St. John Lamont had a problem.
He knocked on the door of the anomaly and something unexpected happened.
It let him in.
He found himself inside a saloon that would be found in any city in Southeast Asia.
That in of itself was strange because Lamont, in both of his lives had never been to Southeast Asia.
” What’ll ya have Joe?”, asked a slightly accented female voice directly behind Lamont.
Lamont, obviously surprised by the voice almost gave himself a ruptured disk in his neck by turning around too fast, and gawked at the source; a petite, well muscled Asian woman standing behind a bar. Her almond eyes flashed a bright green that intimated an innate devilishness. The tattoos that covered both of her arms added to the illusion that this could be a real bar in any Southeast Asian city; Saigon, Singapore, Manila or Bangkok.
” Well, whatcha want Joe? Beer? Whiskey? Bourbon? Mixed? C’mon, I ain’t got all day!”, berated the small tattooed woman at Lamont, still disorientated by the surroundings.
” I guess I’ll have a Corona “, he responded. Slowly, Lamont was recovering his wits, too slowly he thought.
The illusion around him, or more likely a highly advanced virtual reality environment, was perfect in every way. Lamont scanned the area and found that his senses were strangely muted, dulled. Then he realized the reason, he was cut off from the Electa , the outside Universe and the extra resources he used for his extended memory and computing powers.
He was on his own here with just above baseline human abilities in a possible hostile alien environment that he couldn’t manipulate.
For the first time in decades, Lamont’s spine tingled with an anxiety he thought he no longer had to deal with.
” No worry Joe, you’re among friends here.” Lamont instantly snapped back to the present when he heard the voice. The woman was back with his beer, top popped and foamy head oozing from the opening. Lamont took the beverage and smelled it. Beer. No mistaking it, the hoppy fragrance verified that it was what she said it was.
” What the hell “, he thought, ” VR can’t kill me unless I’m convinced it will. ”
And down the beer went.
He was amazed how thirsty he was. On the ship, he had already attended to his bodily needs. In his meditative state, such wants should be shoved to a minor corner of his consciousness. Reptilian thoughts like hunger, thirst, sex, sleep, fight and flight are to be locked in a secure vault so they can’t be a distraction.
But the beer tasted pretty damned good!
” Taste like another Joe? “, asked the bar keep. This time, Lamont was a little more in tune with his surroundings. When in Rome…, as the old saying goes, has merit to it.
” Sure hon “, he responded. When she returned with another Corona, Lamont grabbed her arm. Not roughly, but just enough to hold fast. And just as quickly she escaped from his grasp.
And popped him in the snozolla for good measure.