Aesthesia: Chapter 3 (3)

07:00 Friday 6th February 2578,  Ethan

                       

 I jumped. There was music everywhere over which I could hear a woman’s voice requesting I got up and as I opened my eyes I saw a clock flashing above me. How do I make it stop? Of course, I thought while gliding my hand toward the black tile on the bedside table. The music stopped, and was instead replaced by a news report. Staring up I saw two reporters reading the news on the upper right of the four poster bed, while a diary cataloguing my schedule for the day appeared on the upper left corner. I sat up and found the projection on the ceiling of the four-poster glide down to remain at eye level. As I got out of bed I looked down to find the Visual had remained unchanged from the dark green shirt and jeans from the night before.

Feeling oddly less alone, I freshened up and washed my face in the fountain of water that was cascading from the tiles, after which I was just about to leave the bathroom but halted having heard a faint clicking. I turned and noticed two small drawers that had appeared from the tiles and seemed to be suspended in mid-air above the sink. Each drawer had a small fleshy lamella type structure attached on the outer lateral surface and I peered in to see a minute floating clear concave disc in a small sea of transparent fluid in each drawer. There was a slight gravitational pull on the top part of my face. Intrigued I followed it, and found in the following few seconds my open eyes were above each drawer. A small vacuum seal formed attaching my orbit to the drawer when I simultaneously felt something (which I assumed to be the fleshy lamella structures) insert into my mind through my ear. The gravitational pull stopped, the seal was broken and I slowly raised my head to find my surroundings now appeared a little blurred. The empty drawers resumed their place blending seamlessly into the tiled wall.

During the following minutes my vision became more focussed and continued to change subtly with each blink, producing a profound effect. My visual field had become a mixture of reality and automation, almost like a news screen. In the centre on the far right were the time, date and temperature in white print, and in the lowermost section of my vision was messaging information, in addition to the headlines and latest news.

On arrival to the kitchen, I had become accustomed to the foreign objects in my eyes and almost forgotten their presence. I heard a knock at the door, and before even having time to turn to approach it, I noticed a flashing at the upper left of my vision reading ‘CALEB DONAGHUE AT THE DOOR, PLEASE ENTER RESPONSE’. I somehow inadvertently indicated to the house or lenses or something (frankly I’m not sure which) that Caleb could come in. Within minutes I heard footsteps heading my way.

‘Morning, glad to see you wired in. So I see you’ve got your head round some of the gizmos. You not changed the Visual?’ Caleb asked as he entered the kitchen.

I shook my head, and offered him a drink looking around the foreign kitchen unsure of where I would actually make a drink.

‘No thanks, we need to get going,’ Caleb replied with a sense of urgency in his voice. ‘Glad you put your lenses in, the World would be a pretty bleak place without them. You should change the Visual, a suit may be more appropriate.’

I stared at Caleb a little perplexed contemplating how to change this Visual that he seemed obsessed with. No sooner had I started to think of possible ways of changing it, a three-dimensional screen opened in front of me as if from a search engine. I scrolled down without even touching the ‘screen’, and there the answer lay. ‘A three step guide to changing the Visual, either manually or through the lenses.’ I selected the lenses option – ‘1) scroll through Visual’s that are in the closet or visit the store 2) make a selection 3) upload the image.’ The page was additionally laden with advertisements for the latest Visuals from various clothing retailers and designers. There was a small disclaimer at the bottom of the page reminding of a need to change the Image (the grotesque white skin tight suit) every two to three days for hygiene reasons.

‘That’s better. Shall we go,’ Caleb commanded, a second after I had bought a navy blue suit with a white shirt.

As I stepped out the front door, I found myself in an exquisite tower building in the middle of the city. Had I taken time to appreciate the views earlier I probably would’ve seen the whole city from my bedroom. Looking down through seventy-eight glass floors all the way to the ground, I felt intimidated by the sheer height of where I stood. I followed Caleb into the elevator that stood opposite my front door. Upon entering, it plunged down.

‘You need to be keeping a mental log, otherwise you won’t be able to brief me on the schedule,’ Caleb told me authoritatively and I began to wonder whether he could be briefed on anything.

I nodded in agreement, a little distracted by my impeccable surroundings. Was I in heaven? Leaving the glass-constructed tower we walked onto an unblemished landscape where nature had nurtured her subjects with nimble inveterate fingers. I certainly did not recall this view from the previous night. There was a brick path on which I was standing, paving the way forward weaving between a mixture of glass towers and regal Victorian style buildings that you may expect to find on a London street. I looked up to see an ornamental blue sky accommodating the brightly burning sun. The serene path provided a haven from the bright rays for about fifty yards as elms interlocked to form an arch above my head, after which the path was guarded by sentinel cypress’s standing on either side. Looking around there were several other individuals conducting their daily business.

‘Takes your breath away,’ I said.

‘Well, it’s partly of your making. We should get a move on, this way,’ Caleb directed.

After a brief walk we entered a small windowless brick building, which housed an odd semi-circular vehicle that seemed to be composed of a glass-metal hybrid substance. Around its base and sidewalls were several horizontal metal rims resembling tyres. Caleb had already entered the device and was signalling I should do the same.

‘I’m guessing this is your first time in a HV. It can feel a little odd, just remember to breathe,’ Caleb assured me as I took my seat in the front next to him, looking out of the panoramic windscreen.

‘A HV?’

‘Yes, it’s based on the original principles of hovercrafts, with rammed up power. It’s a fast safe form of transportation. Especially, since the teleporters were taken off the market following the organ losses. There initially were some concerns with HVs, as the body begins to separate at these speeds because some organs are travelling fractionally slower and are in essence left behind. But most of the problems have been ironed out, otherwise M.O.S never would have approved it,’ Caleb paused. He seemed unsure of how to continue. ‘I know you have lots of questions, but everything cannot be answered as fast as you want it to be.’

The HV descended underground into a series of linked tunnels and shot off at great speed. There was little use for the windscreen as my eyes could barely register anything at these speeds. For a second, I felt as though I may be flung out. It was an odd sensation – the mixed feeling of complete security and total instability. No more than a few minutes had passed before we parked up and were once more on foot.

We approached a distorted building with a wedge-shaped base that steeply narrowed in and upon which were stacked many overlapping platforms; the building was covered in a glass skin onto which a steel exoskeleton formed a lattice of hexagonal structures unifying its multifaceted form. We ascended to the topmost hundred and fifty-fifth floor and entered a large reception area leading to a meeting room where we were accompanied by several others who greeted me before taking their seats at the large table.

‘You sure you’re doing the right thing? It’s not too late to back out,’ affectionately said a small greying man as he shook my hand, ‘just remember that son.’

Around thirty individuals sat around a large hexagonal table that had a black tile to the right of every seat. Each individual proceeded to activate the tile by placing their hand upon it. I followed. As I did so, a three dimensional screen appeared before me. ‘WELCOME ETHAN LORENTZ’ it read, below which appeared an agenda. Caleb was sat to my right. He stood to address the table.

‘Friends we have gathered here today,’ Caleb began.

In a blink everything changed. Sitting at a laptop I was typing unfathomable commands (at speed) to break into an account of some sort and once this was accomplished started scanning through numerous e-mails looking for something. I needed to get back, but had no idea how to. Fortunately in the next blink I was back, I had returned. Looking to my right I found Caleb still standing and fully in command on the table.

‘Today is a monumental day, a day I am honoured to ask you all to participate in. A great mind of our generation, my best friend, has decided it is time for him to sign across all his work, copyrights, and much of his estate to me including the esteemed Euclid tower. Before he does so, I would like to ask you all to applaud him on his contribution to our society and to our lives. Thank you Ethan.’

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Filed under Fiction, Novel, The Book: Aesthesia

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