Echoes of Tomorrow's Past - Part 2 (An Original Novella)

in #steemit2 years ago

The view was breathtaking. Hundreds of tiny, raised rectangles dotted the landscape. Innumerable black dots, barely visible to the naked eye, intermingled with each other to produce lines of static noise far below. The sun burned in the sky, tendrils of blazing white streaks emanating from its source. James tried to fathom how high up they were. He pressed a palm onto the large shimmering pane of glass only to feel a blast of heat upon his skin. The utter insignificance of life was made all too real from up here.

”Incredible, isn’t it?”

James startled at the abrupt nature of the voice behind him. ”Yes. Yes it is, ma’am.” He replied, unmoving from the picturesque scene before him.

A flurry of flirtatious giggles sounded out. ”Ma’am? You can call me Vanessa. Everybody else does.”

He turned around and was taken aback at how attractive she actually was. The flowing mane of red locks coupled with a pair of curvaceous, long legs. All packaged up into a tight, but formal mini-skirt and low neckline blouse. They really know how to keep their customers coming back for more, he thought to himself.

”Sure… Vanessa.” he mumbled. ”Do you know how much longer Dr. Gray will be?”

”A few moments now. He’s taking care of a long distance business call.” Her seductive tone caused a messy tingle inside his belly. He felt the blood flush to his cheeks but attempted to carry on as normal. ”So, erm… How long have you been working here at Digital Realities?” He asked.

”About two years now. Give or take a couple of months, but I do love the place.” She replied back with an enchanting smile . ”It has this ambient, relaxing atmosphere if you know what I mean. No office noise or colleagues climbing over your back to get to the top. Know what I mean?” James’s thoughts started to stray as he struggled to retained some level of focus.

”Right, I see.” He answered. There were several seconds of uncomfortable silence before Dr. Gray swung open the door to his office. ”Mr. James Donnell.” He called out with an usually large dimpled grin. ”Please, come this way.”

James hasted his way over to the boyish looking doctor, but not before glancing back at the secretary. She waved at him curling her fingers into her palms. He found his eyes throbbing as he entered the room.

”I see you’ve been acquainted with the lovely Miss Booth.” He said, closing the door. ”She’s a real pleasure to work with and our clients simply adore her.”

”I bet they do.” James said under his breath. A wide, expansive sheet of glass provided the backdrop for Dr. Gray’s spotless office. If the view from the reception lounge had been referred to as magnificent, this would be off the charts. Almost the entire south side of the city below sprawled out in every direction. A gaping yaw of bustling activity all from a perspective as close to godlike as you could get. He whistled at its sheer scale of beauty. ”That’s one amazing vista you get to see every day, Doctor. I’m jealous.” he remarked, before taking a seat in a luxurious leather chair facing the broad desk. James scanned the room in awe. ”Quite an outfit you're running here.”

”Thank you, James. That’s very kind of you to say so. But you do get used to it if you’ve been working here as long as I have.” He sat at his desk and placed a pair of locked fingers upon the oak top. ”So, you all ready for the big day? We’re making some final adjustments to our equipment and will be all set to go shortly. How you feeling about everything?” Dr. Gray’s affable smile remained frozen in place. His demeanour exuded the utmost professionalism and class. With an added benefit of putting James’s tension at ease. He had the feeling this man simply just wanted to help.

”I appreciate your concern, Doctor. Well, I know we’ve been through a few discussion’s already concerning the procedure and all but I’ll admit. I am still somewhat nervous.”

”I see. Of what exactly, James?” The doctor asked, wiping away the beaming grin at once.

”Just to recap, Doctor. I’ll have one hour’s worth, am I right?” James asked.

"Of stored memories, yes.” Dr. Gray affirmed. ”Our staff of highly trained nurses will guide you through the whole process. Again, I’ll just make sure we’re on the same page here. You’ve paid us for one hour’s worth of memories that you’ll save to either our global cloud or a storage medium of your choosing to take home with you today. I believe you received your implants when you were a baby, am I right?”

”Yes, Doctor.” He confirmed.

”Good. Well, as you know, your own personal blockchain has been chugging away in the background for all these years. In essence, saving every single thing you’ve ever seen and heard since the moment you opened your eyes after the surgery. It’s all being stored away, safe and snug, within your mind. Remember that part of the package deal you signed up for includes running a set of diagnostic checks to make sure everything is still functioning as it should be.” His eyes widened, however the Doctor gestured his hand in the air. “James, please calm yourself. If we did come across any problem, you’d be the first individual out of the five thousand or so test subjects. The chances are extremely remote. So I’m sure there’s nothing to worry yourself about. Now, as I was saying, your current power cell should last for another ten years or so but we’ll have ample warning of battery failure in advance so will deal with that issue as and when it happens.”

James nodded his head in agreement. ”It sounds almost too good to be true, Dr. Gray. Is there any way I can avoid viewing certain memories that might upset me?” The Doctor shook his head, taking a moment to gaze out of the window into the vast expanse of blue sky. ”I’m afraid I can’t help you there.” He replied. ”You’ll be sifting through the history of your life beginning from a time where you couldn’t even comprehend what a memory was. There’ll be sadness, happiness, anger possibly, even embarrassment. You must be prepared to go through a whole spectrum of emotions from one extreme to the other. But my advice to you?” He leaned in closer to James, grabbing a metallic pen that lay in front of him and twirling it between his fingers. "Always remind yourself you’re in the here and now. The present. Everything you’ll bare witness to are simply personal relics from your own historical filing cabinet. You’re just picking out the ones you'll treasure the most and discard the rest.”

”But they’re not discarded, Doctor.” James chimed in. ”They are still embedded in my mind, right? Thoughts I’d rather be rid of than anything else.”

Dr. Gray prodded at the air over his shoulder. ”And you think any single person walking the streets down there is living the perfect existence with an organised set of blissful mental artefacts?” James took a deep breath and locked his hands behind his head. ”I know what you’re getting at, Doctor. But… I keep having these recurring nightmares. Like… I’m falling into what seems like an eternal abyss and suddenly these enormous arms reach out and catch me. I'm pretty sure I know who they belong to. It’s… I dunno, Doc.”

”James. Don’t confuse dreams and memories. They’re very different and poles apart from each other. Dreams are your subconscious acting out a perceived reality based on some type of event or catalyst. Your mind figuring out some issue you’ve managed to put way too much thought into. But the bottom line is they never actually happened. It's not real. They are engrams stuck in the nether regions of the mind. The darkest corners where our physical senses don’t count any longer. The difference is your personalized blockchain picks up events that only translate to conscious data.” Dr. Gray stroked the shaded stubble on his chin as he observed James. ”Does that clear things up for you?”

”I guess so.” He acknowledged. ”I’m just… scared, is all. You know… My mother committed suicide when I was fourteen. The last recollection I have is of her waving goodbye to me by the front door. Later that same day, the school informed me that she was gone. It was devastating, Dr. Gray. I’ve been an orphan for most of my life now.” He sat forward and leaned his arms upon the Doctor’s desk. ”I just don’t want to relive that horrifying ordeal all over again.”

”You don’t have to, James.” He responded. ”I’m sure you remember the approximate time and date that it occurred.” A subtle nod was returned. ”Well then, just avoid going to that timeline. I mean, what I gathered from the meetings we had, you and Dolores wanted to pull only those memories pertaining to the both of you. Your wedding, first dates, those special moments you shared together. Nobody will be watching you. You have a lifetime’s worth of footage to condense down into one hour and create… shall we say, your “Greatest Hits Compilation.” So make the most of it and focus on the most important times in your life that you'll want to save as keepsakes forever. After all, that’s the whole point you’re going through with this, right?”

James stood up and straightened the wrinkles from his shirt. ”You know what, Doctor. You’re absolutely right. I’m letting too much negativity bog me down and hinder me from progressing with what I want out of life. No, I’m absolutely fine. Thank you for our little chat.”

”Anytime” He replied. James felt an almost angelic aura fanning out from the good doctor. ”Just remember that the gift you’ve been given is a rare one indeed. Some could say you’re one of the lucky few. These trials will last your whole lifetime and years beyond that. But you also do have the option to ignore it altogether and carry on as normal. The choice is completely down to you. You can still stop this process if you want.”

”No, Dr. Gray” James asserted. ”I’m ready. Let’s do this.”

(To Be Continued)


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


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