It took a long time to figure out where I am. About 10,000 years and that’s no exaggeration. There’s some pretty heavy time compression involved. My name is Roger McEmbry. I was the child prodigy of a Boston bookie and his abused wife; a scholastic over-achiever compelled to flee a miserable home life. Academic scholarships paved my way out: two years of college, then one in a doctorate program, all earned by my clever manipulation of computer generated holography.
I became a highly paid researcher for DanteHolo and spent seven dog-eat-dog years in the world of video arcadia, producing patents for flatlander employers who refused to see beyond the games. Then my email delivered a very interesting offer. A recluse inventor had the beginnings of a holographic projector. He wanted me to manage his lab. The sample specifications hooked me; they were genius in design and ingenious in omission. The massive infusion into my checking account didn’t hurt either, but I liked being in charge more than money.
Recluse is a misnomer. Absent was a better word for Dr. Podree, my employer. He never appeared. I had complete control of a one story, brick walled laboratory in suburban Boston. I hired four good technicians and two adequate administrators. Podree supplied specifications and technical comments by email, but I managed the development. I felt intellectually challenged for the first time in my life. Podree deposited funds into the lab account as I needed them. Despite the doctor’s absence he remained intimate with the lab’s day-to-day affairs. I suspected hidden cameras, but several thorough searches revealed nothing.
I finally had control of my destiny and that destiny lay with the Podree Projector. The Podree Projector displayed three dimensional images in ambient atmosphere without the aid of a dispersion media. Four thin projection sticks, placed upright in the corners of any room, would suffice to portray life size, moving holographs. I saw the power such a device would command for the man introducing it. The day after our experimental projector actually reproduced a one inch high 3D version of me waving I laid-off the staff and locked them out.
With Podree’s emails to guide me, I worked alone on the full scale prototype. Many times I felt lost; he asked me to produce components whose workings I did not understand. I had questions, but he anticipated these and adeptly avoided any direct answers in the instructions. He changed the prototype design without any explanation other than it was necessary to achieve a larger image. The night before the prototype’s first test, I made my next move. I emailed Podree the complaint my hard-nosed attorney had filed. I entered the lab the next day holding a memory stick loaded with a settlement offer, a partnership. As far as I know it’s still there.
I remember seeing the projector sticks in each corner of the work room. I wondered how they got there. Then the sticks lit up. The passage was horribly unpleasant, like being blown into atoms in extreme slow motion. The bits of me, each a holograph cognizant of the whole, kept dividing as they expanded outward. Then the huge, fragmented thing I recognized as me faltered and stopped growing. I fell through what I now know were structural interspaces in my universe.
What Podree had described as a projector was in fact a transcriber. It translated me into an exotic energy state, and then projected me through the textures of space into here. I’m convinced “here” is a lower dimension of spatial construct. I exist as an invisible, godlike omnipresence. I am everywhere at once. Unfortunately my powers are limited to audio and visual perceptions and a level of physical control equal to moving molecules. I am an all-seeing god with less power than an ant. I am in hell. I understand Podree now. He wanted to go home.
There are numerous human-like reasoning beings existing in this space with me. They are simple flatlanders. I exist on a level they cannot comprehend. It is easy to manipulate their electronics. I have challenged one of their more frustrated physicists with glimpses of a holographic projector. As spectator to the minutiae of their world, I am able to alter records, distribute funds and order material for my helpful technician. Soon I’ll have a projector powerful enough to collect me and boost me back to the higher dimension I call home. Of course, before I try it on myself, I’ll have to test it. If I’m right, my tech will be transcribed and projected up to my former level of existence and die instantly. If I’m wrong, he’ll only go so far before falling below this level where he’ll have to fend for himself in this God eat God multi-verse.
John Randall Williams’ short story, “Paolo” was an Editors’ Choice for Volume XI of Compass Rose Magazine, released in July 2011. He had his short story, “Randy” published in Red Coyote Press’s 2007 anthology, “Map of Murder” (www.redcoyotepress.com) and another story, “Rose” appeared in the Red Coyote Press 2008 anthology “Medium of Murder”. His Science Fiction short story “Zoogarish” appears in the 2009 anthology “Queer Dimension”. He is an Executive Director of EcoArts of Lake County (www.ecoartsoflakecounty.org), a non-profit organization promoting visual art and ecologic stewardship in Lake County, California. John lives and works on Cobb Mountain in northern California. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.