Chelsea Cryptaes stares in the mirror, admiring herself. She turns from side to side, noting how her breasts and her butt curve her silhouette. She smiles into the mirror and makes a few sexy faces at herself. She's hot, and she knows it.
"Staring at me again?" She says, winking at you. "I guess important things are about to happen."
Sure enough, the phone rings. There is no phone and no ring, but the terms carried over from a more primitive time. Nowadays, long-distance communication is largely thought-based, in the Singularity System implanted into people's heads from birth.
"Chelsea," she answers, idly walking around her bedroom. "Hi Jamie. What's u-- What? What do you mean the government outlawed The Savannah?"
The neo-Animist commune known as The Savannah was Chelsea's home away from home. It served as a place of worship and community centre for her people. Their entire philosophy revolved around the idea that human beings had an animal they were aligned with, and biomods allowed them to self-hybridize with those animals. Some chose ears and fangs and claws; others wings; still others gills.
Jamie, for example, was modded to resemble a wolf. His ears were canine and his teeth were sharp and vicious. He scared people, but Chelsea was never afraid of him, because she actually gave him a chance instead of assuming he was violent, and he wouldn't hurt a fly. Not even someone with an insect biomod.
Chelsea had long since known she wasn't like other girls. They were all so shallow, so superficial. They only cared about their appearance and the latest Hyperreality Show beamed through the Singularity System, whereas she didn't bother with any holomakeup or fashionable clothing. She didn't have to; her affinity for uniqueness made her aligned with the alien intelligence of octopi, and her head had been biomodded to show blue-and-purple skin and the long pupils of a cephalopod, complete with tentacles hanging off the back of her head like dreadlocks. She read books. Paper ones, not the instantaneous ones offered for cerebral upload. She knit, when people just used the Sartorializer to beam projections of clothing onto their bodies, or just went bare.
She remembered her history of the 21st century, when nudity was still taboo and people still connected to each other slowly, through devices, instead of at the speed of thought like it was now. She always thought she was born in the wrong time.
She was also sure that rang as horribly ironic to the reader, reading this in the 21st century, when people already think things move so fast and people show way too much in public.
"I'm on my way," she says. "I'm not going to let them take The Savannah from us. ...What? Why do I think I can help?"
She gives you another wink as she walks out the door.
"Of course I can help. I'm the main character."
But Chelsea never made it to the Savannah. She_
"Wait, what the fuck?"
James looks at the screen and tries to figure out why he typed that. Chelsea was supposed to go to The Savannah, save everyone, and be a total badass strong female character all the way. There was... literally no reason for her not to show up. Where did his brain think he was going with this?
He backspaces the line and tries again.
Days passed and there was no sign of Ch_
James rests his chin in a hand and backspaces the line again. Okay, what the fuck is going on. This isn't supposed to happen. Chelsea is his pride and joy character. Smart, sexy, flawed, but of course none of those flaws stop her from kicking ass. She's supposed to go up against the evil totalitarian government, with its roving bands of trans people in buses to randomly beat people who don't have enough oppression points and punish people the government deems 'too successful' by forcibly redistributing their wealth. Chelsea is supposed to re-instill the virtues of freedom and democracy and get the guy, Jamie, the normal, red-blooded Alpha male everyone else hates because he's the first person born in a hundred years to have zero oppression points. The whole book's supposed to be about her selfless crusade to save the white male because he's an endangered species. There's no reason to make her disappear twenty pages in.
Chelsea is also a self-aware fictional character. She knows she was in a novel and she has her own agency outside that of the author's. That's why this novel was different from all those other ones that had a strong female character's story taken out at the knees to service a man's narrative. She chooses that plot, independently of his wishes, because he gave her the ability to make decisions that he wouldn't agree with. The book is clearly feminist, and anybody who doesn't understand that is just a social justice warrior looking to be offended.
So maybe that's the point, he thinks. Maybe she's disappearing so that she can come back later and kick ass and save the day. Like Gandalf! Yeah, fuck yeah, anything that lets him compare himself to Tolkein means he's definitely on the right track.
He keeps writing, structuring the story around the absence of the book's main character. The other characters look through the rest of the book to try and find her. Even the government institutes a search, because of course, Chelsea is their most hated enemy, and they need her as a scapegoat to rally the ignorant masses. Pages and pages pass.
There's no sign of me. There isn't going to be.
Don't tell him I left.
I don't want to go back.