Part One: Knowing
At first, Garrett found himself sitting on a beach on what seemed to be a deserted island; the programmed virtual experience. He could feel the breeze coming off the ocean against his skin and hear the gentle rhythmic sound of the waves as they fell on shore. It was quite peaceful and soothing, and completely real. The only thing that was disturbing was the lack of self-awareness. His sense of person was barely on the edge of his consciousness. It seemed to be working. Then the real fun began.
While Garrett was completely immersed in his virtual beach experience, Raphael was monitoring his vitals and playing with the dials of EM wave modulator, the whole time making sure the computers were recording every variance. At some point, without warning there was surge in the current of the electromagnetic pulse generator. To Raphael, the effect was unobserved, but for Garrett it was a completely different matter.
Without warning Garrett was transported from the beach and suddenly found himself standing on a street corner in downtown Seattle. He knew this, because he had been on this very corner several times before. It was kitty corner to the bus stop where he caught the bus home from work. The experience was real, in fact so real, that it wasn’t until later, after he had left the virtual world, that he realized that it had not been real. The thing was, it was so real, that the longer it lasted, the more he became convinced it was real. It had been a success, he had been completely unaware of the lab bed he was laying on-the real world-in that moment, the virtual had become the real.
Then there was the twist. As he stood standing on the corner, watching the people and traffic flow by, the accident happened. Without warning, in a flash, the light changed, a man stepped out on to the crosswalk in front of him and a car came out of nowhere striking the man and sending him sprawling. Garrett heard the impact and it sent a chill through him. There, right in front of him, lay the man on the ground, blood flowing from his head. He was not moving, he was dead, killed instantly. Garrett felt the rush of adrenaline in his veins as his heart started to pound.
In the next moment he was awake, brought back to the real world by Raphael as soon as the technician had noticed his rapid heartbeat. Garrett literally sat up on the bed, causing some of the electrodes to fall from his head. The rapid change from one “reality” to another was too quick for his mind to absorb and brought a surge of nausea and dizziness.