The party was a little more crowded than Jack would have liked, though not yet raucous; lilting conversations bounced benignly around the room, the din gradually growing louder as the alcohol took effect. He too partook, supping his drink a touch self-consciously, having not yet found a sparring partner to engage in a back and forth with. He glanced around the room covertly, afraid to alert anyone of his anxiety.
“How are things?”
Jack hadn’t noticed the man standing next to him, too wrapped up in his own appearance, and was now briefly lost for words.
“I’m Mark,” the man offered, though his information, including his name, interests, sexual preference and relationship status had already loaded up in Jack’s HUD.
“Jack, nice to meet you,” Jack spotted the flickering implant situated behind Mark’s iris as their eyes met, indicating that Mark already knew his details too, the etiquette of introductions now just a formality. “So how do you know Cynthia?” he inquired, his HUD now showing the network of mutual friends Mark shared with Cynthia; it seemed they worked together at the cinema.
“We work together at the cinema,” Mark revealed, playing along.
“Oh cool,” Jack smiled, “how do you like it there?”
Mark shrugged, “It’s a job, you know how it is…”
Jack afforded an understanding hum as silence threatened to extinguish the dialogue, “Have you seen anything good lately?” he endeavoured, warding it off.
“Well I actually watched the new Michael Bay film last night.”
The IMDB page instantly sparked up in Jack’s HUD, listing the cast and crew involved in the film as well as some reviews and interesting facts, among them that it was Bay’s 40th film, “Wow, I heard somewhere that it was his 40th film.”
“Yeah who would have thought? I can’t believe people were so wrong about him — I mean, it wasn’t until Transformers 14: Dark of the Moon Part III: The Curse of LeBouef that people really acknowledged him as a true visionary.”
“Yeah, It’s still hard to believe how prophetic he was; if only we’d listened…” A brief lull in the dialogue stood as a memorial for collective regrets. Jack foiled the silence once again, “So what did you think of his new one?”
Mark’s immediate grin said it all; “Three words: A. Maze. Ing. This is like his tenth genuine classic in a row — long may the Michael Baysance continue…”
Jack laughed, though he’d already seen the term used in one of the reviews now scrolling through his HUD.
“It’s a real mood piece”, Mark continued emphatically, “and the effects are exquisite. I mean, sometimes I find 5D distracting but in this case it puts you right there in the action. Above all it really speaks to the issues of our generation.”
“Oh yeah?” Jack intoned agreeably; having already skimmed through the entire plot synopsis he was now half-reading a critique suspiciously similar to Mark’s.
“Yeah, like all his other films it really foreshadows where we’re going as a culture, like how we’re overly reliant on technology and it’s implications for the future, but it’s all really subtly wrapped up in this amazing drama. It’s so, so clever. I mean these are important issues right now — what — with how quickly our world is changing?”
Jack made a solemn inhaling sound indicating the gravity of the situation, a video of a kitten eating an ice-cream now playing in his HUD, “It’s a brave new world.”
Mark tutted accordingly, “So — How do you know Cynthia?”