This month, Popular Science is publishing 10 original short stories from the future

None of the celebrities condones it, of course. Supporting truehearting would be terrible publicity. The most anyone says on record is “Be careful out there.” (Many stars have clips on GatherApp with 500,000 likes; they’re beholden to the crowd.) So they’re careful.

For most people, it’s enough to show up when the fave needs numbers: There’s nothing worse than an audience shot where your area is empty, and the enemy’s sections overflow with smugs. But if you do love your fave the most—if you’re a trueheart, someone who forswears all others to protect your fave’s reputation—your job is sterner stuff. Truehearts patrol the Web, fighting all criticism. They have access to grayspace forums—with daily passwords delivered in encrypted cat pictures—where they map the fave’s real-time locations. To hunt the haters is a calling, not a game. (Sometimes you hunt your own. To be a true fan is hard; the world is full of objects to worship. So many fans falter.) The celebrity doesn’t know who his truehearts are; they’re just strangers shyly begging an autograph.

But no passion’s perfect. Firewalls crack; enemies get in. Once an actor found his own forum and made some sharp remarks. He retired suddenly after the backlash—not even his forums can find him now. Only one person knows what happened; a trueheart protects his object at all costs. If the fave can’t act in his own best interests, that’s just too bad. There’s no room for traitors in a trueheart world.


Genevieve Valentine is the author of Persona.

This article was originally published as part of our “Dispatches From The Future” science fiction feature in the August 2015 issue of Popular Science.