A prototype device that allows one person to possess another is loose.
|“I’m not sure Sarah, I’m not that desperate.”, I said.
“Come on Elle! Aren’t you at least a bit curious?” Sarah whined.
Body Rentals had been around for a few years now, but only recently had the price and portability of their control unit’s dropped low enough for regular people to afford them. Regular people like Sarah, who was now sitting on the floor of my room desperately trying to get me to let her try it on me.
“Curious, yes.” I said “Keen for you to take control of my body? No.”
“Why not? It’s perfectly safe!” Sarah pressed me. She knew I had a hard time saying no to her, and she could tell my reluctance was waning. “It’s easy as pie, all you have to do is stick the receiver to the back of your neck, and then when I put on the helmet and remote in, I get to see what you see!”
“And make me do whatever you want.”
“I won’t do anything weird!” she exclaimed. Sarah had been telling me all about the Body Rental kit on the way home from class. Her father worked for the company that produced them, and had brought home this new, portable version just yesterday. Sarah had snuck it out of her house -- without permission, I’m sure -- and brought it over to try it on me. Why she wanted to try out being the small mousy girl from biology, I had no idea, but the concept made me uncomfortable.
See, the thing is, when you’re wearing the receiver, whoever wore the helmet had complete control over your body - as if it were their own. Sarah would be able to feel, see, and hear everything I did, and she’d also be the one behind the controls. I would be just a passenger in my own body, unable to even blink by myself, just watching myself move until Sarah had the good graces to release me.
It actually was even worse than that. If she wanted, she’d be able to make me completely ‘black out’, cutting me off from any awareness of what my body was doing. In that case, I’d just wake up afterwards, having no idea what had transpired while she rode me. It gave me the shivers. I liked Sarah, but we hadn’t known each other all that long, and I didn’t trust her with something like that.
“Why don’t I try it on you, if you just want to see it work?” I asked.
“Becaaaause”, Sarah replied “You don’t know how to work the controls! I have to be the one to wear the helmet.”
I hesitated. I didn’t quite believe her, but I couldn’t really see a way out. She was right -- I was curious.
“Come on Elle, I’m not asking much. Just 5 minutes, to see if it works.”. She wasn’t used to not getting what she wanted, and I’d been fiddling about too long.
“Okay.” I said. “But only for 5 minutes.”
“Yes! Thank you Elle! Thank you!”, Sarah jumped up, excited, and started setting up the equipment.
“But I want to remember everything that happens, okay? And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”, I tried to think if there was anything else I should say. “And don’t leave my room, okay? I don’t want my brother or someone to see me acting weird.”
“I won’t act weird.”, Sarah said, her face bent low as she fiddled with the helmet.
“And the other stuff?”
I don’t think she was really listening, but before I had a chance to repeat my rules, she straightened up, holding a small metal piece in her hand.
“Okay, turn around Elle! I’m going to put this on your neck!”. I signed and turned around for her, as she lifted up my hair and stuck the piece right above my spine. It felt kind of cold.
“Oooooh, this is going to be so much fun!”. Sarah moved back over to the bed and put the helmet on her head, then carefully laid herself down.
“What do I need to do?” I asked, but she wasn’t listening again. I just stood there, looking down at my arms and legs. They’d startled to tingle, just a little bit, like a quiet kind of pins and needles.
I was in the middle of wiggling my fingers when suddenly... they stopped moving. I tried to wiggle them again, but couldn’t, it was like somebody had just chopped off all the control signals from my brain. It was a very strange sensation, since I could still feel everything.
I tried to look over at Sarah to see if she’d connected yet, but I couldn’t do that either. My eyes wouldn’t obey my commands, they were just stuck, staring at my now stationary hand. I found I couldn’t even blink, no matter how hard I tried. Was it supposed to be like this? Had Sarah stuffed something up? Luckily I was still breathing automatically.
Then I felt a very strange sensation, like ice washing down my spine, through my fingers and toes, over my face. And I felt myself smile. Now that was weird, because smiling was about the last thing I wanted to do right now.
The fingers on my right hand clenched and opened themselves, I was powerless to do anything about it. Then I felt myself look up, and the smile became a grin. “Looks like it worked!” my voice breathed, in a low kind of voice.
Inwardly, I cringed. This wasn’t going to be good.