good at this. But her investment wasn't big enough to help her with her current troubles.
On Saturday, she worked at the clubs in the metaverse. Musky was the name of the one she went to most. Her avatar was this skinny woman with a wide bottom and curvy hips that performed the sexiest moves on the pole.
She hated it and she loved it.
She hated it because it was a job she did out of necessity. And audiences in the metaverse were usually at their worst hiding behind avatars to be the filthiest they could ever be and do whatever they wanted.
She loved it because she felt seen. It made her feel beautiful and appreciated. People didn't pretend to not be turned off by her looks like they did when they saw her covered in layers and layers of fat in real life.
Sometimes, she could be in a sexy bikini on a beach somewhere, or in a private jet on the way to an exotic island with a client. That was the life.
The men wanted to touch her and do things to her. Many would pay a premium to have some alone time with her and take her places at their cost. This is where she made the money to pay for the celebrity links.
She loathed this part of the job. She even deleted all the memories of these encounters on her drive afterwards. On her physical device, she usually set it on auto mode. She did not want to be mentally present for it. But it was the only way she could redeem herself in real life. The only way she could be able to live a real life.
Once she made enough money from buying the links and obtained a true autograph, she would be done for good! She told herself.
She would only work at the data centre and her other job in the archives. It was boring work but it was meaningful work without the mental health repercussions.
She would keep going back into the metaverse clubs and beaches but only to have fun. Not to use her avatar looks and antics to make money. She just wanted to relax and just live for once.
Also, a few girls at the club that we're jealous of her success taunted her with her looks in real life. She had opened up to one of them in a moment of weakness. Big mistake! As this one girl turned out to be a treacherous character that let anyone know who this beloved dancer girl was in real life. Was she even a woman in real life? Who knew… anything went in the virtual world.
In the metaverse, it was almost forbidden to reveal who you were in real life. People went there seeking some escapism. They didn't want to be bothered with reality. Some went to hide. Some to figure out things they couldn't figure out in the real world. Some went to transact in ways they couldn't in real life, others for the experiences they couldn't get in real life either because of social expectations, the thrill, their shame or rules. And others it seemed just found a new way to exploit others… like Kaaria always put it, shame shit, different toilets!
She had already been paid $200 upfront for some private experience with an avatar that called himself The Prince for Saturday. So Friday went by quick for her as she anticipated the remaining $200 so that she could afford to buy another celebrity link.
Sometimes she wondered whether saving the money she got from the clubs would help her obtain the weight loss surgery she needed. But she felt it would take too long to accumulate the full sum. She also didn't know how long she could keep taking this. She needed the money now! And celebrity hunting was the easiest and quickest way to her achieving her goals and realising her dreams.
In the metaverse, a celebrity earned 10–35% for every autograph they signed and for each time it changed ownership. As blockchain made it easy to trace ownership and payments, this was a new way for them to make money. The rarer they gave autographs the higher their autographs fetched. Original owners still held a stake even when they sold their autograph NFT's. So this was good business.
Metazens collected these autographs more fiercely than they did in real life. They were also easier to authenticate and value. The more they changed ownership, the higher their value, and the more the celebrity and fans earned.
Hackers would track down the activities of celebrities on the metaverse and sell this information to autograph seekers or auseekers as people like Kaaria were called in the virtual world.
The last two links Kaaria had gotten had turned out to be fakes. Or had celebrities realised these hacks and had created celphises of their own to mask their true activities?
It was getting harder and harder for Kaaria to realise her dreams. But she wasn't giving up. It was do or die for her at this point.
The date with The Prince went on quick. He had requested that she come in dressed like an Arabian Princess. He whisked her on a private jet to a deserted island in the middle of the ocean where they had fun and did their business. You could go anywhere and do anything in the metaverse. Almost anything you imagined could happen. The Prince had peculiar tastes and therefore enjoyed peculiar activities.
As usual, Karia was on auto through the whole of it. Auto mode prevented her from remembering all the details. It was healthier that way. She was not mentally present for it so the day went quick.
It was Sunday morning and today, she would contact the hackers again with the $400 and she would get Noriah's her favourite celebrity's link of her day's activities.
Today was the day. Four was her lucky number and today would be her fourth attempt. It had to work this time. Why wouldn't it?
Lucky for her, the hackers had some links ready. The link she got showed that Noriah was headed towards Muskys the club that Karia worked at. What a lucky break! My goodness! She couldn't believe it. In her environment, she would be more successful she felt. It was time to chase the dream!
Karia quickly logged in. She found that management at the club had been messaging her even asking her if she was available to work since they had received a request from a special guest and they wanted their best to put out the best show for the special guest.
She guessed who this special guest was as she had already received the tip from the hackers.
"Another $400 down the drain!" Karia whispered almost in defeat. This time, she would have known the whereabouts of that celebrity without the link from the hackers. My goodness, she could never catch a break, she felt. After all that work…
But it wasn't time to pout or feel sorry for herself. An opportunity had just presented itself and she needed to exploit it and fix her life once and for all!
Several celebrities usually came to her club often but most of the time, she would know after they were gone. To lay low, they usually came in different avatars meant to disguise themselves. To be even more incognito, they would also change these avatars from time to time during a night's escapades.
Some fraudulent persons would attempt to sell fake autographs when dressed as celebrity avatars. Any metazen had their autograph account suspended for life if they engaged in three of these fake transactions. One had to be careful. Kaaria had been. That's why she had been spending the money on the hackers. It was not the best way, but it was safer considering.
This time, Kaaria had a true lead. She planned to pounce on it like a tiger.
The music was playing. She danced slutily and was working her pole like she always did. She was watchful though as she needed to keep track of Noriah's activities. She intended to catch a few minutes with her and ask her for an autograph.
A bathroom break would be best. And as she danced with the other girls on stage, she kept a close eye on her. Sometimes she would go nearer to the table where the celebrity was hanging out with her buddies. Even though she was in a different avatar than her real-life looks or others that were rumoured to be hers in the metaverse, Kaaria could tell which one was Noriah as she was the one receiving the most attention at the table.
By sheer luck, Noriah's avatar stood up and went in the direction of the private rooms. This was Kaaria's chance. She tactfully dashed out of the stage and headed in Noriah's direction.
"Hi, Nor," she said tapping her while shaking a little. "I love you."
"Oh, thanks. And I love you too." Noriah said turning around. "Weren't you the girl dancing on stage? I love your moves. You should be in my next video."
"Cool." Kaaria jumped a little. " Can I have your autograph?" There was no time to waste.
"Sure." Noriah agreed tapping her pockets in search of an inexistent pen or paper.
Kaaria had them hidden in her secret pouch. She has come in ready! She gave them to Noriah and was almost passing out unable to believe that this was finally happening.
It all went by quick.
"Here you go," Noriah said as she passed the autograph she had just signed and the pen to Kaaria. " Remember to contact my people for the video thing."
"I will... I will! Thank you." Kaaria said as she took the valuable items. She kissed the autograph three times, held it close to her heart and shed some tears. After this, her life would never be the same again!
She jumped up and down and lifted her hands in the air as though in a prayer of gratitude.
After ensuring that Noriah was out of sight, she quickly changed modes. She needed to file and authenticate the autograph with an autograph site as fast as possible.
She logged into her profile and uploaded the file. That went smoothly. She was smiling as she waited for a reply and authentication certificate from the site. The process took less than a minute. It wasn't hard to do this actually she thought feeling content.
Then suddenly, as she was waiting, her account froze. Like a glitch that lasted a split of a second. She attempted to refresh it a few times. Some seconds passed. Nothing was changing.
"What is happening?" She wondered a little angry and somewhat worried even. This site was legit. And had always been easy to navigate whenever she visited it to check the prices of other autographs so she couldn't understand what was happening at that moment.
She refreshed it again. It worked this time. She felt a little relieved but rushed to check the red notification button that had just appeared on the screen. She read it.
"Dear Metazen, the autograph you attempted to upload could not be authenticated. Exercise caution when trading in the metaverse. Consider this your first warning. Please note that your account will be disabled after three such incidences."
"What?" Kaaria screamed out loud. "I can't believe it! No, no no noooooo…. What!" This must have been a mistake she felt. She could not wrap her head around it.
What had just happened? She had just gotten that thing in person from the celeb herself. It had been a few minutes ago. She felt lightheaded. She hoped that this was just a bad dream. She searched frantically around her as she would in real life for a piece of paper that had dropped on the floor.
Another pop up appeared on her screen on the autograph site. She looked up and clicked on it hoping that the message she had received earlier had been an error. Her eyes popped wide open. It was an auction for a fresh Noriah signature starting at $700,000.
She almost toppled over!
She suddenly realised what had just happened. Her account had been hacked, her upload intercepted and her NFT stolen before she could authenticate it as its real owner.
She removed her headsets. Tears strolled down her cheeks. She cried out loud and bitterly and shook violently in her rickety bed, it almost broke.
She had worked so hard and had tried even harder. This time she almost had it. She could finally get her life together after dreaming about it and waiting for so long. But yet again, the chance slipped right out of her hands. This time even harder and in a more painful way. She could never catch a break, and it hurt badly. It hurt her to her core.
What could she do now? She Wondered. She let out a loud scream and pulled her hair.
It was just another day in the metaverse!