Helen’s lab at Cal Tech was a large shared work space. Her back corner position in this space was prized by all as it afforded a small bit of privacy for ones research. The two entered and seeing a small section glowing left the light off out of respect. Holding hands they continued through the maze to her space where she pushed him into a seat and put a type of helmet on Adam’s head. The underside of the helmet had numerous small metal nipples that attached to springs and wires that allowed it to gather electrical information from the brain.
“I will need to ask you some basic questions about your past all of which will be things you should have no problems answering, either from personal memories or from hearing the stories you have been told and have learned is your past but you don’t actually recall it. Do you understand?” Helen said as she configured the computer while continuing to configure the EKG and the spectral encephalography equipment.
“No problem, does it hurt?” is all Adam had to say but was ignored by Helen who was in full work mode.
“You said you were very wealthy but you do not run a company or have any responsibilities how did this come about? Just explain to me only the financial portion of your life with as little emotional attachment as possible.”
“So it does hurt, you go straight to the deepest darkest secret. Why do you want to learn why you will hate me at the beginning? Why not wait for that until after we have known each other long enough to get tired of the amazing sex? Oh, wait, was it not that good for you? It seemed good for you..”
Helen interrupted him with a kiss telling him as the kiss broke, “I love you, don’t be silly. The sex is amazing and I look forward to more of it. That will have to wait though and there is nothing that you can say to me about your past that will make me think less of you at this moment. It is my need to understand these things and only you that can fulfill this need for me. You will have to answer some questions so that I can map your brain and see if my suspicions are correct. I will tell you now what I think I know and if I am correct you can just go on answering my questions. Deal?”
Adam nodded still a little taken aback by being kissed so sweetly by one that moments before was so serious, not to mention the “I love you”, tossed in like nothing.
“You are associated with a company called Non-linear, either that was the company of your parents or it was yours. Is that true?” she asked as she looked not at Adam but into the depths of the pixels on her screen.
“When I came of age, I sold the company along with all of the intellectual property rights to the United States of America. That is my deepest darkest secret. People could somehow come to grips with my being crazy and slipping in and out of time, but selling the company was just not acceptable. I never spoke to anyone that was in my life growing up after that again. Some of them went so far as to put it in their wills that I was not to be allowed at their funeral. That funereal provision might not seem like much but soon after I sold the company the former employees started to die. They did not all die over night or anything, it took some years, but they are all gone now. It’s just me and my 18 billion or 30 pieces of silver as it were.”
Adam had spoken all of this with his eyes cast down, hands laying on his lap unclasped. Raising his eyes to look over at Helen through the wires attached to the device on his skull, he looked for all the world like a puppy that had peed on the rug. You can imaging his surprise when he saw a smiling Helen staring at the computer.
“That’s very good.” she said never moving her eyes from the computer, before asking her next question. “So the slips? What happens to your body here when you slip?”
“Did you actually listen to a word I said or you only care about what is on the screen?” Adam asked in reply
“I was already pretty sure of your story Adam, I just needed you to give me a baseline of your brain wave patterns. So just keep answering my questions it will just be a few more I think before we can move on to the deprivation chamber and the final test I am sure you are going to enjoy. That magic mushroom ride! You think you can just stick with me and not seem so hurt every time I ask you something? I already told you I don’t care about anything except this you right in front of me right now.”
“As you wish.” he said with a small smile. “The slips come in different types. Sometimes I just fall asleep and wake up someplace, sometime in someones head. Sometimes I am awake and going about my day or night or whatever when things start to act funny. Street lights are not street lights anymore that sort of shit. I was once on a bridge that not longer existed while I was riding in a cab. I drowned in that river, not my favorite way to die.”
“And where were you when you came back? What happens when you die?”
“Oh, nothing much. That time in the cab I came back at the pool at Soho house in New York. I was just lying on a lounger in the sun, no big deal. They make great bloody mary’s there and sure enough there was a fresh one on the table next to me. I stayed in New York for the next 4 or 5 days I think before coming back West.”
“You have bigger slips where you live large portions of a different life also, right?” Helen asks excitedly
“Yes. Those are the most common.”
“And what happens to your body here when you are living other lives somewhere else?”
“That depends, sometimes I wake back up in the bed where I fell asleep and it’s like it was just a dream. It’s next morning but now I can taste the goat that I had for dinner and smell the fire it was cooked over. I came back one time and had a math test but no idea what numbers even where let alone how to use them. It was played off as just some bit of rebelliousness but it was real. It was always real. I even had a big slip while having dinner with my Aunt. She was talking and I grew up, killed a wild pig, became a man, had children and died at the hand of my son to ease my pain in passing. Then my Aunt was getting up from the table, mumbling about how impossible I could be. I was so happy she left because I sat there and cried. I missed my son. It was like he had died not I.”
“Excellent.” Helen said before moving over to remove all the suction pads and the apparatus on his head. “Let’s get you in that deprivation chamber shall we?”
Grabbing Adams hand they left the lab and walked over to the psychology labs. Helen explained to Adam on the way that with the baseline brainwave map she had created earlier she would be able to get a reasonably high resolution picture of his brain through the conductivity of the salt water in the chamber using a modified DOT scanning technique.
“It’s perfectly safe,” she said, “I volunteered to test it when we first got it in. It’s a wonderful bit of technology that may finally get some practical use that no one will ever know about. If we are lucky you will have another slip and I will be able to gather all the remaining information to complete the calculations. Though I doubt that will happen now that we are together.”
“If all it takes is us to be together for the slips to stop then I know why there is that compelling drive to be with you. You ever done ‘it’ inside the chamber?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, only one person can be inside if you are going to get any accurate readings. You do need to be naked though.” She said smiling and gesturing for him to disrobe.
Adam continued to try to get her to at least have a little fun but, Helen was buzzing and close to bursting with a different kind of joy.
She left him inside for an hour, in which time she let the computer relay all of the data back to her laptop in her lab for correlation with the previous readings. There were no spikes in the readings which she took to mean that no slips had occurred. There was a distinct pattern of amplitude that seemed to emerge, a sort of ‘W’ or ‘V’ shape made of two rectangles with periodic serges of high activity in the lower outside edge of the right block. One more test, but this one is of a purely physical observation no need for the lab.
So far so good she was thinking as they left lab to return to the hotel.