The year was 2132, the height of an era that would come to be known as the Nuevo-Baroque. Charles scanned through the dusty and fragmented files written in a format abandoned a century ago. There was something quaint about the text he scavenged through, a time when people painstakingly wrote out their thoughts with keystroke and pen. It was such a complex time and yet so much simpler. He read as the final line scrolled through the air before of him. It wasn’t a bad story but it wasn’t what he felt would catch. He grabbed the glowing icon that was floating in the air; a dozen faintly glowing boxes sprung to life in the room each one giving off a different hue. He looked at the file in his hand contemplating the luminescent title of the story, Moonrise. For a moment he considered the deep red box, it bobbed up and down in response. He decided to keep it instead; as he let go it slid through the air toward a violet box hastily labeled “alternates to compile”. As the file approached a tongue slid across a growing gap in the box, quickly the box jerked forward and snapped the file with a chomp sound. Then as quick as they came the boxes blinked out of existence leaving him sitting in the dark.
Charles slid back in his chair his hand rubbing his forehead absently. He had been pursuing this author hoping she would have blossomed a-bit more in this final work, but she had been forced to abandon her dream. The files showed at 34 years-old she was on the losing end of a recession. She worked for years barely treading water before she finally regained stability. By then she had a child and left no additional digital fingerprint of her literary talent, aside from the occasional flourish of wit on social media. This was very common among the earlier authors of the internet; there had already been many timeless discoveries of unrealized talents of that age, precious gems. He hunted the unicorn and the dragon, but he was coming to fear his best option was to make a chimera.
He called her personal files into being before him with a thought. The violet box appeared and grew into a small tornado whipping the recently added file around. The personal file was sucked into the storm, fused with the story file, and was pulled into the torrent; which blew itself out in a collapsing flurry of color and wind-chimes leaving darkness again. Charles voiced out a message to a colleague in the Hard Anthropologies Department requesting digital copies be made of any available physical writings from the woman. He summoned a glowing memory scrap; reading from it he added to the message the dates of her birth and death, her social security number, and as an afterthought her name, Janessa L. Finch. Her name – It was such a strangely impersonal thing leafing through the most intimate details of a person’s life, so often bordering on their most private thoughts; stranger-still, knowing that had she only gotten sick just ten years later she would likely still be alive and youthful once more. He noticed his own wandering thoughts and decided to resume his work later.