“I am never going to understand this crap!” Gina grumbled. She pressed yet another key on her laptop and growled as it did nothing. “Log onto TeleView, he says. We can SEE one another as we chat, he says. Right. So what am I doing wrong?” Eugenia Ray took a deep breath and looked at her notepad yet again.
“O.K. one more time.” She proceeded down the list of steps she had been given as slowly as she could manage. After about 20 minutes she saw it.
“That’s it! I missed that step. Lord, WHY does it all have to be so confusing?” Shaking her head, Gina went through the rest of the list and there it was, the TeleView program was up and running. Quickly, she keyed in the log on information her friend, John, had given her and found herself looking at her own face in a small box in the corner of her screen. Frowning, she reached up to smooth her hair. She looked as though she had been fighting her computer for two hours.
She sent a View request to John, as he had instructed and within moments, he was there. She could see his handsome face.
“This really is amazing.” She mused. John chuckled, agreeing with her. The couple proceeded to share an hour long conversation, all the while enjoying the ability to actually see the other person. They had known one another for several years but only within the previous 8 months had they begun to explore a romantic relationship. It had escalated quickly with was great, except for the geography. There were three states between them at this point, so TeleView was the perfect option.
Over the weeks that followed, the couple enjoyed TeleView every evening without fail. It became the anchor of their days. They began making plans to be in the same place at the same time during the following month and one Saturday evening, Gina prepared to log on so that they could finalize the details. Her hands were shaking a bit as she thought about it all.
She keyed in her username and password and hit the enter key. She sat back anxiously awaiting John’s face. But the face that came up was one she did not know. The man who faced her was young, perhaps 2o to 25. He had dark hair, dark eyes and had a delighted sparkle in his eyes. Gina stared for a moment. There was something familiar about him but she knew she had never met him.
“I’m sorry. I was expecting John.” Gina’s voice trembled just a bit.
The man smiled showing bright white teeth. The smile covered his entire face.
“Well, I don’t know anyone named John. I am the only one here. My name is Daniel.” His voice was perfect. Gina felt her heart skip a beat.
“Oh, well.. Daniel. I’m sorry. I suppose I must have done something wrong here. I won’t bother you any longer.” Gina reached to disconnect.
“NO! Don’t leave,” Daniel leaned forward. “Who is John?” He asked.
“Oh, he is.. my.. friend.”
“And who are you?” Daniel’s smile was even wider.
“I..I’m .. Gina.” She wondered why he looked and sounded so familiar.
“Nice to meet you, Gina. That was my Mother’s name. Do you work for The Corporation?”
“What corporation?” Gina wondered.
“What…? THE Corporation. There IS only one, after all.” Daniel chuckled.
‘oh, well.. no, I don’t. I have to go now.” Gina was shaking and didn’t know why. Something about Daniel unnerved her.
All the next day, Gina tried to stay focused on what needed done in her life but her thoughts kept jumping back to Daniel and his eerie familiarity. She knew for certain she had never before met him but he DID look familiar to her and his voice was strangely like one she had heard before. She simply could not place it.
On Friday evening, Gina opened her laptop with the intention of connecting with John for their usual chat. She hesitated a moment before she clicked on the TeleView icon. She told herself she was being silly as she wondered if it would be answered by John…or Daniel. She found herself hoping a bit that it would be Daniel. But the answering “hello” was from John and the two enjoyed a chat lasting about 30 minutes before the connection flickered several times. Just as Gina was telling John she would talk with him another time, the screen flickered again and there was Daniel. Gina felt her heart skip a beat.
“What the hell?” She breathed. “How did you do that? I was talking with someone else.” She demanded.
“So was I. I suppose it could have been the storm.” Daniel told her.
“What storm? Where are you?” Gina glanced out her window at a clear starry night.
“I am in Barder, North Carolina. Where are you?” Gina paled.
“I am in Barder, North Carolina.” She stated barely above a whisper. “How is that possible if it is storming where you are?” She needed to know.
Daniel just shook his head. “It doesn’t make any sense.” Was all he could think of to say.
Suddenly, Gina gasped. “I left something cooking on the stove. I will be right back.” She left quickly.
When Gina returned to her desk chair, Daniel’s brows were drawn together. He stared at her for a moment.
“What is that behind you, Gina?” Daniel demanded.
Gina turned around puzzled.
“You mean the television set?”
“That is a…television?” Daniel leaned forward.
“Of course, what did you think it was?”
Daniel fell back in his chair unable to speak for a moment. Finally, he questioned, “Is it..an antique?”
“What, the television? Of course not. I just bought it brand new last month. Why?” Gina was beginning to feel sick to her stomach.
“Because they haven’t made sets like that in something like 50 years.” Daniel stated flatly.