The Mind Games Bk I, Part 9 ExistenZ

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Mind Games pt 9     ExistenZDr Mentz ushered us into the Environmental Resources Design Suite; a regular open plan office full of neat but powerful looking work stations, through that and into a space that looked like an indoor basket ball ...

Mind Games pt 9     ExistenZ


Dr Mentz ushered us into the Environmental Resources Design Suite; a regular open plan office full of neat but powerful looking work stations, through that and into a space that looked like an indoor basket ball court, only with the walls and ceiling covered in high tech LED lighting rigs, beyond theatre or film studio grade. There seemed to be a trampoline set into the floor with what looked like Dr Young's clone wearing a VR headset and haptic gloves apparently moon walking towards us on it. Karl walked up to this figure, and as he did so the clone walked towards him, and the 'trampoline' in the floor kept pace with him until the two were facing each other across its boundary. "Professor Young! Delighted to meet you. How are you getting on in there?" The clone replied in the same stuffy, slightly upper class British accent, "Can't complain, old boy. The things this thing can do are... well, it's just magic. Makes you think, what?"

Karl turned and walked back to rejoin me. As he did so his clone turned and walked in the opposite direction, still held firmly in the centre of the, whatever it was. I was finding it hard to imagine how it worked; especially when Karl walked in a circle and the clone copied him. It was positively spooky. How did they do that? They couldn't have an infinitely extended flat sheet under the floor capable of moving indefinitely in any direction....  could they?  "As you can see, this is our Motion Capture Studio."

Dr Mentz had already gone. I had been so fascinated by what was ostensibly happening with the two doctors Young that I hadn't even seen him leaving. Perhaps he'd thought "Oh, stuff it!" and simply 'jaunted' back to the programmer/analyst suite; which was basically just another office with powerful work stations. Dr Young spoke. "I've always wanted to do that... shake hands with myself, I mean. Would you like to do that, Martin?"

"If it meant going back into that...   that THING? NO!" The previous occasion had simply been too recent; and too traumatic.

"Well, we'll get to that later," said the professor, kindly. "Oh, and in case you were wondering... the moving bit is the top of a giant rubber ball, stretched over a set of adjustable rollers to make it flat at floor level. The rest of it is in a huge room beneath this floor, held between two sets of swivelling roller balls; an outer set, and an autonomous inner set, with its own computery and completely separate wiring, power and so on. The outer rollers, also computer controlled, provide the motive power and some of the inner rollers are used to trickle charge the batteries inside. That happens every time the floor moves, and it draws almost no power while stationary. It can do other things...we've had Professor Hawking in here, you know!" I remembered that. Well, I remembered seeing the famous Lucasian Professor Emeritus lolling in his chair as it trundled into the Village square. He had come to meet me. We'd talked. He'd not only passed the Turing Test, he passed every other test I could devise. We'd even discussed how you could have a Big Bang Singularity without a corresponding temporal one, or 'Beginning of Time'

"Vrom owr poind ough view — as yew ab roach the zing-yew-lar-iddi, Dime stre-etches in-doo in finiddy!" I said in a passable imitation of that famous synthesised drawl.

"I say, that's bloody good! It sounded just like him. Can you do anyone else?"

"If you're not actually trying to sell me one of these fairground rides, could we move on?", I asked, in my 'Michael Caine' accent, "Only...I've got other things to do, and we haven't had lunch yet."

"Most assuredly," said Karl, "Do come this way".  We walked past his clone and it walked at the same pace in the opposite direction. "Have you got a ticket for this ride, by the way?"

"Ticket?? I didn't know I had to have a ticket..."

"That's quite all right, my dear chap... Non paying passengers, through this door!"

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