Article: 288646 of talk.bizarre
From: (Jonathan D Schuster)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Poly-Immersive Virtual Reality
Date: Mon, 02 Dec 1996 01:09:11 GMT
Organization: A vastly overrated fetish
Lines: 228
Message-ID: <32a22c21.338790@>

He stood by the curb for a moment,  looking at the house.  He could
see the need for the improvements.  From the street it was obvious
it was a mess.  He knew they were in for a long repair process.

She was standing in the doorway,  smiling.  A good sign,  that smile,
after the fight they had that morning.  He had half thought that he
might have come back to find the locks changed.  She said he wasn't
ready yet to go back to work.  Hadn't fully recovered from the accident
and the surgery.  He smiled,  he had shown her he had the strength.
He glanced back at the truck parked at the curb.  Should be
safe enough on the street.  The sign advertising his painting business
was prominent.  He thought it would constitute a little free
advertising,  which couldn't hurt after all the time he was off work.
It had been a productive day.   He had a good crew and they had gotten
much done.  He absently rubbed the tip of his left thumb against the 
web of skin between his right thumb and index finger.  He could 
still feel the stickiness there.  If it wasn't the paint that 
always seemed to get trapped there,  it was the turpentine residue
that left the sticky film.  He had cleaned his hands at the job
site,  but always liked to wash them again at home.  Couldn't get them
too clean.  She approved,  of course,  doctors had such a thing about
dirt.  He looked about the yard,  at the work the landscapers were
doing.  Not exactly dirt free.  
He looked at her again,  there at the front door,  the brilliant Doctor
Carolyn Montoya.  She had saved his life,  then fallen in love with
him.  He wondered at his luck,  at the odd way the fates play with
mortals.  What if he hadn't bought a second-hand ultralight?  What if
that spar hadn't failed,  200 feet above the ground?  What if she hadn't
been there,  with her experimental technique?  He'd have never been
flying,  or he'd never have nearly died,  or she wouldn't have saved
him.  To fall in love with him.  To buy an old run down house with him.
He remembered the first time she tried to explain it to him,  this
project that saved him,  this Poly-Immersive Virtual Reality.  She tried
to tell him how patient and doctor linked minds through the machine
during surgery and recovery.  How the doctor could lend his or her
strength directly to the patient through positive visualization.  The
power of thought,  the power of positive images, helping the patient to
see themselves getting well,  to know they were getting well,  to know
they  _could_  get well. 
It was an outgrowth of hypnotism,  of positive feedback techniques,  of
all the fuzzy pseudo-sciences of the late 20th century welded to the
machines of the early 21st.  He didn't pretend to understand half of it.
Just that it saved his life.
She said when they brought him in to the emergency room,  so tangled
and crushed,  that it was hard to tell where he ended and the ultralight
began.  They were one,  a ball of flesh and bone and fiber tubes and
fabric.  She said it had been close,  very close,  a lot of times.  They
worked on him for hours.  Eventually,  they pulled him back from the
brink.  Repaired the damage.  Stabilized him.  Throughout the process
she was there.  Linked to him,  encouraging him to find his own way to
health.  He would have died without her.  And now he couldn't imagine
having a life without her.
He looked around at the mess in the front yard.  The landscapers
had been busy that day,  mounds of dirt everywhere and holes in 
the ground where the old plants had been pulled out,  or where
they were preparing the ground for the new ones.   The driveway was
full of mounds of fresh topsoil,  piles of gravel,  and a pile of
what he hoped wasn't manure,  but suspected was.  He shook his head,
it was not going to make her happy having  _that_  so close to the
house.  Thoughts of possible contamination,  of sepsis,  occurred to
him, then floated away.  
She was still there,  smiling.  He started toward the house,  knowing
she would be concerned and would want to give him a quick once-over.
Although she was no longer his doctor (unethical,  he supposed),  she
was still watching over him.  The brush of check against forehead was a
sign of affection,  but also a check for fever pointing to possible
recurrence of infection.  The resting of her heard against his chest was
a sign of love,  but she also would be listening to heart and breath
sounds.   No way to have her stop,  no way she could  _not_  be a
physician,  any more than he could look at a building and imagine how it
would look with a new coat of paint,  or if the colors were
changed,  or if the shades and tone had been chosen based on the
background or location.
This was one of the reasons the landscaping work was being done.
It was his attempt to lend harmony and balance to their surroundings.
He stepped forward,  and lurched when his foot missed the sidewalk. 
No,  not missed,  as he looked down he realized the sidewalk was gone.
In the place where it had been this morning was now a shallow dirt path
cut into the turf.  He rubbed his thumb against his other for a moment.
It must have been necessary.  As they worked on the lawn perhaps they
needed to remove a slab of concrete,  and the rest just followed.  He
hated the additional damage made necessary by the extent of the repairs
going on,  but it wasn't in that good of shape anyway, and while they
were tearing up everything else,  they might as well have done that too.
He moved up to the house,  carefully in the dirt.  He knew he couldn't
help but to track some of it in the house,  and she would cluck her
tongue and get a broom, all the time worrying about keeping things
clean.  Must have a sterile field at all times.  Odd,  he thought,
sterile field?  What brought that on? 
They embraced at he door,  and she did,  (as he suspected she would)
rest her head against his chest for a long while.  She told him how
glad she was he was home,  and he agreed it was good to be home.
They walked back to the bathroom,  talking about all the repairs that
were being done,  workers were visible in other rooms,  shoring up
walls,  and patching plaster while trying to press down the bulges in
the flooring before they ruptured up through the carpeting.  He stumbled
once,  and she threw her arm around his waist,  bearing his weight as he
nearly fell,  then helping him stand again.
The bathroom door was almost off the hinges.  As he passed through the
frame,  the door swung sideways,  almost catching his head.  She propped
it back into place.  In the bathroom he began washing his hands,
rubbing the base of his thumb with the other,  to remove the paint that
was still adhering there.  The pipes were banging again,  and he hoped
the plumbers were working on them.  The rusty red water was beginning to
splash out of the basin,  and over him and the floor. 
He looked at Carolyn,  and she was perspiring,  trying to help keep the
rusty red water from splashing too far.   From reaching his chest,
soaking his shirt.  He looked at himself,  and saw it was too late.
It was too late,  and the bright red stains spread further and further.
He turned to look at her,  and it was moving in molasses,  and he saw he
mouth open behind the surgical mask and it moved as she spoke but he
couldn't make out the words.                                   

     ***  ***  *** Bright flash of pure white light  ***  ***  ***

     He could hear voices: "Pressure falling...."  and "...retractor..."

     ***  ***  *** Bright flash of pure white light  ***  ***  ***

The bathroom floor was beginning to sag from the weight of the bright
red liquid now pumping rythmically from the broken sink tap.  He knew
they were going to fall through the weakening floorboards,  down into
the basement below.  He held out his arms to her,  wordlessly begging
her to help. 

     ***  ***  *** Bright flash of pure white light  ***  ***  ***

     Her voice: "I need some help over here...."

     ***  ***  *** Bright flash of pure white light  ***  ***  ***

He felt her arms around him from behind,  up under his,  holding him,
keeping him out of the blood.  As it rose and deepened they began to
float.  She put one arm under his chin,  as they floated in the pool of
blood,  trying to keep his mouth and nose above the surface.  He tried
to help,  to kick,  to tread in the lake of blood but he was so weak,
so tired.  He wanted to rest for a moment.  He couldn't keep his head
up.  He knew she'd understamd if he just closed his eyes,  just for a

     ***  ***  *** Bright flash of pure white light  ***  ***  ***

     He heard her voice again: "Increase the ...." and "....Damn!..."

     ***  ***  *** Bright flash of pure white light  ***  ***  ***

The roof was collapsing now,  the walls falling in around them as the
bathroom disappeared beneath the waves.  He could feel her try to cover
him,  protect him from the falling debris.  He heard her grunt with the
effort of preventing the collpasing ceiling from crushing him. 

The light was all around now,  blinding,  pure white,  blinding light.

 ***  ***  *** Bright flash of pure white light  ***  ***  ***

                      bright white light






                  "END replay - run #216"

"Begin again?  <Y>es <N> or <ESC> to abort back to main menu"

Dr Carolyn Montoya sighed,  pulled her hands out of the data gloves
and lifted the visor up and away from her eyes,  latching it back
against the catches on the VR helmet. She jotted a few notes on the
pad by her right hand. Wiped her eyes and blew her nose.  She dropped
the tissue into the already overflowing basket,  and watched as it
tumbled to the ground.

Even now,  weeks later,  she still couldn't understand why the Board of
Directors canceled the appropriation to her project.  She thought that
she had them convinced.  Rubbing the base of her right thumb absently
with the tip of her left thumb,  she wondered about the man who had
died.  Was the project faulty,  or was there too much damage in the
accident?  Was it something else?

The Board was so closed minded. They said she was obsessive,  they said
she was too close to the work.  How could she not be?  That was the only
way to work,  they only was to save lives.  She looked again at the web
of flesh between her thumb and forefinger.  Wondering again why she
thought it was not clean even though she had just washed  a few minutes
ago.  She considered taking a break,  maybe getting out of the lab.  She
slipped the visor back down over her eyes.  Tears again beginning to
slip down her cheeks,  she put her hands back into the gloves.

     "Begin replay,  run #217.  Press <R> when ready"

JD Schuster
Dec 01 1996