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He ll Always Have Paris

Cedric looked at the sleeping form and said one last prayer of internal remonstrance He was stilhen Dorians voice, calmer now, startled him out of his thoughtsremoved your keycard's signature from the logbook document "Dorian said "The cameras areon power-save mode in all the hallways and will remain that way throughout the night Youhavent logged into any of the computers Technically I could have done this all by myself Ifanything goes wrong I want you to leave It will be like you were never here He smiled "I donticresponsibility for tonight I just appreciateCedric hands didn't stop what they were doing nor did his head lift up to look at Dorian "Ifthing goes wrong, Dorian, your wife will wake up in a few hours from what I can only hopa nominal dosage of sedative to find herself in a strange room with her husband laying on thetabAnd you, Dorian insisted, " will be nowhere to be found Let's lift her They transferredDorians wife Tabitha onto oned metal tableshings had calmed down since Dorian's frantic entrance and Cedric took this opportunity to tryhim again He hadnt attempted this since the phone call from Dorian that hadCedric steadied his hands and began working at a much slower pace, "Were not ready for thisDorian was back over at the key board now and the rattling of his fingers was louder than hresponse

"Weve had successful runs before, "he saidCthing to a rational sentence he had heard from his friend all night We've had successful runs inremoving small amounts of emotional trauma from young adults, Cedric saiddfrontal lobe by another person You're talking about hooking up and exploring the temporal lobehich Dorian swiveled on his chair and stared at Cedric Cedric stopped talking under hisyes But once Dorian had turned back to the key board Cedric felt himself needNDorian said hlief that thd thrdYou two are having problems but that doesnt meanI'm losing her, Dorian said As soon as Cedric lifted his head he was sorry he had done so Then's waxy eyes, even the coffee stain dofront all revealed an inneweakness in Dorian that Cedric didn 't want entering into their work environment Dorian washurting right out in the open " I love her and I'm losing her She won t talk to me Shewithdrawing And if theres a reason or if therthis guy she works with

I thinkbe theed for a few seconds thturned back to the key board Cedric felt re lieved to no longer be facing him Instead he focuseI find it and we'll work througlDorian walked around to the other table and gathered up the various devices that needed to bettached to his skin to monitor his vital signs and keep him in touch with Cedric Everything elsethat the procedure needed was donehe tubeAs Cedric watched he realized that dorian was right about one thing He could have done this allhOnce the program was started at the terminal dId have keyeddhe wanted Then he could have gotten his wife's body and his own ready, lay down, and waitedfor the tables to recede into the tubes in the wall if he was successful in his mission then hewouldnt need Cedric there at all lf dorian failed while inside his wifes mind on the other handd cedrhere on the outside to lead him back, the rejection plus the overload wouldbe too much for Dorian's brain He would essentially be trapped inside his wife's memories whileinside his own headthe bottom line

Cedric realized, was that doriand be he could makeOkay, Dorian said from the opposite table Wish me luckThe last few hours played across Cedric's sleepy eyes: the phone call waking him up, theknowing that he could never deny his friend anything, the frantic rushing about once dorian haded, and now Dorian lying next to his sedated wife ready to slip into oblivion Cedric didnn his mouthbefore Dorians table began sliding him headfirstinto the cylindrical hole in the wallOnce his feet had disappeared from view theetal door slid shut with aCedricsensory deprivation had proved to be a key element in starting the process, but he hadalways said that the once all the bugs were worked out the first cosmetic move they should makeas to redesign the doors It reminded him too much of the similar rolling tables a block away atHe looked down at Tabitha Even in the harsh brightness of the light stands and under hedation she still looked beautiful Then the table began moving and she disappeared into hertube, her feet fading from view, the door clanging shutDed in complete darkness The sensation of lying on his back slowly faded as itecame difficult to believe he was oriented in any particular direction There was some hummingfrom the machine, even heavily dampened it was still audible, and he made a mental note to lookinto this when he was back at work

Then, like sunrise in pitch black, a world g

ently became visible He was standing on a streetan undeniably urban setting, although it was nothing like any city he had ever been in Slowlythe light grew, or the darkness faded, depending on how he squinted, and as he watched shortng in the street from either s idpedestriantothe connection betweenmind and his wifesbegan to grow, his consciousness becoming more and more dependant on her presence for itand saEvery thing looks fine from out here, " Cedric's voice said, and Dorian turned to see a smallspeaker box hovering in mid-air to his left The speaker box was a fragment of Dorians ownk a formbalance the need fething that would allow himte with the outside worldwhile not clashing too much with his sense of reality It was meant to be both unobtrusive bio comforting A computer generated facsimile of Cedric himr example, Warring The speaker box was a holdover from happy far distant memories of a family trip Dorianhad taken withe a movie at one of the last working drive-in theaters leftLet me just check a few more things before you begin to explore, Cedrics voice said, and someActually, Dorian? Im going to run to the bathroom real quick before we get started I'm goingswitch off out here so nothing happens that I dont want to, "Cedric's voice said, and beforeDorian could answer the speaker box disappearedDorians initial reaction was calm, but as the seconds drifted by panic began to form at the baseof his spine His stomach became uneasy Without the connection to Cedric Dorian was lost inthis world

He looked around at the strange dress and decor and atmosphere The unknown citymed hostile and leIf he startlose controlained herer him to destroy everything he saw, his own consciousness includedhad been truthful with Cedric Deded him along as a safety net, andDorian was thankful that over the years of working together Cedric had become more of a friendan a co-worker He would never have dreamed of asking any of the other technicians to helphim with something like this, plus Cedriceness with him and tabitha would make thhole process run smoother But while Dorian had spoken the truth on purely technical termse fact was that he wasnt here to actually create a breakthrough with his wife They had driftedapart so much that he didn't believe that would be possible He was only hecluethat he could use to approach her again in the real world And without a breakthrough she wouldcept his presence here andthat acceptance he was a prisoner without cedricgoing wronge securitylab than he knew abthe police had been alerted May be they were talking to CedricMaybe Cedric was arguing with them that he had to get back to the computer or his friend mightart to lose his mind but the police werent letting him go and were going to take him in andleave dorian all alone for ever and ever and

Okay Sorry about that, Cedric's voice said, the speaker box again bobbing in midDorian Would you mind doing some jumping jacks or stretching a bit, any sort of physixertion?"Dorian complied, relief at Cedric's return and joy at being in this, now safe, new placecaused Dorian to smile as he touched his toes Cedric ran him through a few more physicalbk alfrom hereGreat, Dorian said Now I just wish i knew where i wIve got nothing out here, " Cedric replied Dorian could imagine him sitting at the computertrying to analyze the strings of data floodinghat sort of reality Dorian was currently occupying For his part, Dalk alongtreetVendors and markets were set up everywhere and a young blind woman selling flowersalked past him Nobody was speaking Englislooks familiar, "Dorian said, glancing down a tiny side street, "be stopped as he rounded a corner and carThebank, and in the middle a familiar structure sat upon an island "Ive got it, he sighedShe always did romanticize this place Ten percent of the male population dead, economic ruievery where and an entire infrastructure destroyed

but, hey, at least wine is cheapnt get it, Cedric cracIm in Paris in the 1920s, Dorian said, finally answering his question The Beat Generationed here: Tabitha absolutely loved any thing to do with this placeThe Lost generation " Cedric saidThe Lost generation Cedric corrected him The Lost generation lived in Paris after worldWar One The beat generatAmeDoesn't matter "Dorian said, " I just want to find tabithaust thought you might like to understand where your wife chose to hideI get it, Dorian said, staring to walk towards the island, The Cathedral of Notre Dame loominlarge in the middle of the river Writers, quaintness, and perfect hindsight Nthat come with living in the real worlIf it's at the forefront of hEither that or she's trying so hard to get away from mehere constanYes Cedric said There's that tNo way to know