Videodrome days of obliv.., p.1
Videodrome: Days of O'Blivion, p.1Lee McGeorge
Table of Contents
Copyright and Dedications
First published in Great Britain by Speartip
The text and story contained within is
Copyright © 2016, Lee McGeorge
STRICTLY NOT FOR SALE
This release is not for profit, fan-fiction.
Copyright of the source material exists with
the respective rights-holders.
Cover Artwork: Miguel E. Santillan
Thank you for everything
Special Agent Molgaard
Special Agent Hancock
Special Agent Dimitrov
Special Agent Santillan
Special Agent Granville
Based on David Cronenberg’s film, Videodrome
Inspired by the ideas of Marshall McLuhan
Videodrome: Days of O’Blivion
----- Chapter One -----
Toronto. October, 1980
“This experiment is quite simple and it’s your opportunity to win one thousand dollars.” Professor Brian Olivier placed a stack of banknotes on the table, something that made the student’s eyes light up. “To win this money, I’m going to show you a video recording. It’s only five minutes. At the end I’ll ask whether the story in the film is true or false.”
“And you’ll give me a thousand bucks, just for that?”
“Well, there is a catch. The video is a documentary about an art gallery; and it’s completely fake. All the players are actors. The gallery isn’t real. In fact, nothing is real. It’s a fiction. To win the money, I want you to watch the video, then I will ask you if what you have seen is true or false. If you answer that the video is false, you win a thousand dollars; but if you tell me it’s true I’ll pay you ten dollars for your time.”
“But it’s fake, right? You already told me it’s fake.”
“It is fake. So hold that thought in your head for the next five minutes.”
Brian leaned against the doorway and clicked off the overhead lights to leave the young man in softer illumination. A video camera was pointed at his face. “In five minutes, tell me that the video is fake and you get a thousand dollars.”
“Okay… I’ll do that.”
Brian went next door to a lab equipped with various video recording devices in racks. The room hummed with servos, wires came in and out of patch bays, cassettes of all formats, U-matic, Beta, VHS and even C-Type and Ampex reel-to-reel were arranged haphazardly on shelves whilst the room was lit by monitors displaying test patterns and colour bars.
Amongst the clutter of video machinery sat Barry Conway. He was well groomed in a fine grey suit whereas Brian wore on old jacket with leather elbow patches. Barry looked like a businessman whereas Brian looked like a dishevelled professor. Brian also looked at least twenty years older due to his bald head and bushy moustache, but they were the same age.
“Do you offer them all a thousand dollars?” Barry asked. “Or did you up the ante for my benefit?”
Brian gave a smile then joined him by the video feed filming the student. He clicked play on one of the video decks and in the other room the short movie began to play. The video was of men in black sweaters circling a sculpture in a white walled gallery. It was a grotesquery, a kneeling woman holding up her robe so it appeared like angel wings, but in her lap an egg-like sack was connected to her stomach. The art critics were discussing how the piece related to motherhood and how the earliest religions worshiped fertility.
The film ended.
Brian went back to the test subject. Barry watched on the monitor. "Come on kid,” Barry whispered. “Take the old man’s money. Make him pay.”
Brian sat down with the boy. “What can you tell me about the film you just saw?” he asked.
Barry leaned in closer to the screen. "Come on, tell him it’s fake.”
But he didn’t. The student started talking about the content of the piece. He talked about the worship of fertility and how it was captured in the sculpture.
Brian let him talk for a moment then asked the essential question. “Would you say the film you watched was true, or was it false?”
“It was true,” the student said. “Why would I think it was false?”
----- X -----
Barry was grinning from ear to ear. “It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. A television signal that makes people truly believe what they’re seeing? It’s incredible.”
“You put me on to it,” Brian said. “At its heart is some of your zero-light work.”
They were in The King Edward Hotel, their favourite haunt since they signed their first big deal at a meeting there some years before. Barry was onto his third glass of red wine and his enthusiasm was growing with each drink. “This is a game changer,” he was saying. “The potential for advertisers is off the scale. Think of how a business would see this. Let’s say you’re a company selling running shoes. You make a TV commercial and embed that signal, then people with no legs are going to buy your shoes. The potential is limitless. This isn’t worth millions, Brian, it’s worth billions. Jesus, advertisers will kill for this kind of technology. Do you have a name for it?”
Brian sipped his whisky. “Veraceo… An amalgamation of Veracity and Video.”
“Truthful video,” Barry said. “Veraceo… I’m glad I own some of your company.”
“I’m thinking that you should own a little more. To help bring it to market, I mean. I could do with your help and I’m thinking we share swap.”
“What have you got in mind?”
“You know my weaknesses.” Brian said. “I don’t have your showmanship or negotiation skills, in fact, I don’t even know what the next move is. The product isn’t ready for market, but when it is I wouldn’t know how to proceed and I’m overwhelmed even thinking about it. What I’m hoping is if you can handle the business side, I can stay in the lab and prepare the technology for release.”
“What do you need to get it ready?”
“Lots of things. I haven’t tried it under broadcast conditions. Just because it works in the lab doesn’t mean it works when transmitted. I haven’t tested it on many subjects yet so I don’t know how it works across age or social spectrum. It may work on kids but not seniors, it might work on the stupid but not the educated, so this needs to be understood before we can pitch it to advertisers.”
“What’s a ballpark figure for R&D? Give me a highball number. To do all the testing you want, with the number of test subjects you want. How much cash do you need?”
Brian looked away and smoothed his moustache. He fidgeted. “I would want at least a thousand test subjects. A custom facility. I need high-end broadcast hardware, but most of all I need time. I think that’s the key thing, time to work on it and see where it could go. To discover all of its potential and limitations. So cash wise, I would guess somewhere around one to one point five million.”
“I’ll get it.” Barry said like a snap. “I’ll set up a V.C. presentation and I’ll get us one point five million. What was the share swap you had in mind?”
“I was thinking five percent of Spectacular Optical for five percent of Veraceo.”
“Deal.” Barry said it in a heartbeat.
“If it fails you will have another five percent of twelve stores and a lens grinding plant.” Barry smiled and held his glass out. “Five percent of Spectacular Optical for five percent of Veraceo and its unknown potential… It’s a deal, Brian. I’ll take a chance on you making me a billionaire.”
They clinked glasses.
Between good friends, it was as good as any contract.
----- X -----
Barry had booked a lecture hall for the presentation. Reps from the venture capital companies milled around in the lobby, sipping coffee before being moved into the auditorium. Two hundred, red, cinema-style seats for about forty delegates. They spaced themselves around the room. On the stage was nothing but a table holding a TV screen facing away from the audience.
Barry took to the stage and thanked the delegates for coming. “We would like to induce everybody in this room with Veraceo, one at a time.” He walked the stage with a smile. “The Veraceo experience is entirely painless. At this point I’d like to call for volunteers... anyone... it doesn’t matter.”
Two men in dark suits whispered to one another and one of them raised a hand. Barry beckoned him to the stage. “Hi, I’m Barry Conway,” he said with a handshake. “And you are?”
“Irwin, Mark Irwin, I’m representing Bartok Science Industries.”
Barry positioned the man ahead of the monitor. “Just relax and enjoy the experience.” Then to the audience he said, “I’m going to show Mark a short film. It’s about an art gallery. Now, nothing in this film is true. It’s all a fiction.”
In the wings, Brian watched as Barry went through the same motions he’d demonstrated with the
Videodrome: Days of O'Blivion by Lee McGeorge / Horror / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4.3 out of 5 / Based on17 votes