Welcome to digital purgatory, where the lines between life, death, and what's in-between blur.

Dear Associate,

Welcome to Infinite Solitude Operations (ISO). This e-manual contains general facts about ISO, and information to help orient you to your new role as a Digital Director. Given the rapidly evolving nature of the work at ISO, always check with your supervisor if you have questions about current policies and procedures.


ISO was founded by Devin Pali in La Jolla, California in 2046 and is now a subsidiary of the Blue Grid Corporation, the pioneering global leader in the information technology and life sciences sectors.

We are first- and best-in-class in digital incarceration services. Capitalizing on quantum leaps in artificial intelligence design, ISO has implemented a safe, effective, and efficient construct for housing those unable to peaceably coexist within society. ISO’s proprietary platform, Iso, is leveraged by state and federal agencies across the US as a humane, environmentally friendly, and affordable alternative to traditional physical penitentiaries.

ISO offers carefully selected individuals in US federal or state custody the opportunity to serve their sentences at minimal risk to law-abiding citizens. Known as Zettabytes or Bytes, these individuals are serving life sentences with no possibility of parole and have undergone permanent digitization as part of their sentencing.

Iso’s benefits to our clients are enormous: low cost to public treasuries, planned obsolescence of defense measures like firearms and shock troopers, and a color-blind platform. In turn, individuals on the platform are guaranteed total privacy and safety under the watchful eye of Iso. Multiple peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that the Iso platform effectively interrupts the endless cycle of violence and recidivism that has plagued the US and other countries for centuries.


The Iso platform includes sixteen separate environments housing up to 4,800 Zettabytes at any time. You will oversee the maintenance of all Bytes in each environment. Using your knowledge of the IMME language, you will supervise ANNA and NIRAV, the artificially intelligent agents that help maintain the virtual environment and the Bytes. ANNA and NIRAV are also responsible for system upgrades, debugging, and defragmentation and are the sole liaisons with Bytes. You will ensure that environmental sterility is preserved to guarantee an indefinitely isolated experience for each Byte.

Your core responsibility is to manage the e-sanity of the Bytes and make final determinations. On your dashboard, e-sanity levels are displayed as a score from 0 to 100 percent. A score below 80 percent indicates impending “encryption,” an irreversible process resulting in catastrophic memory corruption and a loss of processing activity. Encryption renders the Byte inert and inaccessible even to our AIs and can damage the very coding of the Iso platform, rendering entire virtual environments unusable and adversely affecting the integrity of other Bytes.

When a Byte’s e-sanity drops below 80 percent, ANNA and NIRAV are required by federal statute to request your approval to begin reformatting, the only effective corrective measure. Reformatting clears corrupted memory and boot sectors and resets the virtual environment for use by the next Byte.


Zettabyte #409942 has hovered in the 85-87 percent e-sanity range over the last month. ANNA has sent you an emergency report: #409942 has dropped below the 80 percent threshold, and its metrics are falling quickly. You review Byte #409442’s vital sign monitors for confirmation, noting that the electroencephalogram (EEG) is a flat line. The most recent hardware status report is unremarkable. Virtual environment risk assessment shows no evidence of electronic intrusion.

What should you do?

[A] Immediately reformat the Byte’s disk partition.

[B] Nothing. The Byte will spontaneously recover.

[C] Submit a Safety Intelligence Briefing (SIB) due to concern that ANNA is providing faulty information.

[D] Attempt to enter the Iso platform and contact the Byte.


[A] is the correct choice. Reformatting is a painless, effective method to purge and protect the Iso platform while ensuring that the environment will be prepared for the next Byte.

[B] is incorrect. The Byte has an e-sanity score under 80 percent, definitive evidence of encryption. As further proof, the Byte also exhibits an “isoelectric” EEG. This indicates an absence of cerebral activity, otherwise known as brain death. Refer to the ISO e-Health Guide for further details.

[C] is also incorrect. There is no evidence that ANNA is malfunctioning. ANNA and NIRAV possess computational powers and insights far exceeding the typical unaugmented human workforce and have a standard error rate well below 12 sigma.

Submitting an SIB requires concrete evidence that the AI has deviated from its fundamental programmatic tenets and poses a consequential safety risk to humans. Failure to demonstrate such proof may be cause for employee corrective action or demotion.

[D] is also incorrect. Company policy forbids staff and Bytes from direct interaction at any time. A Byte in the process of encryption is unable to communicate in English, Mandarin, IMME, or any other human or computer language, and induces instability in its immediate environment. If you attempt to insert yourself into the environment using an avatar, you will be at risk of encryption. ISO would have no choice but to proceed with employee neural lockdown protocols.

Should you survive neural lockdown in your current form, you will remain at risk of immediate dismissal and legal prosecution. You will be liable for any and all damages incurred to the Iso platform.

The alternative outcome is that you remain permanently digitized in an irreversibly corrupted virtual environment. Your prognosis will be perpetually terminal.


ISO’s vision is simple: bring humanity to digital enlightenment. We do this by providing a virtual blank slate for Zettabytes to serve their life sentences in peace. Remember that reformatting is not an end, or even a means to an end, but simply the achievement of a null state. Your ability to effectively guide each Byte until that moment arrives requires a high degree of mindfulness and dedication.

If you have any further questions on your role as a Digital Director, please do not hesitate to contact your designated HR representative. We value your contributions to ISO: making the world a better place, one Byte at a time.

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Issue 1.3


Purchasers will also receive access to downloadable desktop and phone wallpapers of our beautiful cover art created by the amazingly talented Katerina Belikova (aka Ninja Jo) and inspired by Brian Low's story, “Have You Seen This Hungry Ghost?"

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Welcome to digital purgatory, where the lines between life, death, and what's in-between blur.

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