WELCOME TO THE FUTURE
A (W.T2.F.) Sunday Series
–Short Story Time–
Andy’s at Venice Beach having a sundowner with his pals. It’s a long weekend, so despite his earlier meeting with the Swedish mining board, he has the rest of the weekend off. Andy just wants to relax, but his pal Larry is way too excited and talks non-stop about this VR project he’s working on. Since Andy’s a good lad, he has no option but to listen attentively as Larry informs him that the University of WTF synchronized swimming team has made nationals, and Larry has qualified with them as team technician to develop the VAR for their routine.
Andy recalls a recent article he read about the Olympic Games. The Committee finally decided to divide the sports categories into two divisions. The first category is athletes only, like the traditional Olympics. The second, is a category that has merged with sports for many years now, the VAR Olympics. VARS, if he can recall correctly, stands for virtual or augmented reality sports. So it’s like saying you’re on the varsity team or the VARSity team. They really messed up on that one! He shakes his head.
Anyway, Andy grudgingly accepts an invitation from Larry to visit the pool tomorrow and give the VAR he’s developing a shot. “You’ll love it,” Larry ensures, but Andy’s not so sure. He did six years of competitive swimming on the varsity team when he didn’t qualify for the VARSity team. The sight of a pool fills him with a tidal wave of mixed feelings these days, that’s for sure. But the meeting is set and Andy goes home to have nightmares about swimming up and down the same pool lane like the Greek God Sisyphus who, for eternal punishment, pushes a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back again. To Andy, this is just like swimming up a pool length, only to have to flip around and do the exact same again. Terrifying! He wakes up just in time to cancel his alarm clock and grab his swim bag.
When he arrives at the pool, he’s greeted by Larry who just can’t contain his excitement- again. “In you get!” Larry encourages. Andy looks at him dubiously but pops on the VAR goggles and dives elegantly into the pool. What the….? is all he can bubble out. The pool is transformed. He can still see its outline in black and green matrix effect code, but the rest is like a window to another universe. He swims through a wormhole that bursts into an ocean of stars. He does a flip at the other end of the pool, and yes, it has an effect on the VAR-verse*. Now he’s in the Mariana’s trench swimming by deep sea creatures and dodging underwater geysers.
“Larry, this is so cool,” he says when he breaks the surface. He wants to say more than that, but the VAR experienced has washed the words right out of his mouth. Larry tells him to try the diving board, only if he’s not afraid of heights! As Andy climbs up the ladder, the world around him shifts again. Now he’s on top of the IFC in Hong Kong. Holy sh*t is he really going to dive off the tower into the city? He takes a deep breath and jumps, feet first this time. He laughs with relief as when he jumps, the fall (in VAR) is fast forwarded. He finds himself propelled towards a rooftop pool below that turns into another ocean of stars as he splashes in.
When he breaks the surface and hops out of the pool, Larry rushes up to him, “I’m sorry Andy, I know how much you get that sinking feeling about swimming, so I really wanted you to try this out,” he says.
Andy thanks him for the experience and asks if he can keep a pair of the goggles. Larry tells him he can check a pair out from the University’s tech library at any time. He’s a student at U of WTF too so has access to all future tech. Andy gives Larry a high five and that night dreams of the pool turning into all sorts of Inception like VAR-verses. Best night ever, seriously.
A (W.T2.F.) Series
*University of Welcome to the Future
*Virtual or augmented reality universe