“Thank you for coming in to help us with these tests, Janice. I’m Angela, and this is Bill.”
Janice greeted her hosts a bit abstractedly, then looked around at the computer workstation and electronic test equipment. She finally stepped over to the big padded reclining chair.
“So, that’s where I sit down?”
Angela nodded. “The chair is designed to keep you comfortable and minimize any possibility of distractions from the outside world.” She picked up a helmet with a small bundle of cables attached at the back. “This is the virtual reality interface.”
Janice looked inside. “I can’t see the viewscreen.”
“It’s completely integrated,” Angela replied, an explanation that explained nothing, really. In fact, there was no viewscreen. The helmet worked by direct induction, delivering signals directly to the brain and bypassing the usual sensory inputs.
That was definitely something the subject did not need to know. It wouldn’t do for her to suspect the full capabilities of the device.
Feeding in a new world of sights and sounds and smells was the easy part. Manipulating the subject’s resulting reactions and thoughts took much more time and finesse, and would be even more difficult if she understood that it was happening.
Janice sat in the chair. She adjusted the back and footrest of the recliner back and forth a few times, then stretched out and smiled.
“Comfortable?” Angela asked. “Take as much time as you need to get it just right.”
“This is perfect. I wish I had one of these chairs at home,” she replied.
Angela placed the helmet on her head and adjusted it to a comfortable fit. Bill plugged the cables into an electronic box sitting next to the computer. He sat down at the keyboard, checked the outputs of the diagnostic programs, and nodded.
Angela pulled out the concealed arm and leg straps and locked them down, just in case Janice’s awareness somehow returned from the VR environment prematurely. It hadn’t happened yet, but it was a prudent precaution.
She followed Bill through the door into the adjoining room where they kept the other two couches and helmets.