Story Blog 2
Dear reader, what you are about to experience is the second installment in an on going work of fiction. Any resemblance to pre-existing people or technologies, real or imagined, can be chalked up to a failure of imagination on the author’s part. Sorry about that.
Dave O’Malley stood before an array of meeting “rooms” that comprised the majority of the third floor. By default, they were each little more than a table with chairs, sitting out in empty space. At the press of a button, however, walls would spring up from the ground or down from the ceiling, providing privacy and extra screens for the easy displaying of information. As it happened, one such room was already set up, with walls engaged. As Dave stepped up to it, the nearest wall quickly disengaged, sinking into the floor. It would seem Harold was expecting him.
Harold Reiner was a man in his early thirties, yet shocks of gray permeated his otherwise black hair. He was a tad overweight, but in a way that always seemed to make the man look dignified and content. It may have been the way he carried himself, or it may have been the way he dressed; O’Malley had never seen the man in anything but a three piece suit, bereft of the doodads and gizmos Dave himself favored as accessories. Today was no different, though his red tie seemed new. As the wall formed back up around them, Dave’s lapel-speaker quieted down to a whisper. It had detected an oncoming conversation, and did not wish to so rudely interrupt.
“Dave, so good to see you!” Harold was always happy to see just about anyone. He also always insisted on a handshake, though Dave didn’t quite understand why; handshakes had fallen out of favor years ago, and they frankly hurt his hand.
“Harold, it’s good to see you too. I promise, this isn’t like last time. I’m certain we’ve got a winner here if we play our cards right.” Dave tucked his aching hand into his jacket pocket, glad that his car’s mistake hadn’t soaked into the pocket’s lining. A few seconds of rummaging through gadgets and keys later, he produced a small egg-shaped device with a flat bottom and placed it into the table’s glass surface. Instantly the surface sprung to life, the egg interfacing with its systems and sending images of file-folders and graphs spiraling and spilling across the table’s faux-wood “desktop.” Dave set to work rearranging and re-organizing the files through the table’s touchscreen interface. Harold, for his part, retrieved a manila folder from his briefcase and set it on his side of the table.
Dave couldn’t help but chuckle a little. “Really, Harold? A folder? I never took you for a Luddite.”
“Oh, I’ve got nothing against Egg-Drives. I’ve got one lying around somewhere on my desk. But sometimes, it just feels good to go for the old, classy option. Regardless, I believe the floor is yours.”
“If you say so, Harry.” Dave opened the appropriate folder with a slide of his index finger along the table’s surface. A flick of the wrist flew the files within “off” of the table and placed it, enlarged, on one of the wall-screens. Stamped on the corner of each file was a stylized image of the galaxy, connected via a small wire to a human brain.
“We can make it work, Harry. True virtual reality, unencumbered by the user lacking space to move around, or equipment to affect senses other than sight. A true, full-immersion VR world.” Dave moved his hands across the wall, showing and demonstrating the fruits his labor. He had notes of inquiry from investors, with names Reiner barely recognized and names he had seen in the news for years. He had graphs displaying just how well his research suggested such a product would sell across the world. To be thorough, he even displayed letters of correspondence from the offices of low and mid-ranking politicians ensuring him that they would not fight such a technology becoming legal. A nervous smile crept across his face. “Well, Harold? Are you in?”
Harold thought for a moment. He reviewed the display, and for two solid minutes he did not say a word. Then with a smile more confident than Dave’s, he pushed his own file folder across the table.
Jacob Rosenberg is our resident blogger and story teller.