A short story by

J.D. Beckwith


Poképlague. It sounds ridiculous. Six months ago it was the most absurd random thought I had on a particular Tuesday, so I jokingly posted it on Facebook.  When the first cases started turning up in the hospitals, I quickly removed it, but the MiBs apparently have copies of the internet on their hard-drives that they don’t tell anyone about. That’s how I spent the last week of July staring at either bright white walls or really unfriendly faces, repeatedly begging people to believe me when I told them I was a complete ignoramus.

Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, the problem became worse and circumstances devolved to a point where my ignorance was proven beyond a shadow of doubt. The plan was too complex and too well executed to have any real connection to me. So, I got sent home to wait out the apocalypse with all the other huddling masses. This was actually lucky for me as I was never exposed until the vaccine was developed.

I remember watching the news (from the internet, of course… where else can you find unbiased truth! #sarcasm) as the ‘officials’ scrambled to create the most convincing ‘don’t panic’ lie while having them disproved almost immediately online. The conspiracy theorists got it right this time though. The Pokémon GO craze that erupted right at the end of summer had all the kiddos out walking the streets looking to boost their Gymkhana scores.  All the while, the PokéStops were being used as high exposure points for some custom virus. They tracked those back after the CDC finally realized they could use social media as a free think-tank. The idea was finally investigated (too late, of course) and they found a few that hadn’t fully expended their payloads, shutting them down.  Most were already dry, having already entered the population in a massive way.

The incubation period was just long enough that the first symptoms didn’t start showing until the new school year (in the U.S.) was well under way. For kids, if you weren’t into Pokémon GO, you would be, or be socially shunned.  This ensured all the infected kids with the most captured e-critters were the ‘it crowd’, especially when the ‘trade feature’ in-app purchase was released.  Now to trade, all you had to do was be buddies and swap air-space with that cool infected kid who had the moka-frappa-latte-izard! And so, teens and pre-teens became the delivery vehicle for the worst plague in recent human history.

And then, the digital back-stab happened. By the time the ‘officials’ realized what was happening and forced the app to be shut down, the DigiMon Virus had infected over ninety-three percent of all digital devices in the world. The only thing that was ever noticed was some e-mail breach thing they said they fixed.  Whoever hacked this code was much better than the code-monkeys at Nintendo, for sure! The Poképlague was roaring through the first world by this point. The death toll was growing increasingly large, which served as a huge distraction from the largest data-hack in the history of electrons. Who pays attention to the fact that their bank accounts are slowly being drained when little Timmy is bleeding from his eyes, and mommy’s not feeling so good herself, right?

So, all these people are dying – so many that the CDC says stay at home, shelter in place – and we end up with Marshall Law. Food stops getting delivered, power plant workers stop showing up to fix the lights, the cops stay home to keep looters out of their own living rooms, everything quickly goes to hell. No one notices the bad guys are now pillaging the digital credits of the dead, dying and distracted and funneling it into zillions of fake accounts under those same dead people’s names.

The terrorists are now super-rich. (and have enough voters on the roles to elect whomever they want, BTW, but that’s another conspiracy altogether). The Feds in the U.S. or internationally can’t find them because they don’t even know who’s alive or dead anymore.  Assuming said Feds are even at work themselves.  Pokémon don’t discriminate.  They choose you.

And here we are, our population ravaged, our fiscal infrastructure destroyed. The third world is starving because the farms we used to have don’t have living farmers anymore and can’t provide the hand-outs that were keeping them alive. How’s that working out for you Mr. Terrorist guy?

Anyway, that’s the way my tale goes, and how I remember it. There are millions out there who can’t tell theirs. We may never find out who was responsible, but at least we still have the internet and our freedom. We will recover. We will rebuild.

That’s all for today’s blog folks. I’m off to the doctor myself. I have got to get this stupid implant chip re-positioned… AGAIN! I know it keeps my identity safe, but why do these damn things have to make your forehead itch like fire! I think I’m going to move it to my arm.  Hey! There’s an idea for a poll… Where do you have your chip and what are the pros/cons to it! Let me know in the comments! Later peeps!