Crash Out

Nico Rosberg is pulling out of the pit lane in Sepang when it happens: He sees. The fabric of reality hiccups and tears, a glitch lifting the curtain. Suddenly, he is a billion Nico Rosbergs in a billion different configurations in a billion different races. He is on the first lap, on the last, on the grid waiting for the lights to go off; in Monaco, SpA, Silverstone, Singapore; he drives for Mercedes, he drives for Sauber, he drives for Red Bull, he drives for Ferrari.

In the split second the cloud rends his consciousness with the force of a billion horses. Instinct drives the brake to the floor, but something must have gone wrong because the wheels lock up the wrong way, sliding the rear end into the path of the race leaders. The millisecond before collision everything is hyper-clear, and his billion eyes see that Alonso, in this incarnation, is not Alonso as he thought. In his place sits an empty shell, a puppet, algorithms open and waiting for input. Then: Impact, and he is pixels scattering as he fades into haze, into big flashing words descending in a sequence that reads G A M E  O V E R.