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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2183208
New technology, quantization, will allow your personality to be uploaded. WC: 1706
iAfterlife: Dave Rayburn


Prologue

I

am standing in the foyer of a building. At first, I can't seem to recall arriving here or why I am here. There is a half circle receptionist desk and I walk over to it. My intention is to ask but as I approach I am struck by how dumb that would sound.
         "Hello. I am here .." I say then stop as a strong feeling comes over me that I am here for something important.
         "Hello, Mr. Rayburn. Welcome to your iAfterlifetm. You are a little disoriented right now, but that will pass quickly," he replies with a smile.
         "Yes," I say then I know why I am here and where I am. I tell him, "I am here in for an update scan. Its been a couple years since my last one."
         This is my third update scan since I signed up for the service. They recommend that you come in every year but that seems a bit much. My life is not so exciting that having an updated copy that often didn't make any sense to me. At 78, I'm not breaking much new ground, especially since I retired from Gulby, Kisher, and Flan two years ago.
         "Well about that," he says, pauses then continues. "You didn't get to do that scan. You were killed on the way here when an unexpected category 6 tornado damaged the monorail train you were on."
         "I am dead?" I ask.
         "Yes, sir."
         I just stand there trying to process that.
         "It can be a little," he says, pauses looking at me with sympathy then continues, "disconcerting. What I would suggest is that you take a seat over there and a counselor will be with you shortly."
         He points to an area with several comfortable looking chairs. There are 4 other people over there. I nod, thank him and walk over to the area. I look at the people and I notice that two are naked, one is dressed in a bathing suit and one is wearing a full, black with blue pinstripes business suit. As I approach one of the naked people, an athletic young woman, is suddenly wearing an off the shoulder, gown popular 5 decades ago.
         The other naked person, an elderly man, transforms into a young man wearing cut-off jeans and a tank top. I slow up as I approach trying to formulate a greeting when they all disappear one by one.
         Before I can open my mouth I am alone. I pick a nice overstuffed red leather chair and sit. There is a coffee table centered between the chairs. There is a single magazine lying on it, I reach for it and notice that I don't have a shirtsleeve. I examine the rest of me and see that I am completely naked.
         I carry on and pick up the magazine. The title is "Dress Yourself". I open it and on the first page is written:
         "Welcome to your afterlife. You are in control of your body. You control what you wear here. You just have to visualize yourself wearing it and it will happen. You can also adjust your own body to be any size or shape you choose. If you are still having difficulty with this please turn the page and we can walk you through some exercises that will get you started."
         I picture myself in a nice dark blue pinstripe suit with patent leather shoes and looking down I see exactly that.
         "Mr. Rayburn," a voice calls out to me.
         I look up and see a dark haired man standing in a doorway on the opposite wall as the reception desk. I drop the magazine on the table and walk over to him.
         "Hello! Welcome to iAfterlife," he greets me when I get close to him.
         We enter a small room with a desk and chairs, he takes the one behind the desk and waves me to the other. The room is sparse with just the desk and chairs, no pictures or calendars or, actually, anything on the desk.
         "How do you feel, Mr. Rayburn?" He asks me.
         I think about that and tell him that I feel pretty good for being dead.
         He smiles the says, "That is good to hear. You are adjusting well to your afterlife. Now you have to make some decisions about what you're going to do from now on.
         "As a Silver level member you have quite a few options available to you. There are 30 predefined worlds available to you any time plus you can define your own world. You can invite others to share in the world you created and you can go to their worlds if they invite and you choose to go. There are, what we like to call, semi-world's; which are just areas that are open and focused on specific topics for example there is a Current Events World, where you can go and catch up on current events happening in the living world. There is a semi-world for discussion of building worlds. There is one for the latest breakthrough in the sciences. And among others, there's one on the latest celebrity gossip.
         "These are all available you at any time. All levels mingle together in these semi worlds. However there are world's that are Silver only, just as there are worlds for Basic members only and Gold only, as well as Platinum only."
         This was mostly like what I'd read before signing up so was not new. I did ask, "How do I find the people I know and communicate with them?"
         "Yes. Communicating with others here is quite simple all you need to do is think about talking to them and you can open a communication channel to them. However, we know that takes a some experience to get that working correctly. It can be difficult for the system to determine if you are casually thinking about calling someone or actually want to call someone.
         "To help we have put in a "physical" gesture to make the distinction. In your shirt pocket you'll find a communication device that looks similar to the phones used in the real world. When you want talk to someone you reach in your pocket and pull that out and then say their name, or more accurately, think their name and an attempt will be made to make a connection. You may not always make the connection as the other person has a right not to receive calls at any time just as you do. And some worlds that would break the paradigm but, just as in life, you can leave a message for them."
         "That makes sense to me. Is there anything else I need to know?"
         "No, but that is enough for now. According to your file your first world you wanted to be a private detective in Long Beach California in 1951. Is that still the case?"
         I think about it for a moment and decide that that's exactly what I want to do. It's about as far away from the life I had at GK&F as one could get. A life with some life and death action sounds quite interesting. I feel excitement rising up in me at the prospect of solving a real murder mystery. I say, "Yes, that's exactly what I want to do."
         "There are some minor variations on the theme that we should go over and allow you to select exactly what is you want to do. For example you can be in a world very close to the real world with all the problems of that world had. Or we can eliminate some of those distractions. Or it can contain pulp fiction heroes such as Doc Savage, the Shadow or Nero Wolfe. Who knows, you might even get to meet one of those guys. You can't be one, of course, only Gold level members and above can be one of the main figures in these worlds."
         "OK I think the world with pulp fiction heroes in it."
         "Excellent. Do you want to be an independent PI or part of a larger organization, like the Pinkertons?"
         "Hmm. I think independent."
         "You can change your mind at anytime by walking into a larger PI companies storefront. One more question: do you want to worry about the rent, food and all that to go with a real life?"
         "I don't know ..."
         "We have found that having hunger pangs, bills show up, junk mail, salesmen showing up at your door, etc. keeps it feeling like real life. Those that have done it both ways have said that having those things made it much better; it felt less like they'd played a game and more like they are actually living that life."
         "OK, I'll keep it real."
         "Good, there are other things that can be tweaked but I think that's enough for your first adventure and I'm sure you're anxious to get started."
         The man pauses, gets a faraway look momentarily, nods and says, "All set. What will happen next is I will leave the room, then a manila folder will appear on this table; when you open that folder you will feel a little light headed at first then some disorientation then it all goes dark and you are in your new world. You will not remember any of this or your old life while you are in ... Long Beach, California, USA, 1952. Good luck and enjoy, Mr. Rayburn."
         "Thank you ..."
         "Chuck Thompson."
         "Thank you, Chuck. Will I see you again?"
         "No. I only handle incoming people. When you finish you will be assigned a guide from a small group of people. Eventually you will get to know them all. Goodby, Mr. Rayburn and have fun."
         The man quickly gets up and leaves the room. Just as he said a Manila folder shows up on the desk in front of me. I feel the excitement rising in me. This is it! I hope I am up to it. I reach out and open the Manila folder. There is a single sheet of paper with some writing. I focus on the writing and things fade around me.
{/linespace:1.2}
         Copyright 2019, Dirk E. Hill

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