Manko & Dinner [#7]

Aston Revola
April 3rd 2011

Manko blinked. Then blinked again, and again and again. While he did, he went through various layers at once and he was dazzled and amazed, his jaw dropped at all that he saw. He started blinking faster and faster. It didn't take a long time before he started getting dizzy.

Nada: 'You better stop blinking, or pretty soon you'll be throwing up. Bokor, please help him.'

As he blinked, Manko saw all kinds of layers pop out of Bokor's head. Bokor smiled.

Bokor: 'Close your eyes. Relax. Do not open your eyes until you feel you are ready for your maiden voyage. It will take patience and skill to navigate these layers properly. Start by exploring them one at a time and enjoy the discovery. It is a magical feeling that you can only experience once in your life. After a while it will just become part of your routine. It will become part of you, part of your nature. Now, when you open your eyes, blink fast three times and slow one time.'

Closing his eyes had apparently reset Manko's lenses to what appeared to be called Preset Manko 1. The words popped up from of the darkness, blinked shortly in front of him and disappeared. Manko opened his eyes and started blinking just as Bokor instructed.

Zero: 'Take your time and look around.'

The first thing that Manko noted was that his hosts and the room did not look different. A relief, because he had seen a glimpse of some worrying things while he was zapping through the layers. The second thing he noted was that the chairs and table were now different. The table looked as if it had been cut clean out of the trunk of a giant tree. The chairs were still white cubes yet he noticed that they became instantly straight and solid, where they had felt more like they were filled with foam.

Only after that he noticed that out of nowhere, suddenly there was one more person at the table. It was an older lady in the outfit of, well, an old lady.

Zero: 'Bessie is a projection of Bokor. She is our chef. Bokor loves to create new recipes and Bessie presents them at the table. For Bokor, Bessie is the cherry on top of his layer cake. Bokor may seem rather quiet and serious yet Bes will be your best friend soon. Right now, she wants to present our five course dinner to you in person.'

Manko looked at Bessie. Bessie looked back at him and smiled. Now that he looked carefully at her across the table, he noticed that she was actually a little bit nervous and impatient. Was this a projection of Bokor's mood or just Artificial Intelligence?

Bessie: 'Welcome, pleased to meet you Manko. My name is Bes and I am here to introduce you to Nano Cooking. This dinner will be like a tutorial, giving you a taste of what is to come. Allow me to carefully explain each course at a time, since we have the whole evening ahead of us.'

Manko was glad to hear it was evening. He had lost all sense of time while underground.

Bessie: 'Each course will have different experiences in store for you. The first course, soup, you already had.'

Zero: 'As you must have noticed when you had the bowl of soup, Nano Cooking is quite different than normal cooking. You see, ordinarily when you observe a bowl of soup on a molecular scale, you'll see the following.

The atoms of the soup are jiggling a lot and they bounce against the atoms of the bowl. This makes the atoms in the bowl that normally only jiggle a little bit start to shake more than they normally do. That's how the heat of the soup heats the bowl. And even after we eat the soup, the bowl is still jiggling. So what we call the spreading of heat is basically just the jiggling of atoms.

Bessie: 'Before we have our starter, I want to emphasize that you need to trust us completely. Trust is extremely important at our table. This starter will give you a short momentary feeling of being connected to everyone at the table, as we will all share the same sensation. It is proven that this works best when all parties involved feel comfortable with the situation and one another.'

Bess snapped her finger.

The first thing Manko noticed, was that the table seemed to vibrate. This was an AR effect, no doubt. Then this vibrating spread to the block he was sitting on. It started to wiggle a little, much like the feeling you get when you sit on a spinning washing machine. First his upper legs and then his lower leg started vibrating gently and quite pleasantly, then the feeling spread to his torso and the rest of his body. His head started moving as if he was bopping to the rhythm of music.

He looked around the table. Zero sat at one end of the table, his eyes closed, as smile on his face and his mustache curled all the way up. Next to him was Bes, who looked around at everyone as a chef would do when checking on his guests. She winked at Manko. Next to Bes was Nada. She too had her eyes closed and her hair was glowing brightly. Next to her was Bokor, seemingly untouched, making notes on a virtual notepad in front of him. And on his other side was Gill, eyes closed like the others.

So Manko closed his eyes as well and started exploring the vibrating sensation in his body. Slowly the feeling changed. It was now as if he was sitting on a wooden pier and the sea was slowly moving it. From a distance somebody approached him and each step resonated stronger and stronger until this person passed in front of him, making him wiggle a lot.

Manko opened his eyes. The first thing that caught his eye was Nada's hair, now almost a fireball and her green eyes staring at him. The wobbling feeling had become so strong that he grabbed the table to steady himself. A warm feeling went through his body. He felt very excited. One long vibe went through the entire room. The vibe of an enormous ship revving up its engines, making the deck tremble. His body, the chair, the table, Nada's hair and everyone at the table, everything hummed in harmony.

And then complete stillness. Everything stopped. The effect was incredibly relaxing. The last vibes were leaving his body and with that an immediate feeling of peacefulness took over.

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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