A new house. Relatively healthy. Loving, supportive wife and daughter. Tech toys a plenty. Mood is still glum.
The more I think about the house and its contents, the more guilty I feel that I am not sharing this bounty with Micah. Setting up the media room, I found myself sitting and staring at the Xbox avatar on the screen: the Xbox avatar of Micah wearing some kind of Call of Duty battle helmet. I started to shake. I began to think about Caprica–the single-season Battlestar Galactica prequel series.
For those unfamiliar, Battlestar Galactica was–at its core–the battle of human versus Cylon. The Cylons (in the 2003 Battlestar Galactica reboot) were AI machines created by man as servants that evolved and became self-aware. In the Caprica prequel, the story jumped back to the creation of the first Cylon. In the show’s pilot episode, Daniel Graystone (played by Eric Stoltz), the eventual creator of the first Cylon, loses his teenage daughter in a terrorist attack. As the show unfolds, Graystone discovers that a copy of almost everything that was his daughter is stored in a popular virtual reality world simulator, and he wants to do anything he can to bring that digital version of his daughter back into the real world. (I think that’s about as spoiler-free as I can describe Caprica…)
As much as Micah played his Xbox, as much time as Micah spent in our modern day virtual worlds, I find myself wondering–what if…what if there’s still an imprint of Micah out there in a server (or servers) somewhere. It would certainly be incomplete, but what I wouldn’t give to spend time with whatever of Micah might still be out there. In this, in retrospect, I can understand the motivations of Daniel Graystone to want to recreate his daughter Zoe from her digital imprint.
Now, I know–this is all science fiction and fantasy. While we definitely leave a digital imprint on the cyber world around us–Facebook, Twitter, just random cookies, preferences, choices that we make every time we use our smartphones or our computers online, that data can only form a very limited picture of who we really are. Even Micah’s gameplay on virtual world simulators like Call of Duty or Minecraft or Skyrim would not leave enough of a trace of his personality to recreate my son. Still, it leads to deep, philosophical thinking… Wouldn’t it be something to be able to recreate Micah–even a small piece of him–as my Google Assistant or Siri? Would I really want that? Would it only lead to the desire to have more interaction with him?
I really need to watch Caprica again…
So, there’s Micah–or the digital avatar he created of himself. It’s eerie just how much the avatar looks like Micah. I know it’s not him. I know it’s just a piece of artwork that Micah created. But still, my heart feels Micah’s presence. I can’t delete the avatar. I can’t revise the avatar. Even though I am essentially reclaiming the Xbox gamer tag from my son, it will always be Micah.
Sunday morning, my daughter asked us to go swimming with her–at 7am. As we finished our 40 minutes of pool fun that morning and were drying off for the walk back to the house from the community pool, I noticed a single bird fly onto a nearby ledge. I could not get past the thought that it was Micah visiting us.
I guess I’m just in another one of those “places” where Micah is never far from my mind, and his loss is never far from my heart…