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Odyssey Lounge

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

Odyssey Lounge

It was just what I hoped it would be like. A lunar sighting on my birthday. Such a spectacle. So delightful. Well, for the moment, since I had no business being there. I was a broke college student who stilled lived at home. I couldn’t afford a trip to the moon with the prices Musk set. He claimed to let space travel be affordable to everyone, ‘The sky’s the limit; only we limit ourselves’. Stupid slogan.



But this. This was the moment I was born to experience. Time seemed to stand still in this very place. This space. This existence. No commotion and no movement. Everything was perfect.


For as long as I could remember, our whole family has been involved in the future of humanity. Mom and I had planned to live on the moon. We were saving up money and doing odd jobs in the neighborhood to one day surprise dad. Uncle Ronnie was in avionics. He taught me a think or two in navigation. His ship malfunctioned and crashed on the moon. That made dad get involved in synthetic maintenance. Grandpa had tinkered with electronics and taught my mom a few tricks. She then schooled me. Between her and my dad, I had learned to hijack computer systems early on.

I was pretty good at it too. Even when they increased the penalty for computer hijacking, I still managed to avoid getting caught. And for good reason. As students, we were warned daily to mind our actions when working on the campus devices. But that never stopped me from pushing boundaries.


The first time I hijacked a level one synth was in a maintenance room on campus. With no one else around, it made for a perfect hide out. The only problem was having to wait for the synths to turn off, so I could do what I needed to. While planning my first major hijack, I studied every part of the machine. Had to be careful though. If anyone caught me, they would know exactly where the intrusion came from, inside the school.


Initially, I hacked some of the insignificant devices on the Odyssey Lounge: the toilet, radio communications, and the elevators. I reversed the sucking on the toilets to expel; I made all the toilets spew out when they flushed. It was fantastic. No returning to duty after a doodie. I sent contract workers to report to locations and people. That was fantastic. Then they upgraded their communications system, which was no biggie. Oh and the elevators. I made the numbers look like they were going to the floor they wanted but sent it the opposite direction. If only I could see their faces when they stepped off and saw the wrong floors. I did see the look of frustration when they were inside the elevator.

I had been learning the synthetic’s system for several years now.


Tomorrow I was going to hack a level 4 synth for the weekend. I would be able to control the synth from Earth and see through its eyes. I would experience a lunar sighting firsthand and have the best birthday. I crept into my house. It was pitch black. Dad must still be at work. Nothing unusual there.


Dad worked on campus with the director of the Odyssey Lounge Synthetics crew. He would recalibrate malfunctioning synths, upload interfaces, and monitor any mechanics on board the Odyssey. When he was at work or on calls, I would listen in to fill in any gaps I had, to be like him.


I went to the kitchen for a drink. I needed to be hydrated as I plotted and planned. Just as I turned with my coke in hand, I was tackled to the ground; sending fizz and soda bubbles all across the floor.


"What the hell are you doing?", my old man screamed. "If they find out about this, you'll be dead in a week." He then turned and started walking out the kitchen.

"Wait! Let me explain!" I yelled as I struggled to get back onto my feet, but it was no use.

My father. He was one of those men that seemed larger than life. Not physically, but in stature. His hair was thinning and he had a gut, but his shoulders were broad and thick. He carried himself like he was always in charge. Dad was always working. For the first ten years of my life, he worked two jobs so that he could put food on the table for the three of us. Him, my mom, and me. He was a builder. He specialized in custom synthetics. Every day he would leave the house before sunrise and return after dinner. Sometimes I think the only reason he was home was because he knew if he left me alone, I'd be sneaking out and getting into mischief.


Mom had died five years ago. Car accident. She had been in awe with the stars that night, that she ran a light and was hit head on. She was like me. We both loved rocky road ice cream. Our birthdays were one week apart. We protested authority. And we both loved the skies.


I was seventeen when it all changed. One night he came home early from work and found me crying. I had overheard on the police scanner that mom had been hit by a car. The other guy tells the copper, "She just drifted right into that other car. Like she was logged out or something". I knew what he meant; mom was a dreamer. I can only hope she died with her eyes on the skies and a smile on her face.

Since then, dad has been trying to shield me from everything. I couldn’t catch break. Here I am, twenty-two years old and still taking flak from dad.


"What do you plan on doing, son?" he asked with his hands on his hips, pacing back and forth across the kitchen.

"I'm going to the moon. What else?"

His face scrunched up and his eyebrow twitched. "No you're not. Then where did you get the money to afford a trip."

"I have my ways"

Dad sighed and pointed his finger at me. "Sometimes you can be really frustrating, Trent. You've got your whole life ahead of you. Why ruin it with something as stupid as this."

"It isn't stupid. If mom were here..."

"Well she isn't," snapped dad. As he opened the fridge and started rummaging through the contents, I continued. "It's her birthday next weekend. I want to make it special. All she wanted was to go to the moon. That's why I'm doing this. She'd never forgive me if I didn't try."

"You're just like your mother, you know. Sure and Stubborn"

"Dad. Think about it. There are hundreds of people living on the moon right now. They're growing crops, running businesses, and keeping a close eye on things. Why should we be any less important? Should we be sentenced to death on earth?"

Dad shook his head and returned to searching through the fridge. I could see how much he missed her. His light was fading every year. I tried to keep the conversation alive. "There's a market out there waiting for us. A lot of people would pay top dollar to have access to your skills on the moon. You never dream anymore, dad.”

The fridge slammed shut and he looked at me.

"I don't care. It's time to stop dreaming. The world doesn't need my skills. We need a new earth."

"Dad, come on. Ever since I heard about the moon colony, you know it has been my dream. Mom's too. A place like that is made for us. People need help, and if you can provide that, why wouldn't you do it? This is our chance to take control of our own destiny. Why wait until the end of days to finally live the lives we deserve."

With a heavy sigh, dad turned away and headed toward the stairs.

"I love you son. I don't want to lose you to the stars too"

My eyes misted over. How could he say that? Didn't he understand? Our destiny wasn't here on earth. We were meant to die on the moon, amongst the stars. On the moon. I needed to start planning my escape while I still had time. Maybe dad wasn't the one who could see the future. Maybe he just didn't want to. But I for sure was not about to stay on earth.

***

Hijacking their system to control one of the synthetics was the easy part. I just needed to figure out how to use it. Once I got into the system, I was able to access its memory, which stored everything from when it was created by the factory.


I put on my visor and began running my program. There was a flash of light and a loud pop. I watched as my memories flashed before me. I had seen and felt so many things within seconds. It was like I was living my life in super speed. At first, I thought I was going crazy. I selected the kill switch immediately and reran the program again. This time felt like static before things became clear.


There was no turning back. What was done, was done. The only thing I could do was move forward. I searched through the memories. It was a strange feeling. I wasn't sure if I was living the past or just reliving them. Some seemed real. Others were more like a story, some even dreams. I did notice that I remembered most of the things that had happened recently. I was confused, though. I could remember certain events happening in my mind, but not physically. Everything was going perfect until…

***

Trent looked out the window through the eyes of the synth. Just as he gazed upon the surface of the moon, Trent could hear the controllers talking as if he were standing right in the room.


“This synth seems to be malfunctioning”, controller one said.

“Dammit, there goes another one”, commented the other.

“You would have thought synths were human, eh Jerry? Getting all emotional and stuck at the view. Heard synth’s cant process beauty. Heard they malfunction at things like this.”

“Yeah, heard that too. I’m glad to be human right about now”

“I wonder what it is thinking, huh Jerry?”

“It’s a synth, it’s not thinking anything, Don.”

“Last week, Derek said he thought he saw a synth cry”

“That’s not even possible”

“I know. Said the oil was leaking right out the eyes”

“No kidding”

“Would I kid you, Jerry?”

“No I guess not”

“Come on, we got one more floor to check”

“Right behind you”, mumbled Don.

***

Certainly only a few seconds had past, but a non-moving synthetic robot meant malfunction. And it was too late. I was so mesmerized, I forgot to run the synths maintenance program. That would have made it look like the synth was still working properly. Maybe if I had just … Crap, I can’t move the arms. Crap. Stupid thing is flat-lining. Come on, you stupid piece of metal, move. Mooove! How could I have been so stupid to not keep it moving. But the moon. It was so…amazing!

***

“Hey Jerry, Boss just radio’d in. Said he wants us to haul the synth down to decommission bay”

“Now?”

“Yeah. Sounds real serious, man!”

“I swear. They never let us finish our work”, Jerry said angrily.

“You ever wonder what it might be like to be a synth? To not have no cares? Huh, Jerry?”

“ehh. No. I don’t think I ever thought about that”

***Decommission Bay***

“Hello Trent, I am doctor Marshall. Doctor Julie Marshall. Do you know where you are?”

“Yes. I am in the maintenance room on campus.”

“No Trent, you are on the moon”

“The moon?”

“Yes. But do you know how you got here?”

"No."

"Trent, you did something incredible. Your dad went looking for you when you didn’t return home on your birthday. Campus janitor found you in the maintenance room unconscious"

The memories were there but I couldn't recall how I really got to the moon. It was surreal. Like I was in somebody else's body. Completely. It was like my own memories and yet not. I was so confused.

"Huh?"

"You're a genius, Trent. Truly a gift from God."

What are they talking about? I just hacked a synthetic to get into the lunar base. She acts like it is rocket science. More frightening, she doesn’t seem…angry?

"Trent, we have someone here to see you."

I tried to sit up, but no luck. Laying on what I assumed was a medical table, I saw a familiar face.

"Trent. Oh my boy, my Trent. What have you done?"

"Dad?"

He looked at me like I was a stranger. "No. It's not possible."

"I can explain. Just let me get up real quick"

"Explain? Why, son? What were you thinking?"

"Dad, don’t cry.”

“Oh Trent. Not like this…”

Just as dad leaned over to touch my face, I saw it.

Through dad’s glasses, I saw what made no sense and yet all the sense in the world.

My reflection.

I gasp.

“Trent, you managed to upload your conscious into a synth”

“But… How?”, I said aloud.


“That’s what we want to know!” Dr. Marshall responded. “We transported your dad here as well. Maybe you two can help us figure this out. Get some rest. We will be back to go over your notes later. Until then, welcome aboard the Odyssey Lounge.”


What had I done? Stuck in my own brain, in a synths body. The visions came rushing through my mind like a video montage. Memories of the moon. I remembered the whole day. I uploaded my consciousness by accident into a synthetic body. Then I remembered hearing those guys talking about emotions and synths. But looking out at the moon was too much for the synths system. Its processor overloaded and fried. And that’s how I became stuck in my own consciousness. Mom would be proud. Even dad is here with me. And although it wasn’t what I asked for, what’s cooler than being a cyborg on the moon? All is well that ends well. Cause it was my birthday. And it was worth it.


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