Michael had programmed his code to eliminate the view of all things blue, so that the virtual environment would be projected in their place—but this time, the result amazed him. He rubbed his eyes. Coming towards him, Ash seemed bodiless. Her midnight-blue dress was nearly invisible, which allowed the virtual seascape to glimmer as it rolled gradually through it, right up to the hint of her cleavage.
“You did forget about me,” she said, with a touch of amusement in her voice. “Didn’t you?”
“Sorry,” he said. “I should’ve called you earlier, but thought you were asleep—”
“Uh-uh. Try again.”
“I should’ve called you earlier, but was immersed way too deep into my work.”
“Now that I believe!”
“And I wanted to prepare this as a surprise—”
“So did I! Look, here’s a little something for you.”
“Sweetheart, you know I don’t like surprises—”
“I know no such thing.” She opened the palm of her hand and raised it to his eyes.
“It’ll make coming up for air even less tempting for you than it already is.”
On her palm was a glove so thin, he could hardly believe it could be used for his particular purposes. All the virtual reality gloves he had tested so far were as bulky as the ones meant for motorcycle riding.
“I’ve designed it for you,” she said.
“It’s thin,” he said, “but a bit too large for my hand, isn’t it?”
“I thought the fabric will shrink after the first washing.”
“So? Why didn’t it?”
“Because.” She took his hand in hers, “There’s more than fabric that makes up this glove.”
At her touch, the blood in his veins quickened with desire, but a moment later, when she began stretching the glove over his hand, he could no longer feel what was real. He lost the softness of her skin and didn’t yet know yet what he was about to gain.
“This glove is truly magical,” she said. “It contains a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a magnetometer to measure the orientation of your hand; five fingertip sensors to perceive finger movement; and a pressure sensor for the thumb, to measure its rotation. All this is designed to help you feel the shape, texture, even temperature of whatever you’re holding in the virtual world.”
“So from now on,” he said, “objects here won’t feel empty to the touch?”
“Exactly.” She slid each one of his fingers into place, bringing them into contact with the sensors. “Now, try it!”
Michael raised his hand to reach the simulated clouds overhead, and in a blink, he felt light raindrops. He waved it through the creek milkweeds and Belladonna lilies swaying by the side of the trail, and sensed every petal, every leaf, every stem as they ran through his fingers.
“Wow,” he said. “Just wow!”
He hurried over to the rock formation just as Fish wiggled out of the blue surface, signifying water. When he placed his palm in front of it, Fish leapt into his hand, its gills opening for a breath, giving him a ticklish sensation. Michael stroked every scale along its body and they fluttered slightly in response to his touch, feeling ever so delicate, ever so flimsy.
He knew that what he saw, what he felt around him were merely imagined objects, coming into being inside his garage by the power of software computations. But knowing seemed meaningless.
He had to trust his senses.
I felt as though I was in Michael's work environment whenever he was using Virtual Reality. Whether he was displaying Laguna Beach or the Northrop Grumman B -21 Raiders flying overhead, I not only was there but I could feel my heart pounding and my pulse racing...
~Serenity, TOP 100 REVIEWER