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Many, many years ago people discovered a man perfectly preserved in ice. Now, hundreds of years later, we have the technology to see what he saw, smell what he smelled, feel what he felt, all by looking into his memories, his brain. Today, June 29th, 3012, I will be the first to see the world through this ancient man’s eyes.
The morning is as it always is, dark. Broken rocks make stepping stones over muddy sidewalks, littered with everything from Styrofoam cups to rusty springs. On the hover train I look out the window at the desolate landscape. Flat, monotonous fields of years of pollution stretching for miles fly past, visible only by the lights of the train and the occasional explosion when two unsuspecting chemicals collide. News stories of new mutations drone one once again adding to the clicking and beeping of so many handheld devices filling the train. I look around only to realize that I’m the only one without something electronic in my hands.
Retreating from the cold reality of the outside world, I sink deep into my own thoughts. I wonder about my ancient man. What was his world like? Could he have imagined our technology? our society? our “advancements” in everything? Seeing our world, would he want to join it? If all goes as planned, I’ll know soon enough.
At the lab, security waves my card as I enter the building and puts me on the moving hallway I need to be on. Without these hallways, I doubt I’d be able to find my office. Moving into the lab, I see my man already in the chair and attached to the equipment. Hopefully, this little experiment will let me glimpse history in a way no previous record ever could.
I must admit I’m rather nervous as Bill straps me into place. He gives me one of those I-hope-this-works looks found only in potentially dangerous situations. Thanks for your vote of confidence in the machines, Bill. I hear the whirring sound of the machine and the faint sound of someone giving the countdown before it all goes black.
Minutes go by in the darkness. My first thought is it didn’t work. I’m not going to see anything. As my anxiety grows, another more sinister thought creeps in. What if it not only didn’t work, but killed me?!? I’m still thinking of all the things that could have gone wrong and trying to determine if I’m alive or dead when I realize the darkness is beginning to clear.
I’m running through a field of tall grass. I’m worried, I’m lost. Where am I? Suddenly I stop. I take a deep breath of cool crisp air. I feel a focused peace come over me. I survey where I am. In front of me is a forest, behind me a lake, and to the sides some mountains. How can I get home? Flashes of a completely different place flash through. I see landmarks on the trail home followed closely by a smiling woman and laughing young girl that pulls at my heart and tugs at my lips. Still smiling I look up to find the sun. Assured in direction, I start again-
Darkness. It fades, leaving me back where I started, strapped to the machine. Bill runs to me looking frantic.
“Are you ok? What happened? We turned off the machine as soon as you started crying and shouting,” Bill says, while unstrapping me from the machine.
He’s right about the crying, I’m still shaking with beauty of it all.
“It was so beautiful, Bill,” I sob. “Why did we do it? How could we ruin something so beautiful? The light, the colors. Bill, I looked up and there was light and warmth, but no ceiling, no bulbs. The pictures and movies with trees from the olden days can’t compare with these! Everything was so bright! So alive! So - ”
“Alright, calm down now,” he says, pricking me with a needle. My heart rate slows and I’m out.