Yes, but where is here, still in 'The Village', really, or out at AREA 5!, in a real lecture theatre?
I felt a strong hand grip my right upper arm.
"Don't crouch down there on the floor like a camel! Stand to attention, man!". It was Dr Young, but he sounded exactly like Colonel Ross, "You're the guest of honour here. This is all about YOU. Brace up, lad. we're going to have to walk down there, calmly as you like, and join them in a minute..." he continued in his own countrified, sporting gentleman's accent.
".....mmmmmnnnnn Not going to...", I forced myself to say through gritted teeth, even as Henry Markram was introducing me; "... here, really present in our VR copy of this theatre, so real that he doesn't even have to wear a head set himself, is the Man himself, Martin Ronald Carter. At $6,000,000,000 the price is right! ... please, as they used to say on your TV show, come on down. No one will hurt you. One of your technical support team is operating your extension remotely, just for this demonstration; that's why it's wearing a head set. The... er, mask...I don't know about. No one told me told me it would be in disguise..."
"Trank!", shouted Dr Mentz, "Real Scene for Mr Carter, please...". Tom Rankin tapped a command on the right hand side lab bench console keyboard. At first I didn't see what had changed, then I saw that everyone except me in the entire place was wearing a state of the heart VR head set. I felt like that character in ExistenZ when he wakes up on stage and everyone is wearing those blue electronic cycling helmet things, whatever they were, except that when I brought my left hand up to my head I found I wasn't, and when I looked down at my chest and feet they were invisible. It was a jolt but I 'got' it... I wasn't really here. The People with the head sets could see me through the headsets, but I couldn't see me directly IN the lecture hall, because I wasn't physically here. The Gleissner peripheral, however, was. The other 'me', it, also wore a head set as well as what looked like a mechanic's overalls and that iconically intimidating ice hockey face guard. It too was 'real', if I was being told the truth, and it still carried the fire axe!.
This was mega confusing. "Martin! This is the best audio visual feed we could get to you from the real Groom Lake facility lecture theatre. These People are ALL really here. They've all come to see the Gleissner Peripheral, what Prof Markram called your extension just now; and they came to see YOU, too. You know what the journey is like because you drove here yourself in the best sim we could build in the time allowed," Mentz was explaining hurriedly. "We won't link you into the Gleissner this time, I promise..."
"nnnnnngmmmm...Don't want to..." I was already a lot closer to that replica of me with the red optical pipeline sticking out of its arse than I ever wanted to get, with or without a fire axe in what would be 'my' hands if they were stupid enough to do that again.
Dr Mentz began to look desperate, which I felt sure would be out of character for the 'Morphingus' I had come to know on line during those undoubtedly spurious 'secret' hacking sessions I'd joined him in conducting. He'd been claiming that he and Quaternity could tell me the REAL secret of what and where The Village really was in the really real Outside World and then, eventually, "GET ME OUT OF THIS!" I must have screamed that last part out loud because Mentz quickly turned to his right and shouted;