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Old 08-02-2010, 04:09 PM   #1
Tysyacha
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Iron Heel, Iron Hand: Chapter I

IRON HEEL, IRON HAND
by Tysyacha

August 2nd

WELCOME TO THEROYALGAME.COM!

LOGIN: perdante2000

Hello, perdante2000. Redirecting you to your games. If you are not redirected within 5 seconds, please click here...

MY GAMES: chessky, alex2021, kingspawn, golightly98

I clicked on my correspondence-chess game with kingspawn. His username actually meant "king's pawn", and not "the spawn of a king". He was a pretty good player, unlike me, a relative newcomer to the royal game. Chess was something I'd only gotten into last year, when my uncle taught me how to play during summer vacation up in Wisconsin. Ever since then, I'd absolutely loved it...and, yet, I wasn't progressing as fast or as well as I'd hoped!

As usual, kingspawn had made a very good move. He had one of my bishops almost completely trapped, and we were only in the opening stages of our game--the first ten moves or so! Seeing this, I almost choked. I was happy that he was so brilliant, but at the same time, sad that he had managed to outwit me when I'd barely had a chance so far. Ah, well! That's what good chess players do: if they can manage to crush their unsuspecting opponents before those opponents find an opportunity to make a move that's actually good, more power to them! I looked at our respective ratings:

kingspawn 1760

perdante2000 781

Guess which one of us sucked? On theroyalgame.com, everyone started with a generic numerical rating of 1200 when they first signed up. From there, you either won or lost, and your rating rose or fell accordingly. Even my best friend Holly, known as golightly98, had a higher rating than I did! I was teaching her how to play chess, as well as I knew how. I clicked our game:

perdante2000 (W) (781) vs. golightly98 (B) (1185)

All right! Some new text in the "comments" window! To tell the truth, Holly's most recent musings weren't about chess, but we'd get to that soon enough. I saw by the little green dot next to her username that she was now online, and so I typed a quick response to her line of chat in the "comment box":

golightly98: hi!

perdante2000: Hi, yourself! How are you doing?

I waited a few seconds for Holly to respond between each post, and she did the same. This was how we talked nowadays, when we weren't hanging out.

golightly98: it's going good. how about u? found a new job yet?

perdante2000: Are you kidding me? Once a disability shows up on your LifeVita, whether mental or physical, then you're basically screwed for life when it comes to finding employment. Bosses don't want to make any accommodations for you because it might cost them money.

golightly98: yeah. it's not fair. plus some other stuff on your LV sucks

perdante2000: Like the fact that I flunked out of college twice? How am I supposed to erase THAT? I don't have the $$$ to pay off the LifeVita people.

golightly98: i hearya. as a matter of fact, who does?

perdante2000: Wealthy people, spoiled teenagers, and politicians.

golightly98: haha yeah. they can always find a way to opt out

perdante2000: Although they shouldn't. Hey, what's with Ne4?

golightly98: i moved my knight to e4

perdante2000: Yeah, but I'm going to take it. It's undefended.

golightly98: crap!!!

perdante2000: Sorry.

golightly98: no no, go ahead, take it. That's how I'm supposed to learn, right?

perdante2000: I should have warned you.

golightly98: s'ok I should have looked

perdante2000: Hey, I hate to ask this, but how's business?

golightly98: it's alright

perdante2000: They treating you OK?

golightly98: i guess. hey, if u dont find a job soon, i'll set u up

perdante2000: That's OK, Holly, but no thank you. Normal guys don't like me anyway.

golightly98: u sell urself short. some have a thing for girls like u

perdante2000: Really?

golightly98: yeah! they'll get all hot once they see u, i swear

perdante2000: Still...

golightly98: it's ok. once they saw my LV, even quiksave wouldn't hire me, let alone any other places. i'm a bigger l0ser than u are, perdy

perdante2000: You are not. It's just that those party photos...

golightly98: my proudest moment!

perdante2000: What?

golightly98: /joke

perdante2000: Whew! For a minute I thought you were serious.

golightly98: when am i ever serious? sheeezzz! gotta go

perdante2000: Bye! BTW, work on not dropping your pieces, OK?

golightly98: u work on ur TRADING PEICES!

perdante2000: Ouch! ZING! All right. I surrender. I'll do that!

golightly98: *HUGS*

I gave Holly *HUGS* back, and then logged off after making moves in my other games. chessky was hanging tough, alex2021 was standing strong, and, as usual, kingspawn was beating me. Only Holly was doing worse than I was, and in time, she'd grow to be better than me, I suspected. It was a shame--not that she was getting stronger at chess, but that no one else seemed to notice her talents at anything other than--well. She had SNAFU'd her LifeVita permanently in several respects--that was for sure--but, truth be told, Holly had been doing that ever since preschool, when she'd gotten mostly N's (Needs Improvement) instead of S's (Satisfactory). As for me, my academic successes had come fast and furious until I hit the infamous "college crater".

I flunked out--twice, as I've said before--and that was absolutely irredeemable.

Should I take Holly up on her offer? She'd look out for me.

Yeah, but no one else would. Your family would totally kill you.

I know. God above all, with them, and the "golightly's" go straight to the gutter.

Or Hell, whichever comes first.

Life sucks... I took another sip of Pepsi and pondered my fate.

Tysyacha has requested a fanfic review for this thread.

Last edited by Tysyacha; 08-03-2010 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:13 PM   #2
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Before I get too far into the myriad of reasons why life sucks--mostly everybody's life, and not just my own--I have to explain the LifeVita. What is it, anyway, and why is it so important? Think of a LifeVita as a lifelong and all-encompassing resume. A traditional resume on paper can only show so much, but a LifeVita? In addition to displaying traditional stuff like your work history and educational experience, it's also a massive electronic portfolio of every website you've ever visited, every link you've ever clicked, every purchase you've ever bought online, every missive you've ever posted on a message board, and every blog you've ever written. Most of all, it shows everything an employer might or might not want to see. As I said, a LifeVita is massive, and it takes a lot of time to go through. That's why records are categorized and indexed, and the best (or worst!) ones are "bumped" to the forefront. Above all, you get a LifeVita score, which tells employers how much of a risk you'll be if they hire you. My score is 532--High Risk. I'm basically unemployable, and not just because I have a disability.

That'll wreck your score no matter what else you do, but if you do stuff like flunk out of college or anything else like that, you're even more screwed. Holly's score is 400--one of the worst out there--and that's why she's gone and become a "golightly". It's one of the only career options available to her right now, and to me. That's because in order to be considered for a job--even one at a lowly discount store such as QuikSave, which is coming to replace Wal-Mart--your LifeVita score has to be at least 700, which is the lowest end of the "Low Risk" category. Of course, these days, who can get a 700 except perfect saints, or else people who don't go on the Internet at all? Living "off the grid" is becoming more tempting, day by day.

Holly's thinking of it, too. The thing is, doing that is almost impossible.

What can you do if you want certain records on your LifeVita erased? Easy. You simply pay $1,000 per record, and the good people at LifeVita, Inc. will wash your sins away. Simple, huh? Not so fast. For starters, very few people have the money to do that nowadays, and for another thing, LifeVita has to decide if it can erase that record "in good conscience". For example, if there's an embarrassing photo of you with a lampshade on your head dancing on top of a table, that can go, but if your last job or school career was a disaster--or if you've done anything that's genuinely illegal--then no dice. That record will stay on your record, no matter how much money you fork over to the Records Deletion Department of LifeVita, Inc.

That's the way it goes. Employers want to see more than what shows up on paper. They want to see what's "in your basement", what other "cards" are in your "hand" that you don't want to play. They want to know everything about you. Not only that, but they only want to hire la creme de la creme of job applicants. How do I know? Just watch their commercials! As I'm flipping on the TV in my apartment, one of them is coming on right now:

[Scenes of unemployment lines, crime-ridden streets, polluted landscapes, and police lineups appear, all in black-and white. The ANNOUNCER speaks:]

ANNOUNCER: In this hectic and unpredictable world, how can you be sure that you're only hiring the best of the best for your business?

[A color shot of the LifeVita, Inc. skyscraper in New York City appears.]

ANNOUNCER: LifeVita, Inc. can help. We make sure that the human resources you hire have aggregate scores of at least 700, in the "Low Risk" category. More than that, our services are first-rate, our technology state-of-the-art, and our findings completely accurate. You can't go wrong with us!

[A well-coiffured black woman in a striking navy-blue business suit appears:]

BUSINESSWOMAN: LifeVita saved my business, and these days, saving one's business is saving one's life. My company used to waste so much time and money hiring the wrong people, but now we make sure that only the best and most qualified enter our doors. In fact, we seldom hire anyone with a score below 750, let alone 700! Thank you, LifeVita. (Smiles.)

That's the part of the commercial that makes me the sickest. 750?! Who on Earth can get a score like that, aside from people who've never done ANYTHING wrong, on the Internet OR off, or else people who have paid a bunch of money to LifeVita to erase the crap they don't want anyone to see?

ANNOUNCER: LifeVita, Inc: Saving lives, one business at a time.

I almost retched. Their slogan used to be "Refining America's Workforce", meaning, of course, that only the most refined would get into America's workforce. Now, they're painting their services as humanitarian? Give me a break! That company is less humanitarian than the organizers of the lottery! In fact, I give the lottery more credit. It's based upon pure chance, and everyone knows it, whereas LifeVita--and your LifeVita score--only give the illusion of being based upon objectivity and fairness. It's all a big con game, and if the LifeVita people think it's not, then they're kidding themselves. Although, I guess if you have to believe that your company's mission is noble in order to remain employed, then that's what you're going to do.

I shook my head. Even Holly's line of work seemed more honest to me...
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:10 PM   #3
Tysyacha
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So, just how did Holly get into her present line of work? One seldom wakes up in the morning and says, "I'm going to go into that as a prime career opportunity!" In fact, one tends to try and avoid thinking of such non-options, especially if one has a halfway-decent yet precarious LifeVita score to preserve. The thing is, however, that Holly didn't even have that kind of score to begin with. She was strictly below-average, and for below-average people, there aren't a lot of legitimate career fields to go into anymore. Every occupation, from food service to hospitality to things like teaching and nursing, pretty much requires you to have a LifeVita score of 700 or above for entry-level positions. That leaves absolutely no room for Holly--or me--and so my friend has taken the so-called "low road". In this post-modern, post-religious age, however, it's become more like the "common road". Sure, people still disdain it, and look down upon people like Holly, but there is no longer the fire-and-brimstone fervor of righteous condemnation that used to surround her unorthodox career choice. There's always room for C-and-D students in the bedrooms of many a man with a much higher LifeVita score. Of course, if her "tricks" are found out, they'll be ruined, but my best friend knows how to keep secrets. If there was ever an inborn talent she had, that would be it. Another one of these is making friends, including all the wrong friends...

That's why the one person I can't stand on this entire planet is Jessica--the one who got Holly started. She's an acquaintance of hers whom I absolutely despise, and also her "employer". Jessica's got a LifeVita score hovering somewhere in the low 500's, but it's still higher than mine. She is a real businesswoman, that one, and she recruited Holly through K'nekt--the latest fad in social networking sites. In exchange for performing all the risky, score-obliterating online "hookups", which take real nerve (and real computer skills!) to conceal from the good folks at LifeVita, Inc., Holly does all the "dirty work" and pays Jessica a percentage of her "wages". I can't remember if it's 20% or 30%, but it's pretty high. The last I heard, Jessica had at least ten girls working for her, and that includes Holly. She's looking to "expand" because her K'nekt page, aptly titled http://sexyjess.knekt.com, has gotten quite a bit of traffic lately. Hmph. I'll never work for Jessica. She is a complete and total--

The real kicker is that both of us knew Jessica in high school! She was the head of the Warren G. Harding High cheerleading squad, the "Harding HiLites". Certainly, Jessica had been light on her feet, but Holly and I also thought that she was a little light in another department--namely, the one inside her skull! One time, Holly had made up this cheer about Jessica that I had absolutely loved:

"MY name's JESSICA! I'M so DUMB!
Hee-hee, hi-hi, ho-ho-hum!
Just throw me in the air with a big, high swing--
If I fall down on my head, I won't damage ANYTHING!
Go, ME!"


Of course, Holly had told me not to tell anyone else this cheer, but I felt the instinctive need to go chanting it around the whole school to anybody else who hated Jessica. That was the biggest mistake of my life. Word got around, and rumor had it that I was the one who had made up the cheer, and not Holly. That was all right. I took the blame, because if the real source of the cheer would have become known, no one else would have considered it valid anymore. Plus, I wanted to save Holly from getting bullied by the Hi-Lites. Perhaps more than anyone else at Warren G. Harding High, with me being the "retarded" or "handicapped girl", I wanted Jessica to get her "just deserts".

You know what happened? I ended up getting mine, facing ostracism from Holly for betraying her trust, and bullying from the Hi-Lites for three years straight. My best friend and I made up fast, but the Hi-Lites? They continued to trip me in the hallway, scatter my papers and books all over the floor of the classrooms we were in, delete my computer files that I was about to turn in for homework, call me "a fat/ugly/retarded B-witch", and so on. In the end, Holly and the Hi-Lites came to an uneasy truce--witness Holly's recent "job", and her snotty "supervisor"--but the former cheerleading squad of Warren G. Harding High and I are still on the outs. Let them think I made up that cheer! Let them think I was the one to "stick it to them" where it counted. Let them think I took a stand! As it was, all I did was repeat the cheer to others and watch the fallout...

They deserved it--or, rather, Jessica deserved it. I wasn't the only target of their bullying. Anyone who wasn't "in" at WGHS basically got nailed. The Hi-Lites were the "low-lights" of anybody's school year, including my own, if they didn't have a high-enough rating on our unwritten popularity scale.

In a way, this was fantastic preparation for having a LifeVita score and dealing with it. Just like in high school, you had to keep "on top of things" every day, checking to see if you were still "in" or not, and still "good". Also, you constantly had to do things to try and improve your reputation--or try to keep from destroying it completely, whichever the case may have been. It was either triumph (winning scholarships, getting prestigious jobs, finishing your education, doing volunteer work) or triage (making online amends, publishing blog or message-board retractions, taking down risque photos, and of course, forking over a grand per piece of info that you wanted erased).

People guard their LifeVita scores as closely, or more closely, than their credit scores. In fact, many now care about their LifeVita scores more. These days, it's their genuine passport to employment, romantic and family relationships, sucess--life.

Why did I let mine get wrecked?

This may sound lame, but all I can say is that's not what I meant to do!

Last edited by Tysyacha; 08-04-2010 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:12 AM   #4
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