As she stood in front of the elevator she paused briefly before answering the prompt in her Contac. There was a grid of old fashion looking elevator buttons. The kind they used to have back in the good old days. The one big difference was was this was only visible to her. This morning when she woke up she had side loaded a small program she wrote a few years back that gave tech a truly retro look. She was mildly amused at the big round backlight circles with a bold number on each one. Baby tech still fascinated her. Probably because it was so base. Since she went with the retro program today it actually required her to reach out and make contact with a button. Normally her TaC would guide her right to the correct floor and even to the very cubicle in the building bypassing the need for the extra user interaction. The corners of her mouth moved upward as she reached her hand into the empty space and pressed the button only she could see. For a brief second she considered the people around her and what they might think was happening. Then she smiled fully because she didn’t care.
Stepping forward as the doors slid open in front of her she smiled again because she recognized immediately that out of everyone waiting for the elevators she was the only one going to the 42nd floor. Lucky her! It was an impossibly rare event to ride one alone. It did make perfect sense though as the whole of the floor she was going to was occupied by just one person. Stepping into the elevator she was suddenly overcome with a sense of Deja vu. Impossible! She had never been to this building before. Let alone here with the retrogram running. Seeing the lever and old brass fittings confirmed the impossible nature of the deja vu. Yet she couldn’t shake the feeling.
The motion was almost imperceptible as the elevator started moving up. Just then a random thought crossed her mind. If you ever wanted to fart in an elevator now was the time to do it. She could be so childish at some moments. Suddenly the elevator lurched unnaturally. In that moment time seemed to freeze. The big brass lever started moving to the full stop position. The lighting flickered and died as the elevator came to a grinding halt. That didn’t alarm her nearly as much as the fact that in that same instant her Contac completely went dark. In fact all the input to her neural net had gone completely dark.
How was that even possible? Her brain struggled to find answers. It just didn’t add up. Contac’s didn’t go dark, ever. The tech was powered by nanoization. In layman’s terms it was a special nanotech that created the cation and anion reaction that allowed most micro devices to be powered without hooking into a battery or wired source of electricity. The reality that her Contac had really gone dark hit as the the red glow from the emergency light faded into existence. Within a few millisecond she could see the huge number 40 appearing on all four walls. The fancy brass buttons were gone now. All she could see was the flat walls in the dim glow. Reaching her hand out she swiped at the red number that towered above her on all four walls. There was no resistance as her hand moved right through the red outline. However the number broke temporarily but as soon as her hand passed through it found it’s shape again and held it.
Emergency nanoplasma worked on a completely different equation. It is a well known fact that nanoplasma can only work properly in the absence of nanoization. That is why it makes an excellent emergency light. The plasma will hold it’s shape and form until the power comes back on. The soft red light offering enough glow to see but not enough light to throw a shadow. She reached into one of the zippered pockets on her jacket’s sleeve and pressed the tiny button. Instantly her tech came back to life. Since she was on a contained power source it didn’t kill the nanoplasma glow. Her excitment of getting the Contac back online was short lived as she saw the words NO SIG. She had been told this version would always have a signal. This couldn’t be possible. Closing her right eyelid she reached up made a counterclockwise circle three times with the knuckle of her index finger. As she opened her eyelid she was greeted with a LOCAL status. Well that was at least an improvement. Quickly she ran diagnostics. All external sensors and feeds were down completely.
There was a certain irony of being trapped in the elevator with no tech. She had started her day wishing to go retro but this was just like the dark ages. Without warning the elevator lurched again. She could feel she was going down at a rather rapid rate. Not so much by the motion itself but by that feeling in her stomach. The life size 40’s on each wall stayed the same but that was a one time use program. Her Contac was still getting zero sensor data. How was that even possible for the elevator to be moving without a source of electricity?
There was no other option but to ride this out. Free falling. The lyrics from a very old song suddenly blared in her head.
Love in an elevator
Livin’ it up when I’m goin’ down
Love in an elevator
Lovin’ it up till I hit the ground
There was something more to that. She reached deeper into her brain for the next set of lyrics. On some deep intuitive level she knew there was some reason her brain was reaching for them. As the elevator fell her urgency only rose.
Gonna be a penthouse pauper
Gonna be a millionaire
I’m gonna be a real fast talker
And have me a love affair
Gotta get my timin’ right
It’s a test that I gotta pass
Like a ton of bricks it hit her. This was a test. Reaching her right hand to the pocket on her right thigh she pulled out the silver ufo looking object and rested her fingers into the depressions molded for her hand. Thrusting her arm into the air she squeezed her hand and a cord with magnetic dart went shooting into to the air. Instantly she could feel it making contact. A quick flick of the wrist and she felt her feet come off the floor.
Dangling from the ceiling she could no longer feel the sensation of motion. That feeling only lasted a brief moment before her body went flying to the ceiling. Her left shoulder made a heavy impact before being violently thrown back to the floor. This time however there was no impact. Just her dangling from the thin metal cord. Squeezing her thumb and pinky finger at the same time the dart detached from the ceiling, the cordage retreated to the housing, and she dropped to the floor. Shoving it in her pocket she reached up to her should which was on fire and rubbed it tenderly.
The lights came on and the large numbers dissipated. She was looking at the same elevator in all it’s retro glory as she had only a few moments prior. A few moments that had seemed an eternity. The doors started sliding open and she could immediately see she was not on the 42nd story. She was in fact deep in a parking garage. In front of the elevator doors stood Mr. Reuben. He smirked a bit as he said “Nice ride?” half question, half statement. “I have a job for you”.