Echoes of Tomorrow's Past - Part 3 (An Original Novella)

in #steemit2 years ago

The nurse began punching in a series of characters into the small terminal she was holding. Judging by her speed and fluidity, it was obvious she had been through this procedure many times before. She switched between glancing at James over the brim of her spectacles and the screen in front of her. The expression was one of stern concentration and precision, however a pleasing smile managed to break through upon hearing James’s voice.

”Is everything OK over there?” He asked with a nervous stare.

”Just fine, James.” She replied. ”Making a few more minor tweaks and we should be all set to go. You comfortable in the recliner?”

He peered down and squeezed a section of the brown leather padding beneath him. ”Maybe a little too much so.” He said, grinning. ”I’m liable to fall asleep in this thing.” The seat had been positioned to a forty five degree angle. His heels almost dangled over the bottom of the foot rest.

The young nurse shook her head, amused by his comment. ”I’m sure you’ll be fine, Mr. Donnell. You’ve an important task ahead of you shortly and sleep will be the last thing on your mind, I assure you.” A final tap of her screen and she was done. After dropping the device into a broad pocket on her jacket, she approached James. ”Right, now let me walk you through a set of simple instructions. Our GUI is very user friendly so this shouldn’t take too long.”

She reached towards the side of the recliner and produced a pair of thin rimmed goggles. At first glance, it appeared not too dissimilar to a regular pair of sunglasses. ”There you go, Mr. Donell.” She said, holding it out before him. He picked them from her hands and found they were heavier than he had first imagined. ”Wow, what’s in these things! They weigh a tonne!”

She smiled back at him. ”That’s where all the magic is stored. Hence the weight. Now, Mr. Donnell, may I ask you to put them on for me please?” As he did so, a soft fibrous lining perched upon the bridge of his nose, cushioning any discomfort he may have felt. There was nothing but total darkness in front of him. ”OK, what’s next, Miss…”

”You can call me Kim.” She responded in a pleasant tone. ”Now, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to interact with our systems, then leave you to finalize the process in private. Is that all OK, Mr. Donnell?”

”Absolutely fine, Kim.” A rising sense of anticipation and nerves crept through his body as any leftover traces of fear dissipated fast. The pep talk he had received from Dr. Grey within the last hour, still resounded in his mind. He heard a few busied movements to his left when up loomed a bright display upon the interior panels of his glasses. The glare was fine tuned to such an extent that his eyes adjusted to the picture in no more than a couple of seconds. At the centre of the pale white background encompassing his vision, a rectangular box floated in front of him containing some text. ”OK, Mr. Donnell. Do you see the image in front of you clearly? And if so, can you read out to me what you see?” She asked.

”Yes, Kim. I see a blue rectangle divided up into five sections. Each one starting from the right-hand side says “Years, Months, Days, Hours and Minutes.”.”

”Just perfect.” Kim replied. ”At this precise moment, you are looking at a static picture. I want to explain to you how things operate before I switch the interactive mode on. Are we clear so far?”

”Crystal.” He asserted with confidence.

”Good.” Her voice seemed soothing enough that he had to pinch himself twice in order to not fall asleep. ”Now, Mr. Donnell. First things first, you may have noticed that no wires are attached anywhere between yourself and our equipment. The whole procedure is performed wirelessly. We’ve synced up our systems so that it is now connected directly to your installed chip. So, as of this moment, you will be able to fully access the menus in front of you when I activate the program. So far, so good?”

”So far, so good, Kim” He felt a slight tingle at the base of his neck, though could not decipher if it was actually there or just imagined after hearing Kim’s words.

”Great” She continued. ”Now, our GUI is manually operated by sensors located at various points within the glasses you are wearing. Each time you blink at a variable you want to interact with, it will register and execute. So say, for instance, you wish to enter the “Years” submenu, simply blink at the word in front of you and it’ll display that timeline for you. Finally, there is a small “Back” box in the bottom right corner of each page should you wish to return to a previous menu. And that, James, about wraps up out little tutorial for now. Wasn't so bad, right?”

He pursed his lips together and tilted his head to one side. ”Sounds complicated. You sure I’ll find this easy to use?”

”Everything will make sense once I activate the program for you. You’ll be able to browse through the menus, viewing any of your memories along your personal timeline until you are comfortable with the ones you wish to be stored. Nothing will be saved unless you expressly ask me to do so. Just take it easy and relax. You’ll get used to it in no time at all. I’m about to leave the room now but we’ll be able to communicate via a tiny microphone located at the end of your headset. You'll hear my voice perfectly through there. Once again, you’ll have complete privacy as only you will be viewing your memories. All I can do is hear your voice and communicate back to you through the microphone, nothing more than that. After you make a selection, let me know the unique date stamps and I’ll have it saved to a digital medium for you.”

James nodded, though still unsure as to many aspects of her lengthy explanation. ”I think I get it, Kim. But hey… We’ll never know until this baby gets fired up and I start make my selections.”

He could hear Kim walk away from him, just before the metal grate of the door handle turning. ”No problem, Mr. Donnell. I’ll be there to provide any further assistance you require. If there’s nothing else, I’ll be leaving the room and will talk to you shortly over the headset.”

”Just one more thing, if you don’t mind.” He called out before the door closed. ”I’d feel much better if you just called me James from now on.”

(To Be Continued)


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Hope you enjoyed this story, please look out for more on the way... (author: @ezzy)

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