ADOLAI SHUNGYOSAI, a brilliant, precocious young computer programmer becomes a Freshman at M.I.T., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the major institutions for developing technological minds. SHUNGYOSAI however is always on his own trip, and has for years before arriving at the school been developing his project, a BRAIN-COMPUTER-INTERFACE which will allow the human mind to do something wholly new – enter a Virtual Reality Space as if it were a Real Environment. (Matrix – Style VR). He is close to being ready, and he is in talks with his PROFESSOR already the first week at M.I.T. on staying on track to develop this into something… which, through the friendly familiar channels of connections at MIT, already might be garnering commercial interest. SHUNGYOSAI isn’t sure he will even be there long, if this takes off. He may follow the path of the tech genius boy billionaire, or take the money and run, who knows where? What he’s interested in is the tech, and what it can do. He has a proclivity for studying how technology disrupts societies, how the stirrup and bow made Mongolian warriors the owners of entire civilizations which they occasionally raided, like a child picking what one wants from a pet store. As he commented when watching among mixed company a certain social media platform owner speaking before congress, which was concerned about the company’s ethics, “One does not offer an ethics to a god.” (Simone de Beauvoir said it, look it up.) Again, he’s on his own trip. Though he’s not sure where it might take him.
The first week in BOSTON he also attends a FRESHMAN orientation mixer hosted in a dorm center on campus. There, he meets CRYSTAL PAIGE BRIDGEWATER, an equally brilliant architecture student, and they hit it off instantly. She is into spirituality, but physical and present like so many aren’t. And though she is somewhat reticent, behind her eyes is an earthly force that views locations and positions the way Constantine chose his capital. When she builds, when she sees this world, she sees not just the past and future, but eternity. She lives in space the way most people live inside their heads, with high reverberations. So her eyes seem to be on all things, and her mind busily flitting through the cityscape and towering egos, glides as diligent as a bird trying to beg sustenance from discarded french fry boxes.
She takes a chance that Shungyosai may be part of her college experience, as they fall into bed the first night they meet. Both having in their mind’s eye plans for their futures and the world to come.
Having spent the night with CRYSTAL, SHUNGYOSAI is feeling like a big shot when he meets his favored PROFESSOR’s Teacher’s Assistant, ENITHARMON (Named for a WILLIAM BLAKE poem, and wouldn’t you know SHUNGYOSAI used to have the nickname BLAKE. After he briefly became obsessed with a BLAKE book a fellow patient gave him during a brief stint in a psychiatric ward. He had been slipped an LSD-dipped joint at a party and FREAKED OUT.) ‘My friends call me BLAKE’, SHUNGYOSAI tells ENITHARMON, or ‘HARMONY’, and soon they are flirting and making plans for a date.
SHUNGYOSAI will need a partner to try out his new VIRTUAL REALITY program. Two minds, connecting, sharing an experience, he is excited for such an intimate encounter, outside the skin, enmeshed and communing. When he runs into CRYSTAL, she appears to him strangely. She is acting on the assumption that they are in a relationship. After they slept together, to her the EXPERIENCE meant something entirely different to her than it did to him. The question of INTERPRETATION shows its face to the shining face of SHUNGYOSAI, and he encounters in shock what he comes to call his ‘PHILOSOPHICAL GREMLIN’… THAT TWO PEOPLE CAN EXPERIENCE THE SAME MOMENTS, AND TAKE AWAY FROM THEM ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MEANINGS.
He is troubled, frustrated, and in a panic thinks of a multitude of updates he must make to his software. But his PROFESSOR is pressuring him for a working demonstration, and ENITHARMONY is enticing him to enjoy the experience, making the first time trying it with her a date together.
SHUNGYOSAI, deciding his software needs testing and brushing off the danger by justifying any errors will be handled by the brain’s neuroplasticity, adaptability, and he’ll learn on the fly, HE and ENITHARMONY fit themselves with the headgear, lie down together, and he pushes the custom keyboard button to engage the simulation: