“And finally, in the event of a fatal injury or catastrophic failure of the life support systems,” The presentation holographic in the middle of the auditorium zoomed in on the helmeted head of the Epsilon Series Raptor Multi-Purpose Suit.
I knew the last part of the product announcement would blow them away. We called it the “One More Thing” moment and here at The Big Company it was the highlight of every new product unveiling.
“A predetermined auditory and visual sensory program will be initiated by our brand new PariOcc implant, providing the user with a pain-free and serene death.” The hologram was now showing the inside of a brain.
“PeriOcc is the latest in neurological implant technology, providing our service men and women an escape from the physical pain of death and providing to them final consciousness that is peaceful and comfortable.”
The hologram was now showing the PerriOcc implant sitting between the brain hemispheres with its distributive neurofibers expanding into the parietal and occipital lobes.
“Research recently done by Stanford University and funded by The Big Company has given us a better understanding of the mind’s operations after a physical death has occurred.” Janice Richardson, the Raptor project manager was now standing in the middle of the hologram brain. “This research indicates a victim facing death resulting from physical injury and not involving a traumatic head injury is ninety-percent likely to still hold a conscious thoughts, even after critical system failure.” She stepped out of the hologram brain and moved to the middle of the stage. “This consciousness can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.”
“Additionally post-mortem studies done on service member bodies recovered from conflict zones found eighty-five percent of deaths were from a trauma other than neurologic or brain related. Meaning that service members who perished on the battle field did so while still remaining conscious past the point of physical death.”
The brain hologram was now rotating.
“This is the impetus for the creation of PerriOcc. These studies are telling us we can provide to our service members a more humane passing.” A second hologram appeared on the stage. Janice was standing between the brain and an evaluation form.
“Based on an individual’s recurrent psychological evaluations, our Mortality Readiness Group has developed an algorithm providing the user with a comforting sensory experience, giving solace to their impending death. Once PhysioNet determines a full system failure is immanent, instructions are relayed to the PariOcc initiating the implant’s custom visual and auditory programs. All other sensory pathways are shutdown and the user is placed into a state of well-being and serenity. The implant will provide visions of family, friends or favorite scenic landscapes. Auditory sensors provide the user with sounds of family, music or nature. All pre-determined based on the users most recent PyschMatrix.”
The visual was backing out of the brain and now showing the front of the Raptor Battle helmet.
“I wonder if I can get mine with Ms. November.” I whispered to my regional sales manager sitting next to me.
“As you can see our goal is to provide full protection for the soldier, not just from the physical dangers they will encounter during conflict, but also the psychological. We hope they never have to use PeriOcc, but if they do, they will be assured of a pain free and serene passing.”
The evaluation form rolled up into thins air and the raptor helmet twisted and turned into the full raptor suit then floated above Janice. An uncomfortable silence filed the room, everyone knowing what they had just been introduced to. The Big Company CEO and the master of ceremony Jacob Wessler returned to the stage joining Janice under the hologram. You see, Mr. Wessler has the flair for the dramatic; he let the silence sit for another couple of seconds. It was a powerful visual; The Raptor above him and Janice. He knew it would play well in the next newscycle.
“Janice, I want to personally and publically thank you and the entire Raptor team. You’ve just done a tremendous job on the development of the Epsilon series.” He was now facing her holding her right hand with both of his. “Specifically the PErriOcc. We’ve never developed a piece of hardware like this. I personally believe it’s the most important piece of hardware ever developed by The Big Company.” He turned and faced the crowd, still holding Janice’s hand. “ I’d like to acknowledge the Raptor team, many of whom are here today. I would ask that any Big Company employees that are part of the development team please stand up.”
The house lights came up as the video screens above the stage lit up with images of employees standing and acknowledging their work. The applause started slowly at first, the attendees not really comfortable with celebrating the achievements of the latest version of the killing machine that would be added to the arsenal keeping our part of the galaxy safe. But with help of my co-workers we got the crowd into the groove and soon the applause was meeting our CEO’s expectations.
Mr. Wessler let the applause die naturally, although a few employees were trying their best to keep it going. He finally put up a hand. Janice was still standing next to him and anxious to escape the spotlight. I knew this was not her favorite thing.
“The Epsilon Development team has made remarkable strides in Raptor development. These innovations will certainly help our men and women on the frontlines as they valiantly fight for humanity.” Wessler let go of her hand. Janice acknowledged with a slight head bob and then gave a quarter wave to the crowd before exiting stage left. Wessler worked a little more silence before launching into his finale.
“I’d like to take a minute here to acknowledge why we are here.” He paused an extra second and put emphasis on the next two words. “It. Is. For the men and women serving to protect humanity that we have continued in our efforts here at The Big Company. Nothing is more important to us.” The Raptor hologram reduced in size and moved over as the faces of men and women began to fill the space. “Since the first attack by the Alien Horde fifteen years ago our sole goal was to protect and serve humanity at the front lines of this fight against our extinction.”
I caught a glimpse of my brother Danny in the crowd of faces in the air. He was joined by the members of his platoon. They’d been the escort for the first human colony to Barnard’s Star. It was on their return they met the Horde; first in the Kuiper Belt, then again at the battle for Rhea. This hadn’t been our first contact with the Horde, but it was the first in our system. They’d stop the invasion, but we knew there would be more to come.
Danny had been in the Raptor Beta and I wondered for a moment what his PerriOcc would have filled his brain with as he died.
“My friends, before we wrap up this afternoon and move on to the demonstration, I wanted to talk a little about the future of The Big Company and what is coming up…”
This was our cue. I led my sales team out of the auditorium.
Time to go sell some war.
Copyright 2017 . Ted Conti, Jr.
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