Bud initiates the space program and engages the holographic feature on his Lenticulax IFD for the first time. Images of the Horsehead Nebula shimmer and peel out of the screen. He groans delightedly. The wispy nebula cloud emanates in waves around him, and he can actually feel it on his skin. He’s inside now, the rough fibers of the recliner are the feeling of his physical world to recede. He floats through the brilliant nebula, then towards a nearby star approaching nova.
The light suddenly shifts. It burns so bright Bud can barely see his hands. The screen pulls at him violently, and air rushes past him into the screen. He tries to access the interface commands but nothing responds, his hands grope for the sides of the screen but he can grasp nothing. He screams, but like in space no sound comes out.
Louder than anything he has ever heard, the word explodes through his mind: COME. Without hesitation he screams yes with his whole body, but again no sound. But that’s okay, his acceptance is communicated. We initiate transference on specimen 00.00.00.01.10.
The skin of Bud’s fingertips, nose, cheeks, forehead begin to split and melt. He feels a numbing burn as his human body whithers into hot gel. Part of him still feels intact though, almost like a bubble, freeing itself of the molten flesh. This bubble gets buoyed by the rushing air, squeezes through the threshold of the screen, and flutters into the grid.