“When is it supposed to happen?”
“Relax, you can’t force these things. Now, settle down, you need to be relaxed.”
Begin to wonder about what’s next, eyes held tight, feel a little bit of tingling. Maybe this is it? Never experienced anything like it, and find myself reaching for something to ground to which leads to a little anxiety.
I crack open one eye: still dark. Still hot and the thick fabric smells old. The air isn’t moving in here except for the motion of my breath.
The voice comes back, “We’re getting close” This time it sounds a little more anticipatory.
Then suddenly, “This is the edge, stop here.”
There is a jolt, like riding in a cart that came to a swift halt and what sound like pebbles roll across the floor. I can start to hear some distant voices, like in a dream.
“Stay with me!” I hear faintly.
Fine, I think. It’s still so hot and I keep my eyes closed.
“His heart rate is increasing, watch his metabolic rate. He’ll be entering phase two soon.”
Phase two? Oh, wait, I think I remember something about phases. Phases of the moon? Electricity has phases. The Earth has phases. It occurs to me just how transient everything is, and yet so tightly cyclical. I start to notice that I feel big like I’m taking up all space. It’s an incredible feeling.
Then terror washes across me in the form of pins and needles, I feel like the static on the surface of an old tube television screen. Where does the world end and I begin? Fade.
My thoughts sound like they’re being shouted inside the echo chamber of my mind. Every thought reverberating off every surface and bouncing off of each other, fading but never quite going away. My vision starts to fill with a bright light and I try to close my eyes tighter. The light dims ever so imperceptibly and starts to look like a figure. I realize that the light is below me and it feels like I’m being pulled towards it as if gravity is shifting. Fighting with every ounce of strength, I resist. It’s so damn hot in here!
Then I fall. But I fall backward, into the dark and land somewhere in it. My focus is oriented towards where I fell from, but my vision is omnidirectional.
I’m lying on a shimmery veil that bends around me in that sort of way space is supposed to bend. The way you see it in books.
Deep below is movement. Wet, sharp movement. It reaches it’s long fingers up to me, beckoning the very fabric of my essence toward it. Once again I find myself resisting, paralyzed, I need to push myself away.
A flash and then a crash. It’s still dark as I open my eyes and find myself lying back in my body. A whoosh of pressure equalizes and I’m able to take a deep breath as the lid to the pod opens. I can see all the wires and tubes now. The surgeon leans over, shining a light in my eyes.
Click, she puts it away. “How are you feeling?”
I can feel every part of my being, working, calculating. I start to feel her presence come online in my mind. Then, I notice all of the other beings in the room.
“Wow,” I say, or at least I mumble with this tube in my mouth.
“Good,” she says. “Can you sit up?”
Some others help sit me up. There is a coated technician taking notes at my feet.
The wires are withdrawn and the breathing tube is gently pulled out. I immediately vomit at my feet and watch as the metallic slime that just came out of me pool together like mercury. Another technician dips a pipette into it and pulls it up.
“It’s okay, that happens. It’s hard to get the dosage just right, so there always ends up being excess, but it looks like the nanobots synced up with you alright. Just take it slow. Your neurons are malleable, but they need some real world input. The nanobots have taken to your brain chemistry quite well though, so you’ll be out there in just a few hours. First, check this out.”
She hands me a tablet of a three-dimensional display of what appears to be a rapidly changing neural network.
“Oh, look at that activity. It seems your nanobots know when they see themselves in the mirror. You’ve got a beautiful signature.”
I again notice the figures in the room. I can feel a wash of electromagnetic waves across my presence. Some natural, some feeling as though they are knocking. My mind feels so clear, my body feels so fresh. I can feel the rejuvenating effects. A nurse hands me a glass of water.
Oh, water, how beautifully refreshing you are. I feel as though I could just press the water into my person and absorb what I need. I dip a finger into the glass and watch as the water slowly draws into my finger. The nanobots are drawing it up, selectively collecting the appropriate molecules and distributing it across my body, transversing along the super highway of my cardiovascular system. My mouth moistens.
Notes continue to be scribbled away. “Let’s try and stand up.” The nurses help me out of the pod, lean my feet over the edge and pull me up onto my feet. “Don’t worry, we’ve got you. We have the training wheels on for you at the moment. The bots are providing stabilizing electrical impulses to your muscles so you don’t fall over. You’ll be tapered back into your standard control by the time you leave. Go ahead and try to walk across the room.”
I make the intention of moving and there I go, without even trying, I’m effortlessly walking across the room.
What an incredible feeling this is. I reach down and touch my toes and find myself more flexible than I’ve ever been.
“The bots are actually allowing your muscles to stretch further than they are capable by filling in the gaps and conducting the electrical impulses as necessary. It’s rewiring on the fly, but be careful, even the bots have limits.”
I compose myself and look around the room again. I can feel myself emitting energy and feel speechless.
“Don’t worry, you’ll learn how to control your broadcasts. Your mind is speaking out loud at the moment. Soon you’ll be able to listen to those waves your feeling and so much more.”
My legs start moving on their own towards the door and the surgeon gives me a two finger half salute. “Good luck out there.”
What wondrous things we are capable of.
I met some wonderful people today who happened to be professional writers. We talked for a really long time about all manner of things, one topic being their love of fountain pens. Since I hadn’t ever had one before, they said that if I write them a short story, they’d give me a fountain pen. Well, I got my pen and this is that short story.