Vignette:Forsaken and Forgotten

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Forsaken and Forgotten
Seireng Quarter, Heungkep Sector, Taywu
June 28th, 2041

The metallic and rusted flavour of the air tickled Kyen's sensations from all directions, as if mockingly embracing him in his absent Memi's stead. Ten years, it has been. Ten long years since his mother had left for the greater peace above and his own uncle evicted him from his apartment complex.

"It's just business, kid. Your Memi isn't here to pick up the bills anymore, and you can't do it either. Sorry, just business."

Like hell it was. It was an unspoken rule here in the Seireng Quarter. Profit is king above famililial blood. Any and all rules here don't apply unless it's dealing with making money. Getting into trouble with any of the ruling loaning clans here means certain death, especially for those who seem to frequent the gambling centers. Then there's the prying eye of the corps, watching your every move both in order to observe your spending habits and to make sure you don't screw up their earnings. The Mekang, homeless street orphans, ran about these parts unchecked; forsaken and forgotten by the cruel world they grew up in. Kyen strolled down Taikung street, towards the glitzy Kepa corporate "outpost" in this sector with its towering high rises.

"Welcome to Paisang™! Please scan your holo-card under the light."

Kyen had arrived, his newest workplace a mere feet away from him. Work was hard to come by in these parts, especially a position among the corps. "Maybe Paisang ain't so bad," he thought to himself. 56 hours a week with 5 vacation days annually, not including one for his birthday, is an incredibly rare benefit hardly handed out to non-management employees. With a beep and jingle from the holo-scanner, Kyen stepped forth past the bright neon logos and greeted the front receptionist, to no response. The dull hum of the elevator lights were cancelled out by the jingles and advertisements coming from the screen, with flashing lights and large slogans rotating across.

"Try our newest BakSoy flavour, Mursland Meatloaf! Now with 15% real meat flavouring!"

"Gripped with a fear of criminals? Strange neighbors and high crime got'cha in a jiffy? Then you need Keng Corp! The number one security solution on the market today! 'Keng Corp is not responsible for any medical harm caused to the purchaser.' "

"Tired of living? Life's struggles simply too much to juggle? The cutthroat world of corporate dealings got you on your last straw? Let the real world melt away with BektoVision! The latest VR technology featuring realistic mental soothing and calming sessions, recorded by some of the most famous therapists in all of Bakfong! Order now, and get an electric sensory body pillow for the low additional cost of only 320¥đ!

Ding! The 78th floor. Corporate customer service. "Hey, you must be the new guy for today right? 37 seconds before you're late. Cutting close, eh?" the floor manager chuckled. "C'mon, let's get you situated and start training in the Virtu-Sim. You'll be handling a simulated interaction with a customer that's complaining about their nerve-chip software update malfunctioning. Something about their kid turning into a vegetable, haha. Just try not to mess up too much, yeah? Getting a good score on this sim means I get a bonus, and you get to keep this job. Fair trade, yeah? Good luck!"

Kyen couldn't help but break into a cheeky grin. Coming this far, from a homeless street orphan to grabbing a decent corp position was every Mekang's dream. His life may have been one downhill spiral, but things were looking up. "I've made it, Memi. Thank you for always believing in me." Paisang had given him a new purpose, and a new chance at life. A single tear formed in the corner of his eye as he donned the headset and switched on the program. The Mekang urchin who grew up fighting kids for chocolate pieces was dead. In his stead was now a professional and prestigious corp worker. The old Kyen is no more. No longer forsaken and forgotten.

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