Kim Pimmel is a design lead for the HoloLens Experience Team at Microsoft, exploring the future of AR & VR. When not designing other realities, Kim makes experimental short films, daydreams about the future of cameras, and makes things with Sophy – and writes short stories.
“Rachel wove headfirst through the fog filled maze of graffiti and trash that lined the chokingly narrow streets of the ‘Loin. Used hypos skittered at her feet, their glass twinkling with reflections of signs for vape implants, bail bonds and skin mods. Echo of afterhours beats at the dUb club pulsed at the edge of her senses, dull cymatics rippling through the stacked shipping containers that had been hastily converted to storefronts and housing. Ads flickered to life as she hurried past the shuttered shops, leaving a trail of looping video and distorted audio behind her.
She tried to tune out the chaos and focused on her mobile’s map layer, imagining herself a video game character in the voxel canyons of streets that outlined the Southern edge of NewSan. Built post-quake from salvaged shipped containers, the ‘Loin had inherited the name of another unfortunate hood from when NewSan was still called San Francisco.
She daydreamed of the giant metal stadium that had once stood there at the water’s edge, imagining the KLOK! of ball meeting carbon-poly bat, roar of the crowds filling the air. Smell of fried food and spilt beer. Rachel hadn’t eaten breakfast and her mouth watered, thinking of her favorite fries and vanilla shake at Gibson’s arcade in the Mission. She had mastered the art of dipping the fries in her shake and inhaling the salty sweet goodness between rounds of Street Fighter. But sometimes her greasy fingers cost her the match. Lost in her thoughts, she crashed headlong into a street cleaning robot, tumbling over its dented dome. Only just catching herself on the scarred CityBot, splayed out on the bot’s struggling body, breath knocked out of her. Buzzer rasping from the robot, red warning light going spastic. Rachel pulled herself to her feet, the alarm going quiet, metallic click of self-checks from the CityBot like the vintage pinball games at the arcade.
Kept her head down and plunged on — heart thumping, head spinning, feeling like throwing up. The buzz of a security drone grew in the distance. She pressed her medpatch to quell her anxiety and keep herself from turning around and running. Glad for the anonymity of Karl the Fog, hiding her from the ever present sentry cams that watched the streets from above. The ‘Loin was a far cry from her safe, cozy apartment in the Mission blocks with their hipster robot restaurants and faux grass parks. Finally found the address that Danny had given her for her new gig — a plain white door across from a spotless SamuraiMart franchise. The inverted triangle logo of ThinkCo debossed in the scratched up plastic of the door, highlighted by the patina of grime and nuked gang tags.
Quickly checking her hair and makeup with her mobile phone, making herself presentable after her spill. In the screen she noticed a pair of hackers behind her, perched atop the vending machines at the SamuraiMart. They were tapped into the city dataports – the big one hunkered down and goggled in, machine-woven optical dreadlocks intertwined with cables, pulsing deep red to the algos. Smart tattoos adorned the other’s face, a shimmering dazzle pattern that constantly shifted and folded to foil face reco AI, the living textures anchored by the holographic glasses that the girl had locked on Rachel. The girl slowly drew her arm from the folds of black robes, revealing a gloss black prosthetic hand emblazoned with the hot pink glow of the T3kP_nk clan’s logo.”