My sleeping was up to 23 hours a day now. They had promised my new biobed would provide me with continuous, 24-hours per-day sleep, but now, for some strange reason, I was awake. I had to message Biobeds International again.
The awake problem was supposed to be fixed with version 10.2. In fact, they now claimed that you could live forever in these contraptions, but they seem to keep having these glitches. Awake minutes accelerated aging and used more of the bodies actual resources, whereas “suspended virtual animation” literally froze one’s age at the point of suspension. Whenever I was physically awake, I knew it was a race to get back to sleep again to stop aging.
Fuck this cube-room was ugly. I had ordered the deluxe model when I moved into Dreamy Acres Virtual Retirement Village, so I had the extra 1-meter added to the four dimensions of my box-room, making it 4 metres cubed. There were no decorations or furniture, except for the BIOBED that was quietly humming in the middle of the room. When I moved here, they encased me in this “experience machine” with tubes and God-knows what attached to my body. The green ones labeled “nutrition” delivered food and drink, including alcohol and other stimulants, on demand. Blue “medication” tubes delivered my liquefied pills for high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. Unfortunately, I was one of those seniors who didn’t benefit from the preventative vaccines and cures developed at the end of the last century. I had heard that version 11.0 wouldn’t even have a “medications” tube, although one could be added as an optional extra.
Then of course there were the white “evacuation” tubes. With the new concentrated, hyper-dense, vitamin-enriched synthetic food pumped into my body, those tubes didn’t really have a lot of work to do. These nutritional advances meant that less and less sewage was being pumped into the system in spite of population growth of over 500%. Reports said that by version 15.0, human bodies would consume everything pumped into them with virtually no effluent.
The red “stim” tubes were another series of probes and attachments located on my body’s erogenous zones and other sensitive body parts. They were placed on all the traditional, well-known places, but also in some unusual places too I never would have guessed like the soles of my feet and the tips of my ears.
I thought about massage, but a 1-hour or 2-hour virtual massage only really lasted 5 minutes in real time. You also had to pay extra for this service even in this "luxury" retirement home since it required the supervision of a massage therapist in case you went into cardiac arrest. Even on my gold-plated, government pension, I could only afford 2 massages per month and they were carefully booked to keep them evenly spaced apart.
It was odd that they charged for the massage but not for self-pleasure. The same monitors had to be used for both comforts, but self-pleasure was considered an “essential service” and was banned from the virtual pay-per-use menu, unlike massages. The images and environment in sleep-mode might be virtual, but any people, animals, aliens or whatever could be included in the on-demand computer-generated scenario. They would all be imaginary, but the touching, stimulation and climactic release were real sensations generated by the probes and attachments and the memories became as permanent and real as any produced pre-suspension.
When awake, everything was such a hassle. I had to reach over to the small night stand to retrieve and put on my backup virtual goggles to make the call. In awake-mode, the probes to my brain that automatically injected imaging, landscape, scenarios and, of course, people were deemed too powerful for an awake person. I was lucky that my program included daily virtual walks and other exercise that physically exercised my limbs.
In some of the cheaper models, used in discount retirement homes, stories were common of people dying because they were too weak to call for help when their units malfunctioned or shut down. Governments saw this as effective population control since most of these units were tax-subsidized and the waiting lists to get in seemed to be growing forever longer. The NO MORE SUBSIDIES COALITION was even pressuring governments to pass the Expiry Date Legislation where subsidized units would have a 100-year lease, a no-resuscitation/no-medication policy and subsidies would be gradually decreased to 10% from 90% of income to ensure system sustainability. This meant that children of the seniors in these homes could not rely on any inheritance and would most likely end up in similar homes, even though they were the primary workforce employed to keep the advanced systems, like mine, going.
My call was answered in fairly short order by a voice which announced, “Thank you for calling BIOBED International. All of our agents are currently busy answering other calls. Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line to keep your position in the queue. Your estimated wait time is 10 minutes. While waiting, you may make a selection of music videos to watch and listen to. Please make your selection from the artists displayed on the screen.”
Because they were my favorites when I was a teenager 150 years ago, I chose the Village People and was entertained with some vintage videos showing the cop, native American, cowboy and construction worker prancing, singing and dancing their way through various scenarios, including “YMCA”.
The video suddenly froze, then disappeared as an agent’s head appeared on the display. “Hello. Thank you for calling BIOBED International, the home of the Bestful Restful BIOBED. My name is Jenna. How can I help you today?”
“Jenna,” I replied, “I’ve been awake an hour today. I’m not getting the 24-hours sleep I was promised with this 10.2 model.”
“I’m sorry you’re experiencing problems with our 10.2 model, sir. I can certainly help you with that.” responded Jenna. “To authenticate your account, I’ll just need to complete a retinal scan. Do I have your permission to proceed?” I was happy to see they were following the new government privacy guidelines for authentication legislated after the Rogersgate security scandal.
“Yes, go ahead.” I responded. Hidden scanners in my headset activated and I was briefly blinded by bright red and blue flashes.
“Mr. John Procas,” Jenna read from her screen as she spoke. “I’d like to run some diagnostics on your unit. This shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. May I proceed?”
I consented and then heard the machines humming and clicking. Small stimulations probed different parts of my body as various tests were being run. Suddenly, I felt piercing pain coming from my bowels. “OOOWWW!” I screamed, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”
The humming stopped and the machines produced no further stimulation.
“I’m so sorry, John,” was Jenna’s response, “where did you experience the pain?”
“In my ass,” I responded still feeling the lingering irritation as the pain slowly subsided.
“I’m going to have to transfer you to medical diagnostics,” Jenna said. “This is considered an emergency so you will have triage priority for the next available paramedic and/or doctor. Until they have completed their diagnostic, I’m shutting all systems down and flooding your unit with oxygen. Do you feel strong enough to breathe on your own?”
I replied I could, and suddenly I was surrounded by silence except for a whooshing sound. I felt a slight coolness as the oxygen reached my body and the pain quickly receded from my anal canal.
“This is BIOMED Medical Centre. You are on a priority one, emergency call. Your call is important to us …”
“This is Doctor Baltzar from the BIOMED Medical Centre,” a voice interrupted the message and a blond head appeared on the screen. “John, I have your information in front of me. For security authentication, we have your retinal scan, but I need to take a blood sample which will provide us with a full DNA breakdown and will be matched to the medical records we have for you on file. Do I have your permission to proceed?”
“Yes, please,” I replied. “I just want to get this resolved.”
The medical emergency probe was lashed to the nutrition tube. All medical probes were housed inside a sealed container to ensure they remained sterilized. A needle probe now extended from the tube and inserted itself into the vein of my right arm just above the connection for my nutrition tube. I felt a small prick as the needle broke my skin. I could see, through the small space just below the edge of my virtual goggles, the needle in my arm and the transparent test tube filled with my blood before it was whisked away to the testing lab built into one of the walls of my unit.
“John,” Dr. Baltzar was speaking. “We’ve matched your DNA to your medical records. We’re showing you currently are being treated for chronic conditions that include, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, is that correct?”
I confirmed the information.
“Have you ever had hemorrhoids, anal warts or diverticulosis?”
“I used to have hemorrhoids, but they were tied off and removed 100 years ago. I haven’t had any since. I’ve never had anal warts or diverticulosis.”
“Hmmm,” Dr. Baltzar said, “I think we should do a colonoscopy to have a look around. Fortunately, I see with the new BIODBED 10.2 you have, the colonoscopy probe is standard equipment and we can perform the procedure right now. However, we need you to sign the consent form and approve the medical expense. Your records show that the procedure will be covered by your insurance, however we need to take a credit card security deposit until we receive reimbursement. I’m just going to get a billing agent on the line to complete that information.”
This display changed and an older female agent appeared. “Mr.Procras, this is Nelly and I’m a billing agent for the BIOMED Medial Centre. I am going to send you a consent form for the colonoscopy. It is a minor operation and includes anesthetic. The risk of complications is less than 1%. After you’ve completed the consent form, I’ll ask you to transmit your medical insurance information and your credit card approval for the operation. It will be billed to your medical service provider, but we are required to hold a security deposit charged to your credit card until the funds are released to us, at which time the money will be paid back to your credit card. Do you understand?”
I indicated I did and then spent the next few minutes completing forms, approving everything and e-signing everything through my virtual goggles. When done, Nelly came back on the display.
“Thank you Mr. Procas,” she said. “everything seems to be fine. Good luck with your operation. I’m now transferring you back to Dr. Baltzar.”
Dr. Baltzar reappeared on the screen. “Welcome back, John,” he said as he studied the information on his screen. “Everything has been approved, so we are going to proceed. To complete this operation, we will have to activate your evacuation systems again. Normally this system is only used to remove excremental waste, but we do have a tube, that is normally not used, which will flush the colon. If the procedure is to be complete and accurate, the colon must be completely cleaned. The same tube will then be used to check your colon for polyps or anything else that may have caused you this pain. You will be sedated during the procedure and may experience some discomfort for a few days afterwards. Do I have your permission to proceed?”
I agreed. Suddenly I felt pressure building inside my colon, and then I remembered nothing except blackness for a few seconds, and then I heard Dr. Baltzar speaking again.
“John?” he said.
“Yes,” I responded. I was feeling a bit light headed.
“You’ve been out for almost an hour. The operation went smoothly and there were no complications. We removed 5 polyps and these are now being auto-packaged for courier pickup and delivery. We will have them within the hour. It will take that time for the sedation we gave you to wear off. In the meantime, I’m going to reactivate your music program. I’ll call you as soon as I have any news.”
Dr. Baltzar disconnected, and the Village People were back. I floated in a misty cloud of multiple cowboys, cops, constriction workers and native Americans. They flew all around me as they chanted their lyrics. A message box flew up on my screen announcing that the courier package had been picked up, then disappeared. I floated in this timeless world until the video froze again and Dr. Baltzar reappeared. I noted from the clock on my virtual display that it had been 2 hours since I made the call.
“John,” Dr. Baltzar said, “I have good news. All the polyps we removed are benign. There was one large one that may have been causing you some mild discomfort and that might have affected your sleep patterns. I’m resetting your systems to get them up and running again. In addition, I’m going to inject a cocktail of mild antibiotics and probiotic vitamins to boost your immune system.” As he said this, I could see a blue fluid flowing through the tube connected to my arm. The fluid felt a bit cold. After the injection was completed, the needle and tube disappeared into the disposal system presumable to be replaced by a new sterilized needle and collection tube. I heard the hum of my systems rebooting, and the whooshing sound of oxygen stopped.
The doctor smiled into his display. “That’s all for today, John. We are now setup for real-time monitoring of your systems for 72 hours and will intervene at the first sign of trouble. I will also follow-up in 4 days just to review everything with you and make sure that you have recovered your sleep pattern. I don’t anticipate you’ll have any more problems.”
“Thank you, doctor,” I responded. I was feeling much more alert and energized. I hung up and removed my virtual goggles placing them back on the night stand. I slowly drifted off to sleep entering the virtual worlds where anything and everything was possible while my body was fully taken care of by the BIOBED 10.2. I didn’t want to think about the tubes and probes attached to every centimetre of my body in my 4-meter box-cube. I just wanted to enjoy the pleasures of my favorite male and female bodies, human, animal and alien in my favorite paradise. The orgy tonight would be extra wild to make up for the lost hours of being awake. But this time I wouldn’t take the submissive role.
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