I am still battling to get the interface to work, even harder now that I cannot access it from computers using Internet Explorer as their browser, like all of the ones at the company I work for. It is ironic given that almost 80% of the people who reach my blog come to it via Internet Explorer. I am now having to write everything offline and cut and paste it here. Anyway, this is another short story created as a writers' group exercise. We were charged with writing something in the science fiction genre. Once again I was primarily inspired by the fact that we meet in a library. I cannot write any more, this constant saving interrupting my typing and sending my laptop's fan into overdrive, is driving me to despair!
Despite its name, the Sharing Room lay empty. It had to be four or five years since such spaces had been at the height of fashion; when trios and septets would be found here indulging in shared perceptions the cycle long. It had been Kamal 5 that had brought such interaction into abrupt decline. It was ironic given the paranoia instilled by the disease and so the even greater need for actual contact; contact of the non-ether kind.
Rahn wondered however secure, however bond-guaranteed secure he was from infection that the symptoms were not able to penetrate. While he had no truck with the views of the Syncopators who had taken the fear of electron to cell contamination to the extreme, it proved hard for him to shake the irrational from his mind.
Rahn pondered if he would have felt better if there had been someone here, even some youths banished for the cycle from their refuge. He came here because his own refuge simply echoed too much; bounced back his words, his very ideas, too easily. Other people, even if just manifested, were somehow more absorbent. Perhaps that had been the difficulty with Arco and Scort, they had simply given too much and had taken, demanded, too little of him.
Rahn knew many of the titles by heart. He had been through all the Rozabai Conflict dramas enough that he could recall every nuance even when disconnected. He shied away from formalised Ginasi performances. Today, too, even ‘Scenes from the Games’ was not to his taste. Almost blindly he selected from the collection of the new and manipulated the scenario into his own system. He could have downloaded it to his refuge but, for him, the ritual of personal engagement was a vital element of the experience.
Then he was in, rushing through one of the Magenta Stampedes of the past century, swept among people like a skin cell going down a planet-based drain. It locked. He tried to turn; to shake the error; to restart; to exit. All the methods he well knew; all the advice he had received from Guiders, was proving ineffective. The crowd of those around him in their bright colours were standing static though their scents and even their sounds persisted. Steadily even these began to loop and Rahn knew he was trapped.
At least he was interfaced in what these days passed for a public space. Someone, he trusted, would see a locked machine and would remove his connection, at least, restart the scenario. Then he could hope for an exit. Now, however, he was left alone, divorced even from the communication interaction that provided work. Here, among the magenta and crimson and cerise he was stranded. While he struggled to stop it, as best he could, his thoughts, his desolate, lonely thoughts that Arco had cast him into returned to throttle his identity.