The Voice, by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

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                           - 25 -

"Coded Holograms. But here's the best part," Rick said,
as he flipped a switch on a nearby console-and the dream,
that just a second before was confined to the TV sets,
suddenly engulfed us. "Imagine the world you want, the life
you never had," Rick shouted over the din of Rick's cafe,
"and you can have it."

The impact was shocking. The image-3 dimensional. Then I
reached out to touch Bogart. "Jesus, he's real." Bogart
turned and laughed. "Louis, pour this guy a drink. Maybe
it'll calm him down."

I yelled to Rick. "I thought you needed some kind of body
hardware, a machine for virtual reality."

"You do. But this isn't virtual reality. It's the next
step beyond virtual reality. For all intents and purposes,
it's real, reality."

"But how?"

"That stamp on your hand." Rick said, reaching for a
blister pack on the shelf and extracting a tiny capsule the
size of an aspirin. "Dissolvable micro-chips so small they
can interact with a human brain cell. One capsule, one swipe
on your wrist with that stamp and your brain opens up to
them, becomes a receiver for 48 hours."

I raised my hand to examine the luminous green stamp and
my head swirled. "You son of a bitch."

"Sorry about the disorientation. But it wears off.." Rick
pulled up a chair and sat down. "It's the quantum part of
the physics. Think of it all as light, waves and particles.
Sometimes light is a wave, like an idea with no substance.
Sometimes it's a particle. Think of something long enough
and the particles build up into the form of the idea.
Quantum physics tells us the observer can make a dream real
and everybody knows how real a dream is when you're in it.
Heart rate, metabolism, the whole brain is reacting the same
as it would to wakefulness. The only difference is the brain
wave that governs the dream knows its only a wave and not a
particle and shuts the body down, so you won't hurt
yourself."