— Harsh Jain
The Return to life
“As you know, the requirements for letting you survive involve passing some tests. So, we’ll start with the DOQ [Depth of Observation Quotient] test. I’d like you to describe everything from the point you wake up from the deep sleep,” said Sylvia, and went on to describe the rules of the test to Rangarajan. Rangarajan started:
I wake up from sleep, and I don’t remember anything. No name, no identity, no language. I feel totally blank. It takes me some time to realize the feeling that I am floating, and I slowly start to settle down as soon as I realize it. “Focus on your left toe. Move your left toe,” I hear a voice, repeating itself. I feel as if I had been listening to it for a long time, and only now do I pay my attention to it. I obey. “Good. Move your left foot.” I start to experience the parts of my body slowly as I obey that voice. I realize I’ve been lying supine. Then, the bed slowly starts reclining upwards to put my back in a slightly upright position. “Slowly, open your eyes,” says a soft female voice. Where are my eyes? How do I open them! I have to think for a second before I can remember. My eyes open slowly and I look around in a white room. Still there is stiffness in my neck. My vision is blurred out and sharpens slowly. It takes some time for my brain to learn how to see again, as if I had forgotten it, for some reason. I see a patient’s table in front of me and a laptop lying on it. It is really thin, like the restaurant menus of our… my time. It has a spiralling screensaver on it.
“Yeah, those days!” exclaimed Sylvia. “How did you even survive without things like the GuideMesh1?” she murmured. “We were fine with using our own inefficient brains,” Rangarajan replied, and continued to narrate the story:
So, the screen in front of me starts to display these words, simultaneously playing them out through a speaker:
Dear Sir, welcome to the future! You’ve been rejuvenated from your past life on the request of Prof. Balakrishnan. In front of you is a replica of a computer, close to the ones you had in your days. There you can surf certain parts of the World Wide Web as it used to exist in 2071.
I don’t remember who Balakrishnan is. “Which year are we in now?” I ask my virtual assistant around in the room, shocked to listen to my own old familiar voice. There’s no reply. However, it goes on to say, “You can search around on the WWW to learn about the progress in the last 50 years since your death, or before that. On your right, is a book titled DeepWell 2071. It has a lot of useful information and resources that had been relevant to other rejuvenated people of your age. I am Vanika, your Intelligent Personal Assistant…”
As I raise my old hands towards the screen, I notice that they are wrinkled beyond my expectations. I don’t remember if this is how they looked when I died. Maybe this is the result of staying at -120⁰C for such a long time. I open the web browser, search for my name, then my daughter’s name, my wife’s name, and I find some information in the Deepwell Archives. I died of liver failure at the age of 55. My wife died a year later in a car accident. She was not cryogenically preserved as we didn’t have much money left. The last memory I have of my daughter is her taking me to the hospital and telling me not to worry. She died at 61 due to cardiac arrest. I look at my family tree. I have two grandchildren. Vasanth and Vidhi. I keep on browsing. My research didn’t get much citations, sadly. I search for the major events, disasters and discoveries since my death. I learn about advancements in Power generation, Technological advancements like VR-DR2, transportation and drones, political changes, discovery of elementary ET life, medical research advancements, and the shocking chemical advancements. I search for where I am and on looking at the world map, I am shocked to see the status of the world, Global Warming and the resulting rise in sea level. I become so deeply engrossed in surfing on the web that I lose track of time and when I try to see the time on the internet, I find the clock stuck at the midnight of 12 Jan 2071.
I ask my virtual assistant about my belongings, the things that I had secured with DeepWell to be preserved. She replies, “We have been unable to locate the belongings that you secured with us due to natural causes described in Appendix B of DeepWell 2071.”
Sylvia got bored and said impatiently, “And when do you come to know that you’ll have to prove your worth in order to be kept alive after the briefing period of one month?”
“We’ll come to that. Let me move on slowly and in as much detail as I can. That’s what I’ll be evaluated for. Right?” Rangarajan replied.
(to be continued…)
1: Launched to the public at the beginning of the new century, by the Japanese Company with the same name, it could analyse people’s psyche and instruct them with ideas to do interesting and satisfying things when they get extremely bored. Ideas were based on the lives of themselves and others. It became particularly successful after the advent of virtual earphones, although people often forgot to take them off and unconsciously started confusing the voice they heard with their own mental monologue. Some people, after long use, went into paranoia, refusing to believe that the earphones had been turned off, even if they had been.
2: VR-DR (You are there.) Developed by IndoSys. First used on a major scale in the India v/s Pakistan ICC Cricket World cup finals of 2039. The Virtual Reality lets viewers not only look up-down and sideways but also stand up and roam around in the virtual location. The viewers can walk around in the 3D scanned location itself, and see things real close, in real time, thanks to the high speed data transfer supported by 6G.