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How we think the fight will go
Claire was amazed that the 21st century ever made it to the 22nd—their technology was just so…primitive. A port was a port, though, and a jack was a jack, and if a machine had processor, then she was in. She was glad she didn’t have to type.
There was a tall man talking to her. Commanding her.
Like that was supposed to intimidate her.
She continued her hack, going deeper into system, carving lines of code like an angler filleted a fish. Honing, shaping, tweaking.
She looked up, and smiled.
“What are you smiling at,” the man named Mr. Wednesday called to her.
“My demise? Are you insane? I? Odin?
“I am a god.”
The tone of her voice must have penetrated some of the hubris, because something in his eyes faltered.
“What…what did you do?” He looked around, and it seemed as he was disoriented.
“Nothing all that fancy. Nothing a god would worry about.”
“That means it’s working.” She smiled.
“I’m not really sure you’ll understand.” She shrugged. “I’m not exactly sure I understand myself. But let me see if I can explain it.
“You are, as you say, a god. But what does that mean? Are you all-powerful? Clearly not—otherwise we wouldn’t be jawing at each other in front of all these people.
“No, you’re not all-powerful. And that means you have a weakness. It means you can be hurt. I know about hurt. I know about pain. I can take it…and I can inflict it.
“But you are a god, in a certain sense of the word. You rely on the belief of us mortals to make your own life have meaning.
“To have power.”
He shuddered, and Claire could see he was already less. She continued.
“This civilization is a strange one. I know—I’m the product of it…sort of. I’m from a place where interactions only matter if there’s a record of it. Wipe out the record, and you change reality. Information is key.” She looked at him. “Well, I have information. I’ve created information. And I guess, in some ways, that makes me more of a god than you.”
“What did you do?” he repeated, his voice a weak remnant of what it had been even moments ago.
“Something new. This world’s social networks are exactly that: networks. I simply infiltrated their pitiful firewalls and added a new user.
Claire smiled again. She couldn’t remember a time when she had smiled this much…and she had multiple “times” from which she could draw on for such experiences.
“But…wouldn’t that help me? Wouldn’t more people know me?” Mr. Wednesday asked.
“Ah, but here’s where it gets interesting. Because for all their interactivity, these networks seem predicated on the idea that you either like something or are indifferent to it. There’s no ability to show disfavor in any easy way—and if there’s something about these 21st century people, they love their easy.
“They also love innovation. And for the first time in the history of their networks, there’s a dislike button. And it’s solely attached to your profiles. And it’s…different.
“With a few more tweaks, people everywhere are discovering they can do something they could never do: dislike something with a click of a button. That news is spreading like wild-fire, and the novelty of it is contagious. People are disliking you in the millions, Mr. Wednesday. Odin.”
Her face turned hard as she targeted him with her micro-missiles.
“You, a god? You’re nothing. You’re a joke.
“You’re a meme.
“And nobody puts their faith in something silly like memes.”
The missiles streaking towards Mr. Wednesday were overkill, and Claire knew. She could see the moment when a young man, glancing at his smartphone when he should have been paying attention to his philosophy lecture, clicked “dislike.”
The moment when Odin became no more.
Predicted Winner: Claire Haskell
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON THURSDAY, MARCH 15th, 2012, AT 5 PM, EST
Mr. Wednesday image courtesy of HarperCollins. Claire image courtesy of Spectra Books
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