Swim Good

“You’re late,” the receptionist said.  Dana blinked and looked at her.

“What?”

“I said, you’re late.  The good doctor won’t have you being tardy.”

“…It’s literally 1:40.”

The receptionist scoffed and went back to work on her computer.  Dana made at face at her and sat down in one of the expensive plastic chairs.  She looked around the room, admiring the bamboo plants and wood paneling.

“Dr, Dekinai will see you now,” the receptionist said at 1:44.  Dana stood and nodded to her with a smirk on her face.  The receptionist rolled her eyes.

Dana walked into a small room, a tall plant in one corner of the room.  To the right, where there should have been a wall was a window that over looked one of the smaller, but busy cities in the North.

A man who appeared to be in his late 50s sat at the desk, typing away at his computer.  He looked over at her, smiled and stood up, walking from behind the desk.

He held out his hand.

“Shin Dekinai,” he said.

“Dana Renee,” she said, taking his hand.  They give a nice firm handshake and nod.

“You slept well, I hope?” he asked, going back behind his desk to grab his suit jacket.

“Uh, yes, I did, thank you.”

“Walk with me.”

He opened the door and motioned for Dana to leave the room.  They walked to the elevator.

“So for your classes, who must I email?”

“Oh! Uh, Prof. Richardson.”

Ahhh, yes, I know of her.  Her papers about how to do very invasive surgery with VR has helped the medical field greatly.”

“So, what do you do here?” Dana asked, following him out the elevator once they reached their floor.

The black marble floor reflected the glow of many windows on the floor.  As they walked down the hall, Dana looked in the windows.  Two people were in each room, monitoring one giant metal pod.

“I’m trying to figure out how to… Make gaming more immersive,” Dekinai said, still walking as Dana peeked into each window.

“My research has been successful but my… beta testers weren’t doing to well afterward after version 8 came out.  So we have been revamping version 9 to make sure that they are doing well after being in the simulation for a few hours.”

Dana caught up to him, glancing into one of the windows.  One of the testers was still out cold and the two people monitoring has to carry the body out of the room.  Dana watched the body, noting how frail and thin they were.

“A few hours and they look like that?”

Dekinai turned around and smiled at her, but his eyes had a different feeling.

“They are being well taken cared for.”

He opened another door, which led to a hallway that was blue, cold and smelled of sterelization.  A door slid open and a woman flagged them down.  Dekinai guided Dana towards her.

“Oh, hello there!”  The woman said, smiling at both of them, her voice heavy with some sort of accent.  “I’m Moira, I’ll be your team member!” she said, her voice too chipper for Dana’s taste.  “If you could just undress and put on this uniform, we can get you settled in a pod!”  Moira handed Dana a pair of black pants and a white shirt.

“Alright…” Moira left the room, allowing Dana to get dressed.  Moira came back in a few minutes later, holding a tablet.

“Okay, now if you could be a dear and just fill out your character sheet,” she said, handing over the tablet to Dana.  Dana blinked and stared at the screen before filling in boxes, typing in characteristics and weaknesses, before handing it back to Moira.

“Thank you!  Now!  You’re gonna feel a pinch in the base of your neck.  I’m implanting a monitor so that we on the outside can terminate the simulation if it becomes to difficult for you.”

Dana sat still as Moira moved a giant needle to the base of her neck.  She flinched, feeling the needle enter her.

“And done!  Next, we are going to pump you full of IV solution as we enter your character sheet into the program.”

Dana sat for 10 minutes as the cold fluid entered her arm.  Someone knocked on the door.

“Come on in!”  Moira said.  Dana wanted to deck her.

It was Dekinai.

“Are we ready?” he asked, looking at Dana.

“I mean, I guess.”

He had her follow him into one of the pod rooms.  Moira started hooking Dana up to machines when Dana sat in the pod.  Wires went from her forehead and chest to a machine that read her brainwaves and heartbeat.

“All systems normal!”  Moira said, clacking away at the keys.  She pressed a button and something in Dana snapped.  Her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she slumped back into the pod.

She opened her eyes as she laid in some tall grasses.  The sun was peeking through the leaves of trees, birds chirped in the wind.  She slowly sat up, rubbing the back of her neck.  She looked around before ducking back down at the sound of gunfire.  

“What the– WAHHH,” she screamed as some dragged her to her feet in a sprint.

“CAN YOU SWIM?”  the person asked, looking back at Dana.

“KINDA,” Dana yelled back.

The person flung Dana off a ridge as a hail of gunfire rained down on them.

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