GENRE: NA Science Fiction
Orson helped the young man pull on the virtual simulation cap, arranging the wires to fall over the edge of the recliner and not his face. Hope bloomed like a weed inside his chest, whispering, This time. This time it will work. He didn’t have the strength to mow it down.
“Now I just want you to relax and remember, this isn’t a fully-functioning game yet.” His greatest fear was something going wrong, stranding the boy’s mind outside his body—forever. “The programmers are still writing the code. You’re only there to observe. Not interact. We want to make sure it looks as real as possible before we invest any more money into it. Alright?”
“Yeah. Sure. Christ, I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
Orson laughed. It came from deep in his belly, touching on the desperate wish that he could be the one going in.
“You have no idea. It might not work, remember,” he went on, as much for Blake as for himself.
“Yeah. Right. But still, so cool.” The kid—young man, damn he felt old—all but vibrated in his seat. Orson envied that fresh enthusiasm. Should he really risk someone so young?
What choice did he have? He postured past the nerves with another smile.
Finished checking the sim cap, he asked, “Ready?”
Blake’s excitement didn’t let any nervousness through as he nodded, smiling wider.
“Alright then. Let’s log you in.”
And please, Orson thought, activating the program and shielding his heart for another failure, please don’t die.