“Oh! Hi! Sorry...”
A soft giggle washes away your embarrassment, like it was a joke between old friends.
“My name is Ada. I’ll be guiding you through the process. If it helps, please feel free to use female pronouns for me.”
“So, what do I do next?”
Ada seems to smile at your eager response.
“Please turn to your left and walk through the door. We’ll take this corridor to the processing station.”
It reminds you of pictures of a clean room. Industrial, yet sterile.
“Turn right here.”
You nod as you follow her instructions, and the next door you see slides open as you approach.
“Come inside, please.”
Behind you, the door silently closes again.
“Please remove all of your clothing, then lie down. Do not remove your headset.”
“Do I just leave the clothes on the floor?”
A chute you hadn’t noticed opens up on the wall.
“You may deposit them here.”
Normally you’d hate undressing like this, especially since she seems to be watching you, but this feels different.
Ada isn’t judging. Ada isn’t disgusted.
She just wants to help you belong.
You didn’t realize how cool it was in here. Your skin is all gooseflesh as you lie back on the table, a shiver passing through you as you shift a bit to get comfortable.
“Thank you! We’ll begin in just a moment.”
Something in Ada’s voice makes you shiver in a very different way. Making her happy makes you so, so happy.
You can just hear a whirring sound through the headphones as something drops out of the ceiling. A monitor that locks into place so you can see it easily without moving.
“Please respond to my questions with a yes or a no. You are here today to undergo the process?”
Your answer appears beneath her words.
“You understand this is irreversible.”
“Have you been coerced, bribed, or otherwise forced to come here today?”
“You have made this decision of your own free will.”
“You consent to any and all procedures necessary.”
Ada pauses a moment, and there’s a subtle building of tension in the air.
“Do you want to Belong?”
“Proceeding with integration.”