Metalife – Prologue

MetaLife, Inc.

Because the world isn’t necessarily the way you see it.

Prologue

– Congratulations on making it to the third phase, Ms. …

– Alice.

– Right. I suppose you understand the risks of this test, else you wouldn’t be here.

– Yes…

– Having passed the first two phases successfully gives you a high chance of completing this test.

– What… what are the chances if I failed?

– That’s not something people usually wants know… To be honest, if this phase failed, death is almost certain. This phase changes your essence too much.

– So… if I wanted to give up, to go back home…

– I’m afraid that wouldn’t be possible Ms. Alice. Not that we wouldn’t let you go. Of course we could let you go back, but the problem is going back _home_, the world outside, Alice, isn’t the world you used to know anymore. You can’t go back and do like if nothing ever happened. The second phase changed you, made you aware of everything. If you were to go back, you would now only see the disaster that awaits everyone who isn’t ready. That’s why this third phase is needed, without it, you would be vulnerable to all the dangers. Someone who can see, but can’t defend is bound to die, and that death is certainly a lot worse than failing the test. But I digress… As I said, you have a high chance of success. I would bet anything that you will pass it fine… if I had anything left other than my life. So Ms. Alice, are you prepared to take the final step?

– Yes.

– Then follow me.

The man got up from his chair and walked towards a door. He then opened the door and held it open until Alice was on the other side. The man guided Alice through a series of corridors, getting Alice confused… Like if they were a maze, she wouldn’t be able to go back to where they were even if they wanted to.

What confused Alice more was that she didn’t see the building being so big when she went through the front door. They walked for about five minutes until they reached a sealed room.

The man placed his hand in a black square in the wall, near the door and looked straight into a small hole.

– Authorization number 175444313656/142.

The black square turned green and a voice coming out of nowhere said:

– _Authorization accepted. Door unlocked._

The door then opened with a pneumatic “_Phshh.._”, awaiting for them to cross it.

After that door, everything was different. The walls were no longer naked concrete. The light seemed to come out of nowhere. The sounds inside that place were completely unhearable from outside. Alice thought those walls probably served as isolation. Separating whatever was inside there from the outer world. The place smelled of technology. A technology level a lot higher than what Alice was used to.

The man guided her through the corridor, leaving behind many doors. The man walked fast and Alice didn’t want to get lost in that place so she didn’t have time to even try to see what was inside.

Finally, the man stopped near a door. A door labeled as “Essence reconfiguration” with a logo in the lower-right corner that read “MetaLife, Inc.”

The man touched a small button in the wall and the door opened.

– This is it. That’s where my work ends. From now on you are under the care of the doctors in this Laboratory. They will make sure your chance of success is as high as possible.

– Thanks… I suppose.

Alice walked inside the room and the door closed behind her.

– Alice, right? – said a voice – We were waiting for you. The results from the previous tests seem so interesting, that we are impatient to see how well do you do in this last phase!

– Oh, okay…

– Oh! Right you don’t know how does this work… obviously… The ones who come out alive never return, and the ones who don’t… well, they can’t return at all. That door in there, go in, and undress. There’s something you can put on if you don’t feel comfortable walking naked… The process will destroy any clothes or objects in the machine so be sure to leave everything outside. Once you are done, open the door at the other side of the room and press the green button near the door, that will tell us you are inside.

That last comment caused the rest of the men in the room to laugh, and she got so annoyed about it that she went into that room and closed the door as hard as she could.

While Alice was undressing she wondered if those men would have put any camera in that room, but she dropped that thought realizing that she didn’t have any other option, so she just finished taking out all her clothes and put a green dressing gown on.

The room only had two doors, so she went through the other one. At the other side there was an empty, circular room, with a yellow circle in the middle. She turned around and pressed the button.

The door closed and after a few seconds a voice came out of the button.

– This is James. I’m the one who will be in charge of the reconfiguration so be sure to follow my instructions. I can’t see you so you’ll have to make sure everything is done exactly as I tell you. First of all, walk to the center of the room.

She did so.

– Are you done? Make sure all your body stays inside the circle. You wouldn’t want to have any part of you outside when this starts. You can talk to me, I can hear you.

– Ok. I’m ready.

– Good… Wait. The sensors tell me there’s an object outside of the circle.

– I don’t see anything around here… Oh! A tiny bit of the gown was on the line, moved it back in.

– Ok, good, now everything seems fine. From now on you’ll have to stand there without moving. Once the machine starts it will create a force field around you to keep you in that position. After a bit you’ll lose consciousness but don’t worry, it’s normal. Are you ready?

– Yes.

– Ok… in 5 seconds… 3… 2… 1… now.

Alice felt like if something suddenly pressed her from all around. She could still breath, but hardly.

After a moment she started to feel something touching all her body. And then she stopped to feel it.

Every cell in her body was being activated, and then it was gone, progressively, she lost sense of her body, starting from the tips of her toes, going up, steadily. when it reached her chest she stopped to breath, and her heart stopped beating, a few moments later she lost her vision, and then there was nothing.

Suddenly a strong pain shook all of her body, making her wake up, making her be alive again. She breathed, like she did the first time she was born. Feeling all the cells again, remembering.

Alice opened her eyes, and found herself in a hospital room, surrounded with doctors and nurses, talking… monitoring… one of them looked at her.

– Welcome to your new life, Alice. How does your improved essence feel?

– N-Not… really… different… yet – said Alice, hardly, as her body wasn’t too strong yet -.

– That’s a good sign. You can even already talk! You are recovering fast.

Alice tried to smile, but suddenly that became painful.

– Don’t stress your body so soon, you’ll need time to get used to your body again. You have been unconscious for seven days.

– So… long…

– Not really. Other people have needed months. You are lucky. But you need rest. So for now, only one thing: Welcome to your new world, welcome to MetaLife.