Three days after he was released from prison, her father announced that he would run for local council chairperson. Amaro was in her workshop, fingers flying over a dust-stained keyboard, data running down a cracked screen, head nodding to a dancehall hit. Then, Adak, her digital avatar and assistant, faded out the music to notify her. Though she had not included his name among the things she considered important, though she had not even told it that he was her father, Adak figured it was something she would want to know about at once.

“Your father wants to stand for LC,” Adak said, in a voice eerily similar to her own, pronouncing it as ‘ello see’ as though it were not an abbreviation. “Should I play the podcast?”

Amaro looked up at the ceiling, where she had installed her sound system, and noticed that a black and red spider had built a web around the central speaker. She wondered if she should capture the spider and keep it as a pet, or if she should think of it as dirt and sweep it off.

She wanted to say no, but could not find her voice. A security camera blinked beside the speaker, enabling Adak to see her face, and she must have had an expression that Adak interpreted to mean she wanted to hear the news, so the podcast started.

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Kera, her boyfriend, had made it. A fire exploded inside her head. Fury. Why had Kera not told her anything before running such news?

The podcast was only about sixty seconds, a teaser to urge listeners to watch the longer version on video. Once it ended, the music did not resume and Adak did not ask her if she wanted to watch the whole news because, this time, Adak correctly interpreted her expression. She wanted to look into a mirror and see what her avatar was seeing. She knew it could not read her mind, though some people assumed their avatars had this supernatural ability. It was smart enough to figure out that she was thinking about the only ‘family’ photo from her childhood, but was it not smart enough to know the confusing emotions now raging inside her?

In that photo, her mother sits on a red sofa with her father, and she is an infant playing on her his lap, tagging at his beard. They are all laughing hard.

Mama said he loved it when she played with his beard, which was big and bushy and earned him the Lion nickname, an interesting contrast to his bald head. He laughed hard each time Amaro ran her fingers in that wild mane. On this occasion, they were trying to take a proper family portrait, but Amaro could not keep off his chin. He was the President, her mother the housekeeper of State House, and this was the last photo he took as a free man for they arrested him an hour later.

The news would go viral, she thought. Thirty years was a long time. The world in which her father had ruled was no more, the country had evolved into a whole new entity that he could not recognize, but this would be big news. Ex-President wants to be the president of a village. Maybe Kera, being the only journalist in town, would finally get his big break.

Maybe I’ll finally play with his beard….

She closed her eyes. False memories blossomed, making her sway in a light wave of dizziness, forcing her to smile even as she tried to stifle the reverie. She rubbed her fingers, feeling the texture of his beard, soft like a cat’s fur, and she could hear him laugh in delight as he begged her to stop tickling him.

He went to prison before her first birthday, and yet she could not be sure if he had been absent all her life. Mama made her feel his presence on all her birthdays, which they quietly celebrated in the empty palace they called home, just the two of them. Mama told her stories of him, of his big beard and his big laugh. Mama showed her phone videos of him, sixteen clips, each no more than twenty seconds, of him laughing as Amaro tickled his hair, of him stroking a cat, of him feeding a pigeon, of him dressed as Santa to bring a special gift to his daughter on her birthday. Was that him, or did mama pay someone to play him? He was her imaginary friend through her childhood, and she had waited all her life for the day she would finally meet him.

For the day she would actually play with his beard.

A commotion in the street broke her daydream. Her eyes flung open. A quick glance at the digital clock on her computer screen told her that nearly thirty minutes had passed since the broadcast, with her in a reverie. There was chanting outside, something she had only seen on documentaries about her father. ‘Our man! Otongo! Eh! Eh! Otongo!’

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Was he in her street?

She looked out of the large display window, where two rusty robots continuously waved at passers-by, partially obscuring her view. She set up her tech business in what once had been a retail shop selling petty goods like sugar and soap and matchboxes. She had taken off the shelves and installed in two tables. The longer had a junk of electronics, broken robot parts, computers, and virtual reality headsets, all in need of repair. The smaller table had only a thirty two inch screen, a keyboard, and her phone. One end of the shop had an air-conditioned glass cabinet with four servers, which the town used for cloud storage. The display window had not changed much from the time it was a retail shop. The sill was moldy, and parts of the old shop’s name was visible where she had failed to scrape off the paint. Daytime LED tubes glowed, not as dramatically as in the night, but they spelled out her business name with a bit of fanfare; Princess Digital. She sometimes thought of herself as a princess whose kingdom an evil stepmother stole.

A small group of people, not more than a dozen, walked into view and she saw the cause of the commotion. The former president was in the street, right outside her shop.

For the first time in her memory, she saw him in person.

One of her earliest true memories was trying to visit him in prison with her mother, and the prison guards threatening to throw them in jail if they dared show up again. Amaro learned, many years later, that her father’s official wife had power in the transition government. She chaired the commission that oversaw the country’s move from a centralized presidency to ‘the big tree democracy’, Yat Madit, an artificial intelligence that enabled nearly eight thousand LCs to jointly run the country just as if they were elders seated in a circle under a tree, discussing issues of their tribe. Rumor had it that she had orchestrated her husband’s downfall, not for the good of the country, but in revenge for his philandering. So while he was in jail, she barred his concubines from seeing him. When she eventually lifted this ban, Amaro was a teenager, and afraid of meeting with her father.

Now, she saw him, and did not know how to react.

She recognized him only because he was the center of attention and they were chanting his name, for he was totally different from her childhood secret friend. He did not have a beard anymore. What would she play with? Sunlight gleamed off his bald head, which lent him the look of a statue. He was scrawny, wearing a suit from thirty years ago when he was a lot bulkier. This was not the king sitting with her mother on a red sofa, with bulging cheeks that seemed about to fall off his face, and with happy eyes that boasted of being a good father.

This was not the king she had dreamed about.

But his smile was the same, and the way he held up his fist in the air was redolent of his most famous photograph, captured the day he ascended to power following a bloody revolution. He was a colonel, barely twenty five, but he won the love of the country with policies that kicked out foreigners, mostly Asian and English, and enabled locals to take control of the economy. His decolonization campaign drew international outrage and sanctions, but it cemented his status as a founding savior, and the country prospered tremendously in the twenty years of his rule.

He stopped under a small tree right in front of her shop, to greet an old mechanic who had been a soldier in the revolution that brought her father to power. The mechanic’s body was under a vehicle, only his head poked out, and he chanted a slogan that no one had used in over seventy years. “Our land! Our people!” Her father gave off a hearty laugh, which was close to what she had imagined he would sound like. He shook hands with the mechanic and then with everyone, and then waved at an imaginary crowd, as if it were back to those days when thousands of supporters had choked the streets with his party’s colors.

He looked toward her shop, and she flinched when their eyes met, though she knew he could not see her because of the daylight bouncing off the glass pane. All he could see was the robots, and the LED tubes blinking with her shop’s name, but his eyes caused ice to run down her spine. He excused himself from the excited people, and walked into her shop.

She wanted to jump behind her computer and resume working, to pretend that he had not affected her, that she did not daydream of a little girl playing with her father’s beard, but she froze. When he walked in, the crowd stopped chanting and gathered around the mechanic as he plunged into a tale about the revolution, which the listeners were too young to have experienced.

He stood just inside the doorway, as though waiting for a welcome. His eyes darted about, looking at everything, avoiding her eyes as though he had not seen her. Moments passed. She could not take her eyes off him and he could not look at her. She could not think of anything to say to him.

Finally, his eyes found her. He gave her a small smile, as if he had just noticed her.

“Jambo,” he said, and it came out as if he was clearing his throat.

“You want what?” she heard herself say, in English, the language reserved for people you had no family connection to. She wanted to warm up to him, to experience all her daydreams with his beard, but her heart beat so fast and she clenched her fist to stop the trembling.

“I –” he started, in Luo, and then stopped abruptly.

She completed the line in her head; I want to be your father. I want to make up for not being there. I want to apologize for…. So many things she wanted him to say.

He cleared his throat, and looked at his shoes, frowning at its shinny surface as though it had mud. Crocodile leather, she thought, studded with gold. Real gold. A shoe from before Yat Madit. Her mother had saved it for him. He cut the image of a clumsy teenager gathering courage to tell a girl how much he loved her. She wanted to chuckle.

“I’m running for LC,” he finally said. He looked up at her, and stared right into her eyes. “You can help me win.”

She laughed. “Me?” She wanted to respond in English, but it came out in Luo and she hated herself for it.

He glanced at her computer desk, at the broken electronic parts on the long table, at the servers blinking in the chilled case. He looked over his shoulder at the people outside, who had picked up a chant again. One beckoned to him, eager for him to finish whatever business brought him to the shop. Maybe they thought it would be like old times when he bought booze and dished out pennies in exchange for votes. Maybe they were playing on his stupidity to get whatever money he had stashed away.

“Let’s talk somewhere private,” he said, nodding toward the backroom. He took out his phone and turned it off so that his avatar would not listen.

“I’m busy,” she said.

He hesitated, and then closed the door, muting the chanting, and someone outside groaned theatrically in disappointment. Her mouth opened to protest, yet she was intrigued. A part of her hoped his beard would appear, magically, and this sculpture of a dictator would transform into the father of her dreams, the secret friend in her childhood. He walked to the backdoor and stopped for her to open it, though it was unlocked.

She sighed. She glanced at her phone on the table, wondering if she should bring it along to listen to whatever he had to say, but she decided it might be best to talk in privacy. She led him into the backroom.

It was dark. She threw open the wooden shutters of the only window, and a strong beam of sunlight flowed in to illuminate the room. A red sofa took up most of the space that the bed had failed to eat up. He fingered the sofa, a small smile on his face. It was the sofa from the photo. It had faded, and had holes, and a few months ago she had killed a family of rats that had made it their home, but it still had the feel of the expensive furniture it had been thirty years ago.

“We bought this in Zambia,” he said. “Your mother wanted a unique gift for our family.”

A pink curtain cordoned off the bedroom half of the room. Amaro drew it and sat on the edge of the bed. He looked at the sofa, hesitant, maybe wondering what had happened to it that it looked so miserable, maybe afraid that it would soil his suit. Like the shoes, her mother had kept it for him all these years, and now it hung loose on his body, almost as if it were a gown. Finally, he spread a hanky before sitting. Even then, he sat with care, as though the sofa would collapse under his weight.

“Do you like it here?” he said.

Her mother lived in the only palace that the courts had failed to take away from him. He had put it in her name a few months before his downfall, shortly after Amaro’s birth, and she had documents that proved she had legally bought it from the state. Far from the glamor of its heydays, without any servant to keep up its glory, mama had done good to keep it homely, awaiting his return. Amaro had at first loved the palace. As a little girl, the many empty rooms were her playground, and they became her party ground when the teenage taste of alcohol and ganja overwhelmed her. Then, when she was about fifteen, she discovered a secret door to a basement, where she found someone’s finger buried in the dust on the floor.

Mama could not explain the finger.

Amaro then begun to study the history of her country, and the image of her father, the king who let a little girl play with his beard, vanished. She begun to see ghosts in the house. Security operatives had once used it as a safe house. Many opposition politicians had died in those rooms. Some nights, she thought she could hear them scream. And now in her nightmares, she plays with a severed hand, using it to comb her father’s beard.

She never told her mother why she moved out.

“You have a few minutes,” she said. “I have work.”

He gave her a smile. “Princess Digital is a fine name,” he said.

“It has nothing to do with you,” she said.

“Really?” he said. “I didn’t say –”

“Three minutes,” she said, cutting him off.

He was quiet for a moment, as if he wanted to press the issue, then he let out a sigh that she barely heard.

“Why won’t you talk to your mother?” he said.

Her throat tightened. Her fingers dug into her knees, and she bit her lips tight to stop herself from screaming at him. She had never understood why her mother stayed in love with him, why she kept his suits neatly packed in a wardrobe awaiting his return. She had read about the many women he raped, the many children he fathered in violence, and she wondered if she belonged to those statistics, if his relationship with mama had started with a rape. Why does Mama still loved him? At some point, it occurred to her that mama might have had a hand in his affairs, for nothing else could explain how she, out of all the concubines, got a palace. Once this came to Amaro, she fled from her mother. They had not seen each other in over two years though they lived in the same small town. Amaro had wanted to move to a big city, but stayed for deep down she loved her mother. Deep down she hoped her father was the man who laughed heartily when a little girl play with his beard, the great leader who dragged his country out of the chains of poverty and neocolonialism, and not the monster in history books. Deep down, she hoped that one day mama would explain it all and everything would be alright.

“Two minutes,” she said.

The ex-President stared at her for a long moment, so long that she thought he would not respond. Something twinkled in his eyes, and she wondered if it were unshed tears. She wondered if this was the face of an old man who had lost everything, who was trying to win over the only child he had with a woman who stayed in love with him all these years.

“Back then,” he finally said, “I’d organize rallies, print posters and t-shirts –”

“You killed your opponents,” she said, interrupting him. She was surprised that it came out as if she was commenting on the color of his suit.

He frowned. His lips trembled as he struggled for a reply. He fixed his eyes on his shoes, which gleamed in the semi darkness like the skin of a monster.

“They used me.”

His voice crackled and she wanted to give him a glass of water. She hated herself for even thinking of it. I’m supposed to hate him, she thought.

“Those who were eating,” he continued, through his teeth. “They did things to keep me in power but when things turned bad they sacrificed me and continued eating.” He fell quiet, and she thought that the tears would finally roll down his cheeks. “Your big mother –” He tried to continue, but the words choked him and he bit his lips tight and she knew he was struggling to contain the tears.

She wondered if he was putting up a show. Her ‘big mother’, the ex-First Lady, had come off as an angel who had saved the country from a revolutionary-turned-dictator, who had mothered a nation that did not need an individual ruler, or a central government, but some people had claimed she was a hypocrite. An opportunist.

“I always wanted to be a leader,” he said. “It’s the only thing I know.”

“Yat Madit is not the type of leadership you know,” she said.

“That’s why I want to serve again,” he said, his voice growing stronger a little. He finally look up at her. Eyes wet. “To redeem myself. If I serve in such an incorruptible system, I’ll make peace with the ancestors by proving I’m the good leader I was born to be. I’ll rest in peace when the time comes, and you can help me…. Please, help me.”

She sucked her teeth in contempt, seeing what help he wanted. She imagined the ballot paper system of his time was like a piggy bank, which they broke to determine the next ruler, and he probably thought that avatars were digital versions of paper ballots and Yat Madit was the piggy bank. Being the only cloud business in town, everyone subscribed to her service, and so she had direct access to the avatar of every voter.

“You want me to corrupt avatars to vote for you?” she said.

“No!” he said, his voice had a tone she could not place. Genuine shock? “Of course not! That’s impossible! I’ve been away all these years but I know that Yat Madit is conscious and self-learning and ever evolving and it uses a language that no one can comprehend and so it is beyond human manipulation. I know all that. It’s impossible–” He paused, as if the idea had just occurred to him, a puzzled look on his face. “Is it possible?”

“Yat Madit is no piggy bank,” she said.

“Ugh?” he said.

“Your time is almost up.”

“I’m trying to understand,” he cut in. “Piggy bank?” And after a moment, he seemed to figure it out. “Oh, oh. You mean the way we used to put ballots in those boxes? Ah, I know, Yat Madit doesn’t even exist on a single server and that every citizen’s gadget is a Yat Madit server so it can’t be like our ballot boxes. Yes, yes, I know all –”

“If you have nothing else to say,” she said, interrupting him. “I have work.”

“Look, I know how Yat Madit works, okay? I’ll be just one of eight thousand joint presidents and Yat Madit will coordinate use to rule efficiently. It will advise us and check all our decisions to ensure we work for the people. I know all that and I know that avatars turn every citizen into a parliamentarian in my old system so there is no room for corruption in Yat Madit. No room at all. How can I –”

“You waste your time trying to convince me,” she said.

“The avatars,” he said. “I’m not asking you to corrupt them. But there has to be a way, maybe you can, I don’t know, advertise to them?” She did not have energy to explain that Yat Madit automatically deleted political adverts, so he rattled on. “You can make them convince their humans that I’m the person for this job, and since everyone relies on them for governance decisions…. Look, I have some savings. I could have gone to a big city techie and used other means to target voters, but I ask you because you are –” he paused, and she could see he was considering the next words carefully, “– my daughter.”

“You are not my father,” she retorted. It came out so quickly, so fluid, that it surprised her and she wondered if she had been aching to say those words all her life.

He was quiet for a long moment, eyes fixed on her, unblinking, and finally she saw something shinny run down his cheeks. In the dim light, it looked like clear milk.

“I want to be,” he said.

“Time up,” she said, breathless, jumping to her feet.

He remained on the sofa for a few moments longer, and then with a sigh he stood up. He wiped his face with the back of his hand. She avoided his eyes. She quickly opened the backdoor, which led to a courtyard and the backstreet, the quickest way out of her home.

“Next time,” she said, as he stepped out, “resist the temptation of trying to see me.”

He stood just outside her door, mouth slightly open, the wrinkles on his face seemed to move in sync with the pain of rejection that she imaged whirled in his head. She closed the door, but she knew that the look on his face would haunt her dreams.

She waited to hear him leave. An eternity passed. She feared he would stay outside her door for the rest of his life, begging to be let in. Then his shoes clicked on the veranda and his feet falls echoed away. Still, she stayed at the door, unable to move, afraid that he would return and pitch camp outside her door.

She would say yes if he came back. It terrified her.

Something ran down her right cheek and for a moment she thought it was a bug, maybe the black and red spider. She wished it was the spider. She hated herself. Why do I feel like this about a monster?

She staggered back to her shop, determined to throw herself into work and push him out of her mind. An orange light blinked on her phone to tell her of a new important notification. Her avatar was smart enough to not interrupt her talk with her father, though it had not been able to listen, so the phone had not beeped this notification, another news item, again made by her boyfriend Kera. This time, she watched the entire news, for Mama finally let out the secret she had kept for thirty years. Though people had suspected mama had an affair with the President, she had never publicly acknowledged it.

“We have a daughter,” mama said, showing off the family photo, publicly for the first time. “Give her a chance to see what a good leader her father can be.”

People’s response was largely warm. Many comments lauded her for staying faithful to a jailed man all these years. Many more said that if she had stayed in love with him all this time, then he was not as bad as history made him to be, that maybe his great side, which saw him lead the nation out of poverty and neocolonialism, outweighed his bad side, which surfaced only because he was trying to protect the country from opponents under influence of foreign powers. No one can love a monster, they argued, and she could see it was all because of how Kera presented the news.

She bit her lips, for the anger toward Kera flared. The emotions of seeing her father had stifled it, but now, seeing how he carefully worded his words to skew public opinion to favor the ex-President, she felt lava flow out of her eyes and burn her cheeks. Why, Kera, why?

He knew how she felt about her mama, about her father, so why was his news so obviously a publicity campaign for her father? Why had he thrown away all his ethics as a journalist? Why had he not reminded viewers that her father raped many women, and that he had tortured to death twelve thousand political opponents in the final years of his corrupt reign?

Why, Kera, why?

She wiped the tears off her face and at once hated it for the gesture reminded her of one he had made. You are his copy.

She grabbed her phone and went out the backdoor, hesitating a moment, listening to check if her father was still out there. After opening, she looked around, searching, and her chest relaxed when she did not see him.

Her motorbike sat in a shed in the courtyard. The battery was at twenty percent for the solar charger was faulty, but it was enough to take her across town to Kera’s home and office. The bike did not make much noise when she turned the ignition, just a soft whirr, but this was enough to attract her neighbor Arac.

“Eh Amaro!” Arac squealed as she ran into the courtyard. “Kumbe everyday you are the Lion President’s daughter and you never told me anything? Eh you woman! Me I’m just happy for you! That ka man has money you tell him to give ko us also we eat!”

Amaro gave her a small smile, and a wave, and eased the bike out of the courtyard.

 

Kera lived near the market, in a little bungalow with a huge digital transmitter on the roof. The sitting room also served as the reception to his business, and here an elderly woman ran the front desk. Amaro stormed passed her without even a greeting, and the woman barely protested. She went straight to one of the bedrooms, which he had converted into his studio, sound proofed to cut out all the noise from the market, and she hesitated at the door. What if her father was in there? She looked up at the little sign above the door. OFF AIR. At least he was not recording anything live. She pushed it open.

Kera was editing a video, obviously another news segment concerning her father. He span around, and on seeing her, broke into a huge smile.

“Amo!” he said.

“Why?” she asked.

His smile vanished. He looked at his editing screens, at a video of her father smiling at the camera, and then he punched a button to put the screens to sleep, as if that would wash away his crime. He got to his feet slowly, and she could see him trying to come up with an excuse.

“I love you,” he said.

“Just tell me why,” she said.

A short silence ensued. She glowered at him, tears blurring her vision, and he could not look her in the eyes.

“I know, I should have told you,” Kera said. “But, well, you know, your father –”

“He is not my father,” Amaro said.

“Okay, okay,” Kera said. “The ex-President, he came to me last night and offered me exclusive access to him if I, you know,” he trailed off, looking at his bare feet in shame.

“If you worked for him?” Amaro said.

He shook his head. “I’m a journalist,” he said. “I don’t work for anybody.”

“But he offered you exclusive access in exchange for making positive news stories about him, right?”

“It’s not like that,” he said.

“You can’t see that he has corrupted you?”

“No!” he said, finally looked up at her. “I’m a journalist. I can’t be corrupted.”

“He will win because of you, and then he will corrupt Yat Madit.”

He laughed. “You of all people should know that Yat Madit is incorruptible. It’s not like he’ll be the president of the entire country like in those days, so how will he corrupt the system? He’ll govern just one of the nine villages in our small town, just one of seven thousand nine hundred and ten villages in the country, and every village is a semi-autonomous state so he won’t have any political influence beyond his village so you have nothing to fear in him as LC.”

She shook her head. “Yat Madit listens to us,” she said.

“Yes!” he said. “That’s the beauty of it because everyone has a voice and everyone has power to influence the state, so your father –”

“He’s not my father!” she hissed.

Finally, he caught her eyes. “I love you Amo,” he said. “I want to marry you. We are going to be family, and I believe we should support –”

“He corrupted you,” she said, cutting him short. “You are too eager for national success to see that he corrupted you and if he becomes LC he’ll corrupt everybody and then Yat Madit will start to listen to corrupt people and to people who rape women and murder twelve thousand opponents. It will be the end of our democracy.”

He looked at her with slightly wider eyes, as she could see he now understood her point of view. He sunk back into his chair, as if his legs could not support him anymore.

“That’s not corruption,” he said, in a small voice that amplified his shame.

“Good bye,” she said. “It’s been a good four years together.”

He looked up sharply. “What are you saying?” There was fear in his voice.

She did not say anything as she walked out of his studio.

 

Back in her workshop, she took out her phone and saw a lot of notifications, mostly people contacting her about her mother’s revelation. She hit the big red X to delete all, and then she instructed Adak to mute her mama, her father, and, Kera.

Then, tapped on Yat Madit’s icon and the civic app filled her screen with a liquid sound. Its home page showed the trending topics. Though he had announced his candidature only about two hours ago, he was number one in her town. He had dislodged discussion about a bridge that had collapsed the previous day and cut the town off, causing enormous losses to businesses. In the National Tab, he was number three, having dislodged a bill on decriminalizing suicide attempts. His village’s Election Meter ranked him as favorite to win, based on comments and reactions to his decision and to her mother’s announcement.

She tapped on the ‘Bills and Laws’ tab, and clicked on ‘Propose New Law’. Adak initiated a camera and she spoke into it. Adak would transcribe her speech and translate it into all languages, including sign language.

“Yat Madit is a fundamental pillar of our society,” she begun. “And yet it is fragile. It has a huge weakness. It relies on us. Avatars listen to us. They learn what we like and understand our views and then feed this to Yat Madit, which uses this data to approve LC decisions, to advice LCs, and to help draw policies. We think it’s intelligent enough to tell good from evil and to uphold human rights, but remember that some of us can’t enjoy our rights because a majority think we should not. Our gay friends can’t inherit ancestral property because we insist that ancestral spirits only reincarnate through traditional means of conception.

“So what will happen if –” my father, she almost said “– if the former tyrant holds office? Might he influence a majority to condone corruption and ideologies of past systems where a select few enjoyed wealth and power? Might these people not in turn sway Yat Madit to their thinking? Before we know it, Yat Madit would okay decisions that stink of corruption and nepotism and tyranny and raping women and murdering twelve thousand political opponents.

“So I propose a new law; anyone who has been convicted of corruption or of crimes related to abuse of power should not be allowed to hold any public office.”

She hit the Publish button and put down her phone, aware that her proposal would trend within minutes. First, Yat Madit would show it to her village folk and urge them to take action within the day because elections were due in three weeks. It would not leave the decision making to avatars because it was a major law, and because she had pointed out a weakness in the system. Everybody’s gadget would freeze until they had debated the bill and made a decision. Then, if the village voted it into law, Yat Madit would upscale it to town level, then to national level, once again ensuring every adult takes immediate action. Yat Madit would append essential metadata to her proposal, that she argued from an expert’s perspective as a data engineer, and that she was the daughter of the ex-President.

She closed her eyes tight, and again saw the last look on her father’s face, and she let the tears flow out again, and she wished she could unlearn everything she had learned about him after finding that finger in the basement. She wished she could live forever in her false memories of him, where he was just a king who allowed a little girl to play with his big beard.