In the third century LE, mental incarceration became a thing of the past. Speaking for the Bureau of Interdimensional Beings, Larry Fleming was practiced in the art of lobbying for a cause he never had a stake in.
But what started as a paycheck turned into a belief when Mr. Fleming lost his wife. Thirty years, two kids, and the God he wasn’t sure existed had taken her away from him. Malignant melanoma. Two words, two otherwise insignificant words that had sent his world crashing around him.
When the dust had settled, Larry realized that there was nowhere he’d wanted to be less than his 1300 cc of skull space. His wife was gone. His life was gone. A difference of one letter, but not much of a distinction. Her perfect flaxen hair, her pure emerald eyes… Nothing that the miracles of modern science could muster could compare.
And so he thought of it. If magic had swapped its wands for microscopes long ago, why couldn’t the limitations of the human mind be superseded? When it came down to it, he was little more than a slightly evolved ape, so how hard could it be? He’d get the eggheads from R&D to free him from his prison. They’d do it. If not for the benefit of their boss, they’d gladly do it for the glory of a fresh discovery.
After months of research, the answer was found. The universe was ninety-six percent dark matter and energy, ninety-six percent undiscovered stuff that even eggheads of the past had struggled with for centuries. It wasn’t until they pondered the idea of it being a medium for transmission that the answer was clear. The entire universe was one giant aquarium of consciousness. Unfiltered, unfettered by the limitations of one individual.
And why couldn’t that fact be used to the advantage of our protagonist? Why couldn’t he use his legislational pull to escape the realms of existing reality? If he entered the plane of consciousness he came from he’d be nothing but another drop in the ocean. He wouldn’t be himself any more, but that was the point. He’d never suffer the pain of her memory again.
He tried to get the legislation passed, his excuse being that no one should be sequestered to the limitations of their mind if they didn’t want to be. His in-charge personality was an asset. The legislation passed without a hitch.
And so there he sat in that cold metal chair, on the verge of undoing what fifty years of nature had seen fit to create. His whole life had seemingly been coordinated for this pivotal moment of manufactured oblivion. After he pushed that button, he’d never have to agonize over her loss again. He’d never have to cry again. He’d never have to be himself ever again.
It was well publicized. After all, he was to be the first being to willingly reenter the plane they came from. Sure there was suicide, but this was absolute. This was diving into a black hole without a single look back. The ratings would be unreal. There was money to be made. The product tie-ins alone could put several lines of offspring through interdimensional college.
The clock ticked. The breathing patterns of dozens were kept to a standstill. The only thing that mattered was the spectacle of Mr. Larry Fleming willingly giving his consciousness to the oblivion of the unknown. His hand hovered, the button called. Tears trickled down rhythmically.
He touched the button. Felt its rigidity, its texture. With the push of something so finite, he’d be sent to the realm of the infinite. He looked at the others. At their spectacle. What would his wife think? How would she balance out the pros and cons of the situation?
Honest? She’d fight. She’d push to make her own corner of the universe as harmonious as possible. She’d refuse to let human heartache interfere with her universal responsibilities for good. And so he refused. For the sake of her memory he refused.
Fuck the legislation, fuck “mental incarceration.” We’re all relegated to our own 1300 cc of skull space for a purpose. We’re subjected to the triumphs and the failures for the same reason: we can take it. We must take it.
Larry Fleming walked away from it all. He did it for her memory. For his own. But most of all, to be an example for all living beings throughout the universe. He wanted them all to know that they could bear it all and more if they believed they could. They could do as he did, and they would.
Mr. Fleming didn’t know it, but she watched him that day. And she was proud.