Neurocybernetics in the basement

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Legend: Philadelphia

Time: Bleeding Sun, scene 2.5

Characters: Bobby, Penelope, Szar of the Brown Robe

Musical Image: Bobby's rehab isn't progressing. He cannot walk. Szar (the VR clone) therefore decides to bombard his nervous system with high-powered neurocybernetic signals, in the form of... jazz piano!

"Let's go virtual and get out of here," Szar decides, switching on free-style VR mode and walking through the wall. "Follow me!"

It sounds like an order, so Penny jumps up, "Yes, sir!" she runs after him.

Bobby gets out of his gravito-field and follows them. But why is it so hard to walk in RR when it's so easy in VR? He wonders.

They walk down a stone staircase into a small basement with a large brown cupboard and a stool in front of it.

"Have you ever played the piano, Pen?" Szar asks, sitting on the stool.

"No, sir. But I love it."

Szar opens a kind of drawer in the middle of the cupboard, uncovering a low row of keys, mainly white. Not unlike those antique mindboards that people used to operate with their hands – keyboards, they were called.

Szar starts making sounds, singing at the same time, "Poom, poom-poom..." Very rhythmical. "Have you ever heard this kind of music, Pen?"

She stifles a smile. "Yes, of course. A form of primordial jazz..."

Szar really gets into it. Much louder sounds coming out of the cupboard. "Come on, Pen, give me the beat!"

Penelope finds herself beating her foot and clapping her hands, eyes wide open, laughing with amazement. Is this virtually happening - a real Archive hyper-clone, emanation of Szar of the Brown Robe, Master of Thunder, playing jazz?

Szar winks at her. "It's the Apocalypse!"

The time when everything is possible.

She really gets into it too. "Come on Bobby! The beat!"

"With your foot!" Szar says.

Penelope shows Bobby how to do it.

Bobby isn't too sure about the music, but he likes the atmosphere in the room. An interesting psycho-stimulant drug with mild endorphinic effects, and probably a serotonin-like effect too.

"You don't have to like this kind of music," Szar tells him. "Just let it get into your system, and you won't be able to live without it."

A dangerous drug? Bobby doesn't mind. He keeps accompanying with a steady beat of his foot.

"Come on, dance!" Szar activates a VR subprogram, and Penelope and Bobby find themselves holding hands, dancing in the small room. The prog takes care of all movements for them, all they have to do is watch themselves dance.

Bleeding Sun 2.5

Music by: Samuel Sagan and Ruth McCracken