From its humble beginnings in a crowded tenement basement at the hands of a boy genius, light as interface has come a long way. Now it is an industry with limitless applications in everything from t-shirt design to extra-portable computers.

Light interfaces are nanotech constructions in which gossamer thin and diamond strong carbon tubes unfurl in luminous arrangements that seem to hover in midair. These can detect finger presses and have become the perfect alternative to computers in general. Its capacity to be miniaturized has allowed it to be worn on wrists or, in the more expensive models, hover around the operator, slaved to a signal.

In an industry, advertising is important. With the advent of super miniature circuitry, a vast amount of information can be stored in a space the size of a grain of sand. Thus were born the holoverts. It inundated the world like spam flooded the old style internet in the early 20th century.

The early versions resembled insectoid shapes trailing a muted, gauzy light drifting aimlessly, its orbiting speakers sending out tinny music and suave voices of announcers.

The later, more sophisticated updates became more streamlined and advertised aggressively. Shedding moving images of toothpaste, rock stars, douches, whatever brand it was marketing, the holoverts would zoom in on to a pedestrian and loudly promote its product. It soon became so much of a nuisance, that a law was passed that required a voice recognition and gesture subroutine that would detect whether it was being shooed away.

But nobody expected the code to mate, much less be able to interface with one another. Rogue elements now trolled the neon drenched boulevards, harassing the streetwalkers and their customer base, unwary pedestrians, and just about anything with a pulse. On occasion a wild dog is seen fleeing in confusion, followed by holoverts advertising flea chip dips. One highly publicised event involved a squirrel who had befriended a holovert; it would flit to and fro for morsels that the squirrel would pick up.

The holoverts advertised non-existent products that came together in the merging of codes. Their built in subroutines that detected whether their presence was unwanted was compromised. It became more difficult to send them away, with some people resorting to actual violence. Aerosol products designed for the repulsion of the holoverts dominated the marked before it plateaued.

More unsettling was the appearance of actual products after the combinatory nonsense of the holoverts. Life imitates fiction. The most famous example of this phenomenon was the soda pop giant Kock-o-Kola's holovert merging with the Yow Wow Potato Chip holovert to become the Kock-o-Yow Wow Soda Pop Chip. This product appeared on shelves within a week.

A scientist investigating the geneaology of these holoverts managed to track 327 generations within the span of seven months. "With a miniscule energy input requirement and the ability to procreate, holoverts are worse than cockroaches," was the final entry in Carman Sandiego's journal when he was discovered in a sewer covered with hundreds of attention starved holoverts who had latched onto him.

Generally, holoverts are harmless nuisances, but as in Carman Sandiego's example, it is not a good idea to venture into dark, abandoned areas, as these are prime breeding areas of holoverts.

Rating: A nuisance

Status: No end in sight

Right Thing to Say Should You Ever Meet One: Go away. Hey, bug off! I'm not buying vanilla flavored armpit detangler, huh, wot's that, for dogs? Get off me! Quit it!

The End

145 comments about this story Feed