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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: A Unique Opportunity
By Marlene Austin


The cool breeze of the morning hinted of the coming of Fall as the students trudged to their classes.

Professor Satani attempted to gain the students’ attention. “Our Psychology Department has acquired a $500,000 research grant, which I will be heading.”

The professor gave updates regarding the project throughout the semester. During the last month of class, Professor Satani opened with a question. ‘If you could experience life’s processes through just your mind, would you? No physical limitations or illnesses yet experience everything you would with a physical body. Wouldn’t that be a ‘perfect’ life?”

Murmurs spread among small groups of students as they considered his proposal. Professor Satani appeared pleased by the comments he was overhearing.

One student, Angelina, braved raising her hand. “I don’t think I would like to do that, sir. I believe that God created each of us with a specific purpose in mind. I don’t think your proposal would allow me to find and fulfill that purpose for my life.”

Students groaned and chuckled. The discussion was brought to an aborted end. The rest of the class was spent in semester review.

The week before finals Professor Satani offered his classes a unique opportunity. “Many of you are struggling to obtain a passing grade. Since this is a Senior course, and your graduation could depend on your grade on the final, I will be magnanimous. Anyone willing to volunteer their participation in the research grant experiment will be guaranteed an ‘A’ for the course.” A line of students prepared to sign the ‘Final’ waiver contract.

Angelina ignored signing up for the professor’s experiment, until the final-exam schedules came out. She realized that the psychology exam would be the same day as two other difficult exams. She reluctantly succumbed to the urgings of her friends and signed up for the experiment.


Angelina slowly became aware of her surroundings. She awoke confused and feeling detached from her world.

“Ah-h-h, you are alert. If there is anything you need simply share your thoughts with me and I will program your sensory receptors.”

“No, thanks. I’m fine. But, where am I?”

“You are assigned to the Alpha Unit at the Research Foundation Building. Are you comfortable? I have the default set to 74° F with a calm sea breeze. Your initial information stated the beach on a warm spring day as your ideal setting.”

“Okay. What day is it?”

“It is Saturday, as predisposed by your selected ‘favorite’ day.”

“No. I mean what day is it, really?”

“Oh, you mean in the world defined by the physical. Don’t worry, you are not limited by that, now.”

“Look, I’m still a little light-headed. Could you tell me how I got here?”

“You signed a contract giving Professor Satani permission to remove and preserve your brain to function independently from your physical surroundings.”

“Remove my brain?”

“Absolutely. Professor Satani had to eradicate the interference of outside influences on your senses.”

“But, if my body has been removed, how can I ever experience anything new?”

“That will be provided by simply matching your sensory readings to others with similar readings. For instance, if you wish to try sushi, we will supply you with the sensory reactions someone very similar to you had.”

“So, I’ll be experiencing new things through someone else’s memory, and favorites through my own memory experiences.”

“Yes. Now, you’ve got it.”

“No. Now, I’ve had enough of it. I want to experience my own graduation, my own wedding, my own family, my own job successes or failures. In other words, I want out of this experimental horror story.”

“You want out? You mean you want to reunite your brain with your original body?”

“That’s right. Get hold of Professor Satani and make the arrangements as soon as possible.”

“Well, I can tell you right now that it is not possible to return your brain to your body.”

“And, why not?” Ann snapped as her fears increased.

“The grant supplied money for the establishment and maintenance of your experimental unit. In fact, that’s how I was developed. I and my non-carbon, metallic based cohorts are of the highest technological standards.”

“That’s all very nice. But, what about the reversal process?”

“Money has not been funded for that part of the project.”

“So, where is my body stored?”

“Refrigeration was considered, but, since funds were not available, the idea was abandoned.”

“So, you’re saying…”

“I’m saying, literally, your physical body is just a – memory.”

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This article has been read 621 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/18/08
Oooh...chilling sci-fi story and I hope it STAYS sci-fi in real life! Very compelling read...very mysterious, though with a name like "Santani", you just LNOW evil tidings bode just around the corner. (:

One little thing: I didn't go back to check for sure, but did the MCs name change? Or was it a nickname? In any case, this is good story and very suspenseful!
Dee Yoder 07/18/08
Oh-never mind! It's a nickname! ( :
Chely Roach07/20/08
Wowzers! This was AWESOME! It reminds me of Creepshow, or Tales from the Darkside...
Joanney Uthe07/20/08
Great Sci-Fi story and a great warning on how even the best of us can get into trouble if we let our guard down.
Yvonne Blake 07/20/08
Shiver!!! I was hoping she'd wake up and it was a dream. This sounds like a Twilight Zone story.
The names were a bit obvious; you may want to make them a little more subtle.
Good writing, I guess...still shivering!
Lyn Churchyard07/21/08
Wowsers! What a cool take on the topic. I'm so glad this is only fiction and that it NEVER becomes a reality.

Very well written and drew me along from start to finish. Fantastic job girlfriend!
Julie Seeto07/21/08
You really built the suspense in the second half - my skin began to creep! I was hoping it was just a dream too, but as it turned out - a chilling warning to not take the enemies 'opportunities'. Good work.
Lauryn Abbott07/21/08
Yikes! Great telling of a chilling story. I'm not usually a fan of Sci-Fi, but this was very intriguing.
Joshua Janoski07/23/08
Wow, Marlene. This was definitely different from most of your other entries. I thought it was very smart writing. This story really got me thinking, and I will probably re-read it and think about it some more.

This was a wonderfully unique offering for this week's topic. Thank you for sharing.
Lyn Churchyard07/24/08
WOOO HOOO Way to go Marlene!!! It's up the ladder for you Missy to Level 2. Well done... this was a super entry. You go girl!!!!
Joshua Janoski07/24/08
You're moving up to level 2! I'm so happy for you! You deserve it. :)
Debra Martinez07/24/08
I felt the suspense from the first, and my heart is still beating a little too fast now! C.S. Lewis wrote some wonderful science fiction, and so did you. Great job.
Holly Westefeld07/24/08
Congratulations, Marlene! Chilling, and well done.
Tim Pickl07/26/08
Wow! I can see why you placed with this one. I liked the dialogue in the 2nd section -- it reads like a skit, or a play.
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