The loving parents
<Courtesy Eastman Kodak Co.
Mariah's on the eggs, Kaver is standing and looking ponderous. If raptors can be said to be cute, this couple fills the bill. (Bad avian pun.)
Bonnie - (eyeing pathetic, twitching lump that she calls husband) - "Your eyes look really sick today."
Pathetic lump - "My ear's plugged, my sinuses are plugged, my feet hurt . . ., the usual."
Several moments of uncontrollable giggling ensue, on both sides. We both know it's all true, but what else are we gonna do but laugh about it?
Epilogue: Pathetic lump valiantly forces himself into an erect position and staggers weakly to the laptop, mumbling, "Must . . . . update . . . . journal." Even more valiantly, Bonnie heads out to secure provisions, ensuring that lump has many more opportunities to whine.
Chapter Sixteen: Process
She stood once more amidst the shifting coils of phantasm - prismatic strands sliding through the mist like animate roots burrowing purposefully into the earth. The white mouse crouched before her, solemn eyes fixed intently upon her.
What is this place, please?
This doesn't look like a nest to me. Are you, are we, inside the object?
I, what exists of me, am wholly inside. As for you, only your consciousness is in the object; your body remains outside.
How can that be?
That answer must wait until you have been prepared.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Are you going to tell me?
If you truly wish to know, there is a way. It will not be easy, but it should not be painful. I must first probe you to ascertain whether you are suitable for the process you must undergo. Of course, the final decision must be yours. I would not that you were unwilling, little one.
Something has already been done to me. Questions keep nagging at me. I'm not very old, but I don't think this happens to every mouse.
Indeed it does not. Given that you came in contact with the bioelectronic chip, it was unavoidable. It was designed to react to touch. Please do not ask; you will learn everything if the process is successful.
Something has been bothering me. You apologized to me, the first time we spoke. Did you do this to me?
I am partially responsible. When I sensed your life force, I activated the chip instinctively. I did not of a certainty know that you were a mouse like myself, or that you would touch the chip.
How did you get inside this . . . chip?
The answer to that must also await the resolution of the process.
This process - what is it, what does it do, how does it work?
If successful, not only will you be completely connected to the data contained within the chip, you will be able to access the inherent memory, expanding your own storage capacity. As for the rest, you must learn from the experience. Ultimately, you and the chip will become, as it were, a single organism.
I'm not sure I like the sound of that. I don't even know what you're talking about.
As I said, the decision is yours, little one. Only you can choose to change your life forever.
That is understandable. I can offer you this: I underwent a similar process - not identical, because you will retain control of your body. I suffered no pain; nor will you. There is sensation, but it will not be unpleasant.
I'm still scared . . . but I'll try.
Very well. I must probe your mind with mine. There is a chance that your mind may not be compatible with the connection - slight, to be sure, because the tangential effects seem to have done you no harm up to now. Still, we will see.
What should I do?
You need do nothing but wait.
It is done. You exhibit complete compatibility; I suspected as much when I determined that your sensitivity to the effects of the chip was so pronounced. If you so decide, we can commence the process at any time.
Are you sure I won't be hurt?
Positive, little one.
And all these questions that I have, will they be answered?
All those and many, many more. The amount of data contained in this chip is quite astounding.
Okay, I guess I'm ready.
Very well. It begins now.
A very short observation. I have noted, within the last few days, that various organizations, such as FoMoCo and my home town of Rochester, are touting marketing as a panacea for their various ills, such as lower sales and less tourism. They appear to believe that with the proper amount or style of salesmanship, things will improve. It has been my experience that no amount of marketing will turn a turd into a diamond.
Story content copyright Malcolm Mott 2005