Daniel Brayson swept the headset from his brow in a vaguely stunned, awkward motion, then he flipped his forehead jack closed and drummed his fingers on the console. What had he just witnessed?
It was vertigo, coming through the link, even though all the systems said they were ready. He had tried again and again to clear the strange sensation from the equipment. Now it was time to wonder if what he was sensing was truly outside the Eye, if it was inside the circuitry, or a figment of his mind.
He was testing the view through the new telescope base, the Carotene Alpha. The base was designed after the human eye, with thousands of hexagonal focusing plates at the cornea and over a hundred sensor stations arrayed within the retina. Scientists could set up their experiments at any station and get incredibly sharp images across most of the upper spectrum. The scope was the most ambitious ever designed, some four kilometers across. In theory, it might just be able to detect the absolute edge of spacetime.
Was this the feeling in his head? Was the cold, lifeless falling sensation coming from out there – was his mind registering the turmoil from which the Universe was formed?
He put the headset back on. He would ride the sick feeling and see what was at the other end. He cycled the systems back to standby. Processor banks accepted the incoming data and translated it through the neurocircuits. Daniel closed his eyes and plugged in. The data streamed into his optic nerves ... into his mind ...
The falling sensation was violent, deathlike. He was vageuly aware of his limbs thrashing in the energy cushion. Then he was past it, suddenly, as if he had been pursuing one of his own thoughts and it suddenly snapped into total clarity. He never let machinery be his master, and his willpower had prevailed yet again.
Beyond the vertigo, beyond anything he could rationalize, there was a strange greeting.
excerpt from my unpublished novel "The Taking of the Eye" (2000),
excerpt published in Expressions newsletter (04/2001).